Defeat at Home

One of the glories of Autumn in the Sooner State is Friday night football. In most places, the town’s entire social life revolves around it. Nights are filled with tailgate parties, cold beers, meeting friends and family, talking about last week’s game and wondering if we’re going to make it to the playoffs — the whole nine yards.

Contingencies are part of the package. Everybody has their ideas, pet strategies, and ideas about what went wrong last week. But one constant is the “home-field advantage.” This is important in a state where football teams drive two or three hours to play another high school in their category (from “A” to “AAAAAA”). Distances can be vast: From Konawa to Tahlequah it’s about 2 hours; from Kiowa to Okmulgee, about three; McAlester to Beaver, close to seven.

Getting the team there is easy. Getting the fans there is a lot harder. The longer the distance the more difficult it is, and anybody who’s ever played high school football knows how important the fans are. All things being equal, it’s tough to get beat at home.

Bp. Benjamin got beat at home — big-time. Not only did +Jonah disarm his vociferous gaggle of critics, but the Bishop of the West gave him the ammunition he needed. Frankly, Bp. Benjamin came off as petty and vindictive as did the new chancellor, Fr. John Jillions. Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky couldn’t help but get a few licks in himself and looked no better. Clearly this was the last hurrah of a team that had seen better days.

At the start, +Jonah threw a Hail Mary pass in his opening speech when he took responsibility for the various administrative failings. Though this admission shocked many (this writer included), it became clear that His Beatitude was not throwing in the towel but raising the stakes.

What followed was a litany of successes (certainly not framed as such but successes nonetheless) that have occurred since his election three years ago. He pressed his advantage by underscoring his bold vision for the Church, and ended with a resounding rebuke to the prevailing moral zeitgeist, serving notice that the OCA will remain firmly within the received moral tradition of Orthodox Christianity.

The crowd rose to the occasion. Two courageous delegates — Maureen Jury of Dallas and Fr. Chad Hatfield, Dean of St Vladimir’s — stood up to the bishops and asked them if they would own up for the failings of the recent past. Bp. Benjamin came down on Mrs. Jury like a two-ton blocker. Fr Chad wouldn’t stand for it. For their trouble, they were overwhelmingly elected to the Metropolitan Council. (The look on Bp. Mark Maymon’s face was worth the price of admission when Mrs. Jury’s election was announced.)

From there, the end was foreordained. The fear of the present regime in Syosset was palpable, especially towards the now-famous New York Plan. Melanie Ringa gave a presentation of the Budget for 2012 which Fr. Alexander Webster challenged. Fr. Webster asked why the new budget did not include a line-item for the continued “severance” pay of Fr Alexander Garklavs. Fr. Garklavs, the former Chancellor of the OCA, was fired in February but was surreptitiously kept in place by Bp. Melchizedek of Philadelphia.

Fr. John Reeves (a conspirator in the failed Sante Fe putsch) rose to make an impassioned plea against the New York Plan . In the end, he and the other Stokovites failed; when the votes were counted it passed two-to-one.

Finally, the delegates voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution mandating that the OCA celebrate a “Sanctity of Marriage Sunday.” This is a stinging rebuke to the homosexual apologetic recently propagated by Fr. Ted Bobosh, the crew behind the We Are Their Legacy website, and other critics of His Beatitude.

The present regime was able to run out the clock on some resolutions they didn’t like, specifically a vote on whether to remain in the National Council of Churches (see: NCC Exit Poll) and whether the bishops should submit themselves for an evaluation as His Beatitude had volunteered to do. It’s an old ploy, but the fact that they failed to both remove the white klobuk from His Beatitude and derail his vision of a decentralized Church can only be viewed as a stunning and catastrophic defeat.

Clearly Team Syosset went home dejected. More good news was soon to follow. Yesterday Mark Stokoe (“I don’t make up the news, I just report it”), the chief cheerleader of Syosset, threw in the towel and shut down OCANews. That execrable website by which Stokoe and his Syosset handlers destroyed the reputations and careers of anyone caught in their cross-hairs is gone. Good riddance.

More to follow.


  1. Glory to God! I’m gonna light three candles.

  2. I would suggest that Orthodox Churches across NA set out boxes of candles this weekend so that people can buy them by the handful to celebrate the death of OCAN.

  3. I was just thinking I don’t have enough one dollar bills to light all the candles I would like to! I’d light up the candle stand like grandmother’s birthday cake.

  4. cynthia curran says

    Well, at least its safer than the Byzantines favorite sport Chariot racing.No Blues or Greens stabbing each other in the seats. Granted, most of the Blues and Greens were actually law abiding a small group was into criminal activity or street fighting. Also, football is a safer sport than Chariot racing less deaths.

    • Cynthia,

      I beg to differ. In the past 100 years there have been far more fatalities due to football than chariot races!!! 😉

  5. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    Bring Back FATHER Rodian Kondrickt and correct all the wrongs OCNews pushed on the OCA. Then do a REAL audit, NOT to find out about the so-called stolen money, but to find out how much BS Eric Wheeler and Mark Stoke were pushing these last few years and to lay the blame where it squarely belongs on them and their co-horts.

    The shutting down of OCnews just adds even more credibility to the fact that RK was railroaded, the Old Guard are done, the OCA, and all of Orthodoxy need to get out of the Ecumenical movement, and that the REAL legacy of the OCA still wears the white hat.

    Now the HS needs to be cleaned up. This will now happen with the utter collapse of the “GET JONAH” crowed gone or quickly leaving. The same medium, THE INTERNET, that destroyed RK, was also used to SAVE JONAH.

    I have seen many parallels between Metropolitan Jonah and Former Archbishop Spyridon. The internet was not in full force back then, and Archbishop Spyridon did not have an OCAT or a Monomakos to defend him, and we in the GOA lost a truly great Archbishop who was returning Orthodoxy to its real traditional roots. Since his departure the GOA HAS gone through a schism between the Traditional Greek Orthodox under Fr. Ephraim and the American Moderate/Liberal social types under mostly liberal Metropolitans than view us mostly as serfs that should constantly give them money.

    We lost Archbishop Spyridon and the GOAA has suffered because of it. The OCA almost lost Metropolitan Jonah, but did not. May the OCA bloom under his care. We in the GOAA kept Michael Jaharis and Alex Spanos, but you guys kicked out Mark Stoke and Faith Skordinski, and are kicking out the rest. Good for you.

    I am sad and happy all at the same time. What we lost in the GOAA you in the OCA kept. Learn from this, and earn it everyday you have Metropolitan Jonah, and if you truly believe in having Orthodoxy take hold here in America then get to it, and do the job right.

    Also, if you happen to remember the rest of us in the GOAA, AOAA, ROCOR and others don’t be hostile towards us, but work with us to achieve something wonderful in this country. Well, the immediate crisis is over, the activists and heretics have been identified and marginalized and the OCA can start to rebuild so….

    1. Bring Back RK to the ranks of the Clergy;
    2. Get out of the NCCC and WCC and Ecumenical Movement altogether;
    3. Re-assert and keep on re-asserting the Moral Teachings of the Holy Orthodox Church;
    4. Get rid of Ethinic festivals and focus on the preaching of the Gospel.

    Do these things and the OCA will be the REAL and TRUE legacy of Fr. Alexander Schlemmen. With that I say good-bye for good and leave you to your good fortune. Its been fun George, but now its time for me to go for good. Congratulations to the OCA for their win. Lets all pray for many long and prosperous years for Metropolitan Jonah.

    Yours Always in Christ

    Peter A. Papoutsis (its been a slice).

    • Except, Peter, Archbishop Spyridon did decide to end the clergy careers of four highly respected priests, and fire others from the seminary, on exactly the basis those fired refused to back down from their decision to expel a homosexually molesting Greek Archimandrite. We see Joe Paterno and an entire school’s leadership today fired for NOT doing what the Patriarch through Spyridon fired our seminary college staff FOR doing — expel sexual predators.

      And you know what? He ordered the predator to be given a diploma and the predator went on to a clergy career in Greece. Where, presently someone who we are still to respect as a ‘Metropolitan of the Ecumenical Throne’ is living large with his rank and title nevermind the accusation by another bishop the Metropolitan got busy sexually with the bishop’s brother, and various other parishioners.

      And, as you know, it was Archbishop SPYRIDON who orchestrated the acceptance of those folks into the GOA. Like writing checks to pay victims? Please give generously. Our parish was asked to buy textbooks for church school. You’d think the tens of thousands we send in every year would return at least that to us. But, no.

      We can’t go on pretending these really awful things everybody with ‘google’ can see don’t exist. They don’t exist in that place in my mind and I think yours when we hear on Easter night about the church without ‘stain or spot or any such thing’. But let’s not give power to people who fail to even try to make that a reality in the bright daylight the world wide web brings into every single home.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        Last Post. Take note. As Harry will not let go of bad mouthing Archbishop Spyridon neither will the stokovites back down from bad mouthing Metropolitan Jonah. I have been hearing this crap for a very long time, and guess what? IT IS STILL CRAP!



        • Peter, I saw and spoke with the doctor who evaluated the gay archimandrite after the fellow he tried to molest gave him a black eye (while drinking at a mardi-gras…) You accuse me, but I report what occurred. And not only I reported it, but many, many others. There is no doubt Spyridon brought in the St. Irene Chysovalantou pair over everyone’s local objections. There is no doubt of this. Not crap. Getting mad at me about it is not dealing with it.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Have a nice life Harry.


          • Old Calendarites Rejoin Official Church

            In ceremonies that took place last week at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, the break-away Old Calendar church in the United States, returned to the canonical order of the Greek Orthodox Church. The break which initially took place in 1924 when the Greek Orthodox Church officially accepted the Gregorian or New Calendar, resulted when certain traditionalist groups within the Church refused to go along with the change and created schismatic groups adhering to the Julian or Old Calendar which is thirteen days behind the New Calendar. These groups were to be found in Greece, Romania and Bulgaria as well as in the United States.

            The largest of these groups in the United States, headed by Metropolitan Paisios and Bishop Vikentios (Vincent), with some 20 churches and monasteries in America and headquartered in Astoria, NY, has agreed to return to the Mother Church at Constantinople. At the ceremonies held on April 11 at the Phanar, both Old Calendar hierarchs were reordained by Patriarch Bartholomew assisted by metropolitans of the Ecumenical Throne and Archbishop Spyridon of America who was there for the occasion. Metropolitan Paisios will be installed as Abbot of the Old Calendarite Monastery of St. Irene Chyrsovalantou in Astoria on April 24. While now officially part of the American Archdiocese, the Old Calendarites will be permitted to retain the Old Calendar usage.

            The GREEK PRESS has learned that a contingent of priests in the New York area have raised concerns about the re-admission of this group due to the fact that they are alleged to be notoriously anti-Semitic and unduly cultist. They cite as evidence their official publication The Voice of Orthodoxy which has published vitriolic anti-Semitic literature through the years. A few years ago, this group was also involved in a court suit against the Archdiocese over the issue of “stolen” religious reliquaries. The case was settled out of court. These concerns, however, were reportedly rebuffed by officials at the Archdiocese.


            We have two samples of the “Voice of Orthodoxy” newspaper here, one dated 2/94 and another 11/93. On 2/94, the page one article by His Eminence, Metropolitan Paisios begins: “Throughout the ages, there have been a myriad number of fanatical groups, that not only mock God, but mock the diety of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. In this century, for example, the Zionists could be considered one of these fanatical groups: look how they have tried to indoctrinate people with their virulent ideas, and most especially see how they have tried to crush the Christian Orthodox religion through many sundry methods. The Zionists employ the assistance of the devilish Masons, and as co-workers with them try to deliver the world up to the absolute domination of Satan Himself. Let us see how Satan is able to make the people pay homage to him, instead of God.” The article goes on among other things to quote apocalyptic signs in Revelation, decry the spread of the practice of Satan worship among the youth especially attributing its growth and strictly warning parents to be watchful against Hollywood and the mass media, and to enlist the schools aid to teach and warn the youth against the various soul and Church wrecking methods employed by Satanic cults.

            In November of 1993 the Voice of Orthodoxy printed an open letter in Greek of Maria Douraki on page 7, which was an installment in a serialization. A translation includes: “How can the Anglo-Saxons teach about God when they don’t know Him, and since they have as their father the devil and as allies the greatest enemies and “Satanists” of Hellenism and Christianity, the “Jews”? They helped them become a state [country] … The leader of the Ku Klux Klan was Jewish…. Who will save the great American Nation from the nails of the “Jewish Luciferian Powers”? The griefworthy mess they have directed in land across the Atlantic, the Masonic Lodges – the Syndicates of Crime -the Protestant ridiculous heresies – the very irresponsible bankers (Rockefeller, Rotslyn?, etc.) the mafiosi families – the millions of unemployed… the narcotics….Hollywood was manufactured by them…” and later “They manufacture such films because in a little time they will slaughter all the orthodox” and so on, and at length. This installment of the letter ends with “In a little time a GREEK face won’t exist. And of course, since OTE [Greek Telephone Co] will pass into Jewish hands, all of Greece will be spied upon. And danger of death for the Greek Army.”

            From “The Greek Press” newspaper of Chicago, April 19, 1998, Page 1. To subscribe, call 630 766 2955

            “Upon learning of the concern of the Executive Committee regarding the payment of $139,500 to initiate the purchase of this residence, I immediately called for the replacement of these funds,” writes the archbishop [Spyridon]. “I am most pleased to assure you and the members of the Executive Committee of the Archdiocesan Council that the amount of $140,500 will be deposited on Thursday, May 7, 1998, into the Archdiocese General Account to replace in full and with interest, that which had been previously withdrawn.

            Therefore, it must be reported that the Archdiocese has not incurred any financial loss regarding this transaction.”

            In his letter, the archbishop does not mention the provenance of the $140,500. Sources, however, told the Herald that the money would be provided by the newly ordained Bishops Paisios and Vikentios of the Monastery of St. Irene Chrysovalantou in Astona, New York. The two recently split from the ranks of the Old Calendrist Church and joined the Ecumenical Patriarchate. They were ordained priests and, immediately afterward, bishops during an April visit to Constantinople.

            Meanwhile, the aborted home purchase and the resulting furor have brought the archdiocese under intense pressure to open up its accounts to scrutiny by the Archdiocesan Council and independent auditors.

            U.S. bishop sentenced to prison by Greek court
            Published in “The National Herald” of New York, 7/4/98
            By Theodore Kalmoukos

            Special to The National Herald

            BOSTON.- The First Magistrate’s Court of Piraeus sentenced the newly installed Bishop Vikentios of Apameia, a hierarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to a nine-month prison term for defaming Metropolitan Athanasios of Acharnon and Neas Ionias, a hierarch of the Greek Old Calendrist Church. Vikentios is substitute Abbot of the Monastery of Saint Irene Chrysovalantou in Astoria, New York. According to sources Vikentios is planning to appeal the verdict.

            The court found that Vikentios, who at the time was the Old Calendrist Metropolitan of Piraeus and Salamis, defamed Athanasios two years ago, by accusing him of embezzling one million drachmas (approx. $3,500) from the Old Calendrist Church’s charitable account. The money was donated by the current Metropolitan of Tyana and then Old Calendrist Metropolitan of North and South America (Greek Orthodox Church), Paissios, a close friend of Vikentios and now the Abbot of St. Irene’s. Vikentios had also attacked Athanasios through the official publication of the Metropolis of Piraeus, The Voice of the Piraeus Church, in December 1996. It should be noted that Athanasios was the hierarch that ordained Vikentios bishop of the Old Calendrist Church.

            Both Paissios and Vikentios were admitted to the ranks of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in April. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios visited St. Irene’s in May, thus placing the prestige of his office behind the two hierarchs.

            Archbishop Spyridon of America recently appointed Vikentios Hierarchical Vicar of the Cultural Center of the Archdiocese in Astoria, an act which provoked the resignation of the center’s director, Stamatis Gikas.

            Bishop Vikentios did not respond to messages by The Herald requesting comment. Athanassios, however, said he was “deeply sorry that I found myself in the difficult position to file suit against a colleague clergyman, whom I have helped many times.”

            Asked to speculate as to why Vikentios attacked him, Athanasios said: ‘At the time, I was President of the Philanthropic Account of the Church. It appears that they had in mind to take over the Philanthropic Account. I … supported him once again, and I included Vikentios as member of the Philoptochos Account. even though … no one wanted him and [they] gave me trouble. I said to them ‘Look, since he is a bishop and belongs to our synod, we have no reason at all not to include him.’ That is what I be lieved, and that is what I did.”

            Athanasios also said that in addition to accusations about the money, Vikentios “reviled [him], acted abusively, and said all sorts of things [against him].”

            An interesting aside to this story is a speech by Bishop Vikentios that appeared in the February 1996 issue of The Voice of the Piraeus Church, in which Vikentios attacks Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios. The speech had been given during the sanctification of the waters in Piraeus. “The current leader of the Phanar, the current apostate of Orthodoxy, the current Ecumenist of the Patriarchal Throne of the queen of cities, continuously moves in every direction in order to achieve the dark designs of the New World Order, the universal religion, the unity of all Christians, which the New World Order drives forward, for the sake of the coming new satanic era of the Antichrist,” Vikentios said of the patriarch. In the same issue Bishop Vikentios also refers to Bartholomaios as ‘unorthodox [and] Latin-minded.”

            When Vision Becomes Reality. The Orthodox Observer, Official newspaper of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, page 10, May 5, 1998 By Met. Paisios

            In the midst of this festive time of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, a new resurrection has dawned for all Christians who follow the Julian calendar in America. Indeed, we who are known as “Old Calendarists” were redeemed by the sacrificial love and benefaction of the great bearer of the cross of Orthodoxy, the crucified head of the Universal Church, our Ecumenical Patriarchate.

            For years, we who follow the Julian church calendar have thoughtlessly and carelessly joined hands with those who afflicted the Phanar, from where more than anything else radiates Orthodoxy and Orthopraxia.

            Bias and aphorisms, like dark clouds, prevented us from distinguishing the tender maternal glory and selfless sacrifice of the honorable center of World Orthodoxy.

            It was not until the ascent to the throne of our local church in America of an able and masterful leader, His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, that the clouds of prejudice were dispersed. Together with the Archbishop, under skies now devoid of any mistrust and bias, we were able to detect our need for the exemplary love of the Mother Church within the shrinking bosom of our own declining Old -Calendarist movement.

            Inspired by the love and openness of Archbishop Spyridon, we finally came to realize that the only saving grace to our quest for a solution to our concerns was to move quickly towards the most venerable center of Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Patriarchate. This change of heart was made possible also due to the wisdom and enlightenment of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, whose vision and dynamism has brought the Patriarchate from obscurity into the world community and has given it a voice and an identity.

            We had admired him for his openness, his intelligence, and his many inspiring messages of truth in his sermons and speeches. Inspired by both of them, we began our journey with a sole interest: the salvation of our souls and our restoration to the holy place and space of the Universal Church.

            Having set our hopes high for our canonical restoration, we met with the distinguished, experienced, and knowledgeable Hierarchs of the Canonical Committee of the Holy Synod of the Throne. Our contact and movement among them can only be described as living in the “courts of the Lord”. We can personally attest, now that we have seen it and felt it, that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is truly the “courts of the Lord” where all is healed and becomes complete.

            It is the place where truth is pure. It is the place where we, too, have received our therapeutic treatment for our complete restoration to good spiritual health with much care and, above all, without pressure or excesses, without ego or animosity, without circumvention of the Holy Canons or violation of the rules and practices of the Church.

            It was at the Ecumenical Patriarchate that the bell tolled the sweetest sound of our own resurrection, together with the glorious Resurrection of the Founder of the Church. It was there, at the crucified Phanar, that the Church celebrated another victory: a victory against the ailing fanaticism that fights shadows and imagines traitors and treason.

            History was made at the Phanar this year. A preamble of the coming Resurrection of the Lord was written there, so as to serve as a filter to every fraction of impious zealots who willingly scorn the “pillar and foundation” of the Church – the Ecumenical Throne – and who from now on would attempt to fight the truth of the faith.

