Extra! Kishkovsky Being “Phased Out” or Fired?

Two days ago, Metropolitan Tikhon and Fr John Jillions did the heretofore unthinkable: they began the phase out of Fr Leonid “Lefty” Kishkovsky, longtime Director of External Relations for the OCA. In addition to his other meddlesome duties as puppet-master of Syosset, Kishkovsky was champion of leftist claptrap, ecumenist, all-around scold, and darling of the National Council of Churches. In addition to these troublesome duties, it was he, probably more than anybody else, who tried to get rid of His Beatitude almost from the day of Jonah’s enthronement as Metropolitan.

During his Reign of Error, the OCA became a laughingstock in world Orthodoxy. Even today, the repercussions are being felt: as Syosset just reported, the OCA was invited to the enthronement of John X, the new Patriarch of Antioch in Beirut. However no OCA clergyman was allowed to serve in the altar –a decided slap in the face to the OCA.

We are uncertain as to what precipitated this long-overdue phase out, the most recent indication that Kishkovsky was told by Metropolitan Tikhon and Fr. Jillions that he would NOT accompany them to a very private meeting at the Greek Archdiocese on Friday; but we are glad that these men (of whom Monomakhos has been highly critical for quite some time) are finally doing the right thing.



  1. Jonathan Johnston says

    As usual, nothing of what you write is true. Fr. Leonid has had health issues and voluntarily is going to be taking on less. After all, he is a cardiac patient. The rest of your posting is just baloney.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Jonathan–I do not agree that everything that George writes is a lie. That would be the case if he inventented his essays/reporting out of whole cloth. I do not believe that is the case.

      I do think that he has sources that feed him information. His reporting thus rests on the veracity of his sources. Also, he interprets his data in a certian way (as he is certainly entitled to do that). The problem right now is that there is no countervailing reporting, like OCAN used to provide. We only have official communiques that cannot hope to compete against the kind of advocacy journalism practiced here.

      Now, I think that George would publish a prominent retraction if his reporting is untrue, that is, if Father K’s health issues are easing him out, rather than the insinuation that he is being fired.

    • Araminta Andrews says

      “After all he is a cardiac patient”.
      As well he should be……..

    • Jonathan,

      Perhaps Fr. Leonid can begin taking on less by removing himself from WCC and NCC. Or is he planning on keeping up with his ecumenical work while phasing himself out of the OCA?

      • George Michalopulos says

        Jesse, thanks for highligting the lamenss of the health excuse. You all will notice that Fr Leonid never let his health conditions get in the way of his globetrotting in the past. And anyway, Tikhon and Jillions were just going to take a 2-hr drive to Manhattan to go truckle before the GOA. Lefty could have ridden shotgun or stretched out on the back seat.

  2. Ladder of Divine Ascent says

    “We are uncertain as to what precipitated this long-overdue phase out, the most recent indication that Kishkovsky was told by Metropolitan Tikhon and Fr. Jillions that he would NOT accompany them to a very private meeting at the Greek Archdiocese on Friday”

    Win the coup, lose the war, Choice of evils lie before your feet, Retreat, Retreat, Retreat! if you win still you lose, Choice of evils yours to choose, Retreat… Retreat, retreat, retreat! You are standing in the eye of the storm, Move an inch, and Autocephaly will be dead, petitioning at the seat, Archdiocese of the Greeks, and the wrath of Russia…blazes red!

  3. Don’t fire the anvil yet.

  4. Carl Kraeff says

    George–You claim tha “no OCA clergyman was allowed to serve in the altar –a decided slap in the face to the OCA.” Are you saying:

    a. The OCA was the only invited church that did not serve in the altar.
    b. All of the autocephalous and autonomous Orthodox churches served in the altar, except for the OCA.

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      The enthronement of His Beatitude took place at Holy Cross Church in Damascus not in Beirut.

      • oliver douglas says

        Why negative votes for a simple statement of fact?
        And as for the fact, WOW! They made it out alive and well. Amazing.

        • The negative votes are just trying to get at the poster, oliver.
          They should just be ignored, or perhaps seen as a badge of honour.

          • I ignore the voting says

            I don’t approve of tghe idea of voting for postings. Some of these topic have to do with our eternal life, and shouldn’t be subject of ephemeral liking and disliking.

          • What's the point of voting? says

            On the Father Leonid business – It seems so much like wishful thinking.

      • This got a negative rating from people because Fr. John told the truth and I don’t mean something that could true or not, he stated a fact and you people gave it a negative response? You’re all truly a brood of vipers and disgrace to Orthodoxy. I will never waste my time on this page again..

        • Gregg Gerasimon says

          The thumbs up/thumbs down vote option on this site is meaningless and ridiculous.

          I’ve recommended before that George shut the thumbs up/thumbs down function off, since I fail to see what meaning it holds. Someone could post “the sky is blue,” and that statement itself would get a fair share of thumbs down. What is the point of it?

          Again, I move that the thumbs up/thumbs down function is meaningless and should be shut off. And rest assured that I don’t care how many thumbs up or down votes this posting receives 🙂

          • I like the voting because it allows instant feedback without making a comment (which nowadays has to go through moderation limbo, something we didn’t have back when voting was introduced) and because it helps gauge readership of a comment.

            That said, I wish we had a better way to prevent multiple voting, which is an obvious problem in certain areas.

      • Fr., when I read about the new patriarch last week, I remember seeing that there was a second ceremony in Lebanon so that “the world” could participate — given the strife in Syria now.

      • The enthronement liturgy in Damascus was, to my knowledge, only attended by a very limited number of dignitaries– the Holy Synod, officials from the Syrian government, the Maronite and Greek Catholic patriarchs and representatives from some other Syrian churches, and a delegation from Mount Athos.

        Most official Orthodox delegations attended the February 17 liturgy at Mar Niqoula in Beirut, which was primarily for Lebanese government officials (the two men seated in the center of the church are president Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati). However, there doesn’t appear to have been representatives from all autocephalous churches– I haven’t seen a list, but in the video I can identify representatives serving from all the Greek churches, Russia, Georgia, and Poland.

        A video of that liturgy can be seen here: http://araborthodoxy.blogspot.com/2013/02/video-of-patriarch-john-xs-first.html

        • A correction– I’ve been informed that there were definitely representatives present (though not necessarily concelebrating) from all Orthodox churches.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      I do not think that it is too soon to bump this and ask: Any answer yet, George?

  5. It is About Time says

    Two things about the phasing out of Fr Kishkovsky.

    1. His relative importance as an external affairs spokesperson for the OCA with Russia has never been lower. Moscow was never that impressed with him but his actions during the +Jonah affair made his position with OCA relating to Moscow untenable. The OCA has been given a series of tongue lashings from Moscow since Jonah’s departure and no one more bitter for Kishkovsky than the face to face dress down that Pat. Kirill gave him in the Ukraine last summer.

    2. The OCA was told in on uncertain terms, let us say directly that they could attend John X enthronement but they would not be invited to serve. Every other Orthodox Church that sent representatives was invited to serve.

    3. Last week when Kishkovsky was summoned to Syosset and told by +Tikhon and Jillions that he would not be going to the GOA for an important meeting (most likely another attempt by the OCA to somehow get an invite to the Phanar), Fr. Leonid was livid. It is in his reaction that his phasing is even now apparent to him.

