This Is Far from Over: The Chicago Tribune Weighs in

Metropolitan Jonah, center, is vested by Subdeacon Brother Gregory, left, and Subdeacon Gregory Lardin before a 2009 service at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Chicago. (Stacey Wescott, Chicago Tribune / July 26, 2009)

Source: Chicago Tribune | By Manya A. Brachear

The Chicago native elected to the helm of the Orthodox Church in America resigned over the weekend, saying in a letter that he has “neither the personality nor the temperament” to lead the church.

Metropolitan Jonah submitted his resignation during a conference call Saturday with other bishops of the church. In his letter of resignation, he said he was leaving the post in response to the unanimous request of the bishops.

“I had come to the realization long ago that I have neither the personality nor the temperament for the position of primate, a position I never sought nor desired,” he wrote in the letter.

The letter was written Friday in his Washington home and witnessed by the Orthodox Church in America’s chancellor, according to a statement from the church. On Monday, the church announced that Detroit Archbishop Nathaniel would serve as the interim replacement.

Elected in late 2008 to lead one of several branches of Orthodox Christianity in the United States, Metropolitan Jonah had been a bishop for 12 days when he became primate. Parishioners looked to him for reforms after his predecessor retired amid allegations that millions of church dollars were used to cover personal expenses.

“People were looking for that new wind of leadership that he seemed to embody,” said the Rev. John Adamcio, rector at Holy Trinity Cathedral, the seat of the Chicago Diocese. “He was under an awful lot of pressure to right the ship and keep the church on course.”

Metropolitan Jonah didn’t just try to correct the course. He also tried to shift the direction of the Orthodox Church in America, part of a constellation of churches separate from the Roman Catholic Church since the 11th century.

He insisted on amplifying the church’s voice in the public square, moving the church’s headquarters from Syosset, N.Y., to Washington and speaking up against abortion rights. In 2009 he led a handful of Orthodox clergy to sign the Manhattan Declaration, a pledge to disobey laws that could force religious institutions to participate in abortions or bless same-sex couples.

The Rev. Mark Arey, director of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, said Metropolitan Jonah’s approach was not typical of Orthodox Christianity. “Orthodoxy is not in favor of abortion, but we don’t campaign in the same way you see evangelical groups,” Arey said.

But the Rev. Johannes Jacobse, president of the American Orthodox Institute, agreed with the primate’s foray into politics.

“He saw what needed to be said, and he wasn’t afraid to say it,” said Jacobse, an Antiochian Orthodox priest. “That kind of independence is threatening to a church that has operated by the same rules and assumptions for a long time. Part of this, too, was he represented a cultural shift inside the church that some thought should not have taken place.”

When Russia became a communist and atheist nation in the early 20th century, Russian Orthodox faithful in the U.S. organized a self-governing church in communion with and independent of the patriarch of Constantinople. That church was renamed the Orthodox Church in America in 1970.

“What we are witnessing now in my opinion is the result of the disconnectedness of the Orthodox Church in America from the rest of the Orthodox world,” Arey said. “Its internal politics have almost become cannibalistic in my opinion.”

Mark Stokoe, former editor of the website for Orthodox Christians for Accountability and a former member of the church’s Metropolitan Council, said tension has been brewing for four years because of Metropolitan Jonah’s failure to follow procedures.

Born James Paffhausen, Metropolitan Jonah was baptized at St. Chrysostom’s Episcopal Church in Chicago.

He discovered the Orthodox strand of Christianity during college at the University of California at San Diego. A book about mystical theology affirmed his concerns about the ordination of women in the Episcopal Church in 1978 and led him to convert that same year.

“A church should be stable. There shouldn’t be that kind of turmoil,” Metropolitan Jonah said during an interview with the Tribune in July 2009. “Intuitively, I had to become Orthodox.”

While working in Russia as a doctoral candidate, he fell in love with the monastic tradition.

In his letter to bishops over the weekend, Metropolitan Jonah “begged forgiveness for however I have offended you, and for whatever difficulties have arisen from my own inadequacies and mistakes in judgment.”


  1. Harry Coin says

    I hope whoever the OCA picks next doesn’t limit the church’s voice to be heard only within it’s own doors, or other ‘polite honoring speech’ venues. Met. Jonah did show that public speaking and public panel discussion in the community and college and other larger groups creates dynamism.

    This, as the those activities are broadcast via the internet and so reach folk who have connections to the specific group– but all over the country and beyond. This way, folk hear things from a moral perspective about which they have an interest, but don’t happen to be the subject mentioned in a Sunday sermon to all the ages attending that week.

    The difference is that in these public venues, the people see not only what the conclusions are regarding moral thinking (not just “oh great, another thing they want me to do, why? who knows the big hat said it, meh”). But also makes alive and conscious the process of weighing the tensions with care and thinking about why it is the conclusions are worth the effort to do, even if not the easiest to do.

    This makes getting the why of it possible, and that generates energy.

    Folks often hear questions and give and take from those on panels and in the audience otherwise absent from the `one way only’ nature of Sunday sermonizing, that makes it so much more real. It also gives some of these big hat folk feedback they otherwise never hear since most are surrounded by folk who for so many reasons generally say variations on `Yes, Minister, you are absolutely right.”

    • Michael Bauman says

      Harry, that is highly unlikely don’t you think.

      • Harry Coin says

        Michael, the entire project of going out of one’s way for moral reasons is unlikely. Less likely is being hit by lightening, and even less likely are planets that could support life, and less likely than that are planets that do. So, we live in hope.

  2. Dean Calvert says

    Yeah…I’ll call Fr. Mark Arey the next time I want to find out what is going on in the American church.

    The guy representing a synod in a Turkish country composed of bishops from dioceses with no people, and who conducts liturgy in a language that hasn’t been spoken in 1000 years.

    Give me a break.

    The metropolitan is in my prayers daily. Personally, I’m convinced there’s a lot more going on here than meets the eye.

    I’m also optimistic because it seems the synod of bishops is finally acting like a synod of bishops.

    That’s a good thing in my view.

    Nevertheless, the metropolitan remains in my prayers.

    Best Regards,

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Dean, just because they are acting like a synod doesn’t mean they acted correctly. They clearly didn’t think this lynching through.

      Let’s assume though that HB had administrative or personality quirks. You know how to solve that? Get him a chancellor who can manage his time. Make this guy live where he lives. But no, they had to undermine him every step of the way. If you knew just some of the petty things they did to him to make his life miserable, you’d puke.

      • George Michalopulos says

        As for Fr Mark, he and I have had our differences in the past (specifically, that the GOA was never in favor of autocephaly) but he has the right to comment on this situation. The rumblings I’ve heard from my contacts in the GOA is that they were ready to break off communion with the OCA over this injustice –and let’s not forget: this is a grave injustice. As a caanonical church they have a right and duty to speak up. I wish that Philip would as well. And Hilarion.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Metropolitan Philip might speak up but you may not want him to. He was not a fan of Metropolitan Jonah for “allowing” Mark Stokoe to keep his website. Additionally, Metropolitan Philip was always the “go to” guy in Washington and he might have felt miffed when Metropolitan Jonah started getting attention. Finally, Metropolitan Philip is very politically motivated. I can’t see him sticking his neck out for someone in Metropolitan Jonah’s shoes. He wouldn’t be able to “relate,” as HE would NEVER resign. I suspect he views Metropolitan Jonah as “weak” and sees this whole debacle as yet another indication that the OCA is screwed-up.

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            Why don’t you let Metropolitan Philip speak for himself, if he wants to speak on this issue? I would think with all the problems of the OCA you people would stop bashing our Metropolitan.

            Archpreist John W. Morris

        • M.Vasiliou says

          Would that the GOA and the Antiochians would have the courage and fortitude to break communion with the OCA!

          Ojala! Grant this O Lord.

          Note that the MP and the EP have broken communion with each other over lesser matters (territorial disputes)!

          • The Greeks and the Antiochians have their problems too.. sexually compromised clergy and how are those audits working in the Antiochian Archdiocese?

      • M. Stankovich says

        Mr. Michalopulos,

        The “obstacle” in your argument is that Met. Jonah defined the problem in his own words before the assembly of the All-American Council. He did not refer to “quirks,” but rather “disaster.” Now he admits he does not have the “temperament.”

        Likewise, you offer some “administrative tips” – time management, and so on – but was that not the point of his participating in the St. Luke’s program in November, 2011? He had made a commitment to doing “whatever was necessary” to repair relationships and his effectiveness & leadership. As I recall, at the time there was outrage at the perceived cost, but what did they recommend? Two bishops accompanied him to St. Luke’s; did they place the entire blame on Met. Jonah, or did they propose a “systemic” approach? Who was to initiate and/or monitor changes or recommendation? This action-oriented, problem-resolution focused group of professionals had nothing to offer the independent leader of the OCA who came admitting the depth & extent of the problem? He informed the entire church of his commitment and intention, and never mentioned it again.

        The only way you are able to overcome these “obstacles,” Mr. Michalopulos, is to broaden the conspiracy, and it necessarily will need to be continually broadened. I agree with Catherine that Met. Jonah. is a good person. And I will agree with you that he may well have “administrative or personality quirks.” But the issue at hand is on his own lips: his attempts at leadership were a disaster, and he does not have the temperament to be a leader.

        • MS,

          The “obstacles” were dictated to Jonah in Seattle and in his resignation letter by the synod. If you think for one moment that such admissions were not under duress, then I really feel for you. Honestly. This pattern in the OCA has been repeated so many times it is amazing that someone of your apparent intelligence can’t connect the dots.

