An Open Letter to His Beatitude

Master, bless!

Christ is in our midst!

I pray this day finds you well. First of all, thank you for your leadership at the recent All-American Council. What many feared would be a contentious conclave turned out peacefully all things considered. Your opening speech was a bravura performance which outlined a compelling and achievable vision for American Orthodoxy that was fostered in a spirit of true Christian conciliarity.

Rather than catalog the details, please permit me to concentrate on one area and one area alone, particularly when you manfully took responsibility for the “administrative failures” of the past three years and agreed to get an “evaluation.”

When I first heard you say those words I was taken aback, as it seems many other people were, especially those who have your best interests at heart. I thought that you had conceded too much. I understood, along with many others, that your goal is to bring peace to the OCA so that it may resume its mission of making disciples of Christ in this nation. Nevertheless, another evaluation is completely unnecessary as those who know you will attest.

Let me explain why I believe this is so and why I am writing you openly.

  • First, you are under no moral obligation to accede to an intrusive request because some people may not like you or your way of doing things. This is preposterous and smacks of Soviet psychiatry.
  • Second, there are no credible allegations of moral turpitude, financial misdealing, or administrative ineptness against you. Differences of opinion or contrasting visions do not constitute a psychological problem.
  • Third, there was no precipitating event that mandated this extreme measure.
  • Fourth, no one who requested this action is qualified to assess whether or not you need an evaluation.

This latter point cannot be stressed enough. The purpose of any evaluation is therapeutic, not punitive. Unfortunately, as has been demonstrated time and again, your critics are not interested in your well-being but in merely punishing you. As should be known to all reasonable people, insurance companies do not reimburse health-care institutions which have been used for political purposes. The entire cost of your evaluation would be borne by the OCA.

This bears repeating: it is extremely doubtful that the Church’s insurance company will pay for a treatment protocol submitted by the institution in question if the real diagnosis is that some bishops don’t like you or your way of doing things.

Privacy regulations necessitate that your evaluation must remain private according to Federal regulations as mandated by HIPAA. Your diagnosis cannot be exposed to either your friends or critics. To what end would this “evaluation” be salutary if you are not able to act on it one way or the other? The Church would then be caught in a classic “Catch-22,” unable to remove you because the Holy Synod has no access to your diagnosis while a cloud remains hanging over your head. This is unconscionable. No one should be subjected to this type of innuendo.

Furthermore, as Metropolitan, you are under no obligation to be confined to a place when your time is better served elsewhere. The OCA has no time for such nonsense. Two Dioceses at present are vacant, ordinations have been put on hold, missions have been waylaid, and inter-jurisdictional business needs to be addressed as well. At the very least your Diocese needs your attention.

The narrative that has been propagated against you (that you are unstable, too lenient, or too oblivious) has been exposed as the lie that it is. We see the lie. Most people do. OCANews was the locus of this narrative and will soon be completely discredited. Its sources — the same people that have pushed you to take this action — have fled in disarray in order to safeguard themselves from a lawsuit filed against its editor Mark Stokoe by another party he defamed.

The entire OCA was held hostage by this narrative that was calculated to destroy. We are no longer under any obligation to prove it was a lie. Therefore, your agreement to accede to their egregious demand is likewise null and void.

I ask you therefore, for the good of the Church as well as your own well-being, to reverse your decision for another evaluation. The lie has been exposed. Your first evaluation already accomplished that end. To proceed any further along this path is unprofitable, and lends credence to assertions that have already been discredited.

In Christ,



  1. George,

    You are a brave man because all the cranks will be coming out of the woodwork now that OCAN is gone, and I hear that a certain OCA priest wants the OF and Monomahkos to also close down. Clever move.

    What you raise is so very important. What is the purpose of the “evaluation?” This was never stated by the Synod. It is up to them to define exactly what they are concerned about Jonah and why they feel, indivdually and as a group that needs an “evaluation.”

    Kishkovsky and Garklavs are in on this dance and Jillions appears to support this evaluation process too. Why?

    But the question, maybe another Open Letter, this time to Synod, What do you wish to accomplish? What will be the means of evaluating the evaluation? What will satisfy you?

    The OCA has lost some much credibility since 2006 that this latest stunt just makes us looks even more crank. As you stated, not one member of the Synod is in any position to make any professional clinical conclusion about Jonah and Hopko’s “gravely troubled” and swearing all allegiance to Stokoe only shows another serious crack in the foundation of the OCA.

    If I were Jonah, I would not step one foot into that evaluation process until I knew the expectations of the Synod. But you make the best point in saying that a facility that is legit won’t take someone because his co-workers don’t like him.

    The whole thing really smells like unfinished Santa Fe business and the behavior of Benjamin at the AAC proves it to me. Any dysfunction in the Synod could be greatly reduced with the retirement of Benjamin or he, himself getting help. He is the one with lots of skeletons in his closet, not Jonah. This is the bully on the Synod.

    Even if you don’t like Jonah, who will replace him. One knock against Jonah is that he had little experience. Well, Matthias, Michael, Mel, Rochon, Golitzen (soon) don’t have much more do they? Who does that leave? Nathaniel. Oh sure, let’s look into his past, shall we. Tikhon? He has not been the paradigm of administrative excellence in the EPA. Benjamin? Well, safe to say, he has about as much chance as the email snatcher Maymon.

    Let’s face it, the dysfunction in the Synod was there before Jonah and his attempts to bring them together as a real brotherhood, for maybe the first time in the history of the OCA, was met with total rejection by the other bishops. Jonah, as he admitted, underestimated the depth of that dysfunction.

    And lest me forget, NOT ONE other bishop stood up with Jonah and said, “I will go with you also, since I am not without blame.” Nope, just like the Synod did in Pittsburgh when they wimped out and no one wanted to talk to the upset delegates, they pushed the new guy Jonah out there to play St. Sebastian. Well, looks like they want to do it again. But this time, we are watching and taking notes.

    Transparency? Accountability? Still lessons not learned by the OCA Synod.

    Lovely bunch of bishops in the OCA.

  2. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    Thanks, George, for your excellent letter to His Beatitude .

  3. Counterpoint says

    Well put. I am very impressed with Metropolitan Jonah.

  4. George, I agree with the spirit of your letter, but I’m not sure 100% of the details are accurate. As far as I know, Metropolitan Jonah is going for an evaluation, which his insurance may cover like they would cover a cancer screening. It’s also possible they won’t cover it at all, since as you noted the people who precipitated this are not qualified to diagnose mental illness or refer someone for evaluation, so insurance fraud wouldn’t be a factor, just the expense.

    Also, I think the bottom line here is that the Metropolitan really doesn’t have anything to fear from being evaluated. Unless there’s some reason to suspect that the staff at St. Luke’s is somehow likely to come up with a false diagnosis (either by undue influence coming from the Metropolitan’s enemies, or their own possible prejudice against Orthodox spirituality), this is just going to be a waste of time and money. Another clean evaluation – this time from an institution they pre-approved – would be another weapon in the Metropolitan’s arsenal.

    The really tragic thing in all of this is that there are people who apparently think nothing of using accusations of mental illness or substance abuse as weapons against someone’s character and dignity. Imagine if Metropolitan Jonah really had developed alcoholism or a drug problem, or became so overwhelmed with stress that he couldn’t function. Instead of laying their differences aside and helping their father while letting him maintain his dignity, they would have just used it as a pretext to remove him from office and lock him in a monastery forever. Their behavior is disgusting and reprehensible, regardless of the evaluation’s results.

  5. M. Stankovich says

    Mr. Michalopulos,

    This is a pretentious mess as I’ve ever read.

    First, you are under no moral obligation to accede to an intrusive request

    “How to get to the root of this breakdown in trust and repair it, if possible, is the real challenge for me and I am willing to do whatever is necessary, working in close collaboration with the Holy Synod. As a first step I have agreed to begin a process of discernment that will include a complete evaluation in a program that specializes in assisting clergy, starting the week of November 14th. I have chosen to do this out of love for you, the people of the Church, and for my brother bishops.”

    Second, there are no credible allegations

    “These three years have been an administrative disaster. And I need to accept full responsibility for that and for my part in it.”

    Third, there was no precipitating event that mandated this extreme measure.

    “I admit that I have very little experience of administration and it was a risk for the 2008 Council to elect me, the newest and most inexperienced of bishops. I have worked very hard to fulfill your expectations. But this is not an excuse. ”

    Fourth, no one who requested this action is qualified to assess whether or not you need an evaluation.

    “I thought we had a good working relationship but obviously there is something very broken. I need to regain the confidence of my brother bishops and of many others in leadership positions in our Church. I tell you all here and now that I am deeply sorry for that and I ask your forgiveness.”

    This letter proves my notion of the internet process of gossip begets innuendo, innuendo begets conjecture, and conjecture begets “internet truth.” And “internet truth” unashamedly reeks of the absence of fact, where extant “contra-opinion” is “conspiracy.” You say, “we are no longer under any obligation to prove it was a lie,” without ever establishing “truth.” You are no more privy to the private “intranet” conversations, discussions, confidences, meditations, or decisions of the Holy Synod than me, but I say “presumption (or was that pretension?) killed the cat.”

    Perhaps you would reconsider the concept of leadership. My thought is that if a leader cannot articulate a believable vision of future direction; cannot instill confidence and fraternity among fellow “leaders” (and I am reminded of the “healing story” of Dr. Milton Ericson – while both the pilot & co-pilot, equally of good-intention, argue over the “course” of the flight, the plane crashes); cannot endure the “arrows” of criticism, rightly or wrongly, from “kitties” or “lions,” endemic to the role of leader; or fully and completely accept responsibility for failure, they are an “immobilized” leader. In my mind, the options are clear: accept the “real challenge,” “do whatever is necessary,” attempt to repair “something very broken,” and all “out love.” Or you step aside, not as a judgment of character, but as a humble acknowledgement that no one individual has been given every gift. Does this apply to your Met. Jonah? Time and the Holy Spirit will tell.

    Yours is “grandstanding” at its best, Mr. Michalopulos, and appears as attempting to feed the vacuum of the departure of OCANews with melodrama.

    • Stankovich, you keep dodging my question. Why do you have a gay icon on your website?

      • Patrick Henry Reardon says

        Yep, until he comes clean about this, Stankovich obliges us to draw our own conclusions.

        • M. Stankovich says

          Fr. Patrick,

          By not “bothering” yourself to actually read what I wrote, it seems to me you have already drawn your conclusions, so why be disingenuous? I would offer you the thoughts of Prof. Harry Frankfurt of Princeton University in his work, On Bull****:

          The orator intends these statements to convey a certain impression of himself. He is not trying to deceive anyone concerning [the issue at hand]. What he cares about is what people think of him. He wants them to think of him as a patriot, as someone who has deep thoughts and feelings about [the issue at hand], who appreciates the importance of religion, who is sensitive to the greatness of our history, whose pride in that history is combined with humility before God, and so on.

          Frankfurt, H. On Bull****. Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ. (2005). p. 19.

          As to the matter of “coming clean,” the first thought that came to mind are the words of Randall Patrick McMurphy of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: “You’re not gonna’ play this henhouse [stuff] with me,” Rev. Fr? I have earned the right to demand that, should you wish to critique me or my intentions, you would “bother” yourself to actually read them.

          Mr. James,

          I believe I have thoroughly answered your question here.

          • Nope, doesn’t talk about the icon at all. So why do you have a gay icon on your site?

          • Jane Rachel says

            Perhaps Mr. James is looking for an answer to his question in English.

          • In all seriousness, Mr Stankovich, no one knows what you are really saying. You have written a lot of words, and we still don’t know. What does that tell you?

            • M. Stankovich says

              In equal seriousness, Jane Rachel, it tells me nothing.

              I have said what I have said, and I have really said it. I openly invite correction if I have made a factual error. Likewise, I listen to the opinion of anyone, and attempt to evaluate on merit, alone, rather than personality. I would also note that I have been intimidated, bullied, and conned by masters – and I mean jacked and literally put in harm’s way – so I do not tolerate nor respect cheap, amateur attempts. In my mind, my words are “crystal.” If you don’t know what I’m really saying, ask.

              • Hey Stankovich. I’ve been asking for a week and you don’t answer.

                Why do you have a gay icon on your website?

                • Ian,

                  With respect, I think it’s high time the issue of the supposedly “gay” icon is dropped. We may rightly question the heretical origins of its writer/painter, the typically westernized overly passionate style…whatever, but it is clearly not “gay” (or more precisely “homosexual”). I suggest a search of the web for Orthodox icons of the Good Samaritan. There you will see our Lord depicted similarly in close physical contact with a naked – or nearly naked – man.

                  A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead… And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal…

                  Whatever else can be said about the quality of this icon, its obvious intention is to communicate love – not homosexuality. After all, one would be hard pressed to avoid close physical contact with a half-dead naked man if one wished to set him on his animal, care for him, etc.

                  I’m not in any way defending Mr. Stankovich’s comments, but I don’t blame him in the least for refusing to answer. The premise of the question itself is ridiculous, the merits of the icon notwithstanding.

                  • Brian, I agreed with you at first except that the “man set upon by thieves” in the original Parable would normally be shown as bruised, bloodied, and with his clothing shredded. The man icon in question (which is done by a very heretical group of Hindu-influenced “Orthodox” monks) is anything but. He is clearly buff and unhurt, basically no different from the ripped guys with the 6-pack abs you see on the cover of Men’s Health. (Which btw in the magazine publishing industry is known to be heavily purchased by homosexuals.)

                    We see this for example in the Western icons of St Sebastian, a Roman soldier-martyr who was shot to death by arrows. Although his story stands as a testament of Christian courage, homosexuals have long regarded St Sebastian as a “gay icon” (in the manner that Madonna and Judy Garland are considered gay “icons”).

                    Nor does the illogic stop there. The fact that this heretical icon of the Good Samaritan is associated with this website only underscores the “real” meaning behind it. It’s a code so to speak.

                    But let us pursue this further. If being homosexual is a “gift from God,” then why use the metaphor of the the Good Samaritan at all? Why would Jesus be seen caressing and tendng to the wounds of a man who is not hurt? After all, he’s not seen tending the wounds of the heterosexual couple in the icon of the Marriage in Cana of Galilee, is he? In fact, he’s blessing them, not salving them.

                    Just thinking aloud here: maybe that’s the real message of this icon? That just as the man in question is not visibly harmed (but actually riding a horse –another gay trope, btw), then Jesus is actually blessing him? In just the same way that Jesus is blessing the young couple in Cana?

                    • Well George, I looked again, and he is, in fact, depicted as bloodied, if not bruised – not much different than the other variations on the theme easily found in a search. Although some are more bruised and bloodied than others, most are equally ‘buff’.

                      I perused Mr. Stankovich’s site, and I just don’t get the sense that he views homosexuality as anything other than the sin/disorder of human nature that it is. I find no ‘code’, just an attempt to search for answers to the ‘why’ of homosexual attraction while doing so in the detached, non-judgmental manner of a clinician that obviously makes some here understandably uncomfortable given the highly charged (and rightly so) environment. He will no doubt correct me if he disagrees with my assessment.

                      My point is simply that this question of a “gay icon” is a red herring that is not helpful to the discussion. It is akin to someone saying, “You’re stupid” in answer to an argument. Once a person’s mind is completely closed, there is no point to further discussion, and perhaps Mr. Stankovich understands this. But trust me; I would NOT feel the same if I believed he was arguing against the Tradition.

                    • For comparison, Here is a link to another Good Samaritan icon called “Who Is Your Neighbor?” Better?

                    • Much better, Jane.

                      Please understand. I am not defending the icon on Mr. Stankovich’s site, only the interpretation some are ascribing to it . I’m no student of iconography, but when I experience truly Orthodox icons written/painted (I’m not going there!) from within the Tradition I am drawn to Heaven. Everything else, however well-intentioned, seems like a cartoon.

                    • I would not attribute any motives to the use of this icon, since most people are unaware of the nature of the group that produced it, but they are sodomites, and “Christian” hindus. For some time they called themselves “The Gnostic Orthodox Church”



                    • Indeed, Fr. John. And for that reason our bishop long ago instructed all parishes of his diocese to destroy them.

                • This icon of the Creation of Adam was on the “Legacy” web site a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps it’s the context, but I have to admit I was startled.

                  • I have never looked at an icon as either a homosexual or heterosexual icon…or to contain a secret code. Guess some see what they want to see.

              • Jane Rachel says

                What are you really saying? I really do not know. It is an honest question.

                I would also note that I have been intimidated, bullied, and conned by masters – and I mean jacked and literally put in harm’s way – so I do not tolerate nor respect cheap, amateur attempts.

                So have I and neither do I. Mr. Stankovich, I have read all of your articles, comments and links and was moved by your article describing your experiences with the people you’ve interviewed. I’m not trying to trap you. Would you be able to write your views in a paragraph or two, in simpler language?

                Here’s a joke: Two guys from up north were lost in the middle of nowhere down south. They decided to stop in one of the small podunk downs by the side of the highway and get an idea of their location from one of the locals, so they went into a fast food restaurant and asked the zit-faced kid behind the counter, “Would you tell us where we are? We’re lost. Oh, and we can’t understand your accent very well, so please tell us nice and slow.”

                The kid sighed, rolled his eyes, and said, slowly and deliberately, “D-A-I-R-Y Q-U-E-E-N.”

    • MS: Did His Beautitude “admit” full guilt (as the repentant thief on the cross) or did he rather “assume” it all as our Lord did on His Cross?

      • Met. Jonah wasn’t crucified. Although some people tried to do that, at least metaphorically, they failed. Thank Heaven!

        Nor did MetJ ‘admit guilt’. He manned up and took FULL RESPONSIBILITY, a la Harry Truman: the buck stopped with him.

        This is the mark of a noble soul and of a good manager, and MetJ deserves far more credit for this than he’s been getting. He did NOT deserve to be treated so shamefully by his fellow bishops and by Fr John Jillions, whose tenure as chancellor I predict will be brief, since he’s starting out in an adversarial position vis-a-vis his superior.

        I fully expect MetJ to land on his feet, and to come out of all this trouble stronger and in better control of our OCA’s ship and its crew. God grant him many years!

      • M. Stankovich says

        I only have his words.

        • Jane Rachel says

          I only have what he inherited.

          • Jane Rachel says

            And, what he said. These two things. What he inherited, and what he said. What happens next is up to the leaders. Who would take his place? Fr. Jillions? Bishop Benjamin?

    • Your quote rings so true“internet process of gossip begets innuendo, innuendo begets conjecture, and conjecture begets “internet truth.” That was the method employed by ( the soon to be sued) Mark Stokoe in his campaign against Jonah, and others. No proof whatsoever. Look at Stokoe’s leaked emails plotting with Solodow, Reeves, Skordinski, Garklavs, Kishkovsky (find the Rodzianko file). Then look at how Stokoe used and twisted the stolen emails of Fester. And you now protest George? Where were you when Stokoe was playing God with the lives of people in the OCA? And is the OCA in a better place today as a result of all his efforts. It is not.

      Where is the evidence that Jonah is the only one who has a problem? The Synod? Tom Hopko? Mark Stokoe? Stan Drezhlo? Really? The Synod was a mess before Jonah and it is a mess now. They should all be locked up in a room until they can learn to act like Christian men and brothers and stop all their disgusting turf wars and presenting personal opinions and agenda as OCA policy. Their display in Seattle was an indictment on all of them, but Jonah took the fall. That does not mean we have to like it or believe it.

      The Church in Seattle spoke through the financial resolution they are fed up with the Synod and Syosset’s lack of leadership. To put it all on Jonah, or rather for Jonah to accept responsibility, was an act of kenotic love, but it does not preclude others, like George to still think it was unnecessary and possibly counter-productive.

      Anyway, MS, I don’t agree with you. Best the entire Synod get help and not blame it all on Jonah. That is what Stokoe and Hopko tried and they lost credibility.

    • Yup, an administrative failure, so instead of training a spiritual man in the ways of administration, lets pretend he is “crazy”.

      The Syosset Stooges shingle for make it up as you go diagnoses and treatment is nothing short of awe inspiring! “Let’s see, bad administrator, send for commitment”. We are the vaunted capable administrators, Oh wait maybe we aren’t either so what happens to us next?

    • another one says

      Mr. Stankovich,
      I find your response here really disingenuous. Whatever the Metropolitan said (and there is some question as to the actual author of that part of the speech) he is taking actions to attempt to repair the breakdown that exists within the Synod.

      He takes responsibility, but the Synod, both in their remarks and in the answers to questions, takes none.

      Just because they will not stand up and own the problem does not mean that they are not a part of the problem. In fact, watching the behavior at the AAC, it appears that a whole lot of projection is going on.

      Moreover, as this letter lays out very well, there is none in the Synod with any expertise to either diagnose or refer HB with any competence whatsoever.

      If the problem was administrative, then a leadership program, or a management training program, or some kind of administrative training would seem to be in order. But Mr. Stokoe’s website gleefully announced “sources have indicated” that the Primate would be attending St. Luke’s Institute for assistance.

      Our [St. Luke’s] professional staff takes an integrated approach to healing that includes psychotherapy, spirituality and physical wellness. Our treatment approach is tailored to the individual and is designed to assist him or her in healing from anxiety, addictions, depression, substance abuse, interpersonal problems, sexual issues or other challenges.” According to St. Luke’s the evaluation process takes one week.


      The Synod’s solution to the problem could be likened to the emergency room placing a cast on your foot when you presented the symptom of chest pains. The solution does not fix the problem, moreover it does not even address the issue.

      Now more bells are going off than were on display in the hallway outside the AAC meeting room. This assistance has NOTHING to do with the problem that has been presented. It is simply a reprise of the coup attempt that occurred in Santa Fe.

      The Metropolitan has already undergone one full psychiatric evaluation, one from which he emerged with flying colors. Just what, exactly, does administration skills (or lack thereof) have to do with mental health? And how many evaluations, exactly, should he undergo?

      Until one of them returns the answer they want?

      And while we are asking rhetorical questions, how did this personnel related item get leaked from the Synod meeting? After all Bishop Benjamin’s decrying of the terrible people on the Internet, and the discussion of bishops frisking each other, it is possible that **gasp** one of the bishops shared confidential “executive-session-with-no-minutes” information with Mark Stokoe? But no one on the Synod has a problem???

      So, because he is dedicated to the survival of the Church, +Jonah takes responsibility for things that have gone wrong. He not only accepts responsibility, he is taking actions recommended by the Synod to correct the problem.

      But what about the Synod?

      Total abdication of responsibility crystallized when the Synod was questioned, asking what actions they were prepared to take to repair trust and improve the working of the Synod. Apparently the Synod does not intend to take any responsibility, not for the chaos, not for the disrespect, not for the leaks – they are blameless, according to them. Of course, the generic, “of course we are all sinners, all broken” was thrown in just for pious effect.

      For the OCA to have been in such disarray BEFORE HB took the helm, and for this Synod to scapegoat him with all the ills of the administration, (especially as they have relieved him of all control of the administration last May) is outrageous. The kindest thing that could be said of those engineering this little detour is that good faith is sadly lacking.

      None of this activity appears to be done with an eye toward the well being of the OCA nor its faithful.

      Yes there is a problem.

      But +Jonah is not all of it, or even most of it.

      • M. Stankovich says

        another one,

        I take the word “disingenuous” to mean insincere and/or fraudulent. As near as I can tell, I quoted the Metropolitan directly.

        Likewise, while my “argument” is to respect the Metropolitan at his word, your introduction of the specter, “there is some question as to the actual author of that part of the speech,” seems to support my further objection to the equation gossip-innuendo conjecture-internet truth. and conspiracy theory. I fail to see how your comment is helpful.

        • another one says

          Mr. Stankovich,

          You take the word correctly. And you did quote the Metropolitan correctly, as per the published text.

          Since you totally ignore the disconnect between the problem as you quoted it, and the suitability of the solution proposed in solving the problem, disingenuous applies very well.

          The problem of broken trust and a dysfunctional Synod is not addressed by the Synod’s move to dump all blame on the one member. But if the fact that that monk, Met. Jonah, accepted those slings and arrows, (as have many monastics before him) proves to you that he is solely responsible for the upheaval at Syosset, then you either have much less discernment than you claim, or you ‘disingenuously’ ignore the obvious contention that this action has not been taken for his good, or for the good of the Church, but rather as a punitive measure to sideline him in whatever way possible.

          I respect HB at his word. I think he would give, is giving, his life for this Church. At the AAC, I have also witnessed disgraceful behavior from those who should most be supporting his person and his office. The behavior of some of the MC and Syossett staff has been appalling as well. I can connect the dots, and you are intelligent enough to do that as well.

          But if you choose to cling to the quotes, and ignore the context, and the larger picture, well IMHO, that is disingenuous.

          So I agree that you fail to see.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      M. Stankovich writes:

      “My thought is that if a leader cannot articulate a believable vision of future direction; cannot instill confidence and fraternity among fellow “leaders” (and I am reminded of the “healing story” of Dr. Milton Ericson – while both the pilot & co-pilot, equally of good-intention, argue over the “course” of the flight, the plane crashes); cannot endure the “arrows” of criticism, rightly or wrongly, from “kitties” or “lions,” endemic to the role of leader; or fully and completely accept responsibility for failure, they are an “immobilized” leader.”

      THAT is a thought? It is not even a grammatical sentence.

      • All the requisite parts of a sentence are present, but it is an extremely logorrhetic sentence.

        My interpretation of Stankovich’s sentence is that he’s saying that if a leader is unable to articulate a vision for the future, can’t instill confidence in other leaders or sub-leaders, and can’t endure criticism or accept responsibility for failure, he’s an immobilized leader.

        To be honest, that’s a fair point.

        Would that apply to Metropolitan Jonah? Well, Metropolitan Jonah is nothing if not a visionary. The majority of his speech on October 31st was to articulate his vision for the OCA’s future, which he did clearly. And a substantial part of the rest was both accepting criticism and his own responsibility for both his own failures and failures he frankly had nothing to do with. That’s three of four of Stankovich’s criteria. I would suggest that if Metropolitan Jonah fits those criteria, the failure of others to have confidence in and fraternity with him is therefore their own problem.

        • Heracleides says

          Well said, Helga.

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          Helga writes, “All the requisite parts of a sentence are present, but it is an extremely logorrhetic sentence.”

          Well, dear, here is the principal clause of that alleged sentence: “. . . they are an ‘immobilized’ leader.”

          I am not taking random shots at poor Stankovich. Look at how he writes. Is it any wonder that some folks are not sure what he means?

          Would folks on this list want Stankovich to teach their kids in Sunday School?

          • Fr. Patrick, don’t get bogged down into the misused punctuation, or use of ‘they’ as a gender-neutral singular pronoun. The sentence can be reduced to “My thought is that if a leader cannot articulate a believable vision of future direction; cannot instill confidence and fraternity among fellow ‘leaders’, or fully and completely accept responsibility for failure, they are an ‘immobilized’ leader.” The long excursus I deleted confuses things, but that’s a complete and correct sentence.

            I spent the last few years building up an immunity to pretentious blather, as well as iocane powder. 😉

            • Patrick Henry Reardon says

              Helga—if I understand her correctly—believes that “they are an “immobilized” leader” is “a complete and correct sentence.”

              Off hand, I cannot think of a serious publisher who would let it pass.

              My complaint, however, is not with Helga.

        • Actually Helga, the failure to establish confidence and a fraternity is the problem of the leader; the people within the group still function; just not well.

          As for the minutae of clerical errors, oh my here we go…

          • If the leader has done all he can to instill that confidence and fraternity, it’s logical to suspect that the problem lies elsewhere. One must also consider the possibility that others refuse to cooperate with the leader out of malice or spite, rather than any objective flaw in the leader’s leadership.

            In Metropolitan Jonah’s case, his brother bishops have sometimes chosen to NOT address their issues with him in good faith. Instead, it appears that some of them have chosen to leak confidential information to Mark Stokoe, using him to portray the Metropolitan in a bad light. This is not just underhanded behavior, it’s deliberate sabotage. In a healthy church, the perpetrators on the Holy Synod would be facing spiritual courts for their treachery.

            All of this put Metropolitan Jonah in a difficult position because he couldn’t defend himself in the public eye without compromising the matters’ confidentiality further. Also, as a monastic and a bishop, it is especially important for him to respond to hatred and persecution with Christ-like humility, and not self-justification.

            Metropolitan Jonah may not have always asserted himself when he should have, but to me he shows more leadership in his faithful and humble example, than all these blustering, “appalled” bishops put together.

