Bp. Matthias “Voluntarily” Retires

bp-matthias-oca-thumb Anybody want to guess how long it will be before the OCA as a whole has a locum tenens? Three years? Five? Don’t laugh. Just count up the territorial dioceses that are presently vacant: Alaska (four years), Dallas (three years), Canada (two years), Philadelphia, and now Chicago. And isn’t it curious how none of this was going on when Jonah was Primate? Then we were electing bishops (Melchisedek, Alexander, Michael, Matthias) and creating territorial dioceses (Washington). Then, the Primate was traveling all over the world being received in Orthodox and non-Orthodox circles. New missions were opening up as were monasteries. Sigh. What a difference a change in administrations makes. The fact that Jonah was gotten rid of in order to “protect” the OCA is ironic wouldn’t you say?

All kidding aside, I pray that the Diocese of the Midwest doesn’t make the same mistake the Dioceses of Alaska and the South have made. Start the nomination process now. And don’t believe Syosset for one minute when they tell you that there aren’t any “qualified” men at present like they tried to tell us in the South. If that’s true, then the OCA has no business being an autocephalous Church. There are plenty of qualified men, the trouble is that Syosset doesn’t understand the meaning of the term as a mature Orthodox jurisdiction would. And one more thing, you need healing but you need a bishop as well. A bishop and healing go hand-in-hand, they’re not mutually exclusive.

In the meantime, we should all keep Bp Matthias in our prayers.

Source: OCA

PASTORAL LETTER
April 14, 2013
Sunday of Saint John of the Ladder

To the Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers, Reverend Deacons, Venerable Monastics, Esteemed Members of the Diocesan and Parish Councils and Faithful of the Diocese of the Midwest,

The past eight months have been difficult for the entire Diocese of the Midwest and have seen the clergy and faithful in all of the parishes deeply affected by the matter of the allegations against His Grace, Bishop Matthias.  The resolution of this matter has likewise required significant attention and the Holy Synod recognizes the stress that everyone has been under during this time.

Since Archbishop Nathaniel’s letter to the diocese of November 3, 2012, the Holy Synod has been carefully reviewing all aspects of this matter, including the Report of the Response Team that investigated the complaint, the Report of the Institute which offered the week-long evaluation and the discussions held at the Assembly and Diocesan Council of the Diocese of the Midwest.

At the Spring Session of the Holy Synod, held on March 11-14, 2013, the members of the Holy Synod met with His Grace, Bishop Matthias, and came to a consensus on this matter.  After much prayer and deliberation, the Holy Synod regretfully determined to recommend to their brother, Bishop Matthias, that he retire voluntarily from his position as diocesan bishop for the Diocese of the Midwest.

Although His Grace was obedient to all the directives placed upon him by the Holy Synod, it was the Holy Synod’s considered opinion that the healing of the Diocese and of the complainant, as well as Bishop Matthias’ own healing, would not be possible should he be returned to the Diocese as a ruling hierarch.  The Holy Synod offered him some time to reflect upon this action and to plan for his transition.

Since the time of the Holy Synod meeting, His Grace, Bishop Matthias, the Holy Synod of Bishops and the Diocese of the Midwest have reached a consensus concerning this entire matter.  This includes the necessary considerations for the complainant, for His Grace and for the clergy and faithful of the diocese.  Bishop Matthias’ retirement will be effective Monday, April 15, 2013.

Finally, effective April 15, 2013, the Holy Synod has appointed His Grace, Bishop Alexander, Bishop of Toledo, as the Locum Tenens of the Diocese of the Midwest.  He is to be commemorated liturgically as “His Grace, Bishop Alexander, Bishop of Toledo, Locum Tenens of the Diocese of Chicago and the Midwest.”

May our Lord, through his precious and life-giving Cross, continue to strengthen us all on our journey to the Kingdom.

Asking God’s blessings upon all, I remain

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+ Tikhon
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada

About GShep

Comments

  1. Sean Richardson says

    Ah, soon enough the former dean of SVS will have his vision take place, of a diocese where there is no member of the “black” (monastic) clergy leading, but rather, they’ll put into place a member of the “white” clergy (married) who will function as a bishop, and be a manager, in everything but name/title. We’ll see if this happens, and if it is a good idea, or just simply or horrible one. May God help us all!

    • Anonymous says

      No former Dean of SVS had this vision. What has been explored and should be returned to are Married Bishops. Married bishops are part of Orthodox Tradition and there is no reason “TODAY” to have only celibate or monastics as bishops. The Grace of the Holy Spirit is not enhanced via celibates or monastics.

      • lexcaritas says

        Indeed, when we see that we need vastly more and smaller dioceses at this point of time, does it make sense and conform to the will of God to make celibacy the primary criterion and sine qua non for episcopal selection?
        Between two chaste men of equal caliber, he who is the monk may well be preferable, but why make this state of life an absolute prerequisite in the current state of urgent missionary need unmet by an apparent dearth of good men who are ready, willing and able to take up the work diocesan shepherds, when our Tradition, oral and written, affords us other more fundamental and critical qualifications: that the man be righteous and full of the Holy Spirit; that he be one who is a credible witness of the Incarnation and the Resurrection, godly, irreproachable, a faithful husband , vigilant and self-controlled, ruling his own household well and with the respect of his children, holy and honourable, generous and hospitable, ready and able to teach, not given to much wine, patient, non-avaricious, not quarrelsome but a peacemaker, experience and humble, candid and forthright and holding the mystey of the Faith with a good conscience and trustworthh in all things and of whom one can say that this man “has been with Jesus.”

        lxc

      • Sean Richardson says

        Anonymous: Oh indeed he did, and it was fairly common knowledge at the time (and is not out-of-step with the thinking of the OCA/Syosset leadership of today. It’s a very good explanation for their actions and attitudes. It would be helpful if we studied history rather than just deny it or be ignornat of it). There is a very long historic tradition of rivalry in Russia between the white and the black clergy that especially reached its climax during the 19th and early 20th century. This is nothing new and should not be a surprise, based on history and the ethnic and cultural backgrounds involved.

        • Anonymous says

          Sean,

          Not true. Let me explain. Celibates & monastics were chosen as bishops ONLY out of “expediency.” Nothing in Orthodox theology requires us to have only celibates or monastics as bishops. Even + Iakavos wanted married bishops for the Greek Archdiocese. Whatever the Russians want to do has no bearing on the American Church. Practicality dictates that we return to married bishops and celibates. SVS & STOTS only teach what the Orthodox Church teaches and marriage is not an impediment for ANY clerical office, including the episcopate.

          • Sean Richardson says

            Anonymous, ah, now this is a different spin on things than what you stated before. However, I am sure someone can dig up a canon or two that do state that bishops are to be celibates. Yet, for any church, at this point, beyond Constantinople or Moscow, to institute married bishops would cause a major rift in the Orthodox Church. While America might be ready for it (and I would suggest we’re not), the rest of Orthodoxy definitely isn’t ready for it. When the Evangelical Orthodox Church came into the Antiochian Church, they had married bishops, who were then accepted as Archpriests. Interestingly, at the same time, the Polish National Catholic Church also wanted to come into Orthodoxy, but they refused to give up on their married bishops, so they were not brought in. Their argument was “The Bible says ‘a bishop is the husband of one wife'”. Also, interestingly, we in America have now adapted this quote dealing with bishops to apply to priests, and have kept many a good man and even good priests out of the priesthood.

            • Fr. Patrick says

              Can anyone tell me how long it has been since the Church (east or west) had married bishops??? We can say all we want to say about how acceptable, historical, practical or even needful a married episcopacy is, but the fact is that if the OCA were to elect a married priest to that honor it would put us at immediate odds (if not sever our communion) with the rest of the Orthodox Churches. Why? Because the Orthodox Church does not have married bishops. That’s why. To restore such a thing would have to be the decision of the entire Church.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                Dear Father Patrick–It has been a very long time indeed if you are talking about a married bishop with a living wife who cohabitates with her husband the bishop–that would be the Council in Trullo or 692 AD. (I am discounting the unfortunate experience in Russian with the Renovationist Church). As we know, the Fathers at Trullo decreed that married bishops of that time would have to put away their wives and that in the future candidates would have to do likewise before consecration. No divorce, but still married but henceforth celibate.

                If you are talking about married bishops, whose wives have passed on, we have some even today: Archbishop Nikon of Boston comes readily to mind. Of course, we just celebrated St. Innocent.

                I do agree with you that because the post-Trullo practice has been even stricter than the relevant ecumenical canons, any change–even back to Trullo–would cause scandal, particularly among those who are uneducated and/or hyper-conservative.

              • Guy Westover says

                Certainly it is better to preserve the tradition of “celibate” bishops (that grope women in casinos, have live-in photographer lovers, that hit the gay bars, or have drunk men die in their basements or secret common law wives) than to have otherwise worthy married men lead the faithful.

                Considering that most lay people support the idea of married episcopate, and the OCA is already mud in the eyes of other jurisdictions, why not take a bold action that at least one other jurisdiction has contemplated, and be a leader.

                Not everything that has fallen out use is untouchable. Such traditions can change based on the needs of the Church. The sad state of monasticism in the OCA, AOA, and the GOA would certainly give the Church a reason to make some changes.

                • Take a “bold action” unilaterally in our state of ill-health and disrepute–and divide the Church further–or at best, isolate ourselves still more from the rest of the Church. “Be a leader”–right down the drain of irrelevancy and schism.

                • Also Anonymous says

                  I don’t think that’s a good or a fair comparison, comparing specific celibate bishops who ended up falling to good, married priests in the abstract.

                  And to say that the OCA is already questionable in the eyes of other jurisdictions, so why not be bold and reverse the decisions of an ecumenical council seems a little backward. If someone already lacks credibility, isn’t that precisely when they should *not* try to do things that others would frown on?

                  Would that not finally lead to the OCA being returned in the eyes of most other local Churches to the schismatic status it had before 1970?

                  • Guy Westover says

                    Would that not finally lead to the OCA being returned in the eyes of most other local Churches to the schismatic status it had before 1970?

                    And yet somehow those were the best years of the OCA.

                    Metropolitan Milquetoast of Mediocrity,
                    North & South America and all the Ships at Sea:
                    Will do all he is told and never be bold;
                    as long as he has his Wednesdays free.

                    From beyond the grave, cries out blessed Leonty;
                    Will the last one to leave, blow out the kandilii

                  • Tim R. Mortiss says

                    “Had we but world enough and time” we could learn about and understand the history of the Russian Orthodox church in this country since 1917. We could decide who was in schism and who wasn’t, and then we could decide it was the reverse. Then again, it was the other way ’round, after all…..

                    But we don’t.

              • Fr. Philip says

                Dear Father,

                The 6th Ecumenical Council (held in A.D.680) prescribes in its Canon 12 that “Presidents” (i.e., bishops) may not cohabit with their wives after their ordination to the episcopate, and that anyone doing so is to be deposed (c.f also Canons 4 and 33 of the Council of Carthage held about A.D.418-419,; also St. John Chrysostom, Discourse 2 on Job; and Canon 48 of this same 6th Ecumenical Council)). So you are absolutely correct in asserting that “to restore such a thing would have to be the decision of the entire Church.”

                Not incidentally, we need to understand clearly that autocephaly does not mean freedom to do whatever we please; it means freedom to govern ourselves within the limits set by Holy Tradition, including the Sacred Canons (which, I would remind one and all, are not arbitrary “laws,” but are applications of Orthodox Christian doctrine to specific situations, and are therefore essentially dogmatic in nature and to not be dismissed so easily.)

                Curiously, Canon 13 of the same Council says just the opposite with respect to presbyters, deacons, and subdeacons. The Council flat-out rejects the insistence “in the church of the Romans” that “ordinands to the deaconry or presbytery must solemnly promise to have no further intercouse with their wives.” Rather, the Council demands “conformity with the ancient canon of apostolic rigorism and orderliness,” insisting that they must continue to cohabit with their lawful wife and engage in lawful intercourse (except during fasting seasons and before serving, of course) and that anyone acting to the contrary is to be deposed.

                Perhaps not so surprisingly, that is exactly the discipline of the Orthodox Church throughout the world to this day.

                Fr. Philip

                • lexcaritas says

                  Frs. Patrick and Philip make excellent points. The celibacy of bishops having been determined by ecumencal canon could not be properly changed except by consent of the whole Church in ecumenical council. Neverthless, it does not seem to follow that the matter is closed to discussion by members of the Church, by reason of which the matter might be discussed and merit action at such a council, should one be held, and conditions be such 1200 years later as to merit a different pastoral approach.

                  The same could be said, by the way, couldn’t it, with regard to the status of the five Patriarchates. Not that they are not important due to their apostolic foundations and (q.v. Rome) the relics of martyrs they embrace, but now that the Church is worldwide in scope and the position of the five Patriarchates changed (three under long-standing Mulsim domination and one in a kind of schism) might it not make sense for a Council to expand the number of Patriarchates to, say, ten or twelve? After all, we are not a Mediterranean centered Body anymore but one that extends to vast, distant and ocean-separated lands and includes peoples of every tongue, tribe and nation.

                  lxc

                  lxc

                  • lexcaritas says

                    I meant to ask: How much has the Church actually grown in proportionate spread of the Gospel since the Canon(s) regarding episcopal celibacy spoken of by Fr. Philip and our brother Carl cite were adopted?

                    Of course the Church of Rome has, as has the Church in Russia.

                    In Russia’s case She had the support of the State.

                    When the canon in question was adopted the Church had hundreds of monasteries inhabited by hundreds of monastics–literally thousands of thousands of candidates for episcopal office and, likewise, imperial support.

                    lxc

                    • Harry Coin says

                      Remember ‘celibate’ in reference to bishops means ‘not presently married’. When there were lots of local / regional widowers those were the diocesan bishops dealing with parishes, not always folks who never were married who left monastic life.

