Breaking: More Info on the DOS and Bp Mark

The day before yesterday, Monomakhos broke the story of the possible election of Bp Mark Maymon to the vacant See of Dallas and the South. Clearly, the prospect that “the fix is in,” cannot be shaken by what has transpired so far.

Many priests in the Diocese of the South (and laymen as well) have corresponded privately with me as well as publicly on this forum. Of particular concern is the fact that His Grace Bp Mark did not (according to our sources) receive the blessing of Bp Nikon and Metropolitan Jonah to travel to Houston. As mentioned yesterday, Fr David Moretti (the pastor of the church in question) assured me that he did have a blessing from Bp Nikon which was left via voicemail. (He did not say whether His Beatitude likewise gave his blessing to Bp Mark.) Because I take Fr David at his word, I did not feel the need to call him to confirm his view of the event in question. On the other hand, I was told by Fr Justin Frederick that when he heard that Bp Mark had been invited, he called Bp Nikon and asked him whether he did in fact have Nikon’s blessing to go to Houston. According to Fr Justin, Bp Nikon told him that he had not given Bp Mark his blessing. (Fr Justin did not record his conversation with His Grace.)

Be that as it may, such surreptitious goings-on increases the attention paid to Bp Mark and paints a less-than-glowing picture of what we in the Diocese of the South could expect should he be elected by the Holy Synod. Below is a letter that Fr Justin sent out to the priests in his Deanery. You can read it and judge for yourself as to what the facts are.

The Reverend Justin Frederick
Dean, Dallas Deanery, Diocese of the South, OCA
2026 West Oak • Denton, TX 76201
(940) 565-6753 •

Martyrs Agathopodes & Theodoulos
5 April 2012

My Dear Brethren of the Diocesan Council,

As the end of Lent draws near, I request your indulgence to hear me on a matter of great importance to the future well-being of our diocese. Believe me, I would rather be silent and let this pass by, I would rather not risk trying your patience and losing your goodwill. But because of the trust the people of my deanery repose in me and the duty I bear before God to work for the good of Christ’s Church in the Diocese of the South, I find I cannot be silent. Persuaded that we all desire a good, pious, capable successor to Archbishop Dmitri who will be able to unite and effectively shepherd our diocese, I proceed as my conscience demands in the hope that you will understand my deep concerns, which, I assure you, are not mine alone.

A year ago, as the newly-appointed dean of the Dallas Deanery, I was subjected to an intensely disturbing explosion at St. Seraphim’s Cathedral during that most somber and poignant week of the Church year —Great and Holy Week. I cannot forget that week and the pall it cast over Pascha. I cannot forget the tears of the faithful who came to me in distress over what was happening to their cathedral. I cannot forget the weeks that followed as I labored with others to pick up the pieces and put them together again.

This body at our February meeting in Charleston voted to put on the ballot the man who was at the heart of that explosion last Holy Week in Dallas. To you who did not live through and know little or nothing about it, the decision to include him on the ballot was easily made. For us who did live through it, that decision strikes us like a slap in the face. We are dismayed that he has been put on the official ballot, from which he may either be elected by a majority of delegates in our diocese, who are ignorant of the facts of last Lent, or from which he may be simply chosen by the Holy Synod of Bishops, regardless of how we may vote.

The reasons urging us, the Diocesan Council of the Diocese of the South to this decision of including this man on the ballot were not the particular qualifications of the candidate, not his compatibility for our diocese, not his ability to unite and lead us, and not even his suitability to be a ruling bishop again after leaving his previous flock for reasons that are not fully clear. Rather, his inclusion on the ballot was urged as the logical consequent of fairness, forgiveness, and charity.

How does fairness require us to include this man on the ballot? If we are to cite fairness, where is the fairness to the faithful of the cathedral, who had their Lent and Holy Week disrupted by this man’s mistakes, whose paschal joy was dimmed, and whose deep wounds are only now healing? Where is the fairness to the cathedral priest who was brutally treated by this man for four months, who in his actions went well beyond the authority delegated to him, and made pastoral decisions in sensitive matters that were characterized several times by our Locum Tenens before the deans as ‘stupid’? Where is the fairness to the diocese in rewarding this man with a most unusual ‘guest’ status compensated by a comfortable salary and freedom to travel about the diocese despite his ‘stupid’ mistakes, mistakes one might expect of a newly-ordained priest fresh out of seminary, and not a seasoned clergyman? Where is the fairness in allowing one candidate to live in the diocese, travelling and campaigning at diocesan expense, soliciting invitations to parishes, while the other candidates remain outside? Where is the fairness in not having this candidate undergo the same psychological testing and vetting the other episcopal candidates must undergo? (We ask more of the divorced seeking a second marriage than we have asked of a bishop seeking a second diocese!) Where is the fairness in not closely examining his track record in his former jurisdiction and the reasons leading to his divorce therefrom? And where is the fairness to the priest, our former chancellor, whose private emails were dishonorably accessed and published without authorization to the priest’s hurt and the scandal of many? Fairness would appear to offer no strong support to this man’s candidacy.

How does forgiveness compel us to make this man an official candidate? By all means, we urge the battered wife to forgive her battering husband, but does that forgiveness require her to move in again with him before she has seen clear evidence of his repentance? Yet this is precisely what is being asked of us in the Dallas Deanery: we are to forgive and accept a man who for ten months offered no apology to the priest in Dallas nor to the faithful of the cathedral for the scandal he caused; we are to forgive and accept a man whom you all heard say recently in Charleston that he found it difficult to ask forgiveness because he sees himself as the victim, not as one who as offended. Before you rush to believe his account of being set up and victimized, please do due diligence and speak with those who suffered because of his actions. It is not enough to tell the people in Dallas just to ‘get over it’ when you do not really know what this ‘it’ is. How is the apology this man wrote to the cathedral (after being prompted) at the start of the Great Fast, which did not apologize for any specific sins or errors, constitute an apology, repentance, or the basis for forgiveness? Such an apology that apologizes for nothing specific is worse than no apology —and it went over in Dallas, I can tell you, like another slap in the face. Yes, we must and do offer forgiveness to this man and pray for him, whether he is able to name his sins and ask forgiveness or not, but that does not require us to put him on our ballot. Indeed, his refusal or inability to admit to any specific mistakes provides a strong reason for excluding him from it.

How does Christian charity demand that we make this man an official candidate for the episcopacy of our diocese? Our OCA received this man as a refugee from his former jurisdiction. Because of the traumatic nature of his departure from it, he was urged to rest and recuperate at a monastery and there learn our ways. He insisted he was ready to work at once. He was immediately handed the DOS on a silver platter, introduced to us by our Metropolitan as a most likely candidate to succeed Archbishop Dmitri. Upon this recommendation, we and the cathedral welcomed him gladly, expecting only the best. Yet within four months, the promising relationship was in utter shambles, irretrievably broken primarily due to his poor pastoral decisions and poor presentation of himself to the faithful. Despite the explosion he ignited, instead of being asked to leave to diocese and go to his proper see of Baltimore, he was allowed to retreat to Miami as a salaried guest of the diocese and to continue serving in some undefined, untitled capacity, despite repeated objections to this strange arrangement. In all this he has been shown an abundance of charity far beyond the Gospel requirement to turn the other cheek or to go the second mile.

Yet if we will speak of charity, how do we show charity to our traumatized brethren in Dallas? What does charity towards our brother, the brutalized priest of the cathedral, ask of us? Does not charity at least require us to hear what they have to say? And does not charity also call us to speak the truth in love to our uninvited guest that he may honorably take responsibility for his actions and not continue portraying himself as the innocent victim and blaming others for his own mistakes?

Members of the Diocesan Council, I urge you to reconsider the decision we made in Charleston on the shaky basis of fairness, forgiveness, and charity. That foundation does not support the candidacy of this man.

I know that some of you see this man as a victim, ‘set-up’ and schemed against by our former chancellor, innocently caught up in the currents of Church politics, ambushed by rebellious and contentious people in Dallas who could not accept someone who did not meet the impossible standard set by Archbishop Dmitri. Perhaps he has portrayed himself to you in this light as he has travelled about our diocese. I tell you, there is another side to the story, and that whatever the currents of Church politics, whatever the alleged machinations of the former chancellor, whatever the sins and shortcomings of the faithful of the cathedral– there were many actions that this man carried out which were fully in his power and by his choice and judgment, that, were they accurately known and considered, would cause anyone concerned for the future of our diocese to oppose his candidacy. Will you not consider the witness of your own brethren of our diocese, with whom you have long lived and served? Will you not do due diligence in investigating their first-hand experience with him? Or will you reject their testimony, preferring to credit the word of a newcomer in our midst who has a personal stake in the matter? Fairness, forgiveness, and charity all require you to hear out your brethren, which to my knowledge, few if any of you have done.

The fact is that inclusion of this man on the ballot puts those who experienced Great Lent (during which the problems were already building) Holy Week and Pascha in Dallas last year in a most uncomfortable position. Love covers a multitude of sins, and this we have endeavored to do—to cover this man’s sin, so long as he was removed from us so he could hurt us no more. But with this man on the ballot as an official candidate for the office of bishop of our diocese, we will find ourselves morally bound to speak up publicly, loath though we be to do it, about the facts of what happened last year, facts which, becoming public, will do no one any good—not the OCA, not the Holy Synod, not our diocese, not the Diocesan Council, not the ones who must speak up, and especially not the man himself. But the facts of our experience are fully relevant if the delegates of the parishes of our diocese are to make a fully informed decision at the special assembly this July in Miami to elect a bishop, and so we shall be compelled to submit them.

Rather than supporting this man’s candidacy, the facts of the matter would lead us to remove him from the ballot if we care about true fairness, forgiveness, and charity, if we desire the peace, well-being, and unity of our diocese, and hope to present our delegates with viable candidates whom we all have reasonable confidence will be able to unite and effectively shepherd and develop our diocese. What is more, if we do not remove him from the ballot, even if his chance of direct election is slim, we invite the Holy Synod to make the decision for us and install him despite our wishes. Remember Archbishop Dmitri and Metropolitan Theodosius!

Redress of the issue lies in our hands. We may summon our courage and decide that, just as we voted him onto the ballot, we may, upon further consideration of the facts, remove him from the ballot and from further consideration for the position of ruling bishop of our diocese. Failing this remedy, we invite contention and division to our diocese that will not aid us in building up the Church here in the South and throughout North America, and the ballot we offer to our delegates will not serve fairness, forgiveness, or charity for anyone.

In Christ,

Priest Justin Frederick
Dean, South Central (Dallas) Deanery


  1. Carl Kraeff says

    Strong letter. Granted that not having him on that slate would preclude any possibility that his name would be sent up to the Holy Synod, I do not see how including +Mark in the slate of candidates in any way ensures that he will be the nominee. The trick is to decide to send up just one name (as authorized by the OCA Statute) and trust the Diocesan Assembly to make the right decision.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Carl, as usual, you’re correct. The problem is that if indeed, the “fix is in,” the gameplan is to divide the vote tally along these lines: Candidate X = 33%, Candidate Y = 48%, Mark = 19%, in which case the HS decides that since there was “no major concensus and since Bp Mark is already a bishop and since he’s already living in Miami at DOS expense, well…”

      The truly chilling part of Fr Justin’s letter was toward the end: remember what happened in 1970 between Dmitri and Theodosius. The bishop who got more votes than everybody else combined was unelected by the HS in favor of the ethnic candeidate, under who’s tenure the OCA was driven into the ground and is only now undergoing the possibility of a revival.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        I suggest that the prudent course of action is to (a) retain Bishop Mark and the slate and (b) decide to send only one name to the Holy Synod.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Carl, option B is prudent and correct. Option A however is inviting disaster. I’m sorry, the Syosset/MC axis has not shown any evidence of understanding the repudiation of the corrupt old order that was delivered to them in Seattle.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            I was thinking that it would be more prudent not to humiliate your opponent. By your account and others’, Bishop Mark has his proponents, but I have no idea how enthusiastic they are in their support. I have a feeling that, based on the emotions I see here, Bishop Mark’s opponents will be more vehement. Thus, it may be a tactical mistake to back +Mark’s supporters into a corner by trying not to include him on the slate. If he is on the slate but, after the Diocesan Council votes, he is not a recommended candidate, then nobody will have an opportunity to call foul. After all, +Mark is a bishop and he was received into the OCA by the Metropolitan himself. To reject him outright may be seen as a slap in the face, not only of +Mark and +Jonah, but of the Holy Synod and bishops in general. I think what I just went over is of low probability but since the hierarchy holds the ultimate power, I think we should be extra careful not to shoot ourselves in the foot. Speaking of shooting ourselves in the foot, there is no need to bring up extraneous issues, you cannot afford to be seen as a vengeful mob, out to settle old scores. The issue here is simple: whom does the DOS Diocesan Assembly nominate to be the successor to Archbishop Dimitri? Period.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Carl, it’s more complicated than that. The picture you paint may be accurate, and it is certainly an idealized one. But all indications are that this is a “done deal” and that they are merely going through the motions to increase to give his election a veneer of legitimacy.

              In other words, someone is not acting in good faith. At the very least, our own protocols are not being followed. The only way that this could end well with any face-saving for Mark and his future viability would be for him to remove himself from contention. If he did so humbly, it would speak well of him for a future opening.

              If he’s forced down our throats, the legacy of the Veneral Dmitri would be overturned within a year.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                If the Holy Synod overturns a properly arrived at nomination, and rejects a nominee who is perfectly suitable, there will be a great deal of trouble for the entire OCA, not just the DOS. One of the peculiarities of the OCA is the concept conciliarity. If the bishops reject a valid nominee, they will be also rejecting conciliarity and will be embracing capricious monarchical rule. Furthermore, if the Holy Synod has already chosen the bishop, this will constitute a great betrayal at least for me. I wonder if they will then be happy ruling over near empty and closed churches.

  2. Did any of the desert fathers warn against engaging in gossip?

  3. another anon says

    What, in heaven’s name, did Bishop Mark do during Holy Week that has led to his excoriation? I want to know!!!

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Leaving aside the extremely unethical (and possibly criminal) actions of hacking into another priest’s email in order to sandbag Jonah (i.e. conspiring against a sitting bishop), he abruptly switchede the liturgicon that the people of SSOC were used to, which was a mistake any priest at a new assignment knows not to do. He also forbide Fr John Anderson from serving in the Altar without any explanation. This latter action caused more turmoil and caused tremendous scandal. Plus he spoke openly against Met Jonah.

      Again, this saddens me as I very much wanted Bp Mark to be our bishop. People I trust told me that mid-way during Lent last year, there was such a spiritual “pall” that befell SSOC. A terrible sense of foreboding. Even some of Mark’s other promoter’s (whom I will not name) were aghast when they found out his association with STokoe.

      • Why would any person who is brand new to a parish in any Church especially an Orthodox Church change anything when they first get there even before the people get to know you? Thats just crazy.Surely they teach that in Seminary! Wouldn’t a mentor tell a new priest not change anything until he is loved by the people? Thats just common sense.

    • Here is the letter I read and presented to +NIKON at the “town hall meetuing” held at St Seraphim Orthodox Cathedral a year ago:

      Your Grace, Bishop Nikon, 13 May 2011
      Master Bless!

      It gives me no joy to write this letter. But to be silent would be worse.

      1) We were all delighted to hear Bishop Mark was coming to the OCA, to the Diocese of the South, and to St Seraphim Cathedral. We heard he was a good man and a good Bishop. I heard the same from my own Antiochean friends.

      I welcomed him, personally, and thanked him for having the courage to resist Met. Philip’s political and uncanonical machinations.

      2) I was shocked to hear him announce that certain liturgical usages would be changing. But I was angered by his justification. In the middle of the Cathedral, he justified his actions by claiming that he could not find any two people on staff who could agree on liturgical usage. I also noted a snide and belittling tone that suggested we were a bunch of ignorant fools who knew nothing about proper liturgics.

      Does anyone seriously claim that Archbishop Dmitri is careless and ignorant of liturgical rubrics? Does our choirmaster, Nicholas Paraskevas, who has served this Cathedral for over a quarter of a century, working with Archbishop Dmitri hand in glove, know nothing of liturgical rubrics? Are our Priests and Deacons, all trained by Archbishop Dmitri, equally inept?

      In my own experience, I have heard ROCOR monks condemn the OCA for our liturgical sloppiness, and in the next breath praise Archbishop Dmitri for his excellent knowledge of and faithfulness to to liturgical rubrics.

      ROCOR’s politics were passing strange. But does anyone question their knowledge of liturgical rubrics?

      To put it bluntly, Bishop Mark stood before the congregation and lied.

      I don’t trust liars. I especially don’t trust liars who build themselves up by tearing down good, loyal, pious, longserving servants of Christ. I don’t want such a liar for my Bishop.

      3) I was further shocked on Holy Saturday to hear Bishop Mark denigrate the custom of Paschal Matins and Liturgy. It is one thing to point out the anticipation of the Resurrection in the Liturgy of Holy Saturday, and to point out that this liturgy was the original celebration of the Resurrection in the early Church. But to speak so dismissively of the “midnight” services is unacceptable. Perhaps I should not be surprised that we had the poorest attendance I can remember at those late night services. Perhaps our new Bishop would prefer to sleep rather than celebrate.

      I do not want such a man for my Bishop.

      4) I was further shocked to hear of his treatment of Fr John Anderson. For a man who came to us through his betrayal of and disloyalty to his previous Metropolitan, he seems to have no qualms about treating others harshly and unforgivingly.

      It is a bit odd to see a traitor demand loyalty, and a rebel demand obedience.

      I do not want such a man for my Bishop.

      5) Every year, after the Paschal Matins procession around the temple, Archbishop Dmitri stands before the doors and with the base of the Paschal Cross strikes the doors four times in the sign of the Cross. What a glorious bit of liturgical symbolism! By the Cross of Christ the doors are opened and we enter from the darkness into the brightest joy of the Resurrection!

      And what “liturgical improvement” did Bishop Mark offer?

      He handed the Paschal Cross to one of his Altar servants, and rapped on the doors with his bare knuckles like a zit-faced teenager delivering a pizza.

      If this is his idea of “authentic Byzantine liturgics, ” I’ll pass, thank you. I don’t want such a man for my Bishop.

      6) Every Bishop in the OCA knows the history of the Diocese of the South. It is the diocese that should never have been. It was Baptist country, impervious to Orthodoxy. What Orthodox were in the South were already served by and loyal to the Greeks and the Antiocheans. Bishop Dmitri was seen as a fool for even attempting to found and build the Diocese of the South.

      Yet the DOS has not only survived, but has grown and thrived. While OCA population in the North East is shrinking, the DOS is growing. Our parishes are filled with converts, young families, children, and babies. Our people are dedicated, energetic, and committed.

      To inherit the DOS is a reward, a prize, something to be desired and treasured. And yet Bishop Mark received it as a reward for his act of betraying his former Metropolitan.

      And rather than accept it with humility and gratitude, he took it as his due, and could not wait to find fault with the DOS, its clergy, and it’s people.

      A humble man might have spent a year learning how the DOS functions. A humble man might have spent a year learning what makes the DOS work as well as it does. A humble man might have done these things, but Bishop Mark did not.

      I do not want a traitor and an ingrate for my Bishop.

      7) When Bishop Mark set foot in the Diocese of the South, he was welcomed. He was received with honor and warmth. The DOS was not his to earn. It was his to lose. And he has worked swiftly and effectively to lose it. He has succeeded. He has betrayed our trust. He has lost our confidence.

      Alexander A. Slepukhof
      Member, St Seraphim Orthodox Cathedral

      • Alexander,

        I didn’t understand the expression, “passing strange.” I though that it might be a Texanism. I looked it up and found this. So, “exceedingly strange.”

        And what about monarchism (I suppose that is what you meant) is exceeding strange? It appears to be the default political opinion of human history. Reds . . .

        • My apologies for using a 14th century term (“passing strange.”) I should have known that such a modern phrase would be confusing to the Orthodox mind.

          As for ROCOR politics, what I had in mind was their “passing strange” reaction to the Russian Orthodox Church under the Soviet thumb – a reaction which painted them into the corner of claiming to be the the only true Orthodox Church on the planet, having rejected the Moscow Patriararchate and everyone in Communion with Moscow.

          Now that your vocabulary has been increased and your knowledge of history refined,would you care to get back on topic?

          • You just reaganed me (as Mondale). Funny.

            And no, I am not interested much in the topic. I’m a tangential reader of these posts on OCA politics.

            As far as ROCOR goes, thanks for the clarification. I disagree with your assessment, but oh well. Forgive and forget . . .

      • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

        Christ is Risen!

        With all due respect,point 5 of your letter seems a bit petty.I can speak from experiance and say that many Russians freak out when they see this custom of hitting the church doors with the cross.No doubt,Archbishop Dmitri instructed you and the faithful in Dallas as to the symbolism of this action.
        In all my ROCOR parishes,I never did this.Nor did Archbishop Kiprian do this at the 4 Paschal Matins,I attended while a student at St.Tikhons.
        Now,having served 4 Paschal Matins in the Serbian church,I know that they have this custom.Regarding coming into a new situation,I try to respect the Serbian liturgical customs as much as possible.Our chant is mostly Russian-style,English with some Slavonic,that is only because,my son,the only current Reader/Chanter knows no Serbian Chant.He’d love it if we had a Serbian chanter,then he could go back to actually serving in the Altar.
        I do believe the Bishop showed a huge lack of tact by being critical of so much after justing having arrived.Of course,what is most troubling is the stealing of e-mails and possible violating the seal of confession.

        • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

          I had never heard of hitting the door with a cross (not saying it’s a bad idea). I’ve only seen it done with the fist, and I way beyond having zits.

