Back in the USSR

get-out-of-jailWe have been told by many that innocent priests and lay workers have nothing to be afraid of with the implemenation of ORSMA.

You know, the new UnlimitedSexSquadRegime is not going to be hurtful to anybody but the guilty. Because if you’re accused, you’re probably guilty anyway so you’ll get what you deserve.

OK, then explain this:

Convicted Bank Robber Found GUILTY of Falsely Accusing Four Different Catholic Priests of Abuse [w/ COURT DOCS]

Source: The Media Report

Convicted bank robber Shamont Sapp has admitted in U.S. federal court that he falsely accused four different priests of sexually abusing him back in the 1970s.

Even though his crimes carry up to 25 years in prison, Sapp has negotiated a plea deal with prosecutors, and he will likely serve only 41 months, according to The Oregonian, one of only three media outlets to report this story.

Quite a character

We originally reported on the case of Sapp back in early February. While serving time in prison for ten bank robberies, Sapp not only drummed up four bogus abuse claims against Catholic priests, but he also filed a bizarre lawsuit alleging that Hollywood stars Jamie Foxx and Tyler Perry had stolen his idea for the lowbrow comedy film project Skank Robbers. (Thankfully, the movie never actually made it into production.)

Yet with regards to his attempted scam against the Catholic Church, Sapp found three of his targets by scouring old newspapers in search of priests who had already been publicly accused of abuse. He then filed lawsuits claiming that he too had been abused by those same priests.

Sadly, however, according to the Oregonian, one of the priests Sapp accused of abuse had never been accused before, and Sapp’s bogus 2006 lawsuit terribly damaged the reputation of the innocent priest.

[COURT DOCS: Read the sealed indictment against Shamont Sapp]

[COURT DOCS: Read the plea agreement letter between Sapp and the feds]

Too greedy for his own good?

Sapp’s wild scheme eventually reached the point that he filed four money-seeking claims in four entirely different dioceses: Tucson, Arizona; Covington, Kentucky; Spokane, Washington; and Portland, Oregon. In some instances, Sapp actually alleged sexual acts that took place in those different cities on the same day.

One cannot help but wonder if Sapp hadn’t composed a scheme that was so blatantly ridiculous and implausible, he would have got away with his scam. One, simple claim of abuse may have netted Sapp a nice settlement. As we have relayed before, one East Coast attorney once wrote:

“I have some contacts in the prison system, having been an attorney for some time, and it has been made known to me that [accusing a Catholic priest of abuse] is a current and popular scam.”

And – surprise – the attorney actually wrote this in 2001.

Who knows how many such similar scams have been committed in the last dozen years against innocent priests?

Indeed, while anti-Catholic groups such as SNAP and desperately strive to hide the truth from the public, it has been estimated that just in Los Angeles alone, as many as ONE HALF of all accusations against Catholic priests are either “entirely false or so greatly exaggerated that the truth would not [support] a prosecutable claim for childhood sexual abuse.”


  1. George:

    This sad story has nothing to do with having misconduct procedures. Investigation is what brought the truth to light. But you argue against having investigators. WTF?! This story illustrates the importance of the procedures the OCA adopted. Bogus accusations will always occur. Your position places our clergy and legitimate victims in a more vulnerable position. Shame!

    Also, the only priest named in the article you link to had already been convicted. That conviction is what got Sapp’s attention whilst in prison. George, read what you post!! Talk about hiding the truth. Sheesh.

    More rigorous thought, lplease.


    • George Michalopulos says

      Not at all. I have no problem whatsoever with clearly written Rules & Regs. ORSMA is no such thing. Why couldn’t we have borrowed Englewood’s R&R? Not only that but act with the same alacrity that Antiochian bishops do when credible accsations of misconduct occur?

      The reason I believe is that the USSR will only be activated against priests who step out of line. Long established priests, bishops, and deacons who are already involved in unseemly relationships but who are part of the “in crowd” will not be brought to book.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      “Been there, done that” lends itself to a perspective I’m guessing you don’t have, SAM. It comes with wisdom and age.

      Cindy, if you’re SAM, I suggest you do what we did during the Cuban Missile Crisis, i.e. duck and cover. It may not help, but at least you’ll feel like you did something when it all blows up. God willing, after you recover from this mess, you will be able to look back on your tenure with the OCA (from your new and much better job) and say, “WTF???” It will be like” Lubbock, TX in your rear view mirror.”

      Shame on the OCA for putting a young woman in such an untenable position.

  2. M. Stankovich says

    Mr. Michalopulos,

    This post is referred to as “fool’s gold.” It is an extreme anecdote indicative of nothing beyond an anomaly. I have pointed out on this site many, many times that this is a purposely deceptive, purposely manipulative tactic.

    Validated research indicates that children, in particular, rarely, if ever, make false allegations of abuse. In fact, they are more likely to deny substantiated abuse than to proffer false accusations. How do we know this? By relying on studies where perpetrators have confessed, confirmatory DNA evidence exists, or from photographic or video evidence that abuse occurred. Let me repeat this: children are more likely to deny abuse even when substantiated evidence exists rather than proffer false accusations. Likewise, children who withdraw accusations nearly always withdraw accusations under duress from family who fear consequences (e.g. perpetrator is the sole supporter of the family). Does false accusation occur? Certainly. Should it be considered in any investigation? Certainly. Is it a significant variable? No. The accusation of a child is always accepted as accurate until proven otherwise. Further, since the abuse of women – be it emotional, physical, or sexual – is so grossly under-reported, it is though that upwards of 40% of all women will experience some form of abuse in their lifetime. Again, does false accusation occur? Certainly. Should it be considered in any investigation? Certainly. Is it a significant variable? No.

    I would note here that clergy will not gather a lot of sympathy from me in regard to “vulnerability.” Anyone who is involved with seeing patients – be for medical or psychological reasons – knows (or should know) how to lessen their vulnerability. I will not see abused women at 7:00 am or after 6:00 pm when the building is empty; “precocious” or sexualized children (i.e. exposed to adult sexuality at too early an age) without the door open & the parent in the hall. Why would a priest be “counseling” a woman in his office, Tuesday afternoon, in an empty church, with the door closed, or confessing an 11 year-old girl in a dark church after Vespers without, for example, a reader present? There are many, many ways to protect yourself.

    Your final statement regarding advocacy groups and prosecutable false claims for childhood sexual abuse is lame with a capital LAME. A lawyer (no pejorative intended, Fr. George) is making this claim because he “is aware memories can be planted,” “plaintiffs refused polygraph tests” (which are not admissible in court), and “many were treated by the same therapist.” I would put this somewhere in the “women’s intuition” sack of day-old bread category you attempted to sell in the last thread. So, to answer your question, “Who knows how many such similar scams have been committed in the last dozen years against innocent priests?” I would suggest with a reasonable amount of certainty that there were very few. Maybe you and that moron of a lawyer could tally up the real victims.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says


      The Macmillan Pre-School case involved children whose parents claimed they were sexually abused, but in reality were not. The Children made some pretty outlandish claims that were never substantiated. So children can exaggerate and lie about sexual abuse.

      Even here in Chicago Cardinal Bernadine was falsely accused, and his accuser later retracted his accusations and asked for forgiveness.