          This latest episode is so transparent to the rest of the Orthodox world, and thankfully the clergy and faithful of the OCA are getting it. But, you, who are not in the OCA, lecture us on how we should be viewing all of this.

          Sorry, but you should stick to your own knitting on this one.

        • Disgusted With It says

          M. Stankovich,

          You refer to words that were put in front of him which he was forced to read. Ask your local bishop. If he’s honest, he’ll admit to you that the text was passed around to the synod (original draft composed by Bp Benjamin I believe) the week prior to the AAC for them to give their input on what His Beatitude should be forced to say. Then they forced him to read it, and then even had the nerve to make such conceited and phony comments praising His Beatitude’s “difficult” admissions which they knew very well they forced him to read. When you listen to him reading his address, you can definitely detect two distinct writing styles between certain parts. All the while, they feed us LIES, hiding their sexual immorality and lust for power behind holiness and scripture. You mentioned Archbishop Valerian in a previous post. Keep in mind he was from a different time and was a different person — when bishops were competent, even intellectual, and not just morally compromised enough to sit in a seat and be controlled.

          God help us to see the evil in our midst!

          • M. Stankovich says

            Disgusted With It,

            You are saying that God’s elected and chosen, with the image of the Life-Giving-Cross atop his head and around his neck, stood before the assembled body of the church and perpetrated deception – that he is a liar – and was “compelled” to lie by the remaining “cohort” of deceivers that constitute the God-determined authority of the church. You are not defending the “suffering-servant” of Isaiah nor Joseph the Hesychast, but rather Chance the dimwit gardner of Being There.

            Shame on you for committing such ignorance to a post.

            • Disgusted With It says

              Oh spare me your usual sanctimonious nonsense. The facts are the facts, and your empty response proves that you know I’m (sadly) right.

              (And I’m glad that I’m not the one trying to defend a synod of bishops who hide and protect homosexuals and alleged child molesters within the church.)

              • Carl Kraeff says

                Disgusted with It, et al: You cannot eat your cake and have it too.

                If Metropolitan Jonah is taken at his words (his admissions at the ACA and in the letter of resignation), the Holy Synod did the right thing.

                If Metropolitan Jonah was forced to say and write those things, he seems to be an unlikely leader, a spineless wimp. Ergo, the Holy Synod did do the right thing.

                I suggest you take +Jonah at his words before y’all do even more damage to his character.

                • Mark from the DOS says

                  Or we could assume that Met. Jonah did that which many great and holy men before him have done, which is accede to the demands of his brothers, take all fault on himself and complain not at all as he is removed from his position. That is the monastic ideal of humility. I recall a certain saint called Nektarios who was horrible mistreated by his fellow bishops and chancellory and bore that cross in humility for his lifetime. I suppose he too is a liar and deceiver, or we should take his acquiescence as a sign that his deposition was good and right as well.

                  The secular approach simply does not work here my friends.

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    OK, I am not going to quibble of whether +Jonah is a great and holy man, that he may have lived up to the monastic ideals of humility like Saint Nektarios. The problem is when his monastic attainment interferes with his role as Metropolitan, when it hampers his discharge of primatial duties, the first among which are those secular duties that you so easily downgrade: to protect the OCA against charges of malfeasance, to be proactive and protect her members against abusive clergy, and last but not least to protect her bank account, which will surely be depleted if proper expected steps, secular as they may be, are not taken and in a timely fashion. So, I do believe him when he says he does not have what it takes to be the leader of the OCA. I think that this admission is to his credit and not his detriment.

                    • Disgusted With It says

                      Carl, if you only knew what they’re not telling you. So many of these bishops, and many before them, should have resigned in disgrace for much much worse offenses than being a “poor administrator”. That’s the true injustice here. Meanwhile, others still sit upon their thrones of lies and moral corruption.

                    • Mark from the DOS says

                      Yes Carl, but that is what we elected. A monastic. And woe unto us if the primary qualification of a First Hierarch is an MBA and continuing ed in Risk Management. In the corporate world, those really are not the first functions of a Chair of the organization. They are functions delegated to CEOs and COOs and DRMs who have the confidence and trust of the chair and who act to implement the vision of the leader. That we justify removal of a Metropolitan because he does not personally have those skills shows the sad immaturity of the OCA as an autocephalous church.

                      So while I agree Met. Jonah was lacking in those areas, and take him at his word that he did not have those skills, I fail to see that as any basis for his removal.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Mark–When you get a CEO who lacks certain skills, the usual (and best) step is to hire folks who have those missing skills. However, the CEO must let his deputies, functional area experts, do their work. Take the clergy sexual misbehavior policy; it was promulgated by +Jonah. He should have been above reproach in following his own policy, but he apparently was not. He appears to have insisted on doing his own thing, at his own pace, whether or whether or not it was consistent. In other words, he appears to have been one of those CEOs who operates capriciously and gets put off when folks criticize him. This is why process is so important and why you cannot have rational and effective governance without deliberate planning and execution. Frankly, this had nothing to do whether the Metropolitan is a monastic or not; it has to do with personality and aptitude for leadership. And, as we were reminded daily in OTS, a good leader is first and foremost a good follower. That does not mean, however, that a leader allows an eminence grise to dominate him, as in the case of Fr. Fester.

                • Disgusted With It says

                  Yeah, they said the same about those who suffered under communism — the “wimps” that they were, right Carl?

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    This is such a horrible analogy that I do not know where to begin. I was in the military for 26 years and I saw the Code of Honor changed during that time, simply because everybody has a breaking point under physical torture or psychological duress. Some folks indeed succumb to torture before they reach their breaking point (and we call them heroes and martyrs and confessors). Are you trying to tell me that +Jonah suffered such torture?

                    • Disgusted With It says


                      First, thank you for your service. (sincerely)

                      Now, imagine this: Someone comes into a position of leadership in the Church. His main goal is spreading the Gospel and saving souls. He finds rampant corruption and moral decay in the highest levels of the Church (some of it very well hidden, and some of it not so much). As a more peaceful and perhaps naive spirit, he wants to fix as much as he can without causing widespread scandal and harm to the innocent, unsuspecting faithful. Every step of the way he is resisted, fought, publicly ridiculed and conspired against. People who should be working together with him not only show an utter lack of respect for him, but they do nothing but spread nasty rumors about him, treat him like a child, impugn his character by accusing him of anything and everything from drug and alcohol abuse to psychological sickness. They watch him, they spy illegally on his private communications, they limit his activities and travel. They threaten him on a regular basis and they finally threaten him with something that could be harmful to those he loves. And still, not wanting to open the floodgates and expose the ba***rds for who they really are and causing scandal in the Church, this man accepts defeat.

                      Metropolitan Jonah is not perfect, but the shame is that the synod showed themselves to be….. well, un-Christian. And I think that’s really the worst thing you can say about an Orthodox bishop.

                      That is the OCA today.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Disgusted–What you say may be true. What we do know, however, is sufficient for the bishops of the Holy Synod to have decided to ask for his retirement in accordance with the OCA Statute. That is completely canonical and a prudent measure if we only consider what is out there officially. That said, I have a feeling that I am a son of my very conservative DOS parish and I have not been exposed to the goings on that are reported to be happening in other dioceses. Also, my exposure to clergy (deacons, priests and bishops) has been a relatively trouble free and beneficial experience. I tend to be very protective of priests because my father was one and always very forgiving of the foibles of the clergy, including bishops, simply because I know that they are human like the rest of us and they each fall short, also like the rest of us.Therefore, it is very hard for me to jump on any bandwagon to prosecute particular priests or bishops. I have jumped on bandwagons, such as the Manhattan Declaration, as I think it is important for all of us to stand on Orthodox Christian principles.

            • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

              Fyi M. Stankovich, please pass this along to your friend the Chancellor for excerpting in tomorrow’s Diary, a good reflection from Fr. John Peck (besides the link to the Terry Mattingly piece): Fr. John writes, “They would be wise to reveal why they did what they did – as St. Paul orders leaders to do. Many want to know why this happened, even non-Orthodox are asking – Why?” (see the whole piece below). And, btw, Mr. S., did you ever get that issue resolved of whether you are a member of a canonical jurisdiction? All you’ve done so far is not be clear on whether you don’t belong to the OCA.. Would be good to get that resolved so there’s no question if you’re being vetted for a Syossett staff position!)


              In the story of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae, the name Ephialtes sticks out. To this day, the name Ephialtes in modern Greek means ‘nightmare.’ It is the Greek equivalent of what the name Benedict Arnold means to an American. (Or used to mean – do they even teach about Benedict Arnold or that betrayal is bad in schools these days?) Ephialtes of Trachis betrayed his homeland by showing the Persians a path around the Greek position at the pass of Thermopylae, which helped them defeat Leonidas, his 300 Spartans and 700 Thespians of legend. Because of this betrayal, the Persians won the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC.

              In the recent movie, 300, recounting this story, at the final standoff, Ephialtes pleads with Leonidas to submit and save himself and his fellow soldiers. Leonidas looks sadly and sternly at him as says,

              You there – Ephialtes. May you live forever.

              What he was really saying to his fellow Greek was ‘May no one forget what you have done here,’ and no one has to this day. Just like Judas.

              So when I think about the Synod of Bishops recent and astonishing action, unanimously requesting resignation of their own sitting primate, I begin to wonder what’s going on. Truthfully, it is no secret that Metropolitan Jonah has had little support from the Synod since his elevation as primate of the Orthodox Church in America. Indeed, the Soviet-style treatment (you have a mental condition and need to be evaluated, or ‘re-educated’) and intimidation he has meekly endured at the hands of fellow bishops is at least embarrassing, and at most, vicious.