            Now that OCA News has gone dark, thank God, does this mean any of the bishops have realized what horrible damage this underhanded behavior has done? I sure hope so. But the continued insistence on “evaluation” is troubling, since Metropolitan Jonah is so obviously not in need of one.

            I stumbled across an old blog posting by Stokoe’s priest, Fr. Ted, that enumerates the most common recurring sins in St. Paul’s writing. It makes for interesting reading, considering which rotten fruits fell from the blog run by his spiritual son.

  6. George, I think a “cc:” of your Open Letter should be sent to the HS (MC & CA also).

  7. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    Very good, George. The four points of your argument are entirely compelling.

    • I think they are compelling indeed, however at this point His Beatitude must do what he said and follow through with the evaluation. It wasn’t a wise political move, but it was a spiritually magnanimous one. Let us not even try to take the path to Jerusalem away from him.

  8. When I was a young priest, within 5 years of being ordained, I was ordered by my Dean, who didn’t like me, to undergo a pshycological evaluation by an Orthodox therapist, who was a member of the Dean’s parish. Trying to be obedient, I traveled the 100+miles to the therapist’s office and took a 500 question psychological exam. Once completed, I was advised by medical professionals in my own parish that the results were confidential and need not be shared with anybody unless I gave written permission. When I called the Doctor in question and the Dean and stated I wished the results to remain confidential and that I did not want the dean reading them, I received an early morning call, a few days later, from my bishop basically bullying me into hand-over the results.I read the results, and they found me to be ‘normal’ but as far I know they are in my ‘perminant’ file for God knows who to read.

    This Soviet style of bullying clerics in our Church is nothing new.

    • That’s terrible. I am sorry you went through that, Father.

    • Father Bless!

      It may not be new, but it need not continue and I think Jonah is the person to, if not stop it, make it so unnecessary as to make it futile. For the Syosset gang, it is hard for old dogs to learn new tricks, but, they can if they are willing to be humble, and maybe even a “fool for Christ” like Jonah is proving to be can teach them!

      God help us and protect us!

    • George Michalopulos says

      Thank you Fr for putting a human face on this monstrosity which we are bringing to light. What an abomination! I am sorry that the cult of psychiatry has overtaken your bishop’s good judgment. It’s particularly sad because the Church prescribes the best psychotherapy of all for all Her children –regular Confession.

    • Fr. Peter M. Dubinin says

      Dear Father – so sorry you had to endure such a misguided fishing expedition. In my years of priesthood I continue to be amazed at how consistently hierarchs across the Orthodox spectrum employ “leadership” methods so anti – Jesus Christ. Rather than come alongside and partner with those in need, rather than be truly servant to the servants of Christ, there is too often a rush to judgment, shoddy information gathering, ignorance to many of the basic laws established in this country to protect the privacy of citizens, and then the bully club wielded to demand compliance to their will. Someone once shared with me the following – when you sense potential problems arising, get to the person in charge first with your story or version of what happened. Your story will then often time become the baseline of what is considered “factual.” I have seen this tactic employed within the Church at large and am appalled how easily those in leadership are duped by this method and invariably act against the innocent. We have a long way to go to understand leadership as our Lord Jesus Christ lived it and modeled it for us.

      • Fr Peter,

        thank you for contributing yet more information about the dysfunction in our hierarchy and culture. If I may pivot to a point that is a consequence of allegations of clerical abuse/malfeasance/corruption, I’d like to address the fact that there really are no independent ecclesiastical courts which can justly adjudicate cases of alleged clerical abuse. Let me take one example: in the case of Kondratick, the convocation of the court which found him guilty was summary and slip-shod. No attorneys were allowed, no records kept, no independent body of magistrates, just some people who had axes to grind. Mind you, he may have been guilty as sin, but the quality of the proceedings was very sloppy. This is becoming increasingly more obvious to me. (And I came to this entire affair completely agnostic of any and all of the detals.)

        Keeping that in mind, the fact that the present synodal mechanisms are so arbitrary, this means that we will continue (in an unwitting fashion) to force dysfunction and abuse further underground. This in turn will draw more people within the web of deceit. Look at what happened to Joe Paterno, a man who can justly be called a legend in his own time. He was not guilty of any perversion but the culture of Penn State Football almost necessitated that Jerry Sandusky’s crimes be covered up. Paterno was assuredly not the only man complicit in this drama. (I think it will reach to the top, including the Board of Regents possibly).

        There are many factors which play into this. Among them:

        1. the relative scarcity of priests,

        2. the paucity of seminarians waiting in the wings,

        3. the morally compromised nature of some of the bishops,

        4. the fear of exposure in the criminal courts,

        5. the fear of exposure to civil lawsuits, and

        6. the absence of decent Orthodox facilities which can deal with clerical dysfunction.

        7. God knows what else.

        Given these facts, is it too much to ask that the OCA empanel an ecclesiastical court of independent priests, lawyers and abbotts who are headed by a bishop and advised by a qualified clinician or two? And that the members of this court be elected by the Holy Synod to set terms with some overlap? And that they be independent of the Holy Synod in much the same way that the Supreme Court is independent of the Congress and the Executive? Perhaps a five-man panel? Perhaps one of them can be a bishop from another jurisdiction, in order to maintain independence of vengeful bishops?

        Here’s a thought: why doesn’t the Episcopal Synod appoint a five-man panel of bishops for the purpose of trying all cases of clerical malfeasance among the canonical jurisdictions? A mid-level bishop (i.e. not a primate), who is of unimpeachable character and only one from each jurisdiction? They could serve staggered, non-successive terms for only 3 years each and must cycle through every jurisdiction.

        Just a thought. Sorry for the ramble. Again, thank you for providing more perspective on the case of Soviet Psychiatric techniques and how they continue to be employed in our Church. The more things like this come out, the more convinced I am that His Beatitude should not subject himself to such nonsense.

        • Ashley Nevins says

          That is a very interesting list.

          There is a lot of talk on this forum about dysfunctional church and I have yet to see any measures, signs, symptoms or proof identified by the EO as to what is a dysfunctional church. I see no Orthodox criterion comparison between a dysfunctional and functional church. If there is not one I do not see how you can determine if any jurisdiction is functional vs. dysfunctional in modernity.

          It would seem to me that the Orthodox would want an agreed upon standard of functional vs. dysfunctional church for the purposes of their not being any question as to what is a functional and dysfunctional church. Ambiguity is dysfunctional like a lack of church transparency is dysfunctional. Unless you have an objective standard of measure you have no real starting point to determine the level of functional vs. dysfunctional of a church. You are guessing, speculating and being subjective.

          There are some very good RATIONAL MODERNITY measures that can help a church determine its level of functionality vs. dysfunction. Of course, a church must be in the modernity paradigm to recognize them and utilize them. Using more than one will give you a very good overview picture of the health of a church.

          Can anyone here identify by a Orthodox LIST what are the signs and symptoms of a dysfunctional church?

          Is there web based Orthodox resources that identify a dysfunctional church?

          Can a dysfunctional church have functional treatment helps for their own?

          Can a church existing in a previous paradigm have treatment supports that a current modernity church paradigm does?

          Yes, I know, I ask a lot of questions that require a thinking for yourself answer.

          Ashley Nevins

    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

      This is an egregious, even abusive, misuse of pastoral authority and exactly the kind of thing that needs to be brought to the light. It illustrates what I mentioned in my comment about the lie and the systemic dysfunction that grows around it.

      When I wrote that comment, I concluded that if misusing psychological testing (Soviet psychiatry as George correctly called it above) occurs at the higher levels, then it must be occurring on the lower levels as well. Your post confirms that my conclusion is correct.

      Your Dean and Bishop were completely out of line. This was coercion. There is a world of difference between coercion and obedience, yet in ecclesiastical circles the coercer will always use the language of obedience in order to justify his coercive behavior. I am sure that you were put in a corner; either obey or suffer the consequences.

      I suggest that in due course, contact Met. Jonah (who too has first hand experience with this kind of abuse) and ask him for an order to remove this from your file. If Syosset balks, get a lawyer. There is absolutely no reason — none whatsoever — that men who have no qualifications to order this kind of evaluation or the training and skill to make a proper reading of the results to have access to your report. No qualified professional who has any ethical standards whatsoever would disagree with me on this.

      This kind of thing stops only when the clergy say no more. If other men were subjected to the same kind of abuse, they too need to speak up. As I wrote in my comment, if the coercive dysfunction is broken then confidence can return, and when confidence returns we may see a bursting of creativity from our priests. I think your admission APinBB (I understand why you didn’t use your name) is a first and very encouraging example that confidence may indeed be returning.

      • From what Father said in the above post it sounds as if he was given the MMPI {Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory} ..I’m getting this from his description of 200 reputable psychologist would use that and only that for an evaluation…it is seriously flawed…I’ve used it as an “ice breaker” but I’d never use it in and of itself..

        • It wasn’t 200 questions, Stephen, it was 500 questions.

          Whatever test it was, it appears to have been part of an episode of serious pastoral abuse and I am very sorry that this priest underwent this. This should not be.

        • M. Stankovich says

          That the questionnaire was 500 questions would seem to confirm that Fr. was administered the MMPI (now the MMPI-2 RF). It is a highly validated instrument of longstanding repute, and it is a “broad-spectrum” (meaning that it screens for “basic” symptoms of many psychiatric disorder), and is used specifically for evaluative purposes. Theoretically, it would not seem entirely inappropriate to administer it to, say, seminary applicants, as I understand is the case in other denominations. In that it is “evaluative” and not “diagnostic” (and it does not measure “normal”), it might contribute to an over-all “sense” of an applicant.

          What is outrageous – Soviet – as Fr. Johannes describes, is the coercion to release legally-protected medical records to unqualified individuals. I would further argue that it was entirely inappropriate to refer to a member of the “Dean’s parish,” qualified or not, if only because of the possible appearance of impropriety (I would add, however, that it is a frequent occurrence that seminaries, diocese, deans, and parish priests do not take the time to cultivate “trusted” resources in their own communities).

          I have personally witnessed bishops and other clergy questioned in a public forum by laity as to the “psychological testing” of seminary applicants and candidates for ordination, and my impression was that the questions arose in the context of well-known “situations.” As a layman, it seems reasonable to assume that clergy conform with the instructions of St. Paul (cf. 1 Tim. 3:1ff), and be of a “sound mind.” Needless to say, the bishops & clergy responding to these concerns were characteristically ambiguous, if not ambivalent. The sad absurdity of what happened to Fr. APinBB is another example of the fear of confronting real issues that will not be solved by a “do-it-yourself” projects, “lawyering-up,” or “frequent confession.”

          • I’m sorry but no one I work with nor I would us it on its own to evaluate may be part of an extensive battery but no one I respect would use it by itself.
            Speaking of this..if Met.Jonah needs to be evaluated and I am not sure he does so don’t blow a gasket Helga and start flaming me why doesn’t the Holy Synod send him to Mayo Clinic which has a great Executive Evaluation Program which not only has a psychiatric/psychological evaluation but a complete medical/physical evaluation combined?

          • M. Stankovich says


            Whether you know anyone who uses the MMPI, or whether your or I would make use of the MMPI does not detract from the fact that is a eminently valid, well respected, and internationally utilized instrument for its designated purpose. Perhaps you should familiarize yourself with its indicated usage – alone & and in a battery – and its acceptance in the field.

            Why not send him to Payne Whittney? Why not McClean? Why not Stanford? Why not just pick somebody out of the phonebook randomly? I was not consulted, nor do I believe anyone posting here has been asked their opinion. The Metropolitan announced to the council of the OCA:

            As a first step I have agreed to begin a process of discernment that will include a complete evaluation in a program that specializes in assisting clergy, starting the week of November 14th. I have chosen to do this out of love for you, the people of the Church, and for my brother bishops.

            You can accept him at his word; believe he out-right lied; made a “political” decision or was pressured into deception (which is as good as lying); or he is impaired to the point where his word cannot be trusted. I prefer to believe his word.

            Allowing his actions to corroborate his words is the best argument against his detractors.

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          StephenD says, “it sounds as if [Metropolitan Jonah] was given the MMPI {Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory}.”

          If so, heaven help us.

          I was obliged to take the MMPI as part of the requirements for my doctoral program back in 1971, exactly 4 decades ago.

          My first impression was that the MMPI was designed by idiots.

          After I got further into it, however, I decided that my first impression was overly optimistic; the idiots who designed it were also malevolent.

          After about 20 minutes, I said to myself, “Well, to hell with the damned thing.”

          From that point on, I just filled in the little spaces without reading the questions. I finished the whole maddening enterprise in 30 minutes.

          I was accepted into the doctoral program.

          • Fr, I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your wit! It certainly leavens the wisdom!

          • I would never argue that all psychological research and treatment is bunk. but on the whole I think Charles Schultz demonstrated remarkable insight for his day when he put these words into the mouth of Lucy. Speaking to Charlie Brown in the role of psychiatrist, she said, “If you have a problem, we can label it!”

            “Five cents, please.”

            • In furtherance of the comparisons to Peanuts, someone made the comparison between the Synod’s expectations of Metropolitan Jonah, and Charlie Brown being taunted by Lucy with the football.

            • Michael Bauman says

              While not from Charles Schultz, I would say that there is a lot of ‘mental health’ that could fall into the category of “If you have problem, we’ll find a way to excuse it and make it normal” $1000 please.

      • Ashley Nevins says

        What are the signs and symptoms of a church that spiritually abuses and spiritually abandons?

        What are the signs and symptoms of a toxic system church?


        Can a western rational modernity Google search lead you to Orthodox helps that answer such questions?

        Will a western rational modernity MMPI help the EASTERN Orthodox Mind see its church leadership dysfunction and/or competency?

        Why do the Orthodox need western rational analysis helps when they are the most relevant church on the planet by claiming to be Gods only true and right church? (Gods only true and right church is the most functional church on the planet by its claim, right?)

        Are the western rational helps the EO use PROOF of the Orthodox being left behind in a dysfunctional paradigm that cannot operate in a functional manner in modernity?

        Why isn’t Gods only true and right church the most relevant church on the planet by its role model and example of cutting edge supports that lead the rest of Christianity? (The most true and right is the best role model and example, right?)

        Can the Orthodox give rational answers to these questions that are not western rational in their answer?

        If you are going to use western rational helps and supports you need to ask yourselves western rational questions as to why that you need them.

        Telling. You are being held transparent in more ways than you realize by rational modernity in freedom of religion. The surface dysfunction reveals many layers of dysfunction below it and the EO have no solution to the corruption, failure, irrelevancy and dying dysfunctional state of their church by their structure and system of church. Your paradigm is being held transparent and look at what is really being seen.

        The onion dome is being pealed like never before in its history. Having said that, your past does not matter that much in comparison to your present and future. Anyone with eyes can see your future by your present state. The Orthodox by claiming to be Gods only right and true church have no ability to paradigm shift to church relevancy in our modernity generation. God stopped all paradigm shifts with the EOC and can only produce true paradigm shifts through the EOC. God does not paradigm shift without Orthodoxy leading that shift and there is really no need to paradigm shift since you are Gods only right and true paradigm. That is what that claim is saying and look at its outcome.

        Without totalism church/state power in control your church can no longer control its image or outcome by its power. The determinism is over when you have to operate in the free world. The divine right of kings and church as one in state power and control is over. The paradigm has shifted. Either you can stand up on your own two feet and walk upright on your own or you can’t. No more prop up. Those who cannot stand up and walk cannot move to walk in a paradigm shift. They get left sitting behind in their left behind paradigm still believing it is the most relevant paradigm. They are then left with the comparison of themselves to what has paradigm shifted and that is the Orthodox expose’ in modernity. Think it through, Orthodox.

        Can a belief in we are Gods only right and true church keep the Orthodox from making a relevancy paradigm shift to our generation? Look at the outcome of the EOC in modernity for that answer.

        There were 3 issues that kept the Sanhedrin from paradigm shift:

        1. Hierarchy structure and system of totalism power and control.
        2. Tradition
        3. We alone are Gods only right and true

        Do the Orthodox have any of those three DYSFUNCTIONAL issues? Can the Orthodox see how those three issues cause church dysfunction? How do these three issues intertwine and infuse with each other to create a paradigm of church that refuses to change? How do you deal with the fusion of the three issues to move the church forward? What needs to change to deal with those issues?

        Yes, I know, I’ve got the three core issues keeping the EOC corrupt and failed wrong. I read the western rational modernity book, Paradigms by Joel Barker. He’s got it all wrong since its western and rational by how it explains the REAL WORLD. Obviously, the Orthodox by the state of their church in modernity know what their issues are and you can see them resolving them by the three issues as their solution to the three issues. Circular without solution is the Orthodox solution by using the problem as the solution to the problem. Typical of those left behind in a dying paradigm and who cannot figure out why they are left behind or how to get out of that left behind position. Use what is broke to fix what is broke. Use what can’t paradigm shift to bring about a paradigm shift. Use what refuses to change to change what refuses to change.

        The definition of a fool is using the same failed solution to a problem over and over again thinking it will bring about a different outcome. That is a left behind paradigm that cannot paradigm shift by using what is holding it back from a paradigm shift as its paradigm shift. That makes perfect rational and logical sense to the Orthodox. You can tell that it does by what they use for solution and by observing the outcome of the solution used. You know, using rational thinking to see the reason for an irrational outcome. If you use an irrational solution to a irrational problem you will not find a rational solution.

        The Orthodox do not realize how much from a structural and systemic basis has to change before those three issues stop killing their church. Those three issues are the sacred cow that cannot change and so that means nothing much is going to change. Oh, you might get a few tweaks that give you some coping ability, but nothing significant that really changes your dying paradigm to living relevancy. Unless the Orthodox change the structural and systemic issues that keep them from paradigm shift nothing is really going to change that much from what is its state of church today. In fact, the situation will only grow ever worse.

        A tweak is not a paradigm shift. A church vision without church competency is not paradigm shift. The OCA can have the greatest vision God has ever delivered to a church, but without the structural and systemic competency to carry it out it is worthless. Those three issues I share with you are killing any vision for your church to be carried out with competency.

        Where there is no vision the people perish.

        Where there is no competency the vision perishes.

        Where there is no vision or competency there is no paradigm shift.

        The closed, isolated and subjective Orthodox systemic dysfunction is being exposed by open, engaging and objective modernity functional rational thinking that brings analysis to it. The very two things the Orthodox hate, western rational and modernity, are its expose’. The paradigm shift exposes the paradigm left behind and the paradigm left behind hates being told the TRUTH of why it was left behind and why it cannot paradigm shift. It hates this because it is the only right and true paradigm of God on the planet and Gods only right and true paradigm never shifts. It’s right and true and so it does not have too.

        A church that cannot paradigm shift is a church that is sending the clear message that you come to us because we sure are not going to come to you. We are not open system Christ come to you. We are closed system Sanhedrin you come to us. We are not bottom up Christ come to raise you up. We are top down Sanhedrin come to push you down. We are not freedom in Christ. We are bondage in Sanhedrin. That is a dying outcome for such a church and only the dying deny why they die or their church would be living.

        Ashley Nevins

    • As I was watching the Movie ‘J. Edgar’, where the boss imposed standards upon the underlings he could himself never live up to, I thought of your posting here.

      On the bright side, except for him, those who worked there created a very effective well done thing.

  9. George, Congratulations are in order for excellent blogging these past weeks/months. We have not agreed on all the issues but you have certainly changed my mind on more than a few. I thank you for that. There is no question right now that Monomakhos is one of the feature blogs in Orthodox America. You have a chance to shape the Church for the better with your work. I hope you will presevere and protect yourself in these times while providing first rate informaiton to all of your readers.

    As monomakhos assumes a position of prominence in Orthodox America, I also hope you wil consult with competent legal authorities to protect your freedom of speech and your work on this blog. Lets be honest blogging on these matters is risky business but it is certainly needed now more than ever.

  10. Carl Kraeff says

    Congratulations George–you have now surpassed Mark.

  11. Carl,

    Which Mark? Stokoe or Maymon?

  12. Abba Anthony said, “I saw the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, ‘What can get through from such snares?” Then I heard a voice saying to me, “Humility.'”

  13. Jeff,

    It is so simple when we just stop to listen. Maybe Jonah has much better hearing than others? Certainly better than me.

  14. Amen, George! As more succinctly and eloquently stated before, His Beatitude has handled things with a grace, humility, and love that most of us can only aspire to. Many years to him! Axios!

  15. Perhaps this is a good place to give Metropolitan Jonah congratulations. Tonight is the third anniversary of the speech he delivered to the 15th All-American Council as auxiliary bishop of Fort Worth, and November 12th will be the anniversary of his election as Metropolitan. May God grant His Beatitude many more blessed years. AXIOS, AXIOS, AXIOS!

    • Thank you for bringing this up Helga, I forgot, it was three years ago! We should never forget this. Looking back at that speech and realizing how +Jonah was thrust into the arena because of the cowardice of the other bishops, there is no way anybody can tell me that the Holy Spirit was not there, giving him the words to speak.

      • I agree George. I also believe that the Holy Spirit was there and was behind his election and his speech at the AAC three years ago. We are very blessed to have +Met. JONAH and may the Holy Spirit continue to protect him from those who want to destroy him.

        • Indeed, George and Katherine. The circumstances of the election simply don’t allow for some wild conspiracy. Everybody knows Bishop Jonah wasn’t seriously considered a candidate for Metropolitan until the night before the election. They sent him out because he was the only one who wouldn’t get rotten fruit thrown at him. People listened because he had emptied himself, and was thus filled with the Holy Spirit. We heard the voice of a shepherd, and he has faithfully led us to the pasture.

  16. Mr. Stankovich:
    The bio. given for you on the “We Are Their Legacy” website says only that you are “a graduate of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, and is a Clinical Social Worker” with no mention of any formal Science education that would qualify you to publish your articles “Science of Same-Sex Attraction” as real, and not pseudo, Science. If you are qualified by academic recognition to publish them as such, may I ask if they have or will be published in a reputable scientific journal receiving peer review. If they have been, would you please direct us to that journal, as an Abstract and peer review results of you work would be very valuable in any further discussion here.
    PS: Said bio. also says nothing about your having any formal education in Clinical Social Work. ???)

    • At one point a couple of months ago I located Mr. Stankovich’s resume online and linked to it here (that link was removed). If the resume was not padded, then he does indeed have the credentials (MSW, LCSW, etc.) for credible research; if he has actually conducted such research and his work undergone peer-review is another matter. Like you, I too would be curious to know the answer to those questions.

      • Heracleides, an MSW and an LCSW don’t qualify you for research. The people with Doctorates in SW at my institution aren’t even skilled in the methodology of the social sciences, let alone the Humanities or the hard sciences. They also publish next to nothing. An MSW is a professional degree, of less academic weight than an M.Ed. This says nothing about the nature of S’s abilities, his findings or his methodology, but don’t conclude a judgement on them based on his credentials.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          An MSW is mainly a research oriented degree in many universities in the Southeastern United States. I have not checked the rest of the country but I do not believe that the situation would be radically different.

          BTW, the place that will evaluate Metropolitan Jonah describes its week-long evaluation process thusly:

          “A Saint Luke Institute evaluation integrates spiritual, psychological, and physical assessments to provide a comprehensive look at the whole person. Recommendations for treatment depend upon an accurate assessment of an individual’s problems.

          The evaluation process usually takes five days. This comprehensive evaluation process uses a holistic approach that includes assessment of spiritual, physical and psychological domains. The following components are included:

          Laboratory tests and physical examination
          (some prior laboratory reports may be accepted)
          Clinical interview
          Psychosocial history interview
          Spiritual assessment
          Psychological evaluation
          Neuropsychological screening

          The final component is the Evaluation Summary. After all the necessary data has been gathered, the Evaluation Team meets with the evaluee and, if possible, his or her superior, bishop, or representative. At this meeting the evaluation team reviews their findings and impressions, and makes recommendations. A detailed evaluation report is mailed within two weeks to the evaluee and, with the evaluee’s written permission, to the referral source.

          Saint Luke Institute prides itself on flexibility in recommending a course of treatment tailored to the needs of the individual. Many times this will mean treatment on an outpatient basis; at times the best therapy for an individual will be at another institution; sometimes the recommended therapy is residential care at Saint Luke Institute. However, in any given year fewer than half of the evaluees are recommended for residential treatment.”

        • Heracleides says

          I have to disagree Cyril. While an MSW is primarily an exit degree, many MSWs do go on to engage in social science research with their product frequently published in the Journal of Social Work and other peer-reviewed SW/SS publications. In fact, prior publication is required by many Schools of Social Work (my alma mater required two) for MSW entry into their doctoral programs.

          I never said that Stankovich’s professional credentials authenticate his assertions and/or conclusions, only that he does have the necessary basic foundation from which to engage in such research. Given his silence, I doubt he has ever actually engaged in research, but is rather relying on the work of others or (especially given the work history detailed in his resume) is antidotal.

  17. Robert Badger says

    I wish he were going someplace else other than the St. Luke Institute. I’m a Roman Catholic and my church has been badly burned by some of the things that have happened there. St. Luke was one of the treatment centers, along with the House of Affirmation, Southdown, and the Servants of the Paraclete, that routinely provided clean bills of mental health to serial pedophiles such as Paul Shanley and John Geoghan. Admittedly, I’m not a mental health professional. I’m just a layman who loves his church and is concerned for her welfare. Because the their track record, I think one has every right to be suspicious of whatever psychiatric snake oil St. Luke’s is peddling. May God protect Metropolitan Jonah throughout this evaluation.

    • Thanks for your insight, Mr. Badger. Please keep praying for Metropolitan Jonah. I think he will need it.

    • Ashley Nevins says

      The elephant in the living room is all of this regarding Jonah and the RCC institute now that a good RCC lay person has brought this important issue to light. The post raises a logical and rational question…

      So, does this mean they will give Jonah a clean bill of mental health when the opposite might be the case?

      How many Jonah supporters were thinking that could be the outcome? I mean, if you want the right outcome for your church you do want the right evaluation of Jonah, right? You just don’t want your sides’ evaluation of him, right? You want an objective third party evaluation, don’t you?

      This is what your post sounds like will happen. If he has problems there is serious potential not to recognize them because of their snake oil psychiatry. If that be the case it is not just pray for Jonah. It is pray for the entire OCA. Since no amount of prayer seems to be turning this situation around there must be a reason for that, you think? It only goes from one tragic set of events to the next. Maybe God has answered the prayers and the EO are not hearing the answer. Maybe the answer is so revealing of what must change the EO just deny that is the answer sent to them from God.

      The dysfunctional church sends its Met to the dysfunctional institute to receive dysfunctional analysis and treatment. Is there any common denominator WORD that points to a predictable outcome here? You know, will the outcome be functional or dysfunctional?

      If they give him a clean bill of mental health does that mean he is not stable? If they say he has emotional issues does that mean they will say he does not have emotional issues? I’m confused as to what you are saying. Sounds rather concerning either way. So, the RCC institute is right and good if it supports Jonah by giving him a clean bill of mental health and they are wrong and bad if they give him a report that reflects serious issues? From the way you are talking its does not sound like you can really trust their evaluation either way.

      That is circular without solution. It is using dysfunction to solve a dysfunction problem. It will not work. Leave it to the EO to find the most competent and objective solution. The most corrupt church in the world is evaluating a Met in the most corrupt EO jurisdiction in America? That makes perfect rational sense to the Orthodox.

      May God protect Jonah??? He volunteered. He admitted his administration has been a disaster. So, he must be going to be evaluated as to why it was a disaster. He must want to know himself and so he trusts the RCC to tell him like your bishops trust the RCC enough to send Jonah to them. Gee, I don’t see any set up for continued failure here and just like no one could see the previous set ups that led the OCA into this debacle to begin with.

      Did Jonah conduct due diligence on the RCC institute prior to agreeing or did he leave that up to the other bishops? Jonah is going to have a not thinking for himself outcome and just like the entire OCA is having that same outcome. The corrupt OCA sends its Met to a corrupt RCC institute to get evaluated. You can’t make this stuff up. When you are left with the corrupt RCC as the final analysis you got serious problems. It tells me the EO are completely out of solutions and that no solution that they have is working.

      Jonah was right to have agreed to the evaluation. He did not have to agree to that particular treatment center. Jonah and the bishops could have negotiated that. Jonah must be feeling like an incompetent failure with no self worth and dignity left to have agreed to go along with the bishops? Yes, OCA Truther’s trust in the RCC evaluation if it comes back pro Jonah and don’t if it comes back not pro Jonah. If the evaluation comes back favoring Jonah tell the bishops, WE TOLD YOU SO, and when you don’t know either way by the TRACK RECORD of the RCC institute. Trust again in what you obviously cannot trust in either way. Like that is not the next disaster just waiting to happen.