          • For those unfamiliar with the tradition, it’s bit more than “hitting the door with a cross.”

            It is part of ‘The Dialogue with the Doorkeeper’ (of Hades), and I’ve never seen it done in a Russian (or historically Russian) church. It occurs after the Resurrection Gospel reading outside the doors of the church.

            Priest or bishop (Banging three times on the door – usually with a Cross): “Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.”

            Doorkeeper (from inside the closed doors): “Who is this King of Glory?”

            Priest or bishop: “The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle.”
            (Banging three times again on the door): “Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.”

            Doorkeeper (still inside): “Who is this King of Glory?”

            Priest or bishop: “The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle.”
            (Banging three times on the door): “Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.”

            Doorkeeper (still inside): “Who is this King of Glory?”

            Priest or bishop: “The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory. ”

            At this point the doorkeeper yields to the King of Glory, and opens the doors (the gates of Hades, as it were).

            • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

              This is correct.It reflects the Greek usage.My deacon,who is Macedonian and from the local Bulgarian parish,is familiar with the custom.The Bulgarian Church follows the Greek usage,wheras the Serbs(and Romanians too,I think) tend to be in between the Greeks and Russians in many things.Hence,the knocking ,but neither the Gospel lesson nor the ensuing dialogue.

            • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

              Yes, I understand that. But instead of pounding on the door with your fist, do you pound on the door with a cross?

            • Carl Kraeff says

              We do this in our church, an OCA parish in the DOS. I shall have to ask Father whether he uses his fist, the cross, or both (I was never close enough to see). In any case, I really do not see why folks are concerned if the cross is used to knock on the door; after all, the cross was an instrument of torture that the Lord transformed into an instrument of victory.

        • While not all churches do the Dialogue with the Doorkeeper, and those that do don’t all do it the same way, I don’t think the original complaint was petty. The complaint was more than about the rubrics themselves, it was about the attitude displayed in the change: “I’m going to show you authentic Byzantine liturgics, since none of you OCA people know what you’re doing”, and then he does something that’s devoid of power and meaning compared to what Archbishop Dmitri would have done in that situation.

          • This dialogue in the OCA practice is reserved for the consecration of a new Church and is not part of the rubric for Pascha. If such a rubric is introduced without preparation and teaching, especially on Pascha, one can fully understand how this would be seen as an innovation and especially unsettling within the context of a jarring Holy Week last year. This would be another example of +Mark’s pastoral insensitivity, if in fact this took place.

          • Very true, Helga. I have no personal beef with Bp. Mark (he was my bishop in AOANA, and I had no complaints), but I said at the time this incident occurred in Dallas and would repeat now: it is almost NEVER a good idea to mess with peoples’ piety – not without a great deal of patient preparation anyway.

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        I do not want to get involved in the problems of the Diocese of the South of the OCA. However, there is one point that I feel needs to be made. After the reading of the Gospel outside the church, we chant “Christ is risen…” with its verses followed by the great ektenia. Then the priest knocks on the door, but not with his bare hands. The official rubrics of the Antiochian Holy Week book states, “At the conclusion of the Great Ektenia, the senior priest, holding the Paschal candle in his left hand, knocks thrice on the closed doors of the church with the hand cross, saying in a loud voice these verses from Psalm 23:”
        I found when I was doing prison ministry together with an OCA priest that there are a lot of differences between Antiochian and OCA observance of Holy Week. For one thing we celebrate Holy Unction on the evening of Holy Wednesday. We have a procession with the cross after the fifth Gospel on the evening of Holy Thursday. We put the winding sheet on the Holy Table after the procession on Holy Friday. The priest throws bay leaves around the church after the Epistle on the morning of Holy Saturday. The Pascha service takes place late on Saturday night, around midnight. Ideally, we should reach the point where we first sing “Christ is risen…” at midnight. At the end of the Midnight Office the church is darkened and the priest comes out of the Altar with a lit candle singing, “Come ye receive the light that is never overtaken by night for Christ is risen from the dead.” Then the people come and light their candles from the candle held by the priest. We serve the Midnight Office of Pascha before the procession on Pascha begin the Paschal Matins outside of the church and enter at the canon, and read the Gospel in different languages during the Agape Vespers.

        Fr. John W. Morris

  4. Does Fr. Justin have a fan club?

    • Yes, he most assuredly does have a fan club among the faithful.

      He was a brand new dean when all of this unraveled. His love and support for the people in distress over +Mark’s behavior was sterling. And his courage in speaking out against the wrongs done here is a rare and precious attribute among clergy anywhere. I daresay that he sets a standard to which other clergy in the OCA could aspire.

      Then on the other end of the spectrum, Diogenes dismisses him as a nut, then disparages the faithful in Barrow AK in the same breath.


  5. He sure will need one after this especially if/when Bishop Mark becomes the Bishop of the DOS

  6. This guy appears to be a “fringe Orthodox nut.” How do nuts like this aspire to any role of authority? This guy should be sent to Barrow, Alaska.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Diogenes, I believe it was Seneca who said that “it is good to be hated by fools.” Based on your assessment of his character, my estimation of Fr Justin just went through the roof.

    • Jesse Cone says

      Dio, good luck selling that line to the deans of the DOS, the faithful who know him, and any clergy who have met him.

      Not that I think you will: I think you take that assessment of Fr. Justin as seriously as I do.

    • A Remnant says

      A Good Priest, and Dean carefully crafts an appeal to undo a wrong. He avoids gossip, asks for people to pursue due diligence and understand the facts prior to any action.

      Diogenes typical Syosset Stooge reaction is slandering the priest as “Fringe”, What a strange and wonderful bubble that place must be!

    • Ian James says

      Diogenes, we have reserved a space for you in the Stuck on Stupid room.

    • Diogenes is either “playing games with us,” or someone so full of hate that “he can’t see straight.”

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Well, if Diogenes is Dn Eric Wheeler as some suspect, he certainly screwed the pooch for ever getting elected bishop in Alaska given what he said about Point Barrow.

        • Mr. Michalopulos, I was drinking a cup of water as I read your response and water almost went up my nose. This blog can be dangerous to your health!

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          You do keep a record of all the ip addresses of the commenters, don’t you?

        • Deacon Eric says

          Dear George,

          For the record, I have never written under a pseudonym in my life. What would I possibly be protecting by doing so — my reputation among the faithful Orthodox believers on this list 😉

          Dn. Eric A. Wheeler (a.k.a Protodeacon Eros Wheeler)

    • Fr. Justin (who I suppose I should mention is my parish priest in the interest of disclosure) is neither fringe nor nutty and a humbler man you would have a difficult time finding in this world. The suggestion that he is some sort of power seeker strikes me as so ignorant of the truth about the man’s character and so innatentive to the content of his letter that the only conclusion I can draw is that you must be joking. Badly.

      • Roddy Diaz says


        you wrote that you got this letter from one of the deans. I thought that this letter was written to the priests in Fr Justin’s deanery. I think that’s different.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Mr Diaz, lemme go back and look at the original text. My verbiage tends to get rather clunky at 6am.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Ok, I’m confused. I did touch up the middle paragraph which was very clunky. But I don’t believe I wrote that this letter came from one of the deans. I wrote that this letter was sent out to the priests of the deanery. I got it from one of them.

            As to the main paragraph (which is now hopefully clearer), I apologize.

            • Nicole Troon says

              Dear Mr. Michalopulos:

              As far as you know, did Fr Justin give his permission or blessing to the member of the diocesan council to send you the letter for publication?

              Alternatively, did you ask Fr Justin for his permission or blessing before publishing?

              And finally, did the priest who sent it to you ask that he not be mentioned by name?

              Thank you,
              Nicole at St. Seraphim’s

      • Peter is right, Fr. Justin is one of the most humble and honest Orthodox priests you can find. If he felt compelled to write such a letter, then the situation is indeed very,very serious, and his words should be heeded. Fr. Justin is no gossip monger or hater. I’m confident that if you take it upon yourself to pray about this, God will lead you to follow Fr. Justin’s advice,because Fr. Justin is definitely a man of God.

    • Antonia says

      If this insulting reference is to Fr. Justin, then I’ll gladly and steadfastly stake my life on the spiritual counsel of a “fringe Orthodox nut.” He is my confessor and, along with Fr. John Anderson, merits my highest possible respect and loyal friendship.

      No one who knows Fr. Justin even remotely could draw so fatuous a conclusion as that insult.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Antonia, I second what you say. It never ceases to amaze me how certain people like to unload on loving pastors like Fr Justin, whom they’ve probably never met, but have the sneaking suspicion that he must be a “fringe nut” because he’s a convert.

  7. I and my family and fellow parishoners at the cathedral lived through what Fr. Justin recounted, and it was extremely painful. Ever seen people weeping in anguish at Pascha? I did, and it’s not pretty. The thought of Bp. Mark being on the ballot is frightening. Despite any skills His Grace might have, it is so obvious that his presence as a ruling hierarch would be utterly divisive and hurtful to so many in the diocese that I question what those who continue promote his candidacy are thinking, regardless of their estimation of him.

    Abp. Dmitri made a practice of a big open house at his residence on Bright Monday. In 2011, he was exhausted and distressed and did not plan to have the open house for the first time in memory. After the horrible events of that Great Lent, he decided the parish needed the traditional gathering, and he changed his mind. At that open house, Vladyka Dmitri was completely open about Bp. Mark “not working out at the cathedral.” Again I quote–and this is not hearsay–“It’s as if he has no soul.” Considering that Vladyka was not a man of immoderate speech, his words should speak volumes to those who honor his memory.

    We at St. Seraphim Cathedral are realistic about what we can expect in a new bishop, and we are also realistic about Abp. Dmitri’s virtues and foibles, alike. At the very least, though, we expect a man who demonstrates decent and honest behavior, and that’s why we are so distressed by the prospects we are facing. Those who are in a position to remove Bp. Mark’s name from the list of candidates need to do so NOW.

    I stand by Fr. Justin’s words. God grant him many years for his pastoral conscience and courage. He’s putting his very priesthood on the line, and that should speak volumes, too.

    • indeed it does…

    • I stand by Fr. Justin’s words as well, and second everything James P. says here. My family and I also experienced it – right in the middle of it – along with our fellow parishioners at SSOC.

      What would prompt Vladyka Dmitri to say “It’s as if he has no soul”? Alright. Here’s my list, folks:

      1) His attitude of entitlement. From the moment he walked into the cathedral, +Mark’s attitude was “I am the new bishop here. You don’t like it? Go fly a kite, suckas!”

      2) His treatment of Fr. John Anderson during Holy Week last year.

      And for my family and I, the most egregious offense of the entire affair:

      3) His rat-fink stealing of Fr. Joseph Fester’s emails, sending them on to Mark Stokoe, and destroying his career and his place as a priest in the OCA.

      I take no pleasure in publicly exposing the sins of anyone, much less a bishop. But +Mark is not fit to lead any diocese, much less the DoS, and people must know. He does not demonstrate the moral qualifications of a bishop. He does not demonstrate the leadership qualifications of a bishop, as a man who is capable of leading others in the spiritual life. He does not demonstrate the marks of spiritual maturity, as a man who has experienced the healing presence of God in his own life.

      +Mark was not run out of Dallas. He ran himself out of Dallas.

      Your Beatitude, Your Grace, members of the Holy Synod, you are on notice: allowing +Mark to become the bishop of the DoS does not solve your personnel problem. If you were to take this action (rest assured, I count any inaction on your part as a distinct, deliberate action) it would create a whole new and much larger problem in addition to your personnel problem. Deep down, I think you all know this to be the case. So if not for our sake, then at least yours – do the right thing and put this to rest. We’ll find a bishop. It might just take some time.

      I said it first when things started going south at the cathedral and I’ll shout it again from the rooftops: better no bishop than the wrong bishop.

    • Wow. If vladyka Dmitri, another humble and honest man of God, made those remarks, then this situation is not only serious, but frightening. People who behave as if they have no soul are usually diagnosed as sociopaths.

  8. Lena Morgan says

    I also had a chance to talk to our beloved Vladyka Dmitri at his open house. He told me that it was good that Bp. Mark and Fr. David Moretti left our Cathedral as they “were not church people.”

    I fully support Fr. Justin’s request to remove the candidacy of Bp. Mark from the ballot.

  9. There are many skills that a leader needs and one of those skills is love. The leader of a congregation or a diocese needs to love the people that God has given him to care for. The leader, priest or bishop, needs to remember that he is there to serve and not to be served. I did not have the pleasure or blessing to know His Eminence Archbishop Dimitri and I am sorry for that. From what I do know of him he was the textbook definition of what it means to love. We as leaders need to love our people where they are and for who they are. We as leaders are here to serve them, not the other way around. Whoever is selected to replace this Godly man will have very large shoes to fill and the first thing he needs to do is travel the length and bredth of the diocese and just love the people, and I mean really love them. Spend time with them and listen to them, listen to thier stories, listen to their hurts and their desires. He needs to do this with love, the love a father shows to his children. To elect any man to this office who is not willing to humble himself by admitting is faults is to do an injustice to the faithful Orthodox people of the Diocese of the South. God bless all of you and please know that I will be praying for all of you!

  10. Kim Margosein says

    Amazing. The Cajun Coward is is a backstabbing manipulator. Who would have thunk it?

  11. As of Saturday morning, 5 people have voted that Maymon should be on the ballot.

    I wonder of the 5 if they would actually vote for him, or just feel he has a right to be on the ballot?

    I also wonder who the 5 might be?
    Bishop Mark (we know he reads this blog)
    Fr David Morretti (his side-kick in crime)
    Milos Konjevich (DOS Treasurer and Dallas campaign manager)
    Gary Popovich (Miami campaign manager)

    But who is the fifth? Maybe Bishop Mark voted twice for himself!!!

    OK. Just a bit of fun in the midst of this dark and unnecessary chapter in the life of the DOS.

    Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

    • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

      I believe I was that number five,but I meant to vote against His Grace.

  12. Everybody, things are getting out of hand, when the solution is very simple. If you don’t want Bishop Mark for the Diocese of the South… DON’T NOMINATE HIM TO BE YOUR BISHOP!

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Helga, in an ideal world, it’d be that easy. The problem however is that even if we don’t nominate him, even if he gets just 10% of the vote, the HS will go ahead and elect him because Candidate X got only 49% of the vote. That’s why this stinks to high heaven. All such corruption does.

  13. This makes zero sense to me. None of it is consistent with the Bp. MARK I knew in AOCANA. Bp. MARK was my bishop, I’ve looked him in the eyes many, many times, and I’ve never seen him be anything but genuinely loving and concerned for his flock. Now, he and my priest were personally very close, and he always referred to us as his “healthy parish”, so for all I know we got the “good kid” treatment because our priest was his friend.

    That said, there’s a good friend of mine who was one of the founding members of the parish, a cradle Arab, who only met Bp. MARK on his last pastoral visit because he spent several years choosing to disassociate himself from the parish. When he heard what was going on, he said, “Well, I’m not surprised. You wouldn’t notice it because you’re a convert, but a couple of the things he said while he was here would be very off-putting to Arabs. If he’s got Detroit and Fort Wayne and talks like that to them, no wonder.” When pressed, my friend said, “For example, he said something that was critical of Muslims. If you’re an Arab-American, that doesn’t fly. Muslims are family because they’re Arabs, and you treat them like family. And yes, that means quietly giving them Communion if they’re married to a Christian and not making a big fuss over it. That’s just what you do, especially in Detroit.”

    The conflicts I have been aware of with respect to Bp. MARK have involved clergy assignment; ex-Fr. Isaac Henke in Fort Wayne (a situation that nobody actually seems to be able to explain clearly), Fr. Steven Ziton in Solon, OH (where +MARK backed him up against a hostile parish council and Met. PHILIP kicked him out anyway, which devastated a dear friend of mine who sang at that parish and loved the man dearly), and another situation in Ohio that I’ve never heard names in regards to, only broad contours — something about a priest who was somebody’s son or nephew or something that Met. PHILIP wanted reassigned someplace else and +MARK said no. I understand his “No Bingo” edict was not popular. I have heard stories about +MARK trying to address issues of clergy compensation in public fora and having the mic shut off on him; I’ve also heard about him getting screamed at in public at parish life conferences by old ladies from Detroit who claimed that he was killing their churches. I really don’t understand; he did everything he could to try to encourage our parish to grow.

    He and Fr. Alexander Atty mandated a “parish council workshop” in every deanery of the diocese. Theoretically every parish council member was supposed to attend a daylong event at a central parish. This daylong event consisted of Fr. Atty explaining in great detail how parish councils were a historical anomaly particular to the requirements of US law, they really had no particular place in Orthodox tradition, but if we had to exist, then we needed to understand first and foremost that the priest was not our employee, he was our boss. I have no particular problem with any of that, incidentally (particularly after reading Fr. Nicolas Ferencz’ book American Orthodoxy and Parish Congregationalism), but the bottom line is that our entire parish council went up for the first one, and we were the only ones there. We looked around, saw that it was just us, and asked Fr. Atty, “Did we misunderstand something?” He looked grim and said, “No, you guys are the ones who did it right.” My understanding is that there were some mandated dissolutions of parish councils, or at least some removals of individuals, following that debacle.

    I will say that I don’t think +MARK wanted to be a bishop. I think he was simply the only unmarried priest around at the time. He never once struck me as interested in power; he just wanted to do the best job he could insofar as he understood the parameters of the job. I think what perhaps was not sufficiently conveyed to him ahead of time was that there are the on-paper parameters and then there the “real” parameters. That’s a mistake that I don’t believe AOCANA will ever make again, given how loudly they’ve trumpeted the “auxiliary” status of everybody recently elected.

    I don’t know what happened in Dallas. My priest hasn’t been in touch with him since he got transferred; all he has said about is, “Bp. MARK isn’t very good at keeping his mouth shut when he smells a rat.” Any clarity on just what exactly happened here would be greatly appreciated.


    • George Michalopulos says

      Richard, please remember, when Mark was in Dayton, I followed his career and congratulated him for taking on the Arab way of doing things. Unfortunately, he must have learned the wrong lesson because when he came to Dallas, he did a 180. For whatever reason. As I said, sometimes you move a person and it’s for the better. Other times you move a person and it’s for the worse. Regardless, Bp Mark has made himself the issue. That’s a steep hurdle to climb.

      • Then I’m left asking the same question I was two years ago — what, specifically, did Bp. MARK do wrong? I’m hearing a lot of vague generalizations about “the other side of the story”, but I’m not hearing anything that lends any clarity to what’s happened. I’ve heard about “stolen e-mails”, and while I respect the people who are talking about that, it doesn’t make a lick of sense to me either. +MARK is not anybody I would ever characterize as overly computer-savvy, certainly not somebody with the knowhow to hack e-mail accounts. There’s something else going on there.

        • Richard, the email thing was not terribly complicated. I will try to explain the basics without political commentary. Fr. Joseph Fester had a cell phone that had his Gmail account set up on it. He left this phone with the DOS when he moved to Washington, forgetting to delete his account information from the phone when it changed hands. Fr. David Moretti was given this phone and discovered Fr. Joseph’s email on it. He gave it to Bishop Mark, who proceeded to spy on Fr. Joseph’s email for the next several weeks, eventually forwarding emails through the account to Mark Stokoe, who published several emails on his blog without the permission of the recipients or the senders.

        • Jesse Cone says

          Richard says,

          Then I’m left asking the same question I was two years ago — what, specifically, did Bp. MARK do wrong?

          There may come a time to spell that out, but I for one am reticent to compose and publish a litany of anyone’s wrongs for public consumption. That’s why I initially asked the people whose due diligence it is to nominate and elect to contact the right people about the goings on.

          What is entirely germane right now is that the DOS has not been following it’s own policies and procedures regarding this election, and that (as Fr. Justin’s letter makes clear) some people in power have been trying to shift the burden on proof on why NOT to elect +Mark, which is just incredibly weird. That bespeaks that this election is not proceeding legitimately and in good faith.

          There are people who have animus against +Mark, but I do not think this is germane. We do not need to publicly psycho-analyze this man to know that there is at least one significant obstacle to his election to DOS. To ignore that and shuffle around the pieces to smooth this over out of consideration and deference to one person is simply wrong.

          I repeat, no one needs to “prove” that +Mark is bad man and did tons of things wrong to object to him getting deferential treatment and to raise the alarm when obvious obstacles to his election are ignored. Moreover, campaigning for election to a see is uncanonical, and that also needs to be considered carefully and soberly.

          Last year’s public internet dung-throwing was unfortunate and harmful. I was, and am, sorely disappointed that the Holy Synod behaved in a manner that added credibility to our worst fears, and then chastised “those on the internet” for speaking honestly. Likewise, I am disappointed that +Mark, +Nikon, and the rest of the DOS Administration would not behave in a way that reassured us that there was not a illicit quid pro quo backroom deal made with +Mark that guaranteed him the DOS if he handed them the head of Fr. Joseph Fester. For the good of the faithful and for the sake of +Mark they should have anticipated these actions would raise alarm and behaved in a manner that reassured us of good faith and due process.

          I pray they will correct it now.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Richard, in addition, while he was in the AOCNA, he first developed his relationship with Mark Stokoe. That was an absolute disaster. Things got so bad that Met Philip almost single-handedly shut down SVS when in his anger of Stokoe and OCAN, he abruptly threw out three Antiochian seminarians from SVS and forced them to go to Holy Cross. It was an egregious thing that Met Philip did and I well remember the turmoil he caused. That he laid the blame at the OCA because they wouldn’t shut down OCAN was the precipitate cause of that action.

