Extra! Syosset Reports of Deal Struck with Met. Jonah Not True

Delegates are Parma are reporting that Syosset and Synod apparatchiks announced that a deal has been struck with Met. Jonah. These reports are incorrect. No deal has been struck. Details to follow.


  1. Somebody there at the council needs to be live-blogging this on twitter or facebook or something! Would love to be getting the “fly on the wall”s report.

    Starving for information!

  2. Mark from the DOS says

    Dead on with my prediction that an announcement would come at or right before the AAC to quiet/cow supporters and those on the fence about this. If it turns out to all be a lie, oh well, AAC is over in a day. Mission accomplished.

    I noted the Vespers Homily was delivered by Fr. Garklavs and the DL homily by Fr. Hopko. It’s pretty obvious what the agenda is and that the HS still doesn’t “get it”

    • It seems to me that what the whole apparatchik doesn’t “get” is their great loss of credibility, trustworthiness, and respect, no matter what they say, plead, or do, now or in the future.

    • It seems to me that what the whole apparatchik doesn’t “get” is their self-inflicted loss of credibility, trustworthiness, and respect no matter what they now say, plead, or do.

    • That the homilies would be delivered by these two is the unkindest cut of all. Pride cometh before the fall and a haughty spirit before destruction. Were there no others worthy of the task than these two partisans???


      • No, that’s it, lexcaritas. If Bishop Michael had attained a two-thirds majority, then the Bishops would have to announce the canonical reason they did not also elect him, if they did not. I believe that when Metropolitan Ireney was elected by the bishops, Bishop Vladimir had a much bigger majority (but not two-thirds) than Ireney; when Metropolitan Theodosius was elected by the Bishops, Bishop Dmitri had a much larger majority (but not two-thirds); and when Metropolitan Herman was elected, Bishop Seraphim had a larger majorty than Bishop Michael Dahulich. Historically speaking today’s result was neither remarkable nor unusual. I believe and hope that this result will calm down the other Local Churches that have been watching very very carefully., especially if Metropolitan Jonah is not mistreated further.

        • Your Grace, how could Metropolitan Jonah ever be “mistreated further”?

        • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

          So Your Grace, +Tikhon, it appears you are now my Metropolitan. I hope you lead us towards more conservative theology (more glorified Saints and less St. Vlad’s) and liturgical practices (encouraging “Old Calendar”, etc) and perhaps even reunion with the Russian Orthodox Church on their terms. Now, some of this may be what got +Jonah fired, but may God grant you grace to be crazy to stand for Christ and Orthodoxy even if leads to the Synod discovering you have somehow resigned your office.

        • I believe lxc was referring to the decision to have Hopko and Garklavs deliver homilies before the vote.

      • lexcaritas says:
        November 13, 2012 at 4:27 pm
        “That the homilies would be delivered by these two is the unkindest cut of all.”
        Same as “rubbing salt into the wound” after “twisting the knife.”

      • I believe lxc was referring to the decision to have Hopko and Garklavs deliver homilies before the vote.

    • 7:00 PM EST – I just left Metropolitan Jonah, and there has been NO DEAL STRUCK. Zero. Zip. Nada.

      In my very own opinion: Brood of vipers!!! You might as well just put that hat on Kishkovsky – he’s who will actually be wearing it.

  3. Disgusted With It says

    I would still put forth my previously unanswered question — would any of the other Orthodox Churches, including Moscow, recognize a new metropolitan if Metropolitan Jonah’s situation is not adequately resolved BEFORE the election?

    I bet that the OCA synod will release Metropolitan Jonah to ROCOR as a way to buy recognition of the new OCA so-called “primate” (at least from Moscow). Perhaps someone “in-the-know” could weigh in on this one.

  4. George–So, you are now officially the +Jonah apparatchik? Congratulations! You have earned it.

    • No congratulations to you, Carl. You have earned a hard-fought political victory in your church. Enjoy the outcome. There are many who are traumatized and who are literally weeping over this, but your hard heart is oblivious. I suspect that even you will look back on this day with regrets, either in this life or the next. But in the meantime, to the victor go the spoils. The OCA belongs to you and your kind. Get out a bottle of the bubbly and enjoy! Best include your grandkids in the celebrations, as the memories will be all that’s left for them to enjoy when they are your age.

      I don’t wish the OCA on you, as I would not wish this kind of thing on my worst enemy; but since you have fought for it and won it for yourself, take a moment to celebrate. For what it is worth, I know some gay activists in NY who are joining you (likely elsewhere as well). Unfortunately, I cannot, but I congratulate you nonetheless for staying devoted to your cause and getting what you wanted.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        I do not think that it was such a hard fought political victory. It looks like there were just a handful of folks that participated in the public debate. On the other hand, I do know that the folks who went to Parma prayed a lot for Divine guidance. Thanks be to God!

        • George Michalopulos says

          I must agree with you Carl. When you have a rotten institition with inbred leadership, then all they have to do is just sit back and wait out any confrontation. So it wasn’t all that hard-fought at all.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            You cast a wide net. The national officers are nominated by the Metropolitan Council and hired by the Holy Synod. The Metropolitan Council membership is composed of folk selected at the AAC, as well as those elected by their diocesan assemblies. The folks whom you just called “inbred” are your fellow Orthodox who come from all corners of the Church. I still cannot figure out why you are lashing out so indiscriminately to all real or perceived critics of your beloved +Jonah.

            • Disgusted With It says

              Mr. Kraeff,

              Don’t forget, the Metropolitan Council members must be approved by their respective diocesan bishops. As we saw recently in Washington DC, if a bishop doesn’t like your sentiments you are not welcome to participate. Be honest, they all do that in one way or another. The bishops have ultimate control, and ultimate responsibility for this mess. No excuses.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                I think it is a good thing that they have the ultimate responsibility. That does not mean that they micro manage each diocesan or AAC-level election.

                • Disgusted With It says

                  “That does not mean that they micro manage each diocesan or AAC-level election.”

                  Really? Don’t be so sure of that.

        • I meant it was hard fought for Carl. He has admitted to extreme stress and passions in his efforts to defend the infallibility of the synod (and to help them sweep the offensive Jonah under the rug), enough that he had to step away for a while to tend to his own health. But he has returned and fights on. Don’t patronize us by claiming it was nothing: You work hard, Carl. Pat yourself on the back, take a breather, and then get back to work. The OCA needs you.

          Some have estimated the OCA currently has about 26,000 active members. My own estimate based on political dynamics is no more than 40,000, so I’m inclined to believe estimates in the 20-40,000 ballpark. With a steady loss of 2-10 percent a year, it is worth thinking about the reality that one of your kids or grandkids will be the last member of the OCA (assuming they stick with the religion in whatever form it takes and live as long as you). Hopefully that thought will inspire you in your work after the celebrations wind down.

          I don’t think this required much work from the synod. They have the church pared down to the kind of folks they are comfortable working with already.

          Apologies for missing a critical comma in my post above. I meant to say “No, congratulations to you, Carl.”

        • Disgusted With It says

          “…I do know that the folks who went to Parma prayed a lot for Divine guidance.”

          Yes. They got it and voted for Michael. The synod ignored it. So much for that brand of “Divine guidance”.

          • Let’s just say that sitting there in that council session as a delegate and seeing the almost total lack of support for +Jonah was very disheartening…

            Personally, I think that what we saw in the ballot numbers was a testament to effective damage control on the part of both Syosset, and the bishops putting pressure on their clergy to keep quite and keep their perishioners in the dark as to the matters surrounding +Jonah’s forced ‘voluntary’ resignation. It would seem that the vast majority of folks don’t have a clue as to what is really going on.

            They effectively controlled a one-way stream of information and propaganda.

            At a guess, delegations from Ohio and western Pennsylvania alone controlled at least half of the votes on the floor. With the diocese of the Midwest having its assembly meeting the day before the council, I’m sure that marching orders were issued.

