Doubling Down on Anger

The are precious few arrows left in the quiver of the anti-+Jonah partisans. The ones labeled “sanity,” “defiance,” “rebelliousness,” etc., fell far short of their intended target. Once the remaining arrows are gone, watch +Jonah’s detractors stoop for any animal dropping within their reach and throw them at HB hoping that one of them will stick.

As I wrote in an earlier post, when someone watches another person repent, it produces two (and only two) results: more repentance or anger. It all depends on the heart of the observer.

What we are witnessing here is +Jonah’s detractors doubling down on their anger.

That’s the only thing that explains their outrage. I mean, can you believe it? A bishop in his own diocese tonsuring a dying woman to the monastic life? Has HB lost his senses? Didn’t he get Stokoe’s memo that he must ask for permission to go to the bathroom? Does his rebellion know no bounds?

Sarcasm aside, what we are witnessing from Stokoe’s partisans is the madness that flows out of desperation. This political cult, centered around the figure of St. Stokoe and his Immaculate Investigations, is starting to circle the wagons around their precious idol and the narrative he forged. +Benjamin’s “Letter to the Editor” is just the most recent. If there is any doubt that the idol is close to being toppled, this latest attempt dispels it.


  1. George, what are you talking about? The letter you linked to was written by His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, on behalf of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America. Bishop Tikhon is the Secretary of the OCA Holy Synod.

    Secretary of Holy Synod addresses recent Washington Post article

    You are now effectively accusing all the other eight(8) bishops of the OCA of being part “Stokoe’s partisans” and a “political cult.” I beg you, come to your senses!

    • Fr Thomas Soroka says


      It does no good to try and paint George with the same “he’s clearly crazy” broad brush that others are trying to pin on His Beatitude. George’s point is well taken: There is an increasingly desperate tone to Stokoe’s ‘editorial’ replies. Constantly repeating, “the problem is Met. Jonah” like a mantra is the sign of an angry and desperate man. Posting a link to a letter from the Holy Synod to the author of a piece about Met Jonah to correct misconceptions about the President of the Holy Synod (!) doesn’t appear desperate (let alone the writing of the letter itself)? Having a diocesan council weigh in on a matter to which they are clearly not privy and demand draconian measures isn’t desperate? The tactic of deflecting attention away from emails which imply a predetermined plan to undermine His Beatitude’s primatial leadership isn’t desperate? Ignoring calls for an investigation into the appropriateness of certain MC members to serve isn’t desperate? It seems openness and transparency is only for the politically expedient matters.

    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

      Chris, eight bishops are not out there publicly or even privately demanding that the Metropolitan bow down before them. Only four are even alleged to be aligned against him, only two of those four have dared to do anything publicly that could be construed as a move against him, and even those two have not dared to publicly accuse him of any fault (whatever they might be saying privately).

      And anyway, George doesn’t finger anyone as one of “Stokoe’s partisan” in this post other than +Benjamin. I rather think he had in mind people like yourself who continue to defend Stokoe despite his increasingly hysterical attempts at spin, like the characterization of tonsuring a nun on her death bed as an “act of defiance.” Where did Stokoe get the idea that taking a leave of absence from his duties as metropolitan meant that he couldn’t perform a sacramental act in his own diocese? Only an unstable mind would jump to that conclusion, and only a very irresponsible reporter would post it online.

      The more that comes to light and the more Stokoe says, the worse Stokoe looks. To date, we still don’t have one allegation even of a specific behavior indicating that the Metropolitan isn’t perfectly sane, yet Stokoe’s dishonesty and immorality has been plainly proven and you still stand by him. So I beg you, Chris, come to your senses.

    • The intention of the author of the letter on the Diocese of the West website – and why wouldn’t that be Bishop Benjamin rather than Bishop Tikhon (?) – is clearly to “steal the thunder” of a well-written article on His Beatitude and divert it to himself.

      If the Washington Post had wanted to do an article on this bishop, they would have called him. They didn’t. They wanted to do one on the Metropolitan. And the pious words of this letter “get in the way” somewhat, but that’s all this letter really does – get in the way – like a noisy kid in the room hollering, ‘Over here! Over here!”

      Anyone here remember Edward Everett? He was a famous orator of the Civil War period who was called to Gettysburg to give an address, and address he did, for two hours. He was followed by a meek and chastised president who said in 2 minutes address what Everett had been unable to say in 13,607 words. It doesn’t take a lot of talk to get a point across. The Washington Post portrays our Metropolitan as a good guy who wants to give a voice to important Christian principles. Beyond that, the rest is all the rest.

      • Don’t forget, Ms. Duin had a terrible time trying to get people to talk to her. Yes, the article could have used their input, but they had their chance to speak up.

        Also, their point about Met. Jonah and the DADT thing makes no sense. There were no other Orthodox leaders in America speaking up about this. It didn’t imply that any other OCA bishop needed to say anything (OCA military chaplains are under the Metropolitan directly), but it might have been nice if Archbishop Demetrios or Metropolitan Philip had said something on behalf of their military chaplains. Met. Jonah’s letter was brave, clear, coherent, and a wonderful exposition of Orthodox teaching written in a loving manner. I have it saved on my computer for future reference when trying to explain Orthodox teaching on this issue.

        • Helga, I too was mystified by Bishop +Tikhon’s well-written (but ultimately vacuous) letter to the WaPo. Lots of pretty words but very little substance. Where were the other Orthodox leaders who spoke up about DADT? You mentioned the two other primates, but what about the other OCA bishops. Crickets chirping.

  2. I cannot argue with non-sensical comments by folks who seem lack a basic understanding of English and logic. Here we go, one more time!

    George claimed:

    This political cult, centered around the figure of St. Stokoe and his Immaculate Investigations, is starting to circle the wagons around their precious idol and the narrative he forged. +Benjamin’s “Letter to the Editor” is just the most recent.

    The “Letter to the Editor” that he linked to was actually written by Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, on behalf of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America.

    Secretary of Holy Synod addresses recent Washington Post article

    The letter represents the public statement of the eight (8) bishops of the Holy Synod. Where is the evidence that the letter was written by +Benjamin?

    Furthermore, notice to that the actions described by George as those of the “political cult” and the “Stokoe idol worshiping” individuals, who are “circling the wagons” and are part of the “rebellion” qualifier includes the said letter on behalf of the Holy Synod. Whose voices are included in that letter? Why, all EIGHT (8) OCA bishops who released those comments via the Holy Synod’s Secretary, Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania.

    • Chris Plourde says

      I cannot argue with non-sensical comments by folks who seem lack a basic understanding of English and logic.

      The point of modern communications is not to understand or be logical, but to stir emotions.

      To put it in Orthodox-ese: More incense, fewer candles!

    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

      So George misspoke. Big deal. Or maybe he thinks +Benjamin instigated the letter. Maybe.

      But Chris, the letter was sent in the name of +Tikhon, not in the name of the Holy Synod. It was signed by +Tikhon, not by all eight bishops. We don’t know that all eight bishops saw the letter before it was sent, or that they approved the final draft, or that they would have put their own names to it if asked. Maybe it was sent under +Tikhon’s name because some of the eight wouldn’t put their names to it. I don’t know, and you don’t know, so you are off base in claiming that all eight sent the letter.

      • OK, I’ll concede the point, I misspoke. So? I was doing this late at night and it first appeared on the DoW website. To my mind, the fact that +Benjamin picked up this flag and started wildly waiving it means that he was particularly stung by the WaPo article on +Jonah. That’s all. Besides, it’s nothing but special pleading. Everything +Tikhon wrote was true but beside the point. OK, so he agrees that we should engage in the “culture wars.” Hoorah! The Holy Synod can start by cleaning its own house, which includes the Metropolitan Council.

      • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

        Father Deacon,

        How is it responsible for a clergyman to make this many pure speculations which have the effect of making accusations? Such that the secretary of the Synod is lying when he writes in the name of the Synod? Isn’t a letter from the secretary all that is needed for a letter of this sort? Do we really expect formal synodal ukaz?

        I expect that the Secretary when speaking as such is not writing as a private individual. I assume that when the First hierarch speaks as such, he is not speaking as a private person. I would expect if that is not case, some sort of correction would be sought.

        As for George making an error in haste, that is hardly an isolated incident. On those all too rare occasions when the errors are acknowledged it is always with this “so what?” air. All the while nit-picking Mark Stokoe – for inaccuracy and spin! The lack of self awareness around here is astounding.

        • Ian James says

          Fr. Yousuf,

          What’s your take on the two leaked emails? Don’t you think Stokoe has to explain what he was doing trying to undermine +Jonah? He has not even acknowledged the emails exist.

          • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

            Dear Ian,

            My take on the leaked emails (there are 4 now) is irrelevant to the criticism I offered of Fr. Deacon’s accusation-speculations in my above post. That is, if I came to agree with your assessment I would not need to, nor would I, retract my criticism of those accusation speculations.

            The vast majority of my criticisms, which occur mostly in the “recap thread” do not depend on liking or agreeing with Mark Stokoe’s efforts. I have repeated myself ad nauseum on this point, but the common stance is that we have to pick sides, and since I am not on the side of George and OCATruth, I must be on Stokoe’s side and have to carry water for all of his choices, public or private. That is nonsense.

            As a matter of fact, Mark has acknowledged that email in one of his articles, and has answered questions several times in comments.

            Try very hard to follow the logic here, it’s actually not all that difficult:
            The charge I am about to make to you Ian, does not depend on whether I like, accept, approve of, or disapprove of, or agree with Mark Stokoe’s explanations and answers. It only depends on my being aware of their existence and knowing that they are easily available.
            As a point of fact, when you, Ian, write;
            “Don’t you think Stokoe has to explain what he was doing trying to undermine +Jonah? He has not even acknowledged the emails exist.”
            you are either so uninformed that you should not presume to comment, or you are lying.