          Although what His Eminence did was wrong –I for one don’t believe anybody can shut down an internet site, even one run by a man of Stokoe’s ilk–the fact remains that Mark enabled Stokoe to engage in his vendetta against Philip.

        • Richard,

          If you started getting someone else’s emails, what would you do?

          • Jesse Cone says

            You mean with personal pastoral information and the other person’s financial information?

          • Perhaps you misunderstand. I have asked what +MARK has done. The characterization of him presented here is 100% diametrically opposed to the man I knew as my diocesan bishop 2005-2010. If he has done things that make that characterization accurate, then I would like to know what they are. If he has genuinely done something wrong, then I do not seek to defend it.

            However, the answers I’m getting to my plain, specific question lead me to believe that all involved would prefer the details to be treated as internal to the cathedral and the DOS (despite what is clearly a public airing of the flawed nature of +MARK’s character). So be it. A tragedy for all concerned, and perhaps that is all that will ever be clear to anybody who “wasn’t there”.

            • Jesse Cone says

              I understand your frustration, but please also understand my unwillingness to cast stones at a bishop to fulfill your curiosity.

              As far as the stolen emails are concerned, don’t you think that is wrong? The man clearly did it — hereby using the faithful as pawns for his political purposes — and has not apologized.

              And once again, NOT doing tons of things wrong entitles no one to be bishop of the DOS. Fr. Justin’s point is spot on here: you don’t elect someone to be your bishop because it demonstrates “forgiveness” or “fairness”. Nothing about this election process seems to demonstrate healing (of the faithful) or fairness (to the other candidates and to the faithful).

              • “To fulfill my curiosity”? The man’s character is being very publicly besmirched and he is being openly accused of lots of generalities with implications being warned for the church “throughout North America”. I don’t think it’s a matter of mere “curiosity” to ask for specifics. It strikes me as quite fair. However, if it is preferred that it be treated as an internal matter, then treat it as an internal matter.

                And, forgive me, but I don’t feel like I’ve been given enough specifics about anything to have an informed opinion one way or the other. I’ve heard a lot of very upset people say that they’re very upset and that a lot of other people are very upset, and that’s about it. In the end, I don’t disagree with you about your episcopal election process; it is what it is, and it’s either being followed or it’s not. I have no dog in that fight. At this stage of the game I would like nothing more than to turn back the clock and prevent +MARK from having ever been elected a bishop in any jurisdiction, because it appears to have done nothing but completely ruin his life. Rather, what I care about the way +MARK’s character is being publicly and openly represented relative to the church “throughout North America”, and that representation is inconsistent with my five years’ of experience with him.

                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  Mr Barrett, obviously you did not read Fr Justin’s letter very carefully. There were no “generalitites” in there. It was instead a bill of particulars which would doom any priest from being reassigned to a mid-level parish, much less cause one to be elected bishop.

                  • I have read through that letter twice, and I’m sorry, I see nothing beyond vague references to things like “poor pastoral decisions”. In fact, there is an explicit, expressed reticence to discuss specifics: “But with this man on the ballot as an official candidate for the office of bishop of our diocese, we will find ourselves morally bound to speak up publicly, loath though we be to do it, about the facts of what happened last year, facts which, becoming public, will do no one any good—not the OCA, not the Holy Synod, not our diocese, not the Diocesan Council, not the ones who must speak up, and especially not the man himself.”

                    Again, I have no dog in this fight, I’m not trying to start an argument with anybody, I am trying to understand how a man I dearly loved as my bishop is now being publicly described as having grim implications for “the church throughout North America”. In asking for clarity, I am being given non-answers. I am sorry if my finding that unpersuasive rubs you the wrong way, but I find it unpersuasive.

                    • In all fairness, I think maybe someone should give him the information. We all hated it when Stokoe dragged Met. Jonah through the mud over supposed high crimes and misdemeanors that were never defined. How is Richard supposed to think this is any different?

                      I started to write something about it myself, but decided to hold back in case there were legal or other reasons others weren’t being forthcoming.

                    • Look, I’m nobody of any importance, and I shouldn’t have any standing to force anybody’s hand. If it’s really something all of you are determined to not discuss publicly, then that’s your choice. Just please understand when people like me find it less than convincing.

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Mr Barrett, I don’t doubt your positive experiences with Bp Mark. By the same token, you must credit the experiences of those who are against his candidacy for the DOS. Yes, we’re talking about the same man, so I can see your quandary. However, have you stopped to wonder why if His Grace was such a positive influence within the AOCNA the powers that be pulled out all the stops to remove him?

                    • Prospective Nomad No Longer says

                      Mr. Barrett,

                      I sympathize with your frustration. You come from a healthy Antiochian parish. In such parishes within the Diocese of Toledo, by all accounts, Bishop Mark was at his best, and his best was very good. I too am a member of the Antiochian Diocese of Toledo, so I can’t speak to what happened in Dallas. I can try to explain why what happened in Dallas didn’t surprise me. I should probably add that I bear no ill will toward Bishop Mark and never have. I agreed with him on the ecclesiological question that consumed the Archdiocese for more than a year. I welcomed his attempt to impose parochial financial controls and was distressed when Metropolitan Philip overruled him. In spite of all that, I never trusted him. Permit me two anecdotes about him and one that happened to me before Bishop Mark’s consecration that made me wary of his leadership style. None of these had anything to do with his removal. Neither I nor my parish is important enough to cause that much trouble.

                      I began to worry that Bishop Mark would get in political trouble the first time I heard him preach. That sermon could fairly be summarized as, “Results don’t matter; only faithfulness does.” An ample case could be made along these lines, of course, but he seemed to go out of his way to insult people for working to keep their churches afloat–complete with disparaging references to Arabic dishes. Even if he was right, it probably wasn’t the first thing he ought to have said to people who had kept their church open with the help of fundraisers for six decades. The stories from Dallas reminded me of this episode. The Protestants have a wise saying about parishioners’ opinions of pastors: “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

                      A few years later, Bishop Mark, who did not know me well at all and without any prompting whatsoever from me, struck up a conversation about senior priests in the diocese who did not know how to serve the hierarchical liturgy properly. (I am not a priest.) Again, it doesn’t matter to me whether he was right. I learned a long time ago that anyone who will tell me something that I don’t need to know about other people will tell other people things that they don’t need to know about me. In the secular world, I would have regarded this as a ploy: appearing to take me into his confidence so that I would take him into mine and divulge any information that might be useful to him. Having been obliged to keep some important secrets in my life, I wasn’t nibbling. The controversy over the e-mails in Dallas reminded me of this episode. Again, I bear him no ill will, but I don’t think he can be trusted to keep a confidence.

                      In one of your earlier posts, you mentioned the parish council workshops. You have attended one and I haven’t, so perhaps I have the wrong idea about them. If so, I welcome your correction. As you have described his presentation, Fr. Atty was half-right: Parish councils are a creature of American nonprofit corporation law without root or warrant in the tradition of Orthodox governance. Depending on the state, however, the law doesn’t just establish councils as figureheads. It vests them with real responsibilities for which the members can be held personally accountable in court. I still have an encyclical from Bishop Mark explicitly repudiating the idea that parish councils are “boards of trustees.” In my state, at least, the legislature disagrees with him. The statute imposes upon trustees a fiduciary duty to the corporation (not to the clergy or to the hierarchy) to administer the affairs of the corporation with “reasonable prudence.” Note: reason and prudence, not faith, not obedience. The promotional material for the Parish Council workshops seemed to recognize no distinction between prudential disagreement and spiritual disobedience. Without such a distinction, a parish council member who sincerely believes that his priest is advocating a course of action or inaction that fails to meet the test of reasonable prudence has only two choices: resign from the council or break the law by acquiescing in an unreasonable or imprudent act.

                      In a healthy parish, the concerns that I raise above might remain theoretical abstractions. Unhealthy parishes are another matter. The nastiest fight that I ever had with a priest was over sales-tax compliance. I was the parish treasurer at the time, and I insisted upon compliance–not because I was especially virtuous, but because I could have lost my professional license and my livelihood if I had been found to have been willfully complicit in noncompliance. I prevailed, but I had to resort to bare-knuckled tactics to do it. Part of the reason that the priest was so intransigient was that he attended clergy gatherings where other priests told him that they didn’t comply and that I was being unreasonable in insisting on compliance. (I’m not proud of it, but I did feel more than a twinge of schadenfreude when Troy got busted for sales-tax evasion.) So again, Fr. Atty was half-right: the priest is not the parish council’s employee, but he isn’t their boss, either. That priest did not have a right to order me to sign an inaccurate tax return, and my resistance was not spiritual disobedience.

                      Had my fight taken place a year or so later, it would have been subject to Bishop Mark’s ill-advised reconciliation policy, which he attempted to reimpose in Dallas. In a nutshell, that policy forbade any communication of a complaint from a layperson to the bishop about a priest. All complaints were to be referred to the dean. I understand why he did this in Toledo. The congregationalism in certain quarters of that diocese was profoundly malignant. Nonetheless, anyone with management experience or training will recognize this as an ultimately self-defeating attempt by a policymaker to insulate himself from problems and controversies at the lower levels of his organization. This sort of policy has three predictable effects:

                      1) It disenfranchises rank-and-file people who have legitimate complaints but respect good order. They are smart enough to know that complaints are kicked downstairs to be buried, not vetted. After my experience of the previous year, I would not have served on a parish council under Bishop Mark’s policy under any circumstances.

                      2) It incentivizes rank-and-file people who don’t respect good order to go over the policymaker’s head. This, of course, is exactly what the Detroit-area clergy did to Bishop Mark.

                      3) It makes the policymaker vulnerable to being blindsided by events. In the long run, Bishop Mark’s reconciliation policy amounted to taking the battery out of his smoke detector. It’s probably not surprising that the economic collapse in the Midwest coincided with an uptick in parish embezzlement cases. StephenD, Mr. Michalopulos, and others have rightly praised Bishop Mark for his attempt to impose parochial financial controls, and I agree, but that decree (and its implicit rediscovery that the laity’s fiduciary authority and responsibility with respect to money are important after all) came only after those embezzlement cases had exploded–in some cases onto the pages of secular newspapers. One was in his own cathedral. Had Bishop Mark known his people better–including their personal financial straits–and deigned to listen before there was a crisis to laypeople who know about desigining proper financial controls, might the number and severity of these embezzlements have been reduced? I never had the privilege of meeting Archbishop Dimitri of Thrice Blessed Memory, but from the descriptions of him that I read here, I find it hard to imagine that someone could steal six figures from his cathedral without his detecting something amiss–not because he was a financial genius, but because he knew his flock well enough to know who was hurting and who might be tempted to stray. Bishop Mark was that sort of shepherd to healthy parishes like yours in the Diocese of Toledo, but not to at least some of the unhealthy ones. And it’s the sick who need a Physician.

                    • Prospective Nomad:

                      At least a chunk of that is reasonably consistent with the observations I mentioned of my Arab-American friend, whose perspective I understand and trust (even if I don’t see it the same way), so I can find those concerns more or less credible, and I can see how they might become massive problems under significant duress. Thank you.

                      In the main, I have no trouble with the idea that probably +MARK is somebody who should have never been a bishop in the first place. As I said, I never got the impression that he wanted it; perhaps part of the trouble there is that it meant he didn’t know what to do with it when he got it. One hopes that +ANTHONY is perhaps the best of both worlds; we will see…

                      …but in terms of your comment about taking the battery out of the smoke detector, a red flag has already been raised for me on that front, in that it was communicated to me that +ANTHONY will only communicate with his parishes via snailmail. I hope that doesn’t wind up being a way of solving one problem that ultimately creates more. Time will tell.

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Jesse, what you just described is reason enough for Bp Mark to be –at the very least–removed from contention. You gave your confession to him and he divulged your identity to Mark Stokoe. Unbelievable.

                      I wonder how many priests in the DOS will feel now. I wonder how many parishioners will feel that they can give their confessions to their priest knowing that one of them, in a moment of weakness and/or pressure from Mark, may say something that they regret.

                      Think carefully clergy and delegates as you travel to Miami.

                    • Prospective Nomad No Longer says

                      Mr. Barrett,

                      Thank you for informing me of Bishop Anthony’s e-mail policy. I hadn’t heard about it and am grateful for your observation. I share your concern about impediments to communication. Do you know whether His Grace gave any reason for the policy? Is he worried about being hacked? Is he worried about his e-mails to others being inappropriately forwarded? (That happened aplenty during 2009.) Of course, anyone with a scanner can turn snail mail into e-mail, so such a strategy is likely to be of limited utility. Maybe he just doesn’t want his smartphone disturbing his prayers. Any further light that you can shed would be sincerely appreciated.

                    • Prospective Nomad: I don’t have any other details. It came up casually in discussing another matter with my priest.

                      I must wholeheartedly agree with your observations about the need for seminary courses that do a better job of preparing one for the technicalities of parish administration, inclusive of, but by no means limited to, nonprofit law and tax compliance. A recent situation that I’m not at liberty to discuss in detail prompted to me somewhat loosely poll people I knew familiar with the various seminaries what kind of training in parish administration one got; the answer, once the raucous laughter died down, was that it was minimal and substandard at best, it’s often discussed as something that needs to be significantly beefed up, but of course the problem is, what should it displace in a three year M.Div. program that’s already crammed full?

                • Richard, at least two specific instances of wrongdoing/pastoral mistakes have been mentioned regarding Bishop MARK’s time in Dallas,

                  -Reading and forwarding emails of which he was neither the author nor the intended recipient, as succinctly described by Helga.

                  -Arbitrarily mandating changes to the service music during Holy Week; technically within his rights, but not a way to win friends or influence people. By itself this wouldn’t perhaps be a significant incident, but if Bishop MARK’s tenure at the Cathedral in Dallas was characterized by this kind of decision in pastoral matters I can well understand why the situation would become unmanageable.

                  Permit me a brief personal excursus: I am also a parishioner in the Antiochian Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest. I was on the council at our parish early in Bishop MARK’s episcopate. Our relationship with him was, to be charitable, rocky. There were some mistakes on our part that may have made this understandable, but that did not justify the overall curt and, frankly, surly tone he took with us generally, on matters that had nothing to do with those mistakes. Over time our relationship improved, and our interactions with him became much more tolerable. I never exactly drowned in the warmth when I interacted with him, but then he was my Bishop, not a fishing buddy. I came to attribute our early troubles to his being new to the job. Based on reports from Dallas I wonder if I was wrong about that, and that this kind of behavior simply represents one side of his personality.

                  I don’t bear Bishop MARK any ill will, and I was saddened by his departure from Toledo, as well as scandalized by the circumstances that surrounded it. I also have no first hand knowledge of what happened in Dallas, but I have to say that I don’t find it nearly as hard to understand as you do.

                  • The e-mail issue is one thing. I’m still not sure I have been given enough information about that to really know what happened. If that is true as presented, that was a severe breach of trust on his part at minimum, but I doubt that contributed to whatever it was that happened during Lent and Holy Week at the cathedral, and again, it’s not consistent with the person I knew, so I’m left asking what else was going on.

                    As far as the service music is concerned, again, without knowing any actual specifics, you’re going to have a hard time convincing me that rises to the level of emotional “explosion” expressed here.

                    • One other point on supposedly changing the service music. I am my parish’s choir director. For a number of practical reasons that I won’t go into at the moment, it is very difficult for my parish choir to just keep in its pocket a lot of different versions of hymns to suit multiple tastes, so we have to focus on keeping it simple, generally speaking. +MARK was clearly uncomfortable with that every time he visited us, telling me, “You’re a pan-Orthodox parish, and your music needs to reflect that.” At best, I found this to be an “unfunded mandate”, and I told him that we pretty much have to do the best we can with what we have. “Well, small parishes have to find ways of being creative on these kinds of things,” he said.

                      The point is, I would describe +MARK as being sensitive to what he perceived as congregational musical sensibilities to a fault. For him to arbitrarily throw things out and demand something else also doesn’t sound like the person I knew, and makes me wonder what else was going on.

                    • Jesse Cone says

                      You had a good experience with the man — a man we were all very excited to have at the cathedral — so I’m not surprised these stories don’t jive with your experience.

                      If the stolen emails and their publication seems unbelievable to you — join the club. But that’s what happened.

                      +Mark told me his “back was against the wall” because I was conspiring to slander him online. He believed (believes?) this because of what he read in Fr. Fester’s emails: which we have all seen. I told him at the time, no such conspiracy ever existed. The fact of the matter was that I never purloined him on OCAT, both before the emails were stolen/ published or since. These comboxes have been as open I’ve publicly been about +Mark, and (as you have found so very frustrating) I’ve been reticent to share.

                      Now, was stealing the emails and sending them to OCAN something +Mark “had to do”? Well, I can tell you it wasn’t because of anything I was going to write. As I have mentioned repeatedly, OCAT existed for a specific reason, and +Mark had only a tangential part to play in that. Even after we were “outed” by the emails and we started suspecting the unbelievable, we didn’t take aim at +Mark.

                      I can also tell you he had been accessing Fr. Fester’s email account for about 2 months before every deciding his back was “against the wall”.

                      According to +Mark, St. Seraphim was a hostile place for him. Well, what exactly did we do wrong?

                      No one will say so, but I would venture a bet that the reason we seemed like a hostile place is mostly my fault. On Forgiveness Sunday I felt compelled by something +Mark had said to tell him about my involvement on OCAT (something he probably knew already by reading Dreher’s emails to Fr. Fester). I told him I was worried about my spiritual health and disturbing that of others. I told him if he ever thought I was wrong (factually) or if I was in danger spiritually he had carte blanche to let me know. I was serious — on the verge of tears.

                      At Vespers that night, he heard my confession.

                      I never heard from him about it — though later on that night Mark Stokoe posted on OCAN that OCAT was being run by a young man, a convert, from St. Seraphim in Dallas. Months later +Mark said he didn’t betray my confidence to Stokoe, but I… well I no longer trust people just because they were a cassock.

                      Regardless, my involvement in OCAT put +Mark in a rather unenviable position. The establishment that he was freshly part of was tremendously upset with OCAT and now (thanks to Stokoe) everyone knew the person to blame was in his backyard.

                      That is the most sympathetic take on +Mark’s involvement with the emails I can think of without lying.

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      Richard writes:

                      As far as the service music is concerned, again, without knowing any actual specifics, you’re going to have a hard time convincing me that rises to the level of emotional “explosion” expressed here.

                      Orthodoxy is a very musical religion and a very traditional religion, so it’s hardly surprising that the Orthodox take their musical traditions very seriously and personally. Having had to change musical traditions a few times, I know it can be quite difficult, disappointing, and even at time demoralizing, especially on those feasts most dear to us. Woe unto the bishop, priest, or choir director who doesn’t understand this and expects people to sing whatever they are told! A wise and loving leader will not be so heartless.

                    • Well said, Deacon Patrick. “He changed the Pascha music” might be seen as a whiny complaint, but you make an excellent point about the musical and traditional aspects of Orthodoxy.

                      I can’t imagine what it must have been like at St. Seraphim’s, hearing a couple of strangers chanting their strange music, instead of the Pascha music everyone would know by heart.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Prospective Nomad: all I can say is “WOW!” Have you thought about starting your own blog, one tailored to directing clergy and laity as to what truly constitutes fiduciary responsibilities? I mean that.

              • Prospective Nomad No Longer says

                Mr. Michalopulos,

                Thank you for your kind words. You show me more grace than I deserve. If such a blog would be helpful, it should be launched and administered by someone who has more time and more expertise. I really know only what I had to learn to keep my own nose clean. More fundamentally, however, it seems to me a great failure and even a betrayal of our ecclesiology that such a blog should be necessary. Most parishes have at least one attorney and one accountant among their members. If the body were functioning properly, those members would attend to these needs internally and be respected for their specialized knowledge by clergy and other laity alike. I do think that a seminary course in nonprofit corporation law and tax compliance might be a good idea. In the really long run, apropos of today’s Epistle reading, perhaps we could resuscitate the permanent (paid) diaconate with its own seminary curriculum that would essentially be a master’s degree in parochial administration. Under such an arrangement, it would become normative for a parish to be assigned a permanent paid deacon before being assigned a second permanent priest. These ideas are, of course, far afield from the topic of this thread. Again, I thank you for your supportive comments.

        • another one says

          “I’ve heard about “stolen e-mails”, and while I respect the people who are talking about that, it doesn’t make a lick of sense to me either. +MARK is not anybody I would ever characterize as overly computer-savvy, certainly not somebody with the knowhow to hack e-mail accounts. There’s something else going on there.” [Just because your original concern is sooo far up there]

          +Mark had a computer savvy accomplice: Fr. David Morretti. He inherited Fr. Fester’s I-phone and Mac computer too. Whatever happened with the email, it came through Fr. David. Bishop Mark was clearly a Windows guy, and not an overly geeky one, but he didn’t need to be – Fr. David was quite capable in this department.

          And if you think this cathedral offered a cold shoulder, check the item on Fr. Morretti’s Facebook about cathedral members buying Fr. David a new Trek bicycle when his was stolen. (If it is still there…) These men were warmly welcomed, and the cathedral watched in horror as events unfolded as they did.

          So, Richard, even as you have not had this experience, we have had it in spades.

          One of the object lessons of this entire tragedy was not to transfer 2 clerics with long histories together to the same assignment at the same time. Many things contributed to this perfect storm – including having 2 clergy, both embattled, coming to Dallas at the same time, rooming together and serving together, filtering their experience through the prism of their own pain and feeding it back to the other. Perhaps this amplified the effect of innocent mistakes, not so innocent mistakes, and political machinations. The effect of all of this was big damage to every clergyman loved by this parish – Archbishop Dmitri, Father Joseph, Father John, and Metropolitan Jonah, whom we knew and loved well before he was elevated to be our auxiliary bishop.