            As for the DOS, our delegation was fairly small. Many of our parishes and missions could not afford to send delegates. Our parish could not afford it and our parish council had no funds to pay for the trip, so it came out of our own pockets. Many here could not afford to do that. That’s what happens when you have an AAC the previous November, a diocesean assembly in July, and another AAC in November again. The funds just don’t go that far. Thus, you get under representation from areas that can’t just do it in a day-trip.

            Notice there was no appeal made for struggling parishes in the lower 48 to send their delegations to the council.

            Lastly, I feel that there was not a truly concerted and organized effort to get the word out to the general parishioner level regarding the information that many of us here are aware of about how +Jonah has been treated. A few folks I talked to said that if everyone knew, there would have been a revolt at the council.

            Now we watch, pray, keep our eyes on Christ and figure out in what direction we must go next…

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Since you are from the DOS, I am sure that you have seen the following statement by the clergy of the Carolinas Deanery (which was well represented in Parma):


              • George Michalopulos says

                Yeah, I’m not so sure that they’re really happy about that now. Just sayin’…

              • Oh yes, we saw it here in Texas, and the response of most was “what a bunch of wimps…”

                Personally, I have been making note that the DOS web site, and its new Facebook page, have become nothing more than another Syosset parroting mouthpiece in the last year under the current chancellor, who is in the Carolinas. All of the recent news via both channels has been a regurgitation of Syosset’s babblings or Carolina and Florida stuff… Nothing from the western side of the diocese, where the see is located. They even stripped the nice new website interface off the site and put a boring blah interface up.

                I’m not sure what the agenda is that’s going on with that, but I don’t like what I’m seeing.

              • Also, if you have not yet read the letter that +Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, sent to +Tikhon, perhaps you should:


                The most relevant portion of which reads:

                I hope that through the efforts of Your Beatitude the American Church will restore full-fledged relations with other Local Orthodox Churches, restore peace and harmony within herself and make comfortable the further life of your predecessor at the Metropolitan See of Washington.

                Congratulations on the one hand, and a stern admonishment on the other. So much more clearly can it be put? Play nice with others, get your house in order, and take care of +Jonah fairly!

      • Pere LaChaise says

        THat’s a low rejoinder to Carl’s, unhelpful and unnecessary rhetoric that would not pass Hopko’s 3-fold test.
        There are realists and there are rigorists here on this list. Carl is of the former.
        Moscow will most certainly regard the AAC’s election of Tikhon as the OCA’s new primate as legitimate; there is no real controversy around the proceedings. It may take a while for the new Primate to prove his worthiness in their eyes so they will not be embarrassed by the OCA’s instability. But the damage of our infighting may eventualy be undone, vis a vis Moscow and the non-Greek-run Autocephalies
        All this does not diminish our collective sense of loss and sadness regarding the departure of our last Metropolitan Jonah. But he is not coming back to the see. We need to be vigilant but smart, and above all, decent to each other.

  5. The Council began with a fifty minute bon-bon from the Dalai Lama of Protopresbyters, followed by more of the same from Archbishop Popp. Parishes paid for fifty (50) minutes of Hopko at a one-day Council? Perhaps he assumes his words are priceless gems from Solomon’s mines.

    • When my car still had the old style tape player I listened to several of his lectures. Some more than once! Doesn’t mean he can’t be wrong, I think he’d be the first to admit that. Well many years have passed and people change but still I remember I learned a lot from those talks.

    • Hopko was PAID to speak?

      • No, Irene. Parishes were assessed for this Council; further, the travel and other expenses of their delegates were paid. What I meant, Irene, was that it’s amazing that what the parishes got for their assessments and other costs of sending delegates for ONE day, was 50 minutes of Hopko, looking earnest and straightforward. The sort of Priest who in MY humble opinion would be APT to defile the First Week of a Great Fast with a public encyclical, urbi et orbi, condemning the words of a former student of his, now a seasoned Archpriest and giving his own personal resounding Imprimatur to the utterances of Mark Stokoe. He would be prepared to condemn his brother Archpriest by going through the Office of Forgiveness on the eve of the letter’s dispatch.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Your Grace–Assuming that you are referring to Father Joseph Fester, have you forgotten the evil and meddlesome letter that he sent to the priests of the DOS? Father Fester may have been a seasoned Archpriest but his seasonings were bitter and poisonous.

          • Carl,

            It would seem that everything that Fr. Fester was warning others about came true. +Jonah was removed and the OCA has been taken in a totally new direction. You may not agree with how he said it, I certainly don’t either, but what he said was not false. So, it is time to stop blaming others, it is time for the new OCA to stand on its on two feet. Fr. Hopko was sorry for the way he said what he said to Fr. Fester but he was not sorry he said it. Two sides of the same coin. Both fighting for what they thought was best for the Church.

            Fr. Fester’s mistake was trusting and fighting for his bishop against a tide that showed its motivations by threatening +Jonah that either he got rid of Fester in DC or +Jonah would be removed. Well it looks like that succeeded on both fronts. Fr. Fester was an easy target, it took more time for +Jonah to be disposed of by the synod.

            Now it is up to them.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Great idea Nikos. Why don’t we give them some breathing room and revisit in a year or so?

              • Well, Carl, there is no breathing room any longer in the digital age. Accountability and transparency are immediate. Stokoe started it and this and other digital outlets should continue to put the metal to the petal. Remember, we are all accountable every minute of every day and breathing room, like trust is earned.

                I will give no quarter to decisions made for the sake expediency and self-preservation. True leaders lead with courage and without regard for their personal well-being. The OCA leadership continues to be in a time of testing and in a councilar Church they should expect it. Don’t you agree?

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  You are right about the digital age. The speed of communications leaves little time to reflect and exaggerates everything to the point where ordinarily thoughtful folks become caricatures–myself included. Something to ponder isn’t it?

                  • Yes, including +Jonah, the crazy. +Jonah the fat. +Jonah the unhealthy. +Jonah the loner. +Jonah the impossible. All nicely digitally crammed down the throats of the OCA until he became a caricature.

                    Now we have +Tikhon, the ????? Hopefully the peacemaker, the uniter, the compassionate, the leader. or +Tikhon the safe, +Tikhon the can’t make a decision, +Tikhon the weak, +Tikhon the easy to manipulate.

                    I think we will know pretty quickly where +Tikhon is by the decisions he and the synod make. Already it appears that +Mark (Maymon) will be the administrator for the Diocese of Eastern PA.

                    ALERT TO ALL EPA CLERGY- Change your email passwords daily.

        • Isn’t 50 minutes the tradtional time on a psychiatrists couch? For the koolaide drinkers among us, consider yourselves healed.



          B.T. wrote: “Parishes paid for fifty (50) minutes of Hopko at a one-day Council?”

        • Nick Katich says

          Bishop Tikhon: Parishes were assessed $2.26 per member. Can’t even get a can of beer for that.

          • No, parishes were not assessed, unless some diocese decided to do it that way. In fact the money that was to be returned from Syosset to the diocese for the “profit” from the 16th council was used for this one.

          • Nick,

            There was no assessment for the Parma Council. Are you mixing that amount with the Seattle Council?

            • As the Treasurer in my parish, I received a letter from the Midwest Diocese indicating that Syosett was assessing $2.26 per member for the AAC and that it was to be collected through the dioceses. Perhaps other dioceses had their amounts deducted from the 2011 rebate. The Midwest Diocesan Council several months ago decided to apply the rebate to a restricted fund in memory of Archbishop Job to assist seminarians. So, they decided to take in the whole rebate without dimunition and collect from the parishes the amount per member. Either way it works out to a $2.26 assessment per member.