            The Resurrection of our Lord is the greatest of the miracles. No less of a miracle is the resurrection of a fraction of Orthodox Christians who had cut themselves from the tree of life, the Mother Great Church of Christ. Truly, our formal canonical restoration to the body of the Mother Church was a miracle! A miracle that serves as a great light for return to the “living spring” to all those who passionately and in an unhealthy manner walk the rough path of denial of the life giving salvation. It is the miracle that has become a contemporary vociferous reality which supercedes all noise; a thunderous voice that finds resonance to the blessed motherland, Greece, wherein the delusion of Old Calendar fanaticism has its roots and nest. It is our fervent prayer that this miracle, as did that of Ezekiel (37, 1-10), will shed its light upon the “graveyard” of the Old Calendarist movement so that the light of the glorious Phanar may shine there, too, as it did here in America.

            As for us, the daily living of this miracle means obedience and discipline to the orders of the Great Church of Christ. It means absolute respect to the God-guarded Primate of the Ecumenical Orthodoxy, His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and cooperation with the Primate of the Church in America, His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, who, like a gigantic spotlight, illuminated our way so that unobstructively, with ease and with dignity, we walk the road of return to the warm embrace of the Mother Church.

            Now, we nourish ourselves with the “logical unadulterated milk” of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in contrast to our former spiritual and ecclesiastic emptiness and disability. May the prayers of all living Orthodox Christians follow us now that we, as “novices”, begin to live and move in the experience of this lifelong miracle of our restoration and resurrection.

            The above Guest Editorial was written by His Excellency Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana

            Autocephaly now (or it will be too late, later)!

            Author: Demetrios Rhompotis

            Date Published: 6/6/2011

            Publication: Neo Magazine

            I wish Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew would show the same sensitivity to the victims of priestly abuse (I’m not referring just to those who have to endure some …unbearable Sunday sermons) as he displays to the endangered Careta-Careta giant turtle or other environmentally-related issues. You can understand his special interest in animals: he himself is the head of a …flock; but despite the fact that humans are animals too, we still tend to believe that somehow we are …more important!

            A few months ago, the Astoria, New York, Greek community went through a scandal of unprecedented proportions to which a cover up, instead of a solution, was offered and botched. It involved two bishops in the so-called Monastery of Saint Irene Chrysovalantou, which happens to be under the direct jurisdiction of the Patriarch, and consequently his own responsibility. These two characters, Metropolitan Paisios and Bishop Vikentios, came to the US as non-canonical, Old Calendrist monks, and after they broke with the Saint Markella Old Calendrist Parish in Astoria, they set up shop on their own a few blocks away, and thanks to their hard work and the faithfuls’ stupidity, their business flourished. Selling “blessed apples” to women wishing to become pregnant, offering “ultra traditional” services and passionate sermons mixed with botched theology, anti-Semitism and supra-nationalism, they managed to make themselves a force to be reckoned with. At one point they almost took to court even the then all powerful Archbishop Iakovos when he accused them of fraud in the case of a weeping icon (only Canonical icons are supposed to weep, I guess). After a while, however, they realized that money alone could not buy prominence (it was long before this economic crisis, otherwise things would have been different), so they approached then-Archbishop Spyridon and they negotiated their entry to the Canonical Orthodox Church, and they were placed directly under the Patriarch’s rule, creating thus a parallel Archdiocese, consistent with Bartholomew’s divide and rule policy when it comes to the American Orthodox Church (should one day people wake up and demand Autocephaly in stronger terms). Until the two “bishops” joined the official church, the Sacraments they performed were not recognized and, in fact, Bartholomew re-ordained them into the priesthood in a fast track procedure of which numerous businessmen, constantly “harassed” by damned regulations, would be envious! By a patriarchal decree that worked …magically, the Sacraments that the two had performed during their non-canonical times were deemed valid!

            A few months ago, Bishop Vikentios, Paisios’ right hand for more than 30 years, went to the local press and accused him of having sexually molested his brother! After so many years, he just had found out, he claimed! Before that, a nun gave an interview accusing Paisios of having sexual relations with her daughter. On top of that, allegations had seen the light that Paisios had maintained a sexual relationship with another nun since she was 13 years old. Then a man in his 40s came out accusing the Metropolitan that he had sexually molested him when he was a child. A guest at Paisios’ monastery came to me and gave a two-hours interview saying he took part in various orgies with Paisios, a nun and other women. He even gave me Paisios’ phone number in Athens and I called him there. His Eminence advised me to speak with his lawyers, saying that all this has been a plot of Vikentios to oust him so that he could take his position. Then I called the other Eminence, actually His Grace, to be more precise, Vikentios, who was also in Athens then, and he also refrained from any comment, due to a patriarchal instruction not to talk to the press while a special commission was examining the case.

            By then, the Patriarch had sent to Astoria an Exarchy, a group of monks chaired by Metropolitan Niketas, to see what was going on. They invited everyone to come and tell what they knew about Paisios and Vikentios. However, talking to me on the record, Niketas admitted that unidentified people were taking pictures of those entering the Archdiocese center to testify, in an attempt to intimidate them and others from doing so. Why was not the Police informed, I asked, and he said that he was let know about it afterwards!

            Anyway, the Exarchy submitted a report to the Patriarch (which didn’t go public) and afterwards Bartholomew suspended the two bishops’ right to perform any priest duties. In the end, he ordered them to leave the US (although Vikentios, an American citizen, I believe, is still here) and he appointed them to shepherd some remote Aegean Sea islands!

            Well, this is very typical of the so-called Church Justice: not a clear declaration of innocence or guilt, everything in limbo so that nobody can be accused of anything and no one will be responsible for anything. However, as we know in real life, you can’t be partly-pregnant or half-gay for that matter–either you are or you are not. So far we don’t know for sure whether Paisios is guilty of the things he was accused of, while at the same time, not enough light has been shone on Vikentios and his role as Paisios’ accomplice–I’m sorry, I meant to say assistant–all these years.

            I’m sure the Patriarch was aware through his extensive network of informants – he knows better than to rely entirely on the Archdiocese and its nonexistent “intelligence” – that many things were wrong with his two bishops. However, business was good, money was flowing in, buildings were being maintained and expanding: why look for trouble? Like any other businessman in his stead, he could see the numbers and since they were good, there was no reason to worry.

            However, being naïve that we are, we tend to believe that a Church is not like any other kind of business, or it shouldn’t be a business at all. Facts on the ground show otherwise: the number one skill for any parish priest isn’t his spirituality: his ability to help people guide themselves through the important existential questions. Fundraising prowess is what counts and what is religiously sought after. Even if a priest or bishop has some kind of unacceptable “weakness,” we can turn a blind eye as long as money is coming in and the parish is expanding. Yes, this is a culture with deep roots in our community, because even when it comes to the church, even when it comes to the holiest, appearances count more than any underlying issues. Like the newly-rich, we want the pomp and display of riches as a collective reassurance that we’ve made it in this country, that we can proudly flaunt the wealth of our churches to the Roman Catholics, Protestants, and not to lesser extent–the Jews! We can proudly declare through our church edifices that we have finally arrived! But is that want we want and what we should be after?

            Anyway, going back to where I started, after all what happened, and despite the mishandling of the case on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, we would have expected the Patriarch to at least send a letter of fatherly concern to his flock, saying how disturbed he is with the allegations and the possibility that people were hurt–that people’s lives were destroyed. And although nothing has been officially proven, he could have found some space within His vast All Holiness for the possibility that something of all that was true and in addition to the alleged victims themselves, the trust of the faithful in the congregations has been rocked by this. Bartholomew could even use an unofficial visit here as a way to show that he cares about the people and not just the property assets of the church (the number one concern when talks about lawsuits started to circulate and when legal specialists in cases of child abuse that the Archdiocese have used in the past were summoned to offer their opinion).

            It’s not the first time that people have realized how distant an Ecumenical Patriarch can be to his people here. Maybe it’s Constantinople and the mesmerizing Bosporus that slackens sensitivity and alertness. Whatever the reason, it seems that the need for an Autocephalus (independent) church in America is already beyond doubt. The patriarchal distance coupled with the inability of the Archdiocese (under patriarchal jurisdiction) to do almost anything, shows that Autocephaly is perhaps the only remaining, realistic way that could lead the church out of the multi-faceted impasse it has found herself in for more than a decade. And it would be better for the Patriarch himself to initiate such a transition instead of throwing names of possible new archbishops behind the scenes in order to test the waters. The Church here has matured enough and it’s time for the Mother Church to let her go before events take precedence and lead to more traumatic situations. After all, every birth comes with pain…

            Another example of totalitarian Church governance by Archbishop Spyridon centers on the first major scandal to rock the Archdiocese during this Archbishop’s time. The Archbishop fired the president and three professors at the Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology in Brookline, MA in July of 1997. The three priests/professors served on a disciplinary committee that recommended expelling a priest/student for allegedly sexually harassing another student. However, the Dean of the Theology School, Fr. George Dragas, a close ally of the Archbishop, overruled the board’s recommendation. When the disciplinary board reaffirmed its original decision, the three priest/professors and the President of the Seminary were fired by the Archbishop [see “Greek Orthodox Archbishop Creates a Rift in College” in the August 15, 1997 New York Times; “Four at Hellenic College are Fired: Sources Say President, Three Professors Wouldn’t Cover Up Harassment Case” in t he July 10, 1997 Boston Globe; “Firings Throw a Greek Orthodox College into Turmoil” in the July 18, 1997 The Chronicle of Higher Education; “An American-born Archbishop, Old World Values” in the October 20, 1997 U.S. News and World Report]. The actions of the Archbishop have caused the school’s accreditation by state agencies to come under question [see “Accrediting Bodies Eye Hellenic Firings: College Could Face Severe Sanctions” in the August 8, 1997 Boston Globe; “Hellenic Could Get Academic Warning” in the July 7, 1998 Boston Globe]. While these events happened well over a year and a half ago, it is still an explosive issue for the faithful and priests, whose alma mater has been tarnished in such a shameful manner. At the Clergy Laity Congress held this past July, delegates voted to reverse the Archbishop’s divisive actions and voted to re-instate the dismissed faculty members [see “Church Dissidents Claim Victory: Delegates at a Greek Orthodox Conference in Orlando Voted Against their Leader in a Bitter Dispute” in the July 10, 1998 Orlando Sentinel].

            So, Peter, you know, I didn’t actually make it all up.

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              So you and others know there are two sides to every story, it’s just that my side is right and yours is wrong:

              A CONFESSION: An Interview with Spyridon, Former Archbishop of America
              The Editor: In an exclusive interview to the magazine “Eikones”, Spyridon, the former Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church in North and South America, speaks of “political cabals” in the Archdiocese, accuses the Ecumenical Patriarchate of “self delusion”, sees Archbishop Dimitrios as following a policy of peaceful coexistence “with the backrooms of power”, and argues that individuals representing OCL “the same OCL cadres used in the war of detrition against two archbishops (meaning himself and Iakovos) now hold leadership positions in the Archdiocese. He is more critical for his downfall of the “Partiarchal friends” than of the Iakovos supporters, but at the same time he opposes any effort to cut off ties between the patriarchate and the Archdiocese and he feels that any revision of the Charter should have been undertaken at a time when the Archdiocese is strong, implying that currently the Archdiocese is weak, going through a period of transition and uncertainty”.

              Spyridon explains why he chose Lisbon to retire, and how he spends his time “far from the turbulent church centers”. Being now away from those centers, he speaks candidly and without diplomatic constraints. The REVIEW felt that our readers would find the interview very interesting.
              On the 19th of August 1999, the Archbishop of America, Spyridon, under suffocating pressure and against a background of blaring headlines, tendered his resignation from the Archiepiscopal Throne, determined to close this page of his ministry with dignity.
              Related Articles

              Holier Than Thou
              “Hermes Expo” to Present Spyridon Biography

              The Greek Orthodox hierarch equipped with diplomas from the Theological School of Chalki and post-graduate studies in Switzerland and Germany as well as with rich credentials from an intense participation in the ecumenical dialogue, was elected to the Archiepiscopal Throne of America in July 1996. He came into the picture of the Archdiocese at a time when his predecessor had not yet departed, trying to balance himself on a tightrope. Thus, on the one hand, he had to confront the Iakovos establishment that was not willing to yield control of the Church to the new spiritual leadership. On the other hand, he was surrounded by the knot of “Patriarchal friends” who planned to benefit from the fruits of Iakovos’ ouster without delay and bluntly demanded to run the Archdiocese themselves. The US Metropolitans also partook in this scheme, as they were seeking to increase their powers now that the scene was finally changing. Meanwhile, the representatives of theological liberalism in power at Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology thought the moment had come to establish themselves once and for all at the expense of the Hellenic-centered ideals and traditional Orthodoxy promoted by the Archbishop. It was at HC/HC that the fabled “scandal of sexual molestation” of a seminary student by a fellow student surfaced, only to be proven, 3 years after his resignation, as a mere fabrication put forth at the time for “obvious reasons.” In this web of self-interests, Spyridon attempted to entrench the boundaries of his jurisdiction, clashing with various challengers, and, most importantly, provoking the wrath of the Phanar, which saw its “patriarchal commissars” in the United States being marginalized by the Primate of the Throne’s largest eparchy. Thus began the chain dance of “crises” that clearly took on the color of money and thirst for power, driving the Archbishop to resign.

              Approximately three years after his dramatic resignation as Archbishop of America, Spyridon lives secluded in Portugal, denying to engage in the whirl of Greek or American church matters. The hierarch, who left his mark on the Archdiocese of America during his brief passage, appears to be enjoying his solitude in a borrowed residence filled with his precious and faithful companions, his books. His adored heroes are always those of Dostoyevsky, accursed and inconsistent. The decoder of his existentialist quests is Saint-Exupery’s “Little Prince.” Yet, he finds supreme relief in the Gospels and the writings of the Church Fathers.

              He was witnessed purchasing books from “bouquinistes”, the picturesque secondhand booksellers along the Seine in Paris. He indulges in insatiably ordering dictionaries from his brothers and sisters in Greece. He never seems to be satisfied with the game of words, nor with their incredible potential. He shifts from English to Greek, to French, to German, to Italian, testing the translators’ skills.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                There was more but it got cut off oh well. Bye.


                • Here Peter and I give people to see the two cultures in tension on display. One a meritocracy, where choices matter. The other centered around loyalty, authority-of-rank, love of the leader.

                  In the modern culture of widespread literacy and access to detail, I do not think the latter will grow. Only the former has a chance.

                  There’s an old German song called ‘The Two Grenadiers’. It’s about these two French soldiers, released from a Russian prison during Napoleon’s time. They get to Germany on their way home where they learn ‘The Kaiser, The Kaiser is taken!!’. They say the kids and wife at home can beg food, they want to be buried in uniform with their guns at the ready to rise again when Napoleon walks (sung to the tune of the French national anthem). They meant it, they were serious. I think a famous portrait was done of this as well. Love of authority, the Germans took that to the limit. It worked alright when the the vision of the leader need only extend to how far a horse could go in a day. After that, one wonky leader and it all goes horribly wrong. No safety in loyalty alone, no Nuremburg defense (I am blameless as I was merely following orders). Accountability, Meritocracy, understanding. That is to say, as the Russians term it ‘sobornost’. The Gospel ‘Synod’. We ought to try it, really. Especially if we like to keep Orthodox in the title of all this and not have people look at us in the manner of someone giving a speech with their fly down.

              • Peter, nobody ever proved, or even attempted to prove, the gay molestation by a Greek Archimandrite at the seminary was a ‘fabrication’ as the above says. The article posted above says it was so ‘proven’ — but where’s the reference to the ‘proof’? Doesn’t exist except in the minds of the those who prefer that it did.

                So this Archimandrite after having been drinking at a Mardi Gras shows up at the school’s infirmary saying he ran into a door. The doctor there (an actual ER M.D.) said the injury was consistent with a ball or fist. I spoke to the man myself, saw the report.

      • Peter, I cannot believe your unmitigated gall. Comparing Metropolitan Jonah to Archbishop Spyridon is like comparing a surgeon to Jack the Ripper.

        • Everybody, let’s go easy on Peter –he’s one of the good guys. We may not agree on certain particulars, and I was a vociferous critic of Spyridon, but mainly because I did not view him as a traditionalist but a Phanariote sent here to put a stop to unity. I may have been wrong. (Peter, I still owe you a big essay on the whole Spyridon/OCL kerfuffle. Please forgive me for dropping the ball.)

          Regardless, Spyridon did make a mistake when he covered up for that homo priest who accosted the young Arab student before Lent. I think we can all agree there. As to why he did so, and as to why he fired the four priests who admonished the miscreant, I don’t know. I’d like to think that every bishop is allowed a rookie mistake or two. Gosh, +Iakovos of blessed memory made mistakes even in his twilight years. And let’s be honest, too many bishops in the OCA and GOA have gone to bat for too many priests who’ve made mistakes. Whether they did this out of mercy or because the priestly bench is shallow we’ll leave for another discussion.

          Having said that, Peter’s critique of what has transpired in the interim in the GOA is pretty much spot-on. It may have been better had Spyridon remained at the helm but we don’t know because we’re dealing with hypotheticals. Perhaps all the troubles of the past 15 years are the birth pangs of a new American Orthodoxy. I hope so. I for one don’t think that we’ll have a mature Orthodoxy until the secularism/worldliness/ecumenism is squelched and I think we can thank Spyridon for granting Elder Ephraim ever more leeway here in the States. (Interestingly enough, the Elder first came to America with +Iakovos’ blessing.)

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Yeah, so a corrupt laity can take over and set things right like the Archons and Leadershp 100 did with Jaharis and Spanos, or maybe the OCL or maybe G.O.A.L. before it, or maybe a few rich business men and women. How about all the above Got it, Now I am happy.

            OK I got to stop now, just keep talking. I’m out.


            • The way to measure whether an outcome is better or worse is whether the whole is smaller or larger, further or closer to what the Gospel points at. I think if God had in mind the church should be ordered and run in the end by mostly ordained young never married people living oceans away from, well, most everybody— He’d have mentioned it.

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          I love you too Helga. Bye.


    • Peter, no hostility on my part to the tens of thousands of good people in the GOA and the other jurisdictions (and none at all towards ROCOR!) on my part. But just as this was a lay-driven movement, so too must the good people in the GOA especially, fight to take back their church from the liberals. You can do it. We did it.

      May I make some suggestions? First of all, put an end to the Byzantine nostalgia. Second, demand autonomy NOW. Don’t take “no” for an answer or even “yes, but…” Third, vet the episcopal candidates. The most recent ones have been deplorable for the most part. Demand real election processes in the dioceses. Fourth, resurrect the Chicago 2002 Plan, which mandated that all monies are raised in the dioceses and they keep 75% and send only 25% to NY. Fifth, demand that the stupid and promiscuous use of the title ‘Metropolitan” be abandoned forthwith.

      That’d be a start. If they don’t listen, join Antioch, ROCOR, OCA, or go to the Ephraimite monasteries. That’ll wake them up.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        I agree, but just as the Old Calendarists tell me to leave and I won’t, the Liberals and others may try to push me out but I won’t. If you love something, like I love the GOAA, I stay and fight from within. The Genral inertia of time and the quite fight eventually wins out.

        OK now I’m done.


        Peter A. Papoutsis

        • Peter, upon further consideration, I think I was wrong to suggest leaving. I think you should fight from within, but you and other good people like you should definately fight. I was just giving you some suggestions on how to fight. Rather than go after the episcopate and the weak-willed clergy, I say take the fight to the Archons and Leadership 100 crowd. They could stop the nonsense yesterday. But I honestly don’t think they know any different. I will pray for you to continue the fight though.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            I know. I have tended too agree with you more and more as the months have passed. For me and my family we have been blessed with a wonderful church parish, a great young and energetic priest, a young and visionary parish president and we are not that far from two Ephraimite monasteries. My little corner of Orthodoxy is my escape from the craziness.

            I also do not want you to think I am leaving because I am upset at anything. I am not. It’s just time to move on and get back to prayer and fasting. Some very important people in my life need it and I want to give it to them as much as I can.

            I’ll come back and troll once in a while, but I’ll let others do the commenting from now on.