                      Owing to the spirit being supplanted by the rule, when women started outliving men on average (only the last 100 years or so) we’ve substantially lost the seasoned clergy whose wives died as bishops. Now we have ‘titular’ bishops they are also ‘titular’ monastics, meaning having never spent more than a short time in any monastery.

                      It’s not to take from those who studied and want to be clergy who do not marry, but it’s ignoring reality to look at the pools of experience we have to draw upon, and then limit our leaders to only those whose wives have neglected to die young.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Harry–In the context of Council in Trullo, celibate bishop means both “a bishop who was not married at his ordination and will never marry as long as he is a bishop” ” and “married man who ceased co-habitating with wife before his ordination, or whose wife has passed on before his ordination, and who will never remarry as long as he is a bishop.” For example, St Innocent was a married priest whose wife passed on; when he was ordained to the episcopate, he did not cease being married to his departed wife, did he? We do not have the Western idea that a marriage lasts until one partner’s death, do we?

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              Most scholars argue that during the lives of the Apostles, the words we translated bishop and elder or presbyter were used interchangeably when the New Testament was written. The modern office of bishop developed out of the Apostolic office when the Apostles appointed successors after St. Paul write his 1st Epistle to Timothy. Therefore I Timothy 3:2 really cannot be applied to the modern office of Bishop.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                A small glitch in your theory Father John: the canons of the Holy Apostles were written after the Apostles appointed successors. If you recall, Canon 5 forbade deacons, priests and yes bishops to put away their wives on account of piety. Also, at the time of the Council in Trullo, there were indeed married bishops.

                • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                  All I meant by my comment was that you cannot apply 1st Timothy 3:2 to the modern episcopate. I realize that there were married Bishops for centuries. Sts. Gregory of Nyssa and his brother Basil the great were sons of a Bishop. St. Gregory of Nyssa was married himself. I believe that the Council in Trullo made celibacy an official requirement for Bishops.

          • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

            “Whatever the Russians want to do has no bearing on the American Church. Practicality dictates that we return to married bishops and celibates. SVS & STOTS only teach what the Orthodox Church teaches and marriage is not an impediment for ANY clerical office, including the episcopate.”

            Yes, SVS and STOTS , where Fr. Bulgakov instead of being a condemned heretic is considered a respectable source, where people can write off doctrines like the toll-houses as “gnostic heresy” when even Fr. Hopko admits pretty much every saint ever believed in them, etc, etc, etc. I know to much of Orthodoxy outside our tiny part of it to fail to see fringe left as mainstream moderate.

            After the persecutions of pagan Rome ended, the job of bishop just came with too much power with no risk or downsides, so the married bishop had to fade away. By recruiting out of the monastics the Church had a large pool of men who had given up everything with only a very small chance of it ever paying off with earthly power.

            If the OCA doesn’t have enough young men becoming monastics to field a decent recruitment pool then we need to return to ROCOR because we’re too young, small and weak.

  2. Nektarios says

    May God grant the Diocese of the Midwest a bishop of the stature and holiness of Archbishop Job. He is sorely missed, and there is no one close to him in the current OCA hierarchy, except for Metropolitan Jonah.

    I am concerned about what seems to be the current trend of Syosset to attempt to fill the diocesan vacancies with hand-picked candidates. The program seems to be pick our man, saturate the diocese with his picture and presence, and eventually put him forward as the only permitted viable candidate. This was tried in the South (with disasterous results for Syosset, thankfully), and now seems to be happening in Eastern PA. Syosset’s candidate for the episcopal throne in Eastern PA would appear to be Bishop Mark, who is making a grand tour of the parishes in the diocese, as well as having his picture continually on the diocesan website. There has been no hint of an episcopal search process for the Diocese of Eastern PA; the laity would appear to be excluded from any part in choosing a new bishop. Since the current OCA bishops and bureaucrats have proven themselves unable to choose men of holiness, stature, and purity to be bishops (again, I exclude Metropolitan Jonah from this description, as well as Father Mahaffey in Alaska, who has yet to be installed as bishop), the exclusion of the laity from the search process and election is surely wrong-headed and problematic.

    Without the honest, open, and meaningful participation of bishops, clergy, and laity in the choice of a diocesan hierarch, finding good, godly men to be OCA bishops will be more an accident than anything else; it will happen in spite of the current hierarchs and bureaucrats, not because of them.

    • One of the difficulties with selecting new bishops is that the lat AAC was a single issue event, to wit to replace Jonah with someone. Empty bishoprics were not on the agenda, and the focus of the AAC’s organization was to have as many people as possible show up, pay money to attend and therefore have a stake in doing as they were told and expected. The fact that Jonah was not allowed to preside over the council was itself extremely strange and not productive of a good transition were a real resignation have been the case. The single issue further divorced the assembly from discussion concerning a series of issues like empty bishoprics, declining assessments and so on.

      That said, it is not clear that Syosset arranged the election of the new Metropolitan as it occurred. Metropolitan Tikhon was possibly the best candidate among those allowed to be candidates and the most like Metropolitan Jonah. But the AAC being a single issue event, the kind of discussion that ought to have taken place over a series of issues never occurred. The single issue AAC also made it difficult for parishes and individuals to conceive of paying for another one. At an event tonight, I was struck by the fact that four separate individuals wanted to know why the OCA Synod would even want to get rid of someone like Metropolitan Jonah in the first place. One person was saying how when Jonah was locum tenens various dioceses, he tried to visit every single parish and that since that time, he has evidently remembered the names of many of the people he met once, and related to them on a second occasion in a real way. This kind of connection with the laity is hard to replicate, but if bishop Mark is going parish to parish, perhaps he is only following what became a norm with Metropolitan Jonah.

      Does anyone else find it appropriate that a locum tenens is either clergy or physician? Both keep an organization dedicated to healthy body and/or soul intact, no? How temporary is such a position before the lack of full time focused leadership is available to the organization?

      On this blog, Jesse Cone, mentioned that Metropolitan Jonah was characterized as OCD. GImme a break. The guy is sometimes messy, clear spoken but with the flexibility to handle a myriad changes in topic, neither pushy nor obsessed, huggy, no clean freak, able to understand and gently discuss alternative viewpoints, and affable without being in your face. What kind of idiot ever came up with the idea he is OCD? I have had a few friends over time who were OCD. He is not even vaguely OCD. In case therapist M.Stankovich wants to know, no, I don’t have the creds to make this point, but I do have the right to an opinion based on spending serious time with people who are OCD, Check out the Mayo Clinic list of symptoms on the same:

      http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/obsessive-compulsive-disorder/DS00189/DSECTION=symptoms

      Another matter to consider is what has happened to the see of Archbishop Seraphim in Canada? Has the archbishop exhausted his legal alternatives? What is his status as a citizen? As a clergyman?

      Another matter to consider is doesn’t Metropolitan Jonah still own a condo that he bought and is paying on from the time when he was made Archbishop Dimitri’s successor? Is that the $30,000 debt that is referred to? Wouldn’t it be easy to just give him his own archbishopric back? How prudent is it to overtax Archbishop Nikon with that archdiocese while he is ill?

      My favorite locum tenens of the day is this one, a half Serb, half Czech, schooled in Russia, canon law specialist:

      http://www.pametnaroda.cz/data/witness/1709/recording/1036-transcript.htm

      Forgive the rambling. I am praying for my Church

      • OCD ??? or is He OCPD ??? They are somewhat similar but yet different.

        I would explained the differences but I would rather have the Blogovites Scholars resting in their armchairs and pontificate on Mental Health and the testing results for Bp. Matthias.

        I bet if we all look at ourselves we all could see some mental disorders. Mmmmm

        Mayo Clinic is not the only Psyche Institution with High credentials.
        I will wait to hear from all the Psycho-experts on this subject to chastise me for discussion on Mental Health.

        Here here one Vodka Martini to Bp T.

      • Yo

        I may have posted this before but search and study the difference between OCD and OCPD. There is a difference and different medications to be used if necessary to treat the individual.

        On another note Mayo Clinic is NOT the Dali Lama of Psychiatry and or Psychology or the holy grail of behavior understanding.

        My degrees that I have received point to evidence that not all Behavioral Institutions are the same and have the same understanding of diagnostic procedures.

        In the beginning of Behavioral Studies one should find out that there is no one Theory that can explain human behavior. or one test.

        Armchair Psychiatrist and Psychologist should and must go back to school and learn what is there in the field of human behavior then go and practice what you read.

      • Remember +Jonah had 3 different tests and only one place-the place that has been itself under suspicion and in the papers- diagnose him with anything at all-I’m not sure he was diagnosed as OCD anyway. So what if he was. Probably most of our leaders are OCD. In America our kids, our adults can probably all fit in some sort of diagnosis. Why do you think we are one of the most medicated countries in the world? If someone deals with whatever tendencies they have and controls it so it is “inside of them”, but functions independently, harms no one- I don’t care what they “have”. They have beat the condition as far as I’m concerned.

      • Fr. Philip says

        In answer to your question about Archbishop Seraphim,
        a. he was born and remains a Canadian citizen;
        b. trial is scheduled to occur in Winnipeg this coming June;
        c. he remains a clergyman but is suspended from the exercise of his ministry.

        Meanwhile, His Grace, Bishop Irenee (Rochon), is administrator of the Archdiocese. He is Quebequois; his ancestors came from France to Quebec in 1645; he converted to Holy Orthodoxy in his early teens, received his training at Jordanville, and is (to my mind, anyway) doing an excellent job in extremely difficult circumstances.

        So thanks for asking.

        Fr. Philip

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        A bit of OCD is probably a bit of help to keep you going with danger from bandits, danger from rivers, danger from storm and shipwreck; many cold and lonely nights in the wilderness, without food; not to mention lashings and jailings from time to time……

  3. Another nail in the OCA coffin. A church ruled by the gospel of expediency and not forgiveness. Bp. Matthias does EVERYTHING he is asked. He gets a clean bill of health from the professionals but that is not good enough. The next explosion will be in EPA with Bp. Mark Maymon causing division amongst the clergy in his quest to be their next bishop. Those who don’t want him are already under pressure and those who are backing him are looking to feather their own nests.

    Another chapter in the OCA laughingstock of Orthodoxy.

    • What happened to one ‘hacker’ which didn’t happen and should have to another ‘hacker’.

      Yahoo,
      hackers,
      Security

      Sarah Palin’s Hacker Sentenced
      By Robert McMillan, IDG News Service

      Nov 13, 2010 10:43 AM
      print

      The former college student who guessed his way into Sarah Palin’s Yahoo e-mail account during the 2008 U.S. presidential election was sentenced to a year and a day in prison Friday.

      David Kernell’s lawyers had been hoping for probation only; federal prosecutors had asked for an 18-month sentence.

      The judge in the case recommended that Kernell serve his time at a halfway house rather than federal prison, but that decision is up to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, the U.S. Department of Justice said. Following his one-year sentence, Kernell must serve three years’ probation.

      Kernell, a 20-year-old college student at the time of the incident, got into Palin’s gov.palin@yahoo.com account by guessing answers to the security questions used by Yahoo to reset the account’s password. In chat logs, Kernell said he was hoping to find information that would “derail” her 2008 vice presidential election campaign.

      Palin was then governor of Alaska, and her critics thought she may have been conducting state business via the Yahoo account, in order to sidestep Alaska’s open records law. Kernell found no such evidence after examining her Yahoo account.

      He did, however, post the account’s new password — “popcorn” — to the 4chan discussion board, and the contents of the account were eventually made public.

      In her 2009 autobiography, “Going Rogue,” Palin called the incident “the most disruptive” of the campaign.

      Kernell was convicted of unauthorized computer access and obstruction of justice on April 30, after a weeklong trial that included testimony from Palin herself. But his lawyers had argued for leniency, citing their client’s “youth and emotional condition.”

      “The public humiliation, trial, and felony conviction are enough to deter any further violations of the law,” his lawyers said in court filings.

      Kernell is the son of Tennessee Democrat assemblyman Mike Kernell. Neither David Kernell nor his lawyer could be reached immediately for comment.

      He was sentenced by Judge Thomas Phillips of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, in Knoxville.

      Robert McMillan covers computer security and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Robert on Twitter at @bobmcmillan. Robert’s e-mail address is robert_mcmillan@idg.com

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      inShare

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  4. Alec Haapala says

    And isn’t it curious how none of this was going on when Jonah was Primate?

    Really? My memory may be fuzzy, but weren’t Alaska and the South both vacant during +Jonah’s tenure?

    • Yes, but they were making progress on electing new bishops until the coup against Metropolitan Jonah started. Alaska has now been without a bishop for five years, the South for four. The South was within days of holding the nomination vote when Archbishop Nikon pulled the plug so that the coup could proceed.

    • Mark Layden says

      Alec, you can also add Canada to your list.

    • Yes, your memory is fuzzy. The South had a successor to +Dmitri – hand picked by +Dmitri himself. The successor’s name was Jonah, who was hijacked by the Synod and subsequently destroyed by them. THAT is why we are still without a Bishop in the South.

  5. Older But Wiser says

    George, you mention four territorial dioceses with episcopal vacancies: Alaska, the South, Canada, and the Midwest. Let us not forget Eastern Pennsylvania. It would appear the OCA has a steep hill to climb, to get out of its present hole. Wiser folk than I are “working on it”. Yes, there need to be new approaches used, if there is to be a resolution of the OCA’s mess. I think there are a few bishops currently up to the task, and giving it their best shot. And yet, there is so much baggage…we shall see.

  6. George:

    This is a good outcome. Perhaps not perfect, but the best that could be had. After a series of poor decisions, the Synod has gotten one correct and Bishop Matthias made a mature one. Thank goodness!

    Of course there are qualified men out there. Specifically Bishop Alexander, who should have been the DOM hierarch to begin with.

    SAM

    • If you read his letter of resignation, he took no responsibility for his actions, instead blaming his bad reputation on everyone but himself.