        • Pere LaChaise says

          Your Grace,
          Exactly correct! By thus valorizing the retired Protopresbyter the current OCA is enshrining his vituperative style utterly. This indicates that the cold-hearted treatment of clergy will continue to be the norm.
          Let us all strive to behave in a Christ-like way to countervail the official meanness of an ecclesiastical tradition best relegated to history! We will be accounted for every word we utter and the context in which we speak. He knows the content of our hearts.

  6. ChristineFevronia says

    First, second and final ballot results announced:


  7. Light reveals the truth says

    No one I know has been able to receive live streaming coverage by Ancient Faith Radio, although it was previously announced that there would be coverage of the plenary session……What, if anything, happened???

  8. Charles Demetrios says

    It’s +Tikhon, everyone. +Michael got the most votes, with +Tikhon second. No surprise there, that they went back to making compromise choices between who they (the HS) wanted and who we (the laity and priests) wanted. Save, O Lord and have mercy on your servant +Tikhon and guide him as he shepherds Your Orthodox Church in America!

    • George Michalopulos says


      • In the ballot you mention, where the one not getting the most votes was chosen over the highest vote getter, was that ballot between just the two of them or were votes cast for others too on that ballot?

        Second, I take it to be a good thing that the two who did so well in the voting were not on the wrong end of the big troubles mentioned on this website. Certainly those most feared wouldn’t work out on this website so vocally were not favored. I think the fellow who won actually got called ‘a nice guy’– which for this website I think ranks above the Cherubim and Seraphim.

        So, basically, overall, it was a good day I think.

        • Charles Demetrios says


          There were votes cast for a multitude of candidates, including +JONAH, +HILARION (ROCA) and even a couple for +KYRILL (which induced audible chuckles on the podcast.) +MICHAEL and +TIKHON were the leading votegetters, and the HS made their decision between the two of them.

        • Harry Coin says:
          November 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm
          “I take it to be a good thing that the two who did so well in the voting were not on the wrong end of the big troubles”
          If there could be any “good thing” to come out of the election it could only be that.

        • Rereading the vote, the three names on the second ballot had 161 votes for Bp. Mel, the third highest vote getter. If 100 or more of those who voted for him could reasonably be thought to prefer Bp. Tikhon over the highest vote getter, then the synod did choose the overall most favored. Basically 38 to close the difference between the highest and second highest vote getter, then splitting the balance.

          • George Michalopulos says

            The whole thing was a sham Harry. As was reported here for the past three weeks, Tikhon was the least compromised legally. It was in the bag for him. The sheeple that showed up in Parma (and said nary a peep) were just window dressing.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              George–Calling my parish delegates “sheeple” is plain wrong, mean and ugly.

              • Disgusted With It says

                Mr. Kraeff,

                The fact is they were used to simply put on a show. For weeks prior to this “AAC” various bishops have been overheard at different times saying that they were going to select +Tikhon. It was a complete set-up — no need for the clergy and laity to waste their time traveling to vote. The announcement could have simply been communicated through email. Until people wake up and quit acting like they’re blind to it all, they will continue to be used. Our Church gains nothing by this kind of pathetic behaviour by our so-called leadership.

                • Disgusted too says

                  Sadly, I have to agree with Disgusted With It. A lot of money could have been saved and donated to hurricane relief or Thanksgiving baskets or something like that. Instead, people prayed deeply, voted, and made their voices heard….Bp. Michael. God spoke. Man heard, ignored and exercised their own will, electing the now Met. Tikhon. I went home and wept.

                  Now I will pray for His Beatitude. He said God has always helped him when it was needed. May it continue. He is a loving man, faithful and pious but with no backbone and weak administrative skills.

                  May God have mercy. Time will tell.

                  • Interesting, Disgusted, another Metropolitan with weak administrative skills. So, when does he have to go to St. Lukes to work on his administrative skills?

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  No! Process matters. Precedence matters. Parish delegates voting to nominate somebody matters. These things are not easily replaced.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Not really Carl. Ask Metropolitan Dmitri Royster.

                    • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

                      Yes,George,but then the DOS would not be what it is today had Vladyka Dmitri become primate in 1977.Plus that toxic culture which has reigned for far too long might have destroyed him as well.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Quite possibly so. I’ve often thought about that. Clearly Dmitri’s tenure was a success by every measure. We have that as Proposition A. Proposition B would therefore be “would his tenure as Metropolitan be a success as well?” Based on what we know about the deep institutional mediocrity of Syosset, we could say “no.” However, timeliness is a factor as well. When he was elected by the people to be Metropolitan, was the culture of Syosset as toxic then as it had become in the interim? That’s the key question.

                      Mind you, it’s all water under the bridge. The South got him and we got a viable diocese. Lord be praised!

                  • Carl, what about the non-cononical process they used to get to the robber council?

                    • Y’all say “non-canonical process” and “robber council” often enough and you may increase your votes to 20. Come on Father Deacon, let it rest. Let it be. Peace out. (Did I say that right? I had heard it from one of my grandchildren and thought it meant: be at peace; goodbye.)

                  • Carl. I do not care who was elected. I think it is foolish in our modern era that the number assembled had to be on location. It was also likely the Synod had the next guy soundly in mind.

                    I realize teleconferencing is not freefor that number, but if the Synod wanted to; they could have held a special elevation in a special way.

                    Can you imagine the flack they’d have got from anonymousville??

                    • I am of two minds about teleconferencing. On the one hand, it sure is convenient and much less expensive. On the other hand, a conference is more than its agenda. I think that it is important also to worship and fellowship together.

                    • Dan, if you don’t understand why someone would choose to remain anonymous in this discussion, watch this 20/20 special on Dharun Ravi (link).

                      One must chose one’s battles in life. Publicly opposing or even questioning the gay rights movement carries a heavy burden in today’s society. It risks one’s friendships, one’s employment, and now it increasingly exposes one to conviction for hate crimes (and a draconian sentence after conviction) both now and at any point in the future. I have a feeling you’ve never thought about how extreme things have gotten. In the case of NJ “bias intimidation” law, one does not even have to intend intimidation, the “victim” simply has to perceive it, and that’s it: up to 10 years on jail. Why would I give any ammunition to people who may hate me and certainly have the means to harm me?

                      If you are inside the OCA, there are additional reasons to withhold one’s name. Political expediency is not one of them. Self-preservation is by far the biggest reason. Thankfully I don’t have to worry about the OCA hurting me. I will never voluntarily have an association with such an abusive institution. But there are still dangers in society at large. My name, if you knew it, would be meaningless to you. I’ve shared every detail about myself that is meaningful and relevant to the discussions here. That’s all that matters.

                    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                      I agree about teleconferencing. I’m running a small business with two partners, one who is on the other side of US and other who is about 4-5 hours north of us. We Skype on a regular basis, but we learned quickly that we really do need to meet in person once in a while to push stuff along.

                    • I believe generally, boards of directors must have something written into the bylaws/statutes in order to conduct business by teleconference. I do not believe that the OCA statutes allow any such thing. (I would also note that the Bishops met by teleconference to receive +Jonah’s resignation – something, if not canonical may be illegal?? Then again, he was told they agreed unanimously to call for his resignation – either also done by illegal teleconference, or was really only the lesser Synod. But it got the job done, so who cares? /s )

                      So the OCA spent something in excess of $100,000 (travel and so on from all the dioceses, parishes) to provide air cover for the Synod. Let’s just skip it next time and use the money something that is actually Christian in nature.

            • Nick Katich says

              I’ve never been called a “sheeple” before although the Lord I believe referred to His faithful as sheep on more than one occasion. So, I guess it is tautological. Thanks for putting me (a lowley delegate) into the ranks of His sheep. On a more serious note, George, as you have achieved such notoriety and magnificant standing in the blogosphere — one of great renown, I might add — is there a reason your parish did not elect you as their delegate so you can go to Parma, save the Church and assume the mantle as Constantine Monomakhos X? I did not recall seeing you in Seattle either. Quo vadis if not to engage the enemy face to face, pray tell?