    • Mark from the DOS says

      It is indeed amazing that Dr. Stankovich, from the very state that gave us the Kern County ritual abuse cases, even before the McMartin case would make such a ludicrous statement. 60 children testified about their abuse; 36 people were convicted. 34 of those convictions were later overturned.

      Beware the good doctor’s statistics. Most of the low % studies use a definition of false allegations that requires intentional lying. When false allegations arising from suggestive questioning (i.e. making up stories to please the questioner, not lying to “get” the victim) are included in the definition, some studies place the percentage as high as 1/3 of all allegations.

  3. oliverwendeldouglas says

    The points made in Dr. Stankovich’s third paragraph are correct and worth taking to heart. In the past, gynecologists would have a nurse present during an exam (maybe they still do) and wise public officials, such as prosecutors, have a paralegal present when dealing with witnesses, or even lawyers of questionable repute. (Probably a good idea to always have a witness.) Anyone engaging in conduct as described in para. #3 is foolishly setting himself up for trouble, unless that is the intended purpose.

    • Older But Wiser says

      Perhaps from now on, OCA priests will need to avoid being alone with females — ie, always someone else present during a counseling session, not giving a woman a ride anywhere without bringing someone else along, etc. In fact, I already know of one or two OCA priests who already had these sorts of rules for themselves in operation before the recent adoption of the new policies.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        “Older But Wiser,” it’s already happened, as some priests have been instructed NOT to close the door when counseling a female. We’re not just talking about the OCA anymore. This lunacy is contagious. The end result is that women will NOT go for counseling. Heck, they might not even go to Church.

        • Archpriest John Morris says

          I learned that when I was teaching. One must always be careful to avoid putting oneself in a compromising position. When I was in grad school one of the TAs was accused of making advances on a student. Because of that when I was a TA my wife had her desk next to mine. We would always schedule our office hours at the same time so that we were near each other to protect against false accusations. You cannot be too careful. I would never close the door of my office if a woman came to see me alone.

        • Michael Bauman says

          And of course there will then arise an outcry for female priests.

  4. Amazed in the Midwest says


    It is good to see Sam and Stankovich jump on your latest article. It tells me that you have hit close to the heart and the Syosset lemmings are quick to attack.

    Let’s be clear, Syosset is obsessed with ORSMA and your characterization of it as the USSR gets closer to the truth of the matter. ORSMA has become the new Raison d’être for the OCA. Why are they sending Miss Cindy on their ecumenical Hajj to South Korea? Because she is the newest full-time female apparatchik? Of course not. It is because she is ORSMA chief of the USSR. That is all the OCA has to offer. As we speak its tenuous status is one of the reasons for the growing friction between the EP and the MP ( This is another reason why the OCA is desperate to go to the WCC meetings because they are on life support in world Orthodoxy and they may just have to broker a deal to survive in any form but as a self-governing entity is not likely.

    So, George, consider the sources of the “out of the gate” rapid response team of SAM and Stankovich. You have hit a nerve and they don’t like it.

    • Dear Amazed,

      Thank you for engaging my critique of George’s article with such an incisive counter-argument. I think your point about lemmings is one of the better insights into the whole issue of misconduct procedures. I was wrong to point out that George’s thesis is unsupported by the material he cites. Thank you for correcting me!

      But do you not think it is a bit rich to accuse the OCA administration of being obsessed with sexual misconduct, when such misconduct has been the principle topic of discussion on this website for some time. Who is obsessed here?

      Let me assure you, Amazed, that I don’t work in, at, or for Main OCA. My “rapid response” occurred because I was interested to read “Vladyka” Tikhon’s response to a question I posed him. Generally, I have other obligations. Perhaps this knowledge might, in some small way, lessen your amazement.


      • Amazed in the Midwest says


        ‘Au contraire, mon frer. ORSMA has been the signature piece of legislation that Archpriest John Jillions, the OCA Chancellor has been pushing from the first day of his tenure. He writes about it on his Chancellor’s Corner more than any other topic of Church Life. If obsession is too tough a word for you how about fixated? Stuck on it? Thinks its the most important item on the OCA agenda.

        He has written about it more than evangelism, Christian education, Christian witness and outreach, pastoral care, etc. etc. etc.

        Now, he is a question, exactly how many clergy abuse cases is the OCA actively working on right now? Enough to move a part time person to a full time person? We all know that the OCA finances are fragile, but SAM did you see a very part time mission director or christian education, humanitarian direction move from part time to full time? Does that not suggest to you that sex crimes and misdemeanors are THE most important thing on the OCA agenda, its signature focuses legislation?

        Doesn’t that just make you feel all warm and fuzzy 😉 Doesn’t that just want to make you run out and tell the world how happy you are to be in the OCA?

        • What I don’t understand, Amazed, is this. You write that OCA finances are fragile. Thus, a successful misconduct lawsuit would be a financial disaster. There would no money to employ any administrators, including the mission, education, and humanitarian directors you would like to see employed. So, if you think there is value in a central church administration, adopting misconduct policies are very important. If you think there isn’t much value in a central church administration, then your argument about national mission directors etc doesn’t make much sense. And, of course, George’s article highlights how these procedures can help protect your own parish priest. That is a good thing.

          I also don’t understand your criticism of Fr Jillions. The Chancellor of the OCA has a specific job. He is doing it. Why do you expect him to spend more time doing other things? Talking about other things? Other people can do this and do do this. It’s called division of labor. The absence of topics from the Chancellors writing and speeches doesn’t diminish their importance. How odd would that be if it were true?

          No, none of this makes me feel warm and fuzzy. It’s not a warm fuzzy topic. But it does make me think that the OCA is coming to grips with a serious issue. For that I am thankful.


          • The bishops are the shepherds and primary teachers of the Church, not the chancellor of the OCA. Let’s hear from them, and let Fr. John mind his own administrative business. One might be tempted to think we are departing from sound Orthodox ecclesiology. I wonder how soon he is up for the title ‘protopresbyter’ and shepherd of bishops?

          • Amazed in the Midwest says


            After reading the recent minutes of the Metropolitan Council meeting I would say that despite the new ORSMA rules, the OCA should get hit with a big fat lawsuit for divulging the name of a priest who has allegations against him, Nothing proven, just allegations, yet they publicize the man’s name? Guilty until proven innocent.

            No matter how “good” the new rules may be, without the heart of Christ, the rules mean nothing. And that is what is wrong with the new rules and the leaders who are promoting them.

            • Dear Amazed,

              Where in the recent minutes did you find this? I could only find a summary of cases in the Legal Committee report. Those cases are public records. So any disclosure of information from the complaint, answer, or motions etc does not violate any privileged. Furthermore, publicizing a person name based on public documents is not the same thing as finding someone guilty.


              • Amazed in the Midwest says


                So the OCA sets the low bar at what is legal according to you. How about what is moral? How about a higher standard? How about what is just and temperate? Is this about winning or saving souls?

                I am sure you will recall how Christ handled the lawyers of His time. But your reply makes the best case and evidence for how far the OCA has sunk. The letter of the law but not the spirit of it. Thank you for confirming what we all know – the OCA is ruled by lawyers and technicians, by what may not get them sued. Pretty sad but what is worse, they are only fooling themselves. I sure hope not you too.