      Ashley Nevins

      • Ashley, I’ll ask you a second time: What Church do YOU belong to? I’m sure it is the one that meets all your criteria for an ” alive” Church.

        • PdnNJ,

          Ashley is an Episcopalian. His son is Orthodox and apparently he uses this website as a means to beat up his son for becoming Orthodox by taking to task all things Orthodox and the OCA in particular.

          He is a an Internet troll as a few others here who have come an gone. Unfortunately, Ashley suffers from stream of conscientiousness blogarrhea which does nothing but cause us to do a troll scroll through his ramblings so we can get to the next comment.

      • Met Jonah was forced to agree to the evaluation or step down immediately. The statement was written for
        him and there was no time to look into where or when. It was not his decision. The actions of the Bishops and
        the good ole boys are exerting their power big time. This is disgusting for men who call themselves Christian
        and represent the church. They should all be defrocked.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Adele, if what you right is true, then I should emend my original essay and add that he was coerced into this action. Coercion nullifies anything afterwards including any promises made.

          • Come to think of it, it is pretty suspicious how quickly the OCA website rolled out the perfect transcript of the Metropolitan’s speech. I mean, when you compare that to how quickly they’ve published the results of the All-American Council–OH WAIT THEY HAVEN’T.

          • From what I heard, +Jonah was handed the speech right before he got up to address the AAC. I guess being a monk, he knows obedience and he decided to read it.

            Could they have forced him out if he didnt read it? I dont know how they wouldve done that–but they couldve continued to give him a hard time.

            Im still waiting for someone to tell me exactly what +Jonah has done wrong (except some silly “hes a poor administrator” excuse).

            • Don’t hold your breath Robert. All we’re going to get from that crew is what I call FareedZakaritis, named after CNN pundit who feigns concern and gravitas about how dangerous the Tea Party is (meanwhile the Occupy people are defecating openly and raping each other). Others of this ilk include David Brooks, David Gergen, or the various castrati who are allowed to appear on The View or any Rachel Madcow.

              You know the schtick: the furrowing of the brows, talking about “concerns” and tell us what “everybody knows to be true,” blah, blah, blah. It’s all they got. They don’t really believe it themselves. Even if it’s manifestly a lie and nobody outside their shrinking circle of cultists believe it, it’s become their foundational myth.

            • Robert, that may be true for part of the speech, but there was palpable sincerity, even perhaps anger, in the part where he talks about underestimating the level of dysfunction within the Holy Synod. Bishop Benjamin flagrantly contradicted this statement later on.

            • Robert, after sleeping on your statement, I’m not sure that I completely agree. This speech was simply too good in the middle section and rousing finish. Those parts are vintage +Jonah. I don’t see how it could have been “handed to him right before.” His delivery was polished once he got past the first part. And in the first part, his graciousness to Garklavs was not forced. Let’s not forget as well that his vision for a Diocese-strong, decentralized Church was the centerpiece of it. This is an anathema to the previous Syosset way of doing things. And definately let’s not forget that he ended the speech as The Culture Warrior, ready to do battle against our pornified culture.

              If so, then the synod itself is on board with these things. This would mean that the speech was a community effort. There’s more here than meets the eye.

              • It’s possible that Metropolitan Jonah wrote the speech, then had to hand over the copy for “revisions”. That would explain both the classic Jonah tone of the speech along with the statement that the text was handed to him.

                What’s a little unusual for him is that given his penchant for ad libbing, he stayed fairly faithful to the text, making it easy to offer this transcript within hours of the speech. Poor Fr. Basil Biberdorf isn’t able to postulate a conspiracy theory about this one.

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

              Did it take them that long to type up his speech and put it in a folder?

            • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

              The whole thing sounded to me just like the man I know. He is the kind of man who will take too much blame on himself for the sake of peace, sincerely believing that humility and love require it and that others might be moved by the example. He is not above a little pique, as we saw after Santa Fe, but he labors hard to avoid it: “Do not react, do not resent, keep inner stillness.”

              They might have told him he had to take responsibility and announce that he would undergo evaluation, but they didn’t write his speech for him.

              • Jane Rachel says

                Thanks, Deacon Brian. It’s always helpful getting a glimpse into the man’s personality and ways from someone who knows him.

              • Sorry, I shouldve been clearer. Not the whole speech was handed to him, just the “administrative disaster” part–This is just what i heard–God knows (and those on the Synod who think they are).

                If you listen to the whole speech, you will note that at about 4:30 he states “On a different note…” and then goes into his real speech, where he discusses how well the OCA is progressing (it basically contradicts his administrative disaster part)

                Either way, he read it and owns it.

    • Which, you know, raises plenty of other questions. Everyone knows what you wrote is the case, and has known for some time. It’s what they do. Now we all get to speculate about what the sexual misconduct committee was all secret about, why Met. Jonah wanted in to those electronic records, why the chancellor got fired and so forth.

      So, they say he’s fine, and nobody buys it. Or, they say he’s got a problem, and, well.

      Either way, buckle up.

      • Harry,

        The SMPAC report was more of the same that Jonah got in the way of their pristine and effective efforts. In other words he had an opinion as First Hierarch of the OCA. There was nothing in that report connecting Jonah with anything sexual. Rather, Jonah was a klutz and not refined as the more enlightened members of the Metropolitan Council and Synod. But if we keep rerunning the klutz through the “gravely troubled” filter of the big lie folks, he becomes serious and sinister, a threat that needs to be evaluated.

        As for the fired ex-chancellor, the only thing that was important in those emails, and this is only a guess, is that they provided the proof and smoking gun that the fired ex-chancellor was working directly and in transparent concert with those (who’s own emails revealed) were working to terminate Jonah. Lest we forget, the Synod agreed with Jonah, and can you imagine them agreeing with Jonah, that Garklavs had to go.

        So, with Jonah’s permission, (again the fool-for-Christ’s sake, Jonah,) allowed the fired ex-chancellor to continue to work at Syosset in some made up capacity which afforded Garlavs to work with the interim-chancellor and folks like Benjamin and Tosi to lay another trap for Jonah at the AAC.

        And thus, we are where we are today. Jonah finishing day two of his “evaluation” at St. Luke’s. I think Jonah is up a creek without a paddle one way or another but what is not certain is what the OCA will be like post-Jonah or if it will even survive.

        I totally agree with you, Harry, either way, buckle up, and if I may add………… here! And while we are at it, I’d like a martini, very dry!

        • Jane Rachel says

          Amos, thank you for all of your comments.

          • I second JR. Although I cannot verify everything that everybody here writes, your grasp of events is helping us fill in some blanks. The more we learn, the more discredited Stokoe’s narrative becomes.

            • Ok George, I would agree that through your efforts we certainly learned and uncovered much about many hidden agendas, misguided efforts, and down-right wrong intentions by many in our church. So as this effort becomes exposed and hopefully those who have created this havoc and wrong direction learn from their mistakes or drop by the wayside, can we have some belief and assurance that the church can make itself right to the degree it can now begin to focus on another mission it has besides the all important one of saving souls and getting us to Heaven.

              What about working on networks, gathering resources, and setting up operations to better serve the poor and needy in this country. As you once said — where are the hospitals, soup kitchens, and care centers for seniors? Without some means of putting in place a viable, less trouble ridden church to help the needy, why are we worry about how the church is managed? If you are not going to help us push forward for this direction, then why don’t we just let Demetrios Trakatellis and Mark Arey run everything and quit worrying.

              • George Michalopulos says

                No argument here. Unfortunately, this will never happen in the current atmosphere. Without repentance the current non-traditionalist mindset that has characterized the OCA since almost its inception, will continue to force the OCA onto a path towards oblivion.

                Just so we’re clear, let me explain by what I mean “non-traditionalist”:

                1. a MC that has outgrown its original mission (i.e. “mission creep”) and viewing itself as co-equal to the Holy Synod,

                2. a HS with corrupt men on it,

                3. a strong central administration which views itself as the real power in the OCA, and

                4. an inability to see that forcing a person into a rehab center simply because you don’t like him is nothing less than abominable. In fact, it’s downright soviet.

                As long as these three things remain in place then the OCA will continue its attrition.

                • I would move number two up to first place.

                  • I agree, JR. A lot of this trouble that besets us comes from bishops being less than scrupulous about who they ordain, and then less than scrupulous about who they choose from among them to become bishops. And there’s no stopping it by simply having one bishop choose not to ordain a certain person, because he can just go to another bishop.

                • DC Indexman says

                  Yes, i would agree with that given the points you have outlined, it is going to take some more resolution and maturity to have the organizational capacity to offer more.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Harry, you forget that it was the entire synod that fired Garklavs, not just +Jonah. As for the SMPAC report, I haven’t seen it (although Boy Stokoe has for sure). I’d venture a guess though: it doesn’t mention the names Solak, Peterson, and Burke. And if it doesn’t, it ain’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

        Also, the fact that the MC fired Fr Gregory Jensen shows that they’re not serious about investigating sexual misconduct. Let’s be honest, the major engine driving this trainwreck to Dysfunction Junction is the sordid past of a certain bishop, who’s been able to strong-arm the synod into derailing the tenure of +Jonah and the future of the OCA.

        Mark my words: if +Jonah doesn’t ultimately survive this, then neither will the OCA. It’s that simple folks. The EP is waiting to pick up the pieces. The luckier parishes will be able to get into Antioch or ROCOR. Then Iron Gate Realty can have a fire sale on the remaining properties.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Those folks who enter into schism would have to completely ignore, among others, this from Saint Paul to the Corinthians:

          10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?

  18. Carl,

    ROCOR was willing to be separate from the MP when they felt it was necessary. They were willing to be alone (sans Serbia) because they had the courage of their convictions. It is not the preferred path, but when it is the only path left, it is followed. The very fact that Paul had to write what he wrote to the Church in Corinth indicates that such splits were part of the life of the Church from the get go.

    Let us pray that the OCA Synod will itself not be of one household or another but the one household of Christ as brothers bearing one another’s burden helping one who is weaker so that they all may become stronger in Christ. But, if the OCA throws another bishop under the bus, another Metropolitan, it will only play into the hands of those who are convinced that the OCA “experiment” was a failure.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Yes, I agree that it will change little the minds of those who think that the OCA experiment was a failure. As for throwing bishops under the bus, you and others on this site have been doing this for months. Aren’t you afraid that you are making the experiment more of a failure? We even saw the spectacle of a bishop of the Church laying the drinking habits of OCA bishops going back a few decades–every one of them!

      • Jane Rachel says

        Carl, they threw themselves under the bus!

        • Jane Rachel says

          Carl, there is plenty of precedent when it comes to exposing the sins of the leaders when those sins are hurting the Church. Say Psalm 51 out loud to yourself. What is happening? That most loved and most chanted of Psalms was written by King David, one of the greatest leaders of all time, a man after God’s own heart. in Psalm 51 he is confessing his sins to God immediately after his illegitimate son by Bathsheba died (remember, looking at pornography is nothing new, he saw her secretly, lusted after her, had her husband killed, she got pregnant, the child died, he fasted and repented, he wrote Psalm 51, got up, washed his face, went on, married Bathsheba, had Solomon, etc, etc, etc…) but this also applies perfectly to us, to every bishop, to every one of us. We read it aloud, and as we read, we are stating publicly what our leader, King David, did, and also what we have done, because he was an icon of humanity in all our glory and our weakness, sin and brokenness. The sordid details of King David’s sins, as well as his triumphs and terrible defeats, and triumphs again, his repentance, his problems, his incredible love for the God of Israel, it is all spelled out in the Old Testament. If , after hearing what our leaders have done, we judge, or refuse to forgive, or think our sins are not worse than theirs, well, that’s our problem, to our own damnation.

      • The culture of the OCA Synod does go back decades and its sins continue to hound them. That is the natty thing about sin, its repercussions cause reactions.

        Jonah was not (and I speak in the past tense because I think he is finished) not in the same mold as the other members of the Synod. A Metropolitan comes through the ranks. A Metropolitan needs to be “inculcated” into the ways of the brotherhood. The expectation being that the group will replicate itself. A gene pool of mediocrity.

        However Jonah brought a new and different approach because of his lack of “inculcating.” He had a fresh candor which we had not seen in previous Metropolitans. He was willing to throw a stink bomb to shake things up. Were such stink bombs prudent? Maybe, maybe not, but the establishment sure didn’t like it. Kishkovsky immediately after the Dallas speech started his campaign against Jonah. Why? Because Jonah was not like the rest of the inculcated ones. He was different. He was hard to control. You see, Syosset has always been about controlling outcomes. Jonah made such goals, or even such a goal in question.

        Jonah next mistake was that he looked forward to working with his brothers. He wanted to gather more frequently. He started retreats with his brothers, working in venues outside the normal Syosset routine. He assumed that because his brothers were monks, they would want to gather as a brotherhood of monk, like an abbot with his brother monks. Of course, this is not exactly the same, but the spirit of brotherhood is not different, especially if we remember that these bishops are supposed to be monks. But meeting together, discussing personal spiritual matters within the “safety” of the brotherhood, that was a bit too much for some members of the Synod.

        Jonah assumed cooperation way too much with his brothers and maybe they assumed that he would be just like Theodosius and Herman, they were there, but not too engaged, they were interested but would not take too much interest in what was going on in another diocese. That Jonah would know his role, just like Theodosius and Herman knew their role.

        However, Jonah not having the time to be inculcated in the “ways of the force” ran afoul quickly because he was not like the others. But isn’t that what we found so refreshing in him? Not bound by the past? I mean, we wanted a new type of Metropolitan, a new start and it was obvious in Pittsburgh that when the rest of the bishops didn’t speak up and let the new kid talk, he was breaking with convention from the start. We liked it. We sensed it would not be like the old days. But what we did not appreciate would be the push back by those who were and are wedded to the past, who see Jonah as different, unpredictable, maybe even “gravely troubled.” Job was supposed to be the next Metropolitan. He had earned his chance as a good soldier and he could and would be easily managed. He was the perfect successor to Herman. But the Church wanted to break with the past, and we did.

        Oh well, I fully expect that the Jonah “experiment” will be over soon and the OCA will safely be in the hands of those who have been well trained in the secret handshake of the brotherhood. Maybe that is the way it is supposed to be. It certainly has been that way in the OCA since 1970. That is our legacy.

        • Jacob, under your description, Metropolitan Jonah should have never been elected. Yet somehow, he broke through this terrible and evil system. And if he could break through the system, he can break the system itself: that’s both the reason they hate him and the reason we must continue to support him at all costs, not prophesy doom and abandon him.

          You see, the essential thing these renovationists don’t understand is that there is no going back to the status quo ante bellum. People know Metropolitan Jonah, and they love him. The whole OCA will go down if he does. Even if the conspirators remove Metropolitan Jonah and send him into exile, he can always be brought back. Metropolitan Jonah is NOT their property to dispose of as they wish, he’s OUR Metropolitan. We’ll get him back, or choke their rivers with our dead!

          • I confess that my pessimism is based on a reading of the history of the OCA and using it as a predictor of future events. But at least there are lots of people around the world watching very closely what is going with Jonah.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Jacob, your assessment is valid in that it is based on the corrupt system that has obtained in the OCA since almost its inception. You may very well be right but I think Helga is on to something. After reading Fr Hans’ exegsis below, I see the truth of how the Lie has been broken. Make no mistake: if +Jonah is forced into retirement, the Lie cannot sustain his successor or the stupidity of the present system. The status quo ante is untenable.

              My cynical side says that even some of the other non-entities on the synod see this. (Benjamin won’t or can’t but he’s probably the exception.) If for no other reason than self-preservation, I think that they’ll keep +Jonah in place simply to mollify the peasants who are one step away from grabbing their pitchforks.

              Dont’ forget, Seattle was Benjamin’s home-turf, it wasn’t supposed to happen like this. And I’m not sure that a change in venue would have made that much of a difference. Only a council held in Pittsburgh (today) might have had a different outcome because the demographic would have favored the Carpatho-Russian rump. But that’s a hypothetical and anyway, we have proof that the opposite can happen. Don’t forget that it was in Pittsburgh that +Jonah (a white boy) was overwhelmingly elected Metropolitan.

              What’s the point of my ramble? Mainly that for the first time in its history, the OCA is being protected by a firewall made by the laymen who for some reason have connected to His Beatitude. Conncected in ways that are beyond the capabilities of the other bishops. Let’s not forget that the ineptitude that has been Syosset has been laid open for all to see. Things like Garklavs still being secretly paid a lucrative salary for doing nothing. That wasn’t supposed to happen.

              I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that some of the new crew see that the old way is broken. It’s entirely possible that the new chancellor may turn out to be a man of real integrity. We’ll see.

              • Color me surprised at the “white boy” comment. I’m glad you said it.

                • I think George meant the “white boy” comment in the sense that Metropolitan Jonah is not part of the OCA’s ethnic rump.

                  • I did. it’s an old joke from my Greek background at least here in the South. “Amerikani” wasn’t specific enough when we stopped using “Mavri” (blacks) so we spontaneously came up with “white boy/girl” to describe those we used to call “Amerikani.” (Especially since more and more of us were being called Amerikani by our relatives in Greece.)

                    As I got older, I found out that Orthodox from other backgrounds (particularly Lebanese) I found that this term was used affectionately for non-Lebanese whites. Like I said, this could be peculiar to our region here. I make no claims about the locutions ethnic Orthodox make back East or on the West Coast.

        • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

          If the lie is broken, the OCA has a chance. +Jonah is the only one who can break it. Jacob thinks the lie will break him based on the history of the OCA. Helga concludes that if +Jonah can break through the system, he will break the system. This battle in other words, has a cosmic dimension (the exposure of a lie always does).

          This is the part of the prognosis Ashely Nevins doesn’t get. Ashely analyzes the Church in terms of paradigm theory and applies some modern management theory into the mix. It’s powerful stuff and much of what he writes is accurate. But what he doesn’t understand is the judgment that the Orthodox know deep in their hearts will come if they remain unfaithful (barring repentance of course).

          Part of abandoning leadership (and Ashely is right in pointing that some leaders have abandoned their calling) is the judgment that awaits — especially to the teachers who will receive a double measure of it as James teaches. Ashley’s solution is to join another church, and then another, and another one after that since corruption is inevitable. Maybe it is better to stay and fight.

          Another solution to Ashley’s dilemma is that the Church self-renews only through the suffering of its Saints. Corruption might be a continual problem (why wouldn’t it be? — every generation has to hear the Gospel anew), and only those really in the Gospel keep the ship afloat. An example would be St. John Chrysostom who we revere today as a saint, but if we were alive when he was some of us would think it was good he was exiled.

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            You know, Fr, I’m glad you brought that up. I bet if we got in a time machine and went back to Byzantium during the time of Chrysostom, we’d see a lot of people wishing him ill and cheering the soldiers as they ushered him out of the city. (Probably riding backwards on a donkey no less.)

          • Fr. Hans: Can you succinctly state ‘the lie’ to which you refer? I am still laboring under the idea there is something the synod knows, something major, that we don’t know. Why else would +Jonah agree to go to this place of all places?

            • Uh, the lie is that Metropolitan Jonah is “gravely troubled” in the sense that he suffers from personal issues of mental and spiritual natures. That is a lie. However, I suppose one could say he is gravely troubled in the sense that he has been treated in a heinously abusive fashion since he took office.

            • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

              The lie is the one you stated Harry — that there must be something wrong or why else would he being going to this place?

              So +Jonah comes back with a clean bill of heath and the lie is proven to be just that — a lie.

              That doesn’t answer the question of his leadership skills of course. It just puts to rest the charge that he is psychologically impaired and renders impotent the designs of those who use that tactic to discredit others.

              • Fr. Hans, how is it you know so conclusively it is as you say a lie? Nobody much wants to talk about it but the synod mentioned specifically that a young fellow be separated from Met. Jonah.

                Odd, that. For a synod to get involved in what seems a small matter. To mention it specifically.


                Seems a popular young fellow, and so young to be rifted from his mentor by the synod. Why?

                • Priest Justin Frederick says

                  The simple explanation is that His Beatitude wanted him to go to seminary, which explanation I heard from Fr. Gregory’s own lips long before Santa Fe.

                  • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                    That seems reasonable. For a young man his age, with an intelligent mind, it seems reasonable enough for him to get as much education as needed, because who knows where he will be in 10, 15 years.

                • Because kelleniks are usually young novice and rassophore monastics in the early stages of their vocations. Apparently, Fr. James has more potential for serving the Church than picking up the Metropolitan’s dry cleaning for the rest of his life.

            • Harry, the synod doesn’t “know” any such thing. It does know on the other hand incidents from the lives of other bishops, deceased and living. If there really was anything, they would have gotten rid of him legally and canonically months ago. Instead they trot out Hopko to get him to destroy what’s left of his reputation. You give these guys way too much credit.

              Let’s be honest, the OCA was not viewed as a joke of a jurisdiction all these decades for nothing. Now the lid has been blown off (thank you, Bp +Tikhon) and they’re scrambling because they can’t revert to SOP and give +Jonah the Radzienko Treatment.

              • George, careful about who is or isn’t a ‘joke of a jurisdiction’. Remember our GOA has as its ‘ecumenical patriarch’ a fellow who deems it wise to maintain as metropolitan a fellow who bothered a bishop’s brother among other parishioners.

                And, I really don’t know that they would have gotten rid of him months ago if there was anything legally or canonically because, as you’ll note owing to your own ‘joke’ comment, doing that promptly and when due isn’t something that group is known for.

                No, something’s different here.

                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  Harry, I stand corrected on your first criticism. Let’s refresh our memories however: “reported” back in Feb (nine months ago) that +Jonah had “resigned.” They “broke” this story while the HS was still meeting in Santa Fe, before they even adjourned. Harry, I don’t know if you know +Jonah, but I do. Plus I know dozens of people who know +Jonah. If there’s something “wrong” with him, we’d all know it by now. The only thing wrong with him is that he didn’t take a two-by-four to those miscreants who have besmirched his name and give them the Missouri Mule Treatment.

                  • I don’t (and never have) claimed any special knowledge of any in the OCA synod. I know laity, some parish clergy. Probably like 90% of the folk in the OCA, GOA or AOA who’ve only seen a bishop from across a lecture podium, had a two second introduction personally.

                    My perspective in general is all you folk ‘inside baseball’ who know all these folk have generally lost perspective on how all this looks to folk like me who just read lots and worry about tomorrow as a result. So much focus on these inner matters, so little apparent concern about what happens ‘out there’ where the clergy who have to mop all this up live.

        • Wait a minute now, ‘the culture of the OCA synod goes back decades”. Well, not really. Look at these dates:

          • Harry, what the correspondent in question is doing is engaging the old bait and switch coupled with reductionism. First of all, he carefully points out that some of these bishops were then just “auxiliaries” and thus had no vote. True. That doesn’t mean they had no influence. I dare say that had one of them spoken up against some injustice it might have changed some outcomes along the way. Second, he elides over the fact that “the system” in place was not a clean, neat synodal system in which only the bishops make the decisions. As we have exposed on this site (and even OCAN admitted as much over the years), the OCA was run by cadres of married proto-presbyters and their assorted hangers-on (think Mark Stokoe). These were the guys who called the shots.

            How did they do so? By never letting the bishops forget who knows what. If that’s not a corrupt system, then nothing is.

            • Jane Rachel says

              George, or anyone, do you have an idea what their motive was for “calling the shots”? Someone mentioned Fr. Kishkovsky’s close ties to the WCC. Would that motivate him to call the shots, and how did he get to such a position of power?

              Moving forward, what can be done? Are we simply waiting around for Metropolitan Jonah to get out of that place, and then see what happens? A lot of questions.

            • George, I suspect you know the only sustainable answer is to have bishops in office whose tenure doesn’t depend on who keeps quiet about career-ending misdoing.

              The case neither you, nor anyone else here has ever made is why non-bishops who called the shots based on control over bishops-in-title-but-not-as-life-lived ought properly be the target of concern.

              There remains the troubling mention of the young man taken everywhere by Met. Jonah, the one the synod ordered be separated from him.

              I’m starting to seriously consider this all is a game of puppet-masters, many of whom don’t know they aren’t the only ones holding strings, while we here all wonder why the puppets we see do such incomprehensible things.

              • Harry Coin, you’ve said that before Metropolitan Jonah and Fr. James before without a shred of evidence, and never backed it up or retracted your disgusting insinuation!

                The fact that Fr. James was “taken everywhere by Met. Jonah” is in the nature of a cell attendant for a bishop. The cell attendant helps take care of the bishop’s personal needs, gives altar servers at the parish a crash course in hierarchical kung-fu, and so on and so forth.

                As to why the Synod supposedly ordered Fr. James to go to St. John’s – if they actually did, as I recall the only source for that is Stokoe – there are a variety of possible explanations for that that don’t lead to anything untoward between the two of them, including that the Metropolitan’s enemies on the Synod wanted to isolate the Metropolitan as much as possible.

                As it happens, the Metropolitan has a different assistant now because Fr. James is attending school.

                • Sure, I made it up. Right. Seriously who could make something like that up?

                  It was part of the reporting about what the synod ordered done at Sante Fe I think on OCA news.

                  Here’s one link:


                  • Priest Justin Frederick says

                    Why provide a link to an advertisement for a talk by then Fr. Gregory Stevens at his alma mater when you are asserting that the Synod ordered his separation from the Metropolitan and seem to insinuating something about their motivation for it? The link is irrelevant to the assertion, unless it is provided merely to identify the Metropolitan’s personal assistant.

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Harry, I agree here with Fr Justin. The insinuation is absurd. If anything, if there was anything untoward about the relationship between the Metropolitan and the young monk, it’d be par for the course as far as this synod is concerned.

                      I’ll tell you what happened: Once they failed to get rid of HB, they decided the next best thing was to get rid of his most trusted lieutenants. Whether or not we like men like Frs Joseph Fester, Gregory Jensen, or Gregory Stevens, the fact remains that these guys had +Jonah’s back. Without them, it’s very hard for him to navigate through the shoals.

                    • I remember reading online that part of what the synod discussed was directing Met. Jonah to put the greater width of the united states between himself and that fellow.

                      Seemed odd, that. Getting involved in who is who else’s aide-de-camp. Anyhow the link is the first one that popped up showing the extent of the association. Now, not so much.

                      I love how I’m the one somehow ‘insinuating’ who knows what about this action taken during official activity. Then I come up with a link confirming the depth and nature of the now apparently ended association. Look, ask the Internet bishop. I just read what everyone out there is given to read. Just another in a long line of wondrous ways of bishops I suppose.

                    • George, if you don’t like ‘insinuations’ then someone needs to explain why there was this directive, why this interference in who is who else’s aide-de-camp or ‘job shadow assistant’, educational tour .. look you call it what you want to call it, whatever it is it got ended externally. Why?

                    • If it’s true that they told him to go to St. John’s, that’s because it’s the monastery he came from with Metropolitan Jonah. DUH.

                    • Well of course, that’s what’s important, where it was he got ordered to go. I missed that entirely. Thanks.

                  • another one says


                    Just in, here’s a link that proves you have lived next to, and talked to the preadolescent boys living next door to you for the last ten years. Ten years! Must be something fishy, or perhaps depraved.

                    I know I read it somewhere. Wait, here’s a link to an ad from Home Depot!

                    We should put out the word about Harry Coin…..and his habits……

                    So Harry, do you like this?

                    Your unproven smear of both HB and Father James is disgusting. You owe them both an apology.

                    You have drunk the kool-aid, and are willing to stone and condemn people about which you know nothing! You fall into the trap of those who make outrageous unsubstantiated assertions, then continue to refer to them as facts because they are in print somewhere. Have you never been taught critical thinking skills?

                    How about Christian charity, then?

                    I’m not very impressed with the behavior of some of our bishops, or the small minded cabal that thinks it runs the OCA, but at least I observe their behavior first hand before making my judgements.

                    I suspect that one of the reasons HB submits to this petty tyranny is that this cabal often go to great lengths to hurt the people he cares about. So +Jonah takes it on himself where he can. Make no mistake, isolating him from those he trusts is one of the things they have been doing. And if they can damage HB’s friends, all the better! The system that we have that has obedience as its underpinning creates a special vulnerability for both our clergy and the monastics.