          You excuse and pooh-pooh every incident, but the cumulative effect was devastating, and the carnage still remains in the South.

          • And +Mark gets preferred treatment in the DOS, Moretti gets a parish in the DOS and Fester gets the shaft for putting it all on the line to fight for +Jonah. Fr. Fester what were you possibly thinking in not looking out for yourself? What a dope!

          • Apologies if you think I’ve excused or pooh-poohed anything, but I’m simply trying to reconcile my experiences with what’s being reported here — no easy task, and not made easier by either the express reticence to discuss what happened or the impulse to treat my questions as hostile, when I have tried to emphasize multiple times that they are absolutely not. I appreciate what details and perspective have been provided that help provide the clarity I have been asking for; I’m left scratching my head at the rest.

            • Nicole Troon says

              Dear Mr. Barrett: I am trying to reply to you right below your comment but am having computer problems. So please look for my longer full reply to you “somewhere” downstream. Thank you for writing to share your positive experience of Bp Mark. It is the kind of approach to a situation my parish priest always recommends. In Christ, Nicole

    • BLDavis says

      “And yes, that means quietly giving [Muslims] Communion if they’re married to a Christian and not making a big fuss over it. That’s just what you do, especially in Detroit.”

      Wow. I might be giving away a certain degree of naiveté on my part but this is hard to imagine, especially if it goes on willfully. I mean, I believe you. I just find this practice baffling.

      • StephenD says

        well…welcome to the Antiochian – Self Ruled by Met.Phillip -Archdiocese of North America. if you really want to hear some screaming in the Detroit area ask for an audit of the books in an Antiochian parish.
        That is one thing that got Bishop Mark blasted when he was the Bishop of Toledo. I was actually very impressed with him back then. Sad how things turned out for him.I hope he can heal and rise above all this…

    • Nicole Troon says

      Dear Mr. Barrett: I wanted to say that my personal experience of Bp. Mark at the Cathedral, especially in the small services I like to attend (not many other people there) makes me understand your appreciation for him. I found him humble, gentle, reverent, kind. I was particularly touched to see how Vladika Dmitri improved physically and personally from the habit Bp. Mark and Fr David developed of taking him to dinner. Vladika would light up as they pulled the car round after a small evening service and he gained weight and his color improved and he seemed to delight in the male priestly companionship and was simply perkier. This was before certain things heated up external to all three of them. As someone who revered and reveres Vladika, I was most appreciative of this gentle care. In addition what is rarely mentioned, and I will not expand on it, is that Bp. Mark came to a parish which had experienced an internal challenge long before he arrived. It is my impression that he entered a difficult situation with undercurrents not easily seen or understood especially by a newcomer. Perhaps it can help explain such different perceptions of him. I will sign off and not say more except to share my impression of Bp Mark as a fine and devout person. Not perfect. But not arrogant in the slightest, in my experience of him. For what that is worth. In Christ, Nicole

      • Thanks very much, Nicole; I appreciate your comments more than I can say.

      • Nikole, I appreciate your opinion.
        It is true that Bp. Mark looks like reverend and kind man, especially in the beginning. However, there are several things I cannot understand even now:

        How is that humble and kind man, Bp. Mark, was able to suspend and fire the parish priest during Holy Week for the minor mistake, and do that in most brutal way (I will not go into much details, but even real sinners does not deserve such treatment)? What “undercurrents” can possible make him do such things?

        How is that possible that Fr. David Moretti and Bp. Mark Maimon for almost two month read private e-mails of the priest of another Diocese, and not let him know? What “external things” can justify that?

        How is that possible that Archbishop Dmitri, whose condition”has been improved” from companionship with Bp. Mark, told many people that “it’s like he (Bp. Mark) has no soul”?

        I understand that personal experience of people who do not visit our parish often or those outside of the community can be positive. Unfortunately, those people in St. Seraphim, who observed all events of last year in person, have enough reasons to disagree.

        • Nicole Troon says

          Dear Member:

          My dear sister or brother in Christ ~ since we are both apparently at the Cathedral and you know my email address from my recent posts on the email list (and even where I sit from an earlier post), please do email me so we can meet and speak as persons if we do not already know one another.

          I love and revere Vladika Dmitri very much. I love and respect Fr John Anderson very much (remember the email praise I sent out 2 years ago on the Friends List?) We have not reached the same conclusions about the facts or the same conclusions about Bp Mark, that is all.

          I look forward to talking with you in person if you choose.

          Love in Christ,

          • Dear Nicole,
            I have no doubt that you love and respect both Archbishop +Dmitri and Fr. John. The difference in our “conclusion about facts” does not bother me as soon as we have our facts strait.

            I have no intentions to discuss “opinions” any further – it was painful enough to observe in person everything what happened last year. The only reason I post here is to make sure that nobody in St Seraphim will need to go trough this ever again…

            • Nicole Troon says

              Dear Member:

              I will certainly respect your choice not to speak further especially since the topic is painful for you. I appreciate the fact that you can honor my different experience and perception while holding your own.

              I do hope someday our parish family (which to me includes the Allen and Denton missions since folks flow between them) can truly be one in spirit and goal, and that I can know not just what you think on a blog but who you are thinking it. I have wondered if some are anonymous because of fear of retaliation of some kind.

              Can you imagine arriving home to find a letter in your family’s mailbox saying, “I am a member of your family but do not wish you to know who I am and here is what I think and I may make statements and draw conclusions about you or people you love but you may not know who I am but you may post your answer on a community bulletin board where absolutely anyone can read it. ” What does that introduce in a family? To my mind, that is now a part of what we are trying to heal from to become whole again. I wish that you would have thought, I can say who I am and that I do not wish to discuss it further and count on my church family to honor and respect my stated wish.” Hopefully someday. When I first came to St. Seraphim’s in 1997 and 1998 to inquire and worship and when I returned to become Orthodox in 2007, I saw Christ in Vladika Dmitri and Fr John both times, welcoming, loving, accepting, uniting, uplifting, treating with respect, flattering no one, disparaging no one, helping us deal with our passions always with the hope of Christ’s light and help for our needed struggle against these passions. And on the anonymous blogs I see fear, mistrust not just of those outside the church but those inside it and a real temptation to let passions rule, chiefly my own. And I wish we could emulate those two, starting of course with me.

              So I ask your forgiveness if I have done something which makes you think I would not have respected your identity and your stated wish not to speak of it and your very different conclusions from my own. Especially if I didn’t happen to get to ask your Forgiveness at Forgiveness Vespers.

              Good night Member and may we all heal, through God’s grace and Vladika’s prayers.

              Your prayers please In Christ, Nicole

        • Jesse Cone says


          It bears mentioning that your opinions of last year’s goings-on were formed from a more removed perspective than from the members that openly voice their experience to the contrary. As “Member” has pointed out, there are specific facts that — your observations aside — must be reckoned with.

          I am absolutely astounded that you can consider Vladyka’s health to have “improved” either mentally or physically between February 1st and June 1st.

          I am also surprised that you, who seem to be aware of the personalities and sentiments at the cathedral, would bring up +Mark’s habit of having Fr. David bring the Lexus around so that they could immediately go out to eat following the Lenten services. You know, I’m sure, how much that interrupted Vladyka’s routine of eating and drinking coffee with the faithful, and how many of them mentioned this small but meaningful thing during last year’s time of trouble as something painful. I had only been at the parish for four years, but for those who have lived and served with Vladyka for over forty, this deprived them of their usual time with their beloved father. I’m surprised you found it in good taste to bring this up as a positive when so many feel like this is just indicative of how — in their eyes — +Mark saw the cathedral as his, to the exclusion and alienation of the faithful.

          • Well said Jesse and dead on target.

          • Jesse and Nicole, I think the thing that’s falling into the cracks here is that it’s not a terrible thing to take an elderly man out to dinner and keep him company, it’s just that Bishop Mark’s choices about how to do it were disruptive and insensitive.

            Vladyka Dmitri’s flock at the cathedral couldn’t necessarily see him any time they wanted: a man of 87 can’t handle people tromping in and out of his house all the time, and it probably worked better to have him meet and socialize at the church after services. Bishop Mark and Fr. David, since they were living close to the cathedral and Vladyka Dmitri, presumably had a little more flexibility with Vladyka, and they could have picked another day and time to take him out for dinner.

            It reminds me of those “Good Idea/Bad Idea” shorts from the Animaniacs, where a subtle change makes a good thing into a disaster. 🙂

            • Helga,

              Anyone who knew Vladyka Dmitri also knew that he loved to go out to eat and it would be a cold day in Hades when he would turn down an invitation; he was a people person. And, I think that one could look at such dinner dates with +Mark as innocent events. However, +Mark did not know Vladyka Dmitri except for a few months. To what degree he was also unaware of how important it was to the faithful at St. Seraphim to have some time with His Eminence on Wednesday, Saturday or Sunday when he would routinely be in the hall sometimes before and after services (except Sunday, only afterwards). This meant a great deal to people, to say hello, get his blessing, maybe sit down for a few minutes and be part of His Eminence, “holding court.” It is one of the things I miss about him.

              But it is also clear that +Mark did not take the time to get to know the subtle and not so subtle nuances of Cathedral life in Dallas. Spiriting Vladyka away on Wednesday and or Saturday after the evening services was just another example of a level of insensitivity +Mark displayed in Dallas.

              The idea that Vladyka was gaining weight, feeling better is an observation that is not supported by the facts of his rapidly declining health. His Eminence ate like a bird the last couple of years of his life and especially the last year, except for an ocassional sandwich, sweets and of course coffee, lots of coffee he ate little. He was dying, I think he knew it and most of us knew that his earthly sojourn was coming to an end. And, maybe, +Mark felt this too and wanted to give His Eminence a regular chance to socialize in the dining atmosphere he loved so much.

              If this was the worst thing that +Mark did while in Dallas, we would not be writing all of this right now and he might already be the Bishop of Dallas. But of course it was not the worst, in fact it might have been the least offensive thing he did but understandable in retrospect how those who cherished ever minute they had with Vladyka especially in his last months now feel cheated because +Mark took him away.

              +Mark rolled into Dallas, considered it his next See and went about acting as if it was going to be. It was important for him to win the blessing of Vladyka Dmitri as his possible successor. Well, we know now that +Mark did not gain that approval and attempts to cast a better light on it by crediting +Mark with increasing Vladyka’s by vitality by going out to dinner is just not a conclusion supported by the facts.

              I am glad that Nicole looks about those scenes with tender fondness. Most of us don’t as Jesse pointed out.

              • Former AOC parishioner says

                In the reams of words explaining +MARK’s pastoral deficits, especially in light of Vladika DIMITRI’s strengths, I’m surprised no one has mentioned something I see to be an elephant in the room: the question of the kind and source of spiritual parenting +MARK himself has received for the greater part of his Orthodox life. Am I wrong to believe that had he had a mentor in someone like Vladika DIMITRI, as his Bishop and spiritual father, he would undoubtedly have made a much different kind of Bishop? I feel sorry for all involved. I even feel sorry for +MARK, but not as much for him as for the members of the DOS if he ends up being their Bishop. Lord, have mercy!

              • Nicole Troon says

                Dear Nikos:

                I ask your forgiveness if Nikos is your real first name and hope you will introduce yourself to me at St. Seraphim’s and/or email me so we can meet. One on one conversations in person seems the best way to proceed to build the parish and I look forward to that if you agree.

                If you are actually using a pseudonym, I am glad to protect your identity as best I can, though I would wish for the sake of the health of the parish that everyone in the near or extended parish family commenting here would identify him/herself within the parish itself if not to the world. However I have learned from the Cathedral acoustics that sound “bounces” here…I have been told folks in line have heard my confession and know I had to move to not hear someone else’s at least twice quite far from the confessional, despite the choir. During my (long) life confession when there was NO choir, and when I thought I was alone with my chrismating priest, I was horrified to hear someone male clear their throat rather loudly behind the altar, but decided the early Christians used to confess publicly so I’d best get over it! That said, I do keep secrets and confidences well, although I am concerned the anonymous comments harm our parish as a family. That however is the decision of anyone using a pseudonym and I will respect it. I look forward to speaking with you personally if we have not already done so, if you allow.

                In Christ,

          • M. Stankovich says

            Mr. Cone,

            That you would acknowledge someone could reach an alternate conclusion based on a “more removed perspective” seems to suggest you are aware of the possibility, in fact, of legitimate alternate conclusions. I would note to you that it is quite characteristic of crisis and “times of trouble,” both real and imagined, in limited, insular systems to miss forests for trees and visa versa. If the theoretical underlying dynamic is “anxiety,” the guerrillas go stealth and share gameplan with a trusted few to get the job done; while the lifeguards are diminutive Rodney Kings (“Can’t we just all get along”), with mastery of the subtle innuendo. It’s an ugly, ugly game, Mr. Coin.

            I say, when in crisis, ask somebody who knows: Anxiety is fear, fear is pride, and pride is fundamentally a lack of faith; and that would be St. John Climacus. “God is our Father, and the Holy Spirit goes where He wishes,” and that would be St. Andrew of Crete. My thought is that ocatruth wasn’t about truth,/i>, it was about the uncertainty that the Church could save Herself. And these letters, surveys, testimonials, and postings are not about the DOS working in its “best interest,” but about the uncertainty of the Church saving itself. It seems practical to be honest about this.

            You will most certainly never contain the dynamic Energy of the Father, but thankfully, we can trust that, “the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1Cor 1:25)

            • another one says

              Mr. Stankovich,

              “A more removed perspective” said another way, simply means that Nicole had taken a sabbatical from the cathedral, and was not present for much of the heartbreak. She came back in September or thereabouts, well after Mark was ensconced in Miami. Thus the reaction you see from parishioners who were present.

              I confess that your comment on lifeguards and guerrillas is confusing, perhaps because that map does not fit the territory, at least at SSOC. But uncertainty, yes. It is born of the breakage experienced, and this after a long period of stability with Vladyka Dmitri as our shepherd. He was a central and luminous presence in the parish, even in his decline.

              The times after services with the Archbishop, whether he was teaching, reminiscing, or just drinking that gol’awful coffee, was the place where moving through the Lenten season as a community was taught by him. Encouraging each other, bringing the newest fasting discovery, discussing the hows and whys of bringing the children into the Great Fast was all part of it, as was the amazing celebration on Pascha night. Plucking Vladika from its midst, even for dinner (when this was done 2 -3/week), and the eventual dark parish hall after services, came to symbolize how things had broken. Of course, Bp Mark and Fr. David were not there in the hall, to either teach or learn.

              • Nicole Troon says

                Dear Another One,

                May I offer you also an invitation to identify yourself and speak to me one on one at the Cathedral or by email, and you will have my email address from the list which I am sure you are on as a current member of the Cathedral (although associated parish mission folks and interested friend of the parish/Cathedral are also still allowed on it I believe).

                In any event I can tell we do not know each other at all well from the information you have, which in a way is a relief. It is a strain to be at the Cathedral with secrets and disguises and sometimes because of the division the anonymity of commenters introduces I truly do wonder if those writing anonymously are actually present or have ever been present or once were and in addition what the agenda may be which keeps them separate from the other parish family members…Guerillas are needed in a war and that is a difficult atmosphere for a parish family…Lack of transparency is difficult for me to understand but I would like to try. I am very sorry if fear or mistrust is your experience of the parish itself or of me in particular or of life in general. So I pray that I did have the opportunity to ask your forgiveness at Forgiveness Vespers and if not would welcome the chance to do so in person if that is appropriate. Your call of course.

                Wishing you all the best in Christ,

            • Jesse Cone says

              M. Stankovitch,

              I suppose you could read me in that way, but I think that’s requires the reader to do more work than necessary. In other words: you miss my point, and clarifying what I mean (and assume) about another’s opinions of the matter does not in fact shed light on +Mark or OCAT.

              You say,

              That you would acknowledge someone could reach an alternate conclusion based on a “more removed perspective” seems to suggest you are aware of the possibility, in fact, of legitimate alternate conclusions.

              The opinions I am speaking of — and I should have been more precise here — are the opinions of +Mark, the man. To be sure, that man is a bit of a mystery to me and I think it is only fair that we refrain from oversimplifying anyone. Therefore, it is possible people have a different opinions of person. I thought that was obvious, but you seem to think it is a telling point you win against me and OCAT.

              My first point was to gently say what Nikos has said: Nicole was attending another parish at the time, and dropping by for a couple Lenten services, and then forming an opinion based on that while (and here’s the kicker) ignoring important and commonly known facts is not the best way to form an opinion. Knowing that this is how the opinion was formed has bearing on the validity of that opinion. Opinion, even true opinion, is very different from knowledge; but expert opinions can be of value. I do not think Nicole is an expert in the matters in which she is voicing an opinion, though (obviously) she is free to do so and there’s the possibility that her opinion stumbles upon truth.

              Still, I wouldn’t call upon the manager of my favorite baseball team to diagnose a heart condition, or a cardiac surgeon to manage his bullpen. (Though the linkage between bullpens and heart conditions is well known.)

              Nicole’s point and OCAT are entirely unrelated, but I am impressed at your ability to insinuate that I am or was of unsound mind due to anxiety. Oh, and that I lack faith. But that’s your opinion and I think we’ve seen that there’s a possibility of a even unfounded opinion hitting upon some truth. Personally I do wish I had less anxiety and I do lack faith; may God help my unbelief.

              My final point (and again Nikos and ‘another one’ said this well) is NOT that +Mark’s generosity towards Vladyka was a sinful, mean-spirited, or terrible thing, but that Nicole’s mentioning that as a positive shows either a disconnect from the general sentiments of the cathedral or a lack of sympathy to its faithful parishioners. Hence, my surprise.

              • M. Stankovich says

                Mr. Cone,

                I have neither the presumption, nor the attitude, nor the intent to asses the soundness of your mind, the extent of your anxiety, or the measure of your faith. If you read mine as criticism, as your sarcastic tone suggests, my sincere apologies. Trust that I am not your judge.

                I believe to summarily discount the opinion of anyone out of hand is foolish. In my business, “fresh eyes” are often a gift. And while, ultimately, I may choose to dismiss your opinion for cause, I fail to see the purpose of disparaging you. While you did not directly employ “frank adjectives” in your response to Ms. Troon, it was more than implied and, in my estimation completely unwarranted. I wrote here that I stood in the Chapel at SVS where, following confession, I was moved that Fr. Alexander Schmemann kissed Vladyka Dmitri on the head. Someone here said “Fr. Alexander would not do that.” Why touch someone’s beloved memories?

                I repeat: anxiety is fear, fear is pride, and pride is fundamentally a lack of faith; and that would be St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, “On Fear.” It is what drives the seeming need to do “something”: letters, polls, surveys, petitions, testimonials, and websites. Because not to do something means (read directly below) “suicide,” if not “murder”; before, to an entire jurisdiction, and now a diocese, “because we only have one chance.” Before, it was said one man and a website could destroy the OCA, and now, one single bishop, in and of himself, can destroy the DOS! Wow.

                Such massive uncertainty in the continuous and limitless Energy of the Father is somehow not encouraging. “Oh, and that I lack faith.” Apparently, when we are honest, so do we all.

            • George Michalopulos says

              I must second that opinion. One of the things that kept me driving the 250 miles to Dallas was not only worship in that jewel of a church that Vladyka built but just to sit in his presence afterwards at the parish hall. He was always the center of attention and his presence had this certain luminosity to it that had a beneficial effect on people. I could remember getting up at 5am, driving the 4+ hrs to Dallas on a Sunday, attending liturgy, breaking bread with His Eminence, and driving back to T-Town that same day and being as alert and upbeat as all get-out. It got to the point where we’d pick any excuse at all to go to Dallas, even if we left at noon, got there at 5, attended Vespers, and turned around and left that same night.

          • Nicole Troon says

            Dear Jesse:

            I have appreciated Mr. Michalopulos’ expressed concern elsewhere about the state of healing in our parish. To the extent that I will always consider you and your family and the Drehers, and all others who physically leave (or even simply appear to leave) the Parish temporarily or permanently with regret (zB, due to jobs, events beyond their control, an obedience, to help someone else ~ in essence, not by choice) as always part of our spiritual family despite the distance, and to the extent that I hope you too long for healing in the parish, I would ask if you would email me one on one so I may reply to you directly and hopefully helpfully and informatively. You have my email address from the Friends List., most recently from requests for prayers for someone. Or if not, I certainly give Mr. Michalopulos permission to send it to you.

            I hope you can trust both my good intent and my good opinion of you and your intent. We do share the same values, those expressed in the Manhattan Declaration, and we do revere the standard of belief and treatment of other persons as made in the image of Christ which we learned from Vladika Dmitri. I hope also that the relationships in the parish are as important to you as the agendas understandably present on the blog and your former blog.

            I hope to hear from you but of course respect your choice either way.

            My best in Christ, Nicole

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      I have served parishes with recent immigrants from the Middle East. I have never met a recent Christian immigrant from them Middle East who considered Muslim’s family. In fact, most of the recent immigrants that I have know have an attitude towards Muslims that could best be described as fear.
      In one parish that I served, there was a woman from one of the leading families who married a Muslim. Not only could her husband not take communion, she could not take communion because there is no way that the Church could bless her marriage. I do not know who was the priest when she got married, but I do know that he was an Arab, because I was the first non-Arab to serve that particular parish. The family appealed to Metropolitan Philip, but she still could not take communion. Thus, from personal experience, I have real doubts that any of our priests gives communion to a Muslim. I do know that if one of our priests is giving communion to a Muslim, he is not doing so with the blessing of the Metropolitan.