            However, I just have this burden on my heart to just see at least one more thing. The reinstitution of RK to the priesthood. I do not know the man, have no connection or correspondence with him, but to truly heal he needs to be reinstated to the priesthood. I’ll let you good people think about that and talk about it.

            As for me it’s time to go, signing off and for those I have offended please forgive a very sinful and Ill temperate man. Thank you again one and all, and in the immortal words of Mr. Spock “Live long and prosper.”

            Peter A. Papoutsis

  6. One final question: Does the All-American produce any actual DOCUMENTS that report results?

    Is there a common site that contains texts of speeches, etc.?

    One thing that would help the discussions of Orthodox life is a common site, a clearing house for actual documents, letters, speech texts, verbatim comments of significance from blogs (left and right). A place to put key information ON THE RECORD.

    Then again, I am an actual working journalist. I like that kind of thing. I also like it as a churchman, as opposed to, well, readers here can imagine.

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says . . . unfortunately, OCA is rather slow when it comes to releasing documents.

    • Terry, I understand your grief, but you know as well as anybody that the OCA is one big Charley Foxtrot when it comes to documenting anything. It’s been nearly a week and all the website has managed to get up is Met. Jonah’s speech, and pictures of him with the Matushkas and Alaskan dancers. (I suppose none of them thought to at least YouTube the Alaskan dancing? I would have liked to see it.)

      • And does anyone out there have a recording of His Beatitude’s banquet speech? In whole or in part?

        • AFR really dropped the ball by missing that one. I would have loved to have heard that, along with the recordings of the liturgies, or at least the homilies. I feel tremendously hurt that they didn’t see fit to share the tributes to Archbishop Dmitri with anybody else.

          However, I’m thankful that His Beatitude made sure to mention Vladyka a few times during his opening address.

          BTW, after Metropolitan Jonah’s elevation in 2008, Archbishop Dmitri gave a speech that I think was sourced in prophetic insight. It starts about 19 minutes in, just after they finish chanting the Diptychs.

          Listen here

  7. cynthia curran says

    Well you may be right about football having more accidents than chariot racing but what happen in the chariot scene in Ben Hur were the actor was killed was more common in ancient Greece and Rome and early Byzantine period than is thought. However, the sources are mainly a small number of references in ancient sources. Some Chariot racers were as famous as pro-Football players, one that is mention and you can find this on the internet is Porphyrius of the Greens who had a statue made of him since he was so famous during the reign of Anastasius

  8. Ashley Nevins says

    I would not say that Mark threw in the towel. I would except his explanation at its face value. His job can be done in his mind and he can move on. I once had an website on Elder Ephraim. When it accomplished what is was set out to do I closed it and why I closed it sounded familiar to why Mark closed OCA News.

    You make this sound like some great victory for your side. I fail to see the victory. Mark, like him or not, is the main man who really was the force behind exposing the church corruption and failure. If he feels it is time to depart then he feels like his it is his time to depart and anything else is just speculation as to his motives.

    Mark does not have to explain himself anymore than he did in his closing statement. He is going to move on and all of you are just going to get used to him not coming out and playing with you.

    Was it all the OCA TRUTHER’s who drove Mark out? I highly doubt it. Mark strikes me as a man who makes up his own mind and he is not afraid of any of you. Until someone interviews him and gets more specific with him anything anyone says is less than factual speculation. I have been a critic of Mark. He will tell you that. Now that criticism basically stops. What is done is done with him and he is done with OCA News.

    Did Mark over reach? Yes. Was he pretty in this? No. Did Jonah over reach? Yes. Is he pretty in this? No. Sounds like the state of your church to me. Maybe grace and forgiveness could replace speculation and claim of victory? Just think, you get to live with Mark for eternity in heaven. Eternity starts today.

    Certainly you have every right to disagree with him, but to believe this is some big victory is a big stretch. Before you all have a big victory party remember Jonah has not gone too or passed the evaluation yet. Maybe a little humility is in order here? Your church is still a disaster with or without Mark involved and the administration of Jonah has led that continued disaster for the last three years.

    Humility understands that the OCA is far from recovered and that it will be a miracle of God if it reverses itself and becomes a safe, healthy and Christian mature church of relevancy. Sack cloth and ashes broken before the Lord over the state of your church is the only humility that does not claim victory in the midst of obvious defeat of your church. The victory is not Mark leaving. It is your church repentance that leads to its revival.

    If Jonah does not become a competent administrator he will bring great harm to your church. If there was ever a time that your church needs competent administration it is now. Let’s say Jonah passes the evaluation, so what? He still has to competently lead the church and if he doesn’t what are all of you who support him going to do then? A little humility can go a long way here.

    Love your enemies, says the Lord. They will know they are Orthodox Christians by their love? Let Mark go and move on. Just think with Mark out of the picture now the focus will be on Jonah’s competency and it will prove itself out with or without Mark and the other bishops. You will not have Mark to blame if Jonah proves still an incompetent administrator. Only Jonah can own that one.

    Supporters of Jonah, be careful what you want for. You have been fairly warned. I personally believe that Jonah would have proved an incompetent Met with or without Mark and the bishops involved. I believe that is going to be proved to all of you in time. With Mark out of the way Jonah now should prosper forward by the degree Mark stood in his way, right? Time will tell and time is running out for your church.

    The victory, in one sense, is competent administration of the church by its Met. That is far more important than Mark leaving. I have yet to see that competency with or without the bishops causing him problems. Jonah seems quite capable on his own to create his own set of problems. So, the Jonah victory is his remaining or him being a competent administrator that your church needs right now? You may well win to keep Jonah, but do you win a competent administrator? Not by what I can see.

    You believe Jonah is about decentralization? No he is not. You will learn that lesson the hard way. He can’t be decentralization when the structure and system is nothing but centralization. Hierarchy is nothing but centralized. It is centralized planning by the structure and system of authority.

    Jonah really gets it about decentralization. That is why Dreher’s wife showed up at his front door, right? She went there to talk with him about his great administration that protects children? Is it so decentralized it forgets to protect the children or is that just incompetent administration? Jonah is far from out of the woods. If he is incompetent about an issue like that you will find what other issues just as dangerous to your church he is also incompetent about. You will not be able to blame the bishops then. It will be all Jonah.

    Unless you change the top down centralized structure and system nothing is going to change. That is a practical real world reality. You decentralize your church by decentralizing (reversing) its structure and system from top down to bottom up. You decentralize it by making the church laity centered and not bishop centered. Jonah is not going to do that and beyond that your structure and system is not set up to do that.

    Idealistic hope and not practical real world reality about your structure and system becoming a decentralized church with a centralized hierarchy is not rational when the structure and system is centralized and that is how it is going to remain until that structure and system are radically changed. That is just not going to happen and especially with a church head administrator who is not a competent administrator.

    You could decentralize your church today and tomorrow it will remain basically the same by incompetent administration. You need both decentralization and competent administration to make it work and you have not got both to make it work.

    I hope he does decentralize your church. I promise you he will not decentralize your church. That is not an inconsistent contradiction.

    Ashley Nevins

    • Ashley, I thank you for finally putting down your thoughts in a more cogent and terse manner. There’s a lot to pick apart there but decentralization is not antithetical to hierarchy, as hierarchy is not antithetical to the created order. Protestants are good people and they’ve done great things. I think they have produced many saints. But the worst possible thing they have done is foist egalitarianism on the world and the Church. There is nothing wrong with hierarchy, I can’t say this enough. Your children aren’t equal to you and you weren’t equal to your parents. If you work you have a boss; if it’s your company, then Joe the Janitor doesn’t sit at your desk and write checks on your company’s account. Enough of your facile critique of our Church and its hierarchy. It’s been that way since Christ created the Church and set the Apostles over it. Deal with it.

  9. 1. I see that Fr. John Jillions’ name is no longer on the “their legacy” site. At least it’s been removed from the list of contributors. Interesting.
    2. I thought I’d read that OCAnews was shut down because of some lawsuit. Is that the case?

    • That is interesting, Catherine. Thank God for Fr. John Parker putting that question to him about his views on “sexual minorities”, since it drew the issue into the public eye.

      • Helga, I haven’t had a chance to read the transcripts. Would you please provide a link where we can read or listen to Fr. John Parker’s question and Fr. John Jillions’ response? Thanks.

        • Jane, unfortunately there aren’t any transcripts as of yet. It was during the second plenary session, after Bishop Melchisedek and Fr. John Jillions gave their respective reports as former interim chancellor and new chancellor.

      • We can all be glad that Fr Parker stood up to the new Chancellor and called him on the carpet. As much as I am against the augmentation of personnel in Syosset, the inclusion of Fr Parker will throw a much-needed Evangelical monkey-wrench into the sleepy machinations that have recently characterized the corruption of Syosset.

    • Catherine: Fr. Alexey Karlgut commented on this blog a couple of days ago:

      Helga says: “As for why Stokoe is doing this, I can only hope his conscience has gotten the better of him. But it might be that he’s sick or dying, or some other such reason deserving of pity. Whatever the reason, we should continue to pray for him to repent of his public and private sins, and be able to offer himself as a worthy servant of Christ.”

      Dear Helga, wishful thinking! As a matter of fact, Stokoe received a letter from Fr. Ray Velencia’s attorney informing him of the lawsuit being filed against him and Ocanews. Org for defamation and other charges, one day before AAC, last week. After few days of reflection and looking at evidence on his own website, and some in-depth conversations with the spouse, was shut down today. Stan Drezlo got similar letter as well as few others. I think this verifies the old adage, that if you stand up to the bully, he’ll turn coward and run away.

      • Ashley Nevins says


        Ashley Nevins.

      • Fr Karlgut, has absolutley no idea what he is talking about. His own post could be viewed as defamatory. Do his superiors know that he is communicating with the disgraced priest Velencia? Is he impersonating a lawyer again? You people reading this site know this “prominent OCA priest” Karlgut was booted from his position as OCA “investigator”, right? Why he still has a job, I do not know.

        • All right, Sophie, will you tell us what happened, then?

        • Why he was “booted” from his job as OCA investigator, I do not know. (But I have an idea.) Anyone? Your comments are welcome.

        • Wow Sophie. If Fr. Karlgut is wrong with his facts, please enlighten us. If sharing his less-than-favorable opinion of Stokoe is reprehensible, then I am confused that you would so viciously follow suit by attacking a priest.

          Fr. Karlgut’s decades of service to the OCA — in particularly his handling of sexual misconduct allegations — have shown him to be a commendable and proficient priest and crisis manager. The fact that he is no longer tasked to investigate does not reflect negatively on him or his body of work.

          It is interesting that he has not shown the “outrage” that some have in regards to Metropolitan Jonah’s handling of sexual misconduct allegations. Doubtless it is because he doesn’t know the details of any of the cases. But then again, that doesn’t seem to stop some people…

          So why are we all upset again?

          • I would like Fr Karlgut to tell us excatly how he came upon the infromation he posted as fact regarding Stokoe’s pulling the plug on his website. Heads up – he wont be able to do it because he made it up. Yes, Velencia sent letters of intent to sue to several people, including a fellow priest (wow, isnt that cause for immediate discipline? not in the OCA apparently. and Karlgut apparently supports it) but Karlgut has no factual knowledge whatsoever about the reasons Stokoe decided to terminate ocanews. To post such is defamatory. His body of work regarding his investigations is a farce. He was relieved of his duties for neglecting to conduct the investigations thoroughly and accurately, for lacking credentials for such work, for impersonating a legal professional, among other things. He was sternly dressed down by the MC for his failures and manipulations. That is a fact. The reason he, and so many other priests who commit misconduct, continue to roam around as if they deserve respect is because the OCA allows it. IMO, he is nothing more than a pompous bully in a priests collar.

            • Heracleides says

              And yet Sophie you post with factual certainty that Fr. Karlgut “made it up” when in fact if you had even bothered to check his statement you’d find that Stan Drezlo confirms many of the details in one of his own rants. Go figure – citing Stan the Man to validate anything, but there you have it. I ascertain no reason to question Fr. Karlgut’s integrity, but you on the other hand are unknown and seemingly have a bias if not an outright agenda with your accusations and the tone in which you coach them.

              • What I said, H, is that Karlgut has no knowledge of the reasons why Stokoe called it quits, not that he made up the letter. If you had read more closely, you would have seen that I also have knowledge that letters were sent out to multiple people. My issue with Karlgut is his posting as fact the reasons for Stokoe’s terminating his site. THAT part was pure fiction.

                • no reason to question Karlgut’s integrity? outright agenda?

                  sorry, cannot stomach this….good luck to you

                  • Nobody is forcing you to stay here and stomach this. Please feel free to not come here if you can’t stomach it. After all, I have stayed away from OCA News for months now.

                • Heracleides says

                  Doubtful. When Mrs. Stokoe-Brown was booted from the MC only a couple of months ago he boldly proclaimed he wasn’t going anywhere – despite his bishop’s request that he immediately shut down OCA News. Now – just a few short days after being notified of legal action, Mark folds his tent and “suspends publication” – you connect the dots. Stokoe is a coward, and like most bullys backs down when faced head on with real consequences.

                  • I seriously doubt anyone is afraid of Velencia, except possibly those poor souls who buy into what I consider to be his madness. I truly believe that most people see him now for what he is. Too bad the OCA won’t deal with him once and for all. But that is their MO, no? Lastly, to prove defamation, there has to be, you know, defamation. And theres not.

                    • So is your intention to show us an example of defamation?

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      I’ve been reading a lot of documents available online over the past couple of hours, “Sophie” and I am not persuaded by your unsubstantiated, angry and insulting comments here.

                      If Father Raymond is innocent of these things that have been said about him, these allegations that have damaged him and the Church, (and after reading all I could on it, as I said, I’m not convinced at all that he is guilty of wrongdoing in this case), I hope and pray he gets some justice, vindication, and the restoration of his good reputation.

                      It wasn’t all that difficult to get a sense of the character and personalities coming through as I read over what people said and what was alleged, the findings, and what was concluded, on both sides. The fact that an entire parish made a public statement in Fr. Ray’s defense and posted a web site with documentation. This helped to balance the documents and information that was posted on That Father Ray was the (in their words) “beloved” parish priest for 20 years. The fact that no other side to provide balance was presented on pokrov or ocanews. Fr. Duane Johnson’s comments.

                      At least there can be fairness and balance now. Pokrov and ocanews always seem biased to me. You can never know whether you are being manipulated.

                      Well, we shall see.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      I’m sorry I commented on what you said, Sophie. It wasn’t necessary, and comments like mine don’t help because it shows bias, and how can I be biased when I have NO CLUE? So, again, sorry.

                  • and your unnecessary “Mrs Stokoe-Brown” commentary provides a clear window into your heart and soul as well. you are a great and noble spokesperson for Orthodoxy, yessiree.

                    • Sophie, at the risk of reopenning the whole “Stokoe-Brown” can of worms, let’s not forget that it was MS himself who said that Steven Brown was his late mother’s “son-in-law.”

                      I for one don’t believe it is right to pry into people’s bedroom windows, but if the person in question doesn’t draw the shades, he has only himself to blame for the prying eyes.

          • Jesse, I must also say, your ignorance about the facts of some of these OCA thugs is shocking and most especially worrisome since you have appointed yourself an authority about this very troubled institution.

            • One last thing, Jesse, I suggest you check in with Metropolitan Jonah because I would bet that the OCA in some form got one of those letters from Velencia too.

            • Sophie, I’m open to correction. So far all I’ve seen from you is a desire to insult and to claim the worst without facts. You’re not helping correct me.

              Moreover I haven’t appointed myself an authority on the OCA — I have never claimed that they should be accountable or transparent to me for example — I have simply spoken up about some of the things I know and pulled the “BS” card on things that don’t seem to add up correctly. Sort of like your snarling and hitherto unsubstantiated public attacks on a priest for his unsubstantiated explanation of Stokoe’s action.

              And I do not “check in” with Met. Jonah to find out things like that, nor will I.

    • Ashley Nevins says

      Yes, it is important to find the facts that tell you reasons why the site was closed. Asking questions is important, but answering them is more important. At the same time no matter why it is closed it is time to move on and forward without divisive divisions, politics, power and control games and circular without solution.

      Knowing if a lawsuit is what closed the site is going to change the outcome of your church? Another juicy scandal is going to help your church? More gossip to throw on the divisive division fire burning down your church? A new opportunity to exploit the weakness of the other side? Discussing Mark ending OCA News without end is going to change the ending state of your church?

      The constant divisive infighting is taking its toll on the OCA and unless that stops your church will more than stop in its tracks. It will end. If it is not an unqualified Met administrator causing problems it is a group of divisive bishops causing problems. Both sides are wrong and both sides LOOSE if this does not stop. One side or the other winning is not the solution. The whole church wins or the whole church looses.

      The OCA has boiled this down to a zero sum game of a winner and a loser and you all lose because of that. You all get to split the ashes of your fire stormed church. All of you TOGETHER set this fire and only all of you together can stop it. You are not together by unity and so your church burns down by fighting over who turns on the water and who holds the hose. By the time you sort that out your church will be ashes.

      Since it is Orthodox incorrect to divide over such issues you are all stuck with each other. There is no way of escaping this. You either divide into two churches or stay in disunity as one dysfunctional church that cannot find solution. You will go in circles with each other and never find the straight line solution that takes you out of circle of self destruction. If either side cannot escape what their side sees as the truth that means you all go down together by infighting over who is the most Orthodox correct of them all. One side must be right and the other side must be wrong and the outcome of that thinking is a church going in the wrong direction.

      When all are submitted to Christ authority first and not their particular favorite bishop first this will end. That is what will bring back unity, health and Godly meaning, purpose and value to your church. If your church does not stop this state of rebellion to the authority of Christ first your church will end dead last. You are devouring one another. You are not serving one another. You all choose to have either a devoured ending or a serving future.

      Mark, right or wrong is gone. Deal with it and move onto the true solution of your corrupt church systemic collapse. Either stop the systemic contagion or die. Both sides are poisoned by the systemic contagion. You can drink Satan’s Kool Aide and die or you can drink the living water of Christ and live. You decide.

      You must stop the worldly and carnal circular without solution and replace it with clear Godly solution. That will not happen until the entire church submits to the authority of Christ first. You can be your own failed solution or you can submit to the authority of Christ as your solution.

      I do not see anyone leading the church to repentance of sin and mutual submission to the authority of Christ first in the church. Both of which will lead to revival and a new future for your church. All of you put this farce of Christian authority in rule, but can all of you change what you put into place? No way around it. A spiritually immature church places incompetency in rule over it. You all are milk drinkers and not solid food eaters and your outcome is the proof. Time to grow up to the solid food of God in Christian maturity. I’m not telling you to do that. I am only echoing what the NT tells you to do.

      Bottom line, your problem is not really with each other it is with God. He is not your unity that holds you together. Your bishops are instead. Incompetent and corrupt man is your unity and not God. Look at the outcome of that failure of immature carnality that places incompetency and corruption into positions of rule. It has been my observation, generally speaking, that churches put the level of their spiritual maturity and competency in leadership over them.

      How spiritually mature is EOC leadership when you look at the EOC outcome in the world today? Oh, but, this is Marks fault that this happened in the OCA or is it George Bush’s fault? OCA, move forward past Mark and find your solution. Heck, it should be much easier now that he is out of the way. Right, OCA Truther’s? No, no, no, instead micro manage reports on Mark now gone and stay in your past. Keep him right in front of you and when he has split the scene.

      If Mark threw in the towel maybe he realizes something none of the OCA Truther’s have realized??? Bet none of you are thinking like that. So wax critical of Mark and when he may have figured out something the rest of you have not figured out yet. Even it is something other that, so what? Move on by stopping the political infighting. Stop trying to find the POLITICAL advantage over the other side or all sides will lose. Yes, keep perpetuating. all of this and perpetuate your end.

      Have the OCA Truther’s ever contemplated letting the other side win? Why would I say that? Think it through for yourselves Orthodox. Let them place Jonah on the shelf and let them lead. Why would I say that? Think it through by thinking for yourselves. The contrary strategy least expected? Give them your coat?

      It is a lot easier putting them into power and control than it is to remove them from power and control. That is because the OCA does not have a sound leadership development strategy and training. The role model future leaders you have is what is leading you right now. Without high leadership competency standards your church will operate on a sub par standard.