              According to the Scriptures (the Bible), the way leaders are to be dealt with who persist in sin is very clear. Nothing is to be done in secret. St. Paul tells us,

              Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.

              – 1 Timothy 5:19-20

              Of course, this is harsh, but it makes good sense in the Church. It keeps things accountable. No funky machinations, no byzantine intrigue, could exist with this kind of discipline. This kind of prescription seems harsh, but it is for those who persist in sin. If a leader persists in sin, in other words, is confronted and refuses to repent or change his behavior, he should be exposed;

              …in the presence of all, that the rest (clergy) may stand in fear. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels, I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality.

              – I Timothy 5:21

              This hasn’t been done. Not yet. Is there a sin behind this forced resignation? Or just intrigue based on animosity? Now we are getting the expected “Nothing to see here, move along, move along” comments from Fr. John Jillions, OCA Chancellor, who admits he is intimately involved in this, but has nothing to say about it. Nothing to see here. Move along.

              Now, I know this resignation is a done deal, and the purpose of this article is not to try and undo it, but Friday, July 6th, 2012 was a dark day for all Orthodox Christians, and especially Orthodox primates. If the Synod of the OCA had good reason for their actions, then they should say so. If not, then they deserve whatever calumny they will have to endure because of it. They would be wise to reveal why they did what they did – as St. Paul orders leaders to do. Many want to know why this happened, even non-Orthodox are asking – Why?

              Metropolitan Jonah was elected as a choice for hope. He wasn’t perfect, he had strengths, he had weaknesses. One thing he did not have was the full support and help of the Synod. And who could govern a national church without it? Do our bishops realize that ‘servant of the servants of God’ is not a title, but a job description?

              You there – Orthodox Bishops of North America.

              Many years. May you live forever

              • Heracleides says

                “Would be good to get that resolved so there’s no question if you’re being vetted for a Syossett staff position!)”

                Given the current state of the OCA and considering that Mr. Stankovich is a Richard Simmons look-alike, he is likely a shoe-in for any number of, er, positions at Syossett.

          • Jim of Olym says

            I was helping at the AAC and met Metr. Jonah in the hall outside the meeting room and asked for his blessing. I had known him for some time and had spent a week at the monastery when it was in Point Reyes, CA. He gave me his blessing and looked very sad and like he wanted to cry. We really did not speak, just looked at each other. He certainly deserves our compassion and offers to help.

            • lexcaritas says

              I had the same impression in Dallas when he was there as the host of Metropolitan HILARION, and in Denton for the 10th anniversary of St. Maximos mission. He was warm, but also seemed sad and beleaguered. Both times seemed a marked change from a first meeting when he had been in office maybe about six months before all _____ broke lose.


        • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

          Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

          Dear M. Stankovich,

          I found this posted elsewhere and thought I’d pass it along—it claims to be from staff at “We Are Their Legacy,” that old web group that included you and our Chancellor and other friends from St. Vlad’s. This fragment presents itself as a ghost-written alternate version of today’s Chancellor’s Diary. But it could just be an effort to inject a little humor into a tense situation. I thought, btw. that I saw your influence in the real version–meld of lack of information, self-justification, quoting scripture, and admonition against gossiping. Way to keep on message!


          Chancellor’s Diary July 10, 2012 (alternate draft proposed by We Are Their Legacy (WATL) Message Consultants)

          Dear Diary,

          What a wonderful morning here back in the Chancery! No distractions ahead from now on, from keeping on message here at Chancellor’s Diary! Indeed, see how our Diary is linked directly from the front page of To get to the life of a saint commemorated on any given day, you have to use two clicks. But only one click to get to our Diary! It was a chore to travel back and forth to DC to do the deed with ex-Big No. 1, but even with all our academic degrees and management experience, it was fascinating to stand over a monastic Metropolitan while holding a withheld paycheck. And now no more “yap, yap, yap, do this, do that.” So good to be a protopresbyter in protopresbyterian-land. What an improvement on the old synodal model! (Hey, you in the back, stop with those Chancellor Palpatine cracks, lol)

          We also love our new five-year strategic planning. It nicely fits protopresbyterianocracy and multiple overlapping Synods in America, as incubator for great change in world Orthodoxy! Bwahaha! [Note from WATL chief editor to ghost writer: Yuri, Probably better to lose the evil laughter in the version sent to the Chancellor for review] It’s easier to turn a small ship first. Besides, no one seems to remember that the idea of five-year plans came from the ol’ evil empire. How handy too their psychological methods in professionalizing church management! As we like to say at WATL: Pre-glasnost MP, source of autocephaly, we are your legacy! [Chief editor’s note: Yuri, I don’t think the Chancellor will actually want to use any of this on…]


          • M. Stankovich says

            Are you finished, Mr. Siewers? You’re boring me already. This is not one of your better ideas and you’re quickly “running out of schtick.”

            Perhaps you would like to malign my mother, a benign, elderly woman in her 80’s? My father is departed, a survivor of Dachau as a Serbian military officer, and of a group that “watched out” for Bp. (now St.) Nicholaj; lot of nightmares, as I recall. Anything there for you? Better, run with Heracleides’ “Richard Simmons,” because I used an old picture; the left orbit of my eye was fractured from a traumatic brain injury in a newer. Cracks me up!

            I don’t know who you are, Kentigern or Siewers, Pavlos or Alf, but I have read your reputation as a “player” elsewhere. I am open as to my friends – by name – and the reasons they are my friends. From what I’ve read, you, not so much. It’s cheap, I grant you, but the word on the street is the word on the street, and no one refers to my “motives” but you. And hey, I’ll go out on a limb here, but if you had any common sense, you would have figured out long ago that I’m not “influencing” anybody. There are bigshots here, yeah buddy, but save your sorrowful sarcasm for somebody important. Dude, nobody cares what I have to say!

          • Jesse Cone says

            Alf the Amazing:

            So good to be a protopresbyter in protopresbyterian-land.


  3. May his memory be eternal.

  4. Please pray for all of us who have to paddle our way as well as we know how, relying on each other and on God’s guidance, through the rocks and rapids of the administrative responsibilities of church life. Pray for Metropolitan Jonah, Archbishop Nathaniel, Bishop Michael, Bishop Alexander, all the bishops, the Metropolitan Council, the OCA’s officers and staff. Most of the faithful people of the Orthodox Church in America will be oblivious to the changes now occurring. They simply want to go to church, say their prayers, lead a Christian life and bear their own burdens. But for those who do follow with interest the OCA’s developments, please make it more than gossip from the sidelines.

    Indeed, John Jillions we always pray for our leaders. So I guess now you are asking us to simply, “Move along. Nothing for you to see here.” We now are asked to bend over and ask for another one, sir. Please.”

    What the OCA has become, John Jillions and your part in the awful and disgraceful take down of HIS BEATITUDE, Metropolitan Jonah is a mark on your priesthood, a mark on your Christian soul and no about of putting lipstick on this pig will change the facts.

    You know, John Jillions that HIS BEATITUDE, resigned under duress, as well as his “admission” and taking all blame for everything bad in the OCA at the Seattle Council, also under duress.

    You know, John Jillions that a gun was pointed at HIS BEATITUDE’S head as surely as if a real revolver was there when you went to DC, standing over him in his office.

    You know, John Jillions that this was coming down, you and Tosi were a part of it and now, the question to be asked of you and your other co-conspiritors is


    You know, John Jillions that you and the synod were conspiring behind HIS BEATITUDE’S back, having calls, back and forth emails, all the while keeping HIS BEATITUDE in the dark.

    How do you expect anyone, anymore, to trust anything that comes out of Syosset? You and the others have kicked a man to the side of the road, and now you expect us to just carry on and not question you? You asked for input from people on your Chancellor’s Diary well here is input, we don’t accept your under-handed ways any longer. We do not except the ill-treatment of another Metropolitan. We do not accept your feeble attempts to reassure us. You and the others have broken HIS BEATITUDE and broken our trust in you.

    You, John Jillions know that you were hired to do the deed you did last week.

    You know, John Jillions that you got the job Chancellor swearing in so many words that you would be loyal to the Metropolitan Council that hired you and the synod who confirmed you.

    You know, John Jillions that you worked from day one to undermine HIS BEATITUDE and to make his tenure as short as possible. Your loyalties are not the Church but to the band of cut-throats who gave you cover.

    At this point, the only honorable thing for you to do, for the sake of your soul and salvation is to resign as Chancellor. Go back to your teaching at a Uniate institution in Canada.

    As for me, the OCA died last week when the last man who had a vision for spreading the Gospel here in North America was kicked out. I no longer recognize you all as the legitimate heirs of the Russian Orthodox Church. You have broken trust with me for the last time. ANATHEMA. ANATHEMA. ANATHEMA.

    Please be assured of my continued prayers for all of you. Does that sound empty? No more empty than your words asking us to do the same. Enough is enough.

    • Harry Coin says

      You know, screeds and anathemas from anonymous folk, really??

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Harry, stop carrying water for these Judas bishops. They’ll never live this one down. They’re completely in the wrong and they know it. We know it, and the rest of the world is standing up and taking notice.

        This will not end well for the OCA.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          It is ironic that only Mark Stokoe got it right: It was not substantive disagreements that did him in but his failure to follow procedures.