            It seems the customary way on this blog to face such a conundrum is to say “I misspoke. So? “

            • Michael Bauman says

              Fr. a major casualty of any scape-goat situation, which I firmly believe the attack on Met. Jonah to be (or do you accept that he has been attacked?) is real rationality. Instead what what happens is irrationality masquerading as facts. It is the irrational passion to cleanse the community of ‘the last bad apple’ that drives the whole process. The reponse is to ‘cleanse the cleansers’. Ocatruth and OCAnews both exhibit the reality that the false dictomy which scape-goating encourages.

              It is quite easy to get sucked into the emotional vortex of the scape-goat phenomenon. This, Ian could be both ‘informed’ about the ‘facts’ but wrong in his interpretation and wrong concerning the real context. If he has no intent to deceive, he is not lying. Your accusations simply are more of the same thing to which you rightly object. The vortex looms at your own doorstep.

              Attempting to be logical and rational by appealing to facts only feeds the flame of the scape-goat passion as “the facts are on my side” mentality of all the people involved. Facts never speak for themselves. It is always the context and the intention that give meaning to the facts.

              The simple truth here is that there are no facts that make a difference except for the obvious, to me, fact that scape-goating has taken hold of the OCA upper echelon. All realtionships suffer in such an atmosphere. Since truth is relational, truth suffers more and more as trust, friendship, obedience, humilty and love are broken down and trampled on day, after day in an devolving spiral of self-will, revenge and simple darwinist survival. It is about as far from being Christian as one can get.

              It is a tough, tough spiral to get free of once entered, even tougher to stop it before the damage it causes becomes irreparable to the community in which it occurs.

              The only defense of Met. Jonah that will be successful is the one that simply asserts without rancor that he must not be deposed without clear evidence of cannonical/moral wrong doing: show your evidence or stand down then let us repent and forgive one another and allow the Holy Spirit to guide our decision as to the next step. The onus to stop is always more on those who began the quest for blood to purify the community. Savaging those who rightly object (even when they are sucked into the vortex) only adds to the momentum of the darkness. The onus on all of us is the guard our own hearts, hold on to our peace, and repent when we fail. More of that needs to happen here but let us not be deflected from the original attack itself. I call it an attack because of the language used and the tone and the constant barrage of the same charges with little evidence being repeated over and over again, each time more shrilly than the last. That must stop wherever it occurs.

              Ideally, this should happen within the Synod but with full disclosure to the rest of the body.

              May the peace and joy of our Lord Jesus Christ prove victorious over our sin filled hearts and darkened minds.

              • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

                Dear Michael,

                I think we are each and all responsible for our own truth claims. I am responsible for what I say, Ian for what he says. Ian said “He [Mark] has not even acknowledged the emails exist.” Now that is not, repeat not, an interpretation, that is either true or false. In fact, it is false. Not only is it false, the truth on that matter is easily knowable. For the record, I do assume that Ian was simply being careless. The other logical alternative, that he was deliberately misleading is there because it is the only other logical alternative. The starkness of that either/or that I presented is meant to indicate that I think that making a statement that egregiously false is irresponsible in a way as to be unethical and immoral. I apologize to anyone to whom I gave the impression that I assumed Ian was lying.

                There is some real merit in parts of your analysis, but I think on the whole it is very wrong, it amounts to a highly complex and nuanced version of “He started it!” as justification for wrong. On your reading, since you have judged our synod guilty, those that are irrational and make false accusations are absolved of the responsibility for their own actions, provided that they are reacting to the original fault, and against those whom you have determined are guilty.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  No one is absolved for sins they commit because of the acts of others. I am sorry if I gave that impression. That is not what I said nor what I meant. Obviously I was not clear enough.

                  The crux of my argument is that the situation as it exists is sinful in its entirety and no amount of finger pointing or getting to the facts will make it any less sinful–in fact just the opposite. Everybody is wrong!

                  Perhaps I would have been more clear if I had said the onus on those who instigated the situation is to stop. The onus of the rest of us is not to react in an equally sinful manner.

                  That does not mean that we have any necessity to acquiese to the aim of those with whom we disagree or refuse to raise questions and demand real answers as to intent, bias and objectives.

                  You did not address my question either as to whether you think Met. Jonah has been, is being or was attacked.

                  The reason I ask it that a friend of mine who is a clincal psychologist who works with abuse situations told me that the language used against Met. Jonah is quite similar to abused spouses who are lashing out at their abuse (whether the target is the abuser or not). Just wondering?

                  • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

                    By this time, it is obvious that every level of the leadership of our Church, including Met. Jonah has been and is being attacked by enemies, visible and invisible.

                    No way am I going to be drawn into commenting on what some psychologist said about something, I know not what, said by I don’t know who.

                  • Fr, with all due respect, +Jonah is not attacking anybody. And the level of vituperation against HB by certain bishops has only grown. The letter put out by +Tikhon is a case in point. Instead of congratulating Mrs Duin on the fine job she did on the first decent Metropolitan the OCA has had in 20+ years, all he could say is “Me too! Me too! Lookie over here at me! I’m a good boy too!”

                    And the pathetic “resolutions” put out by the DoW are transparent in their contempt for HB.

                    As for Stokoe, he can’t find one kind thing to say about HB. Even I can find nice things to say about The Appalled Four.

                  • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

                    Did I say Met. Jonah had attacked anyone? No, I did not. And to my knowledge he hasn’t.

                    You and OCATruth, however, attack, attack, attack. And why does someone who advertises Coulter’s “Guilty” on his blog so need to create this victim narrative? The mind boggles.

                    Your attack on Bp. Tikhon (Mollard): I have known Bp. Tikhon since 1992, when he was a Riassaphore monk and still in seminary. He is a monk before he is anything else. I rather doubt he would now how to vituperate if he wanted to. Nor is there anything self aggrandizing about him, in his letter or otherwise. And even if his letter was what you describe it to be (which it isn’t) it still wouldn’t be vituperation. Look it up if you need to.

                    Your attack on the DoW diocesan Council: I do not believe that that diocesan council is filled with contempt, that diocesan council which is filled (more than any other in the OCA) with people who have served alongside Met. Jonah for many years. I know you won’t believe that, but there it is. The contempt you see is needed for the victim narrative to which you are attached, and outside of which you dare not look.

                    How, with your manifold attacks, you wish to take anyone else to task for vituperation is beyond me. How you and OCATruth think you help Met. Jonah or the OCA or anyone else with your attacks is way past my ken.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  At the very least the Synod as a whole is doing nothing to defuse the situation. Whether or not that is because specific members of the Synod want to depose Met. Jonah because he threatens them; are being petulent little children; are cowards; or have good and rigtheous reasons for their opposition–who knows. That is a big part of the problem.

                  The distrust of bishops in general by many (on both sides of this issue) is part of the problem.

                  The list goes on and on. None of the problems can be addressed righteously in the current atmosphere which (right wrong or stupid) Mark Stokoe did a lot to create and is doing a lot to keep going. He appears to be the primary protagonist for the public part of the fight.

                  If he would stop, my guess (hope) is that the situation would calm down rather quickly.

                  If Met. Jonah is deposed, directly or indirectly, the future of the OCA is not good.

                  • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

                    The synod is, I think in an unenviable situation. They may be yet more public, and reveal and draw attention to and attack publicly the actions of a Metropolitan whose ministry I think they mean to save, thus making their ultimate goal less achievable,

                    or they can respond as little as possible, which seems most of the current way, running the risk of letting the blogosphere turmoil go on unabated and uncoorected,

                    or they can go into institutional paralysis as an intolerably dysfunctional situation spirals down, and do nothing about the current situation and pretend that there are no problems.

                  • Or they can put out an enyclical which goes something like this:

                    “We, the Holy Synod of the OCA, love our Primate. Because of our own failings, we have failed him and allowed others to savage him. He has admitted his own failings to us and our Church and is in the process of repenting. Let us pray for him as he continues his Lenten Journey. Pray for us as well.

                    “We also ask that all rumor-mongering on the internet cease immediately. We pledge as Christian gentlemen that we will not honor these sites with our presence, nor communicate to them in any way, our thoughts, fellings, or actions.

                    “Finally, each bishop in his diocese is going to undertake a pastoral review of the clergy and laity who serve on our diocesan councils as well as those individuals who represent our dioceses on the Metropolitan Council.”

                • Fr, the only “truth claim” that you seem to have a problem with (on my end) is whether or not I was right or wrong about the four bishops being the recipients of the original leaked e-mail. I am presently endeavoring to get a hold of the original leaked e-mail (a copy actually). That would settle the issue of whether they were the recipients once and for all, wouldn’t it?

                  But as it stands right now, the implication of an anti-+Jonah cabal still stands doesn’t it? In the interim, it has gotten only stronger. As I write in a previous post, not only does Stokoe not deny the ipsimma verbi, he tries to manufacture a different gloss for them.

                  Anyway, to try and debunk the entire case I have made of Mark Stokoe as the Avenger of Syosset who will stop at nothing until he has the hated +Jonah’s scalp hanging from his belt still stands. The fact that I can’t prove at this point who all of the recipients were doesn’t take away from that any iota.

                  In fact, if you remember, I first started along the path of Stokoe-skepticism some 4 weeks ago, when I wrote “News and OCANews.” I had no knowledge then of the leaked e-mail at all. No one else did for that matter. All I did was look at the text of Stokoe’s initial report about Santa Fe and noticed that something didn’t “feel right” about it. Yes, the first 2 paragraphs were straight news, but the rest seemed too pat, too inside, too crafted. Then I immediately spotted three glaring errors. Then I published another article (“More Inaccuracies in OCANews“) wherein I pointed out three additional errors.