      Fr. John W. Morris

  14. Rod Dreher says

    I spoke to an OCA priest from the Diocese of the South this morning and he told be that it is a “done deal” that Bishop Mark is to be the Bishop of the Diocese of the South…This particular priest is upset but also told me that he is pretty sure that it is going to happen..

    I’m hearing the same thing this morning, from elsewhere in the DOS (not Dallas). That would be the DOS’s suicide, right there.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Rod, StephenD, unless that priest is willing to step forward and say the same thing openly, I’d probably put not too much stock in that. And even then, I’d have to ask where exactly in the pecking order he is. The only person I know for a fact who is saying this to any and all who will listen is a layman in the diocesan adminstration.

      • George…this priest is not in the diocesan administration …I know who you are talking about and he is saying the same thing and actually crowing about it but this priest while not happy has accepted that Bishop Mark will be taking Archbishops Dmitri’s place…as if that could ever happen

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          He needs to step forward.

        • “Bishop Mark will be taking Archbishops Dmitri’s place…as if that could ever happen”

          Last I checked, Archbishop Dmitri is resting soundly under six feet of Texas dirt.


    • Rod, it wouldn’t be a suicide, it would be murder.

  15. I don’t know a lot about these things but it seems to me it would be destructive to have +Mark as the Bishop for the DOS. We can discuss all day what +Mark did wrong or right or if the parishioners at St. Seraphim’s over reacted or not but the details really don’t matter. Whatever did happen at SSOC, it left people with hard feelings that aren’t going to be easily changed. This is just a fact and the details don’t matter that much. All we have to know is that placing +Mark at SSOC would cause a multitude of problems. Maybe it shouldn’t and maybe it’s not fair to +Mark but it’s just the way it is. I think it would make sense to respect the feelings of the our fellow Orthodox brethren and choose someone for Bishop who will not cause so much turmoil from the very beginning. I don’t understand how the HS could choose +Mark if we just don’t vote for him? As I said I don’t really know all that much about these things. I would hope they would take into consideration the repercussion to the DOS by such a choice.

    • Jane Rachel says

      Abbie, I appreciate your comment. “Whatever happened, it left people with hard feelings that aren’t going to be easily changed.” If a bishop has caused the people to be hurt (and not just a few, but a LOT of people have been hurt by certain bishops) then that bishop needs to make amends, and stop being silent about what he’s done, while at the same time telling people he’s innocent and being victimized. This was true in Alaska, too, over what happened with Bishop Nikolai, and is true in other situations with other bishops. No matter which way you slice it, a lot of people were hurt by these bishops, and it is on their heads to make things right. What is up with all this “authoritarian” silence anyhow? Self-preservation over all else?

      As to your question, “I don’t understand how the HS could choose +Mark if we just don’t vote for him?”

      I don’t understand that either.

  16. All of this skata. All caused and created by converts. Dreher, Maymon, Frederick, Jonah. This is the down fall of the DOS. Too many converts bringing their baggage and fighting over who is who and who is what. Let them all go to the Antiochians or Greeks. The OCA needs “normal” converts without agendas.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Wow. Talk about the ultimate in non-sequiturs! So is this what you Stokovites have been reduced to? Illogical character assassination?

      BTW, I’m not a convert, Diogenes. But Bp Mark is, and so was your buddy Stokoe.

    • Converts? I’m no convert! I’m nearly 60 and was Baptized as an infant. I grew up in ROCOR and joined the OCSA while serving in the USAF. And I am furious at the thought of Maymon’s disgusting abuse of authority that he didn’t even have! Scroll up and read my letter to +NIKON.

      • I apologize in advance for getting off topic, but I keep seeing this term “convert,” usually in a semi-derogatory context. It seems a convert can never be Orthodox enough? To be a non-convert, one would have to be baptized Orthodox as an infant? Everybody else is a convert, even if they had no prior religion before?

        • I made my comment not to denigrate converts, but to make clear that the SSOC reaction to Maymon is not limited to converts, It is a reaction by converts and cradle Orthodox, by young and old, by men and women. It crosses all borders and categories. And to dismiss it as a “convert” problem is a lie.

      • Holy smokes, Alexander! I hope George reposts your letter. EVERYONE in the Diocese of the South needs to read it and Fr. Justin’s.

    • +Dimitri was a convert, too.

    • What then should be done about you Diogenes, and your agenda?

  17. Let me get this out front. I’m a cradle Orthodox, deep family roots in the OCA (though due to frequent moves I’ve been a member of several jurisdictions as an adult – all have their blessings and their “issues”), and I’ve had the fortune of living abroad for a while, so I’ve missed all the awful drama of recent years, which I find depressing enough from afar. I know more than a few of the clergy and laity involved in the up and (mostly) downs of the least decade and more.

    I can say with full honesty that I belong to no “camp” and I have no interest other than seeing the health and growth of Orthodoxy in the USA (note: not necessarily the OCA). And it’s clear to me that the selection of +Bp. Mark for the DOS, if true, is a truly bad choice and will bring more war where there needs to be peace. It will be especially sad to see the wonderful legacy of +Bp. Dmitri compromised in suich a manner.

    It’s now clear to this sinner, at least, that the OCA’s days are numbered. I used to dread this, since the widsom of +Fr. Schmemann’s life work once seemed so self-evident and genuinely divinely inspired. Now I am a lot less sure, and I think the day is soon coming when the OCA will pretty much implode and the Russians will pick up the pieces. That will be, at best, a mixed blessing, but I’m beginning to think it may be the only way to ever forge a genuine American Orthodox Church, someday – insh’allah as the Muslims say. The OCA, which for so long seemed like the ideal vehicle around which to build real unity, has become a stumbling block, and worse, to that holy mission.

    I have nothing good to say about Syosset, I wish it would just disappear at this point, though I find some of the language used against that clique which I find here, in comments, to be troubling to say the least. Those of us who have been around the OCA for many decades, unless we are wilfully blind (I’m not, and most laypersons aren’t either), know all about the dirty deals, etc. We don’t need converts to tell us, and go all investigative journalist on us, thanks.

    I have a lot of sympathy with the pro-+Jonah crowd, on political grounds; the Met’s big-picture vision is pretty much one I can endorse, and he’s absolutely right about his general “program” of where Orthodoxy needs to go in the USA today – “Father, bless” and “right on” suffice here.

    That said, I find various aspects of +Jonah’s past to be troubling, to be charitable – you ardent converts, especially the blogging kind, ought to have checked the teeth on that particular gift horse. But you knew it all and you had God on your side, didn’t you? Since “God gave us +Jonah”, to riff on a comment I found here, what could possibly go wrong? (While I’m dishing out truth-as-insult, let me add that I always found the protestations of Mr. Stokoe distasteful at best and vile at worst – I’ll take my ponitifcations from less morally compromised persons, thanks.)

    So what is to be done, per Lenin? Pray, pray, pray some more, and tone it down! The Lord wil provide, especially if we listen, fight the good fight with charity towards our enemies in the Church, and be wise as serpents.

    I implore all OCA members, especially more recent converts, to channel their enthusiasm and righteousness into proper causes, not merely denunciations. The Church has been around for a couple millennia and it will keep chugging along in that lovingly underperforming Orthodox way … if you don’t believe that, in the core of your soul, you need to go back to Methodism or whatever rock you came out from other to get chrismated.

    Let me conclude by saying that I find it appalling that people who have so morally compromised themselves so recently on these matters – yes, I’m talking especially, but not exclusively, about Rod Dreher – dare to speak out, just as before, when it is obvious that their involvement with this brought no credit on the Church or themselves, and have only served the Other Side … yes, the Bad One.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Sava, there is a LOT of wisdom in what you are saying here. The only major quibble I have is with your characterization of “ardent converts.” Speaking as a cradle Orthodox myself, let’s not get all ethno-triumphalist here. After all, it was the Carpatho-Russians who pulled the plug on Dmitri’s election as Metropolitan because the ethnic rump couldn’t understand why a good ole Baptist boy from East Texas ever got to be a bishop in the first place.

      Talk about a dearth of vision.

      And again, how exactly is Rod Dreher “morally compromised”? That’s a straw man if there ever was one. He did not have a man for a wife, blackmail sitting bishops because he was on the MC, or hacked into another man’s e-mails.

      You’re really gonna have to flesh that one out for me.

    • As we cradles say “I hate organized religion thats why I’m Orthodox”..Thank you Sava..

    • Sava wrote,

      That said, I find various aspects of +Jonah’s past to be troubling, to be charitable – you ardent converts, especially the blogging kind, ought to have checked the teeth on that particular gift horse.

      I have to ask, what aspects of Met. Jonah’s “past” trouble you, Sava?

      Thirty-three years after his chrismation, is he still too green for your taste?

      • If you don’t know what I was referring to, you’re not as informed as you ought to be … nuff said.

        • Or perhaps not as attuned to hearsay and innuendo?

          • I think dear Sava is proffering the “Hoomie” or Podmoshensky line. Or could it be that +Jonah allowed a truly suffering soul in Michael Rymer to live out his days in his monastery in Manton. It is the usual stuff, all vetted, all known before he was made a bishop. But of course, Sava, you brought it up, that you know “more” about +Jonah than “we” do, so why not share it?

            I know, I know, “Back off dude.”

            • I’m not going to say anything publicly – because I’m anonymous here but this is an open forum (got that, Rod?) … suffice to say, if you seek, ye shall find.

              Nuff said.

        • Sava, I am familiar enough with Metropolitan Jonah’s personal history, and no aspect of it is “troubling” to me. But I also know what his enemies like to throw in his face, so I have a few ideas about what you might be referring to.

          The most prominent, I guess, would be the HOOM/Podmoshensky bit which Nikos mentioned. Yawn. Maybe it’s Rymer. Or the young Met. Jonah’s working for Raphael House and Russkiy Palomnik. Gee whiz, a young man getting a job in a field that interests him! I know that’s an unusual event these days, but back then it really wasn’t that uncommon.

          No, Sava, I don’t believe you actually “know” anything. I believe you are bluffing to try to make an innocent man appear questionable, and to perhaps induce others to reveal information that you might find useful.

          Let me tell you something: that is a great way to sell papers in 1900’s New York, or win public office in every epoch of human history. It’s too bad you weren’t born a century earlier, maybe you could have given W. R. Hearst a run for his money.

          • Nice try; you lose.

            I can’t help but notice that you didn’t reply to my previous unmasking of your distortions of my words AKA idiocy.

            • Unmasking? All you did was back off of a cruel and hateful personal insult against Rod Dreher. Maybe you should try taking your own advice for a change: pull the plug on your anti-Dreher crusade, and go pray or something.

  18. Ted Logan says

    If Bishop Mark isn’t the right man for the Diocese of the South, then an “open” process would make that clear. The problem is that the DOs chose a closed process — one essentially controled by the deans — with the only change that the deans are not united behind “their” man. (The episcopal selection process as posted at is riddled with holes that allow for all kinds of monkeying around: 1 candidate or 3? “They” choose who is “viable” or not. Resumes, etc. etc., all before actually meeting anyone.t)

    This is not totally different from how then-Bishop Jonah was chosen as an auxilary and heir apparent bishop in teh DOS.

    Would Fr Justin, or any of the other critics of Bishop Mark, be as viscerally opposed to a candidate he likes but was still being foisted on the diocese using this closed selection process? (And if a process that still hasn’t released all the cndidates’ names only 2-3 months before the dicoesan assembly isn’t “closed,” what is?)

    • George Michalopulos says

      Ted, these are excellent questions. Let me try to answer you as clearly and as much in order as possible. Yes, the process has become “closed” as you say. That’s ultimately what’s at issue here. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

      Basically, I could stop there since it answers everything, but I’ll go on.

      Regarding how Abbott Jonah was chosen for our diocese. It was far more open than what you let on. First of all, he was hand-picked by the Venerable Dmitri of Thrice-blessed memory. He was a known quantity thanks to his voluminous writings, which Abp Dmitri had posted on the DOS website about 3-4 months before he was elected. Plus Dmitri directed us to read Jonah’s writings. Plus he’d been in the DOS once or twice before. And everytime he was here people took an instant liking to him.

      So yeah, the process was not nearly as formal as what the DOS put out in June of 2011, but 2008 was a different time and Dmitri was in full charge of his faculties (although getting physically frail).

      As to the protocols, I do see what you mean, there is a lot of room for “monkeying around.” Regardless, as of now, the spirit of these procedures aren’t being followed, lax as they are.

      • As far as I know, while there was an informal “understanding” that Abbot Jonah would have eventually taken Archbishop Dmitri’s place, he was elected and consecrated bishop of Fort Worth in full accordance with all established procedures and protocols. He was elected Bishop of Fort Worth at the same Synod meeting that accepted Metropolitan Herman’s retirement, if I remember correctly.

    • Ted,

      The process for an Aux. Bishop and that for a vacant see are different by design. An Aux. bishop is selected for the sitting bishop and is selected with the input and blessing of the sitting bishop with the approval of a diocesan council. That’s it, no input from a diocese as far as approving it, although the sitting bishop can ask for a vote and it makes sense to do so but it also makes sense fir the potential aux. bishop to be known by the diocese as +Jonah was made known to the folks in the DOS. You can’t equate the vacant see process with a aux. bishop process.

      There is nothing wrong with a selection committee. The South has very engaged deans who act almost like core-bishops. This wa slater expanded to include the diocesan council, a very representative body in the DOS. Other dioceses did it other ways but there has to be a basic clearinghouse to widdle down candidates.

      The lack of qualified candidates coupled with qualified candidates that are not available because their bishops won’t bless their names to be included has made the process even more problematic for the DOS, and even more complicated because of the presence of +Mark as a “guest of the diocese.”. If anything his presence has bogged down the episcopal search.

  19. Anonymous Since It's All The Rage says

    >>the DOS is the financial backbone of the OCA

    OK. That statement needs a little support, compadre.

    Where the hell are you coming up with that?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Hopefully I’ll have a posting up soon so you can see for yourself. If you’re willing to archive it, someone (I can’t remember who) posted a voluminous power-point demo on my blog about 2 months ago, which was shown to the MC.

  20. cynthia curran says

    True, George National Review is not what it was under Buckley. As for liberals, they want almost everyone to live in big urban areas or large suburbian ones. Now the Gini coffeicent for the 25 largest counties is high. You get more public transporation with New York but more inequality. Large counties have lots of minorities and more likely to have billionaires, so high difference in income. The newer exburbs with some exceptions like the Inland counties of California are better for income equality or smaller metro areas in the midwest.

  21. cynthia curran says

    Well, I would not always praise Constantiople msyelf as well, so Rod had some reasont ot be critical. By the way, the Byzantines killed thousands of businessmen in Constantiople prior to the 4th crusade, it occured in 1182, so while the west did things so did the Byzantines.

  22. Rod Dreher says

    I’ll know you’ve really become Orthodox when you shut up for a few months to ponder and pray about the damage you did to the Church of God.


    Alas, you might be right. This is why it’s important that you not support my candidacy for bishop of the Diocese of the South. However, if elected, I promise not to hack your e-mail account, monitor all your private correspondence for a couple of months, and publicize what I find there when I find it politically advantageous to do so — which is more than some candidates can say. So there’s that.

  23. Say, you got a nice article post.Thanks Again. Want more.

  24. You people are really disturbed about nothing; rumors and innuendo. The election for the bishop of the DOS will have to consist of more than one candidate. Put forward the guys you want; simple. AND, who says the candidate has to be celibate or a monk? The Tradition of the Orthodox Church from it’s earliest time are MARRIED BISHOPS. Monks were later chosen due to expediency and reasons which no longer exist. Put forward good married candidates for bishop. This isn’t radical, but Orthodox. Or, do some of you believe there is less grace in married clerics? That the marriage union (sex) is somehow dirty or tainted?

  25. George: Unlike Rod I’m not a career journalist, so I have no professional ethics which make my commenting anonymously problematic, and worse.

    Rod knew the rules, perfectly well, and he trashed them. Especially when he sock-puppeted comments about HIS OWN posts. Not even cool by internet standards, indeed slimy.

    • Sava, trying to stretch what Rod did last year into criminality is not going to work. I’d grant you your point had you been around trashing Stokoe who did far worse. And no, don’t tell me that Stokoe wasn’t a “professional journalist.” He used inside information as an MC member to set the narrative, entrap people, and blackmail them.

      • George: Stop misconstruing my words to make a non-existent point. You brought “criminality” into this, not me. What Dreher did with OCAT was slimly, nasty, unethical (by the standards of his profession), not illegal. I have, literally, never had a good word to say about Stokoe and what he did. He’s a dirtbag, to be frank. Don’t misdirect.

        On the other hand, I don’t see Stokoe on here, or anywhere else far as I know, telling everyone how great he is and how it’s all a “misunderstanding.”

        What you seem not to get – at this point it must be willful ignorance – is that Dreher seriously violated the ethical code he was trained in and allegedly lives by when he did what he did. I am not willing to give him a pass on it, I don;t know why you should either.

        Stokoe is a bad guy AND SO IS DREHER … how can you not see this?

        Instead you have fallen into the Dreherian “logic” of “we’re good, they’re evil” so anything is permissable, even when you know it’s wrong.

        There is a spirit at work here, I’m pretty confident it’s not the Holy Spirit, however.

        • Heracleides says

          Sava – are you by any chance also known as “Spartion Geometrias” (whose blog entries seem eerily similar to what you’ve been posting here)?

        • Jesse Cone says

          Sava asks,

          Stokoe is a bad guy AND SO IS DREHER … how can you not see this?

          Because you have failed to show it to us.

          • Sorry. I didn’t read that post that he thinks Stokoe is bad juju too. But, please, Sava, tell us more.

          • Not gonna bother with you, Mr Cone, because you are – as you have falsely accused me of being – the very definition of a shill.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Sava, that’s not fair. Jesse’s no shill but if you think so, then explain it to me why Rod’s a bad guy.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Sava, that’s a terrible accusation. I won’t even ascribe evil motives to Stokoe. I do believe he’s misguided and mostly wrong, and like most liberals, gay activists, etc., fervently believes he is in the right. All I did was point out where he was wrong and that his motives were less then pure. I also did not single him out but showed that there was a whole coterie of like-minded timeservers/Old Guard who thnk they “know better.” I could just as easily fall into that same trap.

          OK, so you agree that Dreher did nothing “criminal.” Then what exactly did he do that was unethical? And by extension Jesse as well? Blogging is not unethical.

          • Are you actually reading anything I write, or are you functionally illiterate?

            If you’re not YET clear on the ethically compromised nature of what Dreher did with OCAT, nothing I can add will help you.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Sava, hatred is not an alternative for reasoned argument.

              Humor me here: pretend like I’m the stupid redneck that you think I am and spell it out in detail what Dreher did that was of an “ethically compromised nature.” (I’ll have my thesaurus handy.)

              • I don’t know many Greek rednecks, are you actually one? Cool if so. I’m a proud Slav redneck, we should get along fine.

                Journalists, especially ones known to write on a given topic openly, ought not post (“publish”) things anonymously on that topic, saying things they would not be willing to say as themselves. Especially if they are of an, ahem, controversial nature. And definitely don’t sock-puppet comments about your own (anonymous) postings.

                My journalist experience consisted of writing for a bit for my college paper … never even got paid … but even I was quite clear that the sort of thing Rod did was a big no-no.

                I’m not aware that Dreher – to his credit – has ever exactly defended what he did with OCAT, since he’s too smart a guy to do that, it IS slimy and unethical; he’s just waited for “a decent interval” to enter the fray again – but it’s too soon. He needs to think about the Church, not his own prodigious “issues”.

                PS I have no way mentioned here the unwisdom of Dreher’s entering the OCAT fray, when he hardly understood the issues, from a faith perspective – but that wasn’t unethical, merely narcissistic, uncharitable, and possibly mean.

                • Sava,

                  Thank you for the explanation of Mr. Dreher’s supposed ethical violations. I am not a journalist, and I am ignorant of their code. Yet, ethical codes have some rationality behind them. Could you explain why anonymous posting by a journalist on the side is wrong or how it compromises the journalistic discipline? This is a sincere request. Not to sound like a leftist dissident, but in a society given to formulate and to punish thoughtcrime, such anonymous writing seems not only understandable and permissible but also even commendable. I am not saying that such a scenario applies to Mr. Dreher in this case, but I can see how it applies to many folks around the world and, sadly, ever more so in the contemporary West. Channeling Thrasymachus, what you propose seems to equate what is ethical with what is acceptable or desirable to the dominant group (who may punish dissent).

                  • Joseph: I am uncomfortable discussing journalistic ethics in real detail, as I’m neither a journalist nor an ethicist, but ponder this.

                    Let’s say Rod – or any professional journalist – wrote in his ‘day’ job about Wall Street. On the side, anonymously, he’s doing online postings, anonymously, about financial issues which are both a good deal racier than what he writes about ‘by day’ and could be construed as in conflict with that the day job. By day he’s a serious journalist – a member of a profession whose only real leg to stand on is integrity of the process – yet by night he’s a polemicist, controversialist, and fabulist. Worse, he posts on his “night-site” anonymous (sock puppet) comments … extolling himself.

                    Would that pass any smell-test? No, of course not. In the aftermath of the OCAT debacle I asked a couple friends who are real journalists about the situation – they’re not Orthodox and the name Dreher would mean nothing to them. They were shocked, appalled, and of the view that the person who did such a thing had violated the basic ethics of the profession and should never be a working journalist again.

                    Good enough for me.

                    • I assume Dreher published anonymously for the same reason I do: He does not want the gay rights army (primarliy outside the OCA, but also potentially within the OCA) to target him or his family with the intent to do harm.