                • Amazed,

                  I am sorry that this is your opinion on these matters. I suspect that nothing I can write will convince you otherwise, so I won’t bother trying. But that is ok. I have enjoyed this correspondence.


            • Completely Obvious says

              It was completely obvious why they published that name. While it was publicly accessible information, it certainly was not well known until Syosset chose to reveal it. It’s meant to embarrass, humiliate, and color the defendant as guilty.

              Thankfully, this was also a revealing opening hand by the Syosset apparatchiki. Priests who were convinced that the new PSPs were all about protecting clergy should take note: your bishop does NOT have your back. Get named in a lawsuit, no matter how frivolous, and you’ll get smeared by your “Fathers in Christ,” feeling smug and righteous as they throw you under the bus.

              • Dear Completely Obvious,

                I envy you your certainty. Why would the OCA want to embarrass, humiliate and color the defendant as guilty? And, if the OCA wanted to do this, surely there are more effective ways than publishing the names of lawsuits in a legal report that most people won’t read.

                Your second paragraph makes no sense. The PSPs are about protecting clergy. They can’t protect against the filing of lawsuits, but they can help provide a robust answer to a legal complaint. Furthermore, the PSP draft posted on this website says nothing about content of the legal committee’s report to the Metropolitan Council. So blaming the PSP for the disclosure is to misrepresent the facts. In fact, the PSP has an section on confidentiality, and nothing in the legal committees report comes from the ORSMA.

                In sum, Completely Obvious, I find your conclusions to be anything but obvious. Indeed, they appear to be fuzzily reasoned thoughts marshaled in defense of bias. There very well may be problems with the PSPs and how Main OCA is operating, but you utterly fail to present them.


                • Sam, whether or not most people are going to read this report, these documents are going to be picked up by search engines. Anyone who searches for information on this priest can now stumble across this report, and it will be there indefinitely.

                • I envy you your certainty. Why would the OCA want to embarrass, humiliate and color the defendant as guilty?

                  Gee, won’t someone tell SAM here why the OCA would do that?

  5. Gail Sheppard says

    When I was in kindergarten, my Brownie troop (we didn’t have a “Daisy” category back then) went on a field trip. This was back in 1958 or 1959. None of our parents knew where we were going, as it was a “surprise.” When we got back, we were hysterical. Many (not just a few) reported seeing “a white poker being stabbed into a man’s stomach.” Angry parents were on the phone. My mother, a very strict first grade teacher and an unusually gifted interrogator, came to me as the source of truth. I told her what we actually saw, i.e. a man being fitted with a prosthetic limb. I can can’t imagine why our Brownie leader felt a bunch of 5-year-olds would benefit from going to the Tuscon Limb and Brace Company, but that’s where she took us. Most of us weren’t quite sure what we were seeing, as the idea of losing a limb had never occurred to us. The man being fitted with the prosthesis was in horrific pain. He was trying to hard to contain it, but was white as a ghost; beads of sweat poured down his face. I remember being totally freaked out that he didn’t have a leg. We were crowded into a very small workspace. There were sparks flying all over the place that we could see and smell. There was a wooden work bench with leather, steel, vice grips and wrenches. It was a scene right out of Criminal Minds (TV show). Especially to a little kid. I was so traumatized that I developed a fear of broken bones, not even wanting to walk on the same side of the street with someone in a cast. I had nightmares of people with bandaged limbs and faces. I didn’t get over it until I was in my teens. – The point is that little kids don’t always have the necessary frame of reference to describe things accurately and when you layer on trauma, reality can be distorted.

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      That was a totally inappropriate place to take children at such a tender age to. Hint – any place where you would need to have a heart-to-heart talk about with children probably isn’t a good place for a field trip.

  6. M. Stankovich says

    It is particularly difficult for me to appreciate the rambling, unqualified arguments offered as if I am naive, stupid enough to have ever not heard of these extreme anecdotal cases, or – I don’t know what – am relying on an news service article from USA Today. I have sat. literally, with hundreds of psychopathic sexual predators of children & adults and have learned their techniques, the commonalities of their thinking, their fundamental inability for empathy, their unimaginable ability to manipulate and deceive, and face the raging intensity of their arrogance. Hundreds of them! And as I have mentioned previously, I am fooled all the time! A man will sit and “confess” the details of his crimes, pausing in what seems his remorse, always making direct eye-contact, speaking the words of therapy, and when I’m lulled just enough, it strikes me: “Stand up!” “What?” “Stand up!” And damned if he doesn’t have an erection, massaging himself under the table as he “bragged” to me of his conquests! He will “savor” the experience of playing me for days to come.

    So, Ladder of Divine Ascent, Amazed in the Midwest, and Mark from the DOS, shall we discuss “McMartin” from 1986 and your qualifications to sort all this business out? I’ve already invited Mr. Bauman to the freakshow of those mutilated and despicable, so I’m happy to accompany you to AdSeg to visit the psychopaths. My thought: don’t wait too long to use that body alarm. You can’t out-con the masters. Then we’ll pick up Ms. Sheppard and head to my former military clinic to watch through the one-way mirror as living angels are treated for emotional, physical, and sexual abuse because responsible adults followed the law – but more importantly – trusted the literature and their hearts and believed them when they reported abuse unquestioningly. You go into that room and determine if someone “planted” ideas in their minds if you are so qualified. And finally, we will sit down with the priest/accused – hidden behind the “gold wall” of silence – know by his brothers to have walked a “fine line” with females, yet… As a bishop said to me, “I know the accusations are probably true, but how will he support his family? His only vocation is as a priest. It will destroy his family. And, his brother priests will blame me.” Hmm. So many victims. While you are debating among yourselves about what to do with him, my heart here is with the victims: his wife & family. As I’ve said, it is possible to reduce your vulnerability to false accusations to next to nothing. We will count the number of victims of false accusations on our hands. I see nothing but sorrow for the families of these offenders. And the gross exaggeration of false accusation prediction without evidence, substantiation, or precedent is shameful and purposefully antagonistic.

    We are talking about living, breathing women and children here, as well as some wrongfully accused of abuse, none of whom you will assume any responsibility for should you just happen to be mistaken. You are internet “legends” spouting out the most extreme, the most unlikely, and the most useless examples of anomaly and attempting to raise them to the level of authority. It is foolish, it is ill-conceived, it is dangerous, and it simply stupid.

    • Amazed in the Midwest says

      We are talking about living, breathing women and children here, as well as some wrongfully accused of abuse, none of whom you will assume any responsibility for should you just happen to be mistaken.

      Are you talking about the OCA Bishops? Did they assume any responsibility since they just happened to be mistaken about Metropolitan Jonah?

      Dang Stankovich, you are a really pompous ass hiding behind your “credentials” and using them as a weapon. If you were a priest you would be the worst kind, the one who stands up and shouts “I am the Priest and you have do to what I say because I went to seminary and because, I AM THE PRIEST!”