                  From the first week of this scandal, I was either completely unaware of the leaked e-mail. Even when it seeped out, I still didn’t grasp the importance of it until about 3 weeks ago. So my own take on the Scandal –that Stokoe had an animus which drove his reportage–was only informed by his own words.

                  Regardless, the leaked e-mail has become the Smoking Gun.

                  • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

                    Dear George,

                    I doubt that repeating myself will help you understand. You just don’t want to.

                    For the benefit of other readers your may follow all the documentation on the thread of comments on your recap thread.

                    Fact: Your “recap” clearly claims for itself that it is a list of documented proven facts, at the end you say, with your own emphasis, that with this list of facts we may now deduce other things.

                    This assertion of yours is the very first truth claim of George M that I object to. By your wording and your claims, your establish a bar for yourself that excludes including your own opinion or deduction. I would have much less of a problem if your recap presented itself as “George’s opinions of how things have gone down”. That’s what it is. It is not a retelling of documented facts at all. When your assertions on this recap or challenged, it is your claim to be giving a list of proven, documented facts that excludes such defenses as “well that’s my point of view, my opinion, my interpretation, what I think happened”.

                    Your inability to understand just what truth claims you are making and be able to back them up is why you are the relativist who can’t tell what the definition of “is” is. You claim that this is a list of proven documented facts listed prior to making deductions. Either it is or it isn’t. And in fact it isn’t. Your claim about your own writing is objectively false. And your refusal to comprehend this rather obvious point is why you are on a “Slick Billy” Clinton slide into relativism. You can put a whole Coulter library on the bottom of your blog, it won’t redeem you subjective, relativist approach. Lo. how even the elect are seduced to post-modernism.

                    I believe that almost every single item was slanted or stated a certain way well beyond just a “statement of proven documented facts”. Not such a problem if this is “How I George M. choose to interpret events.”, but it is a problem because of the claim to objective truth that you make with it.

                    I chose in response to point to the most obvious errors or unproven overstatements.

                    Fact: In your recap you state the following:
                    -“Four of the recipients of this e-mail [Mark Stokoe’s ‘conspiracy email] were bishops.”
                    -“Fr Ted Bobosh, a luminary on the Metropolitan Council has clearly stated that he does not believe in traditional morality as described by the Orthodox Church.”
                    -“It was alleged by Skordinski that Garklavs did so in order to make +Jonah look worse than the facts as actually reported. ”
                    -“This e-mail was leaked by one of the recipients to retired Bishop +Tikhon FitzGerald, who subsequently leaked it to the Blogosphere.”
                    -and you place the actions of Met. Jonah in firing the officers of the Central Church administration and shutting them out of the computers in chronological order after Mark Stokoe’s email, and label it as Backlash to Stokoe’s email.

                    Fact: These are demonstrably erroneous, and can not in any way be said to “proven documented facts”

                    -Bp. Tikhon (Fitzgerald) leaked the list of recipients with the original leak of the email. the list was Subdeacon Dmitri Solodow, Fr John Reeves, Ms. Faith Skordinski, Fr. Theodore Bobosh, and Mr Gregory Nescott. No bishops. George ignored this question for 50 posts, finally did retract whilst saying it didn’t really matter, and now it matters so much he wants a copy of the original email.

                    -Skordinski does allege that Fr. Alexander Garklavs wanted to omit some things from the report, and alleges that that is because they might be embarrassing. She does not state embarrassing to whom. In fact her email reveals that she doesn’t really know what is in the report, what Garklavs wants to omit, nor do we know if the SMPAC aceded to Garklavs desire.. OCATruth makes a ‘conjecture” in their own words, that this was Garklavs trying to alter the report to make Met. Jonah look bad. That is OCATruth’s conjecture, not an allegation made by Skordinski. I have asked you, George, several times to quote where Skordinski makes the specific allegation you claim she made on a list of proven facts, or to retract. (Crickets chirping — to borrow a George M expression).

                    -Despite a huge volume of commentary on the implications of Fr. Ted’s words and his pastoral practice, No one, it seems is even trying to prove that Fr Ted openly states rejection of the teaching of the Church. This is because that over statement is based on a “sound bite” extracted from Fr Ted’s words which is clearly much qualified in context.

                    -The point about one of the original recipients was the most minor issue and the one you chose to focus on first. I think that is because it was the most minor issue.

                    -It is uncontested that the Metropolitan attempted to fire Fr. Alexander Garklavs before Stokoe’s email.

                    I repeat my request that you add a note to your “recap” post itself stating that it is your interpretation that you believe to be on the whole factual, but not a listing of proven documented facts themselves, and, further, specifically retracting or qualifying the points listed above, in order to avoid knowingly spreading false hoods.

            • Ian James says

              Can you cite where Stokoe has addressed them? The only one I’ve seen is the one that Chris B. mentioned but did that come out after my comment? Stokoe’s site is very difficult to read so maybe I missed it.

              I don’t care much either way about psychological or sociological analysis. Either Stokoe is lying or he isn’t. Either they cooked something up or they didn’t. I think they did.

              In the explanation that Chris B posted that Stokoe wrote, Stokoe only makes sense is you believe his story that +Jonah has a problem is true. In other words, Stokoe’s explanation hangs together only if you believe Stokoe’s interpretation of the events. But since he is the primary actor in a narrative that he authored and interprets, his reassurances aren’t very reassuring.

              Further, since he can’t name one incident of canonical malfeasance, you have to ask why he went to such great lengths to attack +Jonah, especially in light of the other two emails that point to the same people hatching the same plot. That one with the meeting agenda that ended with “I move for a motion of no confidence” is pretty damning .

              You also say:

              By this time, it is obvious that every level of the leadership of our Church, including Met. Jonah has been and is being attacked by enemies, visible and invisible.

              It is? Where? What I see is the Stokoe partisans attacking +Jonah, and two websites (this one and OCATruth) fighting back. Nothing much else is happening.

              I don’t care much for empty-headed theologizing either. Stokoe is shady. He’s not clear about his motives. How come he can’t just do a clear back and forth? Instead, everything is couched in that high-minded tone of false moderation.

              Who is this guy? He’s not a journalist. He’s just a guy with a blog, like George Michalopulos. The difference is that George M. takes the heat. You get to challenge him upfront. He answers you too. Stokoe hides behind a pose. He never, ever, answers a direct question. There is never dialogue, only Stokoe pontificating about this and that. And we should take him at his word? What are we? Stupid? You might be. I’m not.

              • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

                I am going to respond to this only because I took you to task for making a baseless statement on the subject.

                Chris Banescu clearly posted the date of that original post, Feb 27th, 2011, well before your comment. It is an editor’s note on comment 68, and he responded again on the same thread to comment 85, on the Feb 28th, 2011. Both comments quote Stokoe’s email leaked by Bp. Tikhon (Fitzgerald), the revelation of which on his own site Stokoe did not censor. You may read them by clicking on the link Chris Banescu helpfully provided you, and I have given you the comment numbers for your perusing ease.

                On March 6th, 2011, Stokoe published “Jonah Goes Rogue”, an article of his own writing, which includes “A Long Personal Excursis” on the email.


                Also on March 6th, 2011, Mark Stokoe responded to a list of open questions from OCATruth, in a reponse entitled “Questions Answered”


                For someone who has trouble reading his blog, and who seems unfamiliar with some his main writing on the subject, you have an awful lot of opinions about him.

                • Ian James says

                  Saw those. They only make sense if you first accept Stokoe’s narrative on +Jonah. If you don’t, then it shows that Stokoe has his hand right in the middle of a conspiracy to remove +Jonah.

                  He names a lot of names, makes it appear the consensus is behind him, but I haven’t heard a word of confirmation apart from Stokoe himself that anything he reports is really true. I’m sure some of it is. But even a broken clock is right twice a day.

                  But the spin, that drumbeat that +Jonah is an incompetent, bumbling fool filled with rebellion, anger, disobedience, a dangerous rogue and so forth — who really says this except Stokoe? Where else do you hear it? Nowhere. Who else has confirmed it? Only one, +Bp Benjamin with those ludicrous “resolutions” someone dreamed up.

                  I don’t hear or see it anywhere else. In fact, most of the reports I hear about +Jonah from people who know him paint a completely different picture that the one Stokoe wants me to believe.

                  Stokoe never touches the stuff that contradicts his story until he has to. And when he does, it always serves his narrative that +Jonah had got to go and Stokoe is the great savior of the Church.

                  Stokoe has lots of power for a guy running website. Maybe no one dares challenge him because he will eviscerate them like he tried to eviscerate +Jonah.

                  If you want to believe both the source and the messenger, go ahead. I don’t. I want to ask the other people listed on the emails what they were up to, especially the email with the plan to manufacture a vote of no-confidence. What was a “journalist” doing inside that den of thieves?

                  • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

                    Dear Ian,

                    First you say “He has not even acknowledged the emails exist.”

                    then “Can you cite where Stokoe has addressed them? The only one I’ve seen is the one that Chris B. mentioned but did that come out after my comment? Stokoe’s site is very difficult to read so maybe I missed it.

                    And then, when I look up the texts that you said were too hard for you to find you write: “Saw those. They only make sense if you first accept Stokoe’s narrative on +Jonah.”

                    What a trenchant observation. Stokoe’s writing makes sense from his point of view, and I suppose Ian’s writing might make sense from Ian’s point of view.

                    I did not provide you with those links so that we could trade crude assertions about them. I did not even provide them because I think wonderfully express my point of view. I provided them because you asked for them, that is as a courtesy to you. If you had already seen them, why ask me to spend my time looking them up for you?

                    Ian, I am done. I don’t really care if you accept Stokoe’s explanations or not. About your claiming that such acknowledgments/explanations don’t exist when they obviously do, I do care, a little , but less than the time I’ve spent with your nonsense.

                    Ian, spouting off a pile of assertions does not actually make an argument.