    Yes, Fr. Leonid is not a healthy man, he has been sick for years, but that has not stopped him from going to the Ukraine, to Lebanon and any where else he can get himself invited. So attempts to explain his being pushed out because of health don’t hold water. This man will try every way he can not to be pushed off the stage, his ego won’t let him.

    The fact is that Kishkovsky is being set aside, and it is long past time. As George said, Kishkovsky has been at the center of one palace intrigue too many and he has for too long pompously told the OCA to stick it when it comes to her desire to cut all times with the NCC and the WCC any other ecumenical group. But Fr Leonid has ignored these calls, stalled debate on it in Seattle (remember him running out the clock on that one) so he can fly all over the place not representing the OCA but himself and his ecumenist agenda.

    It is long past time that this man be given a nice gold watch and sent out to pasture and if that is what +Tikhon is doing, more power to him and if not, then he should, the sooner the better.

    • Bruce Wm. Trakas says

      This story was told to me by a second hand source. He didn’t tell me who said it, but the speaker was prominent in the Church of Russia–his lack of specificity was due to protecting his source as he was breaching a confidence from his first hand source. Someone in Ukraine (or Russia, perhaps, I can’t recall) asked an OCA cleric to hand him a book he pointed to—it was “The Rudder,” Upon receipt, the prominent cleric in the Patriarchate of Moscow held up “The Rudder” and asked the cleric in the OCA, “Where in here does it authorize treating a primate of a church as you treated yours?

    • Jonathan Johnston says

      This is just baloney. Not every church invited served. The altar is so big and many priests and bishops did not serve, but all communed. Again, as far as Fr. Leonid is concerned, there is nothing of what you state. He has been under the weather.

      • It is About Time says


        In your heart, you know what has been written here about the OCA and the enthronement of John X is the truth. The OCA was invited to attend the enthronement but not to serve. Why they would put themselves in such a position to be embarrassed only Metropolitan Tikhon can answer as Primate. That is the truth and no amount of trying to change that fact will suffice.

        You do yourself no honor by carrying the propaganda for those in Syosset who know better but cannot admit it to us and to the world. Yes, the OCA posted their rather fuzzy pictures of gift giving, which was a nice gesture, but a gesture that the OCA delegation would have much rather not posted if only they could have posted our bishops serving with the new Patriarch. I would think that even you would agree with this point.

        But of course this latest embarrassment is a trifle next to the real reason why Metropolitan Tikhon and Fr. Jillions went last Friday to meet at the GOA. That is the real crisis that they are dealing with, the real sign of the OCA’s slipping significance here and around the world.

        Think not that we write this to rejoice. If you do, you misunderstand our intent. Who are we to remind the leaders of the OCA that we remember and will always remember not that just +Jonah was removed from office, but that he was shamefully removed and still is being trusted in this manner. And even though they now try their best to live and act as if he never existed and try to assuage their guilt by sending him $1000 per month this only confirms the paltry these actions look. Can you imagine, even you Jonathan, a hierarch of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America, the 15th Orthodox Church in the world, treating their former First Hierarch like this?

        Fr Kishkovsky was given a chance, and thus the Orthodox Church in America when they met with Patriarch Kirill in the Ukraine. His All-Holiness left no ambiguity in his words that Metropolitan Jonah was to be treated with respect. If you can honestly say that the OCA leadership, including Fr. Kishkovsky have accomplished this request, well I suppose you can rest easy at night. However, I believe in your heart you know that is not the case.

        And so, if for no other reason when even one person, and that one happens to be the OCA’s former Primate is treated disrespectfully it would be wrong to ignore that injustice. In this case the OCA leaders have proven that +Jonah is the “least of the brethren” to us and therefore we are duty bound by our Lord to show him respect and hopefully, in time, those we call our bishops and priests leaders will do the same. But if they cannot, well, then, I suppose that all that you say and all we say will not save them from themselves, free will being what it is.

        • George Michalopulos says

          For what it’s worth, one of my Bulgarian friends told me that at the recent enthronement of the newly-elected Neophyt, neither Tikhon’s name nor the OCA, was mentioned in the dyptichs nor during the mnogoletie (“many years”)

          Also, nobody from the OCA was present. Which is curious, Antioch doesn’t recognize our autoecephaly but we were there (albeit tepidly so) but Bulgaria does recognize our autocephaly. I wonder what’s going on?

          • The reason may be found in the following explanation:

            “I think the reason why we had the Patriarchs missing was because there was belief that the Electoral Council would not come a to a decision which would have meant the postponement of the enthronement as a new election would have to be held.” Post by AntonI at http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,50171.msg887811.html#msg887811

            OTH, another Bulgarian poster at that site said:

            “All churches were represented from what I saw. How many Patriarchs did attend the enthronement of Patriarch Irinej of Serbia or Patriarch John of Antioch last Sunday in Beirut? There were no Patriarchs. The only attending Primates were again Archbishop Chrysostom of Cyprus and Archbishop Christopher of the Czech lands and Slovakia. All the other local Orthodox Churches were represented by Bishops/Metropolitans/Archbishops, but no Patriarchs or Primates.”

            The Internet site of the Bulgarian Exarchate confirms that the primates of the Churches of Cyprus and of the Czech lands and Slovakia attended. Representatives from the following churches were also present: Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Russia, Georgia, Serbia, Romania, Greece–? (text says “Greek Archdiocese”), Poland, and Albania.

            Here is additional information on Patriarch Neofit: “The charismatic 67-year-old white-haired bishop, born Simeon Dimitrov, was one of the closest to the late Patriarch Maxim, from whom he took holy orders back in 1975.

            He is generally acclaimed as an erudite man and one of the best diplomats of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

            His reputation as one of the most deserving candidates for the patriarchal throne risked being marred last year after revelations that he was among 11 of the 15 top bishops of Bulgaria’s Holy Synod — the Orthodox Church’s highest authority — who were former secret intelligence agents under the Communist dictatorship.

            Neophyte’s thin file however was later proven to contain mostly reports against him.

            “I never wanted to defame anyone or benefit from the privileges of the Darzhavna Sigurnost secret police,” he then commented.

            Neophyte had asked to be relieved from his duties as agent immediately after the regime fell on November 10, 1989.” http://www.france24.com/en/20130225-bulgarias-orthodox-church-elects-new-patriarch

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Bu the way, the composition of the Council is most interesting:

              The new Patriarch will be elected by an extraordinary council, convened for the election, consisting of:

              -all the Metropolitans (the Bulgarian Orthodox Church follows the Greek model and “Metropolitan” simply means Diocesan Bishop), i.e. 14 Metropolitans. Met. Simeon of Western and Central Europe did not attend the session of Holy Synod yesterday and today for health reasons. Being a US citizen and living in the USA, with his diocese actually administered by his Auxiliary Bishop Anthony, he may not be able to attend this special council. So there may be 13 Metropolitans attending.

              -all the Bishops – they are all Titular Bishops of ancient nonexistent sees nowadays and serve as Auxiliary Bishops or hold some administrative office. There are 18 or 19 Bishops currently.

              -five representatives of each diocese – three clerics and two laypeople and ten representatives of the Diocese of Sofia (which is the Patriarchal diocese) – six clerics and four laypeople.

              -a representative of each of the three stavropegial monasteries (Rila, Bachkovo, Troyan).