                    I have not always agreed with you Harry, but I thought you would at least argue the facts of the case, and not retreat to rumor and innuendo. I’m sure you don’t care, but your stock as a credible commenter here has gone right in the dumpster with me.

                    • Harry Coin: That definition for “anonymites” that you posted here previously, which Dictionary did you take it from?

                    • Recoiling in horror that an anonymite need me to do further homework for him (lest he demand a refund)..

                      Here’s the link with the original news item.


                      And here’s a link about a trip to Russia naming the aide


                      Plenty of links if you google it. I actually forgot the fellow’s name until y’all made me go look it up. Looks like the OCA did pay a bunch for him to travel the globe. No reflection on him of course. Somewhere along the way he got tonsured ‘James’. But, you know, why did the fellow get told to go to the monastery after all that. Seems a small matter. Now, George thinks that it was just part and parcel of an isolation strategy. However, you know, to buy that you’d have to buy that an archbishop of a national church even under stress wasn’t allowed any staff at all. No, that doesn’t really wash, does it? A stretch. Mets Herman, Theodosius all had folk going around with them even while under all the stress and turmoil. Photographers, etc.


                      Part Two of “Jonah’s Leave”

                      +Jonah Pushes Back

                      Metropolitan Jonah moved quickly over the weekend of February 25-27 to undo the decision of the Synod taken on the 24th placing him on a 60-day “Leave of Absence”. Rather than seek assistance for the “spiritual/health” issues that had caused the Synod its concern (and then proceeding to Holy Transfiguration monastery in Elwood City, PA for a period of reflection, as had been privately recommended by the Synod) both he and his personal assistant, Monk Gregory (Stevens) (who had been instructed to return to St. John of Shanghai monastery in Manton, CA…

                      So, then I read the article on the other link that shows the young man was basically going on the whole world tour prior. So, you know, who instructed? Why? Odd, that.

                      (Keep looking for the dictionary entry regarding anonymite. That homework you’ll have to do on your own.)

                    • “Using the unproven as a proof for something else” – there’s a technical term for that kind of erroneous reasoning but I can’t think of it right now.

                    • Harry Coin says:
                      November 18, 2011 at 10:08 pm
                      “Recoiling in horror that an anonymite need me to do further homework for him (lest he demand a refund)..”
                      That indicates to me that you probably didn’t get it from any dictionary at all, but made it up yourself without saying so to suit your own purpose in which case shows contemptuous deceitfulness, the m.o.a of the anti-Jonah clan which you are andoubtedly a major cheerleader of.
                      And you want us to believe that you have greater credability than us “anonymites’ because you use a real name?
                      Give us a break!

                • Harry, why do you call it a “troubling matter”?

                  • Because it was a relationship that seemed so beneath the radar of the big things going on. You don’t usually read of leadership micromanaging peers like that. I never have in the past anyhow. Stuck out like a sore thumb. When’s the last time you read about leadership telling a bishop who it was they couldn’t allow to job-shadow?

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Asked and answered Harry. They could order the monk around because he was a monk. Fester and Jensen had to be taken out by other means. +Jonah allowed it because he’s allowed himself to be abused. Nothing spectacular there, Harry.

                    • Well George the oddity to me wasn’t the question of whether they had the authority to do it. The oddity was about why. Why did they care to direct such a thing regarding the aide? I mean it’s like the President of the USA talking about what octane gas ought to be used in postal vehicles south of Peoria. Then all this stuff about who is reading who else’s official sexual misconduct files, who’s mis-handling / not handling allegations of what. That was all swirling around. Then this article from Rod about his wife and the deacon who goes and gets gay married which the Met. ignores. Then the synod orders that he must go to only a place for clergy with grave issues. A report by another professional of some kind didn’t cut it. And, only after the AAC.

                      Well it all just has a terrible smell.

                      Look, be sure in the end to give generously, bring the kids, make sure empty nester clergy with excellent reputations whose wives have neglected to die young are never allowed to bring any of that sort of serenity and balance into higher places in the church! Then what _would_ we have to write about? Why, we’d have to go back to doing things like inviting friends to the parish. What an Idea!!!

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Harry, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Your concern about the “how” of the synod is superfluous. You’re giving them way too much credit. It’s this simple: isolate +Jonah at all costs. Remove people who he’s comfortable with and actually like him.

                      As for the analogy about the President attending a PTA meeting (or something), that presumes that the OCA had strict lines of hierarchy. Well, they don’t. You want proof? OK, how about a MC that orders bishops around and in order to avoid Transparency and Accountability incessently goes into “Executive Session.”

                      More proof? What’s the status with Archbishop Lazar Puhalo? Is he defrocked from ROCOR? Was the group he was part of canonical? The HS back then gave ten different answers.

                      Still not satisfied? +Dmitri Royster is the overwhelming choice for Metropolitan, but who do the Best and Brightest elect? A mediocrity if there ever was one.

                      Oh, and what’s up with Mel’s release? Why’s that bishop in Greece dusting up on his prison ettiquette?

                      We’re describing a Mickey Mouse scenario. “Gravamen” and the vast majority of Orthodox bishops in North America are mutually exclusive.

                    • George, I have to agree your ‘isolate’ remark fits. What’s been published has tended to all be along the lines of blocking Met. Jonah’s efforts to surround himself with folk of his choosing. In that context perhaps indeed the young scholar just got caught in the crossfire.

              • This is the first I’ve heard of this: “There remains the troubling mention of the young man taken everywhere by Met. Jonah, the one the synod ordered be separated from him.”

                Why and when? Did it happen? Harry or anyone else who can shed light on this would be good.

                ADDED: Never mind. Helga explained that it was the sub-deacon, whom I met. A very nice young man and I wish him well in his future endeavors. BTW, Helga–as you are calling him Father, when was he ordained?

                • He is a sub-deacon still, but called father by virtue of his monastic tonsure. He used to be called Gregory.

                  • Am I missing something here? How in the heck did you Mr. Coin connect such dots to come up with your disgusting insinuations?

                    There remains the troubling mention of the young man taken everywhere by Met. Jonah, the one the synod ordered be separated from him.

                    I’m starting to seriously consider this all is a game of puppet-masters, many of whom don’t know they aren’t the only ones holding strings, while we here all wonder why the puppets we see do such incomprehensible things.

                    You are the sick one Harry. Get your mind out of the gutter and go to confession and ask to be forgiven. And while you are at it wash your mouth out with soap.

                    Mind your own GOA business and stop trying to insinuate things that don’t and never existed. You are not a member of the OCA and you don’t know squat about OCA nor that Fr James was planning on going to SVS long before Jonah was being put through all this crap by people’s who’s minds work like yours. The Synod did not separate Stevens from Jonah. What a large load of crap. You owe all of us a deep apology for your sick comments here.

                    If George was of a mind, he might consider putting you into the “time-out” corner from posting here. You certainly deserve it for such a lame and sinful posting.

                    • Thanks Amos for giving me just the perfect advice: “You are the sick one ______. Get your mind out of the gutter and go to confession and ask to be forgiven. And while you are at it wash you mouth out with soap.”

                    • I see the anonymites are after me again.

                      Tell you what, I’m sure it’s all good. Leadership always tells bishops who they can’t mentor. Sure. Happens all the time. Right. Got. it.

                    • “anonymites” – I can’t find a dictionary definition for that.

                    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                      Thank you, Amos, for dispelling Mr. Coin’s “concerns.” If your anonymity permits him to dismiss your just chastisement, perhaps my very real name here will nudge him to proper repentance for his egregious insinuations about His Beatitude.

                    • PdnNJ – ‘Anonymites’ . Neologism. Plural form of ‘anonymite’. Contraction of anonymous and mighty intended to convey irony. Noun. One who writes publicly regarding ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ for others while in a condition of hiding.

                    • Fr. Alexander, I am not the author of whatever it is in your mind being ‘insinuated’ here. I was given to read it. I often wonder why the clergy do not chastise those who shout ‘axios’ when they have no personal idea whether it’s true anywhere near the standard required when given to mention troubling things. The fellow appears to not fall down during the service, people yell ‘axios’ and no complaints, smiles all round. Mention a singular event that is worrisome, in context, even provide links and it’s all couldn’t-shouldn’t-never-ever.

                    • Neologism: From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary on my iPodTouch:
                      ne·ol·o·gism \nē-ˈä-lə-ˌji-zəm\
                      1 : a new word, usage, or expression
                      2 : a meaningless word coined by a psychotic
                      ne·ol·o·gis·tic \-ˌä-lə-ˈjis-tik\ adjective

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster,

                      I do not recall you, by name, registering indignation at the “insinuation,” Bishop Benjamin perpetrated child sexual abuse against his own blood. Do you plan, now to reappear, by name, and call for “proper repentance for this egregious insinuation” about Bishop Benjamin?

                    • Just to be clear, I have no idea whatsoever what M. Stankovich is writing about. My concern had to do with other people altogether.

                    • Stankovich, to my knowledge no one has accused that bishop of perpetrating child sexual abuse, strictly speaking. It has been said only that another bishop discovered that someone had looked at a substantial amount of pornographic material on the office computer. This other bishop seemed to think it was plausible that this initial bishop may have either neglected to stop this teenager from looking at pornography, or else viewed it with him. This other bishop has a habit of dancing around rather than making firm statements, but it was eventually taken as an allegation and investigated as such.

                      This allegation from the other bishop was brought up here not because of the allegation itself, but because of the way the investigation was handled. It should have been investigated as soon as it was taken to be an allegation, and it was not. When Metropolitan Jonah did eventually decide to investigate, he was stymied. His investigation was shut down, and soon after he was “encouraged” to take a “rest”. There is something terribly wrong with that, Stankovich.

                      There is also the deafening lack of concern from the self-appointed watchdogs of the gods Transparency, Accountability, and Survivors of Sexual Abuse. I can’t take the stench of hypocrisy wafting up from their shrines.

                      By the way, I am not going to be entrapped into making an allegation I am most certainly not making. As far as I know, the original bishop is entirely innocent of this and will remain so in my mind until an investigation is completed and the case, if any, is duly handled under the canons of the church and the statute. My only concern is the lack of investigation in the case of an allegation someone else appears to have made.

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Very well put, Helga. Someday we’re gonna get to the bottom of this and it ain’t gonna be pretty. Those who are indignant “because of the children” may look very chagrined indeed.

                    • Speaking of getting to the bottom of things, George, is there any word on why Inga’s Listening group is now closed?

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      I imagine they couldn’t take the heat. We’ll chalk this up as another victory for the good guys.

                    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                      Mr. Stankovich, here’s some friendly advice: unless you have an unusual need to court needless controversy and offend persons whom you do not know, I would suggest that you not pursue rabbit trails in search of hypocrisy that does not exist.

                    • M . Stankovich says

                      Pardon me for mistaking you for a man who throws down gauntlets.

                    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                      Wrong again, Mr. Stankovich. I simply decided to retrieve the gauntlet tossed so brazenly by another archpriest. Now why don’t you find other sparring partners or, better yet, humbly take the advice already freely given and stand down. Unlike others with perhaps more time or feistiness, I do not intend to engage you further on this message board.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you. But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. What will you have? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness? (1 Cor. 4:18)

                      Consider me “stood down.”

                  • Right, Helga. Now I understand Met. Jonah tonsured him ‘James’. Not sure about that bit. Here are the links to two articles in addition to the link I posted where his friends talk about his activities and history.

                    Here’s the link with the original news item.

           (Relevant content near the top)

                    And here’s a link about a trip to Russia naming the aide


                    • Yes, Harry. He was tonsured James. Wow, this is like watching the last horse in the race lumber towards the finish line.

                      I don’t really get what you think these articles prove. It is common knowledge that Metropolitan Jonah has assistants, one of whom has been the monk Gregory now known as James. Part of his duties included accompanying the Metropolitan on trips and tending to his personal needs. This is neither suspicious nor controversial. This is quite normal for a monastic who has the obedience of a cell attendant.

                      Frankly, Harry, I think you have an unhealthy fixation on undermining celibacy, whether it’s your constant, nauseating, and unnecessary calls for a married episcopacy, or your attempt to accuse the Metropolitan and his cell attendant of breaking their respective vows of chastity, based on no evidence other than the fact that they know and work with one another. Please, take some time away and get some serious therapy.

              • Harry,

                I don’t know what you are getting at. I’ve had +Jonah and Fr. James over my house for dinner and seen them together in many situations. . . . nothin’ there. Fr. James wanted to go to school and missed his brothers at the monastery so went back for awhile. Shame shame Harry for dropping ideas that lead one to presume the worst. . . .

                • M. Stankovich says

                  I have known Vladyka Benjamin for more than 30 years. I have had him to my house alone, with his brother, and with his nephew, even overnight. I know and witnessed the difficult circumstances under which both individuals came under his care, and the “imposition” and challenges such responsibility brought to his life. I saw him “parent” two very difficult special-needs relatives because the alternative would have been a public facility – or worse – and I never heard him complain or regret his decision. I have seen all this… nothin’ there. Shame on all of you who have dropped ideas that lead others to presume the worst, who refused to be outraged by innuendo, or whose silence suggests both.

                  • Heracleides says

                    +Benjamin Peterson did all that plus intermittent rehab for his extreme alcoholism? It amazes me he still had the time to browse all that porn from his computer.

                    Yes, yes Stankovich, I know – the man is a virtual paragon and would have made the quintessential OCA Metropolitan if things hadn’t gone awry in 2008. Your loss is our gain.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      My point has absolutely nothing to do with what he did or did not “do.” He, like all us us, will answer to God for what he has “done.” My point is that all innuendo and “dropping ideas that lead one to presume the worst” is equally shameful and deplorable, whether in regard to the Metropolitan and his “attendant,” or to Vladyka Benjamin. Employing the precise words and arguments of others in expressing their “outrage” at such a suggestion against the Metropolitan provokes your sarcasm. Should I proceed to Photoshop for an “all-in-fun” poster of the Metropolitan and his “little dickens” and we’ll all have a laugh? This form of tolerance for “selective inequity” has no defence and is nauseating.

                    • What a coincidence, Stankovich, that you should mention photoshopping a picture. Having viewed your photograph on your ‘Queer Legacy’ website I noted a remarkable resemblance between you and Richard Simmons. Presently I am photoshopping your mug onto Simmons bikini-waxed body (as featured on the cover of one of his “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” DVD’s). Perhaps you can share it with +Benjamin and reminisce the next time he spends the night at your place. Enjoy.

                    • Mercy.

                  • MS: I am quite grateful to you as this is the first I’ve learned he suffered to give extensive care in the manner you write. Most impressive indeed. That sort of thing really counts in my little world. A whole lot.

                    I have to reassess, the decisions such a one comes to after having been personally engaged through long term suffering/support are much more likely to be correct.

                    Long ago I remember hearing of a Greek Archimandrite who gave one of his kidneys so that another person might live. I have chosen not to remember anything I knew he did prior to that. That man is a hero. Not less. I feel sad when I remember hearing he left the GOA priesthood sometime later.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      Oh yeah? Give me a big fat break. Okay. No more replies to these two from me, these two who are doing nothing and saying nothing. I am just too fed up. What a bunch of malarkey. You have NO IDEA.

                      I am not going to delete this comment, no matter how much I want to. Yes, I am angry. Honestly. You have no idea. None. You don’t even know anything and have just proven it to me. M. Stankovich for all your experience you say you have, you do not know much about what love is. I know what I have experienced, done, suffered, where I’ve been and who I’ve helped and what I’ve been through at the hands of people like you, and you cannot hold a candle to it. I have done nothing in my life in comparison with those who have really suffered for the sake of what is good in this world, but it’s more than you two, I guarantee it. I know this based on the things you have written here. You cannot find a way to even speak kindly to anyone except those you think you can get something out of. Everything that you say is two-faced, self-serving, and insulting. And Harry, sitting downstairs in your basement at your desk, being all wise and clammy-handed, having a big time all day long playing around on George’s blog, being a fool. I’m sorry, I can’t make you stop it. But I am through with the both of you. Not that you care. You don’t.

                      -Jane Rachel

                    • Jane, wait a minute now. You hear a person gives long term of himself and so keeps a couple folks from experiencing much worse treatment, and this counts for nothing?

                      Do you think MS is just up and lying about that? I admit I seldom agree with his views but up and lie about a thing like that? I doubt it. You know different? Then say so. Otherwise I don’t know how your outrage is justified in this case.

                      Credit where it’s due. Someone in a big hat helps a pair of nobodies long term and keeps them from a worse place. That’s walking the talk.

                      As for being a fool, well, I certainly was when I thought Abp. Spyridon would re-instate those the school fired for expelling the molesting archimandrite. Maybe not so much has changed. That’s why I try to pay more attention to facts people can check for themselves.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      If you are scandalized, I am done.

  19. Today, Met. Jonah will be given his “oral evaluation” by the staff of SLI. This oral evaluation will be in the presence of Bps. Michael and Tikhon, representatives of the organization that referred Jonah to the SLI. In the oral evaluation, which will be followed up by a written evaluation within two weeks, the staff at SLI will share with Jonah and the Synod representatives their findings on Jonah and if he presents any issues.

    SLI will tell Jonah and the Synod representatives that he needs further in-house help, is free to leave presenting no major issues but some minor ones that can be followed up, or that he is a fit as a fiddle, as much as anyone of us are, needing no more help.

    It could be that the Synod realizes, (and in no small part to the coverage that Monomahkos has given this topic), that Jonah has to stay as Metropolitan because the downside is too great and too risky for the OCA. At least one bishop is convinced of this (it isn’t Benjamin). If Jonah is not deemed “gravely troubled” by SLI, the Synod will need to back off their hyper-micromanaging of his Primacy. This might be the way for the Synod to save face too. They thought Jonah was nutso, he agreed to see if he is nutso (again), SLI came up with something – anything – so the Synod saves face, Jonah wins by being obedient (subservient) to the Synod, and the rest of us in the OCA are treated to another lesson in Byzantine Dancing with the Synod Stars!

    Well, let’s see how long we have to wait for an officially crafted statement on Bad news travels on the bullet train while good news takes the local!

    • Just thought of something else…….

      What about the SLI comes back to Jonah and says,

      “Jonah, the only thing wrong with you is that you let loud mouths in your organization walk all over you. Sure, being a monk and turning the other cheek and all that is fine and good, but unless you strap on a pair and start standing up for yourself, you are going to be walked all over likes these two bishops sitting here with us now. So our advice to you is when needed, in God’s love and mercy, the next time a guy like Benjamin tries to bully you, tell him to stick it where the sun don’t shine.”

      “That is our oral exit interview evaluation and recommendation. We will produce the elegant, written report, using proper psychological phraseology within two weeks.”

      “Go in peace, brother, and don’t let the bastards get you down.”

  20. Has anyone heard anything about Archbishop Seraphim’s hearings in Winnepeg? Canadian courts are very strict about confidentiality,,,America could learn something from them…. but I was wondering if there has been a statement from the lawyers…

    • The Seraphim hearing is a two-day event ending today. Thus no news yet.

      • For Archbishop Seraphim’s case, the blogs are reporting that the final hearing and decision on whether this will proceed to trial will be in January.

        Let us pray for His Eminence and the alleged victims: for the healing and protection of whomever is innocent, and the repentance of whomever may be guilty.

  21. Michael Bauman says

    It is really depressing when a pro-football star seems to have a better character and qualifications for bishop than most of our bishops do, i.e, Tim Tebow.

    He is genuinely chaste without apology depsite living in a very unchaste atmosphere (believe me if he were not, we would know). He stands up for the unborn in a public way despite the public and (I gather) professional cost. He always acknowledges Jesus Christ as sovereign Lord and Savior. He is a leader that seems to be able to inspire others to follow him despite obvious short comings. He is positive and always acknowledges the contributions of others without tearing down anyone. He forgives his enemies (at least in public). Too bad he is ‘just a protestant’ huh.

    Lord have mercy on us!

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Michael, when you put it like that, then our church stands condemned. Both for those bishops who are snivelling little miscreants and are not chaste, and for us laypeople who allow the rot to continue.

      • Listening in to all of this has got me wondering about just when the Orthodox Church jettisoned the requirements for bishops established by the holy apostle Paul (Titus 1:5ff & elsewhere) ? But then he does mention ‘husband of one wife’, doesn’t he? That requirement might indeed go a long way to sorting out this mess. Yes, I know Paul was speaking against polygamy, not celibacy, but mutatis mutandis it still seems like good counsel to me. There’s nothing like a wife (and children) to ground and mature a man.

        • Remember, please, give generously, bring the kids, and by all means … make sure empty nester clergy with excellent reputations whose wives have neglected to die young are never, ever, allowed to bring any of that into higher places in the church!! We’d have to go back to asking people to visit our parishes and stop having all this stress to blog about. What an idea!!

          • Nice try Harry to try and move this thread to your favorite dead horse married episcopate argument. You made it clear by your lame posting of “news” stories, one by OCAN, what a great unbiased source of news that WAS, and the oca and then say to us, “hey it isn’t me, I am just quoting those guys.”

            You were sinfully wrong and morally bankrupt in intimating anything wrong between the Metropolitan and Fr. James. You are a marginal figure in the GOA and you come here and spread your manure musings about the OCA. Take the time of the Nativity Fast to come to your senses and deal with what bothers you. Otherwise you are going to die a cynical bitter old man.

            If you don’t take my self-offered advice, and you don’t have to, then listen to these words….

            ‘The burning coal of love is torment when we refuse to accept forgiveness. We cannot accept love when we hate ourselves. Divine love will heal us because it exposes hatred…”
            – Metropolitan Jonah

            • Carl Kraeff says

              I have never understood why otherwise sensible folks, particularly our clergy, become extremely rigid when the subject of the married episcopacy comes up. It is not as if the canons forbid it. It is not as if the Holy Scriptures forbid it. It is truly a mystery to me.

              • No, Carl, but when someone demands it over and over again, even though the Church has not been lead in the direction of doing away with that discipline, and turns every discussion into a chance to pontificate his own views on the topic without allowing anyone else to get a word in edgewise, and continually buttresses his argument with bad information about death rates in former times, it gets extremely annoying.

                I figure it is a question that should primarily be answered by bishops, since they are the ones with that charism. The only limitation I would place is that it should not be done by any one church unilaterally, but by agreement of a pan-Orthodox council.

            • You were sinfully wrong and morally bankrupt in intimating anything wrong between the Metropolitan and Fr. James. You are a marginal figure in the GOA and you come here and spread your manure musings about the OCA.

              Harry was wrong about Met. Jonah and Fr. James, but he’s not wrong to think that such an arrangement is beyond the pale. Sorry if it makes you uncomfortable Amos, but the only reason Harry barked up the wrong tree is because in this forest a lot of the trees look alike.

              These days in the GOA, being homosexual is virtually a job requirement for bishops. It’s by design too. Homosexuals are more compliant and easier to control. Constantinople likes it that way.

              Much of Syosset’s anger is because Jonah is not compliant. They most likely prefer someone heterosexually challenged. Easier to control.

              • Ian,

                I certainly get your point and you have hit the nail on the proverbial head, Jonah is NOT like the others and he makes the OCA insiders so uncomfortable because he is not like them. He is moral. He is not heterosexually challenged. He also is not “gravely troubled.” He is forgiving. He sees the good in each person and situation, even to a fault of not seeing evil in another person or situation. His is an eye that is full of light and life.

                • Thanks Amos. I really do appreciate this. One favor. Lighten up on Harry. His heart is in the right place too. Yes, he called this wrong but only because he not the kind of guy to pull the wool in front of his eyes.

            • ‘ ‘Helga’: And yet, you offer no reason why indeed that young fellow was separated from Met. Jonah. George thinks it was petty isolation from the bishops. Yet how many years did Met. Herman have a photographer? Most of the same bishops in office now saw no problem there those years (to be fair, they did later on but mostly owing to financial she-nan-i-gans if OCA news tells enough of the story).

              Here I am accused by anonymites and Fr. Webster of making it up out of whole cloth, I show an article saying it was an instruction, I show an article showing the association, and yet there is this effort to talk about not that. In my experience when there is energy to discuss the participants on a discussion forum in the context of demonstrated underlying events — it’s because there is truth in the underlying events there the anonymites don’t find helpful to their own agendas.

              In a real monastery, a ‘kellenik’ (‘cell attendant’) is assigned as an obedience to an older monk; some bishops have adopted the idea as a name for what is in effect an aide-de-camp (or “gofer” in RSV English) … but now in the modern context we are given to see this can be abused and turned into a ‘live-in,’ or ‘shack up’ two man ‘monastery’. Perfectly respectable because it’s “monastic.” And from here, we get those who would be bishops.

              In the end I notice that there are many dozens of parishes, from one end of the country to another, where the pastor has managed to lead the community, and his family, for many decades in peace and without, for example, needing to be bailed out of jail in Las Vegas as a result of drinking until blasted as Bishop Tikhon (retired) reports of another (among many similar examples). Parishes where the pastor has for twenty, thirty years not once need be sent to institutions for those with grave issues. Loved and respected pastors who despite the content of that book trimmed in gold containing the accounts of God walking the earth, the book paraded over their heads to inspire and attract faithful donors, the book containing ‘choose from among you’ (not states away) ‘husbands of but one wife’ which all profess to love with their mouths— those men, those men are not allowed to be in leadership on the basis their wives have neglected to die, almost entirely barred in modern time by those who never had one. Not as in the past when they while still young lost their wife as before modern medicine.

              It is not God who forbids such sanity and depth among the leadership. It is men. We see the ‘pruning shears’ being applied to us before our very eyes as per the scriptural story, and we like potted plants prefer not to do anything about it.

              Worse, we see many now in leadership who did sacrifice nothing at all as they never gave up marriage, as they never much liked women. And, as we see, many in that mode did not ‘give up’ sex, either. Yet we are to kiss their hands, call them ‘Eminence’ and ‘Your Grace’, pay for their travels as in the case of the Metropolitan Paissios. And, somehow, there ‘wasn’t time’ at the ACC to vote on things like the NCC. Sure. Quite sane. Likely to inspire thousands.

              Remember, as always, please give generously, and often. Bring the family. Invite friends. Especially those your kids might marry. And, don’t change any rule, even if the effects of old rules in modern times changed the church beyond all recognition. Last one out, leave a candle burning. Who knows, might last until you need the place for your funeral, you can pay the folks at the funeral home to wheel you in if you leave them a key in the will.

              • Again, Harry, stick to the troubles in your own jurisdiction and stop trying to export your conclusions onto us. If you are so interested to find out the truth, why don’t you just call Met. Jonah or email him or contact Fr. James. Or do you prefer to continue to project your own bitter and cynical worldview and make unjust conclusions?

                Wait, your comments have answered my question.

              • Harry, perhaps I can clue you in one why there’s so much “energy” here. You are demonstrating the leaps of logic and branding of Met. Jonah that people have been afraid would happen once HB became even remotely associated with St. Luke’s. They’ve been on the watch for this kind of unsubstantiated branding of a man they are confident does not deserve it. You’re the first to make such unsubstantiated insinuations, so you find yourself drawing a lot of fire.

                Now, you’ve heard enough here to realize the leaps you are taking and the fact that you are taking them because you assume the worst. The fact that Met. Jonah has a cell attendant is not news. The fact that the attendant went to seminary is not news. Neither are they newsworthy.

                The “article” you cite that says the attendant was “ordered” (by whom exactly?) to St. John’s is unsubstantiated and not verified by any other source. Moreover, I don’t believe the attendant did go back to St. John’s except later on for a friend’s funeral– and with Met. Jonah and the blessing of +Benjamin. Therefore the single line that you cite is entirely questionable: the ledge from which you are leaping is crumbling away.

                Add to that the fact that you are a little late to the game and don’t seem to be as informed about the attendant as those who doubt you (as witnessed by your confusion about his name) is it any wonder that people are annoyed with your incessant insistence that we aren’t catching on to how “obvious” and “troublesome” this is?

                People are not arguing that there’s no fire here; they’re saying there’s no smoke. And they’re right.

                • Jesse, what does a person who doesn’t have a ‘cell’ need with a ‘cell attendant’?

                  For all the complaints about Mark Stokoe, I do not know of anything on his site reported as event or fact (not analysis or interpretation or opinion) that didn’t turn out to be so. Some rightly complain about timing and true things not reported.

                  Anyhow, it was very odd. And, thanks for using your name and having an adult conversation.

                  • Geo Michalopulos says

                    Harry, I beg to differ: a lot of what the late, great OCAN reported was rarely accurate and if it was, it was usually overstated. And let’s not forget what was never reported or taken out of context. (And let’s leave aside for the moment the redacted, emended and edited comments of those correspondents who didn’t toe the Party Line.)