                      This is called prudence, and it is not unethical in journalism.

                      Furthermore, his work within the OCA was not intended to be journalism in the sense that you are using the term — he was participating in dialogue and a political process within a religious organization to which he belongs. If any professional organization were to investigate his behavior they would find him blameless. Now the reviewers and their associates might hate him for opposing the advance of homogenital sex within the bounds of his own religion, but this is precisely why anonymity was prudent in the first place. So your critique is entirely out of line. Through his forced “outing”, Dreher has been wronged as much as any individual in this process, and we will likely never know the true cost to him and his family. Politically it would have done more for his cause in the OCA to never publish anonymously, but he must have decided this was a personal risk he could not take given that his life is not confined to the OCA. If I were in his position, I could never accept the risk of publicly taking on the gay rights movement unless I was single and had no dependents and had no prospects of future dependents. It is just too risky. As a rule of thumb, all else being equal, no sane person would ever want to stand between a gay man and sex; it is simply not a safe place to position oneself.

                      If you were an honest broker, you would know that someone had to take on Stokoe and the harm he was doing to innocent individuals and the OCA through the publication of controversial material from anonymous sources with partisan and activist objectives. Dreher and many others did the best they could in the face of a tremendous challenge. And the personal cost was more significant than anything I would be willing to accept for me and my family. Why don’t we just agree to let the person who did a better job of addressing this challenge cast the first stone? If you don’t care enough to do good, then at least strive to do no harm.

                    • Jesse Cone says


                      While I can attest to the truthfulness of your reasoning, the simple reason for anonymity was Dreher’s employment at the time.

                      As for the people who claim that what OCAT did was launch a personal attack on Stokoe per his “lifestyle”; their claim demonstrates either their unfamiliarity with the site and its purpose or their inability to read carefully and soberly what was written.

                      Those who think OCAT was about “culture wars” or homophobia are also misguided. At the end of the day I for one could not stand idly by while the OCA watched another person get so obviously tarred and feathered unfairly — especially when the person was a good man and our very own Metropolitan.

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Um, you bring up an intersting point. People who speak up for the truth are often targeted. Recently, I myself was subject to an online criminal research investigation. I’m not sure who instigated it.

                    • another one says

                      Joseph: I am uncomfortable discussing journalistic ethics in real detail, as I’m neither a journalist nor an ethicist, but ponder this.

                      Isn’t it interesting that the sum total of this attack on Rod Dreher by Sava is based on something he has no expertise in.

                      The Internet is a wonderful place; anyone can make a case with a cloud for its foundation, built with wild assertions!

  26. Married Bishops in the Orthodox Church: An Analysis

    If a man desire the office of a Bishop, he desires a good work. A Bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, …ruling well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity.
    [1 Timothy 3:1-4]

    For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city as I had appointed you; If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not accused of riot, or unruly.
    [Titus 1:5,6]

    Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever.
    [Matthew 8:14]

    But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once.
    [Mark 1:30]

    Now He arose from the Synagogue and entered Simon’s house. But Simon’s wife’s mother was sick with a high fever, and they made request of Him concerning her.
    [Luke 4:38]

    First, we must establish the Biblical and thus traditional position of the Orthodox Church regarding the issue of married clergy. Secondly, we must be against the allegations made by (some) Orthodox that the consecration of married men to the office of bishop is supposedly “uncanonical”, somehow “unorthodox”, or even worse, “heretical”.

    St Peter the Apostle
    Undoubtedly, St. Peter and virtually all Apostles were married. Their marriage clearly did not nullify being chosen as Apostles by Christ. There is no reference to any children of the marriage, before or after the call as an Apostle. There is a clear Orthodox tradition that St Peter dedicated himself completely (lived celibate from that time on) to Christ from the time of his call. This can be seen in the following words of St Clement of Alexandria:They say, accordingly, that the blessed Peter, on seeing his wife led to death, rejoiced on account of her call and conveyance home, and called very encouragingly and comfortingly, addressing her by name, ‘Remember the Lord’. Such was the marriage of the blessed, and their perfect disposition towards those dearest to them. Thus also the Apostle says, ‘That he who marries should be as though he married not’, and deem his marriage free of inordinate affection, and inseparable from love to the Lord; to which the true husband exhorted his wife to cling on her departure out of this life to the Lord. [p.541, Book 7, The Stromata, Clement of Alexandria, Ante Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2]

    Evidence of Married Bishops in the early Church The father of the Cappodacian Saints was a Married Bishop. The elder Gregory was converted by the influence of his wife, Nonna; and soon after his conversion was consecrated to the bishopric of Nazianzus [p.187, Prolegomena, Sect. 1, Nicene & Post Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7] (Note: This is Gregory the elder, not his son St Gregory Nazianzus). Note that, There are two lines in his poem of St Gregory Nazienzan on his own life which seem to indicate clearly that his birth took place after his father’s elevation to the Episcopate… [p.188, Prolegomena, Sect. 1, Vol 7].

    Basil left before him and returned to Cappadocia; and as soon as he could follow he went to Constantinople, where he met his brother, who had just come there to practice and return with his brother to Nazianzus. They found their parents still living and their father occupying the Episcopal Throne.
    From this time onward Gregory divided his time between his parents and his friend; living partly at Arianzus, and partly with Basil in Pontus, in monastic seclusion. [p.191, Prolegomena, Sect. 1, Vol. 7].

    Gregory,…felt very strongly drawn to the monastic life; but as retirement from the world did not seem to him to be his vocation, he resolved to continue to live in the world, and to be a help and support to his now aged parents, and especially to his father in the duties of his Episcopate, but at the same time to live under the strictest ascetic rule. [ibid.]

    In 374, Gregory the elder died, and his wife also, and thus our saint was set free from the charge of the diocese.[p.195, ibid.]

    Early Tradition on the marriage of St Gregory of Nyssa Here it is usual to place the marriage of Gregory with Theosebeia, said to have been a sister of Gregory Nazianzus. Certainly the tradition of Gregory’s (Nyssa) marriage received such credit as to be made in after times a proof of the non-celibacy of the Bishops of his age. [p.3, A Sketch of the Life of St Gregory of Nyssa, Second Series, Vol. 5]

    St John Chrysostom on married Hierarchs
    ‘A Bishop then,’ he says, ‘must be blameless the husband of one wife.’ This he does not lay down as a rule, as if he must not be without one, but as prohibiting his having more than one. [p.438, First Series, Vol. 13, St John Chrysostom, Homily X, Homilies on Timothy]

    If then ‘he who is married cares for the things of the world’ (1 Cor. 7:33), and a bishop ought not to care for the things of the world, why does he say ‘the husband of one wife’? Some indeed think that he says this with reference to one who remains free from a wife. But if otherwise, he that has a wife may be as though he had none (1 Cor. 7:29). For that liberty was then properly granted, as suited to the nature of the circumstances then existing. And it is very possible, if a man will, to regulate his conduct.
    [p. 438, ibid.]

    ‘Having his children in subjection with all gravity.’ This is necessary, that an example might be exhibited in his own house. [p.439. ibid.]

    Verse 6: ‘If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not accused of riot, or unruly.’ Why does he bring forward such a one? To stop the mouths of those heretics who condemned marriage, showing that it is not an unholy thing in itself, but so far honorable, that a married man might ascend the holy throne; and at the same reproving the wanton, and not permitting their admission into this high office who contracted a second marriage. For he who retains no kind regard for her who is departed, how shall he be a good presider? [p.524, Works of St John Chrysostomos, Homily on Titus, Homily 2, First Series, Vol. 13].

    ‘Having faithful children, not accused of riot, or unruly.’ We should observe what care he bestows upon children. For he who cannot be the instructor of his own children, how should he be the Teacher of others?…But, if occupied in the pursuit of wealth, he has made his children a secondary concern, and not bestowed much care upon them, even so he is unworthy. For if when nature prompted, he was so void of affection or so senseless, that he thought more of his wealth than of his children, how should he be raised to the episcopal throne, and so great a rule? [pp.
    524/5, ibid.]

    St Athanasius the Apostolic:But I have also thought it necessary to inform you of the fact, that Bishops have succeeded those who have fallen asleep.
    In Tanis, in the stead of Elias, is Theodorus. In Arsenoitis, Silvanus instead of Nonnus. In Bucolia is Heraclius. In Tentyra, Andronicus is instead of Saprion, his father. In Thebes, Philon instead of Philon, etc.
    [pp.538/9, Letter 12, Sect. 2, Letters of St Athanasius, Second Series, Vol.
    IV, Athanasius]

    For we know both bishops who fast, and monks who eat. We know bishops that drink no wine, as well as monks who do. We know bishops who work wonders, as well as monks who do not. Many also of the bishops have not even married, while monks have been fathers of children; just as conversely we know bishops who are fathers of children and monks ‘of the completest kind’.
    [p.560, Letter 49, Sect. 9, ibid.]

    St Ambrose of Milan
    And so the Apostle have given a pattern, saying that a bishop ‘must be blameless’, and in another place: ‘A bishop must be without offence, as a steward of God, not proud, not soon angry, not given to wine, not a striker, not greedy of filthy lucre.’ For how can the compassion of a dispenser of alms and the avarice of a covetous man agree together? I have set down these things which I have been told are to be avoided, but the apostle is the master of virtues, and he teaches that gainsayers are to be convicted with patience, who lays down that one should be the husband of a single wife, not in order to exclude him from the right of marriage (for this is beyond the force of the precept), but that by conjugal chastity he may preserve the grace of his baptismal washing; nor again that he may be induced by the Apostle’s authority to beget children in the priesthood; for he speaks of having children, not of begetting them, or marrying again. [p.465, Chapters
    61 & 62, Letter 63, St Ambrose, Second Series,Vol. 10]

    The Marriage of Church Dignitaries: But, while dealing with the passage, I would say that we will be able perhaps now to understand and clearly set forth a question which is hard to grasp and see into, with regard to the legislation of the Apostle concerning ecclesiastical matters; for Paul wishes no one of those of the church, who has attained to any eminence beyond the many, as is attained in the administration of the sacraments, to make trial of a second marriage. For laying down the law in regard to bishops in the first Epistle to Timothy, he says, ‘If a man seeketh the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. The bishop, therefore, must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded,’ etc.; and, in regard to deacons, ‘Let the deacons,’ he says, ‘be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well,’ etc. … And, in the Epistle to Titus, ‘For this cause,’ he says, ‘I left thee in Crete that thou shouldest set in order the things that were wanting, and appoint elders in every city as I gave thee charge. If any one is blameless, the husband of one wife, having children, that believe’. Now, when we saw that some who have been married twice may be much better than those who have been married once, we were perplexed why Paul does not at all permit those who have been twice married to be appointed to ecclesiastical dignities; for also it seemed to me that such a thing was worthy of examination, as it was possible that a man, who had been unfortunate in two marriages, and had lost his second wife while he was yet young, might have lived for the rest of his years up to old age in the greatest self-control and chastity. Who, then, would not naturally be perplexed why at all, when a ruler of the church is being sought for, we do not appoint such a man, though he has been twice married, because of the expressions about marriage, but lay hold of the man who has been once married as our ruler, even if he chance to have lived to old age with his wife, and sometimes may not have been disciplined in chastity and temperance? But, from what is said in the law about the bill of divorcement, I reflect whether, seeing that the bishop and the presbyter and the deacon are a symbol of things that truly exist in accordance with these names, he wished to appoint those who were figuratively once married.
    [pp.509/10, Book XIV, Origen’s Commentary on Matthew, Vol. X, Ante Nicene Fathers]

    Councils of the Church
    Canon V of the Canons of the Twelve Apostles (Apostolic Canons):Let not a bishop, presbyter, or deacon, put away his wife under pretence of religion; but if he put her away, let him be excommunicated; and if he persists, let him be deposed.

    Canon LI of the Apostolic Canons:If any bishop, presbyter, or deacon, or any one of the sacerdotal list, abstains from marriage, or flesh, or wine, not by way of religious restraint, but as abhorring them, forgetting that God made all things very good, and that he made man male and female, and blaspheming the work of creation, let him be corrected, or else be deposed, and cast out of the Church. In like manner a layman.
    In conclusion, the Apostolic Canons represent the very early Canon Law of the Church, that the Canons which make up the collection are of various dates, but that most of them are earlier than the year 300, and that while it is not possible to say exactly when the collection, as we now have it, was made, there is good reason for assigning it a date not later than the middle of the fourth century…. There can be no question that in the East the Apostolic Canons were very generally looked upon as a genuine work prepared by the Holy Apostles. [p. 592, Vol.XIV, The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church

    Quinisext Council (Fifth-Sixth)
    [sometimes called the “Trullon Synod”]
    Canon XII:Moreover, this also has come to our knowledge, that in Africa and Libya, and in other places the most God-beloved bishops in those parts do not refuse to live with their wives, even after consecration, thereby giving scandal and offence to the people. Since, therefore, it is our particular care that all things tend to the good of the flock placed in our hands and committed to us – it has seemed good that henceforth nothing of the kind shall in any way occur. And we say this, not to abolish and overthrow what things were established of old by Apostolic authority, but as caring for the health of the people and their advance to better things, and lest the ecclesiastical state should suffer any reproach…But if any shall have been observed to do such a thing, let him be deposed.

    Commentary by Aristenus:The fifth Apostolic canon allows neither bishop, presbyter, nor deacons to cast forth his wife under pretext of piety; and assigns penalties for any that shall do so, and if he will not amend he is to be deposed. But this canon on the other hand does not permit a bishop even to live with his wife after his consecration. But by this change no contempt is meant to be poured out upon what had been established by Apostolic authority, but it was made through care for the people’s health and for leading on to better things, and for fear that the sacerdotal estate might suffer some wrong.

    Van Espen:In the time of this Canon (of the Apostles) not only presbyters and deacons, but bishops also, it is clear, were allowed by Eastern custom to have their wives; and Zonaras and Balsamon note that even until the Sixth Council, commonly called in Trullo, bishops were allowed to have their wives.

    Canon XLVII:The wife of him who is advanced to hierarchical dignity, shall be seperated from her husband by their mutual consent, and after his ordination and consecration to the episcopate she shall enter a monastery situated at a distance from the abode of the bishop, and there let her enjoy the bishop’s provision. And if she is deemed worthy she may be advanced to the dignity of a deaconess.

    On the Marriage of the Clergy
    The doctrine and practice of the ancient Church in the East can be fittingly quoted in the words of the Rev. John Fulton in the introduction to the Third Edition of his Index Canonum [p.29, NY, 1892]. He says, Marriage was no impediment to ordination even as a Bishop; and bishops, Priests and Deacons, equally with other men, were forbidden to put away their wives under pretext of religion. The case was different when a man was unmarried at the time of his ordination. Then he was held to have given himself wholly to God in the office of the Holy Ministry, and he was forbidden to take back from his offering that measure of his cares and his affections which must necessarily be given to the maintenance and nurture of his family. [p.365, Vol. XIV, The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church.

    St. Demetrius the Vine Dresser (Egyptian Patriarch) The Coptic Orthodox Synaxarian records one of the early Patriarchs of the Church of Alexandria as being a married man. The record states he had lived a celibate life since the beginning of marriage and it is not known whether this is a later redaction to cover the obvious conflict that would ensue otherwise. In any case, the fact of his enthronement again confirms that the tradition of the Church at that time did not consider marriage to be a bar to even hold the highest office of the Orthodox Church.

    The Byzantine Church
    In 1990, an article from The Orthodox Observer, a Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America publication, states, At the 1992 meeting of the clergy-laity conference of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America (Archbishop Iacovos), held in New Orleans, a formal resolution was sent to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople ‘to consider returning to the practice of ordaining married priests as bishops as was done in the early church.’ … Earlier in December 1991, the Greek Archdiocese stated that it was the original practice of the Church for a married Episcopate.
    Please also note that Archbishop Iakovos promoted the return of married bishops to worldwide Orthodoxy and agreed that individual jurisdictions could retain the Apostolic tradition of the Early Church.

    Various Practices Regarding the Episcopacy [1] Celibate/Monastics Only: The majority position amongst the Eastern Orthodox which has a large well of monastics to draw from. Also the position amongst the Oriental Orthodox, who, like their Eastern brethren, have a vibrant monastic community. Many of these Churches, having had married bishops in the early Church, did however draw from their monastics for over one thousnad years (Armenians seemingly being the exception). However, it is noted that even amongst the Eastern Orthodox it is not unusual to elect a Priest to the Episcopacy whose wife has reposed first. Evidence is overwhelming that in the Orthodox Tradition marriage is not a bar to consecration. Economia and the will of the Orthodox Christians in the traditional homelands do not lend themselves to changing this current practice, which has served their churches very well for centuries.

    [2] Married but dedicated Celibacy: The traditional position regarding the Apostles (St Peter, for example) and many of the married men that have been elevated in times past (St Demetrius the Vinedresser amongst the Coptic Orthodox, for instance) is supported by the Canonical authority of the Fifth-Sixth Council (Canons 12 and 47-see above). However, if the dedicated celibacy was due to the heretical view that marital relations were not honorable (sinful) then a clear rejection of the fifth and fifty-first canons of the Apostolic Canons would apply placing the rejector under anathema. This is an acceptable position when the Church is in a missionary situation as it was in the days of the Apostles and early centuries (and currently amongst the Western hemispherre), but is not as needed when a large pool of spiritual monastics is granted to the Church by God. The practice is that the married couple live celibate from the time of dedication or consecration, usually with the wife also entering into monastic lifestyle or a community and frequently being received as a dedicated Deaconness.

    [3] Married but not dedicated Celibacy: Perhaps the least controversial position due to the fact that the Bishop has not lived or promised to live a celibate life from consecration. Those who reject this position outright often bring the following verse to bear: “He who is married is concerned for his wife and the affairs of the world”, alongside St Paul’s words that it is ‘better’ to remain as he was, i.e. celibate. There are also references (see
    above) of married bishopes that bore children in lawful Christian marriage after their consecration (although far less frequently and often alongside later attempts by writers to re-write the facts of the matter). The Biblical references relating to the bishop being married and having in submission his children does not imply that the children came after the elevation to the Episcopate. However, the lawful Christian state of marriage itself determines that the married but not celibate Episcopate has not committed any sin that would prevent him from consecration. Of course not all things that are ‘lawful are also expedient’ and thus, this third position causes much confusion and consternation amongst some Orthodox. The Canons of the Fifth-Sixth Council direct all married bishopes to seperate from their wives and live a dedicated life and these are often quoted by those who deny the correctness of this position. However, the earlier Apostolic Canons direct the exact opposite that one was not allowed to put away ones wife. Obviously this matter falls well within the oiconomia of the bishops in a particular Synod to determine the married epicopate for their jurisdiction.

    Various Objections Raised Regarding a Married Episcopacy The Church decided in later centuries to change to monastic bishops only.

    At a number of question forums where the laity have a chance to ask various Bishops for their response to why the Church no longer has married Bishops (as Holy Scriptures allow and the Church Fathers attest to) we found that the common answer is often:The whole church decided to change the practice in the third century. The response from the blessed bishops is somewhat ill-informed and assumed to be the case, rather than defacto is the case:

    [a] The Universal Church made no such declaration in the 3rd century nor the centuries immediately following that time.

    [b] The exact opposite actually occurred. At the 1st Ecumenical Council of Nicea in 325 AD, the Western (Roman) legates attempted force Canons requiring celibacy of all clergy. These attempted amendments however failed, and a large part of their failure were the words of St Paphnutius of the Church of Alexandria, a Saint and miracle worker who was famed and respected across the empire, even receiving admiration from the Emperor himself. What made St Paphnutius’ words even more immpressive is that he himself had been a celibate monastic since entering the life as a teenager. Here a strictly ascetic monastic argued against the enforced celibacy of any rank of the Church’s offices (cf. Nicene & Post Nicene Fathers, Volume 14, The Seven Ecumenical Councils:”Proposed Action on Celibacy”):

    that too heavy a yoke ought not to be laid upon the clergy; that marriage and married intercourse are of themselves honorable and undefiled; that the Church ought not to be injured by an extreme severity, for all could not live in absolute continency. In this way (by not prohibiting marrital
    relations) the virtue of the wife would be much more certainly preserved (viz. the wife of a clergyman, because she might find injury elsewhere, if her husband withdrew from the marriage). The intercourse of a man with his lawful wife may also be a chaste intercourse. It would therefore be sufficient, according to the ancient tradition of the Church, if those who had taken holy orders without being married were prohibited from marrying afterwards; but those clergymen who had been married only once as laymen, were not to be separated from their wives.