              -two monastics from each diocese – a monk and a nun.

              -a representative of each of the two seminaries (in Sofia and Plovdiv).”


            • Carl,

              Some of your atatements are nearly correct. There was a problem in that only a few days before the election was to take place for Bulgarian Patriarch, three canonical candidates had not yet been found. They were eventually found on time.

              The website you give as the website of the Bulgarian Exarchate is not that of the Exarchate at all. It is :

              Official Site of the Synod [of Bishops] of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church – Bulgarian Patriarchate

              The Bulgarian Exarchate is in Istanbul and, as far as I know, has no website. It has that name because it is located outside the place of its origin and is officially located at St. Stefan’s Church alongside the Marmara Sea a mere block and a half walk from the Patriarchate in Istanbul and adjacent to some kind of police headquarters.

              Perhaps you are confused about your history because during the struggles between the Phanariot Patriarchate and Macedonian and Bulgarian speaking peoples who wished to worship in their own local languages, a treaty gave people the right to vote their churches to be under the Phanar or the Bulgarians after the Balkan Wars and the Bulgarians were jocularly referred to as the Exarchate. If you think about it, even the term Exarchate is pejorative because it implies that only the Greeks have a right to an Orthodox presence for their community in Turkey. Not only did the late Ottoman Empire consider that the Bulgarians had a right to their own community, but supported the idea of a Turkish Orthodox community as well, i.e. you could be a Bulgarian speaking or a Turkish speaking or a Greek speaking member of society and go to church in your own language. I won’t go further into this history but I am surprised that as a Bulgarian you don’t know it. If you are ever interested in learning it, the Carnegie Foundation online has links to all the original records connected with the Treaties, in English no less, or you can get them on disk if you want. Then there is the poem by Prlichev and The Burden of the Balkans and all that. Oh, well….

              In the last mentioned website, see the long section on the Struggle Against the Tsarigrad [Istanbul] Patriarchate

              Prlichev’s famous poem against the imposition of the Phanariot rule:


              Warning to readers – the last two websites are in Macedonian and the next to the last is most comprehensive and not propagandistic in that language.

              • Thank you YO for your correction. I had meant to say the site of the Bulgarian Patriarchate but, as someone who grew up in the Bulgarian Exarchate in Istanbul, I made the evident error. (I was baptized at St. Stephen and later sang in its choir loft).

                For those who do not know what we are talking about, I offer this excerpt from relevant link you provided above:

                “The Exarchate (a de facto autocephaly) was unilaterally (without the blessing of the Ecumenical Patriarch) promulgated on May 23 [O.S. May 11] 1872, in the Bulgarian church in Constantinople in pursuance of the March 12 [O.S. February 28] 1870 firman of Sultan Abdülaziz of the Ottoman Empire.

                The foundation of the Exarchate was the direct result of the struggle of the Bulgarian Orthodox against the domination of the Greek Patriarchate of Constantinople in the 1850s and 1860s; the secession from the Patriarchate was officially condemned by the Council in Constantinople in September 1872 as schismatic.”

                I should add that the so-called Pan Orthodox Council that is referred here is the one convened by the Patriarch of Constantinople and attended by the Greek Patriarchs of Alexandria (who had been the previous Constantinople Patriarch) and Jerusalem. The reason for the condemnation was ethnic or national principle in church organization: “We renounce, censure and condemn racism, that is racial discrimination, ethnic feuds, hatreds and dissensions within the Church of Christ, as contrary to the teaching of the Gospel and the holy canons of our blessed fathers which “support the holy Church and the entire Christian world, embellish it and lead it to divine godliness.” The problem, of course, was the fact that Constantinople Patriarchate was herself guilty of these shortcomings as Greek bishops and clergy throughout the Balkans had tried to force Greek culture and language down the throats of the Bulgarians. See:

                “After many of the leadership of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church were executed, it was fully subordinated to the Patriarch of Constantinople. The millet system in the Ottoman Empire granted a number of important civil and judicial functions to the Patriarch of Constantinople and the diocesan metropolitans. As the higher Bulgarian church clerics were replaced by Greek ones at the beginning of the Ottoman domination, the Bulgarian population was subjected to double oppression – political by the Ottomans and cultural by the Greek clergy. With the rise of Greek nationalism in the second half of the 18th century, the clergy imposed the Greek language and a Greek consciousness on the emerging Bulgarian bourgeoisie. The Patriarchate of Constantinople became its tool to assimilate other peoples. At the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century, the clergy opened numerous schools with all-round Greek language curriculum and nearly banned the Bulgarian liturgy. These actions threatened the survival of the Bulgarians as a separate nation and people with its own, distinct national culture.

                Discontent with the supremacy of the Greek clergy started to flare up in several Bulgarian dioceses as early as the 1820s. It was not until 1850 that the Bulgarians initiated a purposeful struggle against the Greek clerics in a number of bishoprics, demanding their replacement with Bulgarian ones. By that time, most Bulgarian clergy had realised that further struggle for the rights of the Bulgarians in the Ottoman Empire could not succeed unless they managed to obtain some degree of autonomy from the Patriarchate of Constantinople. As the Ottomans identified nationality with religion, and the Bulgarians were Eastern Orthodox, the Ottomans considered them part of the Roum-Milet, i.e., the Greeks. To gain Bulgarian schools and liturgy, the Bulgarians needed to achieve an independent ecclesiastical organisation.

                The struggle between the Bulgarians, led by Neofit Bozveli and Ilarion Makariopolski, and the Greeks intensified throughout the 1860s. By the end of the decade, Bulgarian bishoprics had expelled most of the Greek clerics, thus the whole of northern Bulgaria, as well as the northern parts of Thrace and Macedonia had effectively seceded from the Patriarchate. The Ottoman government restored the Bulgarian Patriarchate under the name of “Bulgarian Exarchate” by a decree (firman) of the Sultan promulgated on February 28, 1870. The original Exarchate extended over present-day northern Bulgaria (Moesia), Thrace without the Vilayet of Adrianople, as well as over north-eastern Macedonia. After the Christian population of the bishoprics of Skopje and Ohrid voted in 1874 overwhelmingly in favour of joining the Exarchate (Skopje by 91%, Ohrid by 97%), the Bulgarian Exarchate became in control of the whole of Vardar and Pirin Macedonia. The Bulgarian Exarchate was partially represented in southern Macedonia and the Vilayet of Adrianople by vicars. Thus, the borders of the Exarchate included all Bulgarian districts in the Ottoman Empire.”

                YO–I have been spreading the truth about th Exarchate for a long time and in many forums. I am grateful that I am not alone. Thanks.

                • Mr. Carl,

                  You are quite welcome. I will leave to you, since you grew up in that church, to describe the incredible fact of the building of St. Steven’s, one of the world’s most famous prefab buildings of all time, brought on a barge to Istanbul and constructed very quickly. It would be nice to hear, as you were singing in the choir, what music you sang there? Dinev? Byzantine Bulgarian chant?
                  I have no concept of the choir of St. Stefan’s great or small. How did you serve memorials? Feasts? Was the excess wine of the memorial service poored into Fener Bahce earth?

                  Where did the Bulgarian community live, in which neighborhoods? Were there Bulgarian schools? Did Bulgarian students attend the Fener Greek high school, for example?