      • Agreed. At least he left.

      • Jeff, I don’t know what letter your reading but the one on the Midwest website says, “I ask for everyone’s forgiveness for my failings, my mistakes and sins. In turn, I assure everyone of my forgiveness.” That to me sounds like a person who recognizes his failings and is seeking everyone’s forgiveness. As Christians we give forgiveness when sought, as God gives forgiveness when sought.

        • Sorry, I made a mistake. I conflated his remarks at the cathedral with his letter. This was taken from the Chicago newspaper.

          The national church asked Matthias to step down last month. In a speech at Chicago’s Holy Trinity Cathedral a week later, he blamed clergy for plotting his ouster in reaction to edicts he issued shortly after his arrival.

          At his first meeting with Chicago priests in May, following a year of parish tours, he barred evening liturgies on Feast Days and baptismal liturgies on Sundays. He also limited the role of women in worship and decreed that clergy should wear only collars or cassocks, never plain clothes, in public.

          “Several priests in the diocese who do not agree with my support of traditional Orthodox practices and my firm stand on moral issues have used this incident as an excuse to have me removed,” the bishop told parishioners. “The loud voices of the clergy who did not want to be obedient to the hierarchy was heard.”

          • In my mind, this still does not support your statement of his not taking responsibility. However, I do agree with Vladyka’s statement about the lack of support for traditional Orthodox morals and values. This is the same reason everyone says Met. Jonah was ousted. Why can it not apply to another person? And from the stories I have heard of the behavior of some of the priests in the Midwest Diocese and how they run their parishes, I am not surprised they wanted +Matthias out.

            But again, just my opinion. How many negative votes will this gain me dear readers? Let’s break a record!

            • George Michalopulos says

              You may be on to something here.

              • Pere LaChaise says

                Or not. Metr. Jonah was a poor fit for the Holy Synod because he continually acted unilaterally – in cowboy fashion. By the end of the first year there was trouble. Bp. Matthias simply will not be accepted by the DOMW clergy so he has no future with them. He was autocratic and capricious before he got himself in this indiscretion fix, already alienated himself from many of his clergy. Same thing with Bp. Mark, laying down the law with no diplomacy of kindness. Doesn’t garner a lot of loyalty.

                • If you are going to argue that +Jonah acted unilaterally so did the other Bishops;

                  Archbishop Benjamin was “unilaterally” involved in a protest against a mining project in AK that threatened Native Alaskans’ sustenance fishing livelihood. And unilaterally took in a transgendered couple.

                  Bishop Mark (Maymon) signed the Manhattan Declaration when he was in the Antiochian Archdiocese, as did Bishop Basil (Essey). Fr. Chad Hatfield signed it and he is chancellor of St. Vladimir’s. None of these other signers attracted the least amount of controversy for signing. There is an explicit part of the MD where it says each person signs as an individual, not on behalf of their institutions. He could sign as his conscience dictated, but did he sign for the OCA? No, he did not. He signed individually.

                  Archbishop Nikon unilaterally invited Madame Jahjaga, President of “Kosovo” (breakaway region of Serbia), to his Albanian cathedral, which caused much havoc for the Church of Serbia. She is also a Muslim, not Orthodox.

                  I’d like to know why there is a double standard? Clearly this was an easy slogan to throw around to bring suspicion on +Jonah.

                • Ilya Zhitomirskiy says

                  Excuse me, Pere LaChaise, but the methods that His Beatitude Jonah used are normal in traditional Orthodox churches. As primate, he is primus inter paribus or first among equals. This headship allows him to define policy and teachings, as long as he is not in conflict with established dogmata or canon law. To differentiate the position of Orthodox primates from papal infallibility, Jonah and any other first bishop may be wrong. Then it is the Synod’s duty to object. AFAIK, Metropolitan Jonah was defending the traditional teaching of the Church regarding marriage. The trouble that you are talking about started before +Jonah. If you read about the OCA financial scandal, it started in the 1990s and only ended in 2008 when the Synod voted to retire Metropolitan Herman after hearing the charges against him. There is no such issues in Moscow with Patriarch Kirill, or in Jerusalem with Theophilos III, or in Constantinople with Bartholomew I, even though Bartholomew’s ecumenistic stances may be controversial. However, the OCA has not objected when Fr. Robert Arida wrote the pro-gay article “A Response to Myself”, has acted to interfere with bishops who support traditional morality, and has not censured others, such as David Dunn, who write articles contrary to Orthodox teaching. If this new teaching on homosexuality and homosexual marriage is not heresy, then what is it?

                  • lexcaritas says

                    Supplementing what our brother Ilya says, while some continue to bemoan the “unilateral” actions that ++JONAH purportedly took or threatened to take before his resignation, I am struck by the contrast between the grandiloquent but apparently vacuous title we ascribe to our Metroplitan: “of ALL AMERICA AND CANADA”, when he apparently is (according to some) to have no more real power than a diocesan (arch)bishop. And yet the former is nominated by the whole church through the All-American Council, whereas the latter is nominated by the single Diocese that he will be called to shepherd. Shouldn’t we either drop the exaggerated titles, or make them mean something real?

                    lxc

                    • Lex, et. al.,

                      The “unilateral” actions of Metropolitan Jonah was totally bogus, a sinful contrivance of the OCA Synod and has been exposed again and again as just the means to their end to get rid of +Jonah.

                      But it is important that we not forget their sinful offense and that we not let up on these so-called bishops who continue to lend offense to +Jonah because they are too proud to ask his forgiveness.

                      They have acted shamefully and until they repent, God will not bless the OCA.

                  • How about 1984 when Bishop Basil was run out of town?

    • SAM,

      Sadly, Bp. Alexander was on the “not to be consecrated a bishop” list for 20 years by the OCA. The reasons for his disqualification are well known to the current Synod. He is also well known in the DOM. He should never have been made a deacon or priest in the OCA and his Father Confessor made that known in his ordination certificate after his confession, but those who had ears to hear, ignored it.

      The Midwest would do much better than +Alexander. He is lucky to be a bishop, let us leave it at that and not inflict his past on the DOM because it will eventually come back to haunt the OCA.

      • Anonymous says

        Sam,

        Not true regarding Bp. Alexander. He was teaching at Marquette Univ. and had tenure. This is why, although he was asked more than once, he didn’t pursue the episcopate. Bp. Alexander is an EXCELLENT choice for the Diocese of the Midwest. He can easily juggle the OCA Bulgarian Diocese from Toledo and serve the Midwest. Don’t try to besmirch his reputation as BT has tried to do in the past. Bp. Alexander is par excellent.

      • We are lucky to have Bishop Alexander. What we need is less of is inane references to alleged, vague misdeeds. Get a life!

        SAM

        • SAM,

          Bishop Alexander’s actions that kept him from being made a bishop for 20 years are not inane. He knows them very well as do those who engaged in his misdeeds.

          Sorry, but accountability cuts both ways and he is accountable for his actions which for 20 years precluded him from being a bishop. Why he is now a bishop is a question those who elected him must answer before God.

          • Also Anonymous says

            This is mere gossip and defaming of another’s reputation, unless you have something substantial to put forward, with evidence. Vaguely hinting at the “misdeeds” of another person in a public setting is gravely sinful.

          • James,

            If you have actionable information, you should bring it forward. Not doing so is reckless on your part. If you do not have information, your speculation is malicious. Either way your conduct reflects poorly on you, whoever you are.

            SAM

            • Your kidding-right? Whose going to do a thing?

              • Also Anonymous says

                Anyone who desires to act like a Christian. To make vague statements about another person’s misdeeds in a public forum, without providing evidence or specificity, is gossip and wrong.

                As far as I’ve ever seen, this whole thing against Bp. Alexander seems to be based on the internet comments of a certain cleric who doesn’t himself know what the “problem” in question is, but rather just oversaw something vague, pastorally sensitive, and not intended for him, and decide to tell everyone on the internet.

                That’s not really a good basis for running a Church.

      • Also Anonymous says

        The idea that he was “not to be consecrated” (or really, that he had “canonical impediments that he had repented of”) is based on the testimony of one person (a poster here) who claims to have gotten that information second hand and who would be, if his words are true, inappropriately breaking pastoral confidence.

        Really, the evidence for this is shaky and the source questionable.

        I recently had the opportunity to meet Bp. Alexander for the first time and was very impressed with him. I would give him a chance rather than believing slander.

      • Pere LaChaise says

        What is this scurrilous rumor mongering? Unsubstantiated, and insinuating? Leave it. NOT helpful, NOT Christian.

        • My understanding is that impediments are just that – impediments. My wife has an impediment to being tonsured as a reader or a deacon. She is female. That doesn’t mean anything she did was wrong, it means that being female is an obstacle, or impediment, to being tonsured.

          I don’t know how one repents of such a thing, or if such a thing was repented of in +Alexander’s case. I draw no conclusions that he did anything nefarious – only that, per Bp T, he “repented of an impediment.”

          I expect, for example, being married is an impediment to being consecrated a bishop. Should one’s wife repose, the impediment would not longer exist.

          What is troubling here is not the impediment. It is the suppression of the facts, whatever they are. Is it true that the document to which Bp T refers (that he repents of impediments) no longer can be found? Does the impediment no longer exist?

          • Also Anonymous says

            What is troubling to me is the original rumor-mongering on the part of the person sharing that “information.” The poster who shared that information was not party to the confession and so it is improper and gossip for him to be spreading on the internet something that he happened to read that wasn’t meant for him.

  7. One of those qualified is Fr Paul Gassios, who was one of the three “finalists” in the Midwest’s episcopal selection process, and who as I recall came in a close second at our Assembly vote for who we would ask the Holy Synod to elect. He has already been fully vetted by the Holy Synod, gone through the entire episcopal selection process by Diocesan Council, interviewed by the diocese, videotaped, met with diocesan clergy at our convocation, and every parish in the diocese received a DVD with his interview. And as I say he was second-highest at our vote. One reason he would be the obvious choice for us is that we know him: Fr Paul is a “Son of the Diocese” since 1993, serving to establish the Kokomo mission and serving in Saint Louis (as I recall), and more recently the Bulgarian parish in Toledo. We know him, respect him, and love him. I would suggest that rather than leave the diocese vacant for an indeterminate period of time, the Holy Synod recognize Fr Paul as the man for us, in consultation, of course, with our Chancellor, our Deans and our Diocesan Council, perhaps to be affirmed at our entire Diocesan Assembly in October. I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that most of our diocesan faithful would be happy to have a bishop sooner than later, and would be happy to kiss Fr Paul’s hand. A whole new episcopal selection process is costly and time-consuming; to have the Synod simply impose someone from a distance denies the diocese its part in the process (our “amen”); there is no need to look further, in my opinion, as we’ve already selected one qualified and available. Agreeing that healing for our diocese goes “hand-in-hand” with being under archpastoral direction, this would facilitate the path of healing –for our clergy, our diocesan faithful, and for the complaintant (even for His Grace Bishop Matthias, who wants to see the diocese heal and grow, and whom we are continuing to pray for). Just my two cents.

    Fr Mark Hodges
    +

    • Disgusted With It says

      Fr Paul is a good, humble, upright and ethical man. There is no way the OCA administration/synod will allow him to become bishop easily, regardless of what the diocese wants. Syosset already has their short list of candidates in mind, and they are all “company men”.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Regardless of the merits of Fr Paul (and I known nothing of him), I still exhort you all in the Midwest to get on the stick and nominate somebody at your earliest convenience. Don’t fall for that nonsense that we in the South have been subjected to, i.e. there are no qualified candidates. You guys known your region, known which priests are stand-up guys, and know what your needs are. Go for it. Otherwise, you’ll get some company man from Corporate (like Dn Eric Wheeler) shoved down your throats.

        Just sayin’…

    • You are unbelievable Priest Mark. Campaigning for Gassios when the ink is barely dry on the letters!

      The Diocese will be lucky to get a new bishop within the next three years. Syosset isn’t going to move that fast. His Beatitude sure doesn’t.

      • Ilya Zhitomirskiy says

        Correction: His Eminence Tikhon. Metropolitan Jonah needs to be dead or transfered before someone else can canonically claim Washington,D.C. Matthias may have commited crimes, but there should have been an ecclesiastical court, or at least a Synod trial. If this did not happen, then Bishop Matthias is still the proper occupant of the Diocese of Chicago and the Midwest, until a trial happens or Matthias dies. However, I would support Fr. Peter Preble or Paul Gassios as bishop. AXIOI!

        • Also Anonymous says

          How do you figure? Resignations from the episcopacy are valid, without canonical charges or trial.

          I do think, however, that the OCA practice of pressuring people to resign as an end run around giving them their day in court is irregular.

          • This one was forced, and under false pretenses.

          • To clarify, I meant Metropolitan Jonah’s was forced. I do not know of any reason to believe Bishop Matthias was likewise forced. A voluntary retirement would actually be a nice change of pace. If it turns out Bishop Matthias was forced, I wish him all the best in correcting the situation. However, I hope he understands where he went wrong, and that this will help him learn to repent.

            • Also Anonymous says

              I have the utmost respect for Met. Jonah and I agree that, to all appearances, undue pressure was applied to him to resign. However, he did resign willingly. He could have resisted the pressure and fought for his see, which was entrusted to him by God.

              That’s not to say that what the Synod did was right – far from it. However, he would only still be the legitimate metropolitan of the OCA if, rather than resigning, he had been uncanonically deposed.

              • Yeah, but according to OCA Statute, he should still be Archbishop of Washington until such time as he is offered and accepts a transfer to another position. The notion that resigning the primacy necessarily entails retiring as bishop is a post hoc creation of a new rule. It is a sensible system, it is just not the system he resigned the primacy under. I must emphasize this is my 3rd party interpretation of what is clearly written down to read. I don’t know Jonah, don’t speak for him, and frankly don’t care except for the fact that you guys are letting the gay activists eat your cake and then giving them a nice shiny new cake to keep as a souvenir too.