          That said, I really don’t see how Father Arey has the nerve to criticize OCA’s involvement in the anti-abortion movement, something that is not new but longstanding. Similarly, the position that +Jonah took vis-a-vis same sex marriage, pastoral considerations vis-a-vis LBGTQs was also straight from the book. As far as his stance against Constantinople’s novel interpretation of Canon 28, he was also spot on. He may have been on the right track also in the maneuverings towards the next Pan-Orthodox Council. Great mind, great vision, but he just wanted to be a fighter pilot, flying solo, when he was actually flying a bomber plane, with a crew. Anyway, I really do not see how somebody who has admitted publicly twice that he does not have what it takes to lead would be a good diocesan bishop.

          • Michael Livosky says

            Carl, What procedures? Syosset has procedures??? As the great Mark Stokoe used to ask…..HOW BOUT WE GET A LITTLE TRUTH, TRANSPARENCY and ACCOUNTABILITY on what REALLY happened. I don’t believe for one single second that every Bishop was on board with this. If they were, I feel they owe their diocese a “Yes folks, I agree with the way it went down. We forced him out and now we need to move on!!!”

          • Carl,

            I think your words about procedure as Stokoe’s excuse, shows how flimsy their canonical stance against His Beatitude finally proved. He fought against a tide of those who were not willing to take the Church into the public square to declare the truth. The “go along to get along” approach of the OCA in the past was one the of the things that His Beatitude fought against for the sake of the Gospel.

            No, indeed, his crime was to preach the Gospel with clarity and always challenging us to pick of the Cross of Christ and be willing for the Message to be willing to suffer the consequences of the Evil One.

            The OCA is called the Orthodox Church IN America because it takes its name as being IN the world but not OF the world. Well, from my vantage point, procedures, policies and best practices have turned the OCA into the Orthodox Church OF America.

            Those in power have made their choice, to rid themselves of a troublesome bishop. It is not the first time, nor will it be the last time. But by doing so, they have followed their letter of the law but they have ignored the Spirit. Instead of taking upon themselves, as brother bishops to this man, to build up his weakness, to shore up where he was lacking, they turned it over to the “professionals” by telling him to get help. They exposed him to ridicule with making him utter public pronouncements that “he was the problem” instead of doing their Christian and brotherly duty to carry on the work of the Church as a real Synod of Bishops, beyond the glare of prying eyes and whimpering chancery bureaucrats who complained that +Jonah made their job more difficult. They had a willing accomplice in Mark Stokoe who was ready to prove to others that he was right and the rest of us were wrong in trying to support a man called to this most difficult position of leadership.

            But, in the end, they dismissed him like a mere employee shown the door because they did not want to do any more heavy lifting. That was the action of the Orthodox Church OF America, not the Church in America, and for that there is little hope now that the OCA will recover and the Orthodoxy in America has taken another step backwards in effectively preaching the Gospel.

          • lexcaritas says

            Ok, but what brought matters to a head now? What were the straws that broke the camel’s back? Things may have been building for months, but what brought about sudden unanimity and the “need” to act now? And why was ++JONAH cowed?


            • Fear. Fear created by Syosset that His Beatitude was mentally unbalanced. They dragged out the old Fr. Simeon (late of the DC nuns), who is a real creepy guy, but also a person who when His Beatitude understood that he was a liablity to the nuns, removed his blessing from him and while the nuns were still under his protection ordered that he remove himself from any contact with the nuns.

              Since their move to ROCOR, His Beatitude has no control over their actions, and apparently this guy resurfaced. Not +Jonah’s fault and to the best of my knowledge he was sent packing by ROCOR and is now in Greece. But the synod (Melchezedik Benjamin, Tikhon and Nikon) beat him up at the Lesser Synod with threats that they were going to pursue this as a clergy misconduct case against +Jonah, which would entail his immediate suspension, without pay. That is a triple confirmed fact.

              Within the atmosphere of a toxic workplace in Syosset, with Kishkovsky working to whip up support for the idea that His Beatitude was Non compos mentis this caused Moscow to take pause and not interfere. Once that was assured, the synod and Syosset staff made their move last Thursday. This was their best opportunity to strike and strike they did.

              • DayofReckoning says

                Fr. Fester stop pretending you’re “Nikos” and do the honorable thing by posting under your real name. You’ve done enough already hiding behind your multiple online personas. Be a man and own up to your own opinions.

                • Does this mean your name is actually DayofReckoning?

                  • lexcaritas says

                    Exacttly, Irene. And what if Nikos is Fr. Joseph? How does that detract from what he says. He appears to have been right in his information.


                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Day of Reckoning–I had thought the same thing. Either Nikos is Fr Fester or Metropolitan Jonah’s alter ego (which was the same thing once upon a time in Dallas and Washington, DC). On second thought, +Jonah’s biggest fault may have been his judgment of people; he brought in Fr Fester and +Mark, and stood by the DC nuns when he should have taken action against the misbehaving priest who was attached to the Monastery. Acts of omission are sometimes as bad as those of commission, especially when one is a Metropolitan.

                  • DayofReckoning says

                    Carl, don’t think it’s possible it’s Metropolitan Jonah, he is an honorable, honest, and humble man who would never spew the insinuations and accusations that Fr. Fester (aka “Nikos”) has been posting for months here. Met. Jonah is a decent hierarch who trusted Fr. Fester’s advice for too long and depended on his twisted counsel too much. Best thing he did is cut off that relationship.

                    The tone, so much insider information and the militancy of “Nikos” (aka Fr. Fester) all point to only one man who has displayed such consistent outrage and on-sided version of the situation in the OCA from the very beginning — see his e-mail he sent out way back when — same mo, similar language and same kinds of warnings.

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      well you’re both wrong. but go on believing what you want. one way to get your adversary to continue hurting himself is by encouraging him in his delusions.

                  • Jesse Cone says

                    The misbehaving priest, Fr. Simeon, was never accepted into the OCA. My understanding is that +Jonah could have accepted him in order to defrock him.

                    Or, he could have banned him from serving in his parishes; which is what I believe he did.

                  • And the Lord Jesus Christ’s biggest fault was choosing Judas as one of the 12 and submitting to the will of the temple hierarchs … right?

                    In many Christian traditions, this same Jesus is considered to be God and without fault of any kind. I would have thought Orthodoxy taught the same.

                    Surely the temple hierarchs are blameless, so long as they acted unanimously and found a religious law to justify their actions. But then if that is true, one wonders why Pilot felt it necessary to wash his hands.

              • Disgusted With It says

                Is Moscow really that dumb? Or is there some kind of deal that was worked out? Perhaps involving a certain financial scandal at a certain representation church in Moscow? Just a thought.

                • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                  Moscow doesn’t really need the OCA. We few American Orthodox are small fish to them. They need to keep the Ukraine much more, and that will be a lot easier with Constantinople’s noninterference. Constantinople hates the OCA, so it only makes sense for Moscow to let the OCA collapse and pick up whatever pieces are worth keeping afterward.

                  • Disgusted With It says

                    Dn Mitchell,

                    That’s what I’m saying. I’m surprised Moscow doesn’t just come in and say to the synod “That’s enough. You’ve embarrassed us long enough. We made a mistake and now we’re going to fix it. You will operate under us or risk no longer being recognized by any Orthodox Church in the world as being canonical.” Moscow wins, Constantinople wins. Heck, with this synod, the OCA has already lost, so it can only get better for the communities (parish clergy and faithful) of the OCA.

                  • Harry Coin says

                    Unless, of course, the OCA neglects to collapse. More churches not collapsed = good. Foreign decision making = less churches (well, less people in the churches, lotsa really good buildings).

                    • Disgusted With It says


                      I don’t think that’s a very fair statement to a certain extent. My experience in the Orthodox Church has been that your average parishioners don’t really care about bishops and church politics. If they’re happy with their priest and their fellow parishioners then they go to church. If not, then they don’t. When discussion comes up about the bishop or national church they usually just smile politely and say something like “that’s nice.” Regardless of who or where the bishops are, if the local communities are run like good Orthodox Churches, then the people go.

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      Check its bank accounts, Harry. It is collapsing, slowly but surely like a sandcastle before the rising tide.

                    • Harry Coin says

                      ‘Digusted’: First: It isn’t better elsewhere. Indeed parish life is what keeps most who stay. But who joins, those for whom it is a choice? What picture do we paint for those who are not subject to emotional blackmail or family habits? Distant unaccountable bishops (no matter the DNA) that play no real role in parish life (other than to suck money) prevents folk from joining and prevents folk who do join from staying. The the worst charge laid at the feet of the current synod members is that they are in a state of cooperation with parish clergy (to the point those who are dismissive of ‘their [former] priests’ call them ’empty suits’), priests who themselves must be in a state of cooperation with their people– is really impressive— only if folk join: Certainly the synod carries the responsibility now.

                      Dn. Brian: Yup, as the money in high places goes and those who love it best depart we’ll see who are the Christians.

                    • Disgusted With It says


                      Antioch is a “foreign” Church. So then that makes Bishop Basil (for example) a distant unaccountable bishop? People are prevented from joining his parishes because they’re under the Church of Antioch? I’ve only witnessed the exact opposite in his diocese. I think you need to stop painting with such broad strokes.

                      And if you’re referring to the OCA synod “in a state of cooperation with parish clergy”, why don’t you ask a sampling of DOS clergy what they think about the “cooperation” they’ve been getting from Syosset.