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I’m not as naive as you make me out to be, Dr. MS. I had a child who was molested by a neighbor’s friend when he was three (fortunately, the act was interrupted), as was my best friend’s five-year-old by a kid named Tim. (Check out “Bitter Harvest,” by Ann Rule.) – A long time school teacher friend of my mother’s is serving a life sentence, I believe, for the things she and her husband did to children. If you’re interested, I could show you their pictures in my wedding photos, as they were sitting at the head table. To say we were shocked would be an understatement. – I am not unfamiliar with your world, Dr. MS. I wish I were.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Dr Stankovich, you already have your answer: the bishops you cite, the ones who sat down and dressed down their priests because of adultery with adults and chosen to overlook certain cases made their ruling based on what they believed was best for the parish, the priest, and the woman in question. There was no need to pay money to a Syosset Sex Squad. If however the priests were molesting children –a whole different ballgame. Call the cops.

    • Mark from the DOS says

      You aren’t the only person in the church with credentials, Doctor. Not all of us feel it necessary to pat ourselves on the back via internet forums, nor recount lurid foxhole stories for our own titillation or that of some intrepid reader. In fact, some of us see both the self-congratulation and airing of therapeutic experiences as quite unseemly and unprofessional. Your over the top response is telling enough. Good day, sir.

      • M. Stankovich says

        Mark from the DOS,

        You don’t know me from anyone on this earth. But having examined my “credentials,” if only in the most peripheral way, do you honestly imagine I have some necessity, at this point in my career, to come to a forum such as this to satisfy my “self-esteem” needs? To intimidate and “overwhelm” by “lurid foxhole stories?” Madonna Mia, man, the point seems to have gone over your head in a big way:

        1) Of course there are others with credentials in the church, and undoubtedly infinitely more gifted & talented than me! God is merciful and the shepherd is not satisfied until all the lost sheep have been found. Mark from the DOS, I don’t know your vocation, but I mourn my lack of faith to be a healer, and I am embarrassed at how fabulously a failure I am.

        2) I share these “foxhole stories” to impress two things: the complexity of the dynamics, and the depth & extent of the responsibility one assumes when entering. Fr. Hans mocks this as the “prose of high drama” and a “good source material for Law and Order: SVU (voyeurism for Grandma).” He does not understand ministry, and I remind all that in in the Lord’s recounting of the parable of the Good Samaritan, the first to discover the injured man, “a priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.” (Lk. 10:31).

        Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit with. (1 Cor. 12:4-7)

        I will say again, I am well trained, I was superbly well-supervized, I am experienced, and I am talented. This is not “self-congratulatory” or “over-the-top” because it is a fact, and I speak to this topic because I know of what I speak. I sustain my emotional needs elsewhere.

        • Michael Bauman says

          M. Stankovich comments:

          But having examined my “credentials,” if only in the most peripheral way, do you honestly imagine I have some necessity, at this point in my career, to come to a forum such as this to satisfy my “self-esteem” needs? To intimidate and “overwhelm” by “lurid foxhole stories?”

          It does seem that way.

    • This is the Difference says

      And this the difference between the OCA and the teachings of Christ and the Church:

      Stankovich: (In speaking of repentant priests who may have strayed) “While you are debating among yourselves about what to do with him, my heart here is with the victims: his wife & family.”

      Jesus Christ: “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (Jn 8:10-11)

      PSP: Anonymous accusations are allowed. Rumors and suspicions are encouraged to be reported. Clergy are not entitled to see the accusations or the accusers name.

      The New Testament: “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.” (I Tim 5:19)

      • George Michalopulos says

        Excellent point. I also dispute Dr Stankovich’s claim that the wife and children are “victims,” at least not in the same sense that a molested child is a victim. Here we can see the slippery slope that the theological liberals are pushing us onto. Rather than worry about actual paedophilia, they are in a tizzy because a priest may be having an adulterous affair with an adult (male or female).

        Now, mind you, I don’t think priests should be adulterers –ever. But I cannot believe that the priest in question has all the power and the woman does not. ORSMA does, thanks to radical feminism ideology. If this is true, then women as a general rule have no moral agency and we should restrict their rights across the board. No more women in the workforce, no more voting, no rights of inheritance, etc. Whether birth control is used would be the sole prerogative of the husband. A woman would not be able to choose to have an abortion. Her husband though could force her to have one.

        • M. Stankovich says

          Mr. Michalopulos,

          I had the great fortune on several occasions to hear both Fr. Schmemann & Fr. Hopko address priest wives at SVS, and while it was a very warm, intimate, and supportive exchange, it did not strike me as possible to leave it without the strong lesson of “vocation.” The word “vocation” speaks to an appreciation of the greatness of this calling of a woman to be an “image” in herself of the wholeness of marriage and family in the church. I would hope that those “priest wives,” who were so vocal regarding the actions of Bishop Matthias take you to task for your reduction of the violation of their vocation as somehow less “significant” than sexual abuse, and your insensitivity for the shame and guilt they will experience (and the most certainly will) – as well as their children – when they have done nothing to earn this scorn. Without touching any of the dynamics which generally precede infidelity, how will a priest’s wife who determines it necessary to leave this relationship support herself and her child(-ren) if she has not been working? Where will she live? Will the Diocese help her? Will the OCA help her? If a parent cannot or will not take her in, she proceeds to the “feral life,” Mr. Michaelopulos. I have seen it many times over the years. Please stop me when I’ve sufficiently completed the “liberal theology.”

          Secondly, you know nothing about the dynamics of power –however unconscious or inadvertent – that are endemic to spiritual/therapeutic relationships. In CA you are obligated to display the brochure for patients, Therapy Does not Involve Sex, so endemic, so common is the problem. You are confused over the distinction between authority and power. Power has to do with a “transferential” process of trust – in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, it is referred to as “loaning the patient your ego” – where initially relying on the counselor becomes reliance on the counsel. These are the dynamics of obedience to the wise ascetic guide, which may appear as a fostering a “dependence,” but is actually as John the Baptist spoke “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (Jn. 3:30) Nevertheless, it is precisely at this point of trusting vulnerability that predators exercise their pathology and use this “transference” as control.” The number one reason professionals are removed from the field are for violating this trust, so I cannot imagine it is any different among ordained clergy. Attempting to account for this predictable, expected phenomenon by blaming this on “radical feminine ideology” is radical ignorance.

          Seriously, these are psychology/psychiatry supervision 101 issues and again you are ignorant of these issues, not me.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Dr Stankovich, I believe we’re talking past each other here. I fully agree with you that a professional should never have sex with a client/patient but I cannot for the life of me believe that a grown woman in full possession of her faculties is a “victim” (unless of course she was sexually assaulted).

            Because of my knowledge of history (Eleanor of Aquitaine, Joan of Arc, Laskarina Bombolina, etc.) I don’t believe that women are incapable of making up their own minds. The radical feminists actually believe that, only they couch it in a Marxian dialectic in which the time will come when women are fully equal but only after Utopia is achieved.

            • M. Stankovich says

              Mr. Michalopulos,

              You cannot, for the life of you, believe it because you are ignorant. The fact is, she would be considered sexually abused and have been determined so in many states. Perhaps you need to go back and read the thread regarding Bishop Matthias on YOUR OWN SITE. He was attempting to take advantage of the imbalance of the relationship. Unfortunately, the concept of “grooming” has become associated strictly with children, and it is not. Predators groom victims. You speak, Mr. Michalopulos, as if I have described some sort of hypnosis or the creation of a “zombie.” I am referring to the process of improperly gaining trust and improperly fostering mistrust, not delusion or psychosis. These victims do not lose their ability to make choices, but they have been improperly influenced as to the appropriateness of their choices.