                • Seriously people, they could have made the next primate Archbishop of Mexico City or Ottowa, or of St. Louis, or any number of places consistent with OCA Statute and the grand status of figure head of the “servants” representing the church in North America … Or do they consider themselves responsible for the good people of South America now too.

                  Plus lets stop being naive. They put the breaks (unprecedented and still unexplained) on an already advanced plan to elect the new bishop of the Diocese of the South the day before Jonah resigned as primate and requested a new episcopal assignment. Is there really any question they promised him a transfer there, if he wanted it.

                  Sure it is sad that Jonah didn’t have the guile to beat the bishops of the OCA in Machiavellian warfare. But it is even sadder that one would have to become adept at the art of deception and misleading others to survive as a leader in a Christian not-for-profit organization. At this point the game has become so complicated that you can’t believe anything anyone says. Wasn’t it the synod that claimed negotiations with Jonah would be completed in secret before releasing public “minutes” (talking points) summarizing their take on the negotiations — after feeding Tikhon (Fitzgerald) talking points for public dissemination. Maybe Jonah needs to start feeding details to Tikhon (Fitzgerald) and needs to start a not-for-profit, report to the board on progress made in his negotiations with the OCA, and then release minutes summarizing his report? Does anyone else have an idea how he can tell his side of the story publicly during private negotiations?

                  There is no limit to the stupidity and evil of these men. These are not shepards that can be trusted with sheep, let alone human souls.

                  • One of the West says

                    Does the word ‘Byzantine’ apply here?

                    • Disgusted With It says

                      As shamefully as the OCA synod and administration have acted and continue to act, I think that would be an insult to the word “Byzantine”.

                      When the intrigues are bad they are referred to as “Byzantine”. When they’re even worse, they can now refer to it as “OCA”.

              • Also Anonymous, it was worse than that.

                • Also Anonymous says

                  It’s hard to see how. Like George is saying about Bp. Matthias, he should have had his day in court. The diocese was entrusted to him by God and he could have fought the pressure. I wish he had.

                  • Jonah resigned the primacy, but it is clear he did so under much duress, not “willingly” as you say — except in the sense that he willed to submit his will to the unanimous will of the rest of the synod (which it turned out was communicated to him inaccurately and deceptively by the chancellor).

                    Gay activists in the church administration had publicly proclaimed their intent to bring him down. Private communications outlined how they planned to do it, and then they executed their plan over the course of the year following these proclamations.

                    It is also clear that Jonah violated no law of God or man, not in spirit, not in truth. His only “crime” was not being able to win over gay activists, their assembled mob of bullies, and various other self-centered navel-gazers with his sex appeal — or being an Orthodox Christian in a leadership position in a purportedly Orthodox Church, take your pick.

                    Matthias also did not resign willingly. But he did something that truly did require repentance and forgiveness. Had Jonah done what Matthias did, we would have all expected him to willingly resign and take the matter out of the synod’s hands. Think about that for a minute, but it is true.

                    Matthias also abrogated all claim to his position as bishop when he publicly slandered Jonah, his fellow bishop, and symbolically led the charge to end Jonah’s career by becoming the first to release the STINKBOMB and one of only a couple bishops brazen enough to attach his signature to it. This violence against Jonah remains uncorrected, Matthias has never repented of this evil and has never corrected his misunderstandings, lies, or the manipulative innuendos expressed in writing, publicly, with his signature. The man will have no honor inside the cesspool or outside of it until he addresses this grave public sin.

                    The STINKBOMB is the kind of sin against the Church that requires a resignation even if it is corrected. So long as there are any active bishops who were diocesan bishops when the STINKBOMB went out under the name of “The Holy Synod,” the OCA can have no credibility as a church of God and it cannot function as a viable non-profit organization.

                    When Matthias took the public actions against Jonah that he did, he gave up all rights to his office, to his retirement benefits, everything. There is nothing that any OCA member owes to this man. Now if you want to be merciful because your God is merciful, then bless you for your commitment and integrity. But don’t sacrifice the truth in the name of mercy or love.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I couldn’t have said it better myself.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      And of course there certainly is no possibility that, contrary to the spirit of divisiveness and bitterness that rules here, the Bishop that you otherwise fall all over yourselves in praising for forcing Mark Stoke to make a decision, might have himself – in a remarkable act of wisdom and humility – said “I will do what you ask, in the best interest of the Church.” Unimaginable, I suspect.

                    • His only “crime” was not being able to win over gay activists…

                      Oddly, Metropolitan Jonah failed to “win over” anti-gay activists. Ask Deacon Brian Patrick how satisfied he is with the Metropolitan’s leadership on that issue…

                      There are Bishops left and Bishops right and Bishops in-between. IF you assume that his resignation was about the politics of homosexuality, pro- or con-, then you’ve got to explain unanimity from disparate political interests.

                      IF, on the other hand, you assume that the Synod was acting unanimously because they found their collective expectations dashed on one too many times, then you’ll have to abandon your preoccupation with all things “gay” and address what it was about Metropolitan Jonah’s management style that resulted in lack of confidence on the part of the entire OCA Synod.

                      (Here’s a hint from my experience: No-one likes to be surprised. Not management, shareholders, employees, or customers. No-one likes to find that what they thought was true is not true or what they expected to occur is not occurring, or vice-versa.)

                      Leadership is an interesting trait. It requires a person to be far more sure of himself than those around him are sure of themselves, it requires that individual to be capable of convincing those around him that he is worthy of their trust even as his directives contradict their own impulses. Leadership is the ability to holler “Follow me!” and actually be followed, even as one reverses course. And leadership requires the internal fortitude to ignore sniping and naysayers and resignation demanders, and the clarity of one’s goal to press onward without regard to them.

                      Whatever you think of his presidency, George W. Bush exhibited leadership. He managed to get Republicans and Democrats alike to implement his vision for his nation. From tax cuts to wars, including tax cuts during wars, he always managed to get a majority to follow him…even after Katrina and Iraq…even including the TARP. Say whatever you will about where George W. Bush led this nation, that man was a leader!

                      Metropolitan Jonah has many fine attributes, but leadership is not one of them. I love the man, I love his heart, I love the clarity of his teaching and the warmth of his compassion for those who fall short of his teaching. I love who he is as a human being, a priest, a monk, a teacher. I love him, but he is not a leader. He inspired a disheartened and divided people with one speech, but was ill-prepared to follow that speech with the leadership that was required. And when he resigned (under pressure, to be sure, but not insurmountable pressure to a leader) he proved the point.

                      One can contend that Metropolitan Jonah was maligned and treated badly, but what one cannot contend is that the Metropolitan was in any way, shape or form, a leader. We thrilled to his election because it was bold and inspiring, but the realists among us knew we were betting that he’d grow into the job. He proved incapable of that growth; the error is ours.

                    • Nick Cobb says

                      Um,

                      Ummmm….., you have it wrong. Gay activists had nothing to do with + Jonah’s resignation. His resignation came about via his own brothers in the OCA Synod. + Jonah was making unilateral decisions and taking actions without the OK of the OCA Synod. He was warned more than once, but continued. His own brother bishops decided that he had to go. Now, as a “MONK,” he should return to his monastery or a monastery and live out the rest of his life praying for the world. He doesn’t require a “retirement package.” As for + Matthias, he was emailing questionable posts to a young woman. Even after his evaluations, the laos of the Midwest Diocese refused his return. Bp. Alexander is a very good choice to administer to the Diocese of the Midwest. Those here who continually wish to besmirch his reputation are slanderers and liars.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Anonymous, this line that keeps on being trotted made sense in an assertive, talking-point kind of way except for one thing: it was only asserted, never proven. When exactly did Metropolitan Jonah act “unilaterally” and “like a cowboy”? When he didn’t “unilaterally” accept Fr Simeon into the OCA?

                      Indeed, the paucity of this charge leveled against His Beatitude continues to astound me. Do you understand what the office of Primate entails, both from a canonical basis as well as the plain statutes of the OCA?

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Michalopulos,

                      I believe your question has been answered par excellence by Fr. Alexey Karlgut here is his criticism of the Strategic Plan:

                      Thus, the bishops must take full responsibility and be accountable to one another and to the Metropolitan, as well as to the entire Body of laity and clergy, for the stewardship of their diocese or area of responsibility. The Metropolitan has to accept full responsibility to maintain the unity of the whole, the Holy Synod of Bishops locally, and in relationship with Synods of other Orthodox Churches world-wide. The Metropolitan must be accountable to the Holy Synod of Bishops for his stewardship of the office entrusted to his care. Every order or function of the Church — Diocesan Councils, Metropolitan Council, Diocesan Assemblies, and the All American Councils — must be accountable to the structures above them, beside them, and supporting them.

                      In this context – which I note you declared as “forthright & refreshing” – I hardly find Mr. Cobb’s assertion outrageous or unfounded by any means.

                    • Nick, Bishop Alexander besmirched his own reputation very effectively with his own actions in how he handled the Bishop Matthias situation. The internet rumors about his past are superfluous at this point.

            • Amazed in the Midwest says

              Voluntary retirement?

              His Grace, Bishop Matthias was given two choices:

              1. Retire voluntarily or,

              2. We (the Synod) will retire you.

              Those were his choices and in this case it is like the boss saying to you, quit or you will be fired.

              Do note, in +Tikhon’s letter, it does not state that the Synod accepted +Matthias letter of retirement. Rather it declared that as of 15 April +Matthias is retired.

              How this Synod can stand in judgement with +Benjamin, +Alexander and +Nathaniel as judges is disgusting.

              Bishop Matthias made a mistake. He humbled himself and did what his brothers required. He was given a full battery of psychological tests. Those tests, all of them, came back that he was not a sexual predator, not a pedophile and not a danger to anyone. What more could the Kostoff’s, Bobosh’s, Clement’s, Garklavs’ and other howling dog clergy in the Midwest require? What more did their clergy wives want? Apparently their pound of flesh.

              Yes, Bishop Matthias made a stupid mistake, he admitted it, but he also cannot and will not let the Midwest door hit him in the backside without calling it as it is, a group of self-serving clergy who did not like the way he led, who had issues with him before the stupid emails, pounced on him like a pack of dogs. How ironic that Archpriest John Jillions reminds us of the dogs that attacked blacks in Birmingham , Alabama.

              That is your OCA, not mine any longer. Tear yourselves apart and let the dead bury the dead.

              • George Michalopulos says

                If I may, I think that His Grace should have refused either “offer” and demanded a spiritual court.

                • Perhaps since Bishop Matthias was in the Carpathorussian Archdiocese serving for 38 years, he could have asked for release back to that archdiocese since he is not defrocked.

                • DC Indexman says

                  George, what makes you think or believe this type of a spiritual court would be fair, thorough, and just?

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    I don’t. Given the history of the OCA and its kangaroo courts, I very much doubt it. But let’s not forget that when the OCA convenes such a body it’s always ad hoc and is governed in an arbitrary way. At least that’s they way things run with priests. However with a bishop, that’s a whole other ball of wax. Then the eyes of worldwide Orthodoxy are really on you and you have to make an effort to abide by the canons. If memory serves, twelve (12) bishops would be needed to adjudicate the trial. Twelve bishops takes it out of the hands of just the OCA. I supposed bishops from other jurisdictions would have to be called in.

                    This is one reason that Anglo-Saxon society progressed on a rule-of-law, evidentiary basis rather than a tribal, arbitrary one. The election of twelve jurors for a trial made it almost impossible for corruption to set in and with the necessity of a unanimous verdict to condemn a man to death, very unlikely to execute an innocent man.

                    Anyway, back to the issue at hand. If a bishop demands a trial then we could expect to see the Synod in the future act in its usual arbitrary fashion.

                    • George, they didn’t apply the canons in Bp. Matthias’ instance. Why, pray tell, does anyone expect they would follow what a spiritual court concludes?

                      Remember people, we are applying logical thinking to a Synod and cronies who don’t know what logical thinking is let alone how to apply it!

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Philippa, I was speaking rhetorically but also positing a very real solution to the way bishops and priests are kept in line by the present Star Chamber system of “verdict first, trial later” to which I add “must keep closed at all costs.”

                      I should have added that standing courts should exist and that their proceedings should be patent and transcribed. And the “loser pays” aspect of it should be removed. If a bishop in good faith brings a bill of particulars against another bishop and the accused is exonerated, in no way should the accusatory party be made to pay with losing his own bishopric.

                      Under the present system, corruption festers because and whispering campaigns ensue because nobody wants to bring an accusation against another bishop on the off-chance that he might be exonerated.

              • Harry Coin says

                The matter of the psychological testing being first ordered, then apparently having its results ignored troubles me. It gives the impression that the psychological testing is mere PR manipulation — “Submit to these tests or be fired, and no matter the results, you’re fired”. It’s as if the tests are not for the what they say they are for, but rather to suggest to the outside world “he’s guilty– see, he’s in a treatment facility” before the results are in. Given this history, why should future targets of concern agree to seek perhaps needed aid?

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Agreed. I look at it this way: how have we as free-born Americans, come to the point where psychological testing is required to stay in a job. Can anybody say “Soviet Union”?

                • Amazed in the Midwest says

                  Here is the letter of resignation and retirement by Bishop Matthias.

                  http://domoca.org/files/ARCHPASTORAL%20LETTERS/2013.04.14-Bishop-Matthias-Letter-to-Diocese.pdf

                  Gracious, humble, forgiving, not an iota of bitterness, taking responsibility without bitterness and looking forward to doing God’s will.

                  Many Years Bishop Matthias.

                  • Dear Amazed in the Midwest,

                    I am also amazed. Amazed at what you see in the bishop’s conduct. From his victim grooming behavior to his abrasive and condescending treatment of his clergy to his narcissistic personality, Bishop Matthias has scandalized the DoM. He could not come back. Our Synod finally got a decision correct.