      In other words, you have a sub par standard of dealing with leadership problems when they arise and your church is surrounded by them. Your church is encircled with these problems and the circle is closing bringing your annihilation. From the look of it your church has no way of escaping the encirclement.

      Someone is playing all of you like puppets on strings. The leadership has serious competency problems that cannot lead the church from failure to success and so guess who is leading your church to its end? You cannot physically see him, but you can see the results of his leadership. You can see his finger prints but you cannot see his hands pulling the puppet strings.

      Mick Jagger said it best, Pleased to meet you. Hope you guess my name.

      Can the OCA identify the name of the one leading them into ruin? Which side in this divisive division is on his puppet strings? Finger pointing at each other is exactly what he wants. That way he can have the power and control to destroy your church. His leadership is hiding in plain sight. I hope you guess his name.

      He fills the authority void by the divisive division of church authority. Oh, but our side is right and the other side is wrong. Exactly what he wants. He has all of you exactly where he wants you and by all I can see that is not going to change until both sides can with clear transparency confess the exact nature of their wrongs and repent. Repentance kills the enemy’s grand strategy to destroy your church. Obviously, even after all that has happened and your church supposedly had repented nothing has changed. That tells me there are serious areas of unrepentance still controlling your church. Your divisive divisions blind all of you to the sin you have yet to repent over. your carnal immaturity cannot find a mature repenting solution and you point out the failure of the other side and both sides loose.

      You war with each other and miss the war brought to you that is causing you to war with each other. All of you are being manipulated and none of you can really see how that all of you are. You each believe the other side is the problem and when both sides are the problem. Each side takes pride in its latest victory over the other side and all are focused on the other side making mistakes that can then be exploited. Orthodox, you are being played like pawns on a carnal political game board none of you can win. Who wins the Monopoly game of power and control wins it all? Yes, who is the best at monopolizing power and control on the game board wins!!! And, look at what the winner really wins. The only real winners here are those with the rational sense to see the game, stop playing the game and WALK. You win by walking away from the game or you loose by staying in this game. Don’t stop playing this game and the more people will walk, walk, walk.

      There is no winning this game. You are playing against Satan’s HOUSE. The house has the odds stacked against you if you play the house game. The game is rigged and Satan laughs all the way to the bank with his winnings. All of you believe if your hand wins you win the game over the other players. No, the game is rigged so all the players loose to Satan’s house. Get it?

      You are playing to loose when you want your side to win. I just can’t say it enough. You are all being played.

      Your church is running out of time. This Satan’s game is unsustainable. He wins and all of you lose. You lose to the biggest loser in eternity.

      Ashley Nevins

      • another one says

        You know Ashley, if you stopped after the first 8 paragraphs above, I would have to say you made a great point.

        We must learn to work together.

        But unfortunately, your dysentery of the keyboard then obscures what was a very cogent argument.

  10. Ashley Nevins says

    Deal with it. OK, I will.

    I did not say that there is not an authority structure with clear lines accountability and where you know who is in charge. You cannot have success without a structure of authority organization. I am talking about authority that is not dictatorship. I am talking about authority that is leadership. One is rule top down authoritarian and the other rules by coming bottom up under and raising up. One demands you serve it and the other serves you. One imprints itself upon you to mold you into its image and the other transforms you the inside out into the image of Christ.

    Christ did not come to us as a top down church/state structure and system of hierarchy totalism power and control. He did not come to us melded and merged with the dictatorship Roman state. That is not His beginning with us no matter how you try to say other wise. Prove it in the Gospels. Christ tells us He is our BROTHER. The Apostles were a band of brothers with God as their leader. They were submitted to the Lordship of Christ and not the Sanhedrin hierarchy in bed with the Roman state.

    The Bible tells us to submit to one another. That kind of unity can only happen if all are submitted to Christ first. It is all of us centered and it is not leadership only centered. That is leadership that is not dictatorship. That is decentralized and it is not EOC centralized from the top down by hierarchy power and control. You can disagree, but it is not going to change the outcome of your hierarchy centered top down church.

    The Roman state is the antithesis to who Christ came to us as. It is not our brother. It is not Christ or His church. Christ centralizes us upon Christ as authority through a bottom up and open system. He does not centralize us on a church dictatorship that is top down and closed system.

    What is top down holds you down, Orthodox. What is bottom up raises you up. Christ met regular folks eye ball to eye ball at their spiritually abused and abandoned bottom. He didn’t meet them at the top of a totalism religious dictatorship hierarchy. He meet them at the BOTTOM. He even dressed like them. The Gospels tell us they were pressed down by top down hierarchy power and control that was centralized upon itself by its top down structure and system. They were also corrupt by the ROMAN STATE.

    Equal in value before the Lord does not mean equal in authority. Equal in value before the Lord means authority treats you like you have value to God. Your authority is your brother and not your dictator. You love your brother as you love yourself. You treat your brother like you want to be treated. It’s in the NT. That is the created order. When all in the church are submitted to Christ first the church has a submitted to Christ outcome. If all are submitted to what Christ confronted in the Gospels first the outcome will be corruption and failure.

    This kind of bottom up and open system authority wants to be held transparent and accountable and it does not play manipulation or avoidance games with it. It is submitted to Christ first and so it knows Christ wants it held transparent and accountable and it does what is necessary so that it is. It operated bottom up and not top down so that it can be transparent and accountable. That is humility and that is how Christ came to us as our authority. He meets us at the bottom as bottom up authority. Yes, I know, you obviously disagree.

    Your authority is to be submitted to holy Christ and it is not to be submitted to sin. Humility is bottom up. Sin is top down. Think it through. Sin wants to be God over our lives. It is proud. It wants power and control. It does not submit to humble Christ. Authority that does not bow to Christ will try to make you bow to it as God. It will lord it over and not come under you. Does any of this at all sound like the state of the EOC authority by the real world outcome of the EOC clearly seen?

    You completely missed the point I am making in your response post. I am not talking about egalitarian, but I am talking about the laity having real authority in the church. You confuse the two. I am talking about humility that is submitted to Christ first and then to one another as brothers in Christ. Christ is Lordship and He is not dictatorship. God is father. He is not dictator. That is Philippians chapter 2. The difference between the two is like the difference between Christ’s authority and Sanhedrin authority.

    All are submitted to Christ’s authority first and you can clearly tell when authority is not submitted to the authority of Christ. In other words, you are not spiritually abused and abandoned by authority. You can know what is authentic Christ centered authority and you can know what is man self centered authority.

    Is the OCA a held down church or is it a raised up church?

    Is the OCA a spiritually abused and abandoned church or is it a encouraged and supported church?

    Does the OCA bishop authority treat the laity like it is of great value to God?

    You can exchange OCA with EOC in anyone of those of questions.

    I always ask lots of question, don’t I. Can you deal with the questions?

    You got it wrong. Christ did not come to us as the EOC structure and system. He came to us opposite to those in hierarchy rule to make the clear distinction. They were closed system. He is open system. They were top down. He is bottom up. He is decentralized. They were centralized. He is not a top down dictatorship structure and system that is centralized upon itself. Christ is humble authority that serves. My brother serves the dictator is served. He is other centralized and not self centralized. Dictatorship is proud authority that demands to be served. That is why so many Orthodox bow to known bishop corruption. The choice is bow to corruption as Lord or bow to the holy Lord as Lord. Who you choose to bow too as a church will determine your outcome as a church. Am I talking about egalitarian or something else???

    No way around it. EOC authority structure and system is highly centralized upon itself. It is a closed, isolated and subjective structure and system and Christ simply did not come to us as that. He came to us open, engaging and objective. A closed, isolated and subjective structure and system is the perfect set up for sin secrets and sick cover ups. It is the perfect set up for the institution to be placed over the person and that results in a spiritually abused and spiritually abandoned church. It is the perfect set up not to be held transparent and accountable. It is the perfect set up to become corrupt.

    That type of structure and system if left alone to itself by its own hierarchy power and control will go corrupt. The laity does not have the authority to stop this and that allows the leadership authority to go corrupt. The balance of authority is warped and that warps the church. From what I can see the laity are treated as lessor than, objects, children and pawns. They are not treated as if they are valuable to God. They are not treated as brothers and sisters in Christ who are all mutually submitted to Christ first. You submit to the hierarchy first and church GOES CORRUPT. That makes the hierarchy an idol and idolatry leads to corruption. That is exactly what has happened to the EOC by its hierarchy structure and system and that is why it is corrupt and failed. This is a difficult truth for the Orthodox, but it is the truth of it none-the-less.

    George, that is the EOC. Telling you that reality is for you and not against you. Yes, I know, it is really hard to hear. The truth often is.

    Christ was pure service in leadership authority with the Apostles. He came along side of them and He came under them. He held them transparent and accountable and He could because He was transparent and accountable to the FATHER. He was submitted to the Father FIRST. He lead by humility and He did not lead like a proud and arrogant top down centralized power and control Sanhedrin. That is the FROM THE BEGINNING. They were set free men free to take mission and evangelism forward. They were Christ transformed and not Sanhedrin molded. They were holy, dynamic, relevant and alive. They were not corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying. There is a clear distinction between the two and so is there with churches.

    There is nothing wrong with the EOC hierarchy? You can’t say that enough? Then why the wrong EOC corrupt and failed outcome by its hierarchy structure and system?

    George, your church (EOC) is dying by top down totalism authoritarian hierarchy power and control. I can’t say it enough. It was not that way with Christ and the Apostles. Deal with it or it will deal death to your church.

    So, George, other than this how do you really feel about Mark ‘throwing in the towel’ ? Anything I need to deal with there?

    Ashley Nevins

    BTW, all in the bottom up and open system church are saints. We have the same value before the Lord.

    • George Michalopulos says

      So Ashley, you’re saying +Jonah is a “dictator”? I don’t even believe that about +Kirill or +Bartholomew for that matter. It’s totally counter-factual. If you knew what you were talking about, you wouldn’t say these things.

      Do we need more love among our hierarchs? You bet! But it’s not +Jonah that’s lacking in love is it?

  11. Dn. Marty Watt says

    You should be aware that Fr. Ted Bobosh did vote in favor of the sanctity of marriage resolution. Like myself, I suspect he has concerns with the state forcing priests to somehow bless marriages in their role as agents of the state.

    I also know that it is likely that two men or two women can be roommates without living in an active homosexual relationship. His Beatitude indicated in his speech in favor of the resolution that those people can and must be given a place within the Church to work out there salvation. Anyone not married is instructed by our Church to live in chastity and celibacy. They may fail from time to time, but Christ offers reconciliation and forgiveness.

    It is a dangerous game when people begin to pry into the inner life of a household. Much sin occurs there – whether hetrosexual or homosexual, it doesn’t make a difference. And where there is much sin, there is much forgiveness. We must struggle against all our sin, and conform our will to that of Christ.

    In my humble opinion, I believe His Beatitude and the other bishops, not one of whom seems to have the gift of administration, should take the same path as the Apostles in Acts 6: We will not wait tables. I can’t speak for all, but I need my hierarchs to be spiritual leaders and reveal to me the path of salvation, not determine the appropriate rate of return on an investment portfolio or set the compensation of the assistant to the director of communications.

    Last night, His Beatitude sponsored a pizza party/study break at St. Tikhon’s Seminary. It was such a joy to see him chatting with seminarians (including me), and generally being the father he is enthroned to be. I hope he, and the other bishops, can find it within themselves to abandon the administration of the Church to the Metropolitan Council or other body of the people (the “you decide, you pick” view of the Apostles in Acts 6) and then the blame and conflict will never reach the hierarchy.

    I wish Ms. Jury well in the new role, as well as Fr. Chad. I know Fr. Chad and think very highly of him. I don’t know Ms. Jury, however I’m sure she will bring new thoughts and ideas to the Metropolitan Council. I understand she is retired as the Chief Financial Officer for AT&T. I’d love to know more about that tenure. Hopefully the Metropolitan Council can dialogue on what role the central church should play in their assistance to the Dioceses.

    Ultimately, the central church consists of those functions that the Holy Synod gives to them. Otherwise, those functions would be relegated to the diocese. Things like health plan, pension plan, legal defenses, liturgics, theological and christian education, communication, external relations – the issues on which presentation of a united view of all the bishops is essential. Plus those items that are required by the special act which granted the organizational status of the OCA

    We still have a ways to go, folks.

    In Christ,
    Dn. Marty Watt

    • George Michalopulos says

      Fr, I thank you for this answer. I am glad for Fr Bobosh’s vote and I therefore apologize.

    • How is it that you went from same-sex “roommates” in one paragraph to excoriating people for prying “…into the inner life of a household” in the next? So which is it Dn. Fr., same-sex roommates or homosexual households? Pick one and stick with it. Heterosexual and homosexual “households” are not one and the same – apples, oranges, etc. Comparing them without differentiation is a typical tactic of those propagating the homosexual agenda in order to normalize a ‘household’ that is anything but.

      P.S. One needs to do no prying. Homosexuals by and large trumpet their sin of choice.

      • A household where – it is a fact – the family states that the mother viewed her son’s living-in-the-same-house partner as her son-in-law. It’s old news now but it puts a damper on Fr. Ted’s signature in my eyes. Has he changed his views? I’ll believe it when I read it from his own fingers. Until then, baloney. Maybe he is back-pedaling. He should be called to account along with all the other priests who so happily and adoringly went traipsing down the wrong road. “We’re following the leader…” Were they blind? If anyone would like to defend Archbishop Job, I so want to read what you have to say.

        • George Michalopulos says

          If he is back-pedaling, then we can take that as a “win” and we should welcome his adherence to Tradition. Like you, I still can’t get his earlier statement about “vice” and “virtue” out of my head. I think a complete repudiation is called for. In fact, I’d like to see the entire Synod, Episcopal Assembly, and presbyter’s assocations put out open letters reaffirming what SCOBA said in 2003. That’s really not too much to ask for.

          At the risk of belaboring the point, I think the Church is a hospital for sinners. People (myself especially) have to work out their salvation with their Father-Confessors. My concerns are with priests like Frs Arida, Jillions, et al, who have conceded too much to the dominant culture already.

        • Dn. Marty Watt says

          Quite true – but a statement by a family in an obituary is a far-cry from reality in some instances. For example, my grandmother’s obituary listed a woman as a “daughter” even though she didn’t give birth nor adopt this child. The “daughter” lived with my grandmother from the time she was 14, with her mother’s permission. She was never in foster care, and never had any legal or blood relation, but her time in our family made her a daughter in the eyes of my grandmother, and a sister in the eyes of my father. There were other sisters and brothers, of blood relation, all whom considered Mary a sibling.

          My own daughter has family friends she stays with occasionally that she calls her other parents. It might not rise to the level of being mentioned in an obituary, but on the other hand, it might someday.

          Now, when someone produces a marriage certificate for Mark and Steve, then I will retract every one of my words. They have had ample opportunity in several legal jurisdictions to receive civil recognition of a union and (to my knowledge) have not done so. Based on what I know, they are two individuals who share a house but not a bedroom, who are working out their salvation under the guidance of an able spiritual father, and one is an employee of the other in a real estate business. Beyond that, one would have to be their confessors to know what their relationship was, and if that relationship prohibited their participation in the Eucharist. As Bishop Michael told us once, our job is not to kick people out of the Church but to reconcile them to Christ. If we provide a path for reconciliation that they do not follow, then they exclude themselves.

          Jesus commands us to forgive “seventy times seven” while Paul admonishes us to avoid the temptation to “pass judgement on your fellow-Christian”. (Rom 14:10). This is the same Paul that writes in 1 Cor 5:12 that we should “root out the wrongdoer from your community”, and frankly I’m not sure how to reconcile those two. I suspect it is a decision for the Bishop to make, not me. Since I have exactly zero personal knowledge of the personal life of Mark or Steve, I will follow Paul’s directive to the Romans and pray that those who care will forgive me as Jesus commands. If I become their confessor, I will reserve the right to (after consultation with the Bishop) take Paul’s advice to the Corinthians instead.

          I can say that in my personal observation and interaction with both individuals, I have never seen them make any expression of affection toward one another – period. In Church or in social settings, I have never seen them give any affection to each other. In fact, the only time I have seen them have physical contact with one another was at forgiveness vespers in Church, and their interaction with one another was no different than their interaction with any other parish member on that occasion. Would that all such “homosexual couples” would live so chaste a public existence …

          In Christ,
          Dn. Marty

          • M. Stankovich says

            Fr. Deacon,

            I was once surprised and greatly honored to find myself included in an obituary as the “youngest son” by a family beloved to me. I appreciate your very thoughtful, sensitive, cogent, and logical statement.

            My advice now: put on your hardhat.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Dn Marty, Mr Stankovich, I agree that in obituaries, formalities are relaxed. How many times have we read that the “dearly departed” was now “residing in Abraham’s bosom” or “gone to glory” when no one living has any independent way of making that assessment. And I get the point of “Joe Schmo was like a son to Betty Smerph,” etc.

              That being said, please give us a break. In the real world, a deceased person’s “son-in-law” could only be a man who was legally married to the decedent’s daughter. That means the daughter was a female, not a male. (Nor for that matter any of the daughter’s ex-husbands, “fiancees,” or the guy she’s presently shacking up with.) If there was a mistake, newspapers are more than happy to print retractions.

              • In my experience, the information for the obituaries come from the family of the deceased. The funeral home may write the obituary, but they get the info for it from the family.

                • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                  That is indeed the case, as we had to do so recently. Information comes from the family, and the funeral home sends the obituary to the newspaper.

          • Heracleides says

            Of course Dn. you conveniently forget that the Stokoe-Brown couple also represent themselves as, ah, a couple in terms of their public charitable donations. Go figure. Willful blindness must be a wonderful thing.

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            Not even close. Steve Brown was not listed as yet another son, which would have gibed with the Deacon’s spinny scenario for the obit, but as (third) “son-in-law”, after naming two daughters and one son. And the reference to marriage certificate proof is just as silly. If such a certificate were to be produced, then the doughty Deacon would probably say, “Well, that’s just a piece of paper: were you there with a flash light and did you take a picture of them in their connubial bliss? Perhaps, like many men and women who “set up housekeeping,” they are just interested in the physical side and forego such “formalities” as weddings and licenses and so on. Isn’t what the Deacon proposes a classic example of “moving the goal post?”

          • Dn Marty,

            As Lola stated correctly, families provide the information to the funeral home and, the funeral home makes sure that the family checks the obit information before they send it to the local paper. There is no doubt that the Stokoe family provided the information, checked the information and approved the information to be printed including the known to the family relationship between Mark and Steve, the son-in-law, Mark’s gay partner.

            Exactly how Fr Bobosh directs Mark and Steve as their father confessor is unknown, but they are a couple, both are gay and both live together. Mark has never denied it and he has said that he never was sworn to a celibate life. So let’s just cut the crapola.

            The discredited Mark Stokoe opened the floodgates of accountability and transparency on the OCA and it cuts both ways. It is too bad that a site like this one was not around sooner before he wrecked so much havoc on the OCA. Now, finally, he is apparently being sued and he retires but before leaving he reminds us how wonderful and indispensable he was to the Church. Again, crapola. He is one of the chief architects of the demise of the OCA and he bears direct responsibility for the disrespectful treatment that Met. Jonah now has had to endure.

            You state:

            It is a dangerous game when people begin to pry into the inner life of a household.

            How true and how hypocritical in that we are to give Stokoe a pass but it is ok for him to pry into the inner life of Metropolitan Jonah? Stokoe did so with impunity planning and plotting with others to bring him down.

            Tomorrow, Met. Jonah enters St. Luke’s in Silver Springs, MD. He will be accompanied by Bps. Michael and Tikhon. They will not be going with him to be co-evaluated, but rather to make sure he checks in. If that insult was not enough, he will also be accompanied by Fr. Denis Bradley, a close confidant of Leonid Kishkovsky. Thus the latest abuse of His Beatitude will have begun.

            We know that the Syosset inner circle wants Jonah to check in as Metropolitan and leave as the retired Primate of the OCA. But the world is watching this latest outrage and they are paying very close attention; and so are we.