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    Dear YO–I am old but not that old. I lived in Istanbul for 16 years. The reason why I was in the choir was probably because the Director was doing my father a favor. My father was then the head chanter of the Exarchate, before he became a priest and we emigrated to the United States. In any case, the choir sounded heavenly (when it was on key of course) and its sound seemed to come down on the worshippers in the nave directly from above. The choir sang four-part music while the chanters used Byzantine Bulgarian chant. BTW, my earliest experience was “helping” my father by providing the ison. Regarding the schools and other institutions, I remember that we had two churches (the Exarchate Chapel and St. Stephen), a hospital and a cemetery with a chapel, that’s all. I went to a Turkish elementary school and than to the Lycee de Galatasaray. I think that my parents would have sent me to a Bulgarian school if it was available. As for kids attending the Fener Greek High School, frankly I did not even know of its existence.

          • According to Bulgarian friends and news stories posted, after the election, they immediately marched over to the cathedral for the enthronement. No delay of weeks or months. News story from Sofia says the bishops and hundreds of laypeople attended the enthronement. No mention of foreign bishops or heads of foreign churches.

        • Are you using the imperial “we” or are you referring to Team Jonah?

          BTW, what’s this Chinese torture? George started the GOA thing with “a very important meeting.” Now, you’ve escalated it to “But of course this latest embarrassment is a trifle next to the real reason why Metropolitan Tikhon and Fr. Jillions went last Friday to meet at the GOA. That is the real crisis that they are dealing with, the real sign of the OCA’s slipping significance here and around the world.”

          If the following definitions fit, please own up to them:

          Yellow journalism, or the yellow press, is a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers. Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism. By extension, the term yellow journalism is used today as a pejorative to decry any journalism that treats news in an unprofessional or unethical fashion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism

          “…doublethink: “To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed….” (Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell)

        • This is just for the record, regarding Metropolitan Jonah’s purported income from the OCA of $1000 per month.

          When His Holiness Patriarch Kirill said “make comfortable the further life of your predecessor”, I don’t think he meant “Pay him just enough to put him over the federal poverty level in your country.”

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            What is the federal poverty level for a single (in our case monastic) man?

            • Michael C says

              Poverty Threshold: $11,702 in 2011

              Poverty Guideline: $11,490 in 2013

              But context: D.C.’s median income is about 50% higher than the national average, so shouldn’t the poverty threshold/guideline above rise 50% when we discuss D.C. poverty? Seems like a pretty expensive place to live. So maybe $17,235 would be a better figure for discussion.

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                Many thanks for the references, Michael C!
                Father Leonid Turkevich and his wife were often seen in the soup lines in the Bowery. He went on to become our beloved Metropolitan Leonty. How many parish priests in ROCOR get more than $1,000 a month from their parish? What is the salary of a ROCOR bishop?
                Are they all UNcomfortable?
                And, oh, yes, I do have my OCA pension plus my social security, both of which would not be possible without MY having contributed to them.

                • Valdika,

                  How many soup lines did Metropolitan Leonty stand in after he had become Metropolitan? Did he have family to support as a widower?

                  • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                    Dear “Yo”,
                    I don’t believe Metropolitan Leonty had to stand in any soup lines, especially after the Depression had eased. His accommodations and compensation, however, as Metropolitan, were quite EVANGELICAL. One son, Benedict, became a professor of, I believe, chemistry at Princeton or some other Ivy League college, according to my old memory. His grandaughter, Darya, married Michael Carney who is now a ROCOR priest. The old guy had to ascend three flights of stairs to his rooms at the top of the 2nd st.Cathedral. They were shabby, cramped, and dusty.
                    There are still a few Priests around who were around when Metropolitan Leonty was alive.
                    You may ask, for example, Father Sergei Glagolev. As an Archpriest with his wife in the Bowery soupline, OF COURSE he had a family to support and no member of that family was a retired realtor. I don’t believe he COULD have supported anyone else when he was Metropolitan, but i could be wrong. I’m not sure what the purpose of your questions is.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Archbishop Victorin, head of the Patriarchal Romanian Diocese in America once upon a time, was a former Metropolia monk from St. Tikhon’s monastery. I was at his installation at the Patriarchal Romanian Cathedral in Detroit long ago. He was far-famed for always travelling by Greyhound, by himself, and never by train or airplance. Another example of evangelical virtue, like Metropolitan Leonty. Neither of them was known for (or, probably interested at all in) making a splash in the media and in a public forum.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:
                      March 8, 2013 at 1:54 pm

                      “no member of that family was a retired realtor.”


      • Also Anonymous says

        Who was invited, but not allowed to serve, other than the OCA?

  6. BOO HOO BABS says

    Poor Auntie Stan sure hates to be scooped. He prides himself on his sources, well his sources are not as good as George’s by a long shot and that makes Stan an angry fellow.


    Boo Hoo Babs. Boo Hoo.

    • George Michalopulos says

      OK, I did the unthinkable, you baited me and went to that satanic website. Now I gotta go take a shower. As for what I’m smoking, it’s “Old Virginia” right now. Somewhat milder than the last batch (“Killarny”). I can’t always get to Ted’s Pipe Shop because of my travels and the various tribal smoke shops don’t have as wide a selection.

      • I look around VfR every now and then because the fellow posts some interesting articles and has lovely graphics. I would rather like him if it weren’t for his hateful outbursts and bizarre Bolshevik sympathies. A few weeks ago, he was upset at Fr. Victor Potapov for the priest’s condemnation of Stalin, which was, of course, thoughtful and appropriate. Indeed, he frequently attacks Fr. Victor and other men whom I know to be fine servants of God. He also criticizes prolifers whenever he can, never stopping to ask himself that perhaps people oppose infanticide on principle rather than for nefarious, unintelligible reasons (hundreds of thousands march on Washington to oppose abortion and to protest the killing of black babies — because they are racist white people wanting disenfranchise black women who belong to SEIU??? Yes, that sort of crazy.). In short, he incarnates the madness of the Daily Kos in a babushka headscarf. To him, everyone to the right of Ernesto Guevara is a capitalist, fascist pig who gets his jollies by oppressing the working man, burning kittens, and raping Cameron Diaz. But at least he is an unapologetic Russophile and anti-kumbaya-ecumenist, in his own quirky way. There is hope for him, yet!

        • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

          Is that man (self-mutilated or not) pretending to be a woman (who from one of the posts might be involved with another man) being allowed to partake of the Mysteries in a canonical jurisdiction? If so under what bishop?

      • George, next time try Balkan Sobranie or Latakia for your ‘high’.

      • I could not let you be the only one to visit that vile site. This person is a piece of work, isn’t he/she? Her vitriol against +Jonah and you makes me think more highly of you both. BTW, he/she kept on reporting the sacking of Mr. Bob Kondratick down at Holy Spirit Church in Venice, Fl. I had heard of that from another source weeks ago and did not bring it up earlier. But, now that the cat is out of the bag (thanks to you!), I wonder if anyone has further news.

        • Why, yes, he is, indeed, a piece of work. It was probably an expensive operation . . .

          Too far? Too much? Too soon?

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Talk about damning with faint praise. I’ve been in psychiatric wards and seen inmates who have more coherent world views than the Mdme DeFarge of the Orthoblogosphere.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            Voices from Russia usually sing a jazzed up version of Voices from Canton.