    This discourse of St. Paphnutius made so much more of an impression, since he had never lived in matrimony himself, and had had no conjugal intercourse. St. Paphnutius had been brought up in a monastery, and his great purity of manners had rendered him especially celebrated. Therefore the Council took the serious words of the Egyptian bishop into consideration, stopped all discussion upon the law, and left to each cleric the responsibility of deciding the point as he would. We must conclude that a law was proposed at the Council of Nicaea in the same way as the one which had been carried twenty years previously at Elvira, Spain. This coincidence would lead us to believe that it was the Spaniard Hosius who proposed the law respecting celibacy at Nicaea. The discourse ascribed to St. Paphnutius, and the consequent decision of the Synod, agree very well with the text of the Apostolic Constitutions, and with the whole practice of the Greek Church in respect to celibacy. Both, the Greek Church as well as the Latin one accepted this principle, that whoever had taken holy orders before marriage, ought not to be married afterwards. In the Latin Church, bishops, priests, deacons. and even subdeacons, were considered to be subject to this law, because the latter were at a very early period reckoned among the higher servants of the Church, which was not the case in the Greek Church. The Greek Church went so far as to allow deacons to marry after their ordination, if they had obtained permission from their bishop to do so. The Council of Ancyra affirms this (Canon 10). We see that the Greek Church wishes to leave the bishop free to decide the matter; but, in reference to priests, it also prohibited them from marrying after their ordination. While the Latin Church exacted of those presenting themselves for ordination, even as subdeacons, that they should not continue to live with their wives (if they were married), the Greek Church gave no such prohibition; but if the wife of an ordained clergyman died, the Greek Church allowed no second marriage. The Apostolic Constitutions decided this point in the same way. To leave their wives from a pretext of piety was also forbidden to Greek priests; and the Synod of Gangra (Canon 4) took up the defence of married priests against the Eustathians. Eustathius, however, was not alone among the Greeks opposing the marriage of all clerics, and in desiring to introduce into the Greek Church the Latin discipline regarding this matter.
    St. Epiphanius also inclined towards this side. The Greek Church did not, however, adopt this rigour in reference to priests, deacons, and subdeacons, but by degrees it came to be required of bishops and of the higher order of clergy in general, that they should live in celibacy. Yet this was not until after the compilation of the Apostolic Canons (Canon 5) and of the Constitutions; for in those documents mention is made of bishops living in wedlock, and Church history shows that there were married bishops (for instance, Bishop Synesius in the fifth century). But it is fair to remark, even as to Synesius, that he made it an express condition of his election to the episcopate, that he might continue to live the married life. Thomassin believes that Synesius did not seriously require this condition, and only spoke thus for the sake of escaping the episcopal office; which would seem to imply that in his time Greek bishops had already begun to live in celibacy. At the Trullan Synod (Canon 13) the Greek Church finally settled the question of the marriage of priests (First Ecumenical Council of Nicea, Proposed Action on Clerical Celibacy, Second Series, Vol. XIV, pp. 51/2)

    [3] The Church enforced celibate Bishops to stop Nepotism: This explanation perhaps gives us the clearest reason why the Church moved away from married bishops. Nepotism is where the ecclesiastical dignity is passed down from father to son and becomes a sort of family empire, something that the Church can never be. This phenomen can be seen today, for instance in the Billy Graham and Pat Robertson enterprises and other ministries where the sons are effectively taking over as the inheritors to their fathers. While this may not always be a bad thing or necessarily against the will of God, it does lead to the confusion of the laity who would begin to see an element of family empire building in the making. In order to end the passing of ecclesiastical properties as inheritance to sons, the Church began to choose men who were never married, and thus no claims for inheritance could be levelled. This perhaps was valid during the days when the bishops held all property and legal deeds, and incorpartions did not exist. Nowadays, at an age of public disclosure of banking and financial accounts, with lay treasurers and financial committees etc, there is little to no chance of such to occur.

    [4] The need of an Ecumenical Council to change back: This is seemingly a valid statement made by those who reject the married Episcopate. They assert that since an Ecumenical council declared the matter closed, then it requires another Ecumenical Council to change that. This argument is flawed in a number of points: First, an ecumenical council did NOT declare the matter closed. On the contrary, The Council of Nicea refused to implement this discipline. Secondly, the Fifth-sixth Council did NOT ban married bishops, but implemented a set discipline upon them. Thirdly, there has not been an Ecumenical Council since the schism of the Church and there is not likely to be one in any foreseeable future. We no longer have Christian Emperors who can call an Ecumenical Council, let alone the fact that the whole Roman Church would obviously fail to attend any Council called by the East. Amusingly, the answer (of needing another Ecumenical Council to settle the matter) really does not deal with the issue but ‘passes the buck’ to some indefinite, improbable future event. Such would not be acceptable from a theological or cannonically viewpoint, since oiconomia has always allowed the bishops to determine how to enforce or interpret the Canons in their particular circumstances. Recently allowances in matters of ecclesiastical discipline have been observed in a number of jurisdictions, including priest’s being able to remarry, bishops being transferred to other dioceses, “Coadjutor” type bishops in dioceses that are not under their authority, monks leaving their vows being allowed to marry, more than one bishop in one city, etc. – Yet none of these recent matters were left to a futuristic Ecumenical Council.

    We believe the above information and the facts of history stand for themselves and do not need a defence. It is rather the other side in need of defence, from a Scriptural, Patristic and canonical point of view.
    Additionally, the western hemisphere is not like the homelands of Eastern or Oriental Orthodoxy which had two thousand years of resources to draw from suitable monastics availble for consecration. Though the earlier Canons are believed by Orthodox tradition to come directly via Apostolic authority, the later ones by an assumed one-size-fits-all decision by the Fifth-sixth Council. Canonical commentators have not been able to resolve the obvious differences other than simply to note them. Oiconomia is the only way this issue should be resolved in the Orthodox faith, as it always has. For one jurisdiction to use one set of Canons against another jurisdiction’s interpretation or oikonomia is neither appropriate nor Orthodox!

    • George Michalopulos says

      Diogenes, I don’t disagree with you at all. We in the OCA are blessed with the at least two or three bishops who were married at one time.

      I would caution you from being triumphalistic about the supposed moral superiorty of married bishops. 99% of the bishops in ECUSA are and have been married and they’ve run that once-fine tradition into the ground. As for some of our own married protopresbyters, their moral witness (and psychiatric acumen) is null.

      • Diogenes says

        It is common knowledge and pans out to be true that married men are more “normal” and well-adjusted compared to celibates/ monks. Celibates are celibate for a reason. Monastics were chosen for bishops because the monasteries were where the libraries were (educated men) and they had no progeny to inherit bishops property (The bishops owned the church property in Roman/Byzantine times). So, if we want well-adjusted bishops to lead the Orthodox Church, we should have married bishops with SOLID ORTHODOX THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION. Not just widowers, but current, married men. If dioceses are too large, make them smaller.

        • Diogenes says:
          May 1, 2012 at 1:16 pm

          It is common knowledge and pans out to be true that married men are more “normal” and well-adjusted compared to celibates/ monks.

          “It is common knowledge”—???; “pans out to be true”—???; “married men are more “normal” and well-adjusted compared to celibates/ monks”—???
          Personally, I have not found any of that to be true,
          so I can only think that Diogenes is pontificating broad, sweeping generalizations again.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Diogenes, much of what you say is unarguable. I too very much want smaller, more managable dioceses. But that’s not gonna happen until Orthodox in America make it happen by tithing, in order to support a married man.

          Having said that, I largely agree that married men (who are actually still married) are more “normal” than single men in that women have a tremendous civilizing effect on men. I’d probably be eating pizza and drinking beer all day while watching ESPN if I wasn’t married. Nevertheless, the maturity quotient of many married men is severely lacking at present. Women today constantly complain about their husbands playing World of Warcraft or endlessly watching porn on the internet. Many younger men have abrogated their masculine responsibilities because they’ve been feminized by society in that they are no longer the primary breadwinner. There are no positive role models on TV of married men. Father Knows Best is considered a retrograde, racist, sexist relic of bygone age. All married dads on TV today are avatars of Homer Simpson.

          That’s one reason why the biggest demographic for Mad Men today (I believe) is youngish, white women in a relationship (married or otherwise). They look at Dan Draper and the other alpha males and wonder how they wound up with the metrosexual or schlub they are living with.

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            Sorry, so my point is that I would not get all triumphalistic about married men today vis-a-vis honest celibates. There’s a lot of improvement for both.

    • Harry Coin says

      Very impressive indeed. Who can be part of a church with Orthodox in the title and argue against such early examples calling for the married also in high leadership? It was owing to the scandals back when men outlived women and inheritance laws long since gone from the world changes contrary to the Gospel were made.

      I do think that if this change were made, while there would still be scandal so long as people are involved — there wouldn’t be cover-ups and enablement of the same folk misdoing again, and again and again owing to special friends and transfers. The creation of the first known victim is the fault of the perpetrator. The rest of the victims are the responsibility of those ‘church leaders’ as well. (How that somehow becomes the financial responsibility of the parishioners I still don’t get…)

      Right now a priest who remarries after his wife has died our mostly never married leadership insists must be called Mr. owing to being kicked out of the priesthood and once again being a layman. But as we see former Bishop Paissios, after abusing parishioners of both sexes and for decades is judged by the synod to yet be a monk, and monks I am told are to be referred to as ‘Fr’. This coming from our mostly ordained young never married high authorities. The fellow who lives in your town, who baptized and married and buried families for decades and remarries long after his wife dies: Mister. The bishop who does the nasty with various for decades: Fr. These things need improving if we’re serious about not dwindling but growing.

  27. The topic of conversation is, “Should Bishop Mark be on the nomination list for DOS Bishop?”

    The answer is in the Bible.

    1 Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

    Blameless? Finding a link to e-mails and monitoring them for many weeks, then having those private e-mails posted for the world to see is illegal. I even believe some of the e-mails were confessions or at least had confession info in them. Is violation of the confessional not a big NO-NO?

    Of good behaviour? Lying to the Church from the amvon, is that good behaviour?

    These are two of the charges against Bishop Mark. Yes, I believe in forgiveness. I forgive Bishop Mark. BUT I do not think this person can be trusted with the flock of the DOS.

    We, the flock of SSOC, have been protected from the political machinations of Syosset for all the years that our beloved +Dmitiri lived. At the time of my baptism +Dmitri told me there were politics in the Church. I asked, “Do I needed to worry about them?” He said, “No.” I said, “Then I leave it in your capable hands.”

    Those dream days are over. We need to have someone we can trust. Bishop Mark just does not measure up.

  28. Rod: You’re a bad person but you ain’t dumb. I think your “psych eval” of Maymon re: Antiochians is exactly right … one more reason (is it needed, really?) to put the kibosh on this one.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Sava, this is your one and only warning: I will NOT tolerate calling people “evil” on this website. If you got a legitimate gripe about Rod (or anybody for that matter), state it succinctly and coherently. And I don’t mean airy nothings. I’m not Shakespeare and I didn’t understand Midsummer Night’s Dream. If you ignore this, then I’m going to remove you from this site for one month. I did this with ASIATR and I won’t hesitate to do it again. (BTW, I’ve allowed him back on and will let him stay on as long as he plays by the rules.)

      This goes for everybody. No overt displays of hatred or calling people evil. I mean it.

      • George:

        1. Please show me ANYWHERE where I used the term “evil” about ANYONE.

        2. I don’t think Dreher’s a good guy, in fact the opposite, but I was paying him the compliment that I think he’s exactly right about the psychological driver re: Maymon.

        3. When I start calling anyone “evil” – yes ANYONE; “evil” is a very loaded term among Christians, for good reason – please ban me. Otherwise, follow your own rules.

        • “Rod: You’re a bad person ”

          Bad/evil, evil/bad. Close enough.

          • Not at all. Per George, verbatim: ‘I will NOT tolerate calling people “evil” on this website’ … persumably “evil” was in quotes for a reason. Not called anyone “evil” and not gonna. Not how this Orthodox homeboy rolls. Very loaded term, as it should be. Stick to the facts.

      • George, it looks like we’ve “flushed another one out into the open.” I wonder how many more like Sava, Diogenes, ASIATR, et. al., are still out there to be uncovered.

        • PdnNJ: Flushed out another … what exactly? Love to hear this, really .. amuse me.

          • “Birds of a feather”

            • Add Pauli???

              • Definitely add Stankovich.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Fr. ProtoDeacon of NJ,

                  With all due respect to the hand that ordained you, if, perchance, you have an issue with me, bring it. I employ my real name, and at least twice (to my knowledge), my resume – including my home address & phone – have been posted, jeopardizing my personal safety as one working in correctional institutions. You flushed me out of where exactly? I have openly invited your correction of Scriptural, theological, patristic, or scientific error. And what? Nothing. My thought: pick your battles, lest you find yourself setting a trap for others, and falling in yourself (Proverbs 26:27).

                  • Heracleides says

                    Actually, YOU posted your resume online, I simply linked to it… dare I suggest you get a clue?

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Dare I suggest I posted no such thing. I found out about it by you – whatever your particular motivation & fundamental lack of respect – and asked it be removed. Like I need to make it easy for convicted felons. Whatever I am. pal, I would never threaten your safety or that of your family.

                    • Heracleides says

                      As I said – get a clue. Your resume is *still* online Mr. Stankovich and using google I found it once again in all of two minutes! (google: m. stankovich lcsw resume – third result.) If you’re really that concerned about your safety, and not simply blowing smoke, perhaps you might… oh, I don’t know… remove it?

                    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                      Just took a quick look at that website you came across. You have to explicitly create an account and upload a resume in order for people to be able to come across it like Herc did. Sorry, but it looks like you’re going to have to do the removing yourself, M. Stankovich. Not all of us are stupid, especially those of us who do web developing and designing for a living.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Well, Ms. Beno, I did not explicitly create an account nor publicly post such information – there are even current CA court orders preventing inmate family members from publishing custody staff personal information on the internet in the interest of their safety. You may, however, believe as you wish. I have sent that site email a number of times since it appeared here, requesting it be removed, specifically for the reason I have stated. You may, however, believe as you wish. The issue, from the beginning, is that posting that information here had absolutely no point whatsoever.

                    • Heracleides says

                      Actually, Mr. Stankovich, linking to your resume did have a reason. You were busily trumpeting your clinical expertise in a thread and after examining your clinical experience to verify your claims I decided others might be interested as well. Bottom line: If you don’t want your personal information out there, then don’t make it available – and, no – I am not buying your nonsense that you are not responsible for it being listed on an employment website. In other words, I seriously doubt that pulled your resume out of thin air, and all your frantic hand waving to the contrary isn’t going to change that fact.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Blah, blah, blah. Anyone who engages with you enters into the exact same loop of sarcastic meanness that respects no boundary. I am not buying your nonsense that, on account of my boastfulness, you “googled” me to “verify clinical experience”; you were looking for “dirt” and would have soiled yourself in delight to have found I was a gas station attendant in Topeka (no offense, Mr. Bauman). Apparently incapable of determining the significance of the research yourself, you thought it was a better idea to post my home address & phone number regardless of how it got there. While I don’t actually know you, altruism certainly leaps from your writing…

                      So, Ms. Beno for the non-stupid states I must have taken “explicit” action, and you for the rabbling-altruists claim “disbelief,” which in most municipalities is a euphemism for calling someone a “liar.” I claim “N-n-n-no to both counts, your honor.” The jury’s verdict: “Pardon us, but who cares?” Heracleides, you win. I did exactly what I tell others to avoid: getting sucked in. My congratulations and best wishes.

                    • Heracleides says

                      Whatever sir. Just don’t accuse me of “jeopardizing” your “personal safety.” You’re the idiot who posted his resume with name and address online, not me. Man up – if possible – and take responsibility for your own safety (or lack thereof as the case may be).

                      As for your clinical expertise… it is nice to see that your queer “We Are Their Legacy” website has gone bellyup. I do see, however, that that occurrence hasn’t prevented you (on your new website) from whining about your experience on Monomakhos after failing to spread your queer legacy tripe. To quote a certain sophomoric closet-case: “Blah, blah, blah.”

                    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                      I checked whois and it turns out that domain where the resume resides is owned by the same people who own the domain that the resume domain redirects. Scrolling down the bottom that information is noted. Right there on the home page of the main domain, one sees this:

                      An account on gives you access to create a resume website and connect with local employers. Sign Up (it’s free!)

                      But then, it’s all “blah, blah, blah”. WhatEver.

  29. Anonymous Since It's all the Rage says

    Here’s the problem, Rod. You put yourself out there as a spokesman for all of us who made the sometimes difficult decision to convert to Orthodoxy, and promptly jump into bishop bashing and priest bashing and duplicity. You did it without the courage to put your name on it. Yes, I know, but my name is a mockery. I’m easily discovered, and I have not put myself out the way you so publicly did. But it remains that I have seen friends basically severe their ties with family in order to follow the one Church, and in return I have heard their family ask “Does this clown speak for you?”

    The trashing of Mark Stokoe was beyond the pale. Instead of assaulting his positions, there was a rush to assault his personal life, which is what it is. I saw his priest’s name dragged through the mud by OCATruth, and it is doubtful that either of you have ever even said “hello” to that man. It was an outright assault, without anything but vitriol and some strange attachment to a relatively young monk who has proved to be a failure as an administrator.

    Orthodoxy is not a political movement, run by the personalities of the moment. This is not Southern Baptism. Never, ever, ever, did Jesse Cone or Rod Dreher appeal to the Traditions of the Church. Instead, they appealed to the heat of some political movement they seemed to feel moving around them. Disgusting.

    I most certainly do not agree with the bishops and presbyters all the time. None of us give up our free will to fight, but to attack so surreptitiously, and in so cowardly a manner, renders your opinion, and that of your cohort, Mr. Cone, without validity.

    You assaulted and berated good men, and never have I seen anything resembling repentance or a prayer for forgiveness. You don’t want it, because you still believe you’re right. You aren’t.

    • Ian James says

      ASIR. Write down everything you accuse Dreher and Cone of doing. Reread your post, check your list, and let us know how you did.

      Then write down everything you claim they did not do. Reread your post, check your list and let us know if you hit any of them.

      From my vantage point, you do everything that you say Dreher and Cone did wrong.

    • ASIATR, first of all, thank you for at least mentioning those things that Rod and Jesse did that hacked you off. Now, let me show you where you’re fighting against a chimera.

      1. They never put themselves out as the “spokesmen” for all converts. They just spoke for themselves (and admittedly a whole lot of Orthodox, cradle as well as convert).

      2. What exactly did they do to make the families of these converts (supposedly) characterize Rod and Jesse as “clowns.” Did they ask the same thing of converts when over the last few years Frank Shaeffer actually did beclown himself with vile and invective against people and positions he didn’t like. I’m sorry, there’s a little hypocrisy here. If these concerned families of converts really did exist, then I guess we know which side of the political divide they come down on. Short answer: anybody who agrees with Frankie about anything these days is probably unbalanced.

      3. They did not make Mark Stokoe’s life “choices” a public issue. Mark Stokoe did when he said that he had a husband. He further compounded his unsuitability when he leveraged his contacts and friendships into real executive power within the OCA. Yes, he did that. Leaving aside the extortion factor, this is a complete conflict of interest. This was the entire basis of Fr Alexander Webster’s ethics complaint against Mr Stokoe. And it was the basis for his removal from the Diocesan Council of the Midwest and the Metropolitan Council by his bishop. Period. End of story.

      4. As for Fr Ted Bobosh, I too have spoken against him, perhaps intemperately. The reasons are three-fold:
      a. as Mark Stokoe’s pastor, he enabled him to rise within the administrative ranks of the OCA, despite knowing about his curious matrimonial history.
      b. perhaps to justify this, he denied the moral tradition of orthodox Christianity (note the little “o”). In his own words he said that “homosexuality was not a sin because heterosexuality is not a virtue.” I still wait for an exposition on this one.
      c. During and after the AAC in Seattle, he continued to cast all blame for the OCA’s woes on Jonah, even though the overwhelming majority of the delegates applauded Jonah and seconded his vision for the Church.
      d. this is tangential and does not bear on Stokoe, but the Bishop of Chicago has forbidden the priests of his diocese from participating in on-line fora and social media. He continues his (admittedly high-standard) blog.

      4. At no time did Rod or Jesse say that Orthodoxy should become a “political movement.” That’s not even a straw-man, that’s a figment of a straw-man’s imagination while he’s on hallucinogens.

      5. To my knowledge, neither Rod nor Jesse were ever Southern Baptists, but even if they were, so what? I’ve grown up around Southern Baptists and they are among the finest people you could ever meet. Here you betray your political biases: yes the Southern Baptist Convention is right-of-center. And? So by and large is this country. Otherwise President Obama wouldn’t be wasting his time waxing poetic about what Christ means to his own life.

      6. You say that neither man “appealed to the Traditions of the Church.” Please specify in detail where they failed to do so.

      7. You judge their hearts because you state that they aren’t “repentant,” because they believe that “they are right.” I can’t speak to the former, but yes, they were right. Go back and read OCAT again and pretty much everything that Rod wrote whether pseudonymously or under his own name. They were right, there was an active (and illegal, unethical, immoral, and uncanonical) conspiracy against His Beatitude. It was aided and abetted by bishops, priests, and lay functionaries who didn’t like their little apple-cart upset.

      It matters not to me that you are clearly on the Left. But don’t indict us who are Traditionalists and/or who saw the manifest injustice being perpetrated against our duly-elected Metropolitan as poor, benighted souls simply because we smoked out his adversaries. We did not instigate or pariticipate in any way in the cabal against His Beatitude. We did not overturn the moral tradition of Orthodoxy. We did not lie or cavil against those who did.

      We just called them out and demanded that the same rules apply to everybody.

  30. Helga says:
    April 30, 2012 at 2:28 pm
    Well said, Deacon Patrick. “He changed the Pascha music” might be seen as a whiny complaint, but you make an excellent point about the musical and traditional aspects of Orthodoxy.

    I can’t imagine what it must have been like at St. Seraphim’s, hearing a couple of strangers chanting their strange music, instead of the Pascha music everyone would know by heart.

    And +Mark did this while the aging and dying +Archbishop Dmitri was there. To me, this showed the height of insensitivity. +Mark was just a lowly Administrator, but he viewed himself as THE Bishop of the DOS and acted accordingly. No wonder the Archbishop was so candid with his flock at that Bright Monday celebration. A meal at which +Mark ate at the Archbishop’s table.

    The very thought of it makes my blood boil all over again.

    Why do we have to go through all of this turmoil again when +Mark should be long gone from us?