                    Watch the youtube video of his “sermon” at Holy Trinity in Chicago on March 24, specifically part two. It is pathetic. It is filled with bitterness and shirking of responsibility. According to him, he is more sinned against than sinning. What baloney!

                    You may not have experienced the bishop’s arch-pastoral ineptitude, but please refrain from singing the praises of a man who has caused such hurt and scandal to his diocese.

                    SAM

                    • Heracleides says

                      Link to March 24 Homily here. Frankly, I detect the machinations of Mrs. Stokoe-Brown and his ‘priest’ in these proceedings. I suppose turn-about is fair-play – Matthias acted in concert with the rest of the OCA Unholy Synod to oust Met. Jonah – it was now his turn. Doubtless others will follow.

                    • Amazed in the Midwest says

                      SAM,

                      Grooming? If there really was “grooming” don’t you think the professionals who analyzed him would have picked that up? If they would have they would not have given him a clean bill nor would they have concluded that he was no threat. Right?

                      As for the Synod “finally making the right decision,” time will tell but as long as +Benjamin is standing in judgement of any other bishop, I find this just another example of OCA hypocrisy.

                      And I will sing the praises of whoever I wish, just as you are quick to judge him. Easy to judge in the OCA, but harder to forgive, if fact it is nearly impossible for bishops who have much to hide to do other than that which saves their own skin.

                      Good luck and good riddance to the OCA, you can have it. It stinketh!

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Amazed in the Midwest ,

                      I would strongly caution you here regarding the notion of a “clean bill.” A clinical assessment of predatory behaviour & dangerousness is significantly limited.

                      My email “spam” filter is clogged with offers of programs, step-by-step guides, “guaranteed results,” blah, blah, blah by and for the geek-of-geeks to meet and have sex with the most beautiful, most unimaginable, most unlikely women in the world. Imagine, me! And of course, for a fee. These “techniques,” when examined, are eerily reminiscent of predatory “grooming,” which is nothing more than a “narcotizing” lowering of inhibitions through flattery, exaggeration, and confidence establishment – the emphasis being on lowering inhibitions. I would suggest that practice & “success” with such techniques would be viewed, for example, among college age peers, as awesome rather than pathological. My point is that, while taking advantage of vulnerable individuals is not necessarily predatory, dangerous, or criminal, it certainly is not wise, moral, or attractive.

                      In the Order of Confession, I would note that if you read what is considered “absolution,” it actually is a prayer of “reconciliation” (“Reconcile and unite him/her to Your Holy Church, through Jesus Christ, our Lord…”), and every bit as important is the request, “and grant unto him/her an image of repentance.” In this video, however, he makes it clear that, “I have not defended myself until now,” and unfortunately he proffers his “clinical assessment” and the “insight” of his current therapist of “unresolved hurt” in his past. In my mind this is inconsistent with an “image of repentance,” and is rationalization for his inability to simply say, “I am that man.” (cf. 2 Sam 12:7) Hopefully, this will come. That he retire was the proper and appropriate decision in his best interest and in the best interest of the church.

                  • Jane Rachel says

                    Amazed in the Midwest, I am with you on this. SAM’s strategy of destruction is very similar to the way Mark Stokoe worked. He includes the video of His Grace’s actual words but manipulates the reader by vilifying and slandering His Grace and twisting his words and intent, so that the people are already making judgments against him before they even click on “play.” Clearly, we do not know the whole story.

                    One of the most revealing statements by His Grace was the statement that those who were assessing him (whatever that means) say that based on what he told them, he has suffered so in the past that he has not yet worked through that suffering. I feel for him. I get that and see truth in his words.

                    A previous poster here said many people in the Midwest did not want him to resign, and this means a lot and bears witness to the truth. The fact is that those who wanted him gone are following the same pattern they’ve used so many times in the past, and they must feel so good about it. I believe that the people have once again been manipulated by the puppetmasters.

                    His Grace’s own words convince me that this has happened.

                    All the best to Bishop Matthias and his family!

                    • LOL! Too funny. I am rather chuffed to have a strategy of destruction. It is a really wimpy one, though, isnt it? Nothing compared to the rumor and innuendo that whip readers of this blog into a righteous indignation. Indeed, I provide video evidence that people can view themselves.

                      In point of fact, I only referenced the video. I believe George–or whoever adminstrates these things– added it. I don’t think what I wrote is slander because it is true. I would encourage you to do a little research. Perhaps beyond the rather insular set who regularly post here.

                      I too wish the bishop well.

                      SAM

                • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

                  “The matter of the psychological testing being first ordered, then apparently having its results ignored troubles me. It gives the impression that the psychological testing is mere PR manipulation — ‘Submit to these tests or be fired, and no matter the results, you’re fired’. ”

                  The insurance companies demand it, and the entire surrounding society expects anyone with possible “issues” to be sent off to the head shrinks. What was probably really going on behind the scenes is the insurance companies said +Matthias isn’t going to be covered if you keep him as an active bishop, the Synod saw that the texting scandal wasn’t going to blow over no matter how long they delayed (probably the real test, not the psych exam), etc.

                  • The insurance companies demand it, and the entire surrounding society expects anyone with possible “issues” to be sent off to the head shrinks.

                    Then every single bishop currently on the Synod AND those potential candidates need to spend a week at the Pastoral Institute in Georgia!

                    Frankly, every single man who is interested in and pursuing the priesthood would benefit from a week’s worth of evaluations if for no other reason that to know their trigger points and hot buttons. One is better armed to fight the passions when one knows what rings the bell so to speak.

                  • Harry Coin says

                    You’ve got a point there. Following that logic though, why send him for evaluation if he was to be fired anyhow? And noticing he was explicitly cleared by those given all the facts and who do this for a living and so are able to sift it all, (and not just those facts leaked by his detractors) why was he then fired once cleared?

                    I want to clarify my intention here: I’ve never met the man, though potentially could be in the Midwest diocese of the OCA someday. He apparently went a direction that greatly troubled some parish clergy, and by way of redress the synod wasn’t enlisted and quiet redress attained— but the upset voices amplified by his detractors to oust him.

                    In the end, what really bothers me is massive bishop screwups don’t lead to any problems “if they like you” and “if they don’t like you” the first pretext is enough to generate noise (beyond felt reality) and then you are ‘out’. For instance:

                    We see bishops who actually put lives at risk by seriously poor booze control and judgement still called ‘your grace’ and in charge of clergyman’s lives who have managed for decades to not put the lives of others at risk. Yet, this fellow is actually cleared by psychological professionals given to know these things, never put anyone’s health or life at risk, and is out like wash water. And parish clergy can only celebrate with the permission of these? Why can’t parish clergy who’ve served for 30 years with dignity and grace not be bishops? Oh, right, their wives stubbornly refuse to die. There’s a reason for you. Sure. Helping our growth is it?

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      I think that a married episcopacy is a good idea, but it shouldn’t be floated seriously for a couple of generations from now, at least.

                      Now is exactly the wrong time to change these ancient rules (not that this is actually in prospect, of course).

                      Today, if you do that, then folks start looking for the next “old and arbitrary” thing to change.
                      We all see how that has been working out for the Protestants.

                    • Harry Coin says

                      Tim, you’ve got a a point on the other hand, later will be too late for.most with kids. Wait as long as you suggest and all1 00 remining will totally be ready. Retired, white hair, but ready.

  8. No laughing here George. I predict we’ll have Pope Tikhon instead of Met. Tikhon, looking more like the RCC than the OC.

    • Nektarios says

      I don’t know about that, Philippa. Back when +Tikhon was the bishop/archbishop of Eastern PA, he had a reputation among both clergy and laity as being a hierarch who was meek, indecisive, and vacillating, who couldn’t take action or make a decision to save his life. When I heard that this man had gotten the nod to replace Metropolitan Jonah, I cringed; he seemed uniquely unqualified to meet the leadership needs of the OCA at this time of crisis and division. Sure, he appears to have fewer strikes against him than our other bishops, but being the lesser of a cabal of evils is not a sterling recommendation for a church leader.

      In a nutshell, I don’t perceive that +Tikhon has the qualities necessary to make himself into some kind of OCA pope. It seems more likely that he would make an adequate cover for the Syosset red hats to run the show.

      • nit picker says

        Philippa wrote:

        No laughing here George. I predict we’ll have Pope Tikhon instead of Met. Tikhon, looking more like the RCC than the OC.

        Then, Nektarios wrote:

        he [+Tikhon] had a reputation among both clergy and laity as being a hierarch who was meek, indecisive, and vacillating, who couldn’t take action or make a decision to save his life.

        Nektarios, it is my understanding that it is precisely for the reasons that you have written above that Philippa has written what he/she writes. It is not the person of +Tikhon that is the issue so much but the individuals in the background. +Tikhon is the perfect puppet apparently and as long as he is willing to be subservient to the clique, they will continue to elevate his status and ego. +Tikhon’s meekness, indecisiveness, and vacillation is precisely what makes him so attractive to the individuals who wish to maintain control and pull the strings.

        Apparently +Tikhon hasn’t realized yet that the moment he tries to correct anybody with his bishop’s staff as is his responsibility, it will be used to beat him over the head till he is dead.

        Lord have mercy on him and help him, he is going to need it.

        • George Michalopulos says

          And let’s not forget the fact that he didn’t have any skeletons rattling in his closet nor any pending legal actions against him. It was a perfect storm really: weakness of character together with clean living and an ability to stay out of trouble. Dithering yes, but also lucky. Question is, will the luck hold out?

          • Do Not Analyze or Debate? says

            I was actually quite distressed when I read Met. Tikhon’s letter regarding yesterday’s Patriot Day bombings in Boston. He wrote: “Let us not analyze or debate the causes of this horrific violence.” Do not analyze or debate the causes of the Patriot Day bombings in Boston? This speaks volumes about his philosophy and how Syosset will turn away from all public tackling of the social issues that effect our daily faith.

            • Which came first: Met. Tikhon’s letter or this commentary in The Onion?

              “And so, as we attempt to begin the healing process, let us not bicker over such trivial matters as the actual death toll and what exactly happened at yesterday’s bombing. After all, is it really important, in the aftermath of an event so disastrous and sad, to pick apart the so-called information surrounding this horrific situation and find out what actually happened?”

              http://www.theonion.com/articles/this-is-a-tragedydoes-it-really-matter-exactly-how,32076/

              • Anonymous, I nearly died laughing when I read that. This has been such a horrible week, I needed that. Thank you.

            • Let us not bicker over such trivial matters says

              Which came first: Met. Tikhon’s letter or this commentary in The Onion?

              “And so, as we attempt to begin the healing process, let us not bicker over such trivial matters as the actual death toll and what exactly happened at yesterday’s bombing. After all, is it really important, in the aftermath of an event so disastrous and sad, to pick apart the so-called information surrounding this horrific situation and find out what actually happened?”

              http://www.theonion.com/articles/this-is-a-tragedydoes-it-really-matter-exactly-how,32076/

          • George, Met. Tikhon has skeletons in the closet from his time as Diocesan Bishop of Eastern PA. One doesn’t need to look to far to find them. His lack of action in one particular instance caused quite a kerfluffle. Once again I say, there is no one person, priest or bishop perfect save Christ the High Priest.

        • I am assuming that by “he tries to correct anybody with his bishop’s staff ” you are referring to possible staff of his diocese and not the officers of the OCA which have always been answerable to the Holy Synod. This was always clear and had to be made even more explicitly clear due to the last Metrolpolitan’s usual ineptitude.

          • The bishop’s staff is the pastoral staff of the bishop. In my dictionary of Orthodoxy it is called a crozier. It is supposed to signify that the person using it is the chief shepherd. Shepherds carried staffs to beat off the wolves. (But now the wolves have the staffs, maybe?)

        • I am assuming that by “he tries to correct anybody with his bishop’s staff ” you are referring to possible staff of his diocese and not the officers of the OCA which have always been answerable to the Holy Synod. This was always clear and had to be made even more explicitly clear due to the last Metropolitan’s usual ineptitude.

        • Nit Picker, thanks for clarifying what my comment. You are exactly correct.

          The man behind the throne is Priest Jillions. He is smart enough to not get caught with his hand in the cookie jar. However, he is one to be the prime handler of His Beatitude.

    • People, I would like to request that the negative votes on Philippa cease. She is obviously someone close to Bishop Matthias, and her and all of Bishop Matthias’ family and supporters are sure to be hurting a lot right now. God help Bishop Matthias and all who love him.

      • Helga, thanks for the effort but since at this reading there are -13 votes, me thinks your words have hit a puff of wind and drifted away.

        • Perhaps not, Philippa. I thought what I said would be the right thing to say even if no one else agreed with me, and not all the subsequent votes on your comment were negative.

  9. Carl Kraeff says

    Just a question: Why the quotation marks in “Bp. Matthias “Voluntarily” Retires”?

    • Dear Carl, you outline a single governance model for your church, the one you believe to be the actual one, and then I will answer your question for you.

  10. Guy Westover says

    I am sorry that Bishop Matthias is taking retirement. Complex issues with no easy answers always leave so many unhappy. I pray the the young woman is being ministered to and that this has not prevented her conversion process. I pray that His Grace finds a way to serve the Church in his retirement through prayer, repentance, and perhaps writing. May God grant healing to all parties involved!

    Maybe I am touching the proverbial “third rail” here, but, as someone else mentioned previously, isn’t it time to assimilate the non-territorial ethnic dioceses into the OCA as a whole? Certainly each parish can maintain its specific national culture.

    How many Albanian parishes have Liturgy in Albanian? Honestly. I have only been to one Albanian parish which was in English with maybe two hymns in Albanian.
    Bulgarian parishes same question. How much of the service is in Bulgarian? My understanding is that under the late Abp Kyrill, the Diocese of Western PA and the Bulgarian were essentially one diocese. Except for legal and administrative purposes. Please correct me if I am wrong. I am curious.