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        I wasn’t going to comment on this smoking thread, but I now realize that Father George Johnson would want to know that i prefer an e-cigarette these days, though I did light up a real stogie when Bishop Matthias took care of ocanews.org. My e-cigarette of choice is the ‘E-blue” made famous by the Stephen Dorff ads in “Rolling Stone.” Poor Stash/Barbs! I think she’s more Polish than Russian don’t you? As Shakespeare says, ‘Methinks the lady protesteth too much?” How many Russian Stanislavses do you know, after all?

        • BOO HOO BABS says

          Bishop TIkhon,

          Stan is no more Russian than a perogi is Russian. But the dickless wonder is just stupid in his Joseph Goebbels approach to blogging……keep saying a lie and people will think it is true. Examples:

          1. Dreher and Freddy Mac were confidants of Gleb Podmoshensky and one of his crack cabinet members “actually saw Rod leave Platina after meeting with this pervert priest.” Neither know the man, have never met him.

          2. Bob Kondratick Jr. is under Federal investigation for a Ponzi scheme. Absolutely false, untrue, an outright lie. The Feds have no interest in Jr. whatsoever. His brother-in-law is in prison for such a scheme. The Fed found no evidence to link Jr. to any criminal case.

          3. Joseph Stalin wasn’t so bad Uncle Joe was just misunderstood. He was a butcher and a mad man. Worse than Hitler, not exactly a club to be a member.

          4. Jonah Paffhausen was somehow in an illicit relationship with Podmoshensky, he always likes to drag out that innuendo. Total lie with not one bit of evidence to substantiate.

          5. Anyone right of Fidel Castro is a right wing nutter and anyone who isn’t a Russian Orthodox is not really Orthodox.

          6. Fr Ray Valencia is bad because he dared to sue Babs for being a liar. (Fr.) Bob Kondratick is bad because he refused (and the OCA) to bless Stan’s sex change (self-multilation) operation. Forever Kondratick and the OCA will be on his s@#$ list.

          It is best not to believe 99% of what is on his website. The other 1% are the pictures. It is better to not even look at it because it really is like the Orthodox Forum with cartoon and pictures.

          This message was approved by BooBooBabs.org. 😉

  7. M. Stankovich says

    “his sources are not as good as George’s by a long shot”

    Mr. Michalopulos,

    At the moment you have 17 snarling dogs already bitten – presumably plenty in the “awaiting moderation” wings, including one very important Governor who asks, “Τί ἐστιν ἀλήθεια?” (Jn. 18:38) Boo hoo hell! I’ve been laughing for 15 minutes. You are a P.T. Barnumopulos!

    • lol. That’s a funny one, but it does not change things trying to minimize the trouble the OCA finds itself in these days. Syosset is feeling the real effects of being further isolated here and in the Orthodox world. It will take, even if it is still possible, decades for the OCA to regain its former status of acceptance, and that is without them making inevitable mistakes, which they have made since +Jonah’s departure. This is not the OCA of the days of Fr. Alexander and Fr. Meyendorff. Of course both men lived in a world when there was the Iron Curtain and both wrote in that reality. One can only guess how they would now react to a post Bolshevik world.

      One can guess that since the fall of the USSR, the re-emergence of the ROC, the reunification with ROCOR that the OCA does not play as important a role in this new world. The need for the OCA by the ROC here in the USA is not the same and sadly their treatment of +Jonah has gone down badly by the once most important supporter of the OCA.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      MS, would that I were as resourceful as PT Barnum! He made a ton of money. I alas, am but a mere scribe. And anyway, blaming me for the mess that Syosset has gotten us into is like blaming the waiter because the food tastes awful.

  8. Jonathan Johnston says

    Creating issues here where there are no issues. Fr. Leonid does not attend everything within the OCA. The OCA is fully recognized by the Patriarchate of Antioch via Holy Communion and liturgical participation. This site is trying to create issues that don’t exist.

    • Bruce Wm. Trakas says

      The Antiochian Patriarchate has never recognized the “autocephaly” of “The Orthodox Church in America.” Communion was maintained by all the Holy Orthodox Churches so as to not cause schism toward a holy eccelsial jurisdiction of the Church, but the OCA’s claim to “autocephaly” is not recognized officially by any Church, other than a few that were in the Communist Soviet Union’s immediate orbit when the “Tomos” was issued. The Churches of Georgia, Bulgaria (though a poster above notes that the Bulgarian Church does not include the OCA’s primate in the Dyptics), Poland, and the Czech and Slovak Lands, as I recall, were the only Churches to have recognized the “Tomos of Autocephaly,” issued upon a church that was previously under an “anathema” by the church that issued the unilateral “Tomos,” in a region that had established (in excess of 50 years) and flourishing Eastern Orthodox jurisdictions, one of which was far “larger and better organized” (per ROCOR’s challege, or statement of non-recognition of the “Tomos.”). The OCA is recognized as a canonical church by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, that is “self-governed,” but is not “autocephalos,” a Sister Church among the Holy Orthodox Churches.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        Bruce’s recitation of the facts are correct. It would seem that Phill Ur Up, er..Jonathan Johnston as he is called these days is simply an internet troll that likes to stir things up. Please ignore him. That’s how trolls go away.


      • May I may a subtle point? There are three camps regarding OCA’s autocephaly:

        “1. The autocephalous Orthodox churches that recognize the OCA as autocephalous are the Church of Russia, which granted the tomos of autocephaly, the Church of Georgia, the Church of Bulgaria, the Church of Poland and the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia.

        2. Those autocephalous churches that have not recognized the autocephaly but which have not opposed it are the Church of Antioch, the Church of Serbia, the Church of Romania, and the Church of Albania.

        3. The autocephalous churches which oppose the OCA’s autocephaly are the Church of Constantinople, the Church of Alexandria, the Church of Jerusalem, the Church of Cyprus, and the Church of Greece. However, these Churches recognize the OCA as a canonical church and their representatives concelebrate services with OCA clergy.”

        May I also point out that our history is replete with such situations. The autocephaly of the Bulgarian Church was recognized and withdrawn three separate times by Constantinople (her Mother Church) and yet it has been canonical since 927. The Russian Orthodox Church was autocephalous since 1448, but she was formally recognized as such by Constantinople (her Mother Church) until 1589 (I forgot how many furs, precious stones and gold was involved in that transaction).

        • It might be more correct to say that some of the oppositional group sometimes concelebrate with OCA clergy. There are also numerous examples where Greeks (and others) refuse to do so.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Sure, the example of Boston is a case in point. As you may recall, Metropolitan Methodios, GOA bishop of Boston, was not happy when Archbishop Nikon was enthroned as the OCA Bishop of Boston, New England and the Albanian Archdiocese in 2005. Subsequently +Methodios ordered his clergy not to concelebrate with OCA priests. Some folks think this happened because of the two bishops in one city problem, others think that it had to do with the Greek-Albanian issue.

            Bottom line: Boston may be the exception that proves the rule (in the United States).

            • Orthodox Unity in the USA says

              One bishop in one city, that is what the Holy Canons say and it was in that reality that big bad Jonah wanted to move the OCA Primatial See to Washington, DC since he was the only Orthodox Bishop in the District thus taking a step, albeit symbolic, to not have another bishop living and working in New York.