              Obviously, the difficulty arises when the “conflicts” are more complex. Some have made this same argument – abuse of trust and fostering of mistrust – against certain US monasteries and their spiritual founder, while its monks insist they “freely chose” to be there. How do you segregate “monastic obedience” from “cultist enslavement?” There are fascinating new studies examining the relationship between our newest war veterans, PTSD, violent video games, and the legend of “Generation Kill.”

              I would suggest, Mr. Michalopulos, that perhaps a question of clarification should precede these kind of statements from you.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              It is just a fact of life that anyone who commits a great wrong which is found out, whether it is in the “private” sphere, such as we are discussing here, or in the public realm, such as the commission of a serious crime, is going to wreak great destruction upon his wife and children, among others.

              They are certainly victims.

  7. Amazed in the Midwest says

    Here is Cindy Davis’ ORSMA report given at the recent Metropolitan Council Meeting.

    Report of the Office of Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations (ORSMA) Metropolitan Council Meeting

    Fall, 2013

    Report given by Cindy Davis in Executive Session

    And a look at Archpriest John Jillions report, rather bizarre, but that is a subjective remark on my part, his #1 objective for the coming year is what? You guessed it.

    Chancellor’s Objectives for 2014

    1. Work with SMPAC, ORSMA, the Metropolitan and Holy Synod to continue to make progress on policies and procedures for preventing and addressing misconduct.
    2. Develop the Stewards of the Orthodox Church in America, finding new supporters and rebuilding relationships with those who fell away.
    3. Work with the Board of Theological Education to ensure uniform standards for selecting, evaluating, training, ordaining, mentoring and supporting candidates for ordination in the Orthodox Church in America.
    4. Work with the Holy Synod to ensure uniform standards for receiving clergy into the OCA.
    5. Ensure that the Holy Synod has the administrative support it needs to identify, train, mentor and evaluate candidates for the episcopacy.
    6. Restore the Department of Pastoral Life as a functioning body to connect OCA clergy with each other and with resources for their ministries, their parishes, their families and themselves.
    7. Consult with the Metropolitan and Holy Synod to address the needs of immigrants.
    8. Continue to write the “Chancellor’s Diary” as an effective means to connect the Chancery with the wider Church.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Fr John A. Jillions, Chancellor September 25, 2013 St Sergius of Radonezh

    • You mentioned a report from Cindy Davis. There was not one in your post. Maybe you forgot to paste it.

      • Jim of Olym says

        Yo, you can’t see it because you are not one of the illuminati! (Nor am I: It was given in executive session. Shhhhh!)

        Parenthetically, you gotta love these guys! The minutes always say that they talked about this and that, and had reports on this and that, but hardly ever say that the ‘this and that’ consists of. And your contributions are gratefully received…..

    • Gail Sheppard says

      So the Chancellor, the SMPAC and ORSMA are ALL making “misconduct” their top priority? Wow.

      • Hmmm…could it be related to Archbishop arrests, or how about bishop’s retiring in disgrace over improper relationships, or I dunno any number of other stories of bishops behaving badly.

        I’d say the church is acting more responsible than the critics here…finally.

        When the lawsuits from Canada reach deep into the bank; maybe the rest of you will get it. If snap were just jerking the chain now; you might be right, but they have been around awhile.

        The one thing I believe is fair is the desire to be cautious about clergy ratting out clergy for consentual relationships because it seems like some play a gay card if it helps their situation-so to speak.

        • Amazed in the Midwest says

          Dan Fall,


          The one thing I believe is fair is the desire to be cautious about clergy ratting out clergy for consentual relationships because it seems like some play a gay card if it helps their situation-so to speak.

          Are you saying that if clergy who are suppose to be celibate are engaging in gay consensual sex that they should be quiet? That exposing this is “ratting out” a cleric?

          • Amazed in the Midwest says

            And while I have you on the line, Dan Fall,

            It is responsible for the MC Legal committee to publish accusations about a priest? Nothing proven, just allegations? You say it is part of the public record. So. What is the morality of such an action? It may be legal but is it morally right? This is the entire madness that is going on with the ORSMA OCA. Indeed they follow the letter of the law, but what of the spirit of the law? Why can’t those who are in leadership see this? Why is there such a “group think” reaction going on?

            As for the possible discussion of the Seraphim case in Executive Session, what a joke. That is part of the public record. They don’t know anything more than what is already out there. On-going legal cases are in the MC minutes, so what else can be so secret, unless it is done not to protect people, protect this reputation of that priest? Or maybe he should have his reputation trashed. It that to prove something? Make a point? And that point being, you are on your own if accused of something. No bishop will help you, Syosset is your adversary. Just deal with it. Terrible example of love because it is not love at all.

        • Daniel E Fall says

          Didn’t see your questions til today… Let me clarify my statements. It seems a card gets played in this anti-gays Christian world where Clergyman A rats out or threatens to rat out Clergyman B for being gay.

          I said we need to be cognizant of the fact Clergyman A might have some underlying intent in doing so. Perhaps he was not a good priest in the first place. Ratting out a supposed homosexual clergyman does not make Clergyman A a good priest. Or holding the threat above Bishop B in order to gain, oh, I dunno, thousands of dollars – see a little problem there, too. Of course, that would be pure conjecture on my part. Ha Ha Ha. Or Clergyman A might be a drunk-pulls the gay card when threatened with suspension…etc.

          But, really, how does Clergyman B know Clergyman A is gay? It is all assumption, barring a conduct complaint from a third party. And furthermore, this has happened, at least in part, but I am not absolutely certain as to the underlying intent part-at least not in every situation.

          Imagine, however, a situation, where Clergyman A has been told he is not worthy of the priesthood by his bishop, and the intent is defensive. Deep in Clergyman A’s pocket lies a little secret about Clergyman B. Out comes that card.

          The fact is heterosexual clergy have advanced all sorts of ills with this secret in their pockets, and it is high time it stopped as well. I’m not proposing how, just recognizing it is very, very real. And, of course, the underlying problem is homosexual clergy, but being a homosexual clergyman is far different than being accused of rape by a third party. My only point is the two are different, but both need to be addressed.

          As for the discussion about Seraphim, you are simply wrong. Regardless of what is in the public record; the employer, who may be on the line for financial compensation to third parties-even Seraphim himself, would be extremely irresponsible making its comments public. Find me one lawyer in the world that would agree with you and make sure you never provide her with a retainer.

          And finally, about the love you speak. Once a priest has been accused of a crime; the church has a stewardship responsibility to the rest of the flock, regardless of the proving of the crime. Consider your viewpoint for a moment in a Hypothetical.

          Priest A is accused of molesting Child A. The bishop really has always been very fond of Priest A, and so he fails to take an action because another person either covers for Priest A, or priest A has some defense that creates enough doubt to support the bishop’s confirmation bias. No further investigation is done. A year later Priest A is accused of another molestation of Child B and this time he was caught in the act.

          By upholding the priest, what love was shown to Child B? None. If you think the OCA priests need no governance structure for sexual misconduct; you are supporting the Hypothetical completely. And you are doing so to protect Priest A against false claims? And that is love?