            The abuse of Jonah continued this past Saturday at the Diocesan Assembly for Western PA. With Bp. Melchesidec assembled his diocese and they were treated, with his blessing, to the trashing of Jonah by Gregory Nescott. He continued the psycho talk against Jonah – that no one knows the real story about Jonah, blah, blah, blah. And, all the while Melchesidec, Jonah’s brother on the Synod, just sat there and let the abuse of Jonah continue.

            So, Dn. Marty, this is the OCA that we now have to live with, thanks in no small part to the indelible mark left by Stokoe. Now, he and Steve can live their life together, protected by their pastor who has apparently made his accommodation with these two gay men living together and their full participation in the life of the parish. This too was your parish and you apparently have made your accommodation with the situation. That is your personal choice. However who Stokoe is and what he has done to the Church are not mutually exclusive. One informed the other and we are all paying a terrible price and the OCA may never recover.

            • Amos, very well put. On another note, I was not aware of the particulars of +Jonah’s chaperones. When I found out that Fr Denis Bradley was going along, I almost threw up my lunch. This is an outrage! If for no other reason than Bradley is definately a theological squish.

            • Amos, what’s their angle in sending him to a place that has a reputation for clearing pedophiles as healthy?

              • Helga,

                Let us not complicate this. The selection of St. Luke’s was at the suggestion of Denis Bradley with Leonid Kishkovsky and the willing participation of the bully bishop Benjamin. Jonah on the Sunday before the start of the AAC in Seattle, after the Divine Liturgy with his “brother” bishops was presented with a fait accompli, “You either enter this evaluation or you are done.” The text of his speech announcing this was given to him, or at least framed for him. Faced with throwing the entire AAC into turmoil, he acquiesced. He should not have, but he did. Thus, he enters this facility tomorrow and no matter if he is deemed safe and sane or not, he will be branded, and if he survives, he will be further isolated.

                Jonah is part of a toxic culture. I am not sure the OCA will survive with or without Jonah as Metropolitan. I think its only chance is if Jonah survives. But it is a real longshot.

                • Amos, what will they do if Metropolitan Jonah comes out of this with a clean evaluation?

                  • I know he will leave with a clean evaluation. But what he won’t have is a Chancellor who respects him or will work with him. He will also not have a Synod willing to admit their mistake, nor a chancery staff willing to publicly support their Metropolitan.

                    He will also inherit a Metropolitan Council still convinced of its self-appointed watchdog role of the Metropolitan although at least two new members have a chance to begin to expose the overreach of the MC.

                    Was Jonah prepared to be the Metropolitan of the OCA three years ago. No. Did people have unrealistic expectations of him in his thrust upon role as First Hierarch of the OCA. Absolutely yes. Has he made mistakes. Many. Has he been able to weather those mistakes in a spirit of support and patience by his brothers on the Synod? No. Was that hastened by the discredited Mark Stokoe and others? Well, Stokoe’s own words condemned him and exposed his agenda.

                    • They may have successfully strong-armed the Metropolitan into yet another unnecessary evaluation, but the Synod has been directly challenged on their failure to support and work with the Metropolitan. There are two battle-axes on the Metropolitan Council who won’t let them get away with this crap anymore. Solodow’s piece of garbage didn’t fool anyone with half a brain. Stokoe and Skordinski are both off the Metropolitan Council, and Stokoe’s website is gone.

                      Everybody knows who they are and what they’ve done. Do they really think we’re just going to roll over and keep paying money for a church run by people who honor thieves and backstabbers while Metropolitan Jonah suffers? Hell, no.

                    • Heracleides says

                      Sadly Helga, that’s exactly what I think they are expecting.

                    • He doesn’t even have priests at his own cathedral who support him. In his diocese, yes. At his cathedral, no.

                    • Deacon Patrick, he’s still got you. Has there been any progress in the search for a new cathedral dean?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Herc, if that’s the case (and I think you’re right) then they really are fools.

                    • Helga, they ran me off. I’m at All Saints of America Mission in Alexandria now.

                      As for a dean, word is the last one who was interested, is now not, and the pro-gay faction only tightened its grip on the parish council at the annual meeting Sunday. There’s no way they’ll support a dean who’s any good.

                    • Deacon Patrick, I am so sorry, I didn’t know.

                      I did notice which priest accompanied the bishops to St. Luke’s today. I feel sick for Metropolitan Jonah and for you.

                    • For me, it’s for the best. The mission is closer to home, and my wife and daughters were already settled there. I did what I could at St. Nicholas, and when I could do no more, God provided me a very convenient place of refuge. Hallelujah!

                      I’m sure He won’t abandon the Metropolitan either.

                    • So, the Holy Synod of the OCA appointed a Chancellor who cannot work with the Metropolitan. No competent board in any sphere of business would appoint a ‘CEO’ who cannot work with the ‘Chairman’, unless, that is, it was part of a political move to get rid of the Chairman.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Basil–I don’t think you have to worry about this. We have been assured by intimates of +Jonah on this blog that he is Christ-like in many ways. To be able to work with a Chancellor who is not at present in love of him would be no problem at all for our Metropolitan who condescended to be evaluated at St Luke’s.

                • What leverage does anyone have over +Jonah? They can hold the OCA hostage. His love for it is where he is weakest. The irony of the claim that he doesn’t “believe in the OCA” is that +Jonah is the one willing to make sacrifices –public sacrifices — for the sake of the faithful.

                  Amos, your point about those who publicly shame their Metropolitan is spot-on. But I would add that it is not just the man they shame, or the office of Metropolitan, but themselves as well. If the average person can’t tell there’s something very wrong with His Beatitude — even after Stokoe et al invaded his privacy for months — then I don’t know why Nescott or anyone else feels the need share their frustrations and speculations with the rest of the OCA. That sort of watercooler whining benefits no one.

                  What those who have gathered around and vocally support His Beatitude want is to be proved (not just told) that our fears are foolish. Reports like Solodow’s — which spends all but about a paragraph uselessly whining about His Beatitude — showcase a real lack of magnanimity and an ability to move forward. Even more disgusting was Fr. Kishkovsky’s thinly veiled verbosity that dwelled on anything he could think to take His Beatitude to task for.

                  It is unbecoming to shame anyone in such a way, let alone for a priest to do so to his First Hierarch. And to what end? It accomplishes nothing except to feed our fears and boil our blood.

                  And to do so after His Beatitude has so clearly taken responsibility? That’s either unforgivably petty or malicious.

                  • A lot of good points, Jesse. One question I have that’s kind of tangential, but still a serious concern, is how in the hell did Stokoe manage to get not only Metropolitan Jonah’s emails, but the text messages off of his cell phone?

                    • Helga says,

                      how in the hell did Stokoe manage to get not only Metropolitan Jonah’s emails, but the text messages off of his cell phone?

                      I have a guess. It’s a good guess, but still only a guess.

                    • Jesse, I know SMS has a lot of security vulnerabilities to exploit, but the idea of someone in the OCA going to those lengths to capture Metropolitan Jonah’s communications is really troubling. He must feel like a prisoner. What’s next, wiretaps and surveillance cameras?

                  • Jesse,

                    The only leverage they think they have over Jonah is what he has given them. However these things are also true.

                    1. Every member of the OCA Synod reads this website. (IP addresses don’t lie)
                    2. It has significant and verifiable readers in Moscow and
                    3. Constantinople. Again, IP addresses don’t lie.

                    The myriad of readers here in the USA should take solace in these facts. The puny efforts of players like Kishkovsky, Bradley, Nescott and others on the MC who are losing their grip on the future of the OCA should also take note.

                    The bonds of friendship and support that Jonah has forged with Moscow and ROCOR should not be underestimated.

                    I hope this helps to answer your query.

                    • Amos, Helga, et al: Once +Jonah comes out of this evaluation with no hint of being “gravely troubled,” I’d like to ask “Now What?”

                      Although I think he was wrong to submit to evaluation inthe first place, the fact remains that the Stokovite Axis is playing –one could say overplaying–a very weak hand.

                      They had several strategic firewalls that are now laid waste:

                      1. OCANews.

                      2. MC. With four bad actors off of it and two new people on it, the default +Jonah-hating meme will no longer fly.

                      3. The Modified NY Plan. Make no mistake, this will further dry up funds to Syosset.

                      4. The increased presence of the DOS. We are increasingly becoming the financial and intellectual backbone of the OCA.

                      5. Moscow. Reliable sources tell me they are very pissed at this whole imbroglio. Benjamin, Melchizedek, and Jillions will be harshly treated.

                      Perhaps the weakest link in the Stokovite Axis is Jillions. Long known as a mediocrity of meager accomplishments, he is saddled with two additional deficits:
                      first, he’s not a bishop, which is what a true Chancellor of a national church should be, and second, he’s a very weak man. Things have a way of going “kaboom” in unforseen ways that he’s not going to be able to handle.

                    • Don’t forget to pray for Metropolitan Jonah today. It’s surely no coincidence that he is beginning this evaluation on the feast of St. Gregory Palamas.

                    • ‘Amos’ writes (among other interesting assertions here):
                      ‘Every member of the OCA Synod reads this website. (IP addresses don’t lie)’

                      Really? All the OCA bishops read Monomachos? Really and truly?

                      How do we know that? Who’s keeping tabs on IP addresses? Why?

                    • It’s been three days — a very long time in Internet terms — since I sent you this:

                      ”Monk James says:
                      November 19, 2011 at 5:08 pm
                      ‘Amos’ writes (among other interesting assertions here):”’
                      ‘Every member of the OCA Synod reads this website. (IP addresses don’t lie)’

                      Really? All the OCA bishops read Monomachos? Really and truly?

                      How do we know that? Who’s keeping tabs on IP addresses? Why?’

                      Nothing from ‘Amos’ since.

                      Ah, well…..

                  • Jesse,

                    I am either misreading, (or perhaps you mistyped) or I don’t understand this part of your comments:

                    If the average person can’t tell there’s something very wrong with His Beatitude — even after Stokoe et al invaded his privacy for months — then I don’t know why Nescott or anyone else feels the need share their frustrations and speculations with the rest of the OCA. That sort of watercooler whining benefits no one.

                    I do not believe that there is “something very wrong with His Beatitude.” I do, however, think there is something terribly wrong with this Synod, wrong well beyond the fact that they all largely very young as bishops.

                    The behavior of the Synod toward Metropolitan Jonah has been just plain abusive. And that includes the fact that they sit silently while the Syosset staff and various members of the MC are disrespectful to him in their presence. They seem oblivious to the fact that this:

                    1) damages the office of Metropolitan

                    2) destroys any possibility of trust within or in the Synod

                    3) gives lie to anything they have to say regarding the Gospel or our life as Christians; it destroys their own credibility as shepherds

                    4) utterly destroys the value of the Tomas

                    If the Metropolitan has got something wrong, I would submit that he may developing damage from the unrelenting abuse suffered at the hands of Stokoe, Bp Benjamin and their ilk. He is flogged for not being a good administrator – a skill not in the job description of Metropolitan. In need of good administrators, he is instead frustrated at every turn by those wanting to keep their Oyster Bay addresses, or those coveting his position. The Synod took over administration last May, according to their resolutions. So if administration is the problem, maybe starting with evaluations of the lesser Synod might be in order.

                    Given that information leaks through this Synod like a sieve, would YOU want your psych evaluation to be in their hands? Stokoe might come back with an OCAN special edition just for that, just as soon his sources in the Synod could provide it to him.

                    And when Met. Jonah comes back, how can this Synod work together? Trust one another? For the old saying is certainly true. “If they will do it for you, they will do it to you.”

                    +Jonah may have a problem, but it doesn’t look psychological. He was elected into a bubbling cauldron of agendas and personalities and pathologies that existed long before 2008. This entire Synod is profoundly dysfunctional, and will need outside intervention to function at all. We have a Metropolitan Council who has badly overreached its charter, and stepped into the power vacuum left by a long floundering Synod. The Central Administration as always, seems to be largely concerned with….. the Central Administration.

                    I am praying for His Beatitude as he once more submits in love to the whims of his brother bishops.

                    I would like to see them, just once, reciprocate.

                    • Trey, let me try to be more clear about my Nescott statement.

                      I don’t think HB has a problem. If, hypothetically, he did have a problem, what would be the need to tell EVERYONE about it? What kind of person would feel it necessary to get up in public and argue for it?

                      Moreover, at this point HB has been under enormous scrutiny, his privacy has been invaded on multiple occasions and spread to the online world. If that doesn’t showcase a problem, it is probably the kind of problem that can be dealt with quietly and privately: for the good of the OCA, its reputation, and for +Jonah himself. If he was so “gravely troubled” you wouldn’t have to tell people to trust you about it; they would see it for themselves. But hypothetically he could need help and it could be offered and administered with decorum and love in a manner that wouldn’t leave the Online Orthodox so distracted and disturbed.

                      But no. Even after taking it on the chin on the biggest stage the OCA has to offer, he had to sit through completely unhelpful tripe like Fr. Leonid’s “I don’t want to embarrass anyone, but” report. And Nescott’s “you all don’t know the ugly truth about +Jonah” schpiel. And we’re supposed to pretend that’s ok.

                      It wouldn’t be ok if it was the Chancery custodian. It’s sure as heck’s not ok when it’s the Primate.

                      That better?

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Amos,then Bradley can be called the Judas Goat in this sordid affair.

          • Would that all such “homosexual couples” would live so chaste a public existence …

            One of the stranger sentences I’ve read.

    • Ashley Nevins says

      The entire OCA indefensible. The blind are leading the blind right over the cliff. Yes, the entire church needs to be held transparent and accountable and not just one side.

      Since each side is the right side each side believes it holds the other side transparent and accountable and turmoil and chaos rules.

      Not to worry, OCA Truther’s. When Jonah passes the evaluation and assumes leadership his administrative competency is going to lead all of you out of this debacle. Just remove or marginalize Job and with Mark out of the way it is smooth sailing with Jonah, right?

      Lawsuits among church members? That’s the solution!!! Your side wins!!! Yes, put it all into the courts for the whole world to see. Sling the mud in the courts. The solution is carnal church political and secular legal. Neither is going to bring about the outcome you all want for your church.

      Of course, your side has never ever over stepped like Marks side, right? Jonah has never over stepped. The hypocrisy is so thick you could not cut through it with an industrial chain saw. Jonah has never enabled by administrative incompetency anything illegal in your church. That’s why Rod’s wife had a talk with him, right? Jonah’s administrative skills would never land the church in a lawsuit, right?

      Sounds like the kettle calling the pot black to me. This is a church under the authority of God the Holy Spirit and that is why it takes each other to court and that is why administrative incompetency it is not at risk for lawsuits over its enforcement of sexual conduct policies, right?

      You can’t make this stuff up. Truly unbelievable are all of you in your church. How many years has all of this been going on without solution? Now the solution is the courts? Gnaw, this is not the church devouring each other. This is holy Orthodox unity in operating in solution. Thus, you should all feel excited and vindicated by him being sued, right?

      The total lack of objectivity here is truly amazing to behold. It is nothing more than tit for tat. Who ever one ups the other one wins!!! That is how to administrate a church? Lol, yes, you need lawsuits among you to solve this problem. It’s good Mark is going to get sued, right? He deserves it, right? Win the lawsuit against him and your side wins!!!

      You ask, were they blind? It is obvious who is blind by the solution course you choose.

      Ashley Nevins

    • Ashley Nevins says

      Excellent. A humble opinion that recognizes the church needs men with the gift of administration leading it. Truly one of the best posts I have ever read on this site. A very good starting point to find solution. You can see the objectivity in it and you can see the heart attitude in it. It sees one of the core problems and from what I can see it does not choose sides.

      I know some very large churches where the senior leader does not have the gift of administration. Those leaders and those churches both recognize this and so that leader is supported by those who do have this gift. That is how the church in unity supports each other by gifts. It is powerful when you see it. It reveals the Christian character of a church.

      I hope your hope for your church works out and with an attitude like this it can.

      That post oozes Christianity in its attitude. Outstanding. May God bless your church with your attitude.

      WOW!!! What a post! They will know we are Orthodox Christians by our love. That post was love. It is spiritually mature. It is merciful and real world both at the same time. That is the humility that I speak too that can find solution. Keep talking. Your church needs to hear what you say.

      Lol, I have the gift of mercy. Can you tell by how I confront? The gift of exhortation is for you Orthodox and not against you. It sends clear warning that does not mince words. In many cases God uses it as His severe mercy and when it is His last resort. I am very severe with all of you and not at all popular for it. I am not into popularity. I am into reality no matter how severe.

      Have a great weekend all.

      Ashley Nevins

      • Lots and lots of words and declarations for some one who’s church is not the OCA.

        Nice to have visitors, wish they had the good manners of a visitor!

      • Ashley,

        It really sounds like what you write here is some sort of therapy or processing the fact that a close family member of yours maybe has become an Orthodox Christian while you remain in the church of your choice. This site should not be used as your means of working out those family dynamics, if in fact that is the case. You are not an Orthodox Christian and although you make some interesting points, the context in which you make them gives the impression of sour grapes.

        Take it up with your pastor and family and I hope things go better for you.

    • Let it never be said that I would oppose pizza for seminarians. However, Deacon Marty, I think that removing bishops from day-to-day administration would be disastrous. I think it would reduce them to figureheads instead of genuine leaders, kind of like the Emperor of Japan has been since World War II. We would be remiss if we forgot, however, that the Church, unlike Imperial Japan, is a divine institution. Stripping our bishops of their canonical prerogatives is not something we can do simply because it chafes against our modern democratic and egalitarian sensibilities.

      • Dn. Marty Watt says

        I appreciate your viewpoint, however I believe abandonment of the day to day administration will allow our bishops to become the true spiritual fathers and leaders they are called to be. We are not here to build an institution, we are here to be the body of Christ. I cannot think of one administrative task that enhances that spiritual leadership, a leadership based not in power or authority but in respect and love.

        It is in no wise similar to the Emperor of Japan. Or the Queen of England or the King of Denmark. It is exactly that role played by the Patriarch of Constantinople, who had overseers appointed by the Emperor to handle the administration of the Church. He was not an administrator, but rather a true spiritual and in some cases political leader.

        The sad part, for me, is that I think a lot of our hierarchs have much to offer us in our growth in Christ, but it is being lost in the noise of administration. Bishop Michael’s comments about the real problem not being the assessment but the paltry (and shrinking) 22,000 membership in the Church has gone largely unnoticed. Let our hierarchs preach the gospel and grow the Church! Let our hierarchs “equip God’s people for work in his service, for the building up of the body of Christ” (Eph 4:12)

        In Christ,
        Dn. Marty

        • Oh, Deacon Marty, on the contrary, I think they anticipated what Bishop Michael would say. Just before the council, they appointed Fr. John Parker, a very successful mission priest, to be the new evangelism chair for the OCA. So it shows that they are making it a priority.

          If you think about it, most of the OCA’s issues (small size, shrinking flock, lack of funds, small talent pool) can be solved through evangelization, not just to non-Orthodox and non-Christians, but ourselves as well. I think Fr. John is going to be a critical element in saving the OCA, and everyone needs to do whatever they can do to support him and his work.

        • Also, about removing day-to-day administration from the bishops, I still have to disagree. It’s important for the bishops to have close advisers, of course, and essential that the bishops listen to them. However, I still feel that it’s essential, especially in these modern egalitarian times, for the buck to stop with the bishops, and for them to make the final decisions.

          I don’t want a bishop who’s just around to be sweet and look pretty while the consistory runs the real show. If that’s the kind of bishop we’re going for, we may as well consecrate Miss America to be our next bishop and be done with it.

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            Helga, I was torn by Dean Marty’s position and your’s, but in reality there is no essential conflict. First of all, I think we need to get rid of the abominable idea that priests and bishops should be able administrators. That doesn’t mean that the buck doesn’t stop with them. It should always be so.

            How then to square this seeming circle? The canons provide for an Oikonomos (Steward, i.e. Treasurer). Every diocese by rights must have one. In addition, there should be a Chancellor, a Secretary, a Lawyer, an Arch-deacon, and probably two sub-deacons. These men (and women) can serve all administrative functions. The non-liturgical assistants can be drawn from the ranks of the educated (and pious) laity.

            This would solve the problem of burdening the bishop with nonsense and tedious paperwork, allow him to be above the fray, make reasoned decisions, and still give him the right to veto anything he doesn’t like.