              One bishop in one city is the goal and needs to be looked at honestly factoring who got their first, the present reality of how many faithful of one jurisdiction or another make a present majority in the spirit of how best to present and spread the Gospel. Everyone will have to give something up to gain a greater unity here.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              John–Am I wrong in my reading of Greeks and OCA concelebrations?

  9. Perhaps the OCA will follow the MP example and have a bishop in the office of external affairs. Perhaps a good spot for Met Jonah with his people and language skills although speaking off the cuff would definitely not be appropriate (e.g. comments re EP in Dallas) so maybe not. Just a thought

    • Ms. Dianna,

      What did you think was wrong with what Metropolitan Jonah said about the EP in Dallas.

    • Dianna,

      It would also be good if they could get a bishop in their vacant dioceses. You know Eastern PA, Alaska, Midwest, and of course the 14 states that comprise the Diocese of the South. (Should we also count Canada?)


      • Finding that many bishops would either require importing some, or overlooking even more canonical impediments. What decent priest in his right mind would enter the OCA these days to become a bishop? Maybe we should just reapportion everything into four dioceses and cripple along. And then three. And two…. Until married men can become bishops, which will be never, the OCA is no longer viable on its own. Let’s face it. Hopefully some at HQ have.

      • Jesse, worrying about the empty dioceses of the OCA is like worrying about empty deck chairs on the Titanic.

    • The Holy Synod had to resort sending another bishop with him as a baby sitter. What makes you think that they would trust him to do a good job now?

      • Carl,

        To which event are you referring? Moreover, “had” to send another bishop with him as a babysitter and “sent” another bishop to keep tabs on him are two very different ways one could describe the same event.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          January 2011 visit to Russia.

          • Carl,

            Babysitting? Come on. That is your particular lens you are looking through. If you will check going back many years, the Primate of the OCA always travelled with other bishops of the Synod to Russia, and if +Tikhon ever gets on invite he too will be “babysat” by your definition but rather will travel with other bishops from the Synod.

      • When was this?

  10. Sean Richardson says

    I do not understand the inner-workings of the current OCA but I have heard stories from friends about Fr. Leonid when he a parish priest in San Francisco and the work he did at St. Innocent’s Church, an English-only mission church located in the basement of Holy Trinity Cathedral. From what I hear, he had a major influence on the church while there and his church directly produced four priests, and heavily influenced five or six others (from the OCA, Antiochians and the ROCOR) as well as a currently serving bishop. his church grew dramatically and his service to the OCF at Cal, Stanford, USF etc. were much applauded. That church also served as home parish for several full-professors, including one at Harvard, UCLA and a former dean of SVS. In addition, in his often bashed work in the WWC, he single-handedly negotiated a vote that condemned the persecution of the Orthodox Christians in Russia, by the communists, when even the MP refused to protest.

    My suspicion is that very few, if any, priests and individual parishes of that size (a hundred members) and over such a short period of time (4-5 years) have had such success, influence and dramatic growth. At the very least, let’s given him credit for that.

  11. The Parish and the Church

    Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann

    1. The arguments about the Statute of the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of America adopted by the Ninth All American Sobor of 1955 are not “technical” arguments, but have a deep significance of principle. They involve fundamental questions relating to the life and organization of the Church. The passionate character of these arguments plainly shows that we are faced not only with two different “practical” settings which conflict with each other, but with two different conceptions of the whole canonical structure of the Church. In the Church – which is a living and growing organism – there is room for argument; it is legitimate to search for the truth and to seek the correct answers to the problems of modern life. But such arguments can be fruitful and useful only if both sides unconditionally accept as their common ground and point of departure the eternal and the unchangeable teaching of the Orthodox Church, as expressed in its dogmas and canons. The dogmas and canons of the Church are not subject to revision; such a “revision” would be tantamount to a “falling out” of the Church, to a rejection of Orthodox. We would like all those who argue about the Statute to keep this always in mind and to understand that the issue involved is whether we are to remain Orthodox, or whether under the name of “Orthodoxy” there is growing up something alien to the Church, something equivalent to a betrayal that would render all discussions of the Church’s organization senseless and futile.

    2. Practically all discussions about the Statute centre on the problem of the parish and are concerned with the following questions: who is to be at the head of the parish? How should the parish be organized and governed? Several crucial points in this discussion require elucidation. The aim of this paper is to give a brief analysis of those points in which we can clearly detect a flagrant departure from the fundamental principles of the canonical and dogmatic tradition of Orthodoxy. We have purposely used the term “dogmatic” tradition, because despite the widespread notion that the dogmatic and administrative fields are unrelated to each other – the Church has invariably considered that both fields form inseparable parts of one and the same tradition based on the same dogmatic principles. The organization of the Church and its “administration” are wholly determined by the faith of the Church, i. e., by the doctrine held by the Church about herself. It is hence an error to think that the faith of the Church can be preserved if her diocesan and parochial organization is built up on new and purely secular administrative and juridical foundations. I do not propose to touch in this paper upon the question of who is responsible for a situation which is often used to justify the necessity for new forms and norms in the Church. This is a large and complex question. But whoever bears the responsibility and whatever the novelty of the present situation, the fundamental principles of the Church organization cannot depend on them. The points which are listed below are so fundamental that any departure from their original canonical meaning would be as I have already stated, tantamount, to a departure from the Orthodox tradition.

    3. The first of these points is the question of the relation between the parish on the one hand and the diocesan – more generally, the ecclesiastical – authorities on the other.

    In practice this refers to the so-called “independent parishes,” i. e., those parishes that determine their relation to the ecclesiastical authorities unilaterally. The general tendency is to claim that the traditional conception of the parish as a part of larger organism (the diocese, the Church) contradicts the law of the United States, more especially the state laws of incorporation; the parish – so the argument runs – is incorporated according to the laws of the state, and this, perforce, makes the parish administratively independent and self-governing. However, it will be obvious to anyone who has some knowledge of American legislation, and in particular of the legislation concerning religion, that this assertion either rests on ignorance or is made with evil intent. 1) The American principle of separation of Church and State enables every religious community to organize its own life and administration in accordance with the teaching and rules of its faith. 2) The incorporation of a parish by no means makes it an “independent” and “self-sufficient” body, because all depends on what sort of society is being “incorporated”; hence it is not incorporation that defines the structure of a given society, but on the contrary, the structure and the basic principles of the society define the form of incorporation. In other words, it all depends on how the parish considers and defines itself, and any reference to American law is senseless here, because the only purpose of the law is to protect and legalize the self-determination of a group of believers. On the organization and administration of the American Orthodox Church the civil law is silent.

    Hence it is clear that the idea of an “independent parish” is based on a distorted notion of the Church and is a rebellion against her basic norms. Let us briefly recall these norms.

    I. Canonically, and hence administratively, the parish is a part of the Church and, like everything in the Church, is subject to the Church’s authorities, and in the first place to its bishop. A parish “independent” of its bishop or a parish that recognizes his authority only in a “spiritual,” and not in an administrative, sense, is a canonical absurdity.

    II. The Diocesan Bishop has the following authority in the parish: he appoints its clergy and constantly supervises the entire life and activities of the parish either personally or through its clergy. This leads neither to arbitrary rule nor to “absolutism,” for the canons of the Orthodox Church as well as the Statute of 1955 define very precisely the means by which the Bishop exercises his authority; but to single out any one sphere of parish life and to claim that this sphere lies outside the competence and the jurisdiction of the Church’s authorities is to contradict the very idea of the Church as expressed in the words of St. Ignatius the God Bearer: “in the Church nothing is done without the Bishop.”