                    • Harry Coin says

                      No “disgusted” people are not ‘prevented’ as you write, they were powerfully attracted when to the AOA when they thought ‘self ruled’ meant what the words ‘self rule’ would mean were a dictionary most read in English be used to look them up. Then it turned out they didn’t mean that at all as ‘self rule’ in Arabic means ‘we own you’. You might ask the former director of the IOCC Charles Ajalat, who resigned after a life of service to the AOA, for details. Indeed he was the chancellor of the AOA, like Fr. Jillions now or formely Fr. Kondtratick for the OCA. Since then, growth has been not as easily managed.

                      I don’t mean to be like Bp. Tikhon and color all bishops as ’empty suits’, there are those who are loved by those few they are able to actually get to know. The most of them couldn’t identify who in a crowd are ‘their’ priests families, not because of lack of desire but because of ratios and distances.

                      Those new to the church see this as a chosen thing, as a distortion of what the content of the preaching seems to be about in that book raised over the head and walked about with and read from every week. “Not Jew nor Greek” “Choose from among you (a bishop) who has (roster of virtues)”, etc. So they see this sort of administrative distortion and wonder what’s it all about and should it really merit the effort of joining. I bet lots of folks who join have relations who think they’ve lost their minds because we allow these ongoing perception gaps. Ach don’t get me started, I have to hear a priest read a Gospel in a mode of Greek not a single person in the parish speaks. What does that do when a guest comes.. they think the ethnic folks understand it you know. Nope, it’s too old a dialect for the modern Greek speaker.

                    • Disgusted With It says


                      You said “…they were powerfully attracted when to the AOA when they thought ‘self ruled’ meant what the words ‘self rule’ would mean…”

                      So you’re saying that the growth of the AOCA came after the declaration of “self rule” in 2003? Sorry to share reality with you my friend, but the explosion of growth started in the 1980’s, LONG before this notion of self rule. (Which was never really what most people thought it was. All they had to do was simply read the agreement/proclamation itself and see that the AOCA was still subject to decisions of the Holy Synod of Antioch.) The AOCA is not perfect, but let’s admit facts. They have realized a mission to America in ways the OCA never did.

              • Mark from the DOS says

                I want an answer to this simple question:

                Was Met. Jonah threatened with loss of pay if he failed to resign?

                If this was true clergy misconduct, how does a resignation as metropolitan while retaining all powers of the priesthood “protect” the faithful? If the synod traded real clergy misconduct for a political end, they should all resign and beg forgiveness. If they trumped up clergy misconduct for political ends, they should all resign, be laicized and beg forgiveness. If neither of these things happened, they should tell the real story.

                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  One way to find out would be through the legal process.

                  • Mark from the DOS says

                    Or for the Chancellor and Synod to gift us all with a little bit of that openness and transparency. Holding my breath.

                • Harry Coin says

                  Mark, don’t you think Met. Jonah has enough supporters to make personal financial survival a non-issue? And if he doesn’t, you have to ask then why is that? 100 families support an entire parish plus a priest. Come now you don’t really buy it was about lack of money do you? I did for a bit then I thought about it and there really is no way you know.

                  • Harry, I was one of the first Monomakhos commenters to arrive at the scene of the crime, so to speak, and within minutes of the announcement (which was late at night), financial support began to be discussed.

                    The idea of giving freewill donations to Metropolitan Jonah was also discussed last summer. Back then, I thought it was better to keep that idea in reserve until a financial need was demonstrated, for fear of embarrassing or overwhelming him with returning donations if it turned out he didn’t need any extra money. Now that the situation has changed, it’s been moved to the front burner.

                    Rest assured, Harry, the OCA administration can try to screw over Met. Jonah and his family all they want. We will still take care of our Metropolitan and his loved ones.

                  • Mark from the DOS says


                    I do believe that he does have support, but when you count on a check to support your family, and live check to check, the time it might take to organize that support can be devastating. Either way, my point is not whether he would end up being starved, but rather that it would be incredibly wrong for the Synod to threaten to starve him, and even more wrong to trade misconduct for resignations – if any such misconduct really existed.

              • lexcaritas says

                But +JONAH should have called their bluff and should have let them bring the case. We could have raised support for him.

                I agree though about Fr. S. I observed him during a visit to our parish and was immediately struck by something strange about his dark demeanor at Liturgy and astonished at the vocal, anti-Ukranian focus of his conversation with certain parishioners afterwards. Not particulalry monkish, let’s say. I couldn’t believe he was (and is) associated with the “DC” nuns, for whom I otherwise have a certain frienship and esteem. This relationship is a puzzlement and appears to lack prudence.


                • Brian McDonald says

                  But +JONAH should have called their bluff and should have let them bring the case. We could have raised support for him.–lexcaritas

                  This is why both supporters and would-be supporters of Met. Jonah (like myself) have good reason to be angry with him as well as the Synod. He DIDN’T call his accusers’ bluff and he could have. Many of us who happen to believe well of people on both sides of this tragic division find ourselves in a dark cloud of confusion. IS he being persecuted because compromised bishops want him out because of his forthright upholding of Christian doctrine and practice? Or is he an erratic and flighty loose cannon who finally had to be restrained from doing the church any more harm. While few on this blog would acknowledge it, there are some very decent, people (and at least some them are actually bishops) who apparently believe the latter.

                  Metropolitan Jonah’s refusal to bring this to a head, without forcing his accusers to charge him in some kind of church court or public forum prevents the very possibility of the truth being flushed out in any sort of clean and wholesale way. If he had refused resignation and forced the synod to act–and if that body did not do so in an open and accountable way, that fact alone would have immediately swung people like me over to his side and convinced me that the viewpoint of Monomakhos posters was likely more right than wrong. If on the contrary the proceedings against him were carried on in an open manner in which we knew his alleged offenses and heard his defense, we’d be in a position to make honest and informed judgments between him and his accusers. I suspect he would have done very well in such a setting but now we’ll never know.

                  His weak and self-accusatory letter of resignation which ended on a plea for his own and his family’s condition and said nothing about the welfare of the church has thus badly let down his fervent supporters and the church he formerly led. If he truly believes what he said in that note then he should have resigned long ago. If he doesn’t believe it he shouldn’t have signed it, no matter what threats were levied over his head. At any rate by ending with whimper and not a bang, he has prevented any possibility of the truth coming out except bit by bit, over a long period of time, and interlaced with much gossip, speculation, bitterness and rumors.

                  I dearly wanted to believe in Jonah because of the brilliance and clarity of his vision for Orthodoxy and his courage in stating what the church believes (and ought to declare firmly) but when he himself has declared on two occasions that he was a bungling leader and temperamentally unfit for the job and all but agrees with his accusers, does he not cut out the ground beneath all those who looked to him for the leadership the church so badly needs in these dark days?

                  • Brian, I appreciate that you have tried to be fair but I don’t think you are being fair to Metropolitan Jonah. He probably would have called the Synod’s bluff if he’d had only himself to worry about, but the threat to his family forced his hand.

                    Also, please be aware that on both occasions where he, in your words, declared that “he was a bungling leader and temperamentally unfit for the job”, his statements were written and/or given under duress from his accusers. That’s why he “all but agrees with his accusers” – they are the ones whose voice you were hearing.

                    • Brian McDonald says


                      Thanks for your fairness to me even if I haven’t been fair to Jonah. My main point was that IF the synod has acted unjustly towards His Beatitude, his words at the AAC as well as his resignation letter made him complicit in his own scapegoating—and thus short-circuited a full airing of the issues in an area I think it’s desperately important to have enough information to come to a reasoned view of the truth. His retirement from the field of battle makes this much more difficult.

                      That his resignation (or words at the AAC) may have been written under duress doesn’t resolve matters. If his words were sincere, they provide grounds for asserting his followers should have been less wholehearted in their support. If they were not, then he has forfeited his credibility and strengthened the hand of his opponents. Shouldn’t someone who has taken such bold stands for traditional Christian truth and moral standards, be equally bold in refusing to be coerced into stating an untruth about the circumstances of his resignation?

                      While my instincts are for Jonah, my head keeps wondering why this decision was unanimous. Not all our bishops are knaves and fools. I know at least three of them who have taken firm and courageous stands on the same issues that MJ did. Why then did these men feel he had to go?

                      I haven’t been able to sleep much for the last two nights worrying about this. My only point is that if the Metropolitan was in the right (or mostly in the right) he should have demanded public airing of the key issues dividing him from the rest of the Synod. As the owner of another, now defunct, website used to say, quoting the Lord, “the truth shall set you free.” But it has to be fought for.

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Brian, read Jonah’s letter carefully: he uses the words “conveyed to me,” regarding the “unanimous” vote. Not only does that cast doubt on the facticity of its supposed unanimity, but it mercifully leaves an escape hatch out for any of Jonah’s critics who wants to take it. This would include Jillions. He can always say, “well they told me that this was unanimous.”

                  • pelagiaeast says

                    Because he has humility, something sorely missing today, in many realms.

                    • Brian McDonald says

                      Replying to George M.’s comment ” Brian, read Jonah’s letter carefully: he uses the words ‘conveyed to me,’ regarding the ‘unanimous’ vote.”

                      That is something to consider, George. As a college English and lit. teacher, I always express myself in carefully chosen words and am fully aware of even their subtle implications. Jonah is clearly a wordsmith with a high awareness of the words he uses. Your close reading of his resignation letter gives me something to ponder and might–at least possibly–make me reconsider some of the things I said in a post to your blog of today, submitted a few minutes ago.

                      On the other hand, if there’s anything to what you say, it just widens the “silence” problem about which I’ve been complaining. If bishops such as Mathias and Michael didn’t go along with the majority, I think simple honesty would suggest they say so.