    I don’t intend this as a criticism of national parishes, but am merely wondering if their reason for being has come to pass.

    Guy

    • Can answer part of one of your questions:

      Been to two Albanian parishes that used Albanian and English, one in Mass and one in Philadelphia

      Of the four OCA Bulgarian parishes I have attended, two were recently dissolved by Archbishop Alexander . In all those, the priest, when Bulgarian, used Church Slavonic language for the liturgy and Bulgarian for the biblical readings (Gospel, Epistle, Psalms, etc) and sermons and announcements. Choir used Slavonic. Same for Bishop Kyril. Encyclicals in Bulgarian, services in Slavonic. One Bulgarian parish was the same except had an Albanian doing some readings in Albanian and English.

      In the US Bulgarian Patriarchal parish I used to attend, it was Bulgarian liturgy, readings, chants, etc., total Bulgarian but tending more toward Slavonic than modern day spoken Bulgarian. Oddly enough, in an OCA Bulgarian parish, we used to do the Stasis of Разпети петък / Raspeti Petak (Great Friday) in Bulgarian.

      ex http://youtu.be/zS5fVSUOphg

      ex. Macedonian http://youtu.be/A7tf8D6ogBg

      ex English http://youtu.be/3SJ86Uu6HP4

      Most countries are getting away from the Russian imperialist ideal that Slavonic can be a common language as it is too unintelligible in most cases from the local language. We, too, ought do that and use modern languages for our liturgies and hymnography. And if we are going to maintain ethnic archdioceses, they ought to be in those ethnic languages, not some kind of ethnic club in English. Thus, a Bulgarian archbishop should speak Bulgarian, Serbian Serbian, etc. OCA could have a couple Greek speaking parishes, if we are serious about serving Greeks and we could have services in Russian instead of Slavonic.

      In Bulgaria itself where the only other languages are at representation churches (St. Nicholas in Sophia has Russian and Slavonic, for example) or in choral pieces. Lots of Slavonic choral work at St. Alexander Nevsky cathedral, for example. But part of this cathedral tradition is it was a gift from Russia,

      At the Toledo cathedral, Father Gassios was using English. I don’t think he ever learned Bulgarian. The choir also had little to no Bulgarian. l I think this is one reason why Bulgarians voted for Bishop Alexander because he was both a scholar and a Russian and knows Slavonic. The language of the OCA Bulgarian is mostly Slavonic. One reason for this is with Slavonic, there was no need to choose between Macedonian and Bulgarian but the Macedonians have mostly migrated to Macedonian Orthodox churches in this hemisphere. Many of today’s Bulgarian Archdiocese churches had a past as Macedono-Bulgarian churches.

    • Anonymus per Scorilo says

      Why not the opposite ? 🙂
      In some regions there are way more Romanian parishes and faithful than “non-ethnic” OCA ones, and I am sure Abp. Nathaniel can easily find two or three St. Serge-educated auxiliary bishops fluent in English, who can also serve in Slavonic if need be, and who moreover share the original founding vision of the OCA for the future of Orthodoxy in America. They could successfully minister both to Romanian and to non-ethnic OCA parishes; this is for example the situation of most of the French convert communities, and it functions quite well.

      • Anonymus per Scorilo,

        You speak to the weakness of the OCA. Importing bishops from Europe wont solve the OCA’s inability to raise up qualified bishops.

        • Ilya Zhitomirskiy says

          If the OCA can’t reproduce, it can’t exist as an autocephalous church. I would rather unite the OCA to ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate, to Antioch, to Constantinople, or to another church. That way, the OCA will have a stable hierarchy from the outside, if not from the inside. Personally, my preference would be ROCOR, but other people and other bishops may have other ideas.This would speed up reunification. Sacrifice autocephaly now for future autocephaly as one united, canonical Orthodox church.

      • for Decebalus says

        to your points:

        1. Around my region, your suggestion does not work. The original Romanian parish had a priest who alternated English and Romanian parts of services. This alternation was not adequate and an English speaking Romanian parish formed. After the first priest died, there were numerous substitute priests including Greek ones. Then a Romanian priest was with the parish many years and used no English at all except with a couple people who would go confess to him. The new priest is Romanian use only. Five acres was bought near both the Antiochian cathedral and the future home of the Patriarchal Serbs but nothing is started. Should ethnic parishes all move proximate to one another in the most expensive burbs? The English parish formed is still in existence after three decades and still all English outside the odd litany. A Patriarchal Romanian parish was formed recently

        2. Different jurisdictions in this country including the ethnic ones all have English services, all have their own unique and sometimes horrible English translations and sometimes use Uniate translations. There is a lot of cacaphony even when a simple hymn to the Theotokos is sung in English.

        3. Even the same jurisdictions in different countries do not have uniformity in their translations and outside the OCA and the Antiochians, there is little sharing of music although it seems the Greeks have developed a love for Bortnjansky. Organ use is down and there is a lack of organists used to the Greek repetoire

        4. We are often following different rubrics and typika.

        5. Why use dead languages like koine with demotic pronunciation and Slavonic with Russian pronunciation?

        6. I think if the OCA or Antiochians were serious about spearheading unity in North, South, and Central America, Australia and New Zealand, Great Brittain and other English speaking areas, we’d get together and create one inspired translatation that works for hymnography and choral works

        7. For serving people in other countries, use their languages.

        8. Consider Spanish, Portuguese, modern Greek, Arabic, French and other major language liturgies. Don’t we care about missions in our own countries?

        9. While we need to beg the Lord’s mercy upon us both as a group in the services and in private, the token use of language should be more than a litany and the Paschal tropar.

        10. Is is clear that the Romanian Archdiocese is remaining in the OCA or might it be joining the Romanian Episcopate? At some point, people aren’t going to fear communist clergy or their relatives being harmed. Why are you even considering joining a Diasporic mindset?

  11. Disgusted With It says

    HEADLINE: OCA reaches milestone on April 15, 2013

    Syosset, NY – For the first time in history, the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) now has as many “former and retired” hierarchs (10) as they do “active” hierarchs (10). The synod may be perfectly comfortable and even happy with this odd scenario, but the pension fund actuaries may not be so enthused. Some, however, are pointing out that the OCA has obviously become a role model for other Orthodox Churches throughout the world in light of the recent events in the Church of the Czech lands and Slovakia, a close ally of the OCA, where former Metropolitan Christopher has also signed up for an early retirement. Meanwhile, back here in Syosset, everything is doing just fine as the deck chairs of the Titanic are undergoing their 5th reorganization.

  12. FROM THE MOVE ON THERE IS NOTHING TO SEE HERE DEPARTMENT OF THE OCA:

    From Fr Stephen Kostoff, http://oca.org/reflections/fr.-steven-kostoff/manifesting-the-divine-glory

    There still remain two weeks in the forty-day Lenten season, to be followed by Holy Week and its culmination in the “Divine Passion” and the “holy and dread Resurrection.” As unchanging as our lives may be, a great deal can happen on the interior level in two weeks’ time. If we can somehow, by the grace of God, fight off fatigue, distractions, and self-absorption…..

    In other words, consider +Jonah and +Matthias as distractions. No need to worry about them as human beings.

    The OCA is the image of “fatigue, distractions and self-absorption.”

    WAKE up people. Your leaders are leading you into the very thing they decry!

    And, may I add, there was nothing Pastoral in the Letter of +Tikhon. It was a letter written to the lowest common denominator. There was not one iota of spiritual courage.

    Feel free to give me a thumbs down, but the OCA is a mournful reality and I mourn too!

    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

      “From Fr Stephen Kostoff, http://oca.org/reflections/fr.-steven-kostoff/manifesting-the-divine-glory

      “There still remain two weeks in the forty-day Lenten season, to be followed by Holy Week and its culmination in the “Divine Passion” and the “holy and dread Resurrection.” As unchanging as our lives may be, a great deal can happen on the interior level in two weeks’ time. If we can somehow, by the grace of God, fight off fatigue, distractions, and self-absorption…..

      “In other words, consider +Jonah and +Matthias as distractions. No need to worry about them as human beings.”

      Do you have a particular axe to grind against Fr. Kostoff? Or do you just randomly go around reading church politics into writings that have nothing to do with church politics? But, if you insist that “distractions” should be read that way, then I’d have to agree, since there is little most of us can do for either of them but pray, they could easily become distractions. Matthew 11:12, if you want to seize the Kingdom of Heaven with spiritual violence as do the saints then you need to accept that the Kingdom of Heaven is going to suffer a different type of violence until the Second Coming and you need to pick and choose your battles (and in +Jonah’s case, the Synod un-canonically dethroned a Met. buy may have helped +Jonah become a glorified saint in the next generation for all we know, time will tell).

  13. Since the time of the Holy Synod meeting, His Grace, Bishop Matthias, the Holy Synod of Bishops and the Diocese of the Midwest have reached a consensus concerning this entire matter. This includes the necessary considerations for the complainant, for His Grace and for the clergy and faithful of the diocese. Bishop Matthias’ retirement will be effective Monday, April 15, 2013.

    Any bets that forced-to-retire Bishop Matthias will receive more compensation per month than forced-to-resign Metropolitan Jonah?

    I am so embarrassed to be OCA. I used to be the kind of person who would talk openly about Lent and why my family was on a restricted diet. I used to invite friends to my parish’s Vespers services, for Pascha, for study sessions. But my family has stopped doing that since last year when the news about Met. Jonah came out in the media.

    When a person googles “OCA”, they are treated to articles about financial scandals going back into the 1980s. They read about homosexual scandals among the top-ranked clergy and former metropolitans. They read about Met. Jonah’s scandalous behavior and how he was forced to seek psychiatric intervention. They read about Bishop Matthias and his sexual harassment of his young spiritual daughter. They read about Bishop Benjamin and how he soiled his pants in the backseat of a cop car after being arrested for drunk driving. They read about the tragic events at the Diocese of the West’s Monastery of St. John and the departure of all those monks and the removal of the abbot. And the list goes on and on…

    Where are the stories of the OCA’s Christian charity and love to provide a counterbalance to this display of human tragedy and abuse of power? Where are the stories of OCA members doing the good works on a massive scale? Sure you can find a small charity project here or there, but come on. After 50 years of being an established church with a functioning budget and an organized clergy and seminary base–the OCA has very, very, very little to show the world in terms of charitable works. As an example, my family tried to get our OCA parish involved in the 40 Days for Life program this spring. Our parish priest and deacon both told us that our Archbishop advised that he would not give blessings for participation. We weren’t asking to start orphanages, homes for the elderly, hospices, adoption agencies–but were told we would not be given a blessing to simply attend a prayer service in front of Planned Parenthood. And I don’t have the luxury of having other Orthodox jurisdiction churches in my area. Believe me, our family would have jumped ship into the Antiochian or Church Abroad jurisdictions last year.

    I could handle the ongoing OCA scandals (what church doesn’t have those?) if only the scales weren’t tipping in the balance towards the negative, and continuing to plunge into deeper darkness and chaos.

    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

      “As an example, my family tried to get our OCA parish involved in the 40 Days for Life program this spring. Our parish priest and deacon both told us that our Archbishop advised that he would not give blessings for participation. We weren’t asking to start orphanages, homes for the elderly, hospices, adoption agencies–but were told we would not be given a blessing to simply attend a prayer service in front of Planned Parenthood. And I don’t have the luxury of having other Orthodox jurisdiction churches in my area. Believe me, our family would have jumped ship into the Antiochian or Church Abroad jurisdictions last year.

      “I could handle the ongoing OCA scandals (what church doesn’t have those?) if only the scales weren’t tipping in the balance towards the negative, and continuing to plunge into deeper darkness and chaos.”

      Sometimes things need to get worse before they can get better. Perhaps at the next parish council meeting raise the topic of, “Given the continuing scandals in the OCA, at what point do we, as a parish, consider a vote on leaving the OCA for say ROCOR?”

      • George Michalopulos says

        If I may ask, which Archpastor gave you such advice? Ours (Dmitri of Thrice-blessed memory) all but ordered our parish to get involved in the local ecumenical movement here in Tulsa. It was a confluence of an OCA Reader, the Catholic monsignor, and a MS Lutheran priest who started the Annual March for Life here. The more I read, the more I realize how fortunate we were in the South to have the Venerable Dmitri as our archpastor.

    • They did not accuse +Jonah of rape- but rather held him responsible for a rape-which is bogus. Everybody knows it which is why +Jonah is still respected and loved, why he still gives lectures and retreats at Churches and is requested to serve at various Churches.
      Isn’t it strange though that the OCA told Moscow that they wanted +Jonah and his talents, yet will not advertise his retreats or talks to their flock, will not have him serve in their Churches-except one. What a line they fed them. . . .

  14. gail sheppard says

    There is no “shortage of bishops;” only a shortage of bishops in the OCA. I know this is crazy, but maybe it’s time to come together as one Church and allow a bishop, regardless of jurisdiction, become THE bishop of a region. – Lots of obstacles to overcome, I know, but why can’t a single bishop report to two jurisdictions? We already loan priests to one another. Why can’t we share a bishop; even if it is only until a proper OCA candidate can be found? – We’re accustom to seeing things as a problem. Maybe we should look at this as an opportunity.

    • gail,

      Don’t forget that the OCA imported +Matthias and +Michael from the Carpatho-Russian diocese and if he is elected, Gerasim from the Serbs. They are stuck with +Mark, from the Antiochians, The OCA bench is terribly weak when it comes to bishops and potential bishops.

      If the OCA still had any credibility, they could look to other jurisdictions for bishops but it doesn’t look like any Church would release a priest so he can become an OCA bishop. Another consequence of bad leadership.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Good point, why would any Orthodox priest from another jurisdiction want to join the OCA now? Anybody with common sense would run from the Syosset Soviet like a scalded dog.