              • George Michalopulos says

                That was Constantine IX Monomachos, not X. Plus, I never asked to be a delegate to a council that was illegitimate. Once I hit my late forties I learned to take an honest bead on a battle. It became rather easy for me to see which battles were winnable and which was lost causes. The OCA’s deep institutional mediocrity was bound to win. Why? Because the forces arrayed against Jonah were intractable in their institutionalism. Plus it helps to not have a conscience, one you go against someone like that there’s no way you’re going to win.

                What did surprise me was the total obsequiousness of the delegates there. No wonder Bartholomew was able to impose a Greek-American bishop on ACROD with nary a peep. I mean, really, not one capable Carpatho-Russian priest? One? Can you imagine the howling that would have happened had the EP imposed a convert or a non-Greek on one of the GOA dioceses? The howling would last forever. No wonder the GOA has such contempt for Syosset. Well, if God grants me years, I’ll be saying “I told you” so when the OCA bishops are led in chains across the Bosphorus to grovel before the EP. What a shame.

                I guess the real reason I didn’t go was some wise priest gave me some words of advise. The late Metropolitan Anthony of San Francisco once said to him: “never get in the way of a man who wants to get closer to God; get out of his way if he is bound and determined to go to hell.”

                • Nick Katich says

                  George: I know the historical figure was Monamakos IX. I do study history. I was suggesting that you could have assumed the mantle of the Xth (10th in Arabic script). OK, you did not want to be a delegate to an illegitimate council. I can accept that. Why were you not a delegate in Seattle? You never claimed that it was illigitimate.

                  You say, ” Once I hit my late forties I learned to take an honest bead on a battle. It became rather easy for me to see which battles were winnable and which was lost causes.” Fair enough. Then why take on the moniker “One who fights alone”? (Monomakhos). Why not take on the moniker, one who fights sometimes? I don’t know enought Greek to come up with the moniker.

                  You say: “What did surprise me was the total obsequiousness of the delegates there.” Why make that assumption? I was there. You were not. Why not say, just as plausibly, “What surprised me was the total support of the Sobor and the delegates’ support of the actions of the Synod over the past two years”?

                  I guess your surprise is that the delegates almost unanimously did not share your view these past two years. Perhaps you are not preaching to the choir but the lowley mice, a handful in number, behind the baseboards. Consider that please. Will you?

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Regarding X, I stand corrected. My job situation did not allow me to go to Seattle. It is very difficult for me to get a vacation –I have to submit six different weeks a year ahead of time and there’s no guarantee I’ll get any of them. (I did get Holy Week off in 2012 plus the AHEPA convention in Vegas where my younger son ascended the cursus honorum) but it’s with only great difficulty. As for 2011, I tried to get two weeks off back-to-back so I could take my sons to Great Britain for their Christmas, birthday, graduation presents all rolled into one. I haven’t had two consecutive weeks off since 2000, it took almost an act of Congress. So Seattle was a bust for me.

                    Plus, I’d been burned before. I was a C/L delegate for 2002 in LA. What a charade.

                    Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t give up Britain for Seattle.

                    As for “total support” I rather doubt it. I heard a lot of coughing, no shouts of “hear! hear!” I called them sheep. I apologize, sheep at least bleat.

                    • Were You There? says

                      Dear Nick Katich and George Mihalopulos:

                      First, popularity is gained more easily with silence than speaking or acting bravely. A lot of people have been hedging their bets rather than speaking loudly, And some of us who were brave enough to go to the Parma conference and also brave enough to use our precious resources to go and pay for transportation, food and hotel, not as delegates, but as witnessers or as protesters or both, were very disappointed that there were few among any given group.

                      Some groups overlapped and we did connect with one another although there were a few periods of time in which communication was lost. We missed George’s participation, anticipated, and the expected attendance of others. Some of us don’t use cellphones and suchlike but some of us do and some of you guyus here had our cellphone numbers.

                      A lot of people agreed to attend the initial Vespers because the voting aspects of the council had not yet begun. We felt that praying for God’s will to be done was important and we gelt that if our OCA was to fall, and if our Metropolitan was to be replaced, that it would be important to witness at least the start of this. We disagreed on whether or not to attend the liturgy. We all agreed that any loud or disruptive protest was inappropriate in a church of God and that the space should be reserved only for prayer. We came, we went, we participated, we prayed. Some of us kissed icons and relics. What I personally noticed was only a few things:

                      1. Among those who recognized me, some greeted me and some did not. “HI, I didn’t expect to see you here” and that kind of thing.

                      2. Among the talk I heard around me, there were three groups:
                      – Those who wanted a certain group of “our”, i.e. “their”, people in power
                      – Those who were embarrassed, wanted the lesser of two evils and looked a little sick to their stomachs. Among some I knew, I would say some fit the category of “I don’t really want to know about that” and “There must be something to why we’re here”

                      3. During Father Garklav’s speech (It wasn’t a sermon as it had no perceptible point) into the microphone, he managed to mention a lot of north American saints, mentioned VeryRev. Professor , said something about the troubled times or similar that we are in, and curiously einded with a Where’s Waldo moment by mentioning Mother Maria Skobtsova and suggesting we find her, pre canonization, on the walls of nave.

                      4. The choir was spotty and the conductor, David Drillock, held a rehearsal for the liturgy immediately following the service.

                      5. There appeared to be two clerics or monastics to each layperson.

                      6. The parking lot was not full and our particular group arrived just as the Vespers had begun.

                      7. After the service, members of the Holy Synod lined one side of the pronaos.

                      8. During the service, some people and clergy only selectively crossed themselves. There was some looking at the floor by monastics during the speech.

                      9. There was a good display of materials on saving Alaskan church heritage at one of the hotels.

                      10. Evidently, some of the protest sign people split up between the two hotels to show signs in lobbies with the permission of desk people at those hotels but I did not hear too extensively on this.

                      No one here has reported on the discussion during the sessions of the AAC. Did anyone speak up in any way concerning candidates? Why wasn’t this live streamed as expected by the online radio? What was the atmosphere and the level of congeniality of the sessions? How joyous and celebratory were laity and clergy during these proceedings. Why was there a last minute assessment of $44,000 for this one day event without a discussion on the oca.org? Was there no further discussion of the next and necessary synod to discuss the empty dioceses, the health of Archbishop Nikon and the state of Syosset after the storm? Of anything else? What was the mood of the monastics? The seminarians? Were there different discussions of different diocesan needs? A discussion on falling membership?

                      Without live streaming of either church services except sermons or any of the sessions, this council seems very secretive.

                      At the hotels, there was drinking by clergy going on which kind of shocked me personally because of the importance of what was about to happen and the preparation necessary to think about having the Holy Spirit work on someone hungover.

                      One of the protest sign group asked the security people manning cones and barriers and suchlike where we were allowed to protest. The answer was that they had to wait until a permit was acquired even though they had called in advance and been told no permit was needed. The permit was acquired the next day and only a small group could stand on public property, not church property and only a sign with a picture of the Metropolitan was allowed. And only, as I understand it, during a small window of time when they were unsure any delegates or clergy would see them. They bravely stood in freeing weather on the open spot. I was told that they emailed a photo of themselves to someone here, maybe you George? While they stood, they sang an Akathist and prayed for the holy Synod, for the Metropolitan and for the survival of the Metropolitan’s sister Laurie in addition to asking that God’s will be done.

                      Another group, of which I was a member, sang continuous Small Paraklesis services. We did not attend the liturgy after we found out that protest could not be conducted by anyone except outside on the public property. None of my group had delegate status and actually were somewhat fearful of gaining the same, for delegate status would have made us complicit with the council unless we had abstained from voting or voted for Jonah. But voting for Jonah was also seen as problematic because any voting at all would be to say that this unique setup was a valid council. And two among us had had the right to represent their churches denied them according to the voting in their parishes. A vetted electorate is not a free electorate.