        • I would invite you to consider that part of the problem is that level at which we have held all our administration. The OCA is organized like one big super diocese, or Metropolia, if you will.

          If the bishops could develop the administration at the diocese level or when possible even at the deanery or parish level, then these teams would be much closer to where the work is done. Interdependent teams within a diocese can work with the bishops to address the specific needs found there. The bishop need not be an administrator. But he can have staff that support his vision and his direction, and take those tasks and implement what the bishop finds to be a priority.

          The bishop need not do the administrative work. But he should always have a hand on its pulse.

          Inherent in a national staff is compromise, and local focus must, of necessity, be lost. There is also the tendency of a headquarters organization to become internally focused, very busy on what they believe to be important at the expense of the needs of the field, needs that are likely not uniform.

          Now there are particulars that should be held at a central administration level. But in the age of the Internet, these are relatively few.

    • Deacon Marty,

      Thank you so much for your good wishes.

      Just for clarity, I served as a regional chief financial officer within AT&T, Lucent, and Avaya in a business unit structure. I oversaw business of a little over $1B in revenues. While the financial background ought to be of some use to the MC, I believe that the real experience that I acquired is in change management, as AT&T et al went through fundamental structural, financial and cultural change as it weathered deregulation, divestiture, and the massive explosion of the communication industry. It was the cultural change that presented some of the greatest challenges.

      So as I bring what I have to Christ, and to His church as a servant on the MC, I ask your prayers for me and all of the Holy Synod, the MC, and the Administration.

      Maureen Jury

      • Prayers will be offered for you, Ms. Jury. I can now say for you with even more confidence, “Axia, axia, axia!”

        • Christ is risen! Truly risen!

          Dear Friends —

          Our Lord Jesus Christ reminds us that much is expected of those to whom much has been given.

          Let’s all ask Him most fervently that Maureen Jury’s and Fr Chad Hatfield’s inspirational election to the Metropolitan Council will signal the dawning of a new era of synergy between the MC and the Holy Synod rather than go on reproducing the hostilities and stalemates of recent years.

          A couple of replacements in the HS might help, too.

          Peace and blessings to all.

          Monk James

      • alfred kentigern siewers says

        Heartfelt thanks for being willing to serve, glory to God! You are in our unworthy prayers. And so we keep the rest of the Church leadership too.

      • alfred kentigern siewers says

        Heartfelt thanks for your willingness to serve, glory to God!
        You have our unworthy prayers. And so does the whole OCA leadership.

      • Dn. Marty Watt says

        Thank you for the clarification Ms. Jury – I too served in a similar capacity with a couple of rather large healthcare concerns, serving as a hospital Chief Financial Officer, but not the corporate CFO, and it caused me no end of confusion in explaining what I did. I too had an organization not quite so large as yours (around $750 million in revenue), but in a highly regulated, and frequently changing environment.

        I wish you well in your tenure on the Metropolitan Council. I am not seeking to be reappointed as the Auditor for the OCA, so it may not be likely that we will get to meet. It is my loss.

        In Christ,
        Dn. Marty Watt

        • Dn. Marty Watt says

          I wanted to add:

          What we have to decide, using the “corporate model”, is how much support can and should be offered by the Central Administration to the dioceses and parishes, and how much is needed to maintain the relations with other churches so necessary of an autocephalous church. In the healthcare business we centralized our treasury/cash management, our regulatory reporting, tax reporting, and we shared responsibility for marketing. We had corporate benefit programs.

          To translate that into “Church”, I think (my opinion – we all can discuss or argue about the particulars) the Holy Synod/central administration should handle benefits and retirement programs, oversight of theological education, coordination of liturgical texts and calendars, communications on behalf of the Synod of Bishops and Metropolitan on a National/Worldwide level, and perhaps Christian education within our parishes – both children and adults. Other aspects of church life can be shared, much as the Diocese of the South does now, with their cash management functions and shared building programs. In some cases, it may be appropriate to pay clergy from the central administration or diocese (I have a strong preference to the diocese on that one, as the clergy is attached to a diocesan hierarch, not the Metropolitan). Missions and/or parish health should be left to the Diocese, as the need varies widely in different geographical locations.

          Is that 10% of diocesan revenue? The current 32%? More? Less? I don’t know. I do know that the only prudent step is to first decide where the functions reside, then the allocation of revenue.

          In Christ,
          Dn. Marty Watt

          • Priest Justin Frederick says

            Dn. Marty has put an essential question: What are the tasks peculiar to the central administration of the OCA? And his answer puts it well. As the secretariat of the Metropolitan, who has the canonical duty to represent the OCA to the world (no doubt supported by consultation with the Holy Synod), it must support that task first, then coordinate and support meetings of the Holy Synod, which canonically are chaired by the Metropolitan. Retirement programs, yes; oversight of theological education, yes; coordination of liturgical texts and calendars, probably (but do we have the personnel and the vision needed? the perpetuation of the inferior 1967 translation of the Liturgy and the failure to correct its errors and infelicities after 44 years does not inspire confidence–ROCOR and others put us to shame in translation work, both in quantity and quality); communications, yes. I’m dubious about Christian education for children or adults, as I haven’t been impressed with (and don’t use) what has been produced. Health care? The current plan offered, ‘cadilac’ plan that it may be, is a pipe dream for many of our priests due to its excessive cost. It may be that more affordable and appropriate plans could be administered with a diocese or even a deanery. Also, if priest’s salaries were to be centrally paid, to pay them at the diocesan level would be the only thing that would make sense. In that case, for it to work, the parish would have to send 50% of its income in addition to the tithe–60% total–or thereabouts.

            In the DOS, our amended 2011 budget shows 52% of diocesan tithes from the parishes going to support the central administration. Our goal is to see that proportion of expenditure drop to 25% as our revenues grow and the central administration confines itself to its essential functions. We’d like the same benefit to accrue to the other dioceses that pay for the OCA (is it not time to end the free ride of some? or perhaps, bishops whose dioceses don’t pay to support the central administration should not have a vote on the Holy Synod, just as our parishes that don’t pay their assessments don’t get to vote at diocesan assemblies and All-American Councils and parishioners who don’t meet the minimum financial obligation for voting membership in the parish may not serve on council or vote at annual meetings? the free-ride puts those bishops and their diocesan representatives in the compromised position of voting on budgets to which they do not contribute. And yes, I understand about Canada and Alaska–but the principle remains…)

            But the financial problems of those dioceses who pay 70+ of their income to the central administration is not simply the amount of exaction by the central administration, but also the dioceses’ failure to move away from the diocesan head tax to a proportional system. We all have work to do, and an important part of that is to define clearly what is and what is not expected of the central administration. This was an important point of discussion in the small-group sessions at the AAC dedicated to the question of funding the central administration. And based on the strategic plan, it seems that some retain more grandiose notions of what the central administration should do than those we’ve elaborated above. (Witness their budget excursion to a head tax of $125 and all the calls in the strategic plan for meetings, committees, etc. That will cost money and will require an increase in paid personnel.)

            • Father

              Is there any reason the ethnic diocese and Alaska cannot voluntarily tithe to the Central Administration?

              • Priest Justin Frederick says

                No, there is no reason in principle. Alaska is strapped by a cash-poor economy and high transportation costs, making it practically difficult, perhaps even prohibitive. The others were exempted as part of the deal that brought them into the OCA. They certainly could choose to “tithe voluntarily.” The key term is the voluntas, i.e., the will.

                Or what is done in the DOS in some cases might be tried. Have the diocsese make the payment, thereby upholding the principle, and then have the central administration return the money to support the diocese until the time of hardship eases. But that takes trust in the central administration.

                Of course, if we ask people to give 10% to their parishes and to live on 90% (something many people do without hardship), perhaps said dioceses could do that as a minimum to the central administration to set an example?

                To go with that, perhaps all our clergy, including bishops, could tithe to their own parishes and cathedrals? We have to practice what we preach. If we don’t practice it, our words will be as those of the Scribes and Pharisees, of no authority. And our people won’t do it. Archbishop Dmitri did it: he went far beyond 10%. He set a living example for us to follow, which makes it much easier for those serving and worshiping in his parishes to do it.

                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  Amen, Fr, Amen.

                • Dn. Marty Watt says

                  My understanding is that originally the concept of “fair share” was at the diocesan level, based on a head count. Whether or not that was passed along to the parish was up to the diocese. I know in the Midwest, the payment came from the diocese to the Central Administration, however it was a “pass-through” type payment.

                  And the comment about health plan is quite relevant. I would point out that the price of the Orthodox Health Plans is about the norm. My secular employment was as an executive with a health care company and our family coverage through Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Tennessee was about the same as the Aetna network plan offered by the Orthodox Health Plans (about $1,700 per month for a PPO plan with family coverage).

                  One thing I think is important is that the national church needs to be perceived as an adjunct to diocesan ministry, and evaluated as such. If the diocese can do a function cheaper/better/faster, then by all means that function should be withdrawn from the central administration. But there may be other dioceses without the ability to do those functions, and in such cases the central administration might serve a function as a clearing house for what dioceses do well.

                  I too have not seen a good (or even mediocre) church school or adult education curriculum, yet I know this is an essential part of church growth (see the book “Beauty for Ashes”, Ch. 4). If a diocese can put one together and do it well, I would think a national office could then duplicate that effort in other dioceses.

                  I am so very happy to see positive contributions about the future of the OCA in this forum. So much of the discussions in other forums were strictly pro or anti something, and nothing was offered in the realm of alternatives to the status quo. There are good ideas coming, and hopefully will be captured in the Strategic Plan process. I realize I may be dreaming on this point, because I have been frankly disappointed with the process thus far. But hope springs eternal.

                  In Christ,
                  Dn. Marty

              • Geo Michalopulos says

                Remnant, if they don’t give any more than they’re giving, then the territorial dioceses should immediately go to the $50 plan.

              • Dn. Marty Watt says

                In the interest of clarity, the Diocese of Alaska does tithe to the Central Administration, in lieu of participation in the “assessment”. They don’t have much in that diocese, but they give of what they have.

                In Christ,
                Dn. Marty

            • Fr Justin,

              Father bless!

              Do you know what the line item in the OCA budget was for the Metropolitan Council? I know that diocesan reps travel is paid by their dioceses, but do they pay for their own rooms while they meet in New York or is that born by the OCA? The OCA covers the travel and room for the at-large delegates? How much does a typical MC meeting cost?

              Also, I believe the number of MC members is 30+. How many employees of the OCA Syosset staff do they actually oversee? I believe if I am not mistaken that all the committees that the MC has set up since 2006 appears to inflate their relative importance over a shrinking budget and reduced Syosset staff. I guess my question is if the cost ratio to actual personnel is a justifiable expense in the OCA budget. It might be an area that comes under closer examination going forward with the $105 only for 2012 and less after.

              • Priest Justin Frederick says

                It appears that in the past year or two the central administration has been picking up the tab for metropolitan council meetings. I don’t know the details, but I do know that items the dioceses once paid for are now being paid centrally. Which brings up the point again: those dioceses which do not pay for the central administration still get representation on the MC, contrary to general OCA policy of having to “pay to play”. The MC is a rather large and unwieldy body: two from each diocese and extra ‘at large’ reps. Which brings up one more point: the Strategic Plan was originally commissioned by the 15th AAC to make structural changes to the OCA, overhaul the statute. That was not the sort of plan presented to us at the 16th AAC.

                The Diocese of the West actually passed a resolution about this at their October, 2010 Assembly(see draft minutes on the DOW website:

                With all due respect to the SPC and its considerable efforts, we wish to state that we feel that the current plan very much misses the original intent and commission from the SIC. To this end, the Diocese of the West will submit its thoughts and recommendations to the SPC.

                The resolution passed unanimously.

                The original version was worded more forcefully, however, and more clearly expressed how it was that the SPC missed the original intent of the commission from the SIC:

                Whereas this Assembly understands that the original purpose of the SPC was to address underlying statutory issues, and not merely to formulate a blueprint for church ministries, projects and programs, this Assembly rejects the draft of the SPC.

                That criticism of the plan still stands. No structural change has been proposed.

                • Father, I think your point about the Strategic Plan is very valid and really should be addressed. There is a lot of effort and time being sunk into the SPC and not a great deal of interest or hope for the outcome.

                  In the OCA, it seems, committees are like tribbles.

                  • I’m not sure I find anything wrong with forming a blueprint for church ministries, since they don’t just fall out of the sky. However, the SPC needs to fulfill the original intention for its creation as well.

                    Part of the problem , I think, is that the SPC is formed out of a part of the administration that is itself in dire need of reform: the Metropolitan Council.

                  • Jesse!

                    Love me some tribbles! (I think that episode won a Hugo Award, too!)

                    Committees, not so much.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Thank you Fr for expanding on this. There’s a lot to chew on here, but one of the things I’d like to pick up on (and has been a bee in my bonnet) is the fact that if a bishop’s diocese doesn’t pay but a nominal sum to the present regime in Syosset, they should not have a vote on the Synod. If they demand a vote, then the other dioceses should IMMEDIATELY pay the same amount as the ethnic dioceses do.

              What’s fair’s fair.

          • The OCA’s history lesson shows that giving the national office authority that lasts beyond the next MC / AAC meeting for budget, beyond the next synod meeting for policy, leads to waste and an opening for shenanigans. We saw that giving the chancellor+Metropolitan broad un-accountable long term decision making authority gets not stewards, but kings.

            • Harry,

              So what is your solution?

              • Jacob, I would like to see a real synod working in my lifetime. Not the ‘king at the top and weak everyone else’. (Whether the king is the Metropolitan or a chancellor or someone else that ‘owns’ him). Not some ‘in-name-only’ synod that gets to decide small matters but major stuff is deferred overseas to a small group of leaders guiding an even smaller group of faithful. A church where each bishop must personally care about the impression and results of the whole, where there are enough bishops that they will not carry one who is generating more loss than gain owing to poor personal choices. Where the archbishop/metropolitan speaks first yet has but one vote. Where any bishop can put something on the agenda. Where if outvoted the leader must abide the result.

                What if Met. Jonah happens to be really excellent at motivating people to join, but really can’t balance a budget or manage or order the affairs of staff any more than a blind person can play golf. The church really needs people who can motivate membership. Must it be that the leader who can do that has also got to be able manage the rest as well?

                But if the synod really took over, the ones good at X, Y or Z would be able to manage and properly evaluate those on the staff tasked with carrying out X Y and Z. The MC sets the budgets, the synod the policies. And we just get off this notion that the Metropolitan has to be some sort of rock-star, business genius and organizational artist as well.

                In fact I wouldn’t lose sleep if being the Archbishop / Metropolitan was a title that rotated among the synod every three , five years.

                • Harry, though I’m incredibly sympathetic to you in the main, there’s some red herrings here. First of all, I don’t know of any synod in the Orthodox world where there’s a “king at the top, weak everywhere else” mode of governance. Perhaps they exist in those churches which have been reduced to musea but not in those churches which govern real nations and which make real decisions to make that result in real consequences. Second, what the OCA has at present is the opposite: a dictatorship of the dysfunctionariate, with the most compromised bishops forcing the Primate to enter a RC rehab center. I’m sorry, but this isn’t going to go over well overseas. It’s just not done.

                  As for the MC, I gotta tell you, a year ago I’d be right there with you. But the MC has been even worse than the HS these past three years. What makes you think these guys got the smarts to do a better job than the bishops when all they’ve done is create a Potemkin village in Syosset?

                  My answer? More bishops ruling more dioceses. There’s no reason for a national budget office. A secretariat (maybe) which can coordinate correspondence between the dioceses, a Chancellor to coordinate the activities of the Metropolitan vis-a-vis the other bishops (and the other local churches) and that’s about it. And each diocese keeping 90% of its money and kicking upstairs 10% to run the few national ministries that are necessary.

                  Is there a place for laymen in administration? Yes, but not under the present MC scenario which has acted abominably. From where I sit, the MC has suffered from “mission creep” and it needs to be scaled back considerably.

                  • No, I just don’t go along with the Metropolitan as ‘national’ uber-mensch theme. It doesn’t work, won’t lead to growth. The synod for better or worse is the only entity that can correct itself, change course at need without egos getting in the way. It’s sustainable.

                    And, really, the question hasn’t been answered by the Met. Jonah supporters: The synod is almost entirely new folk save one. What did Met. Jonah do so badly a majority voted to cause what we see to occur? I mean, you know, it’s impressive, ticking that many folk off that badly that quickly. You gotta really wonder. Talk about ‘no confidence’.

                    I mean, you know, I’m not exactly guilty of blindly singing anyone’s praises just on the basis of title. I think objectively we’ve got to allow Met. Jonah has made some excellent and well received speeches. He’s also made good one-on-one impressions. This we’ve all seen, probably why most are here.

                    I think we’ve also got to see that somehow when it comes to working in groups of bishops, well, you know, I don’t think it’s gone at all well, objectively. All the stuff about Stokoe and other side-shows in their small-beer place. Somehow he’s seriously lost the confidence of more than half the new folk. What did he do to earn that prize? Here we focus only on two and a half things: Manhattan declaration and moving the HQ to DC, with maybe half a point to the nun thing.

                    Somehow, I just don’t think that’s enough to get you into a grave-issues medical center.

                    No, there’s got to be another shoe that hasn’t dropped and it should be publicly revealed. People have to know whether their leader is or isn’t subject to being overwhelmed by the sort of grave issues they attempt to treat there.

                    I’m with you with the ‘more diocese’ thing, so long as the bishops are synod accountable and not metropolitan/chancellor accountable. Maybe about a dozen parishes each? Any bishop should be able to put something on the synod’s agenda, not subject to removal by anyone until the synod deals with it.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Harry! “The synod is almost entirely new folk, save one.”
                      Bishop Benjamin, Bishop Nikon, Bishop Tikhon (Mollard), Bishop Alejo were all Bishops while Metropolitan Herman was still incumbent. You may not rule out Archbishop Seraphim yet. There has been neither a conviction, a spiritual court, nor a resignation in his case. Archbishop Nathaniel Popp is, now, the senior in terms of date of consecration. However, he has a kind of western focus on things like “vernacular”, and “Lay Leadership” and liturgics which ia partly traceable to his Romanian Byzantine Rite Catholic origins, formation, and education ( like that of Bishop Mark Forsberg and the late Benedict DiSocio, given its finish at the Papal “Russicon” Institute). The consecration of Archimandrite Alexander (Golitzin) to the Episcopate next year will add another SVS presence of sorts to the Synod (augmenting Nikon, Benjamin, Jonah, and Melchizedek), but I don’t see how Mr. Coin can imagine he can predict anything at all about the OCA except as a would-be armchair expert, who bases his credentials on the fact that no one ever follows his recommendations, so they must be right!

                    • Predict? OCA? What an idea!

                    • Harry, you lucky one, you got the exclamation point–“Harry! A rare and treasured event indeed that was book-ended by a stinging rebuke. On a lighter note, don’t you know that you are conversing with folks who think that the Holy Synod in 1972 was comprised of “misguided” folks and that the Holy Synod now i similarly handicapped?

                    • Carl, big picture, I have never seen a church synod leader, of whatever title, use the word ‘oops’. Seems they’d rather be retired with a kiss in the mail every couple weeks and few expectations. Whatta deal.

                      Synods can re-assess without sweating what in Turkey they call ‘egoitron of the church’. (That’s mirror-minded talk for a leader praying at the altar of the idol whose name is “I will not re-assess”.)

                      Second, when thinking of the OCA synod’s composition I wasn’t putting much weight on the 8 year tenure of Met. Herman. Most of the really awful stuff written on on OCA news happened during Theodosius’ not-so-watchful watch. Where was Bishop Tikhon (retired) with the pithy helpful corrective remarks then? I still don’t get how he writes a man he knows has an alcohol problem gets to be a bishop. Seems that having an alcohol problem is enough to be getting along with all by itself.

                      The three the bishop of the internet (bless him) referred to occurred during Met. Herman’s short watch (well, longer than Archibishop Spyridon, if not as well paid off in the end). Abp. Seraphim excepted. Quite an exception, there, eh?