                    As Jesse said, who “ordered” Monk James to St John’s? Did you mention that there was no mention of the name of the person who supposedly “ordered” him. In journalism, assertions like this are usually red flags.

                    • OCAN manufactured the propaganda that would legitimize the conspiracy that Stokoe was at the center of: The Fix was In From the Beginning. The Soviet psychiatric plan started way back then. Stokoe was tilling the ground, using the moral capital he banked as the “Savior of the OCA,” to make sure the story took root.

                      That Stokoe got some information right means only that he published information that did not detract from his larger purpose. Knowing that now, all his previous pre-Jonah stuff has to be read as tainted by self-serving bias as well.

                      That doesn’t mean everything that Stokoe wrote is wrong. It only means that it cannot be trusted, especially since he was a player in Syosset and fired by Kondratick. He never pointed that out and he never came clean about why he was fired.

                      Now Stokoe is an extreme liability which is probably why Kishkovsky and others cut him loose. He dragged them all into the muck with him (which speaks poorly of their judgment). The Soviet psychiatry tactic dies hard though. The Stokoevites hung onto it even after Stokoe was discredited which shows that they were desperate.

                      Maybe after the Stokovite failure to oust +Jonah at the AAC, they dumped Stokoe to keep the tactic alive thinking that people were too stupid to see through it. Why force it otherwise when the rest of the house was already collasping?

                      We know his war against +Jonah was personal. Maybe his war against Kondratick was too.

                      Maybe Bp. Tikhon knows why Stokoe was fired the first time. Vladyka?

                    • George, Ian, my observation re: OCANews was quite narrow. When there you saw reported that some objective event happened, it always checked out (at least in the cases I know about). Now as Ian observes and I agree, I was careful totally to steer clear of affirming OCA news interpretations, whether true things ought to have been reported that were not (as Ian notes), and, shall we call it, ‘helpful timing’ of releases.

                      But the thing that gave OCANews the credibility it had among so many was: If there it was reported X happened, X turned out to have happened. Those who opposed what they saw there would have been successful in efforts to destroy the effect of OCANews had anything objectively reported as being so turned out to have been wrong.

                      What’s happening to Met. Jonah from a public news perspective is not less than baffling. No reports of drugs, booze, odd personal conduct, or grave misconduct. I look at pictures of the man and hope unless something has changed he doesn’t speak too much in public about fasting. That’s not what I think of when sending someone to a grave issues clinic.

                      Why did he agree to go to a place where grave issues are what they work on, then? I could find nothing in the record. Except, the little shred mentioned on OCA news I noted here that has everyone so frosted.

                      Anyway I think the church leadership really gives itself a fantastic ‘pass’ when it comes to appearances of impropriety, the same appearances that would bring a swift end to the continuance of a parish priest in a community.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Harry, I appreciate your focused defense of Stokoe, that in the past if he said “X” happened then sure enough, “X” happened. That’s very true of most anything people who run blogs in general. But that’s a remarkable comedown from the lofty heights that Stokoe used to enjoy. Hell, even I admitted that because of its religious look, its title (OCA-News), and its purveyor being a court historian who knew a lot of people, I took a lot of what he said as gospel. A lot of us did. In other words, it was more than just an odd news story here or there about some dust-up in the Ukraine or a spat between Bishop Mark and Metropolitan +Philip, OCANews was viewed as darn-near sacrosanct.

                      What’s my point? That Stokoe used his news site to pontificate on issues that he was concerned about –and that was a VERY narrow scope. Now we know that he was part of a cadre –what I called the Lavender Mafia but should be more accurately called a Renovationist Cabal. The purpose of this Cabal was to perpetuate the Legacy of Schemann which they twisted into a modernist ecclesial model. Anybody who ran up against them was ousted regardless of whether these people were good, bad or indifferent.

                      I predicted that reciminations would follow. One of them being that Messrs Stokoe and Brown are no longer parishioners at their long-time church. I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but the entire Stokovite narrative has been completely discredited. The most damaging one of course being that there was something “wrong” with +Jonah. The time will come to open up all the old cases that were part of this narrative.

                    • So George reading your post I want to get clear a basic thing about where you are coming from.

                      1. Suppose in the synod a non doctrinal vote happens, for example to open a retreat center, sell or buy something expensive, move offices, something just in due course. And, the vote is 50%+1, except the leader of the synod is on the losing side.

                      Should the leader of the synod feel bound and so abide and carry out the synod’s decision or not?

                      2. You write about a ‘Renovationist Cabal’ that has turned a something venerable into modernist ecclesiastical model. What is it that means in English where the tire meets the road, what differences are there people will be given to see?

                      3. What do you make of the person of the Emperor much lauded in Church history, an echo of which we see in Russia now with Mr. Putin. That Emperor received communion from his own hand, not by a spoon. He sent bishops packing. Called councils some now called Ecumenical when he felt the need. Most of them were deemed Orthodox, some sainted. The church grew here when groups of laity took his mantle upon themselves as the civil authority takes no interest. It was not clerics or synods that built parishes here, brought clergy here, and generally provided everything we now see. We see to the extent clericalism in affairs once managed by the Imperial staff in high places increases, so too does loss, scandal and diminished attendance, while other churches have grown by comparison. Was it wrong of the synods to accept such governance from the pious laity in civil authority then? Now? Both? Neither?

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Harry, I don’t know where to begin to answer your questions.

                      I suppose that in a Holy Synod majority rules. That would be 50% + 1. However, the votes should be on things that are germane, ethical, or otherwise canonical. If the entire synod votes 8-2 that polygamy is canonical, then that vote is null and void. Likewise forcing a member to undergo psychiatric care when he is clearly not insane is very problematic to say the least. Where shall this stop? Ordering bishops to go to rehab centers just because the majority doesn’t like them? How about doing the same to priests? Hey, here’s an idea: force a priest to give up a layman’s confession. Would you like your priest being subject to that Harry?

                      As for a Renovationist Cabal, where the “rubber hits the road”? OK, how about this: an MC which is elected at large but is not responsible to the people who elected it. Is that OK with you? An MC which orders bishops around. An MC which couldn’t police its own? When it was exposed that there was a conspiracy against +Jonah and that it was driven by a cabal from within their own ranks and they did nothing about it. How about forcing Stokoe into rehab. Or Skordinski or Danilchuk, Solodow or Nescott once it became apparent that they were in on this with Stokoe?

                      How about this for a Renovationist way of doing things? A central bureaucracy answerable to no one, which takes anywhere from 40% to 90% of the tithes from the Dioceses, bleeding some of them dry? And to do what Harry? Send Kishkovsky on some boondoggle mission for the NCC? That’ll pack ’em in the pews.

                      How does the strangling of dioceses comport with your vision of the early Church, the one you like to trumpet all the time? It doesn’t.

                  • Harry asks,

                    Jesse, what does a person who doesn’t have a ‘cell’ need with a ‘cell attendant’?

                    So the old tradition of having a cell attendant has become updated and you dislike the archaic term? Ok, I suppose you can have the beef there. But when you play “where’s the beef” please realize that it is with the jargon of “cell attendant” and not with one particular bishop following SOP by having one.

                    • Jesse there’s more to it than that. In the context of a large community living together having this one assigned to help that old one was without any appearance of impropriety. In today’s culture where gay marriage is a fiercely divisive issue across the land, having a cell attendant while not being in a condition of age, while not living in a cell in a monastic community, well.

                      Just go try to say it among people with no oar in this water. You’ll get those looks people give when they are really just too well bred to say anything. It has a bit of that ‘pay no attention to the man behind the curtain’ character.

                    • Gee whiz, Harry, just because he doesn’t live in a monastic community doesn’t mean he doesn’t need a cell attendant. A cell attendant would have plenty to do for a monastic bishop, like mend his clothes and do his shopping, helping him keep up a monastic prayer rule, and all kinds of things. Most bishops have a personal assistant of some kind to help them manage and a cell attendant wouldn’t be altogether different.

                      And if perchance the Metropolitan were having sex with his assistant, do you think the Synod would have let him have another? I doubt it. See, the whole problem with your screwball narrative is that the man you are accusing has a ton of enemies who’d love to destroy his reputation. Given the Metropolitan’s reputation in the culture wars for fighting against the homosexual delusion, him having a homosexual relationship with an underling would be right up their alleys. If there were even a whiff of genuine impropriety in their relationship, they would make sure everyone knew about it. But of course, you are trying to distract everyone from the fact that there isn’t even the slightest shred of evidence for what you are implying.

                      You speak of the “appearance of impropriety”; it’s not as if the Metropolitan and his kelleniks donate to political campaigns as a family unit and are each regarded by the others’ parents as a son-in-law. You call it appearance of impropriety; I call it your outrageously dirty mind trying to smear the reputation of two innocent men.

                    • another one says


                      If you don’t like the term cell attendant, do you like “roadie” any better? Have you ever seen all the luggage that must be schlepped around containing vestments and such? I’ve been a road warrior for a long time, but I have never had to travel with a hat box(es)!

                      I personally know these two men, and your and Stokoe’s libelous inferences set my blood boiling! If you’ve got the problem in the GOA, why don’t you start there with the solution, instead of besmirching good men of the OCA, and incidentally playing useful idiot to those who would destroy them?

                    • I like “roadie”! That’s great!

                      I have nothing against a married episcopate in principle, since one of my very favorite people was a child of a bishop, St. Gregory the Theologian.

                      My problem is with assuming that married people don’t have freaky sexual proclivities, or that their asceticism is automatically greater because they have to get up at all hours with little munchkins. A monk is never going to be able to marry off his ascetical disciplines and enjoy a nice retirement with grandkids crawling all over him. A monk doesn’t have to work on a marriage, but he doesn’t get the benefits of marriage, either – ahem. And just because someone chooses to be celibate does not mean there is something wrong with them.

                      Furthermore, a greater ascetic does not necessarily mean a greater bishop. That is not the point of having a monastic episcopate. The reason the Church decided to choose bishops from among the celibate and widowers is because without dependent wives and children, they have more time and flexibility. Ideally, they are devoted to service to the Church, and have no earthly bonds or distractions to take them away from that.

                      Where the modern church has run into trouble is in our failure to cultivate monastics who are capable of taking on worldly administrative tasks. Also, our bishops need to be more selective about who they ordain, and especially about who they elect to be bishops. A married episcopate would not address these underlying issues, and altering the discipline – especially without the consent of the whole Church – has the potential to exacerbate some of them.

              • Harry, it has already been explained to you that there are several innocent explanations for Fr. James visiting St. John’s as well as attending seminary. They didn’t just come from me, they came from people who know Metropolitan Jonah and Fr. James, who interact with them often enough to know if there was anything remotely sexual about their relationship. There are ZERO rumors to this effect. To reference a similar debate about other people, you don’t even have so much as an indication that Mr. and Mrs. Paffhausen have ever regarded Fr. James as a son-in-law!

                I really must thank you for putting your single-minded contempt for celibate people on such wide display, however. It really saves me a lot of time. You are a sick, sick person, so please GET THERAPY!

                • I find it astonishing that Harry Coin, who has no experience of monastic life, is always so quick to say that we monks have nothing to offer to married people at the same time as he continues to lay down protocols for us monks.

                  In a nutshell, let me say only that all monks and nuns have experience of family life, both before and after we enter monastic life. But it’s only very rare individuals who have any experience of monastic life before entering marriage.

                  For that, I’d ask HC to lay off.

                  • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                    I’ve got to agree with Harry here. Monasticism is about a male brotherhood and men understand that whether or not they are married.

                    Marriage, however, is incomprehensible to a man unless you are married. Fatherhood even moreso. Yes, I realize men who are not married or who don’t have children think they get it, but they really don’t. Every married man (responsible ones anyway) knows this.

                    The ones who seem to get this are the Catholics. I listen to Catholic radio now and the and the unmarried never give marriage and family advice. Only married men and women do.

                    No offense is meant here. It is just the way it is.

                    • Antonia Colias says

                      Monasticism is NOT “about a male brotherhood.” How many Orthodox Christian primary sources should I post to underscore the extraordinary absurdity of that claim?

                    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                      How so? Monasticism is first community, and we all need community to live in faith in Christ. The only plausible exception would be hermits, but even they still remain tied to a brotherhood. Marrieds have the community of the family, and they too are tied to a larger community of the parish — to other families actually.

                      And, like families, all monasteries have their own character. Monks and nuns take their time choosing which monastery they intend to join knowing that it has to be a good fit. In cities with several Orthodox parishes this dynamic works as well. Parishes have different characters and cultures, and what works for one family might not work for the next. Nothing wrong with this, BTW.

                    • Dear Friends —

                      Christ is risen! Truly risen!

                      Fr. Hans Jacobse says:
                      November 20, 2011 at 1:07 pm
                      ‘How so? Monasticism is first community….’

                      Only cenobitic monasticism is ‘first (of all) community’, and cenobitic life is only one of several ways of being monastic.

                      Honestly, friends, I continue to be astonished at the very firm opinions on monastic life expressed by people who know next to nothing about it, yet at the same time are adamant that we monks say nothing about married life.

                      Myself, I was thirty when I joined a monastic community in 1977, so I’d been around the block a few times before then and even got close to getting married. Prior to that, I had responsible positions in business in New York and Chicago.

                      I’m the oldest of eight children, born when my mother was a month shy of her 18th birthday, and I was 18 when my youngest brother was born. Not only did I do all the usual child-raising things for my younger siblings, I learned how to do plumbing and turned out to be a fairly good cook. I had five grandmothers going all at once until I was well into my twenties, and I’ve got in-laws and outlaws, godsons and nieces and nephews all over the place.

                      I’d like to think that I have some experience of family life, maybe even more so than some family men and women have of monasteries, yet who persist commenting on monastic life.

                      Maybe I ought to start opining about married life. Or maybe not. I’ve got enough trouble.

                      Peace and blessings to all.

                      Monk James

                    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                      Well, I am the oldest of eight myself and changed diapers and fed my siblings too. I was 12 when the second crew was born. In fact, I assured my wife (the youngest of three) when our daughter was born not to worry about diapers, feeding, etc. since I knew all that stuff. She didn’t believe me until I showed her how to do it all. (Disposable diapers are one of mankind’s best inventions.)

                      But responsibility as a father and husband is something else entirely. Men simply don’t have a clue until they have that responsibility. The only exceptions I have seen in single men is when circumstances forced them change their lives (career, location, mobility, etc.) to serve another, usually a sick family member, for a long period of time. But that is rare.

                    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says:
                      November 20, 2011 at 2:19 pm
                      ‘But responsibility as a father and husband is something else entirely. Men simply don’t have a clue until they have that responsibility. The only exceptions I have seen in single men is when circumstances forced them change their lives (career, location, mobility, etc.) to serve another, usually a sick family member, for a long period of time. But that is rare.’

                      Not rare enough to have exempted me, relieved of duty only when I finally shrouded my dear mother for burial. I was greatly blessed to have cared for her with the loving help of just one of my brothers. he and I held each other up during those years.

                      Anyway, our ‘relatively’ similar families notwithstanding, I’m still left wondering what qualifies married or unmarried laity and clergy to have opinions about monastic life without actually having lived it.

                    • Well, Monk James, sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander. Accepting your point of view you prove why it is those given to oversee families are needed among those given to make decisions about pastors overseeing families in parish life.

                    • Harry Coin says:
                      November 20, 2011 at 6:13 pm
                      ‘Well, Monk James, sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander. Accepting your point of view you prove why it is those given to oversee families are needed among those given to make decisions about pastors overseeing families in parish life.’

                      Well, indeed.

                      In my experience — which must be very different from the experience on which Harry Coin consistently relies — our bishops have usually been very solicitous for the welfare of the married parish priests in their eparchies.

                      In the OCA, at least, a great many of our bishops have been widowed men. Yet even some of our intentionally monastic bishops have held the welfare of their clergy in high priority.

                      For example: A parish with which I’m well acquainted insisted on having a married priest rather than a monastic priest as a temporary pastor. My spiritual father (an archbishop) told them that he’d send them a married priest just as soon as they repaired the house in which they expected a married priest to live in, paid him a decent salary, and installed a washing machine.

                      They got a monk instead, who — under obedience — accepted a $200 monthly salary and nearly starved to death.

                      This isn’t good on ANY side of this discussion.

                      There’s a russian proverb: ‘You get the priest you deserve.’

                    • Rules and exceptions, the latter doesn’t prove the former.

                      Perhaps if that parish got a married priest who had a full time job outside the parish, and then grew the parish until it could pay him internally both the monk and the people there would have been better off.

                      In a nearby town a very gifted young married pastor did exactly that, worked outside the parish and grew it until it could afford him fulltime.

                • I know Father James and I have known Metropolitan Jonah for almost 20 years. He baptized me and is my spiritual father. I have had him and monks who were traveling with him stay overnight in my house and will say ABSOLUTELY, that there is no truth to the insinuations that Harry Coin is interjecting into the purpose of this strand of conversation regarding the Metropolitan. Harry has been hanging around for many years now in the various internet gossip channels throwing his modernism and weird ideas out constantly. I believe that he has been banned from some sites for the same kind of activity he is propagating on this wonderful site. It is a waste of time to communicate with him; hopefully, if he is ignored, he will go away.

                  • I wonder what the parishioners of St. Irene Chrysovalantou thought when they came face to face with the wrongful deeds done by the one who baptized them, married them, buried their parents.

                    I was so green years ago, it was an insult to ‘green’. I actually thought all we needed to do to get the clergy fired from Holy Cross seminary their jobs back (after having lost them for expelling a gay molesting archimandrite) was let the new Archbishop Spyridon know. Honest, that’s what I thought back then. Proposed it to some friends in Boston. It was a bad day when it was made plain to me he was the one who insisted they be fired, and brought in the aforementioned bishops at St. Irene. And he went to Spanish Harlem to do his first liturgy.

                    Monks that live in monasteries of good reputation with more than two others and for a long while, men who have good reputations and sustained marriages, these are the ones where time speaks about character.

                    I was among many who said ‘axios’ at liturgies where someone was being ordained because everyone else was and it seemed the thing to do. What a mistake. We cheer with less experience because nobody complains, not because it was correct or based on long experience.

                    And, again for those not reading closely, my concern was that the only thing I could link to the grave issues of the sort treated at the RCC place in the record was that item whose reference I gave on OCA news. After all it was the same group Mark was reporting about that made all those other choices leading in the end to this treatment facility. In that story he mentions this. Perhaps Mark Stokoe would someday explain how many it was or who gave that order. You have to admit, seemed like a minor matter why did the great powers take it up according to that report? So, let’s be clear this isn’t something I just made up out of whole cloth.

                    P.S. I’m only a member of the Orthodox-Forum on yahoogroups, the Indiana list (inactive), here, and aoi from time to time. I don’t know that I’ve been banned anywhere. But, anonymites do know all! It’s just what they know isn’t so quite often. In fact I know lots of folk who ‘know gurus’, the ‘gurus’ wind them up, puff words in their ears, and hiegh-ho-silver — and AWAY… they go off saying out loud what the guru wants but doesn’t want to get caught saying himself. Seen it in the Russian mode, the Greek mode, it’s almost cartoon.

                    • I wonder what the parishioners of St. Irene Chrysovalantou thought when they came face to face with the wrongful deeds done by the one who baptized them, married them, buried their parents.

                      They probably thought, “This is an example of human sinfulness and sexual disorder, not some kind of inherent problem with the celibate episcopacy.”

              • Jane Rachel says

                I assume Metropolitan Jonah is innocent of your allegations. I read his reasons for the evaluation here

                Your Eminence and Graces, Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,

                Glory to Jesus Christ!

                It is great to be in Seattle, and to be together as the Church. There is a sacramental aspect to our meeting together as a Council, to come together to discern the will of God for the direction of our Church. We have to prepare for this Council like we prepare for Holy Communion — which we celebrate every day — with prayer and fasting, putting aside all passions and lusts, all judgment and resentment, all criticism of others and anger in our hearts. Otherwise, how can we participate in the Holy Mysteries, how dare we approach one another with the kiss of peace, how can we listen to God? This is the task set before us: to hear the voice of God, strive to comprehend His will, and to do it. First, I wish to thank His Grace, Bishop Benjamin, for hosting us and all who worked on the Preconciliar Commission; to Fr. John Pierce and the whole local committee: Lynelle, Michelle, Dmitri, and the hosts of others who have worked tirelessly to put together this event, and care for its every detail. May the Lord bless you, and multiply His grace on you! I wish also to thank the staff at Syosset for their commitment and their labor for this Church, especially Fr. Eric Tosi who was the main liaison for this Council, and all there. In particular, Fr. Myron Manzuk has, once again, been instrumental in every aspect of the planning and execution of the work to prepare for this Council; assisted by Peter and staff. There are a multitude of others.

                I will tell you of some of the positive achievements in our Church since I was elected Metropolitan in 2008 and the vision I and the Holy Synod now wish to pursue. But as most of you know there is another side. These last three years have been the three most difficult years of my life. I have been under a relentless barrage of criticism for most of this time from every forum I am meant to oversee: the Chancery officers and staff, the Metropolitan Council, and — most troubling to me — the Holy Synod of Bishops. I admit that I have very little experience in administration, and it was a risk for the 2008 Council to elect me, the newest and most inexperienced of bishops. I have worked very hard to fulfill your expectations. But this is not an excuse. These three years have been an administrative disaster, and I need to accept full responsibility for that.

                I did not understand the depth of the breakdown with the bishops. I thought we had a good working relationship but obviously there is something very broken. I need to regain the confidence of my brother bishops and of many others in leadership positions in our Church. I tell you all here and now that I am deeply sorry for that and ask for your forgiveness.

                How to get at the root of this breakdown in trust and repair it, if at all possible, is the real challenge for me, and I am willing to do whatever is necessary, working in close collaboration with the Holy Synod. As a first step, I have agreed to begin a process of discernment that will include a complete evaluation in a program that specializes in assisting clergy, starting the week of November. I have chose to do this out of love for you, the people of this Church.

                He gives reasons for the evaluation:

                “How to get to the root of this breakdown in trust and repair it, if at all possible.”

                “And I am willing to do whatever is necessary…”

                “Working in close association with the Holy Synod.”

                I read between the lines, but only a bit, insofar as I have information from what I’ve read about him, the rest of the Holy Synod, his enemies, and especially ocanews and what has been done to twist and manipulate in order to bring down others, and this posted on ocatruth:

                ← The Orthodox Circus of AmericaThis Just in: +Jonah is Sane! →
                The fix was in from the beginning
                Posted on March 30, 2011 by Muzhik
                +Tikhon (ret.), is at it again. The former Archbishop is claiming to have an e-mail allegedly from Robert (Dmitri) Solodow, a subdeacon of Holy Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco, outlining the script Metropolitan Jonah’s opponents intended to follow. Notice the date on this alleged e-mail — it’s pre-Santa Fe. As far as the Synod is concerned, at least according to this document from an insider writing to other insiders who are part of the conspiracy, the idea of +Jonah going on a leave to rest was a complete sham. It has all been a masquerade. If you thought you understood what was going on based on reading OCANews and simply observing events, you were wrong.

                The question I have now: who else, besides those on the e-mail, were in on the conspiracy? How many of them are bishops?

                Now +Jonah is wise to them, and is not playing along. So are we. And so are Orthodox hierarchs abroad. Below is the e-mail cited by +Tikhon. If you want to know what the shorthand represents, please see the explanatory notes with Bishop Tikhon’s original post.

                From: Robert Solodow [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
                Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 8 :28 PM

                To: Mark Stokoe; Reeves,JohnM Reeves; Faith Skordinski

                Subject: to summarize

                so here is what i underrstand the facts to be:
                * smc takes jonah to task in its report to the hs
                * jonah, angered, attempts to fire garklavs and tosi
                * Jonah offers the chancellorship to mobley (SIC), who declines
                * jonah orders an investigation of benjamin, based on two year old
                allegations of nikolai
                * the smc is deciding whether to charge jonah witll whistleblower
                policy violations
                * the hs will meet shortly to decide, once again, what to do about
                Jonah , and the possible next steps:
                * the hs finds a way to retire or remove Jonah, and the ethics issue
                is moot (but the other issues below are not)
                * the hs does not do this and then, at the next mc meeting
                * we call on the smc to present its report
                * we ask Jonah for his response
                * we ask jonah about his Violation of the whistleblower policy
                * we assert that the officers of the corporation are appointed (and
                therefore dismissed) by the hs, upon the recommendation of the mc,
                returning the chancery to
                the status quo ante
                * we ask jonah about the lIappointment” of Jensen (qualifications)
                process, etc)
                and about the investigation of benjamin
                * i introduce a motion of no confidence in the met
                we pray. yes?

                And there you have it as far as I’m concerned. They were conspiring against him. You don’t know anything, Harry (if you reply, you can call me Jane, it’s my name). Truth is going to come out. If there was reason to insinuate, you had better be darn sure you have good (i.e., moral, upright, loving, best interests of the Church in mind) reasons for saying whatever you say.

                • M . Stankovich says

                  Mr. Coin,

                  You might consider the comment of Albert Einstein regarding the pamphlet 50 Nazi Scientist Declare The Theory of Relativity is in Error: “If I was wrong, it would have only taken one of them.”

                • Jane, when there is a big meeting coming up, people already know what it is they plan to talk about at such a meeting. It is not a conspiracy to bring up at big meetings what you discuss prior. Think about what you are saying. Would you prefer everyone show up at big meetings with nothing particular in mind? Then critics would say “They called a meeting about nothing in a nice place, what a sham”.

                  I am grateful to you as now you’ve put names on others that give some light about Br. (Fr.?) Jensen. Indeed here in your writing you demonstrate his participation was a concern. I really have to wonder about why. Seemed an educated bright young man from his background. How does it come to pass he got on anybody’s radar? You see the disconnect? All these matters of import and grave concern, and they decide to get into what appear to be really minor details.

                  What really I don’t understand is in the face of comments like this, when he knows he’s in hot water with his own synod, apparently from postings here nevertheless he takes this lad along anyhow. For crying out loud he’s the archbishop or Metropolitan, whatnot. He could have a helper meet him at any airport he landed in before the phone got cold asking for it. But, he takes this one along anyhow nevermind he sees it’s causing him stress he doesn’t need in high places. Well, you know, showed them, eh? St. Lukes, a week.

                  There is another possibility, maybe it’s just about blowing through / risking money that isn’t there. He’s an official, he incurs a debt and the church has to pay it budget or not. So, someone goes without because he spent what wasn’t set aside for him and they just got sick of it. That also might fit the facts. Except, does St. Lukes fits into that equation? Not really as good a fit there.

                  • Harry, no matter how many times you push Met. Jonah in your manure, he’s still going to come out clean. Setting a meeting agenda is not a conspiracy, obviously. However, if this faction of the Metropolitan Council were really dealing with Metropolitan Jonah honestly and fairly, one would think they would have given him a chance to respond to their inquiries before deciding he deserved a “vote of no confidence”. What Solodow’s agenda proves is that they were planning to turn on him no matter what he said. Solodow wrote this as a summation of things he, Stokoe, Skordinski, and Fr. Reeves had all been discussing, and it therefore shows that they were all acting in bad faith against Metropolitan Jonah.

                    Now, did I clear that up for you, or do I need to break out some anatomically correct puppets?

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      Ahem. Harry?

                      What Solodow’s agenda proves is that they were planning to turn on him no matter what he said. Solodow wrote this as a summation of things he, Stokoe, Skordinski, and Fr. Reeves had all been discussing, and it therefore shows that they were all acting in bad faith against Metropolitan Jonah.

                    • Jane and Anonymite, why is it in your view those folk deemed it wisdom to proceed as you saw them do? Nobody thinks what they are doing is the wrong thing on balance.

                      That’s what boggles me. I read everything I could and watched everything I could when Jonah was elected. It was cheers and backslapping all round. I mean you know the atmosphere couldn’t have been more ‘up’. The last thing those in leadership wanted or needed was major public discord and bother in high places. The very last thing. Those folks who wrote what you saw, you couldn’t accuse them prior of wanting anything but the best as they saw it for the OCA.

                      In fact I only remember hearing muted, non-specific reservations at that time from one venue, and they were very quietly expressed: One of the folks at Pokrov on a non-official level. I do believe they hoped also for the best.