                      I would like to hear from those present about the proceedings of the council itself besides normal procedurals.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      So in your opinion, I guess you could say that a glad time was not had by all?

                    • Response to “Were you there?” since no one seems to have answered:

                      No one here has reported on the discussion during the sessions of the AAC. Did anyone speak up in any way concerning candidates? Why wasn’t this live streamed as expected by the online radio? What was the atmosphere and the level of congeniality of the sessions? How joyous and celebratory were laity and clergy during these proceedings. Why was there a last minute assessment of $44,000 for this one day event without a discussion on the oca.org? Was there no further discussion of the next and necessary synod to discuss the empty dioceses, the health of Archbishop Nikon and the state of Syosset after the storm? Of anything else? What was the mood of the monastics? The seminarians? Were there different discussions of different diocesan needs? A discussion on falling membership?

                      To answer several of this questions at once: There were no discussions. The only order of business was the election. There were some procedural motions (as per the agenda as published in the delegate handbook, readily available on OCA.org), then Abp. Nathanial spoke for a bit (available on AFR), then we went to the first ballot. Everyone filled out the ballots, they were collected, we sang an akathist while they were counted. The results were announced (audio available on AFR), the second ballot was handed out and collected. While the second round of counting proceeded the session broke for a while and people took a break, came back and sang a second akathist. Then the results were announced (also available on AFR). The Synod retired to the altar. Then they came out and Abp. Nathanial announced Bp. Tikhon’s election (also available on AFR). Then the vesting. That was the whole thing. What’s on AFR is the entire substantive part of the council. No other discussions, comments, nothing … as the Met. Tikhon commented at dinner, it was two 5-minute pieces of business, interspersed with prayer.

                      The mood was content, peaceful, prayerful … before, during, and after the election. It was a less charged and less emotional atmosphere than 2008, but I think everyone felt somewhat chastened by how that had worked out and now were happy to be more sober.

                      Most of your questions presume that this was a normal council — it was an extraordinary council, with one item on the agenda.

                      I’ll comment on one other item in your post — Yes, some priests were hanging out together at the hotel bar/restaurant (can’t speak for the other hotel). Remember that for most being a parish priest is a quite isolated vocation — these meetings are an opportunity to see old friends, to be together with fellow clergy, to catch up and to socialize a bit. That’s not the purpose of the gatherings, but it’s a very healthy and happy side effect. Do you really begrudge our clergy some human interaction with their peers?

                    • George Michalopulos says


                    • did anybody else catch this???

                      “And two among us had had the right to represent their churches denied them according to the voting in their parishes”

                      who were these people and what were their supposed “crimes”?!?!?!?!?

                • Tymofiy Hawrysh says

                  Metropolitan Anthony of San Francisco really understood human souls. Lol

                • Bruce Wm. Trakas says

                  George, ACROD sources have asserted that it was their Consistory that asked for Fr. Gregorios, who I know from a friend of his, is quite capable. The ACROD priests also had the opportunity to take issue with the Consistory’s recommendation, and/or nominate another choice. Instead, the priests supported Fr. Gregorios’ nomination.

                  They have also reported that Patriarch Bartholomew questioned the appointment and indicated his preference for the nomination of a Slav, but was convinced by ACROD and GOAA representatives that Fr. Gregorios was the most appropriate nominee.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Bp Gregory may very well be the best man possible. That was not my point. You in fact have buttressed my point, which is that the Carpatho-Russians were spiritually bereft of capable men from their ethnicity and that they were pliant to a man from another culture. This same type of passivity was on display at the Robber Council. Is there a common denominator? I believe there is.

                    • Thomas Paine says

                      No Robber Council except in your own mind. The Carps have let the Greeks trounce all over them; dummies. The OCA chose + Tikhon because he was the best choice. Sure, he was a convert, but he has proven to be a good representative of a true Orthodox monastic and bishop.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Does breaking the law and the commandments (especially the 9th) constitute being a “true Orthodox monastic” in your view?

                    • justagoodoleboy says


                      Funny about the Carps, I thought the same thing about the OCA Bulgarians.

                    • George,

                      Only after several ACROD candidates from within the diocese were interviewed and their potential candidacies were found to be lacking in one area or another, only then did the ACROD ask Archbishop Demetrios if he had any possible candidates. He then suggested Archimandrite Gregory.

                      I know that one potential candidate who fulfilled all the requirements from the ACROD when asked to consider being nominated he said he did not have the temperament to be a bishop. It was based on that type of honest inspection both introspection by individuals and from the Consistory that the process went forward in a systematic and professional manner.

                      Even before he was nominated the ACROD clergy and faithful has several chances to meet Archimandrite Gregory, question him, sometimes with very direct questions and to hear his answers. All in all, I think his process from candidate, to nominee, to election was conducted with great Christian care and respect. I think that at any time there was serious doubts about him, the ACROD would have pulled his name and considered another. He was nominated by a 64-16 vote and his name went to Constantinople for election.

                      Now the ACROD is preparing for his consecration in Johnstown, PA a week from Tuesday and he will begin his new life as her bishop. May God grant him many years of fruitful service to his new diocese and to the Lord.

                    • No No No

                      as i said before–there were maybe 3 possibilities from the Carpatho Russians, as most are still married–One said he didnt want it–I do not know about the other two

                      2. The Carpathos OVERWHELMINGLY elected Bishop Gregory

                      3..HE IS ORTHODOX–ENOUGH SAID–xenophobia is not permitted for true Christians!!!!

                    • Fr Jonathan Tobias says

                      Over this long year and a half since the repose of our beloved hierarch, +Metropolitan Nicholas, we “carps” have prayed for his soul, and the diocese for which he lived and died.

                      During that time, I’ve been dismayed at times by the startling bad taste that has been on display on not a few occasions. On public sites like this one, even, there have been statements that appear to be predicated upon either a superior perspective, or even knowledge of events that surpass those who have been participants in the process.

                      For example: the individual who writes under the nom de guerre “ACROD” (who, I think, is a friend of mine), was a direct participant in the process, as was I. The writer “ACROD” gently and firmly described the process (as I have in other venues) — still, and despite this genial openness, we are told that we are “spiritually bereft of capable men from our own ethnicity” on one hand; and on the other hand, we “Carps” are said to be “selling our souls to the Greeks.”

                      Where is the courtesy here? And if not that, at least a business-like secular civility?

                      Have we become so cynical that we are now extrapolating our Robber Council education onto other people, about whom we know very little? Have we become so disappointed, and so often, that we can no longer recognize the possibility of goodness and truth in church administration?

                      Or … have we been beaten up so much by synods, players and councils that we’ve taking to beating up on others? Is it not true that the meek and the downtrodden — those who suffer the slings and arrows of the higher-ups — should act and speak according to a higher order? Salt and Light?

                      What have we Carps done to you to deserve your dyspeptic cynicism?

                      There comes a time when our conversation becomes so bitter and cold that it may be worthwhile not to talk any longer.

                      You go your way and pray. We Carps will happily go off and sing Mnohaja i Blahaja L’ita, after Axios.

                      And we will survive and thrive, by God’s grace.

                      I have no such hope for those who live by dint of analysis and bile.

                • Thomas Paine says


                  This is an opportunity for the Carps to get monies from the Greeks to exist. No more “steel-towns;” no more “coal towns;” manufacturing is down and Johnstown is in debt and dying. So, the Carps are selling their souls to the Greeks who they’ve made a cozy bed with since the 1930’s. It’s still a shame that in a few years, there will be no more ACROD.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Interesting perspective. You may be right. I would be leery about being triumphalist however. It’s possible that the OCA will implode before ACROD.

                  • Actually, the ACROD is on very sound financial footing. Metropolitan Nicholas of thrice-blessed memory was very generous to his diocese and the Diocese also sold mineral rights under some of its property in Pennsylvania for nearly $800,000 plus 15% of the gas sales annually.