                      But I also recognize in my own profession how much “professional courtesy” can make one hesitant to admit that “in house” sessions weren’t always amicable and unanimous. One doesn’t tell tales out of school.

                      But the whole problem here is that NOBODY, neither the synod, nor Syosset adminstrators, nor the MC, nor Jonah, nor the individual bishops are “coming clean.” No doubt we should refrain from fruitless gossip and speculation, but our leaders–and I mean ALL of them are making this all but impossible.

              • Pravoslavnie says

                I’m troubled by all these stories about Fr. Simeon. The description given of him is not one that I recognize. My wife and I are friendly with the sisters, and I met him in February at the monastery without knowing anything about his past beyond that he came from the Petra monastery in Greece. We have both had many interactions with him.

                We attended several liturgies and Vigils served by Fr. Simeon at the monastery and have enjoyed his style of serving, often in three different languages. There was nothing dark about him. Initially my wife noticed that he had some hesitation speaking to her, but over the course of this spring we both began to develop a relationship with him. There were no warning flags, we just noticed a reluctance on his part to talk about himself.

                I had many conversations with Fr. Simeon, discussions about church teachings and doctrine, even gardening. We dug out some garden plots together in the monastery land and he was quite handy at woodworking. A fellow pilgrim and I were always greeted warmly by Fr. Simeon, but he was a difficult man to get to know. He indicated that his life began when he became a monk and his past was irrelevant. He may have had some eccentricities, but then again I have my own. I never detected anything “creepy” about Fr. Simeon and generally enjoyed his company. I did not get the impression that he was a man to avoid, or that he was a danger to anyone. I found him to be quite friendly once he knew you, but he was generally “all business”.

                I don’t know what to make of the accusations against Fr. Simeon, but it has been written here before that the OCA investigated an “incident” at St. Nicks and found no credible evidence. In any case I’m reminded of the saying that everybody is tempted by a demon, but that we should pray twice as hard for the average monastic who is tormented by ten. Fr. Simeon will remain in our prayers.

        • Harry Coin says

          George: How many worse things happened in the foreign churches you appear to prefer, things that apparently have been ‘lived down’ most successfully, lived down to such a degree you think for what appears to be an entirely non-doctrinal bump in the road the OCA folk would be better off if broken and eaten by overseas masters?

          Today was not your day, but the alternative is worse. Met. Jonah was active in the public sphere and I think that was likely over time to cause folk to join. Authentic continuity with the past, emphasis on moral lived life + more people = good.

          Perhaps the complaint was the DNA of those thinking of joining Met Jonah was attracting wasn’t from the right part of the Europe / Asia border. Certainly we saw that from the Greeks and the OCA when Fr. Gilquist and his group came to the faith.

          Perhaps the complaint was folk in leadership didn’t like having to face the disconnect between the living and the preaching, or thought those attracted posed a career threat as leadership DNA wouldn’t be enough to overlook that sort of thing. This is the line often echoed around here. The complained of solution is making ignoring the disconnect more possible by getting rid of such a spokesman. Mostly I think folk who feel this way are being used as tools/pawns in furtherance of overseas money and control agendas.

          Or, perhaps the complaint was, the fellow just spent money without regard to it’s lack and without regard to the need for same by the others doing local stuff. Had Met. Jonah been a good fundraiser as he was a speaker maybe we wouldn’t be here today.

          Or, perhaps the complaint was darker stuff to do with intrigues and subtle historical facts observed and recorded and things people write in books folks read on rainy summer days.

          Or, all of the above.

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            Harry, you’re going to have stop putting words into my mouth. The only foreign church I admire (not “prefer”) is Moscow. And please, it’s silly to say to a dying man “things are worse elsewhere.” That’s trite. Yes, the Church of Christ has suffered worse than this. That’s not an excuse to justify bad behavior. Behavior that is possibly criminal and definately scandalous.

            • Harry Coin says

              This is the church you think hasn’t got enough over there to be getting along with eating the OCA will be ‘good for folks here’??

              LA Times: Russian Orthodox Church is in spiritual crisis, critics say



              Sure, all good there. Yup, they need to just eat up the OCA and that’ll make everyone overseas happy. Not here of course, but it will solve certain problems over there. Will those solutions help growth here? Not a bit. It’ll just ME TOO us with the Vatican. How totally out of it can a group be that thinks in the USA today being more like the vatican is likely to attract anyone?? People who want to donate to foreign authority centers have already a good way to get that done.

        • Harry Coin says

          George, I’m sorry it wasn’t about carrying water or whatnot. I mean if you’re going to anathematize someone and nail a bill of particulars to the virtual church door, and then not sign it, I mean, why bother really? Like little girls taping big zing-ho notes on the adversaries locker while she’s at gym. Might as well have written ‘neener neener can’t see me’.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Harry, this is in response to an earlier criticism you leveled against me, so please forgive the seeming incoherence. Basically you said that “I lost the day” and somesuch.

            First of all, I lost nothing. This is God’s Church, not mine. I don’t view this as something personal, believe it or not. So why am I exercized? Because the OCA’s experiment in autocephaly is probably derailed for good now.

            I know you don’t care about what other Church’s think, but that’s pie-in-the-sky delusional thinking and anti Orthodoxy’s very ecclesiology. Our claim to fame was that we never needed to have a pope with a central curia, that the Holy Spirit led us. This is true –there’s no difference in theology between the various local Churches. None. At all.

            How do we accomplish that? Well, first of all, the Holy Spirit. Second, because we are accountable to each other. Our bishops usually look over their shoulders to make sure they don’t step too far out of line. Our primates do just as well. This prevents things from getting too goofy in one corner of Orthodoxy. Even Finland hasn’t gone completely off the rails.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Nikos–May the Lord be with you in your next jurisdiction.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        And with you as well at yours because the OCA is on life support.

        By the way Carl playing the “BIG BAD GREEKS” card is not going to fly. Antioch is not to blame. Constantinople is not to blame, Alexandria is not to blame. The OCA did this institutional suicide all by itself. It was the OCA that ____ up! The Greeks didn’t do it, nor did the Antiochians. So please spare us. No matter that I may agree with you on certain issues. Now is not the time. The OCA is on some serious life-support and Moscow may be making the decision to pull the plug in the future.


        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Peter, you’re completely right: even though I have been a vociferous critic of colonial Orthodoxy here in America, there is absolutely no way that one can lay the blame for this on C’pole, Moscow, or Timbuktu. The Insane Clown Posse that forms the Apparat of the OCA perpetrated this atrocity all by their lonesomes. All Moscow & C’pole are going to do now is watch the OCA continue to implode.

          Thanks guys; hope you like pirogi.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            The real question George is who will pick up the pieces and when. Even though I am in the GOA I would hate the GOA picking up some of these parishes via the Carpatho-Russians. In fact, it could be alot of them. The best candidates that I see so far are the ROCOR/MP-ROC, Carpatho-Russians (EP) and the Antiochians. Mostly, I would lean towards the ROCOR and the MP-ROC here in the States when, not if, the OCA collapses.

            Overall Moscow is the Big Question here: What Happened? Why did Moscow abandon Metropolitan Jonah? They must have struck a deal with the EP that’s all I can see. Otherwise, what happend with Moscow?


            • Harry Coin says

              Ah, the vultures circle. Charming.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Dunno. It’s possible that Moscow saw that even with a dozen Jonahs on the synod, the internal structure of the OCA as epitomized by the Syossett/MC axis is beyond repair. It’s been my realization for a few months now that the MC is superior to the Synod. And with a vicious people who relentlessly stabbed their primate in the back and threatened his pay and with sycophants invoking the name of Schmemann, Kirill just decided to just pull the plug.

              If people are dead set on killing themselves, the only prudent thing to do is get out of the way.

              • Diogenes says

                Moscow has nothing to do with anything regarding the OCA. The OCA operates unto itself.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Be sure and tell yourself that when you turn out the lights when you leave the buildling at Syosset for the last time. In time meantime, peasants like myself will anxiously await our next issue of “OCA Wonder.”

                  • james sode says

                    Don’t you think the Moscow boogeyman routine is getting a bit old? For over a year we’ve heard how Moscow is going to take the OCA back because of Jonah. Never happens. Moscow doesn’t want the OCA which is why she let it go in the first place.

                    Moscow would rather deal with the many problems in the Russian Church and let the North Ameericans deal with their own.

                    The Church is bigger than Jonah or the Holy Synod and will weather this storm just fine. Herman and Theodosius didn’t bring it down and neither will this.

                    Instead of the constant whining about something that is not going to change (Jonah’s resignation) perhaps we could look forward for a bit. Help Jonah and the Holy Synod as best as we are able in building the church and caring for the membership (including both Jonah and the Synod of Bishops)

                    • Let’s have our bishops show the way to building the church and putting Christ and the Gospel first.. Most preside over declining dioceses. If they can’t do it there, where can they do it? Frankly +Jonah was the only one in office who has offered any consistent inspiration and vision for this. Will +Nathaniel do it? Will +Nikon? Will +Benjamin? Will +Tikhon? +Melchisidek? +Alexander? Will the staff in Syossett who so miserably betrayed the Metropolitan these past couple years show us the way? I sincerely hope they will, but their behavior leaves them looking so morally compromised, I don’t see it how they can proclaim Christ with a straight face. All their words ring hollow and false. Their actions speak so loudly, I can’t hear what they are saying.

                      Fr. Tosi says, “At this time of transition, all of the Chancery’s efforts are directed at moving forward in faith and good order, ensuring that the Church’s mission of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ is strengthened.” Now that you’ve violated good order and undermined our trust by your actions, you want to ‘move forward?’ You are ‘ensuring’ that the Church’s mission of proclaiming the Gospel is strengthened? How? What is your programme? Empty, empty words.