    III. From this point of view Pastor is the representative of the Bishop and of his authority in the parish. The Pastor’s rights and duties are also strictly defined by the canons of the Church and by the Statute. But it cannot be emphasized too strongly that the notion of a priest as a hired person subject to the demands and dependent upon the conditions imposed by his employers – is not only false, but clearly heretical. We must remember that a parish priest, – the parish being part of the Church – represents the Church itself, its traditions, its teachings, its hierarchy; the Pastor is not subordinated to his parishioners, but both are subject to the aims, tasks and interests of the Church; and the Pastor views the interests of the parish in the light of this relationship of the parish to the Church as a whole.

    IV. The Orthodox teaching on the Church asserts the possibility and necessity of co-operation between clergy and laymen on all levels and in all spheres of Church life (The Sobor, the Metropolitan Council, the Diocesan Council, the Church Committee). Orthodox doctrine consequently rejects not only the monopolizing of authority by the clergy (Roman clericalism) but also the distinction between the sphere that is subject to the clergy’s jurisdiction and the sphere that lies outside it (Protestantism). In the Orthodox Church everything is done together, in the unity of clergy and laity. But the term “together” means firstly that the bishop and the priest participate by right in all spheres of the parish’s life, and secondly that to them, according to the hierarchical principle, belong the religious right and duty of sanctioning all activities. Nothing can be done in the Church without the hierarchy or against it, because by its very nature everything, including the material, financial and economic spheres of Church life, is subject to the religious purpose of the Church. A parish does not build a church, a school or any other building, neither does it collect money, simply to enrich itself; all this is done in order to carry out the teaching of Christ and to promote the well-being of the Church; hence every sphere of the parish activity is inwardly subordinate to religious aims and should be examined and appraised in the light of these aims. Therefore the active leadership, participation in and control of parish life by the spiritual head of the parish is both necessary and self-evident.

    In the light of these principles we should unconditionally condemn all attempts:

    1) to make a parish independent of the Diocese, the Metropolitan district and all other lawfully constituted organs of Church authority;
    2) to “incorporate” a parish in contradiction to the above principles;
    3) to distinguish between the “spiritual” and the “material” spheres of the parish’s activity;
    4) to treat the parish priest as a “hireling” who can be hired or dismissed by decision of the Church Committee;
    5) to deprive the priest of his rightful position of leader in all forms of parish life.

    In our opinion failure to accept the points listed above is equivalent to a violation of the basic principles of Orthodoxy; this danger we submit, should be brought to the attention of all Orthodox people.

    The Very Reverend Alexander Schmemann

    Published by: Committee on Convocation of the 10th All-American Church Sobor of the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of America [NY], 1959

  12. Here is an article about the new Patriarch of Bulgaria, Neofit. By the way, he was probably given an ordination name of Neofit for Saint Neofit Rilski. He has an incredible voice and there are videos of him chanting on the YouTube. The following bio is from when he was a Metropolitan. A lot of people have heard him if they have the recordings of the Sofia Priest’s Choir, which he headed and sang in. A link to recordings of him is at http://www.collegiummusicum.org/collegium/index.php?cat=2&subcat=17&section=38&page=914&l=en

    Most of his album chanting alone, same as the individual pieces in the previous link is on YouTube http://youtu.be/mhm97snXCEg

    One presumes that he is no longer an artist for hire (Interesting other notes from one of his recordings are at http://www.collegiummusicum.org/collegium/index.php?cat=2&subcat=17&section=38&page=80

    Neofit, Metropolitan of Rousse

    The tradition of Eastern Orthodox church chant in Bulgaria goes back to more than one thousand years ago. This chant, called also “Byzantine Octoechos”, observers the rules of the Ancient Greek modes and the Ancient Greek temperament of the tones. The chants arc monophonic ones and the melody is accompanied by a base tone (hysson), which is usually the basis of the tetrachord. The octoechos canon is obligatory for this tradition. It serves as a defence of church Chant protecting it from secular influences and style. Throughout the centuries many inspired composers of songs have made their contribution to the common musical treasure-house of the Orthodox Church. The Eastern Orthodox chants sung by His Eminence Neofit, Metropolitan of Russe, аre also a precious gift presented before the altar of God with the sincere desire that it first of all praise God and provide spiritual joy to Christians.

    Metropolitan Neofit’s secular name is Simeon Nikolov Dimitrov. He was born in Sofia on 15 Oct. 1945. After completing his 7-grade education, in 1959 he enrolled in the Sofia Theological Seminary. He graduated from the seminary in 1965. In September 1967 he became a student at the St. Clement of Ochrid Academy of Theology in Sofia. He completed his studies there in 1971. Following a decision of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Bulgaria, in 1971 he was sent to do post-graduate studies at the Moscow Academy of Theology, where for two years he specialized choral conducting and earned his doctoral degree. On 1 st September 1973 he was appointed lecturer in Eastern church chant and conductor of the student choir at the Academy of Theology in Sofia. On 3 rd August 1975 he was professed monk with the name of Neofit in the Troyan Monastery by Maxim, Patriarch of Bulgaria. Archimandrite Gelassiy, then hegumen of the monastery, was his spiritual elder. On 15th Aug. of the same year Patriarch Maxim ordained him as hierodeacon and on 25th March 1976— as priestmonk in the “Sveta Nedelia” (St. Kyriaki) Cathedral in Sofia. From 30th Sept. 1975 till 17th March 1986 he was conductor of the Sofia Priests’ Choir and on 15th July 1977 he became also senior lecturer in Eastern church chant and in divine service practice in the Academy of Theology in Sofia. He remained in charge of these subjects until the end of 1980. In the meantime, on 21st November 1977 he was promoted to the rank of archimandrite in the “Sveta Nedelia” (St. Kyriaki) Cathedral in Sofia by Patriarch Maxim. From 1st Jan. 1981 till December 1985 Archimandrite Neofit was chancellor of the Sofia Eparchy (Diocese). While holding that post, on 8th Dec. 1985 he was consecrated as bishop in the St. Alexander Nevsky Patriarchal Cathedral.

    Thus he became titular bishop of Levkas and he was made second auxiliary bishop of the Metropolitan of Sofia. On 1st. Dec. 1989 Bishop Neofit became rector of the St. Clement of Ochrid Academy of Theology in Sofia and on 26th July 1991 he was elected also as the first dean of the Faculty of Theology at the University of St. Clement of Ochrid in Sofia. (The Faculty had again become part of the University on 1st July 1991). He remained at this post until January 1992, On 27th January 1992 he was appointed General Secretary of the Holy Synod and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the St. Alexander Nevsky Palriarchal Cathedral. On 27 March 1994 he was elected metropolitan of the Dorostol and Cherven Eparchy and on 3th April of the same year he was canonically confirmed as metropolitan of said diocese. On 17th Dec. 2001 following a decision of the Fifth Council of The Church and the People the eparchy of Dorostol and Cherven was divided into two eparchies — that of Rousse and that of Dorostol and since then he has borne the title of “Metropolitan of Rousse”.