        • sebastian says

          George were there not scandals in mid 1980’s or so about about some incompetent or thieving priests ruining the pension plan and in mid 90’s the medical plan went away. When parish priest left 15 years ago, there was some thought about the OCA joining it.. decision against thankfully we have land worth millions! We had no trust then that the status quo would be maintained. We stay put!

        • I was thinking more along the lines of someone like Bishop Basil taking responsibility for the Midwest, as well as Mid-America. He’d be under the authority of the OCA on matters concerning your parishes, while continuing to report to Metropolitan Philip on matters concerning our parishes. In the business world, we do this all the time. – Father John brings up the fact that a bishop in our jurisdiction has to have been an Antiochian priest for 5 years. Does the OCA have similar rules? – To be one Church, we’re going to have to re-imagine the “rules.” Ideally, our liturgical practices should be more in line with one another. – Whatever the obstacles, having a good, solid, well-respected bishop is preferable to having no bishop at all.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Gail, (I ask in mock seriousness) do you really dislike Bp Basil for some reason?

            A short list of what he already has on his plate:

            The diocesan bishop (despite the title) of a growing diocese of over 50 parishes in a geographic range that is roughly the Louisana Purchase (plus Texas and New Mexico) to which he actually makes regular episcopal visits.

            Vicar of the Western Rite (unless someone else has taken that over)

            Secretary of the EA, plus other duties realted to it.

            He gets some limited staff support from the Cathedral staff and has a hierodeacon who lives with him monastically and travels with him tending to him and helping with logistics.

            I don’t know how many OCA parishes are in his diocese, but the number is not negligible. If he were given the reponsibility for them, he would do his utmost to carry out that reponsibility. That is asking way too much.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Speaking for myself (and possibly Gail) I would respond: Not at all! We love Bishop Basil. I know he’s got a lot on his plate, but there’s an easy way out of it: more dioceses and more bishops! Dioceses should be as compact as possible. The distance between the farthest parish and the episcopal seat should be no more than six hours. Day trips, not Grand Tours requiring logistics are the way to run the Church (which is the diocese).

              • lexcaritas says

                I agree with you, George; but would aim a diocese with a radius of no more than the distance one may travel in 2-3 hours by car to meet your “day trip” criterion. 3 hours would make 6 for a round trip and a pastoral visit would typically need 3-6 hours (or more) at the chosen destination.

                Furthermore, should a bishop have more parishes and missions under his care than he can visit in a 3 or 4 month period (i.e. 3-4 times a year)? How else can he truly function a the chief shepherd of his diocese and be the servant of servants of the priests serving under his omophorion for whom he ought to be the spiritual guide and example as our Lord was of His apostles (the 3, the 12 and the 70) of whom it was clear for all to see that they had been with Him?

                lxc

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Even better. I never thought about the fact that Jesus Himself had 70 disciples total. Perhaps that should be the outside boundary for a diocese? 70 parishes or 3-hour drive, whichever is greater.

                  If I may expand: the dysfunction that exists on the Synod would never have happened had the OCA had at least 24 diocesan (not auxiliary) bishops. With over 700+ parishes this is not an impossibility (unless of course one subscribes to the notion that every bishop must make at least $75,000/yr and must travel with a retinue every time he boards a plane.) Anyway, with just the handful that we have (9-10 plus assorted vacancies) it’s very possible for a small, corrupt circle to derail an agenda. Think of a dysfunctional family comprised of a husband, wife, resident, unemployed brother-in-law, three children, etc, in which one of the adults is a raging alcoholic and everybody else has to walk on egg-shells to avoid a scene. That’s essentially what we have in the OCA today and have had for quite awhile. Although a healthy local Church will always have a couple of bad apples, a Synod made up of at least two dozen men cannot be dictated to by the outrageous whims of a rotten set of 2-3 within it. It’s just not possible. (This assumes of course that every bishop is equal and has an equal vote.)

                  Let’s expand on this. If the 55 or so bishops of the ACOB congealed into a Holy Synod, with each bishop being sovereign over a more compact diocese, a natural checks-and-balances would accrue. In this sense, the OCA has shown a way forward with a “Holy Synod” and a “Lesser Synod.” Let’s say the USA had a local Church of 72 bishops. Twelve could sit on a Lesser Synod, the rest on the Holy Synod. To prevent institutionalism, all it would take would be a rotation on the Lesser Synod. Perhaps the terms of service on the Lesser Synod would be three years and a rotation of four men would come off every year, to be replaced by someone who hasn’t yet served on the Lesser Synod.

                  Anyway, the more the merrier.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Yes, George, you are absolutely speaking for me. The logistics could be managed.

            • Also Anonymous says

              He’s not the vicar of the Western Rite. That job has been taken over by Bp. John Abdalah of Worcester.

            • Patrick Henry Reardon says

              Vicar of the Western Rite (unless someone else has taken that over)

              It is my understanding that Bishop JOHN of Worcester now has that ministry.

          • Gail,

            Your idea might seem radical to many, but it should not. If there is one faith, one undivided Church, then it is way past time to start acting like it. Your idea is actually common sense. The only problem is that you are calling the bluff of those who want to claim the prestige and authority of being “the one true Church” but who don’t want to make the sacrifices necessary to actually be what they claim to be. Your idea exposes the duplicity, the double talk, the lies that they are unwilling to give up. All this nonsense could be solved tomorrow if Ortthodox people actually wanted to live as one Body. They don’t. This is not a problem of history, it is a problem of the heart, a spiritual problem, a current problem, and a problem that could be solved right now, today, if there was the will to solve it.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              RE: “A problem that could be solved right now . . .” From your lips to God’s ears.

            • One of the West says

              Solution: use the conclave precedent. Lock all the American bishops in a room and don’t let them out, even for bathroom breaks or snacks, until they come up with a solution. I t has works for Popes in the past, why not for us in the ‘true Church’?

              • Gail Sheppard says

                The ACOB already has a venue in place to do precisely this. What a feather in the cap of Metropolitan Philip, were he to suggest it. He would be credited with growing Orthodoxy in this country, on an unprecedented scale, AND laying the foundation for having one Church in North America, something he has long said he wants. It wouldn’t really change anything, but it WOULD send a message that we are mature enough to cover one another (jurisdictionally), when necessary. I know I’ve said this before, but I’m saying it again: To BE one Church, we have to start ACTING like one Church.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Um, yes it is a problem of the heart and while a solution could be put into effect in short order if there was sufficient will, the actual problem would not be taken care of until everybody dies of the generations (including ours) who continue to participate in the the problem of the heart.

              Even if a solution were mandated, many would continue to resist.

              Case in point, in 1960, the year Met. Philip became the Met., the Antiochian Archdiocese in America was split in two (both claiming authority from the Holy Synod of Antioch). Met. Philip and Archbishop Michael of blessed memory met (at the horror of their repsective advisors) and agreed to re-union with Arb Michael taking second chair (willingly). 50 years later there is not much left of the schism, but some effects still linger including, IMO, the opposition of some of the parishes in the Toledo diocese to being subject to a bishop from Toledo (since that was where the other schismatic archdiocese was headquartered).

              When I came into the Church 26 years ago, the scars and the animosity were still quite real (the two Antiochian parishes in my city were on opposite sides of the schism). As people died (on both sides) the animosity died with them or at least was diluted. A solution was mandated 50 years ago but the hardness of heart does not pass so easily.

              Here is what ‘everybody knows’ in North American Orthodoxy: The Greeks are crazy and ethnocentric; the Russians (Slavs) are morose, archaic and ethnocentric; the Antiochians are worldly and ethnocentric, the OCA (forgive me) irrelevant, (and everybody hates converts or is scared of them at some level). That is what separates us. We all too often forget the golden thread woven into different garments that unites us. The golden thread of Apostolic faith and the submission to the love of Christ such faith requires.

              Each of the traditions has something quite positive to offer, we need them all in the New World. The key is both the desire and the ability to discren what is Apostolic and what is crazy, morose, archaic, worldly, irrelevant and ethnocentric while avoiding the arrogant atomistic nihilistic ethnocentrisim of the New World all the while addressing the hardness of heart that afflicts us all.

              HMMMMMMMM, may not so easy a task after all.

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        The OCA should look to its own celibate clergy for its Bishops, because to be effective a new OCA Bishop must know the liturgical practices and way things are done in the OCA. You cannot take a Bishop from, say the Antiochian Archdiocese, and expect him to learn OCA liturgical practices over night. That is why one of the requirement for consideration for election to the episcopate in the Antiochian Archdiocese is that the candidate have been a Priest in the Antiochian Archdiocese for at least 5 years.

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          That is why one of the requirement for consideration for election to the episcopate in the Antiochian Archdiocese is that the candidate have been a Priest in the Antiochian Archdiocese for at least 5 years.

          Although this rule commends itself on a thousand points of wisdom, one suspects it has precious little to do with liturgical considerations.

    • Happy Names Day! says

      Dear Gail / Galina,

      Happy new calendar names day one day late and twelve days early!

      The holy Martyr Leonides and his choir: Hariesa, Nike, Galina, Kalis, Nunehia, Vasilisa and Theodora

      They were thrown into the sea at the Gulf of Corinth, but the sea did not receive them. They walked upon the water as if on dry land singing to God:

      On the field of battle, I ran O Lord, and the army pursued me;
      O Lord I did not deny You;
      O Lord, save my soul!

      Seeing them, the heathens, at first, were amazed, but after that tied stones around their necks and again threw them into the depths of the sea where they drowned. They all suffered honorably for Christ the King and Lord in the year 281 A.D.

      More details at http://corinthianmatters.com/2011/04/16/st-leonidas-and-the-seven-virgins-martyrs-april-16/

      As to your point about bishops, we do not need more bishops, we need fewer jurisdictions. When we are one Church here in America, there will be plenty of bishops to cover major areas. And, it matters not from whence they come, nor need we preserve OCA, Antiochian, Greek, or any other particular name or legacy for our local Orthodox Church of Christ, but be free to use all of them in harmony until with one heart, one mind, and one voice we are able to confess.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        RE: “Happy New Calendar Name Day” Thank you!

        “. . . until with one heart, one mind, and one voice we are able to confess.” With God’s help, we are almost there.

  15. Please keep Bishop Matthias and his family in your prayers. Whatever occurred in Chicago should not blur the reality that he has been a good pastor, a good father and a loving husband whose wife endured a lengthy and ultimately fatal illness which claimed his beloved Jeanette. What the chattering heads here and elsewhere probably don’t know is that by leaving ACROD after thirty five years prior to age 65 he VOLUNTARILY walked away from the income supplement he otherwise would have been entitled to receive. I do not believe he was in the OCA for a long enough time to participate in whatever similar system you offer your clergy. Savings possibly set aside during his wife’s teaching career for their retirement years likely went to her medical bills many years ago. I am sure he is not complaining nor will his children allow him to want, but I wanted you to keep this in mind as you consider his story. Vetting is never perfect and not all clergy – be they monastics or widowed- are cut out to be a bishop. I would hate to concur with Shakespeare regarding the good men do in this case as a life’s good work should not be obscured by a failure near the end.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I would suggest that those of our readers who want to, should contribute to his sustenance. Is there anybody close to His Grace who knows his needs and can tell us where to direct our giving?

    • RE by leaving ACROD after thirty five years prior to age 65 he VOLUNTARILY walked away from the income supplement he otherwise would have been entitled to receive.

      Why would he leave voluntarily?

    • Imagine having contributed to a pension plan for 35+ years. Then in order to serve the Church, imagine walking away from a parish you loved, as well as that pension. That is exactly what he did. Why? To be obedient to God and serve His Church. Only after fives years of service in the OCA can you become fully vetted in the pension plan. That is not the case for him.

      And for what it is worth, I can assure you his ‘severence package’ is nothing like what has been offered to Met. Jonah.

      George, thanks for making that suggestion about contributuions to help him. Perhaps someone will figue that out.

      • Philippa says

        For those who wish to make a contribution to support His Grace, Bishop Matthias you may email me privately for an address to direct checks to. My email is: philippa[dot]alan[@]yahoo[dot]com

  16. Michael Kinsey says

    I live less than 5 miles from the bishop’s residence, and Bulgarian church. No problem, here, I will just stay on my side of the Maumee River. Home is West Toledo.

    • Michael Kinsey says

      I refused to re-baptisted by ex HOOM priests, Fr. Matthew Tate under the authority of Met Pangratious performed the first one. Spiriually it felt like shit. I sought baptism from an OCA priest at the Mission of the Holy Apostles in Portland, Ore next door to the Raphael House of Portland, where I worked.
      This priest was fill of the spirit of Sodom and Gommorah, and he utterly dispised me.he told me to get out of town. Since the OCA has less than 100,000 members. i considered the fact that I have full constitutional rights and god given rights, he has no authority to give me orders, especially where I can live.I finally did recieve baptism in Platina, which was done begrudgingly, by people who took this sacrament as for granted for themselves. It was under the direct authority of Bishop Maxim of the Serbian church, who I saw had fruits of the Holy Spirit.
      I mention this here, because I now live in my hometown, born and raised here, and graduated from Start High School in West Toledo in 1965. I don’t feel I have the right to tell anyone where they can live, respecting god given and constititional rights.My family here has a couple local policemen in our family. I respect the right of the archbishop to live where he want to, and he will do well to respect mine. Nobody is goint to tell me I have no right to live in my own hometown. Your arrogant people!

  17. http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e77l7iam5c31a189&llr=tm4rekmab

    This is more complete than on the OCA website

    But, while we all are waiting for the May registration deadline, look at this from https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?llr=tm4rekmab&oeidk=a07e77l7iam5c31a189

    Parish Ministries Conference 2013

    “Faith in Action: Equipping the Saints for Worship, Learning and Service,” will be the theme of a parish ministries conference to be hosted by four Orthodox Church in America departments on the campus of Marymount University. The four sponsoring departments are Christian Service, Christian Education, Liturgical Music and Youth Ministry
    Registration is closed.