                      Still and all , here we are. There you saw those folk in advance of Santa Fe decide they had no moral alternative other than to act as they did. Now they planned to bring it up as you saw at the meeting and they discussed it in advance. Well that’s what people do in advance of meetings. The important question that I still haven’t heard anyone answer is why and how did that consensus among them come to pass? What did Met. Jonah do or not do to win such a prize? Those folks, to all agree to present and to have the synod go along with it. I mean seriously… why did they all deem that wisdom, the best from among the many poorer alternatives?

                  • A. Anonymite says

                    Harry Coin says:
                    November 20, 2011 at 3:11 pm
                    “Jane, when there is a big meeting coming up, people already know what it is they plan to talk about at such a meeting. It is not a conspiracy to bring up at big meetings what you discuss prior. Think about what you are saying. Would you prefer everyone show up at big meetings with nothing particular in mind? Then critics would say “They called a meeting about nothing in a nice place, what a sham”.”
                    You’re the Champ, Harry, that’s the greatest “stretch of the imagination” that I have ever come across.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Except married clergy with children still sexually abuse altar boys. Seen it. Destroyed and entire parish and the lives of many of the parishoners. Married bishops might be a good idea, but it does not solve anything absent the commitment to an ascetic life. Besides, why are we so eager to blight the lives of otherwise fine Matuska’s.

          • THANK YOU, MICHAEL BAUMAN. It makes me sick when people assume married clergy are somehow less likely to be pedophiles. Also, I don’t know any matushka who would let her husband become a bishop.

          • Quite so. Notice however the population of married clergy and the number among them with grave reported problems (including the ones wrongly paid for and hushed up by wrong-headed ‘supporters’). Hundreds of parishes in every region. Among them stellar clergy who’ve managed all these years to thrive in just a couple assignments. Families with the usual cares, love by example throughout. Sustained marriages. Peace. God forbid the synod should have any of that, eh???

            Now, look at the ratios we see those among the very tiny and shrinking population of ordained young never married. What are such going to tell married people about being married? Looks like current trends are that they prefer to explain such should live as monks are called to do. Did God create sacraments such that those who don’t participate in them are in a better position to order the affairs of those that have? Why not just hire out our church administration to someone at the NCC, you know, just to keep with the theme and save money.

            It’s not about all or nothing, only this or only that. It’s about a lost balance. Real monastics are a treasure, history is quite clear there. To believe your suggestion leaves no reason why almost all the stories about abused young teen boys are at the hands of unmarried men. Why didn’t most or all of the ordained young never married abuse women? You can point exceptions only. Not the preponderance.

            If God wanted all or even most of the bishops to be selected from the never-married demographic I think He would have made it a point to mention it. That He in fact mentioned something quite different should not be nothing. ‘Husbands of but one wife’– wasn’t supposed to mean ‘no wife’ (which certainly he could have said if that’s what He meant), it was about ‘not multiple ‘wives’.

            The only way to not see it is to not want to see it. It’s painful, I know. You have to get past it if you want all this to survive. Times have changed and adherence to non-doctrinal rules (in fact, anti-doctrinal rules now that widowers are few) are going to kill us. And they will make us something of a joke among our peers in the community before that.

            But, as Bishop Tikon and anonymites point out, I’m just a guy with a computer typing, with a day job and whatnot most share. No doubt the anonymites are in real life vastish deep wells of grace and knowledge. You can tell by their writing. So. Everything’s just fine. No problems. Acuna Matata. Stewardship Sunday, woot-woot.

            • The only way to not see it is to not want to see it. It’s painful, I know. You have to get past it if you want all this to survive. Times have changed and adherence to non-doctrinal rules (in fact, anti-doctrinal rules now that widowers are few) are going to kill us. And they will make us something of a joke among our peers in the community before that.

              This is what bothers you, Harry, that such a discipline and teaching of 2000 years will make us something of a joke among our peers in the community? Is that your motivation, what others will think of us? Oh, great, so you measure how the Orthodox Church is suppose to conduct herself based on public opinion. Brillant.

              I am surprised you still are an Orthodox Christian since the Church has disappointed you and made it so uncomfortable for you in the public arena. Must be such a cross to bear at Bay Area cocktail parties.

              “Oh, hear comes Harry. Poor guy, a member of the quaint Orthodox Church that still lives in the past and won’t let their bishops marry.” “Yes, I just don’t know how is can stand to be part of such a low brow bunch.”

              (In your mind’s eye feel free to conjure up any type of New Yorker magazine cartoon illustration.) 😉

              • Anonymite, while you strain to make it ‘about me’, the truth is the composition of the celibate community through the first 1950 of the 2000 years you mention was composed extensively including widowers. Women died in childbirth at fantastic rates. No Cesarian operation and so on. Any who deny that can deny whatever else doesn’t suit no matter how true. Might as well preach rose colored glasses.

                The appearance the church gives in the community is what causes those who have a free choice about joining to consider doing so. We are supposed to not broadcast appearances of impropriety. Mentioned often you know in the Gospel.

                The people in the community correctly observe that while we call ourselves Orthodox and use many old dusty books, we don’t pay attention to that special little twist. They read bishops should be husbands of one wife, they see we don’t do that, they see we like to use the word Orthodox, and they see when our leadership stumbles it appears to be about men.

                So, you know, make it about me. Sure. Give generously, tomorrow is a special collection for the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

                • Harry uses his newly created neologism “anonymite” to convince us of his superior wisdom and credibility.

                  • Anonymite, I’m thinking you’ve not done the homework yet.

                    Sure, here’s me looking for appreciation, wisdom and credibility. I’m going to mass all the vast power I collect doing this and you know what I’m going to do then? Why, take over the entire north half of my desk in the basement office. Conquest! Be afraid! Boo!!

                    • Harry I am with you 100% on this. I have been Orthodox all my life and in these many decades I can say without a doubt that married clergy lead far more ascetic lives than monastic and celibate clergy in America. The great ascetic examples in my life are married men and women who show more asceticism than 95% of “celibate” clergy in America. Their witness has taught me that Orthodox Christian Marriage when lived in its fullness is a great ascetic endeavor. Marriage is indeed more ascetic than a Monastery.

                    • Andrew I honor and respect real monastics, particularly the ones who model by how they live what this is all about. Somehow many who would count themselves in those ranks who have never been married themselves think marriage is mostly about sex. Maybe that’s because their experience of family life ended with adolescence. Those of us who’ve been married for longer than the honeymoon hear them speak in that way and decide if that’s what monastics think they know — they must know with certainty a great deal more that is so wrong mentioning it would be as cruel as taunting the blind.

                      I especially feel embarrassed and sad about the ones who are all over the canons, particularly as to who might be allowed to be a bishop, or who should order affairs two continents away (I should sell them canon 28 bumper stickers) — but who don’t ask whether their surgeon is Jewish.

                    • Harry Coin says:
                      November 19, 2011 at 7:27 pm

                      my desk in the basement office.

                      It I understand that correctly, it says a lot; I feel for you.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Harry, actually the conflict between celibate clergy and married clergy happened in the post-Nicene period. Forgive me because I don’t have access to the Alfeyev’s excellent book but there was a disturbing phenomenon in the Near East in which laymen would refuse to take Communion from married clergy. They’d go out of their way to visit the monastic communities. One of the hallmarks of these communities was that these men never married.

                  Also, from a sociological standpoint, in the Roman Empire marriage was reserved only for those who could afford it. If a woman was from a lower class, she would enter into a concubine situation in which her children would be declared legitimate but she would have no legal rights in a divorce situation. It was quite common to see older, propertied men with extremely young wives (like Ireland in the 19th century). One way for men to acquire property and wives was to join the Roman Army. After a 25-year hitch, they were given property and voila! a wife would soon follow.

                  The upshot is that there were a lot of bachelors in later Roman times in the cities. In the villages marriage was more common but then only if there was a chance for property to be had as the new couple would be a farming unit. If a woman could not provide a dowry her prospects were bleak, even if there were eligible bachelors.

                  • That narrative of yours ignores a very persuasive and not too welcome source: Graveyard excavations. Women died young. That’s how it was. People didn’t travel much. That’s how that was. The oldest widower priest in a big town, now ‘big’ is smaller than the downtown park in Dallas, became the bishop as easily as the more venerable among the monks. And, moreover, the monks were often the widowers themselves pious and without the means to support themselves in age (viz. ‘kellnick’ above).

                    What we are seeing here, now is unprecedented in church history sociologically. Women living on average longer than men. Lots of folk healthy into their 70’s, 80’s. Nearly all as literate and at least a few in every parish more educated than the priest.

                    Those in ecumenical council times had no idea the continents of North and South America existed. Never in their deepest wisdom did they see a time there would be no significant population of working age widowers. They saw fit to change what the gospel required of bishops, because they didn’t see it as much of a change owing to the life experience of the widowers now monastic and celibate.

                    However, nowadays, not so much. The Cesarian happened and the wives live longer than the husbands. Who is left? We see many who, by their scandals, had no interest in women and wives to begin with. We either get it, see it plainly and without anger and persecution agendas, or we die as education and life expectancy improves. Demography is destiny. Demography brought Orthodoxy here, and if we don’t pay attention and live in the way those in days gone by did — preserve the church and fit the rules to the times– we die too. Just a question of when absent change.

                    All it is going to take is a really dedicated group of people with money, for example enough Ashley Nevins who are appalled at what happened to their kids. Victims of abuse such as we saw in the RCC. All it will take is a critical mass of them, they pool their money, hire the right people, lawyers and investigators. Professionals, not their first barbecue. It won’t take long and it won’t take much. Anyone who really cared with as much money as a local McDonalds burger joint sells in a month could have had the evidence necessary to make big scandals and major, major loss from which recovery will be quite hard and I think we all know this. They pool all they get, and one fine day up pops a website with hard evidence, photos, movies with audio, hosted offshore and outside the reach of laywers and the offended. And it won’t go away. Then what will the synod do when many are implicated in having knowledge of what’s there or personally? It will be too late.

                    They will find out everything dubious there is to find out about those in decision making authority. They’ll use it however they feel like it. And it won’t be too hard, some inside keep books about that stuff and use it right now. We are vulnerable unless we adapt while we still have people around to make a go of it.

                    We must decentralize, have local synods where the bishops are accountable to one another locally and not some far off potentate whether DC or Asia. Where any bishop can put something on the synod’s agenda and cause a vote to happen about it. Where grave personal errors cause due change in church rank and job assignment. Where there aren’t too few of them to feel the need to ‘protect’ what ought not need protecting, as the senior proven pastors who would have been bishops back in the day owing to early death of women can be now even though the wife lives. Where the bishop actually is the chief pastor of the cathedral, and knows the people there individually. Small, real diocese. Not these distant ‘rock stars’ who can’t identify who in a crowd are ‘their’ priests relatives. I get to live with people calling the “Metropolis of Chicago” — covering many states. You know ‘Metropolis’. It means ‘Several States’, yes? What? Don’t shock me now.

                    • Since the oldest tradition is to allow married bishops, and this was the practice throughout the Nicene and ante-Nicene periods, the possibility of going back to that tradition should be seriously considered. Whether we allow bishops to be married is not a theolgical one, but a practical one and a pastoral one. Neither practice is right or wrong. There is lengthy tradition behind both practices. I might point out that with regard to priests, we maintain the older tradition of allowing married priests while the RCC adheres to a newer tradition.

                      As a true believer in traditional monasticism, there is nothing I love more than having a true monastic as a leader. However, there is nothing I would detest more than having a pseudo-monastic who is compromised sexually. Married bishops may not be the absolute ideal, but it is infinitely better than power hungry bishops who pretend to be celibate because they aspire to power. In modern times in America, I would venture to say that the true monastic is extremely rare. +Jonah is about as close as one gets to it. Another issue is among the very small number of true monastics, an even smaller number of them would accept a position of authority in the church. Chrysostom never wanted to be bishop of Constantinople, but would have much preferred to remain in monastic life. The first step in the Ladder of Divine Ascent is exile, rununciation of the world, and for many ancient monks, that included the politics of the church outside of the monastery. For those who do accept a position in the church, there is no question that their spiritual development is lower than if they could spend their entire day in study of the scriptures and fathers, in liturgy, in psalmody, and in prayer.

                      On balance, I think I lean toward Harry’s position on this one. Unless and until we can establish vibrant and ubiquitous monastic communities that truly follow the ancient practices and achieve high levels of inner purity, married or widowed bishops are far superior to the alternative of bishops who pretend to have conquered their lusts but in actuality have not.

                    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                      Well said Ken.

                    • Well said, Ken. Of course, we should keep in mind that we are not talking about the demise of celibate bishops.

                      I would also add one more benefit to the ancient practice of having a mix of married and celibate bishops. It simply is compliance with the Holy Scriptures and Apostolic practice, the primacy of which the Trullan Fathers acknowledged in the Canon that changed the practice: “…In Africa and Libya and in other places the most God-beloved bishops in those parts do not refuse to live with their wives, even after consecration, thereby giving scandal and offence to the people. Since, therefore, it is our particular care that all filings tend to the good of file flock placed in our harris and committed to us,–it has seemed good that henceforth nothing of the kind shall in any way occur. And we say this, not to abolish and overthrow what things were established of old by Apostolic authority…” (my emphasis).

                      There is also another technical consideration that we should consider. When we are talking about going back to the ancient mix of married and celibate bishops, we should remember that we are not doing so in opposition to any canon, for there is no canon that did away with married bishops or established monastic bishops. What we have is a practice that happened over the years without the blessing of an ecumenical canon. In any case, I would imagine that one reason why the Church has found herself at the current situation is the logical contradiction contained in the Trullan canons. Setting aside for a moment the Holy Scriptures, we know that the Fifth Apostolic canon forbade the putting away of one’s wife. Yet Trullo does precisely that while avoiding divorce, which was unthinkable (as it is to the very day). The resulting practice of choosing from widowers and monastics was a far more humane and less scandalous way to comply with Trullo. Nonetheless, it is technically wrong to say that the canons did away with married bishops. Also, the very presence of widower bishops also belies the claim that the Church in practice did away with married bishops.

                • As we think about this question, we would be well advised to consider the objective data history provides us. Since the Protestant Reformation we’ve had the opportunity to observe the contrast between the results of married and celibate leadership. I submit to you that married leadership has failed in the central task of maintaining and handing on in a coherent fashion the faith and doctrines of the communities over which it presides. That’s the core task of the Church; if we get that wrong it doesn’t matter what we get right. Married leadership has shown itself unequal to the task.

                  I know what the letter to Titus says, but if we’re going to determine our Church’s government by interpreting the Bible without any reference to Tradition, we might as well become Presbyterians and be done with it. Neither does it strike me as wise to assume that we can go back to a practice that fell out of use centuries ago, and have it work just as well for us in our place and time as it did for the early Church.

                  • The notable thing about the Protestant Reformation is right in the name — Protestant. They were leaving the Vatican and if current events are any guide for really understandable reasons. Like Russia dumping the church full stop in Soviet times, they rejected all they saw conflated together. What surprise is it then the fracturing continued? And it didn’t everywhere, there yet remain ‘orthodox anglicans’ and ‘Missouri Synod’ Lutherans and so on.

                    What hasn’t been tried for centuries is what worked in the past — senior proven Orthodox clergy as full members of a synod, mutually accountable, and not subordinate in all important decisions to foreign groups.

                    For many years the Orthodox had also married bishops. The Gospel plainly calls for this. Orthodox senior proven clergy exist who all think would be great bishops, men with long service, no scandal, solid families and growing parishes. They’d be on the list for bishop right now — if only his wife had not neglected to die young. We rob ourselves. The Gospel foresaw this. The church changed it and needs now for very good reason to change it back.

                    P.S. Anyone still Orthodox in any country that does not enforce a state religion would by now be in another church if they didn’t have hopes this all might somehow yet manage to have a future. While in the past there weren’t many churches to choose from, today anyone who doesn’t like what the Orthodox offer doesn’t have to create a schism or create a new church, all they have to do is not drive past the dozen choices between where they presently live and the nearest Orthodox church. No, anyone who wants to be ‘under a distant never married leader’ has that option. Anyone who wants to be Presbyterian can do that, congregationalist can do that, anything under the sun. Another thing the ecumenical synods couldn’t fathom. No state religion.

                    Furthermore, when the church once again has married bishops, I think only then will it be in a position to attract those currently Islamic in any important way. Right now, we do the Imam’s job for him. All they have to do is point to our leadership and ask about their family. End of discussion. For an example in high relief: Look at the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Right there among people whose economic circumstances weren’t too far off from those in scriptural times. All these centuries, living there, and how many have they attracted that weren’t connected first by Greek ancestry? The islamic people see nothing in common with the ledaership, while their own emphasize women (lots and lots). I bet the Islamic women would be the first to suggest giving us a try, since we draw the line at one wife/one husband. But when they look at our leadership… well, how’s that been going?

                    • Say what you like about the various groups of Protestants, they did more than just protest; they weren’t just a sixteenth century Occupy Wall Street. At their genesis they all had well thought out and closely reasoned bodies of doctrine that outlined their vision of what Christianity should be. Just read Calvin’s Institutes, or the Westminster or Augsburg Confessions for examples. Those visions have not been maintained, or developed in any coherent way from their origins. Instead, for the vast majorities of the people who bear the names of those various confessions, those founding documents are only interesting chapters from history. Mr. Coin, you mention a few exceptions that frankly prove the rule, as they constitute either distinct minorities (Missouri Synod Lutherans – and I think questions could be raised about them these days) or extremely tiny remnants (continuing Anglicans).

                      There is not a great deal that unites the various Protestant confessions, but they do have this in common: they rejected the traditional ideas of asceticism, most especially celibacy. They did away with celibacy as a requirement for leadership, and a characteristic of the highest levels of sanctity, making it instead at best a choice one might make for practical reasons, or if one was so inclined. They also have in common the fact that they did not succeed in forming communities that could pass on their doctrine in a coherent form. I’ll confess I can’t prove that there is a direct connection between those two facts, but I’m unwilling to experiment.

                      If may make one more point relevant to your idea about married Bishops making Orthodoxy attractive to Muslims? If we’re going to treat Tradition as a 2000 year old toy box, from which we can grab any combination of items we want, why stop with a married episcopate? We don’t have to dig all that much farther down to find genuine polygamy. Didn’t King Solomon have hundreds of wives? Poor Muslims, stuck with a paltry four!

                    • Protestants dId away with just celibacy and that’s the cause of problems? They did away with what they correctly perceived as gross corruption and… I might hasten to add… a very big list of things our Orthodox church also laid at the door of Rome. You need to be careful here to recall the church the Protestants left was at that time anathematized by yours. In your writing you appear to over-value Rome– then anathema to your own church.

                      In fact, Rome went further and required all clergy also to not presently be married. In your estimation you’d have to go along with how well that’s worked out? Swell, eh? Pope of rome as ‘universal ordinary’. Speaks of himself, for the church. Want that? Well you can have it and probably not have to drive too far to get it.

                      Also you appear to suggest what’s going on in my writing is some new theology. Comparing new theologies to a pandora’s box of doctrinal shattering that happened among protestant groups.

                      However you fail to notice that the sum and substance of what I think we must do or dwindle to nothing is exactly what we ourselves did do for many centuries. Not something new. In fact the change that the church did centuries on contrary to the Gospel was probably accepted defacto because it didn’t really change who was bishop that much in most places — mostly older senior clergy whose wives had died along with some lifelong monastics. The change was not such a huge one in terms of life experience on the synods. And.. let’s be clear that the time one served on a synod as bishop wasn’t 40 years or 30 years. Most folks died and only the rare ones made it to 40, few to 50.

                      That is quite obviously no longer more than a little bit true.

                      If people were talking about dumping fasting, changing services, whatnot I’d probably go along with you and leave things be all else remaining equal.

                      But that isn’t what we need. We are losing folks bigtime. We’ve failed to attract islamic folk and among all Christians we’re the best suited to be able to do that. We’re having scandal after scandal in high places that all shares, well, a certain character. Too serious to ignore, if we aren’t to lose and lose big.

                      P.S. I just read Ken’s posting which I think is spot on as well.

                    • Are you kidding me? says

                      I would conjecture that the RCC has had more sex scandals than the married priesthood, whether protestant or Orthodox


                      When oh when will we retire this oft-discredited canard?

                      Our Catholic scandals are better publicized. This does not mean that they are more numerous (percentage-wise).

                      To put it another way: You guys fly under the radar. That does not mean you have a lower percentage of sex abuse. It just means your scandals aren’t as widely ventilated or as widely known. Duh.

                      Study after study after study shows that the percentage of clergy sex abuse is roughly the same across all churches and communions — Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox.

                      In fact, the most recent data show that Catholics are pretty effectively cleaning their own house: Most still-pending abuse cases date from the 1970s through 1980s; very few are recent.

                      I suggest you google “John Jay Study,” consult sociologist Philip Jenkins (a non-Catholic, BTW), visit and related sites…in short, do your homework before spreading further calumnies.

                      We Catholics have not cornered the market on sex abuse. Clean up your own house before you start in on ours. *We* are cleaning our house.

                  • No one is disregarding tradition. Both views are rooted in holy tradition.

                    As a traditionalist, I couldn’t care less about accommodating modern values or even attracting people from other religions. But I do care deeply about the purity and spirituality of the church. We have had “celibate” hierarchs in the OCA since the beginning but it has not resulted in a high quality of hierarch.

                    It is not accurate to say that the protestant’s deviations have anything to do with married clergy (in fact in most denominations, they don’t have “hierarchs”, so their married clergy are roughly equivavalent to married Orthodox priests.) The schismatic attitudes and theological deviations of the Protestants were evident from the beginning and they did not develop because of married clergy. However, if we were to draw a comparison between married clergy and a celibate priesthood, I would conjecture that the RCC has had more sex scandals than the married priesthood, whether protestant or Orthodox. Most wives are not excited about finding out their husbands have been having sex of any kind outside of the marriage, so there is a natural force for husbands to stay on the straight and narrow. Since we live in a society in which people have little willpower to resist sexual gratification, the concession of St Paul to marry so that people “might not burn” is as relevant as ever. As for the issue of bishops being up all night tending to screaming babies, I think that is prevented by age. Bishops should not be appointed until they have shown some maturity. I don’t think anyone is proposing appointing bishops who are young.

                    The things that are allowed to change within Orthodoxy are not theological or moral. They are practical. The decision made during the Byzantine era was based on what worked in their context. It was not a rebuke of the Apostolic and Nicene practice but rather an adaptation to specific problems of their day. We don’t have the same monasticism that they did, so it is legitimate for modern Orthodoxy to contemplate what practices will best allow us to best preserve the ancient faith. Still, the standard for change should always be high, even if the proposed change is to go back to an older tradition.

                    • Ditto Fr Hans,’Well said, Ken’

                    • We have had “celibate” hierarchs in the OCA since the beginning but it has not resulted in a high quality of hierarch.

                      It’s not meant to. Being celibate just gives them more time and flexibility for dealing with church affairs. Celibacy is not some magical state that makes people better administrators, they just have fewer earthly ties to distract them. Our problem is that we’ve been picking bad bishops. They would be bad bishops even if they were married. The celibacy is only incidental.

                      And as for good bishops, think of poor Metropolitan Jonah, who by his own admission spent less than a week at home each month… imagine if he’d had a wife? Imagine if he’d had children who never saw him? Would a married bishop have the ability to cut his own salary in half like Metropolitan Jonah did? Would a married bishop be able to alter travel plans at the last minute in order to tend to a dying friend? I don’t really see how having a wife or kids to neglect makes someone a better bishop any more than celibacy automatically does.

                      It is not accurate to say that the protestant’s deviations have anything to do with married clergy (in fact in most denominations, they don’t have “hierarchs”, so their married clergy are roughly equivavalent to married Orthodox priests.)

                      Your logic doesn’t follow at all. The problem with Protestantism is the complete vacuum of authority and apostolic succession. Their “married clergy” is all they have, only they do not have a class of clergy dedicated to nothing more than service to the Church to support them. And yes, some of them have hierarchs – Anglicans/Episcopalians, Lutherans, and Methodists all have hierarchies of some kind, and they are all non-celibate hierarchies, and it has done absolutely nothing for them.

                      Most wives are not excited about finding out their husbands have been having sex of any kind outside of the marriage, so there is a natural force for husbands to stay on the straight and narrow.

                      Where have you been, Ken? Adultery and divorce are rampant these days, and Orthodox clergy marriages are no exception. They had to start a clergy wives program at SVS to try to prepare future matushkas for their ministry as their husbands sought ordination, because the ministry of a matushka can be very stressful and overwhelming. Even without kids in the picture, they have monumental responsibility, with very little support or credit. Taking a matushka’s husband and making him a bishop is just too much.

                    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                      Helga, adultery and divorce may not be as rampant as you think, and certainly not among clergy.



                      As for clergy wives and all that, a lot of the instability fostered in clergy families has to do with native dysfunction in the parishes. There really is no reason why the the ministry of a matushka should be “very stressful and overwhelming” unless she is being mistreated in some way. Many are unfortunately. A class in seminary might warn her mistreatment is coming, but dysfunction is still dysfunction and if you are in it long enough you end up dysfunctional too.

                    • I’d like to add regarding dysfunction folk see in parishes harming clergy families…

                      Bishops in the modern time don’t have a real clue about what clergy family life is about. At best they are students of it, only. They transfer priests in the middle of the school year. They listen to power blocs in the parishes, and make decisions without really having the tools to rightly assess the impact on the priest’s family, kids.

                      If the bishop was himself actually the chief priest at the biggest parish in a metro area, it would all be really, really different. I think most likely better, since that’s how it was for all those years the church grew.

                      I should add for the ‘it depends what ‘is’ means’ crowd: Bishop chief priest in fact, in reality, not just in title. Where he knows the people there, hears their little cares because those are the ones that matter.

            • Harry: Did Ashley Nevins write that for you? Sure sounds like it.

              • Ken,

                You provide a nice summary here, really.

                The outrage here is not for the discussion of Harry’s favorites subject, married/widowed bishops, but rather his Stokoesque attack of Father James and HB.

                I think a case could be made – but making it on the basis that monastics are pedophiles/sexual deviants is not the most compelling argument. Speaking to having the largest possible talent pool from which to draw makes much more sense than flinging poo at people he doesn’t even know.

                From what Harry’s written, homosexuality sounds like a large problem in the GOA. The bench for bishops in the OCA isn’t all that deep either, chasity notwithstanding. We need more talent. We exclude the majority of clergy.

                Real monastics don’t really want the job, and fake monastics don’t cut it. There appears to be tradition that supports it. On that basis, there is plenty to consider.

                So Harry, anonymous or no, I think your concept has merit, but your defense of it by libel – stinks.

  22. Anybody know whether he’s outta the joint yet?

  23. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    The use by the Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko of the term “gravely troubled,’ though scurrilous and malicious in purpose, should not be considered automatically a bad thing to say about anyone at all. Surely, Our Lord was gravely troubled, expressing His preference that the cup be taken from Him, and when He cried “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often….” and when He exclaimed, ‘Scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites….” and so on. But the Protopresbyter is always ready to demonstrate up-to-date knowledge of popular idioms (I think this particular vice often occurs with SVS graduates, but not automatically). He was using “troubled’ as a euphemistic word used to apply to what used to be called “juvenile delinquents” and “neurotics.” “Home for Troubled Boys”….we all know that sort of thing.
    I hope that Metropolitan Jonah is troubled enough by recent events in the OCA and by the hostility of several hierarchs in his own Church, that he will become more determinedly purposeful in his good endeavors and not easily deterred or forced off the road towards realization of his purposes which are God-pleasing. His opposition is not particularly competent or even intelligent: we see this demonstrated here on Monomakhos rather often; it was demonstrated daily, and sometimes hourly, on Mrs. Steve Brown’s blog. Even if Father John Jillions does come from the old Approved Pool of administrative acquisitions and has always demonstrated the conviction that he is “called” to a much higher vocation than JUST being a parish priest, this does not mean is incapable of becoming a very good Chancellor. It’s too bad there’s no “old hand” around to help him and show him the ropes, someone like Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick: he’ll be “winging it” and only an exceptional intervention of Grace may produce the better result than one might expect. Let’s pray for that, at least, Grace, Which has been very hard to discern in the actions of leaders at all levels in the OCA.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Your Grace, I’m glad you brought up a point that I think has been missing from this entire discussion. Namely that the opposition to His Beatitude has heretofore not been very bright or based on any consistent principle. I’m in the process of writing something about this but certain bone-headed moves were made against +Jonah that led me to believe that what we were witnessing was not a well-crafted conspiracy as much as it was a collective wild animal lashing out in desperation.