                    Spouting off as many categorical assertions as you do, with as little attention to detail, whilst admitting you can’t figure out how to read the material on which you are shouting, and then concluding with play ground lines like “Stupid? You might be. I’m not.” frankly presents me with a temptation … but I can resist: too easy, fish in a barrel and all that.

          • Here is the exact response my Mark Stokoe who not only acknowledged the leaked email but offered a detailed explanation of its purpose (posted on 2011-02-27 at 06:41) :

            (Editor’s note: The above is truly a part of an email exchange between several members of the Metropolitan Council which was obtained and published on the Indiana list by the former Bishop of Los Angeles, Tikhon. Only my words are reprinted.
            He characterizes it as “strategic planning”, I would call it sharing information with colleagues about a serious and developing situation, which as we can see, has become worse. As for his complaints about “openess and transparency”, the Bishop is toying with me. First he complains when I publish stories, now he is complaining that I did not? Well, in fact, I did share 95% of this information with readers on the day the latest crisis broke. Thus, this hardly rises to the level of “Tikhi-leaks”.

            To have published all this before Santa Fe would have been premature and unhelpful to the Synod, as I explain in the note – the decision was, and is, the Synod’s to make, not the MC’s. Ah, yes, friends, another clear example of rampant “Congregationalism!”.

            Yes, I certainly do speculate as to possible options before the bishops as to how they could handle the issue before them should they decide to discipline the Metropolitan. Obviously, they did not listen to me because nothing I suggested was done. So much for my being involved in “those bringing these actions about” ….

            And as for my comment that the “Metropolitan must be removed”, I doubt that opinion is a surprise to anyone but +Tikhon, if he had but read my posting in January entitled “The More Things Change” I think my displeasure with +Jonah’s conduct and leadership was on full display a full month before this email. Quel surprise.

            Finally, I fully accept the Bishop’s criticisms that God is not mentioned, nor Jesus Christ, in this particular email. Unlike the Bishop, whose writings are so well known I need not cite any, I am not one to savage, ridicule, mock and berate someone, and then have the termerity to sign that hateful attempt ” Love in Christ” or ” Love, BT”, as does the former Bishop.

            The former Bishop says “God will not be mocked”. In that, we can fully agree. )


            • Chris, this is completely self-serving. First of all, he never would have been reduced to such spin had he not been caught. Second, Ian James’ accusations still stand: how can we trust the Narrator when he created the Narrative in the first place? Third, why doesn’t he publish the original leaked e-mail and put this to rest once and for all? Were the four bishops listed on that e-mail?

        • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          Father, the letter itself does not say that he is writing on behalf of Synod, only the press release does, and even if he was writing on behalf of the Synod, that doesn’t mean that all eight bishops on the Synod saw and approved the letter. Assuming that they did is assuming facts not in evidence.

          The point is that George certainly does not count all eight bishops as being aligned against the Metropolitan. Why would he when all reports are that some are on the fence?

          • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

            Dear Father Deacon,

            I assume that Bp Tikhon is accurately reporting the Synodal consensus when he, as secretary of the Synod, says he is doing so because to assume the opposite is to assume that Bp. Tikhon Mollard or (or someone reporting to Bp. Melchizadek as acting chancellor) is lying.

            The reports of some “on the fence” I assume is Mark Stokoe’s original email.

            At the moment, having no reason to think otherwise, I do not count any bishops as “aligned against the metropolitan” in the sense usually given here, which is commited to the removal of Met. Jonah. Otherwise, I would have to assume that, for instance, Bp. Mark (Maymon’s) letter was a lie.

            If “being aligned against the metropolitan” means strenuous opposition to certain specific acts and recommending the leave, yes I think that is all of them. I don’t think Abp. Nathanael or Bp. Michael are on the fence there.

      • Chris Plourde says

        Oh, c’mon now, Father Deacon Brian. That one was funny right there…. (apologies to Larry the Cable Guy)

        It is the nature of blogs to seek shared outrage. Doesn’t matter if the blog is secular or religious, it’s the nature of the beast.

        Whether it’s OCANews or OCATruth or George, these blogs are no different. They stoke the fires of outrage: outrage at what’s alleged and/or who alleged it, outrage at what’s feared and/or who brought it up, outrage at what *might,* *may* or *must* be happening “behind the scenes” based on suspicion and surmise.

        (Now that I think of it, instead of “more incense” it should have been “more incensed.”)

        OCANews currently features poorly supported outrage at His Beatitude. OCATruth and George here feature outrage at the Holy Synod and seemingly whoever they can tie together in a game of “six degrees of Mark Stokoe.”

        And what these sites have in common is that we’re supposed to share their outrage, to amplify their outrage with our own.

        Because apparently Christ would…

        (It’s as if the Orthodox theme song was: “What’s prayer got to do with it?”)

        Orthodoxy in America won’t be done in by even the most heinous misdeeds of Synods or Metropolitans, even by the most un-canonical acts of Bishops here or abroad, but rather by the faithful acting as if the Orthodox Church was just another venue for American political hijinx.

        Which is not to say that these issues are not serious. They are. But more understanding and caution, and less “shooting from the lip” is what mature people would bring to this situation. Instead of that sobriety we see the real reason why Orthodoxy in America, is called “immature,” right here in our online mirrors.

        George makes the suggestion below that some people need to “put up or shut up.” I’d shorten his statement by removing the first three words and applying it far more broadly. As a wiser man than I wrote (emphasis in the original):

        …we need to leave our fragmented, noisy world and enter into the primeval, endless now of Gods eternal silence. This is not a cowardly retreat. This is where life and love merge into the same experience.

        And yet what courage it takes to break away from the ‘herd” and find time to be silent and alone with God. We cannot search for authenticity except in withdrawing from our world of illusions. Yet we protect the images and masks that conceal from us our true face.

        • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          You know, Chris, if you really want to take the high road, you should cut out the gratuitous insults directed at people who disagree with you.

          • Chris Plourde says

            Fr. Deacon,

            Please forgive me for any insult. I assure you none is intended, and the fact that I can’t find a veiled one, much less a gratuitous one testifies more to my blindness than anything.

            Perhaps you’ve taken exception to what was intended as humor, if so then I achieved precisely the opposite of what I had hoped to achieve. It is my lot in life to work with comedians and sometimes I see the world through that lens….I was hoping those would make people laugh, not take offense.

            So please accept my apology.


            PS: I wouldn’t call my path the “high road,” more “off road.”

      • Chris Plourde says

        PS: As of this moment I can’t find anyone “with whom I disagree” on this thread. If anything I agreed with Chris B’s frustration.

        I responded to you not because I disagree with you, but because I thought you missed my point. Now I don’t blame you for that, and I certainly don’t insult you for that, but my post is not about disagreement with any *thing* here so much as an observation about the processes of all these blogs.

        And perhaps that, too, is why I don’t see any insults, because it’s not about you, George or anyone else per se, but rather about an unconscious process that is so damaging to the Church.

  3. The letter appeared on +Benjamin’s site first. It came after the resolutions that were posted a few days before that. +Benjamin apparently has problems with +Jonah because the resolutions just echo Stokoe’s spin. No other bishop has done that.

    If the letter represents all the bishops then they should disown it. It makes them look small. It is like they are raising their hands in the background saying “But what about us? We count too!” It should not be on the OCA website. That is a mistake on their part.

    The Synod and the MC have to wake up and see the damage that Stokoe is doing to them. Stokoe is claiming that he is speaking for himself, but he is really working behind the scenes to drive the events. The emails prove it. And he talks like he has the authority of the Bishops and the MC behind him even though he claims he is a lone ranger.

    Once the lie that Stokoe and his friends are reacting to the events instead of driving them is exorcised, then the Church can move forward. If the lie takes hold and they get rid of +Jonah, then the Church stays marginal. You will have guys who live with their boyfriends telling you what the Orthodox faith is all about and deciding for you how the Church should be run. I didn’t become Orthodox to end up an Episcopalian.

    • there is no spin James- you just can’t get it in your head Fester started a split and it backfired and you now need to find someone to punish –
      no one wanted to get rid of +Johna and here you are lying to us
      shame on you
      you want revenge – go for it
      we can NEVER stop people like you –sadly

      • Sasha, I am dangerously close to telling all the people who hate Fr Fester to put up or shut up. Name one thing he did that justifies such contumely. And no, don’t tell me he was Kondratick’s friend –guilt by association is not good enough for me.

        If there’s any doubt in my mind that Fester is probably only guilty of nothing more than regrettable decisions or obtuseness, it was dispelled when I asked my episcopal correspondent last Wednesday why he didn’t defrock Fester when he had the chance.

        • It should also be noted that Fr. David Brum, another one of those so-called Kondratick cronies, is on the diocesan board of the Diocese of the West. Yes, one of the people who just passed that ridiculous resolution. One thing is clear; this is no rehash of white knight Stokoe fighting Kondratick’s minions of darkness.

          • Helga, thank you for bringing this up. One of the men who is hated as much as Kondratick and Fester is also Fr David Brum. Since he’s on the DoW masthead, I wonder what he has to say about all this?

            • Check out this ancient reflection on the episcopal selection process for the Diocese of NY/NJ:

              Written by Subdeacon Dmitri “vote of no confidence” Solodow, it gives a verrrrry interesting perspective on Bishop Benjamin and Fr. Brum.

              • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

                Dear Helga,

                Your trip down memory lane has had me looking at old bits of OCANews. I think one very great difference between myself and many here is that I was never an OCAnews/Mark Stokoe groupie. I don’t have the “hero” disappointment that seems common enough around here.

                There is no shock to me in Mark Stokoe mixing editorial and reportage. I have been saying so, early and often, since 2006. Like here, where Mark chose to take two of my first comments and publish them as reflections, (for the record, he did that with out consultation with me, not that I am complaining):


                Now I did soften up some on Mark in accordance with the degree to which his accusations were (repeatedly) confirmed. Particularly after the SIC report. And I noted and appreciated the way in which he dialogued with my sometimes severe criticism.