  18. Knowing the Bishop for many years, I am sure that the pension issue was neither on his mind when he left ACROD as a candidate for Bishop of the Midwest nor when, as an obedient servant, he acted in accord with the Synod’ s request and resigned this week. My point was not so much related to the money issue, but rather to my hope that those of you in the OCA who feel let down or even betrayed by what occurred, find room in your hearts to pray for him and to know that the totality of his priesthood and his labors in the Vineyard and travels through this life define him far more than his brief tenure in the Diocese of the Midwest. He will be all right.

  19. Nick Cobb says:
    April 19, 2013 at 7:22 am
    Um,

    Ummmm….., you have it wrong. Gay activists had nothing to do with + Jonah’s resignation. His resignation came about via his own brothers in the OCA Synod. + Jonah was making unilateral decisions and taking actions without the OK of the OCA Synod. He was warned more than once, but continued. His own brother bishops decided that he had to go. Now, as a “MONK,” he should return to his monastery or a monastery and live out the rest of his life praying for the world. He doesn’t require a “retirement package.” As for + Matthias, he was emailing questionable posts to a young woman. Even after his evaluations, the laos of the Midwest Diocese refused his return. Bp. Alexander is a very good choice to administer to the Diocese of the Midwest. Those here who continually wish to besmirch his reputation are slanderers and liars.

    Nick Cobb, please refresh us on those “unilateral decisions” by +Jonah or are you just repeating the company line?

    Bishop Alexander reputation is of his own making when he was a student at SVS and his life there is documented and known. He is not a good choice for the Midwest, in fact he is the worst possible choice given what the Midwest is now dealing with. Come on Nick, take off your stupid hat and stop drinking the Kool-aid.

    • lexcaritas says

      Nick, I think I must agree with our brother James. How does your assertion (which the record does not entirely support) that +JONAH’s resignation came via his own brothers on the Synod prove that activists were not involved? The chancellor averred last summer that there was no culture war going on and reassured us that all our bishops are traditionalists. They all say the Creed. So do all the progressive Episoplians, but that has been no guarantee of their orthodoxy, has it? The fact is there is a spiritual war that has been ongoing since Eden, there are, in every age, wolves in sheep’s clothing and men who tickle the ear and do not fulfill the spiritual calling into which they are placed. As in St. Paul’s day we are against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places–and sometimes these have their minions–willing or unsuspecting–within the Church herself. The chancellor’s glib assurance that we have nothign to fear in this regard does not evince the sobriety and vigilance that would instill confidence.

      What unilateral decisions were being made by +JONAH that were opposed by the Synod? Why were the content of those decisions objectionable? If not objectionable, what would have been so bad about his making them? How do you know his brother bishops decided he must go? Some may have; but the record shows that all of them did not.

      I know nothing of +Alexander and do not oppose him; he is the Synod’s choice. But I would ask why you think he is a good choice for the Midwest. Geographical proximity? Time on his hands? You assert, but do not persuade.

      lxc

    • Also Anonymous says

      James, once again, you have a moral obligation not to gossip or make vague accusations harming the reputation of another person.

    • Sam Haddad says

      I went to school with Bishop Alexander at St. Vladimir’s. He was brilliant and graduated with honors. There was nothing scandalous about him and and whoever you really are James, you are doing the work of the devil. There seems to be many here who enjoy that.

  20. Email from Father Viktor Potopov says

    Dear Brothers & Sisters,

    Excellent article. In it are photos of Fr. Boris Kritsky, who served as rector of our parish for a short while in the 1950’s, and Archbishop Nikon, whose title was “Archbishop of Washington and Florida.”

    http://www.pravmir.com/journey-to-orthodoxy-discovering-its-spiritual-integrity/

    In XC,

    Fr. Victor

  21. cyntha curran says

    As for Byzantine, I really do think of them as Romans now and many Orthodox in that region do still called themselves Roman but I’m not against the use of Byzantine since the city was known as Byzantium as well and in the Eastern Roman middle ages Byzantium was use. From a history point to have rulers from 330 to 1453 is remarkable enough. Its just the language was Greek which it was during ancient times as well. So Romans in the east had Greek langauge and Greek culture norms which doesn’t make them less Roman but a more medeval Roman just like Italians were Medieval Western Romans but the political system changed more radically there.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      “Byzantine Empire” is a 19th century term first coined by German historians, as I remember. Certainly the Eastern Romans never used the term.

      But the expression has proved useful and has staying power.

      • Nor did the New Romans call themselves Eastern

        Latest Metropolitan Jonah video:

        http://youtu.be/iIdLR6DfNSo

      • Tim,

        17th century -British I believe. . . .

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          Collette, you sent me back to the books!

          Warren Treadgold’s great tome says Hieronymus Wolf, a German historian, seemingly invented the term in 1557, but that it was indeed the 17th century when it began to have wide currency with French and English scholars.

  22. Amazed in the Midwest says

    M. Stankovich says:
    April 19, 2013 at 1:19 pm
    Amazed in the Midwest ,

    I would strongly caution you here regarding the notion of a “clean bill.” A clinical assessment of predatory behaviour & dangerousness is significantly limited.

    And, Michael Stankovich, I would strongly caution you to not stick your nose into a diagnosis that you have no first-hand knowledge. You sit behind your keyboard and just because you have some experience, you pontificate from afar about another case that you only know second-hand. And you call yourself a professional?

    If this man was a predator those doing the examination would be duty-bound to at least cover their professional behinds if they had ANY indication of “grooming” someone. There is no such indication in any of the reports. None.

    So why don’t you zip it and stop fanning the flames, something you did quite well in your continued questioning of +Jonah’s mental stability.

    You sir, are a disgrace to your profession by thinking you can adjudicate from afar. Stick to your first-hand work with your clients in the prison system.

    • M. Stankovich says

      Chief, I strongly urge you to re-read what I actually wrote. It is the Bishop who was foolish enough to interject this issue into his “defense,” not me. The fact of the matter is that I was disgusted & outraged with the people from Pokrov for even the insinuation that he was a sexual predator and that they – like Mr. Michalopulos – allowed the publishing of anonymous cowards who went a step further to even suggest he posed a future threat; viciously making an unsupported, undocumented, and scurrilous claim of an “off-the-record” insurance adjustor that the was a “liability.” So you say I am fanning the flames and am a disgrace to my profession? You are are a simple ass, my friend, as I defended him vigorously against such murderous & soul-destroying venom, and I continue to do so now. He is no more a predator or a danger than an of us, and the entire charade has served to do nothing more than trivialize the seriousness of predation. He made some very poor, very immature decisions, but he is no predator.

      So imagine what I thought when I first heard him in this video introduce a “defense” that included “mitigation by assessment & therapist.” Wat! I guarantee you that if he had prior consulted a wise confessor and a trusted therapist, both would have told him the same thing: “Those words are an expression of your hurt, your embarrassment, and your shame. They sound, however, as defiance, blaming, and rationalization. Model King David, the Beloved of the Lord, “I am that man,” and shut up.” Mitigation has no bearing on the responsibility for ones actions, but speaks to the motivation. Perhaps someone will tell him. Personally, I see no reason why, at a more opportune time, he should not be reconsidered for active ministry.

      Finally, I emphasize to you that I am not diagnosing from a distance, and in fact, my comments to you were cautioning “exonerating” from a distance. Behavioural medicine in general, and psychiatry in specific, differs from the majority of medical disciplines in that there is no “test” or blood panel, or definitive, objective measurement by which to make determinations. If you present with a community-acquired pneumonia, a baseline chest x-ray, a course of antibiotics, and a follow-up x-ray will determine that you have have been successfully cured of pneumonia. If, however, you are mandated by the court to see me because you are accused of Felony Driving While Intoxicated or Domestic Violence, I have your words and the record; discrepancy in your words, our discussion, and the record are the basis for my conclusions, and reliance is upon my training, experience, and intuition. My point is this: when I listen to a video, I obviously, by training, experience, and intuition, will view it differently than you. I am not presumptuous enough to “diagnose” – nor am I stupid enough to conjecture – but I am astute enough to sense when something is amiss. I can also say that, if you needed my help, you would want my help. “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely you have received, freely give.” (Mt. 10:8)

    • dorisweisman says

      If this man was a predator those doing the examination would be duty-bound to at least cover their professional behinds if they had ANY indication of “grooming” someone. There is no such indication in any of the reports. None.

      Have you seen the reports? Or just heard a summary of what they are purported to say?

      • doris and stankovich,

        I would not write what I wrote without knowing what I wrote, first-hand. Any other questions?

        As to Chief Michael, so proud of himself and his accomplishments to remind us all AGAIN, does it not come right down to your opinion vs. the opinion of others in the same field? In this case, those who did the actual intervention, not you, did not conclude that +Matthias was a danger to himself or anyone else. But, of course you know better, right Mike?

        And, BTW, calling me an ass then quoting Holy Scripture only makes me conclude that something is amiss with you. Maybe you need more help? And if I missed your disgust with the girls from Pokrov, you were right to call them out who have long since lost their street cred when they refuse to say one word about +Benjamin. And based on past performance, +Benjamin is a greater danger to those around him than +Matthias ever was.

        • M. Stankovich says

          James,

          My comment was not intended for you, but for Amazed in the Midwest. Personally, I am not interested in your “knowledge,” first-hand or otherwise. As near as I can tell, your sole demonstrated competency seems to lie in the accumulation of unsubstantiated filth and gossip. You will pardon me, but I do not find this virtuous, praiseworthy, charitable, or attractive. In fact, I find it repulsive, cowardly, and consider you a rodent. And that is considering that everything you suggest is true. If I am to believe the words expressed in the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, “the Lord has promised to return, rendering to each [of us] according to our deeds,” than I am to believe that justice belongs to you?

          And I end by saying to you, I have already established my competency in my profession & among my peers because I have earned it. I could retire today and I would leave as a respected & trusted clinician. My opinion is a considered opinion. My opinion is a measured opinion. My opinion is an evidence-based opinion. Get it? I don’t need to brag, flaunt, or “grin in yo’ face.” You are not in my league, son. Bark elsewhere. Any other questions?

          • “. . . and consider you a rodent. ”

            See that there-that is called name calling. You are not concerned for James, you are not acting in love. You are spewing venom on him. That is ill-will. Then you bring in a saint to justify this bad behavior. That’s manipulation. Then you bring in “credentials”-more manipulation, but you still have not brought in evidence or reason to dispute James.
            Then you top it of by bad slang and a nasty order-“bark elsewhere”.

            You know Michael, you follow patterns very predictable, tiresome ones.
            It’s Lent, give it a rest.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Mr. Stankovich, et. al.

            While I don’t agree with Prof Kleiwers that an “internet conduct policy” should be promulgated by the bishops. We have the Epistile of James. If we don’t heed him, we won’t heed our bishops.

            As an insurance professional I do want to point out that the internet is fodder for personal injury lawsuits (slander, libel, etc.). Anything you say can be taken down and used against you in a court of law.

            Most homeowners policies do not cover such such personal injury claims, i.e. your homeowners insurance company will neither defend you if you are sued nor pay a judgement should you loose.

            Even if you are ‘victorious’ in such a lawsuit, you will loose quite alot in time, money, stress and reputation.

            For our host’s sake, for our soul’s sake for the sake of our pocket books, we all need to be more courteous in our postings and responses.

            If you thik you won’t get sued so don’t bother to obtain coverage, well, that’s a bad allocation of resources, in my professional opinion. Read your homeowner’s policy and your umbrella policy then see your insurance agent today and consult with him/her about how best to optain personal injury coverage.

          • Oh dear Michael,

            I am not bound to please thee with my answers. May you live with those who are pleased with your sinful and meager words. May you find peace in your world!

            As for questions, are you a member of an OCA parish? You to this point have refused to anwser such a simple question, you who are all knowing and in your own mind, beyond question?

  23. Michael Bauman says

    If we want not only celebate bishops but chaste ones, we need to work on our own chastity.

  24. cyntha curran says

    Nor did the New Romans call themselves Eastern. They did not but they were in the Eastern Part of the Roman Empire and the language was Greek not Latin which is usually the difference between the Western and Eastern Parts of the Roman empire though a lot of Upper-Class Romans in Italy before the 4th Century knew Greek. In fact after Scipio who was an admirer of things Greek which Cato the Elder did not like, Upper Class Romans in Italy learn Greek as well, Julius Caesar when he was killed spoke in Greek and later Roman emperors Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius wrote in Greek but by the 4th Century Greek was disappearing in the West, Augustine didn’t like Greek and in the East Latin was use mainly for Law and official Government terms but the 6th Century the Justinian Code for use in the East was written in Greek, so latin disappeared in the East.

  25. cynthia curan says

    Byzantine Empire” is a 19th century term first coined by German historians, as I remember. Certainly the Eastern Romans never used the term.

    But the expression has proved useful and has staying power. True, Gibbon thought of them as weaker Romans. The Germans historians of the 19th century pariculary Theodore Mommenson developed the scholarship on anicent Rome. Byzantine probably comes from Byzantium and even Procopius use Byzantium but not Byzantine. He referred to the Romans and Barbarians and so forth and Perisans but Procopius live in the century just after their was no emperor in the west and soon the consulship in both the east and west ended in the 6th century. The last consul in the west was in 534 and Justinian got rid of the consulship was a private citizen in 541 for money reasons because of the Plague, so their were developments by the 6th century which in both the east and west with the consulship dying out that lead to the development away from old Rome to the medieval soceties of Constantinople and the Germanic West.

  26. cynthia curran says

    This is another aside, the historian Procopius was thought to be a lawyer since Latin was still use in the ealrier part of the 6th century in Law school. Procopous was familar with both Latin and Greek and a great deal of Greek and Roman History. Your right about Germans dominated of ancient and medieval history in the 19th century and probably Byzantine came from Byzantium which was use by Procopius and John Zonaras and some other historians of Constantinople. The old name of Byzantium was use as much as new Rome or Constantinople.