                    The ACROD does not need money and is in much better financial shape than the OCA.

                    Thomas, I think you need to get your facts straight before insinuating that the ACROD is in some way beholden to the Greek Archdiocese. Our cordial relations with Greek Archdiocese is one of mutual respect. I am sure that it would be something that at this time the OCA would desire greatly.

                    Your comments were very ignorant and uncharitable and you should take the opportunity to apologize. As a proud Carpatho-Russian we can call each other “Carps” but unless you are one and in the context that you used that term in your comments, I would suggest that you more respect for your fellow travelers.

                    • Archpreiest John Morris says

                      It is really no one’s business except for members of the Carpartho-Russian Diocese who is chosen to be their Bishop or how.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    Mr. Paine:

                    I have refrained from talking to you because you are obviously a rabble-rouser and an internet troll that has appeared several times on this board. Most recently, I believe, as “Phil r up.” I hope you understand that what you are spewing out clearly shows you understand little about Orthodox Christianity and you obviously care very little, if at all, about the Gospel or even just basic decency.

                    The amount of racisim and ethnic hatred that I have seen from you and the likes of you towards Carpatho-Russians, Greeks, Syrians and Lebanese is truly astonding. I have also seen any and all criticism of Russians or their compatriots put down are ignorant and wrong-headed. Very interesting and troubling double-standard.

                    As conspiracies, ethnic hatred, supposed intrigue take their course in your mind and on this board, please be aware of a few things. We may not know your name, but GOD does. You insult and disgrace Him, not any of us. Also, you disgrace yourself and cause great injury to your very soul. No agenda is worth destroying your soul and your relationship with GOD. Finally, people that talk and think like you have truly made the world the way it is today. No love, no understanding, no compassion. Alot of talk but very little to no wisdon behind their words.

                    I truly hope and pray that you keep your racism and ethnic hatred to yourself and that you spare the rest of us your rants that are neither well informed nor welcomed.

                    I bid you peace and hope that you truly look into yourself and start to see what GOD sees, and if He sees the same as we do then you have alot of work ahead of you in regards to the maintenance of your soul.


            • George, you wrote the whole thing is a sham, pre-planned, in the bag and so on— in an article you published giving ‘the white hat’ to ‘bishop Mel’, right? So it wasn’t so pre-planned as you thought.

              Moreover, those outside the OCA favored here got almost no votes, and Met. Jonah also got statistically very minor votes.

              On the other hand, some seriously favored folk for ‘the ‘big hat’, who according to this website would not be at all models for high leadership, whose problems were ventilated and discussed and otherwise bruted about high, wide and consecutive here — also got very few votes.

              So there was / is something about the approach used by the folk here. This website appears to have done well in helping to prevent one who would likely expose the whole church to big problems in short order from doing so. It has not done well in promoting any one person’s cause.

              The extent to which all the above is correct I’m sure is a matter for debate. My own analysis is that assertions of misdoing people can check, indirectly or directly, even if posted by mostly anonymous persons here appears to have an effect. However, the same format has not done at all well for championing or promoting those felt to be likely to do well.

              A couple lessons there, I think.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Harry, about three days before the Robber Council, I got some inside scoop that it was going to be Mel. The reason is that the STS thing took down Bp Michael but was also stinging Bp Tikhon. I went with it even thought I was told by other sources that it was going to be Tikhon.

                • That STS thing you mention has me mighty worried, I’ll give you that. I’ve seen nothing but the ‘smoke’ written of in public. Yet, the parallels there to Sandusky / Paterno / Penn State (if true) makes the most feeble comparison suggested by the relevant OCA committee re: met jonah seems so very weak — less than a tea kettle to the Old Faithful Geyser.

                  Can you imagine if some folk came forward and said ‘These were trolling the youth of an evening, and the leadership did nothing’???

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    Harry–I am surprised that you jump at every little bit of intrigue and speculation. This “STS” thing is based on accusations made by the Sons of Job–one or more nameless and spineless persons with an axe to grind. For all we know, this blog, the Kalvesmaki essays, Christine’s timeline, they are all part of a campaign to support +Jonah. Too bad that they felt the way to support one man was to destroy his real or perceived enemies. You do not have to give in to their intrigue.

                    • ChristineFevronia says

                      Dear brother Carl,

                      I would love to engage in conversation about how I have attempted to destroy Metropolitan Jonah’s enemies, and was hopeful we could talk on the phone about this so you can point me to where I have done so. I tried with all my might to stick to the facts and primary documents, and I welcome your correction in doing something so uncharitable. My email is: christinefevronia2012@gmail.com, and I’d love to set up a time when I can call you to discuss. Many thanks.

                    • Christine–As you may have read in my reply to Harry Coin, I do not blame you for trying to destroy +Jonah’s enemies. I think that you and Joel made a good defense of +Jonah and it is not your fault that others used your defense for their nefarious ends.

                    • Carl, can you document for me where Kalvesmaki was wrong?

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Colette–I had toyed with developing a critique of Professor K’s essays but I have been very busy and/or under the weather. I will tell you this though, one thing that impressed me very much was his approach. With that enigmatic statement, I quit for the night.

                  • Carl, As you know this isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve ignored boatloads of innuendo and invitations to conclusions that seemed to be what was said…. but was not implied if one read carefully.

                    I am not quick to write off everyone who is upset on the basis they are using the present situation as a proxy for other issues, other ‘axes to grind’. Some people have been injured by those in positions of church trust. We read in the Gospel itself in metaphor warnings about predatory / false church leaders, and others who become overwhelmed by one passion or another and in that moment or stretch of hours generate victims. Those folk, those victims have no idea who to trust. Shall we simply write them off as having ‘axes to grind’? There is no simple way to tell them apart from others who simply wish to gain decision making authority themselves and in that effort say or do whatnot in a way that is not sincere so as to gain supporters with no real dedication or memory later on as to what was said to earn support.

                    Not to be forgotten also are the metaphorical instructions to reach out to disaffected and determine what’s what so that if there is something there that can be improved and it leads to growth then everyone is better off.

                    Anyhow a person who has been abused by those in positions of trust, and seen that those abusers themselves face no correction— For those folk to come forward is really quite a brave act. Who will believe them? So long ago, and so on. If a few of them come together they might prevent one from gaining more power who enabled their abuse, and so protect others. How legal ambulance chasers have made it somehow fair for parishioners with no say to cause their donations to be diverted toward paying damages instead of looking only to the resources of the abuser for compensation I don’t know.

                    In my little world (unpopular though this will be on this website) I put anyone who uses their name, whether or not I agree with their thoughts and without regard to what they think of me, in a league above all anonymous authors. So I can’t write off Joel Kalvesmaki or Christine as they’ve created a serious researched challenge to the official timeline and documented it. It won’t do to shoot them, they’ve created careful work that either is or isn’t of merit. Shooting the messenger is never a good thing.

                    Do both engage in ‘narrative’ (the omitting of that which does not help the agenda)? I don’t know. But they’ve well and truly poked a few major holes in the story they don’t like.

                    Carl, in some ways you know fair’s fair. Jonah supported a boozy priest for a while then when it became clearly untenable sent him on his way. Other bishops we read of here and on Pokrov have managed clergy who’ve done greater damage (serial gay affairs) and so forth who remain priests and bishops. Really? We like the people we like, and the rules apply 10000000 x to the ones we don’t. That’s how this appears to work. Jonah is out, they are not. The defacto operating standard is the church is looking to the morality of the civil authority’s laws and where it says ‘no further’ they act. Not so impressive.

                    All of Jonah’s other offenses were of style and policy disagreements. Whether to move the HQ out of a little town and into Washington DC, whether this or that staff member was working out. Of course there’s the big ‘who knows’ regarding rehab, for what? We see other bishops alleged to drink booze to excess though the conditions for being a bishop are that can’t happen, yet it does and ho-hum.