  31. Rod Dreher says

    I’m not aware that Dreher – to his credit – has ever exactly defended what he did with OCAT, since he’s too smart a guy to do that, it IS slimy and unethical; he’s just waited for “a decent interval” to enter the fray again – but it’s too soon. He needs to think about the Church, not his own prodigious “issues”.

    I do defend what I did, as a matter of fact. I don’t believe it was slimy and unethical, so an anonymous nut’s whining about me in a combox thread means about as much to me as a trannie Bolshevik’s expectorations. I’m not exactly “entering the fray” again — what happened last year ended in defeat for the people I supported. At this point, all I care about is that Mark Maymon cease to profit from his crime, and that the Dallas cathedral (and the DOS) not be destroyed by his being made bishop. I haven’t commented on anything OCA related in a year or so because I haven’t seen the point. If the next DOS bishop is not Mark Maymon, you won’t hear from me again.

    • Think a lot about trannie Bolshies, do ya, Rod?

    • You call that a defeat, Rod? Stokoe’s been thoroughly and publicly neutered, the “DC nuns” are thriving, Fr. Fester now has a wonderful parish right where his enemies can see how well he’s doing but will never be able to touch him again, Metropolitan Jonah is still Metropolitan. Most importantly, the Syosset stooges have been put on notice that their quiet abuse of the faith and our trust will no longer go unnoticed.

      Whether you still like Metropolitan Jonah or not, you and Jesse’s sacrifice and care accomplished a lot of good things. I am bewildered that you would be disappointed in this outcome, because it seems this was precisely what you were hoping for.

      • Lola J. Lee Beno says

        We still don’t have a permanent dean at St. Nicholas. The search’s been put on hold.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Very well put, Helga. Sometimes ya gotta step back and look at the broader picture.

      • Jesse Cone says

        I can’t say how we can claim anyone was a victor in last year’s fiasco(s).

        But some people were bigger losers, and the path forward was begun.

        The MC has been overhauled, the Diocese of the Midwest got a bishop, Archbishop Dmitri reposed, a new Chancellor was installed, and the AAC revealed the some people to be spiteful bullies and our Metropolitan to be a self-less and humble spiritual leader. We would all do well to follow his model.

        While the progress of the last year cannot be overlooked, neither should the sacrifices and casualties incurred. In particular are the sufferings of our parish lives — the places we go for healing in the Grace of God. The distractions the fiasco(s) caused, the confusion, the hurt feelings; that is what grieves me more than our “international reputation”.

        And to my knowledge no parish suffered and still suffers that harm like St. Nicholas’. You guys are in my prayers.

  32. Nicole Troon says

    Dear Mr. Michalopulos:

    As far as you know, did Fr Justin give his permission or blessing to the member of the diocesan council to send you the letter to the diocesan council for publication on your blog?

    Alternatively, did you ask Fr Justin for his permission or blessing before publishing?

    And finally, did the priest who sent it to you ask that he not be mentioned by name?

    Thank you,
    Nicole at St. Seraphim’s

    • Nicole, if you re-read my post, you will notice that this letter was not sent to the Diocesan Council but the priests in Fr Justin’s Deanery. Big difference.

      No, I did not inform Fr Justin that I was publishing the letter. As for the person who sent it to me (there were well over 20 people on the e-mail list, not all of them priests btw), he did not ask me to remain anonymous. I chose to not identify him.

      Regardless, I applaud Fr Justin for keeping the priests, deacons, and assorted personnel in his Deanery apprised of what was going on, his concerns, etc. This letter was above-board and not in any way nefarious. It highlighted the concerns of our Deanery, which out of all the others in the Diocese was most affected by the disastrous events of last year.

      If I may echo the sentiments of most of the people and clergy of our Diocese, our main concern was why, after 10 months, were our procedures for nominating a bishop ignored? Ultimately, that is the issue at hand. Why were the people of Alaska, NY/NJ, Chicago, and the Bulgarian dioceses afforded the luxury of nominating men and most importanly, getting to meet them, but not us?

      It’s that simple. Had the proper protocols been followed, there would have been no tumult.

      • Antonia says

        That’s right. Shift the focus in hopes of avoiding the issue. Fact remains that Fr. Justin wrote this letter to specific clergy, NOT to the world-at-large. People bristle over whether or not Bp. Nikon issued explicit blessing for Bp. Mark to visit Houston. I’m expressing distaste for this website publishing Fr. Justin’s letter without HIS explicit permission to do so. Such behaviour is, however, modus operandi these days.

        • The Dean’s letter was not marked PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL. It was indeed written for an intended audience, but it wasn’t under a specific rule to not share. Thus the letter becomes the property of the person who received it, that is the addessee, who is at liberty to show it to others.

          This is a far cry from what +Mark, Fr. Morretti and Stokoe did with stolen emails.

          • Nicole Troon says

            The beauty of Orthodoxy as I understand it, Mr. Nikos, is that we try to honor the wishes of and well-being of all others as fully as possible, and to think how our actions and choices will affect them especially when they are directly involved. Hence my wish to understand what care had been given in this instance. In a “technical” secular sense, you are correct of course that it was not marked that. In Orthodoxy there seems so much more to seek and try to offer one another.

            • Nicole,

              In Orthodoxy there is no sacred/secular dichotomy. The spirit of the letter and the law of Fr Justin’s letter speaks for itself since he put no limits on its dissemination. It is clear that he took his time, measured his words and wrote it knowing full well that it would have a much wider readership when passed along. It was not a “private” correspondence under any seal of limitation.

              So, to me, your expectations were met within the beauty of Orthodoxy.

            • M. Stankovich says

              Ms. Troon,

              Sometimes we pose questions for the purpose of gathering information. At other times, we know the answer, but pose the question with the intent of making a statement; it somehow seems less “confrontational.” If I were a ringside judge, I would deduct a half point for a “disingenuous question.”

              I frequently send letters where I am required to stamp a message that begins “This document contains confidential medical record information that is protected by federal law…” Likewise, I also send business correspondence without such “limitation.” Nevertheless, I would be outraged to discover a recipient of my communication had posted it to the internet – or worse, a 3rd, or 4th party had done so – without my consent. And the only reason I can imagine my consent would not be sought is a legitimate fear that I would not give consent. Steve Jobs cut off the NY Times (the NY Times!) over this same disrespectful behaviour.

              While I do not know Fr. Justin, it is sad to imagine that 1) he manipulated the system, “knowing full well that it would have a much wider readership” (as noted by Nikos of the law firm Pharisee, Pharisee, & Pharisee), 2) or he learned a bitter lesson and was dissed by a Greek bearing gifts. There’s a lesson here, but it seems to suck all the way around.

              • M.

                Yeah, it does suck all the way around. I agree, but I am just taking a realistic approach in the modern era. The technology of modern communications is still out in front of how to best govern communications and privacy in the cyber world.

                My suggestion that Fr. Justin’s letter would have a wider readership is based on the subject matter of the letter. Its application is far beyond just the people of his deanery. Its content has a bearing on the entire DOS. Paul wrote to the Church in Corinth, but his message had a much wider audience. I wonder if he wanted his letter recopied. I wonder if he gave his permission?

                I don’t disagree with your objections to my logic, but Fr. Justin wasn’t dissed by George. George is a member of the DOS and Fr. Justin’s deanery. Whoever gave it to George also felt it was important that others read it. I would not be surprised that it was shared many times before George posted it. That is the reality of modern communication and in this case the importance of the contents of the letter.

                George didn’t steal the letter, like Bishop Mark stole emails and gave them to Stokoe who posted them with his own destructive spin. I think you would agree that there is no justification for that theft and abuse.

                Indeed there are lessons here, and I suppose that if you don’t want your words shared with anyone else, don’t use the Internet or make sure you have a watermark on each page that states clearly this letter is not to be shared, and then hope it isn’t.

                Nikos, Senior Partner
                P.P. & P.

              • Nicole Troon says

                Dear Mr. Stankovich:

                I truly do not know the answer to my questions which is why I asked, although I hoped for a certain answer. I also have hoped to find a sensibility of respect and consideration such as that embodied by Vladika Dmitri and present in so many devout and fairly quiet folks at the Cathedral intent on working out their salvation, all of whom are role models to me, only 3 years into Orthodoxy.

                It is important to me that Fr Justin himself be treated with respect and courtesy as a person but also as a priest. To ask his blessing before publishing or offering something to someone else to whom he did NOT address a letter or phone message or whatever when there are implications which affect him, his parish, and others in so doing, seems like what Vladika Dmitri and the wonderful priests he recruited like Fr Justin, Fr John, Fr Seraphim, Fr Basil would do. I grew up Protestant (before converting to RC) and we had those bracelets WWJD?. And I think often with a smile, what would Vladika or his priest sons do? From knowing how they have behaved with me and others, from knowing their great consideration for others, I think they would all have asked his permission or better his blessing. I could be wrong, still learning.

                May God keep you and your family safe in your work,

              • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                Why is wanting a wider readership “manipulating the system”? Isn’t your purpose for for posting your criticism here to engage a wider readership? Why post it in a public forum otherwise? What’s wrong with that?

                • M. Stankovich says

                  In my estimation, Abouna, you are among the first to declare “polemic.” As noted, I do not know the priest in question, but what I read is that, without exception, he is described as a man of great integrity and humility: “a better man you shall not find.” I find it reasonable to conclude that such a man, having the intention of creating a righteous, reasoned “aggressive controversy,” would do so in a forthright manner, legitimately attracting a wider readership. A “manipulation of the system” is merely pouring blood in the water, thereby provoking the language of murderous gossip: “What did he do? Now that you’ve said it, give details! Clarify your statement!” You will, indeed, have a “wider readership,” and you might even win the battle. But your tactics are shameful. Again, I find it reasonable to conclude this is incongruous with a man of integrity.

                  I believe the sole motivation here is that “Monomakhos broke the story,” and you cannot unring the bell.

                  • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                    I only declare “polemic” when it masquerades as reasoned discourse. Some polemics are good but it really depends on the situation whether it is useful or not. The problem is of course that many people never move beyond them.

                    In any case, my point was about “manipulating the system.” My question was how does you public criticism differ from the publication of the letter?

                    I’m not making a criticism here or even asking you to answer the question. I’m just pointing out that going public to criticize someone for making something public “manipulates the system” works in the other direction too. Maybe “manipulation” isn’t what you meant. If it is, then we should probably find out if Fr. Justin has an objection first.

          • Antonia says

            According to the feeble “logic” provided, one must label every scrap of correspondence as to whether it is available for public dissemination, or whether it’s contents are to remain with the original recipient. Clearly, traditional manners and/or common sense no longer apply.

            • Not feeble but realistic in our modern communication age. Not sure what era you are living in to call my logic “feeble” and traditional manners and/or common sense still apply, but not in a vacuum. Thus, many people put disclaimers in their electronic correspondence, not to share and that it is only for the eyes of those addressed. With or without such a disclaimer, this doesn’t stop unscrupulous people, like Bishop Mark, but what George posted was not an abuse.

              I don’t hear Fr. Justin objecting, he put no disclaimer on his communication, thus my conclusion, and you apparently disagree, that he expected it to be shared. If this is true why should you or Nicole make this an issue and consider me beyond traditional manners or common sense?

              If I am wrong about Fr. Justin and HIS expectation that his letter not see a wider audience, I will stand corrected. And, maybe it would be better for you to address your ethical questions to the original author instead of sniping at me.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Indeed, the parishes of the DOS were informed on Sunday after Liturgy that Fr Marcus Burch had sent a letter on behalf of all te Deans to all the priests of the DOS. We were also told the gist of the letter and that it would be printed out on the DOS website later that day. As it was, it did not get printed out til Monday but that’s a quibble.

            I hope to post it today.

      • Nicole Troon says

        Hi Mr. M — just fyi I tried to reply to you under this one but that full reply appears to have skipped a bit down the page as a separate entry so please look for it there…I’m at work, so winging it…Hope I didn’t cause that to happen! Best, N.

  33. cynthia curran says

    I doubt that George will answer this but I read that Golden Dawn in Greece, has receieved ore support lately there still pretty low but with the bad economy and the problems with illegal immirgaiton I can understand some wanting to see a hard core nationalistc party rise in Greece. The different between me and Golden Dawn is that I just want to pass laws to have illegal immirgants deport while Golden Dawn wants to beat them up.

    • Cynthia, I’m way behind the times on this, but what exactly is The Golden Dawn? This sounds interesting and I may want to write about it. Thank you for your contributions.

      • Golden Dawn are a bunch of Greek far-right activists who’ve been around since the early 1990s, they’ve been taking advantage of Greece’s current crisis to engage in grass-roots activism. They’re undergoing a bit of a rebirth, having all but folded around 2005. They started as pretty overt neo-Nazis but turned into a more conventional hard-nationalist group, with strong affection for Orthodoxy. Most Greeks associate them with nationalist football hooliganism. Back in the 1990s they sent fighters to serve with the Serb army in Bosnia (ie with Mladic and Karadzic), more than a little controversial.

  34. Thanks again for the article post.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on…

  35. Rdr Thomas says

    One of my favorite movies growing up was “Airplane!”. Remember the scene where they were told to assume the crash position and they all go running around like crazy? Good times, good times.

    The Episcopal Search Committee has released an update
    Complete with details (including names)

    Now will you people stop running around like hyperventilating 15 year old girls at a Justin Bieber concert?

    • Hyperventilating? While this explains a lot, and I’m grateful Fr. Marcus took the time to write all this down, it doesn’t explain or excuse the blatant favoritism shown to Bishop Mark by certain elements.

      I also can’t agree with comparing what Bishop Nikon did for Bishop Mark to something Archbishop Dmitri would have done, considering what Bishop Mark did for Archbishop Dmitri’s last Pascha on earth.

      • Fr.. Burch has laid out for the one group that counts, the OCA Synod of Bishops, that Bishop Mark (Maymon) is not suitable to be the next bishop of the DOS. PERIOD. If the Synod wants to override the will of the DOS, then it is “game on!”

        The withholding of the name of the other possible candidate is proper since he has not been vetted yet by the Synod and he won’t be vetted unless he is blessed to be a candidate by his bishop.

        We still have to be vigilant regarding +Mark, but this letter sends a clear signal that even his “guest” visa in the DOS should soon expire!

        • StephenD says

          Who does the Holy Synod want? Remember what happened to Archbishop Dmitri when he was elected Metropolitan….I do not think this is over

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Helga–You are so greedy. Not satisfied with getting most of what you want, you want the whole thing. Enough already! All of the deans do not want +Mark and all are determined to send up one person that is nominated by the Assembly. This is the major news, the major accomplishment, the thing that should matter and yet you are moaning and groaning about “the blatant favoritism shown to Bishop Mark by certain elements.” As if that is not enough, you next complain about Father Marcus comparing +Nikon favorably to +Dimitri! Of that pound of flesh, you have gotten may be 14 ounces and you are unhappy that two ounces have not been extracted. It seems to me that if you were present at a torture-execution of, say William Wallace, you would be one of those who would bemoan how fast it took place.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Carl, that’s a little unfair to Helga. I saw no gloating on her part, just some justifiable umbrage at being accused of “hyperventlating.” If she did, then we all did.

          The question though is “why did it look like we were ‘hyperventilating’?” The answer is simple, the culture of secrecy and the non-compliance with our own agreed-upon standards created a horrible vacuum. Speaking for myself, I hope that someday the OCA grows enough that we can spawn off another diocese in the South and that Bp Mark, after a period of reflection, could be elected to it.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Reading between the lines of the PDF that was attached to Father Marcus’ letter, you will find the explanation for why the search took so long and why it has been limited in its scope. For the record, I would have liked a wider and more explicit involvement by the laity at all parishes. However, I can see why our clergy leaders are reticent to tackle that. As it is, we do have our lay representatives to the Diocesan Council to make an input to this process. I must stress that it has never been my intent to upset the hierarchical nature of our Church; I hope that our Church will be strengthened by making the roles and responsibilities of the laity stronger.

        • Carl, to be honest, I really dug most of Fr. Marcus’ letter. I tried to get that across before making criticisms I believe are necessary. Reader Thomas seemed to expect the letter to just blow away all objections to how the process has been carried out and the dearth of information up to this point.

          Fr. Marcus was not able to address the compensation issue to my satisfaction. Diocesan money being paid out to only one candidate to basically do nothing but campaign for himself? That’s dirty.

          And Fr. Marcus saying it was like something Archbishop Dmitri would have done was a bit crass, in my opinion, considering what Bishop Mark had just put Archbishop Dmitri through. If Fr. Marcus was going to invoke Archbishop Dmitri’s memory like that, he may as well have thrown in a mention of His Eminence’s thoughts on the situation, which were not exactly secret.

    • StephenD says

      Thomas…great analogy…I loved that movie.!

  36. Carl Kraeff says

    George–You may want to publish the remarkable pdf document attached to Father Marcus’ letter that appeared over the weekend at the DOS website. In a nutshell, all of the deans are backing either Archimandrite Weber or Abbot Gerasim. Period. Here is the link:

  37. Nicole Troon says

    Dear Mr. Michalopulos:

    Thank you for your reply. It is important for me to understand and I appreciate hearing from you.

    I was confused since his greeting says “My Dear Brethren of the Diocesan Council” but gather those would be only those in his own deanery. Even more a reason for those near to him, appreciative of and loyal to him then to have asked his permission or blessing to forward it to anyone else, even if they did not do so out of basic respect for his office in our hierarchical church. If Fr Justin chose (exercised his free will) for the letter to be published, I feel certain he would have had the courage to say so transparently. The point is whether or not his choice was solicited and then respected. We all craft communication differently depending on our audience. Was Fr Justin given this choice by the sender or by you? If so, was his choice honored? Was he as a person considered? As a priest? As a dean? These questions are fundamental to me.

    The person who sent it to you is not disclosed. Apparently he chose not to give his name or you chose to honor his request not to give it. He had choices which you hoonored. Again, hopefully Fr Justin did as well.

    When agendas and issues outweigh our concern and respect for persons as well as for the offices of the priesthood itself, I fear we seem quite secular/corporate and in no way resemble priests who love persons and operate by choice in a hierarchical church, fine men and priests such as Fr Justin himself and Fr John Anderson, to name only two of the many fine ones in our local OCA. We are blessed that their regard for our free will, autonomy, and efforts are so loving, respectful, prudent, and considerate. May we learn from them and extend them the same treatment to all as we all fight our passions and temptations to do otherwise. I ask your prayers for that very thing please.

    I also continue to hope to meet you at the Cathedral.

    In Christ,

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Nicole, Good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, I will be at the Cathedral this Sunday. I very much forward to meeting you as well.

      • Nicole Troon says

        Excellent Mr. M! Back left bench God willing! And we can discuss the origin of the Creek don’t rise! Hope Fr Gregory will still be here…..

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          BTW, I very much enjoyed meeting you. I wish I could have stayed lunger but Sunday brunch at my cousin’s house awaited.

          • Nicole Troon says

            Dear Mr. Michalopulos:

            And I as well… I kept my eye on you but you were always “attended” in the old bookstore, in deep conversation, so I awaited my time, just didn’t realize your schedule.

            I invite you to email me at this address so we might begin to discuss our wonderful common Orthodox values and ways to achieve them. Please use the personal email address you have above rather than the office one you also have…And I hope perhaps next time we could manage to have time to sit and speak. Or perhaps I will make it to Oklahoma to see your parish and hear Fr Arrington, whose folks are highly valued in our parish as you know…

            In Christ, Nicole

            • Nicole Troon says

              Dear Mr. M: No tech acumen whatsoever! Fortunately not my day job. Found your email address under contact so will email next week…A blessed Resurrection Day to you and yours,

  38. This whole situation is very sad to me.

    I am a member of the Antiochian Diocese of Toledo, and like others here, I never saw any of this in Sayedna Mark. He was always a very kind man. And despite the accusations of a sort of anti-Arab streak, I attend an ethnic Arab parish and I never saw any cultural insensitivity. The only culture Bishop Mark was insensitive towards was a culture of corruption.

    I first met him a few weeks before I was received into the Church, and he was so kind and had some good words for me. I know a priest who was in seminary with him; I know people who were his parishioners when he was a priest. I don’t know anyone who has a bad word to say about him.

    By all accounts he is a decent man and a good pastor. I think his problem in the AOCNA was that at his enthronement he was told he was a full-fledged bishop. But in fact, by Antiochian reckoning, only metropolitans are “real” bishops (I dislike this ecclesiology myself). I don’t think Sayedna Mark understood his office the way the higher powers did, and that rubbed people the wrong way. I think it was an honest misunderstanding that ended badly.

    I don’t know about what happened in the OCA. It’s beyond question that these things happened, so I don’t know what to make of it. It’s not like the Bishop Mark I know. The exceedingly negative comments about him here make me sad, because he is truly a good and decent man.

    I think the comments above that Bishop Mark perhaps never had a real role model as a bishop. I can’t see into his heart, but I can’t imagine him acting in bad faith. I don’t know. 🙁

    Bishop Anthony seems like a good man as well. After all that happened, I’m sure he understands his place, and I pray the same thing does not happen to him. I also pray for the best for Bishop Mark. Regardless of his episcopal abilities, on a personal level he is a good man.

    Lord have mercy.

    PS. I do wish that people here would at least refer to him as “Bishop Mark.” Whatever he has done, we can at least respect his office and the many positive things he has done.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Ian, it is sad, very sad. And unnecessary. If I may offer my own humble opinion, it would have been wise for His Grace to sever his ties with OCAN upon his acceptance into the OCA. I’m afraid however that Stokoe thought he had an agent-in-place to use against His Beatitude. Certainly the leaking of Fr Joe’s emails paint a picture of an unfortunate cooperation.