          Changing the tune a bit, it is a very difficult situation working with groups of people, priests have lots of access to individuals. My father was a social worker and was required to work with pubescent teenage girls at times. He was terrified of what accusations they might throw his way (they made lots of false accusations when they’d get angry and later recant many of them), and so he never dealt with them in a personal situation without my mother in the vehicle. I’d say he had 10 encounters he was required to fulfill his duties in with teenage girls. The priests all need to recognize the threats they face and mitigate them as my father had to…

          The other side of the sexual misconduct policy is advocating and helping priests mitigate false claims against them. Rather than railing against necessary policy, it would be far better to take your concerns and ask the OCA how they intend to help priests mitigate false claims like my father had to do..

    • Mark from the DOS says

      What an interesting report and list of priorities from our Chancellor. Did I miss the part about preaching the Gospel, bringing lost sheep to Christ or maybe opening more missions?

      We are truly lost.

      • Daniel E Fall says

        St. Paul was big on order.

        To suggest every meeting must discuss opening more missions is really unfair to the Chancellor. I don’t know him, nor do have a compulsion to defend him, but your statement is a horrible criticism and I suggest you retract it.

  8. I’m not sure the USSR was known particularly for its sexual witch-hunts (one could ask Drezhlo). Be fair to the Soviets. There was “no sex in the Soviet Union” anyway, or so they say.

    Your point is taken, though.

  9. Jim of Olym says

    George, I know two Antiochian parish churches that have ‘confession rooms’ that are not visible from the nave or the altar, both have closed doors ‘to insure privacy’ as one person told me. I personally would not come to confession in such a place. There are several good reasons for confession in the open church with another person present reading psalms.

  10. Reading all the above reminds me of reading the history of the Quakers, The Society of Friends, and why they decided to do away with all clergy. Maybe they were/are on to something. Always I had thought that they threw away the baby with the bath water but eliminating most things hierarchical seems to have eliminated a lot of problems and put responsibility on the lay people.

    And much later on in life I read an article questioning the wisdom of calling a priest ‘Father’. The author wondered whether this custom led to the lay people as always thinking of themselves as children, and therefore never maturing in the faith. Obviously from reading the above, sometimes Father doesn’t know best.

    Human beings throughout history whether secular or religious, have often experienced the same phenomenon: When you put people on pedestals they often forget where they came from and consider themselves above the law.

    Some questions. What is Christian community? What should a Christian community look like? Should some people be more equal than others? Why are clergy ranked, (by hats and crosses and whatever) and lay people are not? Does making the office of clergy a profession instead of a vocation change the dynamics?

    • Completely Obvious says

      And there it is. Welcome to the OCA, ladies and gentlemen.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Jeff, good questions actually even if the premise seems to be flawed.

      There is not a variety of Christian communities. There is only one: “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic”

      It is of necessity hierarchical (expressing holy order); focused on the celebration of the Eucharist, ascetical, charitable, merciful and marytric (witness).

      The hierarchy properly understood has nothing to do with authority but with service. We are all equal before God–all sinners called to repentance.

      The episcopal and priestly offices are professional in that each professes Christ and commits to a high level of service but whether it should be a job is a good question. There are many even today for whom it is not.

      As to the trappings of rank most are accretions of either the Byzantine or Ottoman courts and could probably be done away with.

      But keep in mind: no bishops, no sacrament, no Church, no incarnational/charismatic community.

      The bishops are supposed to lead, form and safeguard that community by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

      When they do not we all suffer but that suffering can be for our salvation. Doing away with them puts us in a limbo the fruit of which can be seen in the fractured heresies of the Protestant world.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        I agree entirely with Mr. Bauman, but as he says, Jeff asks some good questions.

        One thing that has always struck me about the Mormons is the impact of the fact that they do not have a professional clergy, except at the highest administrative levels. Every believing man has a clerical role, and also is unpaid in respect of any such role, each making his living outside the church. Everyone stands ready to conduct the service, and preach the sermon. (Or so I hear; I’ve never been at a Mormon service.)

        This prevents any gulf at all growing between the clergy and the “laity”, inasmuch as everybody (men, anyway) is both. Having spent my life among the Presbyterians, the quintessential declining mainline denomination, I have seen the gulf between liberal-to-unbelieving clergy and believing laity as it grew and grew, long ago reaching disastrous proportions. Among the LDS, if you become an unbeliever, you do not stick around like an apostate Episcopal bishop or Presbyterian pastor (if for nothing else because it is your job and pension); you just leave.

        This is just an observation, not a suggestion, I hasten here to add! Some vagrant thoughts do pass through my head these days when I contrast the well-attended Sunday Divine Liturgy at the GOC where my son and I are catechumens, and the beautiful vespers services, several times a week, than garner 5 or 10 folks……

        • Michael Bauman says

          Tim R….the LDS devotion to temporary service and many other parts of their faith reveal the brittleness of cults IMO. One has to be unceasing in the support of the untruth for it to continue.

          That does not excuse the nominalism of many in traditions that are more reflective of the truth, nor the corruption, unbelief and apathy. Often we Orthodox mistake the Biblical promise that the gates of heal will not prevail against the Church as a personal promise of our own salvation no matter what.

          As I am sure you realize, doing away with the hierarchy just because of abuse is a fallacious stance.

          A sacramental Church requires a hierarchy.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            I agree entirely. The difficulty, as always, is how to animate the faithful laity; virtually a universal question.

            In other words, practical measures!

            • Michael Bauman says

              Tim R. Most of the faithful I know are activated. Of course my situation seems to be unique. But I know faithful in several different jurisdictions all across the country.

              Pray the Lord of the harvest send more.

  11. I attended the 75th Anniversary celebration for SVS on Thursday. It was a classy event however a stark reality of the OCA came crashing through. In attendance was an OCA priest who is divorced, with his long time lover at his arm in full display of those in attendance. It is one thing for this man who divorced his wife so he could live his life with his male lover but the two of them parading around the SVS festivities brought home the stark reality that the OCA has made its peace with such clergy and they find nothing wrong with it. If anyone wonders why the OCA is dying this one example speaks volumes.

    The recent Assembly of the Diocese of Western Pennsylvania is another reality check. The once proud diocese now hovers with membership of 2000. Most of her parishes have memberships of less than 50. Its decline mirrors other dioceses in the OCA. The OCA is not growing but in a membership free fall. All the ORSMA rules will not change this reality.

    I congratulate SVS on holding an amazing event and I am glad that SVS is reaching out and signing agreements with other theological schools around the world. Maybe they know something that the brain trusts in Syosset are not yet able to realize, the future sustainability of SVS and the OCA will not come from what they currently possess but what they could, a wider engagement with Orthodox people around the world. SVS has figured out that it can not survive if it absolutely hitches its horse to the OCA which is going down. Rather they are banking on preparing itself as an institution to survive after the OCA disappears.