                • Just Guessing says

                  How true this is:

                  Moscow has nothing to do with anything regarding the OCA. The OCA operates unto itself.

                  Spoken like a spoiled, know-it-all teenager.

                  • james sode says

                    yep a spoiled teenager that sure is a mature way to engage in discussion. Well, all I know is what Archbishop Dmitri told me and that was that Moscow really thought we should leave them alone and solve our own problems, which is what the autocephlous status was all about.

                    • Just Guessing says

                      You miss the point. It’s the OCA that is the spoiled teenager, who proudly refuses help and advice, even though they’re in dire need of it.

                      Everyone knows Diogenes isn’t a teenager. He graduated from St. Vladimir’s Seminary many years ago.

            • What happened with Moscow? Nothing.
              They asked questions when Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick was given the bum’s rush and ineptly and uncanonically deposed. They asked questions when Bishop Nikolai was given the bum’s rush. They have always wanted to believe that the OCA was a success and have supported the autocephaly from the start until now; however……besides the above and other strains, one might point out that in the Church of Russia, no hierarch with less than five (5) years as a hierarch is eligible for consideration for the Patriarchal Throne. When they watched and tolerated an awful lot, they were careful not to criticize the OCA when new Bishop Jonah, who was introduced to most of the OCA by a firey, denunciating address on the floor of the All American Council which “dissed” those already denounced as devils by the Wheeler, Osacky, Stokoe, ETC., crowd, cuusing the kind of cheering and foot-stomping that used to characterize the meetings of the meetings of the world-wide Comintern, and when the Holy Synod, which had never shied away from overturning a popular vote before, went right along with the mob, out of fear of the mob, they had to take a very, very deep swallow. Everytime there was a snafu in the OCA, they had no reason to enjoy the smirks coming from Istanbul and elsewhere. There’s a BIG history here, which must be weighed together with the recent bizarre and disorderly Chancellor-supervised resignations, Telephone meetings of a Holy Synod, with its “creative” attitudes toward resignations and retirements and “no-trespassing” signs individualized for one person, in order for Moscow to consider how best to act in an Orthodox Christian canonical way towards the current degraded version of the Local Church of, say, twenty or thirty years ago..
              One may only marvel at Moscow’s ADULT patience toward these new American kids who got rid of the adults starting with their former Chancellor.

              • Harry Coin says

                You Grace, Do we see here are archpriests you like (Kondratick) rightly involved in things above the arch-priestly, and the ones that you don’t (controllers of the empty suits synodal bishops I think was your metaphor)?

                Isn’t it mostly about whose ox is being gored?

                Remember you’re speaking of the very adult Moscow recently featuring a patriarch with PR photos retouched to remove expensive watches, having issues to do with megabucks and persecution of apartment neighbors, and lowering the boom on loudmouths in ways usually reserved for those who have injured innocent medically.

              • George Michalopulos says

                The parade of horribles which you present is startling. You would think that it would cause men to hang their heads in shame. The trouble however Your Grace is that it’s not possible to embarass men who have no shame.

              • Your Grace, what are you referring to when you mention “‘no-trespassing’ signs individualized for one person”?

            • George Michalopulos says

              It’s possible Peter that this fracas will work in tandem with crises in other jurisdictions and that their collapse will make a newer, truer Orthodox Church, one completely local, territorial, and traditional.

        • Harry Coin says

          How many months need to pass by before you’ll allow lack of death means no ‘suicide’?

          All the happened here is a synod, not a superior, removed a leader. Makes lotsa folk really nervous. GIfts exchanged, promises made, oh dear.

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            Harry, institutions don’t fall overnight. Byzantium retrenched to its walls and survived for a century. Nevertheless, it was obvious to all that it was over, the population had shrunk to 50,000, entire city blocks had returned to farmland, the economy was in the doldrums, etc. The only thing that held the Turks back was their inability to breach the walls. Once gunpowder was invented, it was over.

            Do I see a way out for the OCA to survive and maintain its autocephaly? Yes I do but the answer would require good judgment and some well-placed backroom deals with certain parties. But the principals are so invested in their mythology that they won’t do it.

            There’s a Byzantine precedence for this: weeks before the walls were finally breached, the Senate was debating serious topics like what color the Virgin Mary’s eyes were. After all, this was the city of Constantine, it would never fall, it could never fall.

    • lexcaritas says

      Nikos, I wonder if you know what precipitated the current action and the unanimous decision, so ++JONAH said in his letter, of the Synod to request his resignation? It’s the unanimity that troubles me. What were they ALL holding over his head? and why? and why would he cave?

      I fear his erratic approach–sometimes outspoken, sometimes all too ready to renege and take the blame–undermined ++JONAH’s authority. I was always puzzled why he agreed to request a leave of absence at Santa Fe and why, when he thought better of it, he simply didn’t take the position that since he requested it, he was not at all oblitgated to take advantage of it when granted. Why did he allow himself to be removed as locum tenens of Dallas and the South, where he was loved and appreciated by most and where he was frequently present and pastorally effective? Why did he not stand behnd Fr. Fester as the new Dean of his Cathedral in DC? Why did he not immediately recall his anccillary ++Mark of Baltimore out of Dallas and the South and back to Baltimore after he did himself in in Dallas and compounded the problem by the betrayal of releasing private emails for publication rather than taking them up with his superior ++JONAH and the writer, Fr. Joseph? Why did he agree to psychological evaluation without requiring the same of every member of the Synod? Why did he not support Fr. Dcn. Patrick at St. Nichols on the matter of withholding the Body and Blood of Christ from the openly, unrepentant Lesbian touting her “marriage”? Why did he take the imprudent step of taking the blame at last years ACC for everything wrong during his brief tenure? Why did he allow Fr. Denis Bradley, whom I have heard openly bost of his differences with the Metorpolitan over monasticism in the US, to continue to serve in his Cathedral? Why did he sign a letter of resignation begging for his financial situation to be considered rather than negotiating those terms before and as conditions for his resignation. Who gave him this advice? and why would he take it? This has puzzled me for the past two–or has it been three–years. This is not the actions I would have advised, or taken.

      As for Fr. John’s plea for avoidance of gossip, there is one sure cure–and only one–and that is candor and veracity on the part of all involved. When the truth is known gossip is dead. I have seen it over and over: when obfuscation prevails, people will always fill the void with conjecture and is is foolish to hope or pray that it might be otherwise.


      • George Michalopulos says

        Very well spoken, Lex. I for one welcome more candor, not less. In defense of His Beatitude’s constantly backing down in the face of injustice, I can only say that he accepted suffering in a Christ-like manner. Of course it did him no good in the short-term (and scandalized good people everywhere) but this is far from over.

        • lexcaritas says

          But it’s not just he who suffered, George; others were counting on him and some got left hangin in the wind . . .


          • Geo Michalopulos says

            yes indeed, that’s what I mean by “scandalized.” How many missions will not form now? How many good men will not be ordained? How many people will leave their parishes for calmer waters?

            As for those of us in the South, I don’t think things are as dire as they are in the other dioceses. We shall see –and watch and pray.

      • lxc,

        The short answer is that His Beatitude was and is loath to fight the battles that a Metropolitan must fight. He really believed, to the end, that his brother bishops would never do what they did. His faith in them, to a fault, was to see the good and as St. Basil the Great says, “and make the evil be good, by Thy Goodness.”

        No alley fighter was he and by the end he was not willing, or able, (to his eternal credit) to enter the fray with a knife. Paul’s appeal to the Church in Corinth regarding love, was the working assumption of his leadership model. This was a bothersome thing to others as I have posted already.

        One can say that the synod tried, and I think in their own way they did, but who can impose a timeline on another except when they impose as the measurement of the man, procedures, policies and best practices and not the Gospel of Christ. That is what the OCA has become.

        Should +Jonah had been more firm in some situations as many expected? You and I can say yes, but in the end he was the Archpastor of his flock not any of us. He tried so hard to elevate the synod into a true brotherhood, but his brothers gave up on him and chose the route of expediency. They all knew that he was indecisive a man who measured seven times and cut once, maybe he measured 70 times before he cut. But his ways were not their ways it seems clear by now.

        In the old days, bishops would shore up the weak brother, do it behind closed doors. Today, bishops leave the synod and blab of what should be quite silent and the Internet is ready to spread any bad news or weakness at light speed around the world.

        The unanimity of the synod in forcing him to resign to me speaks volumes about their unwillingness to put themselves out, to carry an even heavier cross then they each do personally. It should be a lesson to all of us that unless we are willing to go “above and beyond” the call of duty, than we are lacking in our Christian life.

        Sadly, from my vantage point, the OCA is motivated by the fear of lawsuits more than they are concerned with taking care of one of their own. The corporate model has replaced the Christian model of leadership in the OCA and to the degree it has also morphed into that in other Churches, we should all beware.

        I am unable to justify the actions of the synod given that His Beatitude had done nothing morally wrong, heretical or against the Gospel of Christ. His sin was he did not fit into their corporate model of a CEO.

        For that we should grieve. That’s my take.

      • Just Guessing says

        While these are laudable questions, aren’t they a bit ill timed? We’ve known that he lacked prudence in thoughtful matters from the start, especially when it came to how he was portrayed by his detractors. All of these questions are questions that we’ve asked from the start. His most pitiful resignation letter was, in a way, fitting, because it summarized every mistake he’s made from the very beginning. Anyone who would allow his very clear enemy in this matter to look over his shoulder (if not advise him) while he wrote it is, frankly, not fit for the plow.