    Final gift is a video of Patriarch Neofit, while a Metropolitan with his booming baritone bass voice at the beginning of the Pascha service on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPiiSETrcNM&feature=share&list=PL859F98CBA9B99FF2

    His voice is truly a gift of God.

  13. Carl Kraeff says

    Here is a news item that (a) sheds some light on this topic and (b) shows that the world had not come to an end with the departure of +Jonah:

    “The Lesser Synod of Bishops and the Metropolitan Council of the Orthodox Church in America met at the Chancery here February 25-28, 2013.

    His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon presided at the sessions. Members of the Lesser Synod who participated included His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel; His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin; His Grace, Bishop Michael, secretary of the Holy Synod of Bishops. His Eminence, Archbishop Nikon also attended.

    Highlights of the meeting, according to Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary, included the following.

    In his opening remarks, Metropolitan Tikhon spoke about the first 105 days of his ministry as Primate. He expressed gratitude for the prayers and support of the Church, the Holy Synod, the officers and the Metropolitan Council. He spoke of his regular weekly meetings with the officers and the multitude of tasks accomplished by Chancery staff members.

    “I offer this report to the honorable members of the Metropolitan Council, not as a record of any accomplishments or as a promise of great things to come, but as an expression of my willingness to do that which it is my duty to do, as a willing servant of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ,” Metropolitan Tikhon said. He went on to discuss meetings he has had with heads of Churches, various committees, and individuals; his ministry within the Diocese of Washington; and his work with the stavropegial institutions under his pastoral care. “We must work together cooperatively with each other and the Holy Spirit in the healing of the passions in the Church,” he said in his concluding remarks. “We must do the work that we are called to do, on whatever level that work is and wherever God places us to do that work.”

    Archpriests Chad Hatfield and David Lowell shared their thoughts on the organization of the Metropolitan Council meeting and on ways to keep the operational aspects focused on the topics. They also suggested referring some discussion items back to committees for representation at a later point in the meeting. To this end, the agenda was adjusted to allow for committee and Lesser Synod meetings on Wednesday afternoon.

    Archpriest John Jillions, Chancellor, highlighted five goals pursued in the immediate past and central in the future—creating good working relationships, building a stable and effective Central Church Administration, working to overcome a culture of negativity, ongoing work in addressing pastoral misconduct, and continuing progress in the area of financial development. He introduced Cindy Davis, recently engaged Coordinator for the Office of Review of Sexual Misconduct, who addressed a number of concerns and reported on her work as she settles into her new position.

    In his report, Father Tosi reviewed the extraordinary 17th All-American Council and the Enthronement of Metropolitan Tikhon and addressed issues related to human resources, archives and estate management development, and communications. He also reported on a number of meetings and events with which he had been involved and reviewed progress made in implementing action items related to resolutions from the 16th All-American Council.

    Melanie Ringa presented comprehensive financial and internal auditors’ reports, highlighting critical budgetary issues and budget-related action items. In cooperation with the Finance Committee, these changes were presented and approved by the Metropolitan Council. A complete financial report incorporating these changes will be forthcoming. She reviewed the proceedings of the second annual meeting of diocesan chancellors and treasurers and progress being made on developing alternatives to the present assessment method of funding. [See related article]. Concurrently, the Financial Development Committee is working towards a method acceptable to all dioceses, as mandated by the 16th All-American Council.

    Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky reviewed recent developments in the area of external affairs and inter-Church relations. He reported on various visits and events, including the Enthronements of His Beatitude, Patriarch John X of Antioch and His Eminence, Metropolitan Antony of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, as well as meetings with a number of Orthodox hierarchs in North America. The Lesser Synod expressed its gratitude to Father Leonid for his critical work during a difficult time in the life of the Church looks forward to his ongoing work as Director of External Affairs and Inter-Church Relations.

    Priest Gleb McFatter reviewed the work of the Finance Committee and Pension Board, while David Yeosock, on behalf of the Finance Development Committee, reviewed possible plans for financing the Church and reinvigorating the Church’s financial situation.

    As part of a new initiative to incorporate presentations by Department chairs into Metropolitan Council meetings, Andrew Boyd, Chair of the Department of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry, highlighted the Saint Peter the Aleut Grant Program now available for youth and youth workers. Funding for the program was made possible through a bequest received by the Department. He also spoke about the successful “YouTube Challenge,” the winner of which preached at the young preacher event, and outlined other initiatives, webinars and social media concerns. [See related stories here and here].

    Archpriest Ian Pac-Urar reviewed the work begun by the new Department of Continuing Education, which he chairs. He reported on the the results of a recent survey on continuing education initiatives and answered many questions on the new department’s goals and scope.

    The Legal Committee, chaired by Judge E. R. Lanier, discussed various Church-related legal matters, adding that a written report for the Church-at-large would be forthcoming. General Council Thaddeus Wojcik also reviewed his work and spoke of development of a training session on fiduciary responsibilities.

    After additional committee reports were presented, Council members voted to combine the membership of the Internal Governance Committee and the Council Development Committee in recognition of the similarities in the committees’ responsibilities. A Fall 2013 retreat for Council members as well as completion of a talent survey and a compilation of biographies of all members are planned, together with updates to the Metropolitan Council Handbook.

    The Post-Conciliar Committee reported on the implementation of the eight initiatives approved by delegates to the 16th All-American Council. Much progress has been made with regard to diocesan initiatives, such as leadership, continuing education, contemporary moral issues and evangelization. Although each diocese is responding within its own specific time frame, great progress has been made.

    Council members made a significant recommendation concerning the 18th All-American Council, slated to convene in 2014. Father Tosi reported on projected dates and venues for the Council, adding that preliminary work with regard to establishing a Preconciliar Committee had been undertaken. In response, the members of the Metropolitan Council decided to recommend to the Holy Synod of Bishops that the 18th All-American Council be delayed by one year—until 2015. Their rationale was based on a number of criteria. Among them is the desire to avoid additional financial burdens that might be placed on parishes, especially in light of the unexpected expenses incurred in convening the extraordinary 17th Council in 2012. It also was noted that, due to the time spent planning the 17th Council, there would be less time available for planning and convening a Council in 2014. Consequently, it was the feeling of Metropolitan Council members that sufficient time must be spent in producing a “solid finished product” that has been fully explored and agreed upon for the Church, particularly in the area of finances and Statute revision. Further, it was felt that, since the next Council will be held during the summer to ensure youth participation and activities, as well as to coordinate efforts with the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America [FOCA]—the FOCA’s annual convention will be held concurrently, in partnership with the All-American Council—additional planning time is essential. Metropolitan Tikhon further expressed his desire to witness “a period of peace and calm as we move forward with the work of the Church.” Among the sites being considered are Detroit, Baltimore, and Cleveland.

    With these and other factors in mind, the members of the Metropolitan Council voted to recommend to the Holy Synod that a delay of one year be effected in order to develop a clear and definitive plan for convening the Council with clear and definitive objectives for the Church. The Holy Synod will consider this proposal at its Spring Session March 12-14, 2013.

    The next Metropolitan Council meeting will be held September 23-26, 2013.

    Minutes and reports will be posted on the OCA web site as they become available.”


    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      Thanks, Carl! That sure demolishes Stash/Barb Drezhlo’s hopeful backbiting and slander of Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky, who really puts her knickers in a twist!