    • M. Stankovich says


      I read this and think, “if anyone wonders why the OCA is dying” it can be attributed every bit as much to moral cowards such as yourself, hypocritically pointing out the stark reality that “the OCA has made its peace with such clergy.” What volumes are spoken when you witness “in attendance an OCA priest who is divorced, with his long time lover at his arm in full display” yet say nothing; even managing to “congratulate SVS on holding an amazing event.” Prof. SS Verhovskoy directly challenged us as a “cowardly generation,” and what would he have thought of your cowardly retreat to the “anonymous” internet to scorn others for what you are constitutionally incapable of doing yourself. As I see it, you had the choice of calling or writing the Dean as to why you would not be attending; you could have confronted these men privately; or you could you could have openly addressed this issue with the seriousness to which you attribute it: speaking volumes as to “why the OCA is dying.” You did absolutely nothing. True to your internet character, you have nothing positive, nothing edifying, nothing helpful, no guidance, nothing to give but bitching and complaining. What is the point already?

      • George Michalopulos says

        Dr Stankovich, why denigrate James for “moral cowardice”? What good would it have done had James confronted the priest in question, his catamite, the Dean, or the entire Synod for that matter? What James described was par for the course in an institution which has made its peace with the Zeitgeist. The worst, possible thing that anybody could do in a situation such as this is make a scene. I dare say that ven preaching the Gospel would be counterproductive in such a situation as it would only harden the hearts of those present.

        It took me years (decades really) to realize that when people are set in their ways (myself included) that they will not listen to moral reproach.

        The only possible thing to do at that point is to simply say nothing and leave. I don’t known whether James did this or not but the Lord told His disciples that this is what they were to do when they went into a town that didn’t receive them.

        • M. Stankovich says

          Mr. Michalopulos,

          There are several ways of responding to your question, “What good would it have done?” depending on your expectation of the probable outcome.

          If your expectation is that it is foolishness and fantasy to imagine, and statistically improbable that in addressing people “set in their ways” moral truth may change them is to admit impotence and refute the words of the Lord Himself:

          If you have faith, and doubt not, you shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if you shall say to this mountain, Be removed, and be cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive. (Matt. 21:21-22)

          If it is your expectation that “causing a scene” or embarrassing someone in a blatant demonstration, a flaunting, of their sinfulness before the hierarchs and clergy is the worst possible scenario, and “counterproductive,” you collude in the denial:

          Whoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Mk. 8:38)

          And always better to say absolutely nothing than to be hypocritical, accusing others of what you will not do yourself:

          Well has Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. However, in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Mk 7:6-7)

          This has been my question here for weeks, Mr. Michalopulos: What to do? Everyone is a “moralist.” Everyone calls for “repentance,” for “return to tradition/Tradition,” and falling over themselves to award “Axios” to any bishop who speaks the truth likes it’s a “thumbs-up.” To collude with “open secrets” is shameful and cowardly. Perhaps James could contact the wife of Rod Dreher, whom you recall personally took her outrage for inaction directly to the front door of Met. Jonah. I have never met her, but I recall with admiration her courage.

          What to do, Mr. Michalopulos? Blogging is not the answer.

          • Michael Bauman says

            What to do? The Biblical directive is 1. Go to the people; 2. If you are not heard, take some others and go back to the people; 3. If that fails, go to the Church as a whole (or at least the bishop); 4. If that fails, the people who refuse to listen are no longer part of the Church. Will it ‘work’ unlikely, but if it does you have a brother and if it doesn’t, you have fulfilled the Lord’s way; the way of love. A no-lose situation.

            Now, when the hierarchy is apparently so out of whack, the only example I can think of is from the time of the Arian heresy during which the number of those faithful, including bishops, was quite low at one point. Those that were faithful gathered around bishops who were faithful or simply endured. Eventually, God’s grace, mercy and truth prevailed.

            Find a bishop who is upstanding and faithful, there you will find many parishes that are healthy. Move. If you decide to stay, M. Stankovich is absolutely correct–don’t complain. Either prayerfully and with great service bear the burdens with joy and thanksgiving, or take action with the parties involved and be willing to accept whatever consequences come your way by the grace of God.

            Complaining is a form of Pharisaical religiosity that profits nothing.

            Easy for me to say because I don’t have to move because I am graced with a strong, loving and faithful bishop already through no virtue of my own. I am rather certain, he is not the only such Orthodox bishop in North America even on the Northeast. Keep in mind that perfection is never going to be achieved in this world.

          • James doesn’t say that he said nothing. He may have. Here he is reporting what he saw. . . . with a bit of commentary.
            I agree that saying something then in front of these men would not be a good idea, however talking to the deans later might be.

            • I think Stankovich makes a good point that this is something best discussed with one’s priest…bishop, rather than criticizing the host.

              Would the host ask them to leave? Unlikely.

              Whether you like it or not-gay clergy have caused problems for the OCA. Usually because someone else takes advantage of the info…

              • I should add, though, that the very argument by Stankovich is the one used against Stokoe’s effort, i.e. he was a coward for the public noise.

                After a point, one man’s view of cowardice becomes another man’s best foot forward.

                There is a very fine line to walk in these matters.

                Remember the parable of throwing the first stone.


          • George Michalopulos says

            I don’t know what to do. Confronting anybody in my opinion would have been worse than fruitless, it would have been hurtful. Mainly because none of us (myself included) is morally justified in their own lives. Basically, we’re at the point because whenever the critics are paralyzed because of their own moral unrighteousness, they can’t mount a defense against those who are even more mired in sin. At that point, only a true prophet who has lived the ascetic lifestyle and is grace-filled can come forward and shame the leaders. And even then it’s iffy.

            Looked at from a global perspective, I still think that when an institution has so succumbed to the casuistry that is necessary to accept moral lassitude among its leadership class that it’s all over but the shouting. We see this in our political class as well.

      • There is merit to what is said here–provided our brother James did not, in fact, bring his complaint to the attention of the powers that be. But couldn’t the point have been made with out the ad hominen of calling James a “moral coward” and of hypocrisy. The use of such epithets tells more about the one who hurls them than the one at whom they are directed. Forgive me, a sinner, and may the Lord keep the door of my lips.

        Christ is in our midst,

    • ‘James’ (November 9, 2013 at 11:59 am) says:

      ‘I attended the 75th Anniversary celebration for SVS on Thursday. It was a classy event however a stark reality of the OCA came crashing through. In attendance was an OCA priest who is divorced, with his long time lover at his arm in full display of those in attendance. It is one thing for this man who divorced his wife so he could live his life with his male lover but the two of them parading around the SVS festivities brought home the stark reality that the OCA has made its peace with such clergy and they find nothing wrong with it. If anyone wonders why the OCA is dying this one example speaks volumes….’


      I’d like to hope that our correspondent ‘James’ called this arrogant display to the attention of that priest’s bishop, who was also in attendance.

      If he did not, I suggest that ‘James’ is pissing up a rope here, uselessly complaining out of venue when he could have made a difference in the event.

      A 1960s slogan: ‘If you’re not part of the solution, you must be part of the problem.’

      • Monk James,

        The bishop in question knows full well the lifestyle of this retired priest as well as those in Syosset. It has been brought to their attention by other clergy and laity.

        So, Stankovich, this is a real situation and it brings scandal to real people.

        • Even so, ‘James’ should have chewed the bishop’s ear.

          Is ‘James’ part of the problem, or part of its solution?