        He was always, “Ready, fire, aim.” He simply asked too many people for advice, couldn’t figure out who to trust, and ended up listening to the wrong people. He lacked mature discernment. He couldn’t figure out that many of those men on the Synod, driven by hatred and envy, were not working for his edification or support, they were plotting for his destruction. And they won – they got what they wanted. It’s really that simple.

        The sad part is, had he insisted on putting in place a chancellor who would be loyal to him, who would answer to him, who would advise him and protect him from his enemies, we would never have reached this day. Instead, you have two men, no, not men, two traitors, theives, who delivered Met Jonah’s head on a platter to the Herods and Jezebels of the Synod.

        Met Jonah is learning a hard lesson about himself. I hope that he understands that there is wheat and chaff in the church, and he must be able to discern who is for him and who is against him. Otherwise, no matter where he’s placed, he will meet the same fate, and will be fodder for the interlopers that we currently call ‘bishops.’

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          a silver lining in this is the education that he received, and that is that within all of us lurks evil. And yes, in the Church itself there are those who are evil.

          Lord have mercy. I pray for them as I’m sure he is as well. This is not false piety, when we come to realize this truth, then we are freed because truth sets us free. Obeisance to truth makes life very easy.

        • It’s sad that his failings here are basically summed up here and in other comments on this page as he wasn’t personally scheming enough. He chose to assume the best of his brother bishops repeatedly even when they clearly didn’t deserve it. He repeatedly turned the other cheek. He took the blame even when falsely accused. Everyone’s right. It sounds like he was not fit to be bishop. What does that say about the role of our bishops?

          • Just Guessing says

            Call it scheming (rather negative), or call it wisdom, shrewedness, discernment, insight – pick a term. They’re all nuances of the same basic quality. Even the Lord warned his disciples to be discerning while being pure and innocent. And aren’t we warned to learn the signs of the times?

            Why, after the antics of the last five years by this Synod, would any man, any bishop, walk into that room with his ‘brothers’ and think that everything’s going to be OK? Sure, Met Jonah will win his salvation by being victimized by this brood of vipers, but at the cost of the stability of the church? That seems to be a rather bold miscalculation.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              One of the thoughts that has dominated my mind recently was the same type of injustice and evil was inflicted on St Nektarios and St John Maximovitch. In time, both of their Churches repented but the cost to both men and to the faithful was incalculable.

              Jonah is in many ways like the Patriarch Joseph was was hated by his brothers and left to die in a well.

            • lexcaritas says

              I agree, Just Guessing: Wise as serpents; harmless a doves.


      • Ronda Wintheiser says

        I have heard an “argument” that this is not the same Synod that it used to be…

        That seems a reasonable argument. Or defense, if you will. That we should not second guess their motivations or their actions; that we should trust them because they are not the “old guard”.

        Well, sure, I can trust the office of a bishop. Like a soldier might trust his superior officer. But if I were that superior officer, I would want to EARN that respect and trust because I would want real devotion and love to be behind it going into battle… Anything less than that would be… well… life-threatening.

        Trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, not being privy to any inside knowledge, the way this Synod accomplished this, try as I might to be philosophical about it, still leaves me with an uneasy state of mind… Who are these people, and what are they doing? There is a huge disconnect between Them, and Us, and I don’t think we — the nobodys like me here “on the ground” — are responsible for that disconnect.

        As I say, I’m just a nobody in a small mission parish. And we have a priest who not only has no administration skills to speak of, but who lacks pastoral skills, as well — he appears to be a misanthropist, to be blunt. He has other strengths, undoubtedly, and he has made many sacrifices to be here with us, but after 11 years, our parish is in deep, steep decline, and to hear him and his wife speak about it, it is our fault (we, the parishioners), and not his.

        When Bishop MATTHIAS came to speak to us about this not too many months ago, we were lectured that we ought to be thankful for what we’ve got.

        (No smear intended here on the Bishop. I voted for him at the diocesan assembly and I still appreciate him.)

        We ARE thankful to have our priest. We are all converts who hoped and prayed and worked for more than a decade to have a parish; we live in a small city that is distant from other cities in our state so that if we wanted to attend Liturgy, we had to travel at least an hour and a half.

        Our mission is located in a town with a demographic that would support growth. Our priest (and don’t mistake me here; I love and respect him) has what I would describe as a significant deficit in his pastoral approach and we have seen it literally drive people away.

        We do not have the “luxury” of meeting as a council without him in order to ask him to resign. We are stuck working with the guy.

        Why shouldn’t we expect the Synod to do the same?

        Instead, they “divorce” him.

        As much as I recognise the need to be cautious, perhaps, I am stuck with frustration and skepticism about what the Synod has done. Even the letter on the OCA website from Bishop MATTHIAS feels like a condescending pat on the head, as if we are children who do not deserve to know what is happening, or and the sense that he thinks we just couldn’t handle the truth.

        Don’t we deserve more than that?

        Why should we treat this “new guard” with trust and respect when they don’t seem to be behaving differently from the old one?

        I have read criticism that we should not be accusing an entire Synod of collusion, betrayal, and unfaithfulness to the Orthodox moral tradition solely on the basis that they’re not saying as much as we want them to.

        Mm, but it’s not solely on that basis. It is on the basis of history, and what should follow from that. Surely they are aware of their “reputation”, if you will, so it wouldn’t take anything more than common sense to tell them that silence would result in what you might describe as the wild speculation, conjecture, and gossip that is occurring: the “word on the street” is that they met without him months in advance, that they composed the resignation letter, that the Chancellor presented it to him at midnight on Friday, that he signed it under duress…

        Did someone just make these things up for the fun of it?


        But the Synod, with all their alleged gravitasse and wisdom, ought to have foreseen that given their “track record” (whether they individually earned it or not) and therefore would have/should have accomplished everything openly from the gitgo, to prevent any hint of intrigue or collusion or the appearance of evil.

        But they didn’t. So now, even if their motivations and objectives were and are as pure as driven snow, they have forfeited the right to claim that by the way they have accomplished this. It is not our doing that it appears to be collusion, betrayal, deceit. I don’t think we are accusing them of those things, necessarily, either — we are pointing out to them that that is how they appear.

        It is up to THEM to remedy that, since they created it — not up to us to simply acquiesce and assume it — and the longer they put it off, the worse it gets.

  5. Harry,

    Does not make them any less true. Really.

  6. +Jonah was honest, inspirational and a spiritual father to many of us in the laity. He is loved by many for always seeking the deeper meaning in the Gospel. That he chose to accept public chastisement without public complaint, that he sought guidance in prayer and discernment more than in corporate management principles, that he was truly not of this world as much as any sincere seeker may be, left him an easy victim for worldly forces. We hold him high in our prayers, and find ourselves turning to shake the dust from our feet of those who perpetrated this painful event.

  7. Abercius says

    A priest who has given much of his life to serving in the OCA, starting missions, starting and building a monastery, being pulled away to serve as successor to Archbishop Dmitri of blessed memory and then being taken really against his will to serve as metropolitan will be paid only through October? Really? And our sapient bishops have given another bishop, a newcomer to the OCA, a $70,000 a year sinecure as a guest indefinitely imposed on the DOS? Justice? Discernment? Wisdom? Anyone?

  8. For those who are interested, here is an early GetReligion take on the mainstream news coverage of this whole matter:

  9. Dear Lesser Synod:
    Why have you asked for the resignation of our Metropolitan JONAH?
    The very fact that you have asked “unanimously” indicates that you previously agreed among yourselves to do this.
    The fact that you did it at a Lesser Synod meeting indicates that you wanted a fait accompli: you wanted a resignation in hand before gathering the entire Synod to “approve.”
    Why did you take such a momentous decision and task upon yourselves as a “lesser” synod, a smaller committee of bishops who have not been given the authority to make sweeping decisions in isolation, but who are simply given the task of implementing and expediting the decisions of the larger, Holy Synod?
    How is it proper for you, the Lesser Synod, to make requests of our Metropolitan which are not in consultation with our Holy Synod?
    How do you take it upon yourselves to demand our Metropolitan to resign, without the consultation of the entire Synod, let alone the entire Body of The Orthodox Church in America, and then, after the fact, call a telephone conference to affirm your already concluded business?
    This action is clearly coercive toward Metropolitan JONAH, and is manipulative toward the entire Synod and the faithful.
    +JONAH has complied with all your demands: when confronted with mistakes and bad decisions, he has openly, to his own repeated public himiliation, admitted mistakes and repented and humbly, asking forgiveness for things which are not even his fault. When told to undergo humiliating psychotherapy, he came back with a psychotherapist’s letter giving him a clean bill of health. When pressured to undergo rehabilitation, he has complied –even at a designated anti-traditional institution– and come back with another clean bill of health.
    So… why give your metropolitan the boot, as you have just done?
    I suspect it is at least in part out of fear, because His Beatitude has challenged your complacency, by speaking to our culture’s most pressing issues, and engaged non-Orthodox in serious dialogue. His Beatitude has exposed something all Orthodox have been hiding: the moral culture war is not just outside, but within the Orthodox Church.
    But the question remains: Why did you, the Lesser Synod, request His Beatitude’s resignation? To give facts and evidence would clear up this mess. Press releases and episcopal letters which call for “trust” without giving answers or facts do not help.
    It is in the interest of the peace of Christ’s holy Church that I ask this question: What charge do you have against our Metropolitan?

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