      It hasn’t been edifying in the least but it does point the way to a brighter future once we recognize the pathology. One of the unintended positive consequences which you state is the new Chancellor not having an “old hand” to “show him the ropes.” It’s very possible that what is needed here is a clean slate and Fr Jillions may be that tabula rasa. I will certainly pray for him. That being said, it would have been better had the new Chancellor been a bishop but that doesn’t mean that we may have turned the corner and are out of the way of this sordid mess.

  24. cynthia curran says

    George is right about Roman married. Most marrieds of lower income people where living together for probably two years and were then considered married. Upper Class Romans had a contract involving their marrieds and some vows that differed depending upon the century. And Romans had three forms of married and by the 6th century there were probably only two remaining. Marcian the husband of Pulcheria and later Justin and Justinian got rid of barriers that prevented upper class men to marry lower class women. In fact, everyone here knows that Justinian got his uncle to changed the law and its in the Justinian Code in English translation about Actresses that repented of their past life which included being courtesans can marry senatorial rank men. However, concubines are still mention in the Justinian Code.

    • Texts and codes, the words in the books and the arrangements were all about property as there was no corporate structure back then. Who would inherit what? That’s what the books cared about.

      Cyn, You want to know who married really, in Christian understanding no matter what the various civil law was here or there? You look in the cemeteries. There you will see what’s what. The records of the cemetery archeological excavations. The entries in the family bibles. The local town where whatever ‘the empire’ meant happened when some guys on horses came through every month or two.

      Did you see that map thing online, I lost track of it. It let you superimpose the biggest grandest cities in the antique world onto modern cities. I think the biggest metro Constantinople ever got was something like Peoria Illinois.

  25. Jane Rachel says

    The allegations that have been made about Bishop Benjamin must be investigated. If he is found to be innocent., ALLELUIA.

    • Has anyone other than internet anonymites made any allegations? No church would survive a week if anonymous allegations offering no times, no places, no people, in short– nothing anyone could check were a basis for anything whatsoever. What do you allege he did? How do you know it? If you don’t know it then who does know it?

      • It was Bishop Nikolai who made the allegations, not me, or any other so-called ‘anonymite’.

        As for the charges’ merit, all I know is that they were taken seriously enough for Metropolitan Jonah to initiate an investigation to commence through the sexual misconduct office. Instead, the person who initiated the investigation was “encouraged” to “rest”, and the investigator himself was canned.

        • If a bishop not defrocked goes and makes allegations about another, doesn’t that force a canonical process? How does a synod ignore that?

          Sometimes I write things and then ask myself what universe I live in anyway. Sometimes I think I live in the clown universe. For crying out loud we have a bishop Vikentios who complains another Metropolitan Bishop Paissios, did his brother sexually. And we are presently to revere them both and kiss their hands and pay to support their expenses, legal, victims, a tray passed just today in the church for that reason.

          Then we read Bishop TIkhon saying about BIshop Benjamin, here, now you say Nikolai. They gave the priest who molested the undergraduate at Holy Cross a diploma and fired those who complained about it.

          So, basically, these bishops, they are not different than the pantheon of Greek Gods. Some up, some down, this week this, that week that. The rules apply only to married people. Let’s just get that right, and be sure to give very generously. Ach, whatta bunch. It’s all about them, what this one did or didn’t do to that one. All the hours, the efforts, the hopes.

          Seriously, all those parishes coast to coast, the ones lead by pastors who for decades do so in peace and with solid families and managing life’s cares with grace. God forbids they can stand to be bishops? He does not and his Gospel makes that plain. None of that balance and experience on any synod because the wife didn’t die young? Sure.

          A priest can be defrocked, a bishop just gets retired, sort of, or moves.

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            Harry is sometimes just so OUT of it! He says, peevishly, “A priest can be defrocked, a bishop just gets retired, sort of, or moves.” No, Harry, the priests’ cases are more easily covered up than those of bishops.
            There are at least as many priests and archpriests in my experience who have been found to have sinned egregiously against their families or the priesthood, ETC., and have just been “retired, sort of, or moved.” And there are no more priests and archpriests (in proportion to their numbers) who were deposed than there are bishops. I served as a Deacon in a parish for 7 years, a Priest for 10 years, most of them as Rector, before I was asked to let my name be put in the running at a diocesan election. Prior to becoming clergy, i was in the US Army and the US Air Force mostly in leadership positions for a total of13 years. I’ve had experience on assembly lines and as an administrative assistant to a high ranking manager at Ford. I believe, going by my own experience of clergy life, that most parish clergy find their parishes to be fulfilling, grace-filled, and salutary for themselves, their families and their souls. I think that Harry grossly misjudges the honest and hardworking parish clergy when he imagines they “deserve” a chance to leave parish life behind themselves. What an idea! Admittedly, there ARE, no doubt, some ambitious presbyters who are dissatisfied not to be able to have the kind of control they imagine bishops to have. Why some of them, like Harry, might imagine that having one’s hand kissed is something one can take personally! They are the kind who flamboyantly refuse to allow their hands to be kissed, thus earning what’s really important: the admiration of Harry Coin types.
            Yes, there are problems with the monasticism of today’s Orthodox episcopate. In my memory (and in that of many others) there was a time when Russian (but not Greek of course) Bishops were all genuinely monks and monastic in their piety and, yes, life. I can remember bishops who had never heard of another bishop who ate meat and bishops whose cell-servants, often high-ranking Archimandites, were mainly occupied in reading the monastic cell rule for themselves and their bishop (aloud, of course, no one read his prayers silently). Now, even a relatively monastic hierarch like Metropolitan Jonah (actually, Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia is probably senior to him in monastic life in many ways) would not stand out at all for being monastic among other bishops. Many of the hierarchs in today’s Church of Russia frequently eat meat, drive cars, go to concerts, etc., etc.
            A\s for parish councils which Harry devoutly believes are something uniquely American, they are not.
            There were parish councils in pre-revolutionary Russia, but it took the Soviet Union to make them resemble the “Corporation Boards” of American business-obsessed church life. The Soviet system forced the episcopate of the Russian Church to adopt a strict ‘hands-off’ pollicy toward their parishes. This was even embedded in an amendment to the Church’s Statute in 1961, finally. All parishes, in order to be allowed to exist had to have a council of 20 approved laymen (approved by the local party and security organs). They controlled the bread, wine, candle-making and retailing, the performance of funerals and weddings and baptisms and so on Without Interference From the Hierarchy. Such a parish council was called a ‘Dvadsatka” (20). It has proved very difficult for the Church, even after glasnost, to reestablish anything like canonical order in the management of the parishes.
            Sure, Harry, there are always heroes amongst the clergy. Some are married parish rectors, some, a very few, are bishops.
            When I came “aboard” the OCA’s Holy Synod, that Synod represented a WEALTH of parish experience, rather than of monastic experience.
            I remember my first contact with the then new Greek Bishop of the San Francisco District of GOA: He had been preceded by a couple characters, Demetrios and Meletios. I met him when I was a Deacon and a member of the Southern California Orthodox Clergy Council. then a very actve inter-Orthodox association of twenty some clergy of all jurisdictions save ROCOR. We all had to stand up and introduce ourselves by name and parish to Bishop Anthony. When my turn came, I got up and said, “Deacon Stephen Fitzgerald of Holy Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church.” He looked at me and said, ‘You’re not a monk are you? Because if you’re a monk you can not become a Bishop, according to the Canons.” It took me some time to figure out, later, how he could say such a thing, but I did. There was certainly nothing monastic or quasi-monastic about him. He was proud of his advanced education as are all immigrants and first-generation Americans, inordinately so. He was always kind and considerate to me, when I was a Deacon, then a Priest, then a Bishop and I pray fervently for his repose. Of all the local Greek parish clergy, I didn’t think any of them, including the various deans of St. Sophia Cathedral would have been better leaders as bishop than he was, with the possible exception of one parish priest who left Iakovos and went to HOCNA.. I think Harry visualizes a guy like the main character in Mad Men as the ideal Bishop; one can readily imagine him with the GOA tailored expensive black suit, the pectoral cross tucked inside a jacket pocket but with the chain flashing in plain view, and a master of the Glad-Hand… but most importantly, “Just as important and impressive as any of your Episcopalian, Lutheran, Presbyterian, etc. NON-IMMIGRANT types”
            I see some kind of schizophrenic shame about clergy being and looking Greek in all that….
            Congratulations to all who are observing the Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple.

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

              I’m not sure how Harry Coin missed it all, but Bishop Nikolai was offended by Bishop Benjamin’s conduct and took it up with him personally, via a personal letter. The letter was not answered, so Bishop Nikolai re-addressed the letter to the Metropollitan and Holy Synod. When Metropolitan Jonah was prevented from taking action, Bishop Nikolai sent the letter to Pokrov and later on it was ‘Told to the Church’ on line. This followed the Gospel guidelines to a “t’. I believe the letter has been included in someone’s message here on Monomakhos at one time or another. Harry, you know George, I’m sure he can point you towards it.
              The allegations were ANYTHING BUT anonymous.

              • Bishop Tikhon I really must confess to being amazed. Until your letter here I just didn’t believe that story to be anything more than some sort of false unauthentic ‘hit job’ not really created by a bishop at all, of the sort I saw many of in my earlier efforts. Folk exploiting a noisy situation, they would send in these salacious and false things against someone they didn’t like. Or, knowing them to be false sent them targeting the news outlet, hoping they would get published to later be the cause of generating lawsuits or discrediting this or that news outlet (stupid, that, really, another gets set up by someone else a month later).

                But here you write someone not defrocked, a bishop no less, writes and details grave misconduct and it’s really from a bishop. And nothing happens. Well you’ve actually done it, I’m at a loss. How does a synod ignore that? Sure one or two but a group? You got me. Where does one go from there? No idea. And these folk all vote to send someone else to a place for folk with grave issues.

                Grasping at what straws there might be, I am always suspicious of evidence in the form of whatnot on someone’s computer. Pictures, emails, programs, logs, history, doesn’t matter. There are I’m sure several thousand folk in the USA who could cause any manner of content to be deposited on anyone’s computer if that computer is connected to the internet. I know enough about the guts of all this, I know it to be true. (Taught computer science at Stanford while getting a master’s degree years ago). The only way you can connect it to a person is for someone else to see the computer being used in that way, or charges on credit cards that are not disputed when they arrive, things like that. Or if there are repeated patterns, one wipes out all the bad stuff, a week later there it is again and it shows up at times the person was there, again and again, the same sources.

                I once went to a priest’s home to tune up a computer and saw gross stuff. Because it wasn’t my first rodeo, I looked around to figure out a kid doing a social studies school project mistyped a very legitimate website address and got sucked into a sophisticated porn website. I cleaned up the whole mess, said nothing because nothing ought to have been said.

            • John, why stop there? Let’s look at the previous MC. Last Feb, the Indiana List exposed an e-mail from one member of the MC to several other members of the MC proving that an uncanonical conspiracy against a bishop existed. Further, this member had used inside information obtained as a member of the MC to blurt information about the inner workings of the OCA to aggrandize his website which, because of its name, gave it a semi-official status. As if this wasn’t enough, other conspirators used OCAN to leak information that would paint their enemies in a bad light.

              This same MC could not –would not–police itself. It took a lengthy ethics complaint which was inarguable in all its details, to set in motion the removal of this particular member. That his bishop did so is certainly a credit to the bishop but the fact remains that the entire MC was lacking in integrity as it was their duty to police their own ranks. Hopefully, with the removal of other unethical people who were part of this cabal from the MC, they will have learned their lesson.

              We shall see.

            • I appreciate your historical reflections. The assessments you and others make of what it is I want or believe I do not recognize.

            • John, none of them police themselves. The OCA is not alone in this, their problems only get displayed here in public because of a lack of money to make them ‘go away quietly.’ The grass is not greener elsewhere. It’s what happens when the leadership is an oligarchy, too few to police their own ranks, too distant from the people to not find loyal supporters enough to just ignore negative truth. The only thing delaying us from what we see in the RCC is that mostly parish life is protected from this owing to the married clergy — the wives won’t put up with screwballs most of the time. (Some are dumb as a stump and look the other way, but not so much any more with the widespread education).

              You are starting to see that in the GOA. N.B. Met Paissios whom Bishop Vikentios alleges bothered his brother sexually among other parishioners. Still to be called ‘your grace’. The archimandrite at holy cross who tried to exploit a Palestinian boy– given a diploma.

              We have a systemic problem. I worry of course that reverting to the older practice of the church to allow proven senior clergy to be bishops and to deter the glory seeking power hungry by smaller diocese and no ‘dictator authority’ in the primate, just first among equals, will create other problems. However, I do not think they could be worse. Anyone with a mind to create schism or create new doctrines, new churches can already have those thing by just driving to it right now, all of it already exists. No, I don’t think there is anyone in non-state religion countries in Orthodox parishes that doesn’t want to be there, just hanging on as best we can.

              What will totally end us, what will never allow us to move past a sociological footnote here, is if all major decisions must be approved in Turkey. Much like the RCC says ‘we can do nothing, we’ve referred the matter to the Vatican’. And that’s exactly what’s being set up right now. Did you see that fellow the GOA still left a priest after the male, ah ‘masseur’ did the whole photo and blackmail thing? Was he ‘set up’? Maybe, possibly. Not so likely.

            • Jane Rachel says

              John, exactly. This is why we have been yelling on this blog until our voices are hoarse.

          • Harry, just for the record, Bishop +Nikolai was not defrocked.

    • Jane Rachel says

      P.S. I KNOW my leaders will do this. I’m not worried.

      • I hope no leader does anything whatsoever on the basis of allegations including nothing anyone can check made by anonymous folks.

        • Heracleides says

          Get a clue Harry. The allegations were made by a fellow bishop, one who seems more likely than most to know where the skeletons are buried and more than willing to dig them up when it’s to his advantage.

          Anonymous? Hardly.
          Unsavory character? Yes – but no more so than the one being called-out.
          Allegations true or false? We’ll never know – because the bishop under investigation managed to quash the investigation of himself.

          • H: So, you think a website featuring accountability and transparency would deem it wise to feature something like that, eh?

            • Well, St. Stokoe of Dayton mocked Metropolitan Jonah for initiating the investigation. Transparency? Well, I guess Stokoe’s motives are fairly transparent.

  26. Harry,

    Your GOA baggage has so warped your view of the Church that I really think you need to get some help. You appear to project your experiences on the OCA without serious reflection.

    Yes, Benjamin has carried a large cross in taking in his family members. But it does not excuse his bad behavior as a bishop. His petty behavior was on full display for all to see in Seattle. He acted like a spoiled brat. He was dismissive, inappropriate and rather bizarre in his comments.

    Yes, Benjamin is both someone who has picked up the slack for his family members in need, yet also one who has not displayed that same love towards his Metropolitan. It is as if he vents his frustrations at taking up that cross upon Jonah. What lessons has he learned in doing such a noble deeds yet is not able to apply those lessons as a member of the Synod.

    One need not get into the complex ramifications of Benjamin and Jonah’s long relationship as fellow students at SVS, fellow members of the DOW, and the various roles they held within that diocese, Benjamin becoming a bishop, Jonah an Abbot of a significant monastery, then Jonah a bishop, and him as a junior bishop becoming Metropolitan.

    There is much beneath the surface in the life of Benjamin and Jonah. It is a very complex dynamic of which we have only been privy to the tip of the iceberg in the machinations of Benjamin as a member of the Synod and Jonah as Primate and the abuse Jonah as stoically taken from Benjamin.

    Again, Harry, you are in no position whatsoever to make judgements about any bishop or priest in the OCA. Your comments about Jonah and Fr. James (Stevens) were so out of line, ignorant and insinuated things that weaker minds might take as fact to their spiritual harm that you should be ashamed of yourself.

    • Anonymite, You’ve offered nothing against Bishop Benjamin above that those who don’t like Met. Jonah don’t also offer about him in public. Episodes of inexplicable behavior. (Not to include the allegations by the anonymous re: Bp. Benjamin nor allegations of public booze effects).

      And I’m not one to carry water for someone struggling with alcohol problems being also given to be a bishop over the heads of plenty of married clergy who managed to lead parishes in peace for decades without such. Not only because of merit on the basis that attracts people. But also on a personal level. Struggling with being obese or booze or the usual list, well that’s quite enough to be getting along with beside the pressure of episcopacy.

      Regarding your further moral analysis, I can only say that I am not guilty of the interpretations, nor the basic data the serious in the OCA gave the public to read. I didn’t make it up. With Jane’s help and some looking around we are given to see serious folk most oddly made an issue out of something that seems such small beer — it stuck out like a sore thumb. Shoot the messenger all you like, I’m sure I’m not the only person in the world who noticed. Maybe its a scam, maybe its a ploy, maybe its all grandstanding for the audience. But why then if peace in the synod was of importance did he just not use another helper here or there, why stick it to ’em like that?

      Though I make no specific charge as there is no way to prove a negative (no matter what the various interpretations above allege). I do observe if peace in the synod was indeed the goal as stated, why choose to give this ongoing appearance, this cause of concern to the synod? Seems like a self-inflicted wound for no good reason I can fathom.

      And, by way of ending on what I think is most important, though I’ve never met the man, anyone who does the right thing by nobodies gets serious slack. Major, serious slack and they deserve it.

      • George Michalopulos says

        So what’s your point, Harry? That there’s something seriously wrong with +Jonah? Based on what? Anything real and substantive or just the fact that some of the Old Regime didn’t like him?

        • You know, George, the roster of complaints about how +Jonah is when confronted with pressure appear to be uncannily similar to what people say they see in +Benjamin (absent the apparently grave content of the episcopal complaints from Tikhon and Nikolai). Each seems to have a group that’s been given to know what’s best about each of them, and each can’t abide what they hear about the other. Seems an investigation got quashed (how worrisome is that??) and the leader got sent for a flu shot and eyeglasses prescription check at a place known for focus on most grave issues– nowhere else would do.

          So, the answer is, they are all immortal. I guess it’s just going to be pass the popcorn and tune in tomorrow to see if Zeus gets over on Mercury, Will Chronos have the last laugh? Poseidon has a thing for Athena, and she just isn’t into that. And everyone’s feeling Bacchus spreading the love.

          The problem is, soap operas are losing popularity. Going off the air. Being replaced with cheaper reality TV shows. Which I think if things keep on going like this we’ll be treated to as well, real soon. Pokrov, Ashley, various families of those done wrong. Won’t be long.

          • Harry, the house of cards that you have constructed which includes the apparent insanity/instability/overal weirdness of +Jonah is belied by several facts, many of which have been already proven. Today instead, I will deal only with one major fact which gives yet another whack at this exquisite Stokovite Temple. And that is that just a few months ago, a book was published by SVS. This book was a semi-biography of +Jonah which contained many of his writings and his vision for the Church. One of the contributors to this book is the Bishop of the West, a man who presently sits on the Synod of the OCA.

            Now, follow me here. This bishop has been one of his main antagonists of late (or so it would seem). Regardless, if +Jonah is the unstable character you describe (which incidentally, nobody else has ever seen), then why would this bishop write such a laudatory enconium to him? Hmm?

            Following the rules of logic, we must posit three different scenarios:

            1. The bishop in question really believes this stuff about +Jonah, that he’s swell and all.

            2. The bishop is lying out of his mouth. He thinks +Jonah’s as crazy as a loon but for some reason he still wrote what he wrote, praising him to the high heavens.

            3. He wrote this enconium a year or two back when he really thought +Jonah was the cat’s pajamas, but now (regrettably) has come to the conclusion that HS needs to be confined to the funny farm.

            Now which one is it Harry? These are the only three options available.

            Permit me to take these assertions to their logical conclusion.

            Scenario #1: Benjamin really loves HB, they get along well and everything Stokoe, me, everybody has reported is the result of a horrible misunderstanding. We in fact have been experiencing a collective mass hallucination in which hundreds of people have been hoodwinked into thinking that there is a problem.

            Scenario #2: Benjamin really thinks +Jonah is crazy. This would mean that he is lying out of his mouth and that he didn’t mean one syllable of what he wrote. (Possible variation of this scenario: he didn’t write this enconium. This of course leads to the possibility that if the editor of this book put the words in Benjamin’s mouth then why stop there? Why not have similiar lauds written by others on the Synod?)

            Scenario #3: This laudatory intro by Benjamin was actually written a while back, let’s say 2 years ago for the sake of argument. And that things have gone downhill since then between them (and the rest of the HS since we must believe this according to your scenario that they can’t all be wrong). OK, fine. But this book was published THIS YEAR, just TWO MONTHS AGO. If the bishop in question really, truly hated +Jonah and/or feared for his sanity, then why didn’t he instruct SVS to remove his preface?

            Let us however –for the sake of argument–assume that things deterioted in the interim, within the last 2 months, after the publication of this book. Then Benjamin, if he is a man of integrity, and really believes in what he’s doing, owes it to the reading public to repudiate his words.

            So which is it? I’m sorry, but the Potemkin Village of +Jonah’s Instability that Mark Stokoe erected has less reality than Brigadoon itself. Even Stokoe never believed it. It was just a cudgel he used to try and resurrect the Ancien Regime of Syosset.

            Does this mean that +Jonah’s evaluation won’t include things that he could improve upon? Yeah, any evaluation about any man would include such things. Let’s not forget, +Jonah was given a dog’s dinner when he became Metropolitan. He was forced to put up with backstabbers like Garklavs and watch his family suffer because of the slings and arrows that were hurled his way by the likes of Stokoe –who among all people had the temerity to insinuate horrible things about HB and his cell attendant. Lord God Almighty! If it had been me, I’d have crawled into a bottle and never left.

            Cut the guy some slack. Everybody who’s ever met him likes him. At the very least, if you’re going to be an inveterate critic, do so on the basis of your own personal knowledge of the man, and not on the house of cards which is “the bishops can’t all be wrong.” I just proved that one of them –the most vocal of his critics–is either misunderstood, a liar, or deluded.

            • Jane Rachel says

              George, Bishop Benjamin may know that Metropolitan Jonah is not crazy. Isn’t that even scarier?

              • Geo Michalopulos says

                Jane, I know that he knows that there’s nothing wrong with +Jonah. And yes, it is scary or frivolous. I don’t know which.

                • Jane Rachel says

                  Maybe Bishop Benjamin is not following the program. If he has not been getting help regularly, he needs to get help ASAP. If an addict does not follow the recovery program for the rest of his life, even if he is not using whatever he is addicted to, the bad behavior remains, and it can lead to terrible problems for him and those around him. here and here are two related links.

                  • Looks like Jane Rachel got it in one.

                    From her second link: (boldface is mine)

                    ANALYSIS OF DRY DRUNK BEHAVIOR The alcoholic who rationalizes their own irresponsible behavior are also likely to find fault in the attitudes and behavior of others. Although not denying their own shortcomings, they attempt to escape notice by cataloging in great detail the transgressions of others.

                    The classic maneuver of the dry drunk is over-reaction. The alcoholic may attach a seemingly disproportionate intensity of feeling to an ordinary insignificant event or mishap.

                    Some alcoholics who experience the dry drunk seem to know all the answers, are seldom at a loss for words when it comes to self-diagnosis. Their knowledge is quite impressive, their apparent insight, as opposed to genuine insight, is convincing.

                    The magenta cassock, the grabbing the microphone at every opportunity, the boorish behavior toward the laity and HB at the AAC, what could all this mean?

                    Some bullying, served up with a heaping helping of projection, perhaps?

                    • This is Benjamin to a tee. He is a textbook DRY DRUNK and he has inflicted his emotionalism on the DOW causing clergy to go underground to stay out of his line of fine. You don’t confront Benjamin if you are a cleric. Otherwise he will make your life miserable. Clergy in the DOW see the way that Bishop Tikhon has been treated in retirement by Benjamin and they know that if they run afoul of Benjamin they will get the Tikhon treatment.

                      Can you imagine a bishop overreacting to the point of sending an email to the former bishop of the West prior to the Seattle Council telling him, actually lying, by saying that retired bishops have ALWAYS sat with all retired clergy at the AAC (thus he will not sit at the main dias). That was a bold faced misstatement since retired bishops ALWAYS sat at the main dais. But this is an example of the extreme that Benjamin is willing to take to humiliate another bishop.

                      Benjamin never misses a chance to humiliate Tikhon and Nikolai with his clergy and just as bad diocesan laity. His regular M.O is to attach seemingly disproportionate intensity of feeling to an ordinary insignificant event, as stated above.

                      It is amazing to me the other members of the Synod act like a bunch of scared little children when facing the Dry Drunk Bullying tactics of Benjamin. But, then again, they can see that he is willing to do what he has done to Jonah to act out his unbalanced behavior.

                      A rather toxic brew and a Dry Drunk is stirring the drink.

                    • I just can’t believe the rest of the synod are all little girls afraid to walk in front of the house with the barking dog. I mean, you know, really?

                    • Jacob, I wasn’t there and haven’t seen cold, hard facts to back you up, but I personally have no reason to doubt what you and others are saying. Things add up after a while. You put them together, connect the dots. Good judges make their decisions based on more than hard evidence. They look at everything, weigh everything together. Bishop Benjamin isn’t acting like the recovering addicts I’ve known. I reckon he’s not following those successful principles.

                      Well, that letter Bishop Benjamin wrote speaks VOLUMES to back up your claims. Ridiculous.

                      I didn’t know for sure that Bishop Nikolai wrote that letter to Bishop Benjamin until I read what Bishop Nikolai wrote to Father Joseph Fester in the emails stolen by Bishop Mark (Maymon) and published by Stokoe on ocanews. Then I knew it was true. If people didn’t put two and two together then, they’ve had their heads firmly and willfully planted in the sand. Where are the loud protestations and demands for investigations now? They are silent. Such hypocrisy!

                      The evidence is on the hard drive of the DOW computer.

                      Bishop Nikolai pointed his finger right at Bishop Benjamin and said, “You are the man!”

                      The Prophet Nathan pointed his finger right at King David, and said “You are the man!” King David repented.

                      The Prophet Isaiah pointed his finger right at a very ill King Hezekiah (2 Kings 20) and said “Set your house in order, you are going to die.” Hezekiah turned his face to the wall, prayed for mercy and God heard. Talk about recovery.

            • George after reading what two not-deposed bishops have to say about their brother Bishop Benjamin, well, I think it wise to make reference to the others who agreed what Met. Jonah did was mandatory.

              How it is possible there be no investigation given such charges? Morally much less canonically. They are bishops, they have made accusations, if that causes nothing to ensue then I guess unless the police and criminal courts convict someone once a bishop always a bishop. If a married pastor goes off and does some grave misconduct then totally repents they don’t throw him out of the church but he can’t be a priest anymore. Across our landscape the same doesn’t apply to the higher ups it appears. “I am sorry and won’t do it again” is all it appears to take to keep rank.

              Re: Met. Jonah. Look, folk here who support him and who’ve met him describe Met. Jonah as one of the real-deal monastics. I know I like his speeches.

              Do this for me now. Get a bunch of photographs of ‘real deal’ monastics. For example such as you saw on that 60 minutes feature about Athos. Toss out any about which you’ve heard any controversy, and toss out any who folk deem clairvoyant, who have large followings and so on. Just the ‘nobodies’. I saw another regarding some monasteries in Sinai and through Serbia. Now lay them all out, but cover up the heads so you only see the bodies so they are anonymous. Now include a picture of the GOA Metropolitan of New Jersey, just for drill. Now add your favorite good guys and, ah, other guys. You will notice something. There are a whole lot that look alike. There will be very few that also look alike.

              I’m having ‘River in Egypt’ issues. Real deal monastics, no meat, all about the fasting rules, and so forth. Yes? No? Have I been reading the wrong books? (p.s. I myself am in no danger of being mistaken for a real monastic, either. Going to set up a keyboard and monitor around a treadmill before Christmas…)

              • Harry,

                Since you are in no danger of being mistaken as a real monastic, does that mean that you should check into St. Luke’s for evaluation?

                And this “all about the fasting rules.” I was told, very early on, that fasting was more of a tool than a rule. Moreover, I was told the story that came from one of the desert fathers (can’t remember who right now) that fasting was of no benefit at all if instead of meat I devoured my brothers.

                If I had to choose between leadership that was overweight or leadership that was unchaste/homosexual I know who I would choose. Your mileage may vary.

                • You know, if as you write fat or MSM (I’ve decided ‘gay’ isn’t really very objective) are the only two options on the epsicopal list, I think anyone still here probably should check in somewhere like St. Lukes, and quick! But, then you are an anonymite so maybe you don’t really have any facts to back up your entree list.