                      However, Bp. Tihkon’s idea events in the OCA could be predicted! See what retirement leads to?

                      Overall, maybe we just have to leave off the idea that a national church synod leader must be capable in overall administration if he’s a good public speaker able to get folk to join. I’m thinking he gets folk to join the rest of the synod can step up and find other folk good at doing the other bits.

                    • Harry, nobody in their right mind believes in the “ubermensch” concept of the primate. I don’t. +Jonah certainly doesn’t. I also don’t belive in the “untermensch” concept of kicking +Jonah around like a punching bag. That’s bizarre on its face and the way the Old Guard has treated +Jonah is abominable. Anybody can see that.

                      I’ll address your other concerns later.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      I pointed out that Harry Coin was quite wrong, better, mistaken when he made the remark: “The synod is made up almost entirely of new folk, save one.” That was a mistake because more than one of the holy synod members is NOT new folk. Since Harry, as usual graceless in such matters, did not acknowledge his mistake/error except through an oblique kind of “what i really meant to point out was” thing, I’m repeating the matter.
                      Now, Harry goes on to produce a really awful sentence, hard to parse, that goes like this: “I still don’t get how he writes a man he knows has an alcohol problem gets to be a bishop.” Where did I write that a man I knew had an alcohol problem became a bishop?” The only person that I can imagine would fit that scenario is someone I haven’t written of at all, Father Pleska, now Bishop Melchizedek. I did point out that when asked if he had suspected that Metropolitan Vladimir had homosexual problems before the incidents of the 1970s, Father Alexander Schmeman scornfully smiled and said, “Did I KNOW? He LIVED with us when he was a seminarian.” As for Metropolitan Theodosius, as far as I know his alcoholism began long after he became a bishop. As for Bishop Benjamin, he was not known to me (though I later heard his close associates from SVS ALL knew) as an alcoholic until the moment I got a call from Las Vegas saying he was in the drunk tank for dui. He had been a bishop for a while by then. It is true that Metropolitan Herman said, “I KNEW Tikhon was wrong to have him made a Bishop!”
                      Bishop Nikolai is very close to being a teetotaler: it seems to me that in the early years of St. Paul mission, he didn’t even like wine to be served at parish dinners. Archbishop Dmitri liked a good cocktail or wine. Archbishop Peter liked wine. Archbishop Seraphim was not a noteworthy drinker, though he may have giggled about anyone’s drinking. Archbishop Job began having blackouts not long after he became a Bishop for New England: I think one of the first such “nervous collapses” occurred at Epiphany: as far as I know that’s the only time alcohol caused a liturgical problem with him, though some claim that alcohol was involved in some incidents more in the Pokrov area of interest, before he was (some say) uncanonically whisked out of his canonical diocese in order to go to take over Chicago. I believe that Bishop Tikhon (Mollard) is very sober, indeed. I think Bishop Nikon tolerates some drinking. I’ve never had a drink of any kind with Metropolitan Jonah and no nothing about what he does or does not drink. Same with Archbishop Popp, or Bishop Ireneu. Bishop Mark Forsberg was always more interested in smoking than anything else. Metropolitan Herman was not as drinker to my knowledge. So, to whom could Harry Coin be referring (I think he was referring to some person, but it’s not a clear sentence)? As far as where I might have been with my “pithy remarks”…. sounds like Harry’s just producing sounds. I and my pithy remarks have always been wherever I’ve been. I remember getting in trouble with a General on the Secretary of the Air Force’s “Scientific Advisory Council” because he objected to giving me a personal history statement when he’d had a Top Secret Security Clearance for over twenty years. He wrote to me that Winston Churchill’s words were apt: “This is the kind of nonsense up with which I will not put.” I fired a short memo back to him saying only that I did know Churchill’s remark and that it was about the rule against split infinitives, but that a more apt quotation to the general’s situation was: “No ticket: no laundry.” I got the form from him completely filled out and signed. Ask any of the OCA hierarchs who were on the Synod with me in “the Theodosius years” if I made any pithy remarks.
                      ROFLMAO! Oh, I forgot Archbishop Kiril (Yonchev) and Bishop
                      Gregory Afonsky. I think Archbishop Kiril liked an occasional cocktail or glass of wine. I recall buying drinks at the airport for him and that Adlerian psychoanalyst and graduate of Yeshiva, Ukrainian Archbishop Vsevolod..
                      Oh, before I forget it, here’s another of Harry Coin’s non-sentences: “However, Bp. Tihkon’s idea events in the OCA could be predicted!”
                      The idea did occur to me when s deposed deacon was turned into a retired bishop by a resolution of all the Synod save me, that the OCA might be on an irreversible downward slide. Before presenting the case against his being a hierarch of any kind (after the initial decision in his favor had been taken in my absence at a previous meeting, I did, foolishly (yes, oops) tell the Synod, “Even though I am personally certain he is not a bishop and do not approve of your decision, if you do not reverse your decision, I will NOT go into schism.” AFTER I presented my case to gasps and outcries of this or that hierarch, most bishops agreed with Archbishops Dimitri, Peter, and Kiril that it would be “IMPOSSIBLE” for us to reverse the decision we already published without causing a big scandal. Metropolitan Herman then asked, “You DID say you would not go into schism over this, didn’t you?” I answered, “Yes.” The matter was closed. I’ve often wondered if I had been right in not going into schism over it…as my confessor says, “You’ll only found out at the end.”


                      Link to relevant detail apropos who was in charge when.

                    • Harry, I think Bishop Tikhon’s point may have been – or I could be making this up, but in either case I think it should be said – that the Synod members did not hatch out of hermetically-sealed containers on their consecration dates. They had already spent years soaking in the deep institutional mediocrity that characterizes the OCA.

                      Metropolitan Jonah, on the other hand, came from a quiet monastery in California, and already had a deep-seated revulsion for what he calls hierarchical authority confused with imperial aristocracy. Since becoming Metropolitan, he has made it a point to speak out against rule by abuse and humiliation.

                      In other words, Metropolitan Jonah is a clear and present danger to the status quo, and that is precisely why the good ol’ boys want to punch his ticket.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Agreed, Harry. Of course the solution would be to shut down Syosset, reduce the national scope of the Church, or at least make sure that it doesn’t overreach the diocesan ones, and have the Archdiocesan Chancery (located in Washington) take care of both the Archdiocese and the limited number of things that are of national importance. HB gave a list of these things in his excellent speech: national youth director being one. I personally think that each diocese should send one delegate (an archpriest preferably) to the national chancery twice a year to coordinate things on the naiional level.

              • I see no reason the archdiocesan office needs to be in the same place as the archbishop’s office. So long as the chancellor is not able to direct the course of the annual audit, and the proper controls are in place it could work. In fact various ‘national functions’ could simply be assigned to the diocese most able to manage it. Whichever is near the financial custodian’s HQ does pensions, DC does press releases, etc.

                I see no reason for a ‘national youth director’. If the parishes and diocese can’t manage to direct youth something’s wrong. A national one is going to do what? Produce paper for the diocesan ones to not read? There is no one-size-fits-all youth thing. About the only thing a national one could do is organize overseas programs, and perhaps once-every-three-years national ‘youth rallies’.

              • Dn. Marty Watt says

                I have to disagree here – I’m not sure youth work is appropriate for the central church. That (in my view) is something more closely aligned with the diocese. Different needs in different parts of the country. What works in Eastern PA or NY/NJ will not likely work in the West or South – they have different (very different) experiences of Church life.

                Because I’m at St. Tikhon’s seminary, my son has experienced the local schools here. Where in Ohio we were one of two Orthodox families in the school district, in Pennsylvania we are one of three Orthodox families in the fourth grade class, not counting the Orthodox teacher. The schools here are out on January 7th for Old Calendar Christmas. There are 5 parishes within a 10 mile radius of our home, whereas in Tennessee, the nearest parish was 85 miles away, and there were five parishes within a 150 mile radius.

                I say this to illustrate the point that some aspects of Church life are best suited at the local or diocesan level. Personally I think youth work fits in that category.

                In Christ,
                Dn. Marty

                • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                  Quite right, Fr. Deacon! All a national youth director adds is an additional salary line in the OCA budget, and periodic jaunts visiting dioceses to justify his position, but which, due to unfamiliarity with local conditions, help almost no one. Mrs. Steve Brown used to be the national youth director until his somewhat in-your-face style alarmed people who were starting to wake up to the need for great care in such appointments, such as background checks, life-style matters and so on.

                  The West has always had a very robust youth program: Fathers Gray, Armstrong and Karbo being the main leaders in the strong diocesan and deanery programs. Most dioceses can do this well. If there’s a diocese that claims to need help “from above” due to lack of resources , another diocese can provide just as much help as a national office does.

                  Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick, too, was looking for ways to diminish the number of permanent officials in Syosset who needed not only high salaries, but housing and benefits. This was because he was competent enough to engage an outside management study which recommended, among other things, “out-sourcing” the Treasurer position, resulting at the time in the release of Protodeacon Eros Wheeler from his lucrative position, control over finances, and Long Island level residence. The Elders of the Metropolitan Council didn’t like the idea of a relatively “uncontrollable” and unideologically committed treasurer at all.

                  No doubt the loss of a Youth Director also attenuated their megalomaniacal devotion to control as much as the loss of an in-house salaried (and benefitted) treasurer.

                  • When Met. Jonah suggested having a national youth director for the OCA, I don’t think that necessarily means a salaried, full-time position in Syosset like Stokoe had. His vision entails having diocesan and parish level youth directors. I can see the diocesan directors electing a national director from among themselves, who adds the national-level coordination to his or her regular responsibilities and receives a stipend of some kind from the central administration for performing these extra duties.

      • You are on my prayer list.

  12. no reply button-hope you all can connect this . . . .
    Dn. Patrick says, “Helga, they ran me off. I’m at All Saints of America Mission in Alexandria now.”

    This is true. A lot to be said there . . . . but I’d like to stir this can of worms first. What was so interesting at this parish (St. nicholas) was the complete unknown practice of the Orthodox Church everywhere else. People really believed that it was not wrong to continue to commune people who had married same sex partners. I am not talking about people who struggle and are repentant, and want to uphold church practice, I am talking about people who reject church practice, scripture interpretation, the Fathers and so on and still expect to commune-especially once they have caused scandle in the community. I have spoken with priests across the country who all have thier story of stopping communion with the BELIEF that same sex -sex was not wrong. Sometimes these people are not even gay, they just have the belief that comes from somewhere outside the church that same sex relations are not wrong. This is always hard and seems to take a lot of time before communion stops, but I know a lot of brave priests who love the church and each person enough to do them this favor. It seems to me if they didn’t stop communing them they would be lying to them.

    • That is so sad, Colette. We are fighting a full-blown heresy here.

      • It is sad. But those who know the Churches practice and belief and have voiced concern are told to stop judging . . . These are code words; “judging”, “gossip”, “have mercy” . . . They all mean one thing. We are under constant needling with these words in the parish newsletters and sermons. Of course they do not address the issue and do nothing to help the parish, they only harden the divide. +Jonah is good about teaching the parish slowly but he is too busy for our needs. We really need a dean and a good one. This was a really sinister attack on +Jonah and this parish to remove our dean leaving this very diverse parish so vulnerable.

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          I can attest to that. We do really need a good, strong dean with lots of patience and wisdom. We pray that God will send one to us very soon. Before yesterday, in fact.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          I do think that you need to appeal to your arch-pastor who is +Jonah, who is ultimately responsible for what transpires in each of his parishes in the Archdiocese of Washington, He must be a diocesan bishop first and foremost. BTW, I do understand about folks telling you not to judge; indeed, it has been my experience that most priersts and bishops teach that (+Jonah is an exceptional proponent of that). I do not think that it is a false teaching to cover up misdeeds. I think that it is one of those things that can eat away the soul of the person, so that he is hurt much more than the object of his judgment.

          • +Jonah knows, but he has too much on his plate for this parish. We need a dean, it should not be +Jonah. It’s rather more complicated than just “folks” saying were judging. It’s people who ought to know better, but have an agenda. +Jonah has never told me I’m judging, gossiping or not being merciful and he has had more than ample opportunity to do so. It’s simply not the case. I hate no one nor is my soul being eaten away with others sins. I simply feel I can not give this Church over to wrong practice and lies. I want people to have the Truth in Christ, I want them set free. True I am angry with what I’ve seen, I think you would be too, but it doesn’t take much to rile me, it equally doesn’t take much for me to forget and forgive. Carl, I can’t say everything that’s going on, nor do I want to. I could use your prayers not your critisism.

          • Carl, as usual you’re being too facile. Parish life is far more complicated than saying “take it up with your arch-pastor.” That’s like saying the President is responsible for the potholes outside your driveway. We could all learn a good lesson from the RCs who developed the concept of Subsidiarity a long time ago.

            Furthermore, it is illegitimate to give priests a pass on these things. They are by virtue of their ordination personae Christi. They have charisms which embolden them to preach the Truth. If they can’t do this –or won’t do this–then they should go be youth directors or music ministers at some mega-church.

            We know why Bradley won’t do it, because he’s anti-anti-sodomy. I have more respect for the openly homosexual bishop of New Hampshire who not only touts his perversion but demands that his church sanction it. At least you know where he’s coming from.

            “Woe to thee Bethsaida, woe to the Chorazin…it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the Day of Judgment than for thee…”

          • Sorry St. Nicholas Cathedral, Jonah is very busy at St. Luke’s this week! /sarc

      • Yes,Helga, a full blown HERESY, as dangerous as any of those of the early Church. Let us never forget that.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Yes, it is a fact of life that priests and bishops are also people who have friends, families, feelings, and even weakness of character. In the hospital that we call the Church, the patients are not necessarily restricted to the lay folks. There are all kinds of folks who should be turned away from the Holy Chalice and it takes a particularly brave priest who would turn them away. Sometimes, it is a matter of forgetting how long from the last confession or the sinning. Sometimes, it is economia or the hope that they are approaching for the healing of soul and body. Sometimes, it is because turning them away may cause a scandal, resulting in folks leaving the church and leaving it more impoverished that it is. Sometimes, it is guilt that refusing to commune somebody for one sin but not for others is wrong. Sometimes, the priest feels that working one-on-one with the sinner is better, more prudent or more seemly. There are so many more situations that it is hard to discern a trend, such as a full blown heresy.

      If we are going to turn folks away for their sins, how about doing that to a young people who indulge in pre-marital sex, confess, promise not to do it again, but end up doing it anyway. After how many falls, are we to quit helping them up? How about adultery, theft, or being a lukewarm Christian? Spit them out, all of them! You know, once the villagers gather in the town center with their pitchforks and torches, it would be hard for them to see nuances and to stop tragic and evil consequences.

      In any case, it is always dangerous to be between a penitent and his father confessor, to judge, and to make sweeping generalizations. I am guilty of the latter two for sure and I ask for the group’s forgiveness.

      • “If we are going to turn folks away for their sins, how about doing that to a young people who indulge in pre-marital sex, confess, promise not to do it again, but end up doing it anyway. After how many falls, are we to quit helping them up? How about adultery, theft, or being a lukewarm Christians”

        Well how about it Carl, why aren’t we? When a priest decides it is time to stop communing a person that is when he has worked with the individual through prayer, confesion/teaching and finally abstaining for a time from communion. If the person will not work with the priest then they may go his/her own way until they change thier minds. The Church is ALWAYS there for them. For you to write what you did makes me wonder, have you not seen profound love and sacrifice in your parish? I have and this is how it works. This is how hearts and lives are changed.

        you say, “In any case, it is always dangerous to be between a penitent and his father confessor, to judge”

        When a person broadcasts their sins you don’t need to be a confessor to know what their sin is . . .it’s not judging to recognise a parish gone south

        • M. Stankovich says

          I certainly empathize with your feelings, and you are certainly are not alone – similar situations (meaning an appearance of contradiction) are pervasive. But addressing these matters, especially as laity, seems to me fraught with the possibility of disaster, and the irony is that we should never feel obligated to initiate this “address” in the first place. Secondly, St. Paul is direct in stating, “Let all things be done decently and in order,” (1 Cor. 14:40) because “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.” (1 Cor. 14:33). It seems to me that the unanswered question here is not “what to do,” but “who” should do it?

          The “flagrancy” of the situation you describe – and your comment, “you don’t need to be a confessor to know” – would seem, at least theoretically, best addressed by a “confessor,” with the implicit assurance, “I assume moral responsibility for my child.” Fr. Justin Fredrick states: “The priest has an obligation before God and answers for those to whom he administers the mysteries” and “Repentant sinners absolved are admitted to the chalice,” and “Most of this is dealt with in confession.” Theoretically, the implicit reassurance is final, but does that mean, “it’s none of your business?”

          Fr. Meyendorff spoke of the “evolution” of the Sacrament of Confession as related to the transformation of the Church of the Apostles, confessing to one another (Jam. 5:16), to the Church of the empire, where openly confessing could be, literally, dangerous. But he was very clear that this “evolution” in practice was a concession to our weakness, not a statement of some “sacred confidentiality of the confessional.” All sin, by nature, is cosmic and we, each and everyone, are affected. In a “community of conscience,” it is “our” business and it is neither “judgmental” nor inappropriate to suggest as much.

          What is missing from this argument, however, is in the understanding of what “is dealt with” by a confessor, and I refer to our Tradition of epitimia. This is the Church as “hospital” and the speaks to the transcendence of the relationship of spiritual father and spiritual child. This is the reason that sinners crossed deserts, climbed cliffs, and scoured forests in search of a spiritual “guide,” and why, even today, some who are respected as “pastors” must turn individuals away, rather than be overwhelmed. And it seems to me that this is where the line is drawn, and where it is inappropriate for anyone to intrude or question. What Evdokimov has described as the “unsearchable” intimacy of marriage, the mystery of the relationship of Christ and the Church, sounds no different to me than what Met. Anthony (Khrapovitsky) has written regarding confessors. It is not our business.

          I contend that no one should have to take a train to confront our bishops regarding their “moral duty” and debate the dimensions of leadership and authority. And no bishop should be “too busy” or preoccupied. In a community of conscience, I believe we deserve that assurance.

          • One can only be forgiven what one asks forgiveness for . . . . if one doesn’t see it as a sin then one doesn’t confess it. . . .

            Also, this has gone on for 6 years-it would have kept going on if not exposed. This web site helped with that exposure. You do no one any favors by putting your head in the sand and pretending to know nothing-which I did for too long . . . . The confussion to children, teens and adults as a result of this is extensive. And the Church is torn in half, few attend-unless +Jonah is there. None of my business-really?!! That’s just naive.

            • M. Stankovich says

              Somehow I imagined I was empathizing with you in my response.

              It was a fairly common practice among the older OCA parishes on the East coast that during Holy Week, prior to undertaking the “yearly confession” required to be a “member in good standing,” one first had to meet the “fiscal” responsibility of the “yearly dues.” Upon payment, one was issued a signed receipt from the treasurer of the council, which in turn was given to the priest at the time of confession. In my observation, the priest placed the “receipt” in a box stage left, and the treasurer intermittently would collect them and record the completed “transaction.” In a measure of “getting your money’s worth,” many priests reported, “They didn’t have anything to confess anyway”; Fr. Schmemann observed that “confession” was more likely to be a recitation of “what I didn’t do” (“Well, father, I didn’t kill anybody, or cheat on my wife…”) because we are all, basically, “good people”; and the now legendary tale – perhaps “apocryphal” – of the exasperated monastic priest, sent to “assist” in hearing the Holy Week “confessions,” who was heard to say in full prostration, “You have nothing to confess? I fall down before you!”

              Should we require a sort of “doctor’s note” (“So-and-so” is under my pastoral care and should be communicated”), or “stamp hands” like the clubs, or perhaps we take a vote during the priest’s communion? Or should we make unilateral, defiant decisions to “take matters into our own hands?” I have no answer, but neither do I clamor for a justice that is not mine or respect “disorder.” If I openly address my parish priest or bishop with my concern, or inquire as to “flagrant” contradiction and am told, in good conscience, that it is a “pastoral” matter for which responsibility has been assumed, I will no longer feel “responsible” for its appearance. What does it say if I cannot trust the word of my priest or bishop? And if this “appearance” is truly intolerable, I have the option to leave in the interest of my own sanity and salvation.