                In the comments generated by the posting above, I complained that on the OCANews com boxes “That rumor goes to supposition to belief to righteous indignation with frightening speed?”

                I am afraid that my criticism of OCANews for excessive editorializing, encouraging wild speculation, and divisive narrative creation applies in spades to OCATruth and this blog, so much so that I am coming to new evaluation of Mark’s moderation by seeing how much spin can be added, if you really try. I will give George great credit though, for the following: he isn’t hiding behind anonymity, your can freely disagree with him, and he clearly attempts civility. I don’t understand why he stands so persistently and uncritically behind OCATruth which does none of these things.

                It seems to be seeping in at OCATruth, that, just maybe, an internet war of accusation isn’t actually helpful in getting to the desired and needed personal resolution and reconciliation. (D’ya think?) And they wonder what to do. Maybe a good start would be to not say things in their anonymity that they wouldn’t dream of saying face to face. Muzhik is such a big guy online, like the deNiro character in the Meet the Fokkers movies. Some how, I rather doubt he saunters in to St. Seraphim Cathedral and tells Bp. Mark, “I’m watching you gentleman” like he concluded his now deleted post on the dissipated Facebook-gate. (Too bad that threat wasn’t the reason he took it down) nor, I’ll bet, does he say, “If you want this job, though, you’d be wise to keep your pro-Jonah opinions to yourself … though do realize that having failed to stand up for His Beatitude in his time of need will not exactly endear you to the people you will have to lead.”

                • Ian James says

                  Yeah, but…

                  If Stokoe was not so aggressively contemptuous of +Jonah, OCATruth, even this site, would not be talking about OCANews at all.

                  Remember, no real reason has ever been given why +Jonah should go. Sure, lot’s of speculation that people took as truth at first because of the work Stokoe did in the past. But others began to see through that. Then the emails confirmed their suspicions.

                  Stokoe shot himself in the foot. And he has damaged his credibility too. People are asking if he can do this to +Jonah, did he do it to others in the past he didn’t like? It’s too bad because some of his past work was very good.

                  You know, if Stokoe apologized to +Jonah, +Jonah would probably forgive him.

                  • Harry Coin says

                    Ian, the whole synod voted the way they did … did the whole synod shoot itself in the foot? Every one of them and a website editor too?

                    My view from 30,000 feet is that Met. Jonah appears to have disrespected agreements about how money is to be spent and gave impressions that he and his synod agree in public about something when that agreement wasn’t forged first.

                    So, they reminded him that this isn’t the Latin church where the underlings are potted plants whose job in meetings could be accomplished by a life-size picture of themselves and a stamp pad marked ‘yes’.

                  • Harry, they never did give a breakdown of the voting. We can say “the Synod did this” or “the Synod did that”, but Santa Fe only had Met. Jonah plus six bishops who could vote. The “Appalled Four” had a voting majority there, therefore the wishes of the “Synod” was, for all we know, the wishes of the four of them.

            • Lest we forget:

              ‘ has obtained eleven pages of memos and documents written by Brum during this unmentioned period of Syosset employment. They indicate Brum was not just an “enabler” of Kondratick and +Theodosius as the SIC warned in May 2009, but that Brum played a key role in the firing of Deacon Eric Wheeler in August 1999 and in the subsequent cover-up of the true nature of those events.’

              Oh, and I LOVE this part. This part is my favorite:

              ‘Among these eleven pages of newly discovered memos are ones from Brum directing +Theodosius on how to handle Wheeler’s termination. In a memo entitled “Comments on the letter placing Protodeacon Eric Wheeler on a six-month leave of absence” Brum advised the Metropolitan: “Do not have even a second thought about your rights in doing this”, “have him undergo a psychological evaluation” “it is imperative that Father Bob be forbidden (yes, forbidden!) (emphasis in the original) from making any statement, public or private, about this, other than acknowledging that Wheeler is on a leave of absence.”’

              Well, I for one would LOVE to hear what Protodeacon Eric’s thoughts are about what’s happening to Metropolitan Jonah.

              • I am interested in this statement from Father Brum:

                “it is imperative that Father Bob be forbidden (yes, forbidden!) (emphasis in the original) from making any statement, public or private, about this, other than acknowledging that Wheeler is on a leave of absence.”’

                This is especially interesting. “Father Bob be forbidden from making any statement…” because? Because the reason for “placing Protodeacon Eric Wheeler on a six-month leave of absence” cannot be made known. Father Bob must not make any statement as to the reason Protodeacon Eric Wheeler should be placed on a leave of absence.

                If Father Bob were indeed the guilty thief, why would he be forbidden from speaking to anyone, public or private? Also, Stokoe’s presented to us, through Wheeler’s and others’ allegations, that they were hiding criminal activity, that is, embezzling funds. I don’t think it is necessarily a true conclusion that Father Brum made this statement in order to be sure that illegal embezzling of funds not be made public. Nor do I think it wise to draw this conclusion based on the documents that have been made public.

                I believe there is an alternative explanation as to where the funds “went” that does not involve embezzling by Father Kondratick. I believe Father Brum when he says it is “imperative” that the explanation not be made public. As for my two cents, there was enough going on in Russia in the nineties, with the OCA church established in the middle of Moscow, to make for all kinds of alternative possible explanations, taking into account the ADM/Andreas reputation for dealings that were “secret” (and probably for good reason, though I am not one to judge such things), and with the possibility for our governmental agencies to be involved. And this was enough for me to say, “Okay, I don’t need to know. I will not be part of the crowd that demands to know. Something is going on behind the scenes and this does not feel right so I will wait and see, and not accept everything that comes down the pike that is presented on”

                I suspect that Protodeacon Eric Wheeler was to be placed on a “leave of absence” because they felt it was imperative that he also, along with anyone else, must not know the explanation. The Holy Synod met in July, 1999, and made a strong statement about the “discretionary fund” that can be found here:

                and (ah, I see I was not alone after all)… here, in a reflection by Fr Alexy Karlgut on 2/02/06:

                Questions & Answers
                What Can You Do?

                Reflections On The Scandal

                Fr. Alexey Karlgut (2.02.06)

                Remember–the issue is: “Are the allegations true or are they false?” Let’s get the answer to that question and act on it in an appropriate manner.

                Let me (simple, humble, village, poor, Russian priest) try.


                1. There were/are/is a discretionary funds in OCA.
                2. Those discretionary funds were/are/is under sole discretion of the Primate of OCA.
                3. Those discretionary funds were/are/is not a part of regular funds of OCA.
                4. Those discretionary funds are confidential as long as donors (those giving money) approve.
                5. Those discretionary funds are not audited by the church or reported to the church, which is a nature of confidential discretionary funds, as long as donors approve.
                6. Those funds (regardless of the amounts) are to be used by sole discretion of the Primate of the OCA, as long as donors approve.
                7. Some (including 2 former employees) do not approve the way which those discretionary funds were/are/is used by the Primate of the church. (not by
                some dark entity – administration)
                8. Those in #7 call upon the Holy Synod to inquire into the matter and come with a definitive answer, so that we all (peoples;-) can put it behind us.

                Definitive Answers to Allegations

                (please read carefully)

                Resolution of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America concerning
                the Primate’s Discretionary Funds

                The HOLY SYNOD
                of the ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA

                We, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, convened in extraordinary session on Monday afternoon, July 26, 1999

                An issue has come before us. The issue in question is the Primate’s discretionary funds. We, the Holy Synod of Bishops, have reviewed this matter and we
                find that the Primate, and his predecessors, havealways had and maintains full authority over such funds. The Primate has the canonical right to maintain those funds in privacy and confidentiality; not only the privacy of the Primate but also the confidentiality of the donors and the anonymity of the beneficiaries of these funds. The Primate’s discretionary funds are used in accord with the wishes and directives of the donors and to promote and advance the Holy Orthodox Church.

                It has also come to the attention of the Holy Synod of Bishops that demands have been made upon the Primate to violate the privacy and confidentiality
                of the discretionary funds in his care. We unanimously exhort the Primate to deny any form of audit, or any other intrusion into the confidential nature of the
                funds in the care of the Primate and/or the privacy of the Office of the Primate. The confidence of the Holy Synod of Bishops in the Primate of this Church
                to lead and govern is held without question.

                Executed by His Grace, the Secretary of the Holy Synod of Bishops in behalf
                of all.


                + SERAPHIM
                30 July 1999

                Now for some (a former employee whose typed letters without any proof were recently ‘verified’ by another former employee in a telephone interview with a
                ‘website without a personal agenda’) this statement by the Holy Synod might be confusing, but I read slow so here is what I see:

                1. There were/are/is a discretionary funds in OCA.
                2. Those discretionary funds were/are/is under sole discretion of the Primate of OCA.
                3. Those discretionary funds were/are/is not a part of regular funds of OCA.
                4. Those discretionary funds are confidential as long as donors (those giving money) approve.
                5. Those discretionary funds are not audited by the church or reported to the church, which is a nature of confidential discretionary funds, as long as donors approve.
                6. Those funds (regardless of the amounts) are to be used by sole discretion of the Primate of the OCA, as long as donors approve.
                7. Some (including 2 former employees) do not approve the way which those discretionary funds were/are/is used by the Primate of the church. (not by
                some dark entity – administration)
                8. Holy Synod had inquired into the matter and came with a definitive answer (posted above), so that we all (peoples;-) can put it behind us.

                I also tried to type slow,

                Alexey Karlgut


                • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

                  Dear Rachel,

                  Since you are researching, maybe you can find the emails from the Las Vegas “ecclesiastical tailors” which flesh out exactly the concern at that time of the then Fr. Bob talking too much. Those emails were made public long before the email from Fr. David Brum, which means that the part of Fr. David’s email on which you are latching a great deal of importance too was not a new revelation.