                  • A. Anonymite says

                    Hey Harry (I can only assume that that is your real name), sounds like you need to come up out of your basement office and go outside and get a lot of fresh air.

                  • It appears to me that the thinking of the “anonymites” who post comments here is much more coherent than Harry Coin’s.

                  • another one says

                    Harry doesn’t seem to be one for extending his arguments, rather, he retreats into ad hominem attacks.

                    Now Harry. an ad hominem attack is defined as:

                    An argument based on the failings of an adversary rather than on the merits of the case; a logical fallacy that involves a personal attack.

                    Just to spell it out for you, the fact that someone is anonymous has nothing to do with the logic or quality of the arguments put forth. You are certainly welcome to disregard the argument for any reason or none.

                    But do not delude yourself that you have refuted it, because an ad hominem attack does not do that.

                    I don’t know what MSM stands for, so I don’t understand your sentence. (Main Stream media, perhaps?)

                    Last time I checked, we are all human, with human failings. Harry, you seem to be projecting your unfortunate experience in the GOA onto a man many of us feel may be the real deal, and perhaps the best hope for the OCA. Moreover, you seem to be a willing pawn of a person who has owned up to his objective to remove Metropolitan Jonah.
                    It is also clear that the OCA has it’s own corruptions, and factions that want to preserve the status quo, attacking any who threaten it.

                    Personally observing Bishop Benjamin’s behavior at the AAC, I was embarrassed for my church. His behavior fit a dry drunk profile to a “T.” Maybe there are other explanations, but whatever they might be, grandiose, egotistic, rude behavior is becoming for no one, least of all a bishop. He also was clearly a bully. So it is not a great stretch that he could bully a number of the Synod, as several of them are brand new to the episcopate. (And some of them have their own agenda that aligns with his.)

                    It would not surprise me in the least that he crowned himself “resident expert” by virtue of his own alcoholism, then led the Synod in a do it yourself intervention on Metropolitan Jonah, even though no one on the Synod, or Stokoe, or Fr. Kishkovski, has any expertise in diagnosing such problems.

                    So, among the myriad of possible problems that could be plaguing our Synod, I mentioned two, one of which you raised as an foggy argument to discredit HB.

                    I don’t think preferring an fat Metropolitan to a gay (or MSM??) one is grounds for commitment. You want a larger list of sins from which to choose? What’s up with that??

              • Heracleides says

                “How it is possible there be no investigation given such charges?”

                Pay attention Harry. There was an investigation of +Benjamin iniated. +Benjamin conspired to have the investigation quashed. That is the outrage and says much about +Benjamin and his co-conspirators on the Unholy Synod.

                • You know, one person’s ‘quashed’ is another persons ‘They looked into it and didn’t find any merit in it’. Since you are anonymous, give us some facts people can check that they didn’t consider the matter, deem it without merit and just drop it? How can people out here know there was no investigation, no hearing of evidence and so forth?

                  • Harry, you and Carl are quite the pair.

                    If the allegations lodged against +Benjamin were deemed “without merit” then why launch an investigation to begin with… but then how can one determine something is “without merit” without first having an investigation? Talk about circular. The facts are that an investigation was launched and then quashed before it could deliver any findings – either good or bad. It’s called a cover-up, Harry, so get over yourself in attempting to defend the indefensible

                    Why is it that at any minute I expect to see a video on YouTube with +Benjamin lifting both arms into the air in faux blessing whilst declaring he is not a crook, drunkard, porn connoisseur, etc. while Harry, standing at his side, vigorously claps and capers around like a fool newly escaped from his mother’s basement lair.

                    • I find it interesting that if a bishop freely enters retirement and then asks to be reinstated to the active episcopate, that a certain synod would recognize his first free request but would not entertain his second free request. Makes you wonder what Benjamin is afraid of and what he is trying to keep the lid on.

                    • So, who were the investigators? When did they begin their work? On what date did the synod vote to end their work prior to any result? Or was there a result and you just didn’t like it, didn’t believe it?

                    • Heracleides says


                      Harry, I believe Helga has already answered your questions. That you are apparently unwilling or unable to process the information leaves the ball in your court. Go educate yourself then come back when you are minimally informed on the topic and perhaps you can then engage in a meaningful conversation.

                    • Anonymites can only point to information. I suppose they try to give it but that’s pathology, really. Accepting such? Please now.

                    • Heracleides says

                      Seems to be your standard response when you are called on the nonsense you peddle and are stumped for anything intelligent to say. Poor Harry.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Harry, for what it’s worth, the investigator in question was removed from pursuing his task by the MC back in March. Nixon should have been so lucky.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      “Harry, you and Carl are quite the pair.”

                      Funny man–Thank you for the compliment.

                      Harry–You are wasting your time. Strongly advise you to take a break from this foolishness, as I am doing, for the Nativity Fast.

                    • Wow, George– an investigator removed from investigating a bishop by the MC? You’d think the other bishops just to maintain credibility would require a result, what with two not-defrocked bishops complaining in public.

                    • Carl, these anonymite writers, objectively what did they accomplish for the folk they claim to support?

                      George M, he stood up. But his blog wasn’t newsy, it was an editorial stream with responses. Not really able to stand up against an intentional news website. OCATruth started out anonymous and the narrative became about outing the authors, not their content.

                      Lesson: In the end, anonymous authors can only point to things people can check. No name = no credibility about reported events. Look at all of them here, one anonymite refers to another and says ‘well it was explained’. Sure.

                      What really fries their beans the most is all they can really point to for support is mostly on …. Mark Stokoe’s OCA News, with a few exceptions of Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald’s) postings on the Indiana discussion list.

                      The reason for that? Anonymous websites offering news just can’t be taken seriously by people who have to answer for why they act. Can you imagine? “I did it because of what I read by these anonymous authors”. Sure. Real Sane. Right.

                    • Heracleides says:
                      November 22, 2011 at 12:35 pm

                      Harry, you and Carl are quite the pair.

                      Harry and Carl are so far missing out on a great opportunity. They should be working together to start up their own Blogsite to fill in the void created by the shut down of OCANews. Just think, they would then be able to establish and maintain their own judgement for intellectual, factual, and credential competence by shutting out all posts presenting circumstantial evidence, and those from “anonymites” (disregarding the fact that to those that don’t know them personally they themselves also are).

              • Geo Michalopulos says

                Harry, your assertion that it was “mandatory” for the other bishops to do what +Jonah allowed them to do is illogical on its face. First of all, nobody can force somebody into a situation that is beyond the scope of their practice. That’s not only unethical but actionable.

                second of all, none of them possess the requisite professional credentials to make the recommendation in the first place.

                Think of it Harry, when you go to Confession, your priest can’t make you do anything. He can make recommendations, pray for your, exhort you, etc. The only thing he CAN do is withhold the Chalice from you if he thinks that’s necessary. It’s all based on freewill, not coercion.

                • George I meant to convey that what with Bishop Benjamin being accused by two other bishops, let’s focus on the fact that the rest of the synod supported sending +Jonah to St. Lukes and he agreed to go. Lots of votes there besides the one by +Benjamin. Folk here like to focus on +Benjamin and his problems (okay I’m concerned as well, a synod not responding to what two bishops write in public? How is that possible with so many laity watching? Aren’t they supposed to be leading by example, having an answer, concerned about appearances of impropriety as well as actual impropriety?)

                  But here somehow there is this energy to frame the matter as if this one +Benjamin under a cloud has somehow the rest of them in a mindless thrall of some sort, they all just did what he wanted thoughtlessly as if potted plants and didn’t come to their own conclusions.

                  I don’t buy that, do you? All those votes to send him there. That’s a lot, you know. Why? Were they all blasted in Las Vegas except +Jonah and figured if Benjamin couldn’t continue they’d be next? If that was the case the anonymites and Bishop Tikhon, you, would have blasted it all over the internet.

                  So, why did all the rest of them decide this course for Met. Jonah?

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    First of all Harry, you are assuming things not in evidence: “all those votes…” Can you tell us what the vote tally was Harry? You assume that +Jonah was part of those votes as well. Again –evidence? Is it more likely that in order to avoid yet another tirade that +Jonah just listened to one or two bishops and said, “OK, for the good of the Church and peach and quiet, I’ll agree to that”? I very much see that in play. Not everything is done by vote btw.

                    As for one bishp forcing the agenda because of tirades, yes, this can happen. +Jonah didn’t know what hit him when he was elected. He was an irenic monk leading a peaceful brotherhood. None of the dysfunction of Syosset, MC, HS. None.

                    Perhaps you’re too used to the business world where things are done in a more orderly manner. I know I am. But from what I’ve learned about Orthodoxy in America (not just the OCA), I can tell you that policies are far from orderly and not all decisions are rational. This probably offends your sense of propriety, it certainly does mine but unlike yourself, I’m under no illusions about the rampant idiocy that I’ve seen in open display. I’m sorry, but my experience in the GOA wiped the scales off my eyes. I know of too many times in which bishops who were caught on public beaches have been promoted rather than sent to the hoosegow. Or as Angelo Codevilla says “screw up, get promoted!”

                    Even the Antiochian jurisdiction is not immune. Remember the case of Bp Demetri Khoury who was arrested for groping a waitress in a casino? Sure, he lost his job as diocesan bishop in the US, but guess what? he was transferred to Mexico where he continues to draw a salary in the Antiochian eparchy there.

                    • Re: Bishop Demetri – that makes me so angry. In the US, the man is a registered sex offender! The Antiochian Archdiocese can pay him whatever the hell they want, but he shouldn’t be in public ministry anywhere.

                    • And here is the Antiochian Archdiocese’s ever-so-eloquent justification, as well as an example of the caricature that is made of those who have the nerve to call them on it.

                      July 24, 2009
                      Palm Desert, CA
                      General Assembly

                      Moderator: Your Eminence. We have Sarah Hodges of St John’s Memphis Tennessee with a comment.

                      Metropolitan Philip: Yes, sure. Sarah?
                      Mrs. Hodges: Your Grace, Bishops of the Local Synod, Trustees, and Delegates, We have a serious situation that has not been addressed yet, that is why I am here at the very, very end.

                      Metropolitan Philip: What is it?

                      Mrs. Hodges: We must address it. Every person in this room is culpable individually and corporately of perpetuating this disgrace

                      Metropolitan Philip: What is it?

                      Mrs. Hodges: It is unconscionable and indefensible to facilitate and finance a bishop who was found guilty of sexual misconduct in a court of law. (Calls to ‘Sit Down!’, ‘Boo!’, and heckling from delegates.) It reflects poorly on our Church. It creates an enormous financial liability which has drained the coffers …

                      Metropolitan Philip: Let her speak.

                      Mrs. Hodges: … drained the coffers of the GOA and the Catholic Church over that past ten years and endangers the spiritual lives of those who have been entrusted to him.
                      Therefore, I make a motion: “That this Archdiocese will not compensate or financially support Bishop Demetri directly or indirectly in any manner so long as he remains in violation of the restrictions placed on him by the Local Synod.”

                      Chancellor Fr. Deacon Emile Sayegh:
                      Saidna. Can I respond as the chancellor, please? May I sir?

                      Mrs. Hodges: I think it needs a second to be discussed. (Second from floor)

                      Metropolitan Philip: The Chancellor would like to say something about that.

                      Chancellor Fr. Deacon Emile Sayegh: (Reading)

                      ‘With regard to His Grace Bishop Demetri, His Grace Bishop Demetri now serves as an auxiliary bishop under the omophorion of His Eminence Metropolitan Antoun Chedraoui of Mexico. The matter of His Grace Bishop Demetri being restored to active status was the result of the natural prerogative of His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV in exercising his right to apply the principle of economia. The principle of economia concerns a specific episcopal application of the canons in the life of the church. In a sense it refers to the discretionary power given to the church by Christ Himself in order to manage and govern the Church. Christ referred to this when He gave the Apostles the authority to bind and loose. Matthew 16:19 and 18:18 and this authority in turn was transmitted to the bishops who came after the Apostles.

                      It is in fact pastoral economia which is the handling or management of various pastoral and disciplinary questions, problems and issues that have arisen through the centuries of the church history. Economia has always been used when, in the judgment of the Church guided by the Holy Spirit it would result in the wider salvation of souls through the extension of God’s mercy. We must always remember in the Church that all canons and laws exist in subjection to the rule of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that is to say, his commandments, teachings and precepts of love, compassion and understanding. The application of economia only takes place through the official church authorities and is only applicable on a case-by-case basis. His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV studied very carefully all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the matter of Bishop Demetri.

                      We are not aware of all of the facts and circumstances. Let us not judge too quickly (Applause.) It was only after careful and thorough consideration of these facts that His Beatitude made the decision through his natural prerogatives as the Patriarch to reinstate His Grace Bishop Demetri to active status under the omophorion of the Metropolitan of Mexico.
                      In fact, the decision of the Patriarch in this regard is simply not subject to challenge under any circumstances – (Applause)- for any such challenge would be deemed an uncanonical assumption of the natural prerogatives of the rightful and proper church authority.’
                      Thank you, Saidna.

                      Metropolitan Philip: Thank you.

                      Mrs. Hodges: I am not here to question the Patriarch. Those are very eloquent prepared remarks. I am not here to question the Patriarch. What I am here to do is make the resolution that this Archdiocese not compensate or fund support for Bishop Demetri directly or indirectly in any manner whatsoever as long as he remains in violation of the restrictions placed on him by the local synod. What the Patriarch does is what the Patriarch does. What I am here is so that the Archdiocese can say that we do not condone or rationalize the placement of this bishop anywhere in the world.

                      Metropolitan Philip: Our Local Synod never “tried” Bishop Demetri. We just retired him. Let’s not make something of this issue which it is not. Our Local Synod never tried Bishop Demetri, it just retired him.
                      When the Patriarch came here he asked me, “How come this man is not doing something. Let’s put him to work.” I said, “I don’t have a place for him in this Archdiocese.” He said, “Maybe in the Caribbeans (sic) he could do some work for the archdiocese of Mexico.” I told him “This is up to the Metropolitan of Mexico.” That’s why he is doing missionary work in the Caribbeans (sic).

                      Mrs. Hodges: But we don’t need to pay for it. That is my point.
                      Metropolitan Philip: In the spirit of charity, in the spirit of charity, personally, I’d like to help him. ( Applause.)

                      You know, you know, my dear, a few days ago we celebrated the feast of Mary Magdalene. You remember who Mary Magdalene was? She is one of the saints of our church. You cannot, from a Christian point of view… Please listen carefully. You cannot divide people into two classes, the righteous on this side and the sinners on this side as long as we are alive because the human soul, the human soul, my dear, is very, very, very dynamic. The poet Gibran said, “Everyday I discover within myself a new continent.” Mary Magdalene was what she was, we know she was a prostitute and she became a saint. She became a saint. St. Paul was persecuting Christians; he became a saint. The thief who was crucified with Christ on the cross because of his confession, Christ said to him, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” You see, Judas who was one of the disciples on the other hand betrayed Christ, and he was one of the disciples.

                      Therefore, as long as we are alive, we cannot just classify people, say these are the righteous and these are the sinners and this is it, let’s condemn them. So let God Judge Bishop Demetri. He received enough judgment. So your motion in not in order. Thank you.

                      Mrs. Hodges: It was seconded. I think there should be a vote. (Inaudible background.)

                      Metropolitan Philip: (In Arabic) “I spoke.”
                      (In English) I don’t want to vote on it. This is ridiculous. To vote on what? Something the Patriarch did? Okay. Let’s move. We have work to be done.”

                      Draw your own conclusions.

                    • 1. Once a bishop, always a bishop. Canons, shmanons. Married clergy are like those guys who wore red shirts on the old ‘Star Trek’ show– canon fodder.

                      2. Please, give generously, and often!

                    • Hang on a minute. Read here for a statement by Metropolitan Philip. It looks like Bishop Demetri is truly sorry for what he did, that he was under the influence of a mix of alcohol and medications which he said might explain his behavior that night, and that he repented, humbled himself, sought help and went through treatment. He submitted to his Metropolitan’s orders to get treatment for his alcoholism, Metropolitan Philip said that his “acts were uncharacteristic of him,” and finally, we know the Patriarch considered the case thoughtfully and carefully. Bishop Demetri hit bottom and got help.

                      I don’t know how the Antiochian leaders feel about how wise it is to allow him to serve as a bishop when he has been labeled, “registered sex offender.” That term covers a lot of ground. He may have been branded for life somewhat unfairly by the system. It’s possible. Apparently, the Patriarch took all this into consideration.

                      One more thing. They talked to the people about it. In the OCA, not so much.

                      Looks like it was five years between that one-time incident and his serving as a bishop again.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      For all we know, and I’ll bet it’s true, Bishop Demetri is doing fine and is a good bishop, and he is serving where he is really needed. Mexico. If so, is it really necessary for pokrov to continue to display his humiliating mug shot? Would they continue to display, say, St. Paul the Apostle’s mug shot years after he stood by while St. Stephen was murdered, or St Mary Magdalene’s mug shot, even after she took Christ’s light to the Emperor? Or St. Mary of Egypt’s mug shot? King David’s? Just sayin’.

                    • Jane R, you bring up a very good point. We can get lost in the minutiae of legalism but we can forget mercy. Your litany of saints should give us all pause. Myself especially.

                    • I have to disagree with George and Rachel. For me, it’s not a question of forgiving him, but of taking the gravity of the incident seriously, providing an appropriate penance, and sticking to it. And this is not just for Bishop Demetri’s sake, it’s also for the sake of not scandalizing the faithful and making sure his victim knows we take the violation against her seriously.

                      When I read about Bishop Benjamin’s arrest and his behavior, I remember being shocked over how similar it was to Bishop Demetri’s behavior, as both of them took a “do you know who I am” attitude with the police. They were both using their status in the Church as a way of trying to get out of trouble as well as acting as if they were better than the civil authorities.

                      Also, Bishop Demetri did not wrap a car around a tree like Bishop Benjamin, he had grabbed a woman’s breast. Metropolitan Philip’s letter completely sidesteps this sexual aspect of the incident, blaming the ‘actions’ on the alcohol. Bishop Demetri didn’t just have an alcohol problem, he had a problem with how he behaved towards that woman and the underlying attitude that caused it.

                      Like I said, it’s not a question of forgiveness. We all know some saints were terrible sinners before they repented. But the critical thing was that the Christian community did not sidestep their sins, but compelled them to repent while having mercy on them. Mercy for Bishop Demetri was when they did not defrock him. He was allowed to retire and work out his salvation doing translations and other publishing work for the Archdiocese.

                      I will give Metropolitan Philip credit for at least saying that Bishop Demetri couldn’t be made an active bishop in his archdiocese, but Patriarch Ignatius should be ashamed of himself. What if it had been his sister or niece who’d been the object of the bishop’s advances? What does this say about the dignity of women in his eyes?

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      Yes, he should be ashamed of himself, and it looks to me like he was ashamed of himself. Did the Patriarch interview him? Did he show that he had repented? Did he do penance? Has he changed?

                    • As per usual, Helga has it precisely correct when she writes, “it’s not a question of forgiveness.” Furthermore, I can assure anyone who may construe my comment as a vendetta against His Grace that they are sadly mistaken. He never did any harm to me or my parish, although the alcoholism was in evidence in some rather troubling instances. I loved him then, and I love him now.

                      Nevertheless, there are very good reasons the Scriptures and the canons specify the conditions of eligibility and removal of clergy, most of which the ever-wise Helga covered. We ignore them at our peril, and all this nonsense about economia is little more than a foolish attempt to ‘be nice’ in matters that require firm resolution. As much as we love those who find themselves ineligible, whether pre or post consecration, we would all do well to realize that “service to the Church” is not about the training, needs, or desires of the individual in question; nor is it about the sincerity of repentance. It is about the good of the Church. In instances such as these the best way to serve the Church is to do so in a non-pastoral capacity – which is what this retired bishop was doing until the Patriarch put him to work in the archdiocese of Mexico.

                      Anyone familiar with the history of the AOANA knows that communications between Damascus and Englewood have an odd habit of getting confused in translation in ways that favor the personal desires of the Metropolitan. I note that on July 14, 2003 His Grace Bp. DEMETRI was suspended (shortly after the incident in the casino) while on October 7, 2003 (and still under suspension) he is included in a list of bishops to be enthroned as diocesan in what is known as The Damascus Resolution adopted by the Holy Synod of Antioch. Then, during the course of a meeting of the Local Synod at at the Antiochian Village on June 1-2, 2006, Metropolitan PHILIP asked the Local Synod to review Bishop DEMETRI’s case, and the Local Synod unanimously affirmed its previous position that he would remain retired.

                      Once again, draw your own conclusions.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Helga, as usual, my soft-heatedness got the better of my judgment. What then to do with a bishop who falls? Love him of course. If we look at the various synaxaria we find men of this mettle who have spent the rest of their lives in monasteries living lives of repentance and becoming saints afterwards.

                      I guess when all is said and done we should go back to the drawing board and see what advice we we get from Scripture. Paul’s instructions are not that hard even for a fallen humanity. Would they have excluded me? Yes, but I’m not pining for the episcopate.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      Thanks for the response, Brian. Very sad. You want your leaders to do what is right.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Maybe because they don’t like him and/or are jealous of him? Think that’s a possibility?

                • The priest can also give you a penance while withholding the chalice. Nothing like a penance to wake one up. My priest told me once to go home and ‘read’ the canon of repentance twice. I have been doing it every night since then, about one year now, it has become part of my rule.

      • My, Harry you sure do spend a lot of time responding to those you class as Anonymites!

        • Good thing these blogs don’t charge by the letter, eh?

        • Harry’s ego demands he do so.
          ego ˈē-(ˌ)gō also ˈe-
          1 : the self especially as contrasted with another self or the world

          Synonyms: pride, pridefulness, self-esteem, self-regard,
          Antonyms: humbleness, humility, modesty

  27. A. Anonymite says

    Trying to discuss anything intelligently with Harry Coin is, as my mother use to say, “like talking to the wall.”

  28. Lola J. Lee Beno says
  29. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    No evaluation results yet?
    If they had the nerve (gall?) to broadcast what they demanded of Metropolitan Jonah, what happened to it, I wonder?
    Surely a Holy Synod which professes a concern for the peace of the Faithful doesn’t mean to make them…..uneasy?

    • Of course there are results, but it’s probably not possible for Bp Michael Dahulich and Bp Tikhon Mollard to make them public. And since they’ve heard only preliminary oral reports, they aren’t in a position to say anything just yet.

      Let’s just sit tight and wait for the formal written reports which — God bless us — will be forthcoming.

      I trust that Met. Jonah will come out of this A-OK, and put Bp Benjamin and his coconspirators to shame.

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        Oh, so they have received preliminary oral reports? I hadn’t seen that. I did hear that the Metropolitan had served someplace in Florida after the evaluation…..Why aren’t THEY telling everyone to sit tight and wait?

        • Norcross, Georgia, but same difference. The bottom line is, Metropolitan Jonah is not in the pokey, which means I can cancel baking him a belated birthday cake with a hacksaw in it. 🙂

          Stan is reporting that the Metropolitan is now in California for Thanksgiving with his family. I hope the Paffhausens have a happy Thanksgiving, without any overshadowing by these crazy politics.

          • Jane Rachel says

            I’m so glad he’s out of there.

          • Helga,

            This is SHOCKING news Stan is reporting that Jonah is in California with his parents for Thanksgiving. Isn’t he supposed to be held up in his monastic cell if he isn’t serving or administrating the Church? It appears, according to Stan, that Jonah should not visit his parents since he is a monk. Truly shocking news that he would visit his elderly parents who are in failing health. Where are his priorities?

            What is this Church coming to when its Primate has a family life with his parents and sister? Maybe if Jonah had Cossack guards Stan would like him more. Oh if only we would all just become Russians like Stan wants, things here in the USA would be all better. The Symphonia between the ideals of the Russian Orthodox Church (the rest don’t count) and the Communist ideals (we can skip over the millions that Lenin and Stalin murdered.)

            Well, I am going to take the rest of this holiday season to reconsider my position regarding Jonah since he is visiting his parents, oh and lest we forget a konvert. I suggest the rest of us do the same!

            Happy Thanksgiving!

            • Amos, Stan is even speculating on what they’re going to eat for dinner. After all, it is in fact a war crime for a monk to share a turkey dinner with his family.

              Actually, if his parents are unwell, considering the Metropolitan’s cooking talents, he might even make dinner himself. But if the Metropolitan makes so much as a hand turkey for his mother to put on the fridge, Fr. Kishkovsky will soon come out with a statement on how this has soured OCA relations with Moscow.

          • Drats! I was in the midst of planning a big escape! Now what will I do with all that extra C-4 I have lying around here?

          • Helga, guess again. But, hope you have a great T-Day!

      • There is no way that such evaluations can be made public unless Jonah releases them. If Tikhon or Michael say anything after the preliminary oral evaluations, they are breaching every protocol of such evaluations. However, Jonah is not exactly a tight lipped person.

        Jonah was released after his 5 day stay, this we know. We also know that his condition after the week’s evaluation did not present any conditions that would mean he had to stay at the facility. Did he present any conditions that need to be followed up on? That is an unknown, and frankly may never be known because if there is nothing important that would compromise Jonah’s ability to be Metropolitan, then it is none of our business.

        This is the galling part of this stupid situation that all of us have to be dragged through because of the ginning up of the Synod by Benjamin, Stokoe from his website and Hopko with his totally irresponsible analysis of Jonah as “gravely troubled.” Between the three of them, you could find a number of conditions that would present themselves in evaluations, but Jonah and the rest of us have to go through this dog and pony show and to what end? The OCA is now even a bigger joke and was totally ignored at the 65th birthday celebration of Pat. Kirill.

        Every head of Church that the OCA needs to cultivate was there. An important opportunity to promote the life of the OCA was missed. Why? Because our Synod was more concerned with making sure Jonah was put in an institution than think beyond their own selfish motives. Was there not ONE PERSON on the Synod or the Chancery staff that knew that Kirill’s birthday would be on the day after Jonah was released making it impossible for Jonah to attend? What was so important that Jonah had to go the SLI that week?

        One would think that the head of the External Affairs Department of the OCA, Leonid Kishkovsky would have spoken up to say it would be more important for Jonah to go to Moscow and then find another date for his evaluation. Oh, but wait. It was Kishkovsky and Bradley who picked the date. Never mind. It is clear what they wanted to do. And the result, the OCA is further isolated by the one Church it must have as an ally.

        Pretty pathetic leadership. We know what Jonah’s vision for the OCA is but it appears that others in positions of OCA leadership have a much different vision.

  30. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    Has anybody heard of the “Peter Principle?”

    I got this little tid-bit from Wikipedia and it just floored me:

    “Dr. Peter suggested the idea of “Super-Competence” in an inappropriately low position. *See ‘caste’ under Solutions* He proposed that this employee will have two paths dependent upon their leadership. Competent People Managers will promote this employee for the betterment of the company. Incompetent People Managers will most likely feel intimidated and/or threatened by this employee. This employee is a disruption to their perceived natural order and will almost certainly drive them to set this employee up for failure and/or dismiss them. Organizations with poor leadership cannot handle this type of disruption to their hierarchical structure. A Super-Competent employee “…violates the first commandment of hierarchical life with incompetent leadership: [namely that] the hierarchy must be preserved…”

    Wow, I never knew something like this existed! This explains so much not only with the recent events in the OCA, but Orthodoxy in general. I just had to share this. Bye, and Happy Thanksgiving.

    Peter A. Papoutsis

    PS – No jokes with the name please.

    • The Peter Principle generally states that people in management usually are promoted to at least one higher position than their maximum level of competence. That is why you get some real dummies in supervisory positions.

      And yes, regarding those highly competent people who threaten the ‘good old boys/girls’ already in positions of power. I had the experience one time when I was in charge of the environmental testing lab of an electronics manufacturing company in the position of Chief Test Engineer. I, at the time, had an A. A. in mathematics and I hired an entry level test engineer with a B. S. in Physics. Everyone around me commented, “aren’t you afraid to hire a guy like that with his education, he might get promoted over you?” My return comment was usually something like this, “if he is able to get past me, that is fine, I will just get in his jet stream and go with him.”

      As a lower level middle manager, I was not afraid at all of this person’s competency, in fact I later moved on to higher degrees than he had. But, others in the company would not hire potentially excellent employees saying things like, “he was over qualified for the job;” in fact they were afraid of them.

      So, the Peter Principle works both ways.