              You may read this as “putting my head in sand,” but I would argue that by obeying the command to do things decently and in order, I am doing the “right” thing. If this is not “satisfying” to me, in and of itself, I reasonably assume the issue to be my own pride.

              • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                Round and round and round he goes, and where he stops, nobody knows.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                Eminently sensible advice. The Christian way by the way is this:

                “15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” Matthew 18:15-17 where the Lord Himself is telling us what to do.

                Now, it is true that here the Lord is talking about a personal offense and the situation in Collette’s church may not apply. Nonetheless, the same Chapter 18 in Matthew also has the following from the Lord Himself: “21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” This still does not address a fellow parishioner, a brother or sister, whose sin may be public but not a personal one. The core principle of forgiveness remains.

                I would think that the passage that is most applicable is the one that counsels us to be on the watch for false prophets and teachers–that is, bishops and priests, as well as theologians and Internet posters like us. I think that Father Deacon Brian Patrick brought up 1 John 4, where the Beloved Apostle tells us to ” 1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” But, we are to do this in a spirit of love (and I don’t need to reiterate the requirement for us to do this).

                • Carl,

                  I like your first paragraph, but It doesn’t apply. It was not as if someone did something mean to me that I needed to forgive them. It was a scandle to everyone on some level, sometimes opposite levels . . . It’s up to the priests to council someone with a completely different understanding of Anthropos, someone with authority. But you know they have to accept his teachings.
                  You’re last paragraph fits. The spirits have been tested many times over, which is why I feel so strongly. I should also say that there has been a change in the Church with +Jonah’s letters addressing this head on to his clergy and faithful and before that with the bold Dn. taking action. I believe he will go down in history for that. There has been a change in communing as well-I think, I don’t always pay attention. But the teaching of the faithful leading to the renewing of their minds–has a long ways to go. As I stated, when +Jonah is there, the Church is full, when he’s not . . . . people know things whether they know things or not. The strong hold is still there If +Jonah can change the hearts and minds of THIS church, we should automatically saint him . . . . . .

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    I am very glad that things have changed for the better. Glory be to God! Apparently Metropolitan Jonah’s presence is doing wonders for the Cathedral.

              • You may read this as “putting my head in sand,” but I would argue that by obeying the command to do things decently and in order, I am doing the “right” thing. If this is not “satisfying” to me, in and of itself, I reasonably assume the issue to be my own pride.

                I think it is your own pride since your are so opinionated about a situation you are not in.

                Things were done orderly . . . years ago. . . . yawn

                • M. Stankovich says

                  In it? Are you kidding? What you describe is pervasive from coast to coast. Why exactly should a woman feel compelled to take an early-morning train to confront the chief-hierarch of the OCA to address an equally flagrant, perhaps “more” egregious, and shameless public display of immorality? This man wasn’t “chatting up his lifestyle” at the coffee-hour; he was serving at the altar! Were the local clergy, dean, and diocesan bishop “too busy” to deal with it, and spare this woman her trainfare? Has she, in fact, set a precedent for “forcing” moral authority?

                  Here’s a thought: why not gather a party and rise up and slay the sinners in your parish? There is precedent.

                  • I think your work is getting to you . . . .

                    • Funny, it’s not pervassive in Churches that follow what Fr. Justin laid out. I think you just don’t get it and would rather go off to hear yourself talk than just admit you don’t know something. Can you just try the whole humble thing??

                  • another one says

                    Has it occurred to you, Mr. Stankovich, that the woman in question may have had a pre-existing personal relationship with His Beatitude, and only by the chance that her husband wrote about the incident that you are aware of it? It just might be because of the love between HB and her family that she dared do such a thing.

                    I would bet lunch that such was the case.

                    If you take that as a precedent, well, that seems to be indicative of your problem……..

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Like everyone, I exist in a constellation of “blinding bias.” No argument here.

                      I admit I was first drawn to the title: “It’s Time Bishops Man Up.” Perhaps I prematurely interpreted this title to me mean “accept responsibility and be leaders.” Blah, blah, blah. Then I read, “She ended by telling him, through tears, that the faithful need our bishops to be morally straight, and strong, and trustworthy, and they had better bloody well man up.” Now, by that point, I had pretty much settled in my mind that she was genuinely outraged. From the implied intimacy of the article, I did presume that, emboldened by her relationship with the Metropolitan – “She delivered to him some very stern words — in love, of course,” – she felt compelled to make her journey.

                      My point, and perhaps my problem, is assuming she saw no other alternative. We could argue that Americans have an attitude, or a misguided sense of entitlement, that would always “cut to the chase” and demand “the man in charge.” But it seems to me she was particularly declarative: seeing “that bishops are so spineless as to go the extra mile to be considerate of the needs and wants of errant priests,” she needed him to know she felt this is “an egregious insult to the laity.”

                      So, full-circle to my own question, “Why exactly should a woman feel so compelled?” She saw no other alternative. And her assessment was correct, as outrageous “flagrancy” was obviously insufficient. By suggesting “precedent,” I am asking you, is it possible she is the only person outraged? But the larger issue – how is it possible that she saw no reasonable alternative – remains: there is a fundamental lack of moral authority.

                      So, another one, whomever you might be, kick back to lunch alone, worrying about how you can put me “in my place,” while these people of conscience settle business for you.

                    • Trey

                      Just remember “Don’t argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

                    • Mmmm. Tasty fasting lunch!

                      Let’s try this one more time.

                      A thought experiment. You have a moral issue with, say, your board of directors. You know one of them very well, a few a little bit, and the rest hardly at all. Who would you approach with this thing on your heart, and hope that they could really hear you? The board member you know well? Or one of the strangers?

                      I am suggesting that the trip to the train was not to see the bishop-in-charge nearly as much as it was the bishop she knew best. It is also not a bad thing that it was also the bishop in charge. It was perhaps not done, however, as you contend because there was no alternative.

                      BTW that does not mean that others were not similarly upset, nor that there is no crisis of moral authority.

                      Now as for your last paragraph, you remind me of a conversation in which I participated not long ago. It was posited that, if one was humble, it was impossible for anyone to put you in your place, because you would already be there.

                      Enjoy your lunch.

                  • A. Photius Meatyeff says

                    Bravo Herr Stanko, spoken like a true Michigander. Finally -A VIOICE- with a brain. I am new here and your comments are praiseworthy!

      • Priest Justin Frederick says

        It is a misleading caricature to say that either we admit all the baptized to the chalice regardless of how they are living and their state of repentance or that we should consistently “turn folks away for their sins” and ‘spit them out.’

        The priest has an obligation before God and answers for those to whom he administers the mysteries.

        Repentant sinners absolved are admitted to the chalice.
        Repentant sinners who have committed serious sins are normally given a period of abstention from the chalice to complete their repentance and demonstrate it by not repeating the sin.
        Unrepentant sinners are not communed, even if they presume to present themselves at the chalice.
        Sinners who sin flagrantly so that their serious sins are evident to others the scandal of the faithful must be excluded from the chalice until they repent and give evidence of repentance.

        Most of this is dealt with in confession, so that those ‘excluded’ don’t come to the chalice to be turned away. Those who don’t bring their sin to confession or who reject the word given therein and present themselves presumptuously before the chalice lay down a challenge to the priest which cannot be declined lest the flock be harmed. It is hard to do, but do it we must for the good of both the sinner, that he may be undeceived as to his standing before God due his actions and be moved to repentance, and for the flock that they may not be led into sin themselves and pulled down by the failure of the shepherd to deal decisively with a diseased member.

        The canons contain detailed prescriptions in these matters, which are designed to effect the healing of all involved. We neglect the canons, we reap confusion and other deletrious consequences.

      • Jane Rachel says


        Colette and Father Justin have answered your comment, and they are absolutely right.

        Isn’t it true that you must repent, confess and change your lifestyle if you want to take Communion? The heresy happens when someone seeks to change the teachings of the Church from within the Church, and when those people are people of influence, it becomes a battle. The Church teaches that those sins are NOT acceptable. None of them. The Episcopalians took the sin of homosexuality and decided it was okay because so many people did it. It’s okay, my bishop is gay! Well, should we not be concerned about the Orthodox Church doing the same, especially given what we’ve been hearing from some well-respected priests in the OCA? I know one of the retired bishops is gay and living with a gay deacon, and that’s okay, apparently.

        I’m sorry if it seems that I am beating a dead horse. I can’t seem to get away from the past. I want to see some closure, and would especially like to see biblical principles applied so healing can really happen. Things are looking better, though, since more people are speaking out.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Folks, you are all right and I maintain that I am also right. I have been around priests for a long time and I can tell you the theory and the practice. It is not as black and white as many of us would like this to be. It should be closer to the theory than it is in some parishes at some times. I even think that the exceptions prove the rule–that is, the theory that was so nicely expounded by Father Justin. And, indeed, there are times when you don’t have to be between the penitent and the confessor to know an open sin. I would maintain that, even when that happens, we should not jump at the conclusion that the Church is going to hell in a hand basket. Give the priest and the bishop a chance to rectify the situation; and, I am not talking about a few weeks or months. I am not counseling that we should not be concerned; I am saying that we should take a deep breath, be patient and err on the side of forgiveness. Have faith that our Church, the Body of Christ will survive (and flourish!) even in face of the problems that we have. Heed the following words “Repentance means to forgive. Forgiveness does not mean to justify someone’s sin against us. When we resent and hold a grudge, we objectify the person who hurt us according to their action, and erect a barrier between us and them. And, we continue to beat ourselves up with their sin. To forgive means to overcome that barrier, and see that there is a person who, just like us, is hurt and broken, and to overlook the sin and embrace him or her in love. When we live in a state of repentance and reconciliation, we live in a communion of love, and overcome all the barriers that prevented us from fulfilling our own personhood.”

        • It’s not a horse, and it isn’t dead. So let’s keep beating it.

      • The fathers frequently used this analogy of a hospital. The church is a place for sinners, but more specifically, for sinners who want to get well, to put on the righteousness of Christ that will serve as the wedding garment when the bridegroom comes. For those sinners who sincerely renounce all their sin, who sincerely make efforts to reform, and are truly sorry when they fall, then full restoration is available upon repentance even to seventy times seven times. However, for those sinners who do not want to get well, who do not decisively acknowledge their sin but defend their sin, who show no struggle, and who simply want to be accepted as they are without efforts to change, such sinners have not shown repentance and should be excluded from the chalice.

        Carl enumerated many reasons why priests don’t always protect the chalice. While accurate, I would say it is descriptive, not prescriptive. Just because priests find it difficult to require repentance before partaking doesn’t mean they should fail in this area.

        In my opinion, this applies equally to premarital sex in youth as it does to homosexuals. There are immense societal pressures in both cases. Society tells our young people that they are not normal if they are not having sex, and it tells homosexuals that acting out their desires is normal and not sin. If someone with a terminal disease (“mortal” sin) comes to the hospital and tells the doctor that they don’t want to accept any medicine or remedy (repentance), the doctor will try to convince them to accept the remedy that will make them well, but ultimately will have no choice but to send them away because what use is the hospital if the patient does not want to get well?

        The pro-gay lobby likes to use modern science to correct God. They say that homosexuality is genetic so it can’t be sinful. For the sake of argument, let’s grant them the full import of their theory – that they are born with the predisposition or desire to commit homosexual acts. Obviously they can’t say the actions themselves are inborn, or they would be fatalists who deny free will and deny the possibility of grace to overcome sin. So the most they can claim is predisposition. Well, those who are born with a heterosexual predisposition are born with an innate desire to fulfill their sexual lusts before marriage. Inborn desire and predisposition are never a legitimate excuse to sin, because the stain of Adam’s sin gives us desires to commit all manner of sins. To claim that one has same sex attraction does not grant license to act out on that desire and commit sin any more than opposite sex attraction gives license to premarital sex. By taking on the yoke of Christ, our obligation does not even stop with the outward act. Fleshly lust is a sin even if not acted upon, and purification from inward sins is as important as purification from outward sins. This is true of both homosexual lust and heterosexual lust. It is through deep and sincere sorrow over our sins and through earnest prayer (such as through the Jesus prayer) that God gives the grace to purify ourselves even of our lusts.

        The fathers are extremely clear that one’s baptism will have no avail on the day of judgment for those who, after baptism, persist in unrepentant sin. True love is often “tough” love. Our ultimate goal always has to be the restoration of the sinner, and God forgive us if our goal is to destory rather than restore another, but it is not compassionate to allow someone to continue to the end of their life and squander this “season of repentance.” As Chrysostom says, the way to reconcile God’s mercy with his justice is by season. During one’s life, God is patient and merciful to give each of us every opportunity to repent. However, after we die, the opportunity to repent is gone, and we will face the justice of God based on what we have done during out lifetimes.

        • If an Orthodox priest declares to his flock that he is not a “chalice cop” in other words, it is not up to him to decide who should be communed and who should not, I would submit that such a priest is no longer an Orthodox priest, and maybe never was based on the Ordination rite of a presbyter in the Orthodox Church….

          Following the consecration of the Holy Gifts, the Bishop will call the new Priest to the front of the Altar and hand him the consecrated Lamb saying:

          Receive thou this pledge, and preserve it whole and unharmed until thy last breath, because thou shalt be held to an accounting therefore in the Second and Awesome Coming of our Great Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ.

          The new Priest takes consecrated Lamb and kisses the Bishop’s right hand. He then walks to the back of the Altar and holds the Lamb, facing West, until the Bishop calls him back to the front.

          Are these not the very words which command the new priest to protect the Lamb? Is he not then a “chalice cop”?

          I know of only one Orthodox priest who publicly uttered such heretical words that he is not a “chalice cop” to justify his communing of openly gay people in the parish he is attached to. I won’t utter his name for it is not necessary for me to do so since God will be his judge. But, Metropolitan Jonah knows who this priest is and permits him to still serve while not repenting his grievous sin.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            It means NOT that he is no longer a priest but a priest that has to re-screw his head onto his neck– the right way. I do not believe in zero defects and neither did the Lord. I suggest you bring the matter up as it is prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.

          • There are more of them, Amos. One of them, a non-OCA priest, made a blog posting a while back mocking closed communion, and was forced to delete it because of the number of outraged comments he received.

            If you ask me, any priest who makes a habit of knowingly communing people who are not Orthodox (e.g. non-Chalcedonians, Maronites, Uniates) should be defrocked on the spot. If non-Orthodox regularly attend an Orthodox church for whatever reason, they must not receive sacraments without being received into the Orthodox Church and permanently breaking with their former faith.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Strong feelings that I share. However, you did not really mean defrocking them on the spot, did you?

              • That’ll raise church attendance!

              • Carl, if it were up to me, I would personally chop off their ponytails.

                • There should be a wink-face after that, because I only mean that in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way. I could just hear hundreds of Orthodox priests all over the country, reaching back and nervously grasping their hair!

              • Geo Michalopulos says

                No Carl, not at all. I believe in due process. They should be formally charged with dereliction of duty by real people who witnessed it and who are willing to come before a real canonical court. Said court should employ scrupulous record-keeping and should be convened at the earliest possible convenience. They should be allowed to plead their case, the Church’s representative should plead the Church’s stance, and after due deliberation, the judges should adjudicate. At every step of the way, the accused should be allowed to recant and repent.

                AT NO POINT should a non-guilty, non-credibly acussed person be forced into “evaluation.”

        • I found a great quote from St Chrysostom’s homily on 2 Cor 7 that reinforces what some of us have been saying, that compassion is tough love that requires true repentance, not to coddle and applaud those who want to persist in their sins:

          “For it is the part of humanity not to humor the sick in every thing nor to flatter their unseasonable desires. No one so loved him that committed fornication amongst the Corinthinians, as Paul who commandeth to deliver him to Satan; no one so hated him as they that applaud and court him; and the event showed it. For they indeed both puffed him up and increased his inflammation; but [the Apostle] both lowered it and left him not until he brought him to perfect health. And they indeed added to the existing mischief, he eradicated even that which existed from the first. These laws, then, of humanity let us learn also. For if thou seest a horse hurrying down a precipice, thou appliest a bit and holdest him in with violence and lashest him frequently; although this is punishment, yet the punishment itself is the mother of safety. Thus act also in the case of those that sin. Bind him that hath transgressed until he have appeased God; let him not go loose, that he be not bound the faster by the anger of God. If I bind, God doth not chain; if I bind not, the indissoluble chains await him. “For if we judged ourselves, we should not be judged.” (1 Cor. xi. 31.) Think not, then, that thus to act cometh of cruelty and inhumanity; nay, but of the highest gentleness and the most skillful leechcraft and of much tender care. But, saith one, they have been punished for a long time. How long? Tell me. A year, and two, and three years? Howbeit, I require not this, length of time, but amendment of soul. This then show whether they have been pricked to the heart, whether they have reformed, and all is done: since if there be not this, there is no advantage in the time. For neither do we inquire whether the wound has been often bandaged, but whether the bandage has been of any service. If therefore it hath been of service, although in a short time, let it be kept on no longer: but if it hath done no service, even at the end of ten years, let it be still kept on: and let this fix the term of release, the good of him that is bound. If we are thus careful both of ourselves and of others, and regard not honor and dishonor at the hands of men; but bearing in mind the punishment and the disgrace that is there, and above all the provoking of God, apply with energy the medicines of repentance: we shall both presently arrive at the perfect health, and shall obtain the good things to come; which may all we obtain, through the grace and love towards men of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom, to the Father, with the Holy Spirit, be glory, might, honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.”

  13. Yesterday Mark Stokoe… threw in the towel and shut down OCANews. … Good riddance.

    Regardless of the reason why suspended publication, I suppose the mantle now passes in-part to you to publish information about the OCA. Obviously you don’t HAVE to do anything in this regard, but I – for one – hope you will.

    Whatever problems there may be in the OCA, I find it refreshing that certain folks like you have taken it upon themselves to bring the discussion to two audiences: the rank and file in the OCA, and those just interested in the development of Orthodoxy in the U.S.

    • In the early days, OCANews served some useful purposes in exposing corruption. As time went on, it became clear that he had a political agenda to get rid of +Jonah, whom I know to be a very spiritual and humble leader, and it became representative of the gay agenda. Those of us who love +Jonah and who want to defend traditional orthodoxy against modern innovations ought to be just as concerned about corruption as OCANews ever was, though I hope it can be done with a more charitable and constructive spirit. I hope Monomakhos takes the mantle of exposing corruption wherever it is found, but without all the nit-picking, fearmongering, and conspiracy theorizing that was evident in too many of the OCANews posts.

    • GregF, thank you for your kind words. I don’t see myself as taking up the mantle of OCANews because it became increasingly obvious (to me at least) that beginning about 3 months into +Jonah’s primacy, Stokoe was not acting in good faith.

      Having said that, the purpose of Monomakhos is to stand up for Tradition in matters fo the Faith, sobornost and territoriality in matters of ecclesiology, exposure of corruption, patriotism in matters of country, conservatism in matters of culture, and a whole lot of fun. In addition, we always offer and encourage free-wheeling debate.

      If I may pat myself on the back here, a very good priest friend of mine told the real strength of this website was not that we were upholding Tradition (which is real easy to do by the way because the truth is easier to defend than a lie and I’m no longer clever enough to remember who I told what) but because even though this is a traditionalist website, we allow real dialogue with no censorship. Again if I may, several correspondents proved over these past months that Stokoe regularly censored the views expressed by several of his commentators (and we can be reasonably sure that several never saw the light of day). In other words, OCAN was never really about Accountability and Transparency —Monomakhos is. What we really need is more T & A I say, or if I may quote John Adams: “Sunlight is the best disenfectant.”

      • George,

        The only similarity I meant to draw between here and OCANews was that you both bring/brought stories into the “sunlight.” (Great quote.) Other agendas may compromise, to be sure. However, your second paragraph – the purpose of Monomakhos – is a worthy goal and I wish you well in working toward it.

        Too bad there is not something similar that would cover stories in the Greek (GOAA) and Antiochian (AOCA) Churches.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Well, Greg…I am pan-Orthodox. 😉

          Seriously, I don’t ever intend to confine myself only to stories (good or bad) in just the OCA. It’s just that right now that’s where all the action is.