                  Fr. Alexy Karlgut’s explanation works only if: A) the major or only allegation concerned the ADM monies, B) and if the ADM monies were in fact originally given to discretionary accounts, C) if B) is true it raises certain questions about taxation and non-profit status, unless the the ADM monies were not reported as donations to a a non-profit, and were reported as income by the beneficiaries.

                  We now know perfectly well that the allegations about financial impropriety went well beyond the ADM monies and discretionary accounts, involving nearly all of the Church’s financial dealings.

                  And the level of evidence available on B) and C) makes them extremely doubtful. What was somewhat reasonable from Fr. Alexy in Feb of 2006 is not reasonable now.

                  You alternative explanation was one to which I at one time gave significant consideration and weight, along with giving all parties the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise. I think the proven otherwise ship has long sailed. It is documented that ADM wanted to send those monies to Russia, that at least some, if not most or all of those monies did not in fact make it to Russia, that officers of our Church spent some effort to make a pretense that the monies had in fact made it to Russia when they hadn’t. Your explanation rests on them hiding money going to Russia, when the facts show them hiding money Not going to Russia.

                  And for most of what I have written I do not have to rely on Mark Stokoe or his site. The only thing from what I have written above that you specifically need him for is the leaked emails from the church vestment makers.

                • Thanks, Rachel. But the reason I dug up all that was not to rehash the situation with Protodeacon Eric, but to point to its similarities with what just happened to Metropolitan Jonah.

                  • I know, Helga. Thanks for that. For me it’s not rehashing the old stuff but getting past it. I keep hitting snags. Fr. Yousef’s reply is good if I can use it to help me get past it, but it’s not enough to answer the “why?” and “how?” questions I still have. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Well, on we go. Onward and upward.

              • Ian James says

                Excellent catch. Helga. The reason Fr. Kontradrick was not to whisper one word was to reinforce the implication that Dn. Wheeler was mentally unbalanced. His silence would be construed as pastoral concern. Real Soviet stuff.

                Did you notice the effort Stokoe put in to rescue the “psychological evaluation” narrative after it went south when +Jonah refused to play along (OCANews — Jonah Goes Rogue)?

                • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

                  Dear Ian,

                  The emails from the ecclesiastical tailors, which were in support of Kondratick and Met. Theodosius, and giving counsel to them, expressed repeated concern as to Kondratick being in a panicky state that was causing him to be a blabbermouth. This is corroborated by ProtoDcn. Eric’s description of Kondratick and his state at that time when ProtoDcn Eric, the then Arbp. Herman and Kondratick met at Abp, Herman’s residence in South Canaan. That yet a third person in that period had what seems the same concern fits an already established pattern. Your interpretation “His silence would be construed as pastoral concern. Real Soviet stuff.” is quite far fetched.

                  As to to your second question: Have you emailed Mark yet, so that you can directly express your concerns / pick a fight?

                  • For heaven’s sake. Here’s the scene set up: I decide to steal five million dollars. I steal it from Archer Daniels Midland Corporation, right out from under their undiscerning noses. They don’t seem to mind, but it still doesn’t work out, so I continue to steal, only this time I steal it from orphans. I deposit these millions I’ve stolen in my bank account. I buy shoes with it. I get caught by a deacon. I panic. I don’t want to go to jail. I start “blabbing.” What human being, apart from a total idiot, would do that to himself? Is it even *possible* to do that? See what I mean about “how”?

                    Listen, I am talking about the scenario. You can quote facts and show me this and that document or statement. The scenario itself does not make sense to me.

                  • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

                    Dear Rachel,

                    I think I get your point.

                    But no matter how improbable a scenario might seem with the visible personality, eventually a certian amount of evidence wins out over what one imagines one might expect. And people do not always act in the most predictable ways, particular when faced with arrest or calamity.

                    From Richard Rock, who was on Kondratick’s side, on Jan 17th, 2000,

                    “But Bob – you have to let it go. Your badgering and casting doubt makes people nervous – STOP already.

                    The very reason we fought to go this route … is precisely to insure that all of this is INTERNAL and so the government would not AND could not get into this – no matter what anyone said. STOP making yourself nervous. When you look nervous and ACT GUILTY you cause everyone to ask more UNNECESSARY questions.”


                    From Protodcn. Eric, who was by that time in an adversarial relationship with Kondratick, about the Tuesday, Sept. 21 meeting with Abp. Herman:

                    “In front of Archbishop HERMAN, Father Kondratick responded affirmatively when I pointedly asked him if he had expended church funds for his personal use. On the way home in the car, Father Kondratick kept repeating that he did not want to go to jail, and that I had to help him get out of this mess.”


                    So when we get this quote:
                    “it is imperative that Father Bob be forbidden (yes, forbidden!) (emphasis in the original) from making any statement, public or private, about this, other than acknowledging that Wheeler is on a leave of absence.”

                    It seems to match the earlier bits of evidence. They are all of a piece, and they support each other in showing Kondratick as “cracking under pressure” at that time. However much it might seem irrational, it does seem to be what happened, sources from all over the map back it up.

                  • Ian James says

                    I’ll leave the interpretation of past events to you and others. The “psychological testing” of Dn. Wheeler, and now +Jonah sure has a Soviet feel to it though. If they cross the powers that be, try to declare them crazy is how it reads to me. Reread Stokoe’s report on “Jonah Goes Rogue” in this light. Stokoe is scrambling to rescue the +Jonah is crazy narrative that seems to be a part of the ruling clique culture going back to Kondratick.


                    Do you think Dn. Wheeler or +Jonah are in need of “psychological evaluation”?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Of course not. No sane person does. This is pissant Syosset sovietology.

                  • Father Yousuf,

                    I think the problem for me lies in the fact that I have not seen copies of the actual evidence, as would be required in a court of law. I have only read from the oca web site, the very structure that was so corrupt, and from ocanews, which is biased. Those readings can be distorted simply by leaving out facts that would bring clarity. I have not heard FrRSK testify or other witnesses testify on his behalf, under oath to be as sure as possible that they are not lying. I have not been able to discern the truth based on facts presented from both sides evenly,, and in order to know, I have to see enough to convince me.

                    There are things like the fact that he was cleared in court. Things like the $250,000 lent to the OCA by Bette Kondratick. The explanations coming from people who hang out on blogs, or from the oca web site, or reading “some” but not “all” documents available are not enough. Not to mention the online statements of at least two people who know him and have defended him up one side and down the other, as innocent. I am not sure he’s innocent, but I will believe he is until he is actually, really, truly *proven* guilty, because that’s the way the court works.

                    Cracking under pressure is not a crime.

                    Eric Wheeler stated:
                    “In front of Archbishop HERMAN, Father Kondratick responded affirmatively when I pointedly asked him if he had expended church funds for his personal use.”

                    I believe this, but this statement doesn’t really say much. We are talking millions. “Yes, i did expend church funds for my personal use, but…. ” I would like to hear his side of the conversation.

                    Did anyone ask Richard Rock what he meant in that email? If I were sitting on a jury listening to evidence, I would have to have more than that email to go on in order to make an informed judgment. I would want to hear what Richard Rock has to say.

                    Well, I will wait for the “Big News” to come out.

                    Remembering a few strong hearted women in my faith as they come to mind (in no particular order): Saints Eve, Rebecca, Leah, Sarah, Rachel, Hagar, Jael, Deborah, Esther, Rahab, Abishag, Hannah, Abigail, Bathsheba, Judith, Anna, Mary, the Theotokos and Mother of the Light, Mary Magdalene, Mary, Martha, Lydia, St Mary of Egypt. Just thinking of them makes me feel better. 🙂

                  • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

                    Dear Rachel,

                    One reason I have felt so uncomfortable with OCAnews over the years, and feel just as uncomfortable ( or more) with OCATruth is the creation of strong narratives that become identity narratives, (the stories that a person or a group of people tell about themselves to establish and confirm who they are).

                    I think that we Orthodox Christians properly have an “identity narrative” both personally and corporately in the Bible and the Divine Services.

                    We have too many less important identity narratives competing against the Real one. Ethnic narratives just for a start. And my goodness, one thing which all stripes of Orthodox can indulge in is having parish narratives that are very strong combined with narratives of “The Church” as whole that are comparatively weak. While I fully support the autocephaly of the OCA, I do so as a means to an end, a tool to allow the Church here to be clear about its mission and function. I do not think “Tomos in 1970!” ought be a key identity narrative.

                    We Orthodox Christians are united because of who we say Jesus Christ is. Not who we say Kondratick is, guilty or innocent, not who we say Metropolitan Jonah is: Rogue! The Only Hope! Not who we say Mark Stokoe is: Hero of truth! Lying Master manipulator!

                    In short, it doesn’t really matter what personal judgments you and I have made of Kondratick. I looked up the Rock email and the Wheeler testimony because they explained a side comment of Fr. David Brum’s, about which speculation was going off wildly. I believe taken as a whole, the evidence shows that Kondratick was seen by those around him, friend and foe, to be “cracking”.

                    What does matter, and matter whole lot, is how we act regardless of our point of view. Do I obey the commands of the Gospel or not? I can come to the conclusion that Kondratick is guilty and Met. Jonah is guilty. Or I can come to the conclusion that they are both innocent. Or I may not really know. But if I advocate for whatever position and violate the commands of the Gospel, I am in the wrong, even if the basic position I have taken is right.

                    I think I can help clarify what evidence actually says, and so I try to do so. Like for instance, in no telling of the story does Bette Kondratick lend the OCA $250,000 as you said. The story is she spent $100,000 of her own inheritance improving an OCA property, the house in which she and RSK lived. Later, some officers of the OCA agreed to pay her back with interest, which, under certain conditions came to be the amount of $250,000. There are several more details of that story which might effect how one sees that event.