        • M. Stankovich says


          This what I think: now you tell another tale, of a lifestyle “brought to their [the bishop’s] attention by other clergy and laity.” And are you privy to their “lifestyle?” To their confession? Did they repent? Did they heed the corrective word of their bishop? Did they change their minds and their hearts, repenting and returning to the path of chastity and living as brothers? Have you been in their bedroom(s)? Have you spoken to them? Of course you have done nothing of the sort. Instead “you have gone a whoring after the nations, and you are polluted with their idols.” (Ez. 23:30) I, for one, have no idea as to whom you refer – and thanks be to God you have not published their names – and it is you have brought scandal to me. As long as you’re fond of Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1 (to Ophelia): “You jig and amble, and you lisp, you nickname God’s creatures and make your wantonness your ignorance. Go to, I’ll no more on ’t. It hath made me mad.”

          lexcaritas, from the OED: “ad hominem: A phrase applied to an argument or appeal founded on the preferences or principles of a particular person rather than on abstract truth or logical cogency.” Consider that a door about your lips. (Ps. 140:3) Personally, I never forget the words of the Lord to Capernaum, the place where the most miracles were performed:

          And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.” (Matt. 11:23-24)

          My preferences and principles are irrelevant. And when I need your approval. I will seek it.

      • Fr. James, think about it for a second. This is a homosexual priest, brazen enough to bring his lover as his plus one to a church function, and his bishop is there. Is there even the slightest chance that this priest would face punishment?

        James is probably wishing he could have done something about it. But I think his whole point in complaining after the fact is to say that the OCA hierarchy is too far gone to be persuaded or shamed into repenting.

        • ALL OF US must do something about it, laity, deacons, and priests. We must make noise.

          As far as I know, the ROCOR isn’t suffering from this homosexual infection of the episcopate.

          If our OCA’s Holy Synod, infected as they are, can’t/don’t/won’t do anything about this, maybe we should all go over to ROCOR and let the OCA shrivel up and die.

          • Monk James,

            For this and other reasons, the OCA is not growing and people are going to other jurisdictions. The exodus is underway, not in dramatic numbers that make headlines, but quietly and definitely. Reviewing posts from this site over time, it is clear that St. Nicholas Cathedral, the Metropolitan’s See, is barely a shadow of its former self and one reason is the openly gay priest that has been attached there for years. I don’t think the OCA bishops will do a thing about it. They know who their gay clergy are and they do nothing reasoning that if I don’t have pictures are catch them “in the act” then I have no evidence. That may be good enough to placate their own conscience or some of the posters here but in truth people know and are leaving. So who will be left? Maybe those who don’t care that their bishop or priest are gay, and isn’t that what these people actually prefer?

            OCA leadership is about the stagnation of mutual embarrassment while distracting us with ORSMA rules and regulations. They are only fooling themselves and the membership numbers don’t lie.

          • Fr. James,

            People have gone over to ROCOR because of this apathy. People like James become an annoying squeak. He is reporting something that many want to pretend is not there in the OCA. There needs to be a roar not a squeak. But there already was a roar and people chose to not leave for one reason or another. Some covered their ears and made noises so they could not hear and still others became angry at the squeakers and judged them. So, what to do? It’s never good to ignore a problem, always best to look it in the face. It’s only gossip or Pharisaical if it has nothing to do with us, but this -this is public and makes a loud statement giving the impression that this couple is “A ok” with the Church. It leads many to sin. So keep reporting James. Don’t let us become comfortably numb.

          • I agree, Fr. James, we all have to do something about this when things like this happen.

            I’m just saying that we should not be hard on James for not saying anything there. A priest who flaunts his sins in front of the bishop knows the bishop will not do anything, and the bishop had already been informed of the situation.

            The other bishops on the Synod, whether they are aware of this specific case or not, many of them have been said to have turned a blind eye to this kind of thing themselves. What could they be expected to do? Condemning their brother, they would be condemning themselves.

            This is the stark reality that James posted to warn us about.

          • Dear Monk James says

            I’ve mostly been sharing my time between the ROCOR and the Greek Archdiocese and consequently moving between two calendars and at least two translations into English, but think that the occasional foray into the OCA is one way of saying that the OCA and ROCOR are in communion with one another and that we all hope for ONE CHURCH.

    • Engaged observer says

      “In attendance was an OCA priest who is divorced, with his long time lover at his arm in full display of those in attendance. It is one thing for this man who divorced his wife so he could live his life with his male lover but the two of them parading around the SVS festivities brought home the stark reality that the OCA has made its peace with such clergy and they find nothing wrong with it. If anyone wonders why the OCA is dying this one example speaks volumes.”


      I’m sorry, but who is this priest? I think you have an obligation to state whom this priest is and which is his parish. It is so tiring that the well-connected are the ones “in the know” but the rest of us are left clueless. What if we travel and unwittingly attend his parish? What if we have family who move nearby and start worshipping at his church?

      If this priest’s lifestyle is “well known and accepted in SVS circles,” then it should be known to the entire church. Or do you simply not care about we little ones who aren’t connected enough to know important facts that the upper echelons of the church knows? A priest who divorces his wife and lives with a male lover is not gossip — it is important information that parishioners need to know, for our own well-being and for the well-being of our family and friends.

      Someone with a shred of moral courage needs to tell the church.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I disagree. At a venue like that the situation is too far gone. The only salient point to consider by then is that the OCA has decided to neuter their bishops, empower a select coterie of powerful protopresbyters, and create an Unclear Sex Squad Regime, whose sole purpose is to somehow indemnify the OCA from punitive damages in a lawsuit. It’s “unclear” because it appears universal but clearly leaves the connected (like the priest in question) alone.

        Dr Stankovich offered a cogent criticism, saying that there is more to be done, other than blogging. There may very well be, but I’m not up to the task. My job as I see it is to merely serve as a scribe, a quasi-historian if you will; one who documents facts.

  12. Michael Kinsey says

    The priorities of the authentic church of Jesus Christ for 2014, those in the Body of Jesus is.
    We obey and teach the Vision given by the Christ in His responses to the temptation in the desert, which are the Very Will of the Only Holy One. We are the brethren of the Christ, because we DO the Will of the Father. We strive to love God with our whole heart, and serve Him alone. We live by His Word, not bread alone. We do not tempt God. Natural goodness and Grace given goodness is sought for, asked for, and knocked for. We apply the attitudes of the beatitudes in all our human endeavors in a great striving. We seek to fulfill the Royal Law, employing the 3 aspects of the sense of the sacred, fair play, a belief in Divine Justice and the ability to respond to the Divine, by maintaining a good and humble and honest heart with a intense striving for honesty in all things, The ability to respond to the Divine is innate in every human soul, and remains fully functional with the genuine practice of Honesty. The Holy God is Absolutely Perfect, and we strive honestly to become perfect as He is perfect. Faithful, honest, trustworthy people are easy to love. The easy burden of a yoke of light. God is with us, or all this above would be impossible.
    Put this in the minutes.

  13. Thomas Barker says

    James – interesting report. Did you expect the discussion to become what you should have done?

    • Thomas,

      Making a scene at the SVS event would be bad form, prideful and wrong. I have made my concerns known to those who should know but the deafening silence in response speaks loudly. Shooting the messenger is quite an old OCA tactic known to many. Possibly posting here might move them, might not, but at least I can sleep at night knowing that I did something to save some innocents from scandal. In the end, God knows, He is not fooled nor will He be mocked.