                    I am concerned with how evidence becomes secondary to the “identity narrative”. I am concerned with George M. takes a certain type, which I could hardly deny exists, the “sexually ambiguous mama’s boys”, elevates it to stereotype, and then makes it an interpretive principle: any bishop he doesn’t like can now be painted with that slur, regardless of the fact that it doesn’t actually match his targets. I am concerned that “corruption” in your post above seems to have become unmoored from specific acts of corruption and the doers of the same and become a “hermeneutic of suspiscion”.

                    While I am concerned with how we see evidence, I am more deeply concerned with the creation of secondary identities and the elevation of them to primary importance: I am of Paul! I am of Apollos! I am of Met. Jonah! I am of Stokoe! I am very concerned with the degree to which, once we think we are “right” we may advocate for our position “by any means necessary”.

                    Thus my most frequent impasse: I keep trying to say, this is not how Christians behave. And the response is “But Stokoe did this and that”. I may be wrong in thinking that certain things are unchristian, but none of us are gonna have a “good defense before the fearful judgment seat of Christ” pointing at Stokoe or George M, or OCATruth, or anybody else. Shouldn’t Orthodox Christians know this already?

        • Michael Livosky says

          Well George since you won’t, I will. Sasha or anyone else for that matter….time to put up or shut up. Show me some proof that Fr Joe or Fr David did anything wrong while working in Syosset. I’m so tired of the crap that Mark Stokoe spews about them, yet he has proven nothing. Just because they worked doesn’t mean they knew everything that was going. As for Fr Joe starting a split? Huh? Really? Last thing I heard was that +Jonah wanted him to move to DC. Where in that is Fr Joe guilty of splitting anything? Your view just doesn’t make any sense. Do you know Fr Joe? I bet not. Please, try really hard not to comment on individuals that you probably never met in your life. And yes, my family knows Fr Joe personally and he is a wonderful man. Move on to another Mark Stokoe conspriacy theory. This one… not working.

        • George, are you saying one of the bishops you talked to helped you to become convinced that Father Joseph Fester “is probably only guilty of nothing more than regrettable decisions or obtuseness”? Sorry to repeat what you just said, but if you are saying this, I believe you. I would be able to say to myself that Father Joseph is okay. There’s enough in what you’ve said for me to make that step. Thanks. 🙂

          • Rachel, the bishop in question never said anything about Fester’s supposed misdeeds at all. That’s what’s pissing me off. Instead, all I got was dark mutterings about “Fester controlling the Metropolitan,” or “Fester being a bad man,” things along these lines. Never “Fester did X,” or “Fester was responsible for Y.” Believe me, I really want to know.

            Instead, I’ve know Fester going on two years now, he’s done wonderful work at the Cathedral in Dallas, everybody I’ve talked to misses him terribly, etc. I mean, come on Bishop +Z, what’s the deal?

            • It goes back into the past. That’s why fear drives them more than anything else. We continue to sidestep the big elephants, pretending they are not in the room. But they ARE THERE. The elephants are….. (won’t somebody name them?). Recently I went through, yet again, the chronology of events on the ocanews web site. I scratched my head and, once again, thought, “This is a sham.” Even as a simple old country girl, I can see that, unless you start with what you *want* to believe, there was nothing there to give credibility to what was presented as fact by the town criers. And that’s not all I had to go on. During the past five years, there were a few (more than one) who spoke out against the town criers, and of course, were instantly attacked and discredited. Why? Fear. Fear, fear, fear. A person can lie and cover up and obfuscate, but I could not for the life of me see how what I was reading by those few, which was in direct and clear contradiction to what was on Stokoe’s site, could be rejected out of hand for no good reason. Now, we have reason to REJOICE. Come on…… TRUTH!!!!

              Judge Judy: Perez, I’m not gonna totally annihilate you.
              00:20:39 I’m just gonna do it very quickly because, quite frankly, I have more important — >> but — >> Judge Judy: I’m speaking!
              00:20:46 >> Announcer: “Judge Judy” continues in a moment.

              “If it doesn’t make sense, it isn’t true.” — Judge Judy.

              • Rachel, the elephant in the room has been named but it has so far been mentioned above a whisper. In time, it will be shouted from the rooftops. And yes, this is bigger than Kondratick. It was in fact the reason that Kondratick could govern the way that he did.

        • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

          George, here you’re right:

          “I am dangerously close to telling all the people who hate Fr Fester to put up or shut up. Name one thing he did that justifies such contumely. ”

          There is something going on, and we don’t know if Fr Joseph Fester is involved, so one is quite right to demand as George does, that blog commentors put up or shut. Behold! I am agreeing with George! Of course by now, most of those reading this know I also think George ought to take some of the advice himself.

          But there is something serious going on. Someone feeds pre-selected information to the anonymous bloggers at OCATruth. They seem to say it isn’t Met. Jonah, and I believe that Met. Jonah is not feeding information to them.

          Of course, one has a right to advocate for one’s position. But OCATruth gets more than that. For instance, someone, we know not who, leaked to OCATruth confidential correspondence between a bishop and a cleric of his diocese regarding a private matter, and other documents that seemed to indicate that someone with access to diocesan files gave those files to OCATruth. I don’t care what you think of any of our Bishops, including the Metropolitan, or what you think of OCATruth, George, or Mark Stokoe. That was wrong. period. Wrong to leak it, wrong to publish it. No one, not Fr. Joseph Fester, Not Met. Jonah, not the clergyman whose confidential file was leaked, no one is tried before a canonical court consisting of bloggers.

          But OCATruth feels close enough to power to confidently threaten bishops with deposition, threaten the next Bishop of the south, etc.

          My friends in the DoS can’t imagine that Fr. Joseph would do such things. Alright, I will accept that. That raises the question, who then?

          But part of the answer to George’s question is that there are some actions which deserve the contumely, but we, (by we I mean most bloggers and commentators) do not know, at present, which persons to ascribe the actions to.

          I could be wrong, but I would not be surprised that there are those (O, say, hierarchs, national and diocesan chancery officers etc.) who have less reason to be as agnostic as we ought and must be at this point, but do not deem it prudent to say a whole lot at the moment.

          • So Fr Joe is guilty of what exactly? Defending himself? Showing that others were actually invovled in a real conspiracy to oust +Jonah?

            Fr, you can’t keep dancing around the fact of the damage that the e-mails did to Stokoe and the bald-faced picture of the conspiracy which they portray. I’m sorry if I fail to live up the standards of ontological certitude at times, but “if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s a duck” is how things actually work out in the real world.

            All this could be put to rest if Stokoe released the original e-mail. Instead, he keeps talking about them in in an off-hand manner in a seemingly calm attempt to diffuse the stink bomb which the retired bishop threw in his lap.

            • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

              This is really my fault. By now I should know that no matter what I say you will read whatever you want to into it. I went to such great pains to accuse Fr. Joseph Fester of exactly Nothing, to say that I accept the testimonial to his character provided by those whom I trust and who know him, lacking any other evidence.

              That leak of correspondence that I referred to and criticized was not necessary to defend anyone. It was necessary for an attack, one that was not directly related to anything.

              I assume you bringing up (again) the red herring of my demand for “ontological certitude” is in response to my re-iteration of my criticism your re-cap in comment 24. I have already said I do not ask ontological certitude, I ask you for the certitude that you yourself claim. A list of “proven documented facts” given prior to making deductions should not contain deductions and conjectures, much less outright errors. Your list contains all of the above. In fact I have asked for less than you claim for your self. I ask that they be clearly supported with documentary evidence, and ask of no level or “proven” beyond that.

              My primary stated position is that the resolution of the problems in the OCA needs calm, but is hindered by rumor or false statements, as well as inflammatory rhetoric. I have therefore focused on correcting mis-statements and exagerrations. That was what I chose to do, and the vast majority of my posting has been towards that end. And it’s kept me busy, indeed it’s like playing whak-a-mole.

              I have thought that sooner or later I might have to write something about the leaked Met. Council emails, and what I think they mean.

              I am too tired at the moment, and I have been too busy

              But if you think I am dancing, – I will make writing an evaluation of the leaked emails a priority if you give me the word of a Christian man that you will to try to read it carefully, and respond to the the words that I actually choose to write.

              • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

                crickets chirping

                • Harry Coin says

                  Well— I for one really liked the ‘whak-a-mole’ metaphor!

                • Please post!

                  • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

                    This is a start, and I posted it in response to a different question. but I thought I would put it here to in accordance with your request:
                    But there are some simple things which ought to be clear from the plain text, no matter what you make of them and what “side” you are on.

                    -The authors are all both by date of composition and context re-acting to the crisis in early Feb (SMPAC report, firing the officers, etc. ) and the aftermath of those events. (This statement is true regardless what one makes of the events of early Feb, or of where one wants to place the blame for them).
                    -The authors of the emails seem agreed that Met. Jonah should be removed.
                    -One of the authors (Mark Stokoe) asserts, but does not say on what basis, that 4 bishops, after the events of early Feb. had also come to believe that the Metropolitan should be removed.
                    -Another author, Skordinski expresses very little confidence that the Synod will act as she thinks they ought.
                    -Another author, Dmitri Solodow discusses what they might do if, repeat, if the Synod does not do what they seem to be agreed the Synod should do.
                    -We have no direct statement that any bishops are involved in the plan, rather, uncertainty about the bishops, which in the case of the Skordinski email 1 at least borders on contempt.
                    -We have no knowledge or evidence that any bishop knew of these emails before any of the rest of us. (except retired Bp. Tikhon who leaked them)

                    Well some questions that I might like to ask is if these emails are a conspiracy, and if email 1 of Mark is proof that the 4 bishops are involved, why would they not have more confidence in the outcome? If they have 4 bishops “in the bag”, that’s 4 out of 7 voting members present in Santa Fe, why would be worried what the bishops would do? Why be making contingency plans for different outcomes of the Santa Fe meeting?

                    And a bonus question, one that George M never answers: Where in those emails does one get the following, quoting George M. “It was alleged by Skordinski that Garklavs did so in order to make +Jonah look worse than the facts as actually reported. ” Please, some one, find the quote where Skordinski alleges that.

                • Fr, sorry, been on the road. I still can’t understand what you’re trying to say. Do you believe Stokoe’s narrative (now that it’s been shown to be heavily biased) or not? And this new element about Fr David Brum and his using the old Soviet psychological testing routine back on Dn Wheeler, isn’t that interesting?

                  • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

                    Dear George,

                    It is very late for me. If you don’t understand what I am trying to say because my post doesn’t answer the two questions you now raise, please re-read my post above, after reading your own post to which I am responding. I wasn’t trying to give and answer to either of these two questions.

                    I did, with certain reservations, offer to spend some time in the future writing an analysis of the leaked emails and what I think they mean and don’t mean. I very much doubt that what I write will come as a huge surprise to those who have read what I have already written, for instance, 43 above, the one from April 4th that begins “Dear Helga, Your trip down memory lane…” If you read the links as well with my first comments complaints to OCAnews, I think you will have an idea if I take Stokoe’s narratives uncritically or not.

                  • Fr, if you don’t mind, I’m completely beyond the e-mails. They speak for themselve and offer a damning picture of those who hate +Jonah. Instead, I’d rather read you analysis on how you would handle as a pastor THE issue that is at the heart of this scandal and is threatening to tear this church apart.

                    As an amateur historian myself (an an enthusiastic Classicist/Medievalist), I know that human sexuality is a remarkably plastic thing and that our modern conceptions are just that –recent constructs.

                    I would offer this blog to you for a reasoned essay. I will exercise no editorial control whatsoever.

                    thank you,


      • PS, Sasha, I don’t want revenge. Far from it. My lenten journey has been ruined by this whole brouhaha. Just last 2 years ago when +Philip released his stink-bomb (in which he uncanonically demoted his bishops to auxiliary status).

        Why has it been ruined? Because I saw shepherds of our Church, led by a Pied Piper who views himself as Grand Inquisitor, throw baseless crap on an innocent man. If the shoe was on the other foot, and I saw +Jonah joining the Holy Synod and they were doing the same to +Benjamin, I’d be incensed as well. But then again, one can’t really picture +Jonah engaging in such activity, can one?

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          I agree with you about the Lenten journey being ruined by this. I was hoping for a nice, peaceful, journey, trying to do the best I can until this stinkbomb was dropped.

          • Ditto. I can’t hear them commemorate Metropolitan Jonah during the service without getting a pit in my stomach, wondering if that day will be the last time I hear it.

            And I can’t hear the name of the locum tenens without wanting to punch something. Grrr!

            • Michael Bauman says

              Helga, having been where you are in terms of my reaction to the comemorations during the Antiochian dust-up, I can tell you, pray with more gusto that God send His Holy Spirit upon all the bishops and upon us ‘here spread forth’. It helped me.

              • Thanks, Michael. I agree that the best way to handle it is to channel my angst into fervent prayer for everyone involved. Metropolitan Jonah has been on my prayer list since his election, but since this started, I’ve also been praying for the rest of the Synod, as well as Mark Stokoe.

                I also added Metropolitan Jonah’s family to my prayer list. I figured it’s probably upsetting for them to have watched someone they love give up his chance for marriage and family life for his faith, only to see him get torn to pieces.

                Still, this whole thing is very painful for me to watch, and to imagine the effect this is having on so many innocent people.

  4. Sasha, I’m not your enemy. Read this email:

    That’s where it started. Read the names of the people it was sent to. Ask them what they meant by,

    * i introduce a motion of no confidence in the met

    If +Jonah did something wrong (really wrong, not just manufactured wrong) I’ll listen. But nothing is listed there. All I see is a plan to manufacture a crisis so that they can remove him. I am sure those people are reading this blog. Maybe they could tell us the wrongs that +Jonah has done since they came up with the plan to remove him.

    But all we have so far is what Dn. Brian Patrick Mitchel outlined a few posts above this one. That’s the truth.

    If I am wrong, show me where I am wrong.

  5. Janet Kirby says

    All the guilty parties need to come forward and fess up if any of us are to have a decent Pascha this year!

  6. Michael Bauman says

    Dear brothers and sisters, the only way our Lenten journey can be ruined is if we fail to repent and forgive. The current mess gives us ample chance to see who we really are, what arouses our passions and whether or not we prefer to live in our passions or in repentance/forgiveness.

    I’m Antiochian and when Met. Philip did what he did a couple of years ago, especially to my bishop, I was angry. My bishop, told me simply: “Hold your peace”. He clarified that he did not mean I should not speak out, but that I should not loose my peace over it. It was not just an off-hand comment, it was a spiritual directive, or at least I took it as such.

    That became my battle for the rest of Lent and in many ways ever since. The more anger, despair and self-will we each give into, the more control we give to those (whomever they are) behaving badly.

    Don’t allow anyone to ruin your Lenten journey, just go more deeply into the mystery. Obedience bears fruit even in the midst of disorder and disharmony. “Let this cup pass from me, but nevertheless, your will, not mine be done”

    May the joy of our Lord over shadow all of us as we seek to enter into His Bridal Chamber.

    One thing I see clearly is that everyone is trying to ‘figure out’ what happened and why. That is the devil (he’s in the details remember?). The question that should be on everyone’s mind, IMO: “Has Met. Jonah done anything that makes him canonically libel for deposition?” If so, show us. If not, stop.

    That needs to be the mantra (I know it makes for lousy reading on a blog).

    Personally, I have urged all of my friends in the OCA to support Met. Jonah simply because of the style of the attack. It is clearly coming from a scape-goating mentality. Personally, I don’t think much else matters. Scape-goating is not Christian so even if they are right in their facts, they are wrong on the substance and just need to stop. Those defending Met. Jonah, can easily fall into the same trap. Scape-goating has a powerful dialectic about it that can easily drag folks into its vortex. Repentance and holding one’s peace is the best way to fight it. Not getting bogged down in the ad hominum speculation contest is another. OK, if Met. Jonah deserves deposition or any other penance, show us why or stand down. Keep it simple, keep it direct, keep it without rancor: In the name of God, stop.
    The greatest act of aceticism is to forgive you enemy even though you are still in opposition and still must oppose him. What better challenge can we be given in Lent?

    So I say to all: In the name of God, stop! Stop the ruminations, the speculations, the ad hominum attacks. What, specifically, has Met. Jonah done wrong? Ask that until you get an answer. If no answer is forthcoming, then one can simply say: stop.

    It is time for the Synod to stop playing games of Byzantine intrigue and tend their flocks as shepards.
    It is time for the clergy to preach the Gospel to their congregations and impose penance and sacramental displine when the clear moral and canonical teachings of the Church are being violated. One hopes, they will have the support of their bishop. Unfortunately, as Fr. Susan found out, they might not. Still he persists. It is time for the laity to take up the weapons we have at our disposal: repentance, forgiveness, humility and obedience: asceticism, prayer and worship. They are far more powerful than any screeching on the internet. They will set us free as all things are revealed.

  7. Ian James says

    Fr. Yousuf,

    And then, when I look up the texts that you said were too hard for you to find you write: “Saw those. They only make sense if you first accept Stokoe’s narrative on +Jonah.”

    Right. I didn’t count those. They aren’t an explanation, just a reweaving of the emails into Stokoe’s primary narrative. I would like corroboration, such as a statement from the other other people in the email confirming Stokoe’s account. That’s more along the lines of investigative journalism; something Stokoe claims to do but doesn’t.

    What a trenchant observation. Stokoe’s writing makes sense from his point of view, and I suppose Ian’s writing might make sense from Ian’s point of view.

    Spouting off as many categorical assertions as you do, with as little attention to detail, whilst admitting you can’t figure out how to read the material on which you are shouting, and then concluding with play ground lines like “Stupid? You might be. I’m not.” frankly presents me with a temptation … but I can resist: too easy, fish in a barrel and all that.

    You keep arguing about technique, the substance of which is nothing more than an assertion that Stokoe’s answers makes sense in the context of his narrative. Of course they do; that’s a given. It is the same point I make when I argue that his justification for the leaked emails makes sense only if you first accept his narrative. You seem to think that this point is sufficient to settle the argument. It isn’t, especially when one argues, as I do, that the narrative is contrived. And, if it is, then the leaked emails point to collusion, not innocence.

    Again, the last email that outlined how the conspirators were going to force a no confidence vote is awfully damning. Hard to spin that one (if you find Stokoe commenting on it let me know). Stokoe was on the recipient list.

    If Stokoe provides independent corroboration, I’ll reconsider my point. So far I haven’t seen anything except a doubling down on his narrative. If you want to believe it is all a misunderstanding, go ahead. I don’t.

    Sorry about presenting you with “temptation.” If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

    • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

      Dear Ian,

      You seem to very much want someone to argue with who will take the opposite side to your assertions of Mark Stokoe. May I suggest Mark Stokoe? Or maybe some one on OCAnews is interested trading assertions with you. I am not.

      God bless you and have a nice Sunday!

      • Ian James says

        Thank you Fr. Yousuf, I will. I hope you have a nice Sunday too.

        If you have any connection with Mark Stokoe, ask him to drop by. I’d like to ask him these questions directly.

        BTW, I agree with your conclusion that you should not be arguing for Stoke. You are showing some real wisdom there, even though you have to disparage me to do it. I’m fine with that. I don’t think Stokoe’s positions are defensible either — but you already know that.

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