                    Anyhow, my sense is that there might be some truth to the overlooking of boozed gay clergy trolling seminary halls because of the affair at Holy Cross Seminary early in the Spyridon years. I myself saw the ferocity of that coverup. What made it stop was the clergy there who stood up against it come what may. And it almost cost them their careers and reputations. From the forcing out of the previous two Mets I think a reasonable person might suppose that any who came forward with complaints of that kind of misdoing were told to shut up and get used to it, told the abuser would be warned to pass by their room in future, or ship out.

                    As you write— “Destroying one’s enemies” … if that means causing those who fail the requirements relative to moral personal conduct necessary to keep that job or be elevated then such destruction is construction for church growth and for them as well (since their own challenges appear more than enough to be getting along with nevermind the temptations of power).

                    When ‘destroying one’s enemies’ leaves the realms of truth and goes into slander campaigns, putting just that little twist on a situation to ruin by casting in a false light, then I’m with you 100%.

                    • II simply think that it was not necessary to attack others in order to support +Jonah. In this regard, I agree with you that Christine’s and Joel’s contributions were the right way to defend +Jonah. Throwing mud at the Holy Synod, bishops and priests by name, and even some lay persons, was the wrong way to defend +Jonah. I also think that voicing concern about possible homosexual and feminist takeover of the Orthodox Church could have been done with more restraint and certainly not tied to the defense of +Jonah. In a way, what they did was to try to destroy the OCA in order to save her for +Jonah.

      • Anxiously awaiting a calm, truthful narrative about what this means. PLEASE.

        Ivanov the Irrelevant

        • What it means to me is that the only thing that will change is the bishop who will wear “the white hat.”

    • Anaxios!!!

    • I don’t think it really matters who was elected as long as the “old guard” is still in place and in power.

      • Disgusted With It says

        True. And I’m curious — have they scheduled the next election yet? After all, it would be helpful for the host community to have at least a year or two to plan for it.

        That is, of course, unless he’s a GOOD metropolitan who just speaks when spoken to and takes his orders well.

    • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

      Axios! Metropolitan Tikhon as Bishop and Archbishop has been very generous with time and support for campus ministries, and in my personal experience I’ve found his visits to our area to be a real blessing and him to be a good bishop, not that I’m worthy to judge or that my view is important. He gave a beautiful and moving account of the parable of the Good Samaritan here at a Liturgy on his way to Parma just a couple days ago. We should wish him well and pray for him, while also remembering former Metropolitan Jonah’s need for a just arrangement for his future, which hopefully Metropolitan Tikhon will help speed, hopeful that Metropolitan Jonah’s work on behalf of Orthodox Christianity in the public sphere will be continued by him in a new role, and will also serve as an inspiration for the OCA’s new Metropolitan. Eis polla eti Despota! “Save, O Lord and have mercy on your servant +Tikhon and guide him as he shepherds Your Orthodox Church in America!”

    • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

      Axios! Metropolitan Tikhon as Bishop and Archbishop has been very generous with time and support for campus ministries, and in my personal experience I’ve found his visits to our area to be a real blessing and him to be a good bishop, not that I’m worthy to judge or that my view is important. He gave a beautiful and moving account of the parable of the Good Samaritan here at a Liturgy on his way to Parma just a couple days ago, and spent a lot of time talking helpfully with students. We should wish him well and pray for him, that he may uphold Orthodoxy in the OCA, while remembering former Metropolitan Jonah’s need for a just arrangement for his future, which hopefully Metropolitan Tikhon will help speed. May former Metropolitan Jonah’s important work on behalf of American Orthodox Christianity both in the public sphere and in pastoral ministry continue in a new role, while inspiring the OCA’s new Metropolitan to offer spiritual leadership to our damaged culture. Eis polla eti Despota! “Save, O Lord and have mercy on your servant +Tikhon and guide him as he shepherds Your Orthodox Church in America!”

      • M. Stankovich says

        Prof. Siewers,

        What a truly inspiring and hopeful message yours is.

        • It’s too bad you will be unable to support this new Metropolitan, Michael.

          You led me to believe being overweight was a canonical impediment to the primacy. Apparently the rest of the OCA and your synod disagree with you on this theological matter.

      • Was not +Tikhon one of the troika that met on July 5th and decided to request Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation?

    • Is it not possible that when the Synod was in the Altar, that Bishop Michael declined?

      • He did not. The vote went forward and Tikhon won. And, that’s all she wrote!

        • And you know this how?

          • The Parma iconostasis is a very open one. You could see the bishops go back and begin to vest. The decision was made before they ever entered the altar area. There was no delay, no conference. It was done before it began

            • Nick Katich says

              Wrong “a delegate”. I was at the right front by the AFR table. I had a totally clear view. There was a large chalice on the altar table. Each bishop by seniority went to the table and wrote a name on a piece of paper and put it into the chalice while the others were standing along the east wall talking or putting their mantijas on. After each voted, one of the deacons collated the ballots with Archbishop Nathaniel standing there. Archbishop Nathaniel then showed the ballots to the rest. You are right that there was no “conference” per se. However, there was a secret ballot. This I witnessed.

    • The limp luke-warm dead on arrival solution-Tikhon. What total BS!

      • I don’t know anything about him. I just know some part of me feels cheated.

        I feel cheated by the loss of Metropolitan Jonah by a synod of supposed brothers a number of whom on a personal level were of insufficient character to be worthy to take off his shoes.

        I feel cheated that the Holy Synod put up a stonewall of silence in the face of the outpouring of concern over their treatment of Met. Jonah, and the “official” stories, proven lies, that they never corrected or apologized for.

        I feel cheated that there was no outpouring of outrage against the Holy Synod over what they had done to bring us to this place. That so many seemed to be willing just to walk by the man in the ditch with barely a glance.

        I suppose at some level I wanted to see them punished, I wanted some measure of vengeance in retaliation for their cruelty…for what seemed from my vantage point a caviler unchristianity while daring to vest as clergy of Christ’s Church. Doubtless Christ’s admonition to his own disciples, you know not what spirit ye are of when they wanted to call fire down out of heaven on an unbelieving village applies to me as well.

        Frankly, I still hope in the coming weeks, and months some serious punning will accomplished among our synod and administrators. It is hard to keep from feeling bitter there was little if any in the way of protest/confrontation with the Bishops…but that goes back to the spirit thing…so I wont be asking for any displays of divine pyrotechnics.

        I know priests I trust who do like the new Met. Tikon. He may indeed be a good and honorable man…the best choice out of the candidates available. But I also know those who consider him too easily manipulatable for all this outward “niceness”. May God grant him the courage and power of a bear robbed of her cubs against those who despoil Christ’s church by political power games, the insinuations of moral corruption, and doing evil under the color of episcopal and priestly authority.

        Whether or not he gets my personal axios or anaxios…not that either matter depends on about three things; how the OCA treats His Beatitude, Met. Jonah, how he deals with the power grabbing culture and organization of Syosset, and whether or not those persons who actively plotted against and lied about Met. Jonah in order to drive him from office are dealt with in a manner suitable to their deeds.

        If little or nothing changes. If all the misdeeds of the past couple of years are just papered over…then I shall quietly await my diocese (or parish) (or both) to petition the MP to receive us out of the OCA. In the meantime, I’ll hope a good bishop is chosen soon for the DoS, and that our parish life will continue and grow as per normal without the notice and interference of those who presently hold the reigns of power in the OCA.

        • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

          Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!
          “If all the misdeeds of the past couple of years are just papered over,” this indeed would be tragic. The OCA remains on the edge of a knife, to use Galadriel’s phrase. Forgiveness with repentance is Orthodox, papering over more like “Christian Science” or Norman-Vincent- Peale positive thinking. To assume perpetuation of the OCA as an organizational “brand” forever pridefully identifies one small jurisdiction in a land of non-canonical overlapping Synods, its “innovative” governance system and declining demographics and history of scandalous doings, necessarily with Christ’s universal and apostolic Church as a whole in perpetuity. We all need to tread humbly, do justly, love mercy, and repent. As the Prophet Micah said, “What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Doing justly indeed is part of the mix.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Dear Seraphim–I do not see any possibility that the DOS will ever petition to join ROCOR/ROC. It may be that your parish may do so, but that would amount to a schismatic act, one which would be as bad as anything you imagine the OCA has done. If you reread your own post, you will see that your complaints center on one person–Metropolitan Jonah. I doubt that any Orthodox Church would be eager to accept a person or a parish that went into schism over one person.

          • Schismatic? How so?

            • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

              Glory to Jesus Christ Glory forever!
              By Mr. Kraeff’s elastic definition of schismatic, it sounds as if the OCA itself would need to be called ontologically schismatic–by not having gotten the approval of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and other local churches for its autocephaly, when it was/is only one of several overlapping jurisdictions in the same territory, deciding to strike out independently. I would argue that labeling the OCA schismatic is going too far, just as it is to label a person or parish schismatic for going from one jurisdiction to another in a land of non-canonical overlapping jurisdictions. That could as easily be called unifying.
              Meanwhile, please pray for me a sinner,
              Alf Kentigern Siewers

            • Carl Kraeff says

              A schism is a division between people, usually belonging to an organization or movement religious denomination. The word is most frequently applied to a break of communion between two sections of Christianity that were previously a single body, or to a division within some other religion. It is also used of a split within a non-religious organization or movement or, more broadly, of a separation between two or more people, be it brothers, friends, lovers, etc.

              A schismatic is a person who creates or incites schism in an organization or who is a member of a splinter group. Schismatic as an adjective means pertaining to a schism or schisms, or to those ideas, policies, etc. that are thought to lead towards or promote schism.

              In religion, the charge of schism is distinguished from that of heresy, since the offence of schism concerns not differences of belief or doctrine but promotion of, or the state of, division, but schisms frequently involve mutual accusations of heresy.


              • George Michalopulos says

                Good question. In ECUSA’s slide into apostasy, who were the schismatics? The traditionalists or the moderninsts?

                • The Anglican/ECUSA problems are attributable to the fact that they were all schismatics by origin and nature, and schism begets schism. Neither the Anglicans nor the ECUSA are concerned solely with faithfulness to Apostolic Tradition and maintaining the purity of the Apostolic faith.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    That’s your opinion Jason. Using your argument the OCA is considered schismatic by the GOA.

                    • Not at all, George. The GOA recognizes the OCA as part of the Church, the GOA and OCA are in communion with each other, and all local Orthodox churches recognize both the OCA and the GOA as belonging to the same body and the same communion. It is only the “autocephalous” status of the OCA that is disputed by the GOA and others. The Anglican Communion has never been in communion with the Orthodox Church and has never been recognized as part of the same Church. Rather, the Anglican Communion came about as an attempted compromise between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. Schism and apostasy/heresy are two sides to the same coin. So, to ask “who are the schismatics” regarding the ECUSA and the Anglican Communion is a strange question from an Orthodox standpoint, since the Anglican Communion and the ECUSA were schismatic from the very beginning.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      It is a strange question from an Orthodox perspective but it is a valid question nonetheless. Who are the schismatics? The Wiccans who control the real estate or the disgruntled Christians who left?

                  • So if the Anglican problem is explained by schism, how do you explain the OCA’s problems? Specifically how does a non-schismatic church concerned with the purity of the Apostolic faith abuse its own primate the way you abused Jonah?

                    Also, take some time to consider Anglicanism outside the West, which is where 2/3 of Anglicans live (and often thrive) today. The Church of Nigeria alone has 18 million members and is growing in the face of violent persecution from Muslim groups. Also the Episcopal Church of Sudan, with it’s 4.5 million members is growing in the face of unthinkable hardship and violent oppression. The Episcopal Church in the US is actually NOT in communion with these churches because of its heresies and hard-heartedness toward other Christians. The Episcopal Church with its 600,000 communicants is 10-20 times the size of the OCA, but it is an insignificant blip on the screen of global Anglicanism, much like the OCA is irrelevant to global Orthodoxy.

                    • Tymofiy Hawrysh says

                      Being small is real:

                      As for man, his days are like grass;
                      As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
                      For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
                      And its place remembers it no more.[a]
                      But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
                      On those who fear Him,
                      And His righteousness to children’s children,
                      To such as keep His covenant,
                      And to those who remember His commandments to do them.

                      Psalm 103:15-16

                      The questions are: Are we personally being faithful to the Lord when we choose our words? Are we contributing to the solution?

                    • Archpreiest John Morris says

                      Anglicanism is Protestant to the core. It has a few “Catholic” trappings, but the basic attitude is Protestant. Besides that there is no such thing as Anglicanism. There are Anglicanisms because there is no core common doctrine among Anglicans and never really has been. It was begun deliberately as a compromise with vague doctrinal statements that can be interpreted many different ways. Indeed, Anglicans pride themselves in their comprehensiveness. What is new is that one faction, the radical feminists, has captured control over the Episcopal Church and in a very un-Anglican manner has begun to force its views on the rest of the Episcopal Church. Continuing Anglicans are not much better because they have turned to a very Protestant view of the Church and have even allowed Calvinism to gain a following among its members. I have found that they are very threatened by Orthodoxy because they have already lost so many people to the Orthodox Church. They love us if we are foreign and exotic, and are too ethnic to attract converts, but are afraid of us if we speak English and refuse to keep ourselves in the ethnic ghetto where they want to put us because that means that we welcome converts from the Episcopal Church. The current Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church is a rabid feminist who is radically pro-gay rights. Her mother was Orthodox. When she died, she refused to allow her to have an Orthodox funeral.

          • Dear Carl,

            What you will do to one person, you will do to anyone. Jesus was just one person too, one far greater than 10 thousand Jonahs, and look what was done to Him. And it was Jesus who said what you do to the least of these my brethren, you have done unto me.

            You are mistaken if you think this is just about Metropolitan Jonah. It is about the culture and character in place who would do such things to their own Metropolitan without any good reason, and I do not mean just undermining him and pressuring him to resign, I also mean all the punitive pile on afterward. Met. Jonah and his situation is what made visible the problem that has so many of us upset, disheartened, and disgusted with a significant cross section of the OCA’s leadership. It is not Met. Jonah himself as an entity unto himself.

            As for going to the MP, the DoS may not, indeed probably will not unless there is more of the same we have witnessed recently still in the works. But dare say such a proposed move is not at all schismatic. Please correct me if I am wrong, but it is my understanding that when our autocephalacy was granted one of the provisions was that any parish or diocese which wanted to stay with Moscow, or which later wished to return to Moscow, may do so. If this is true, then fleeing to the EP or to Antioch might well be considered schismatic, but not returning to our founding Church. I’m just saying if things degenerate further, and it gets bad enough my diocese or parish wishes to exercise that option, I for one will welcome it.

            • Interesting comments Seraphim, about the autocephaly – and by context – parishes, priests, (bishops even?) – returning to the MP because of dissatisfaction with the autocephalus church.

              I don’t think anyone has a quarrel with the new man in the White hat; it’s what’s under the white rug that has us concerned.

              It’s hard to believe that a synod which has been a serial scandal-creator will suddenly take off its wolf fur and show the lamb that’s been there underneath all the time, bleating to be discovered. When the only thing that unites a group of malcontents is their dislike of their former Metropolitan, one wonders what they could ever agree on now that he’s gone. And if they do such things in a green tree, what will they do in a dry?

              A consideration no one has mentioned. How large is the total pool of celibate (err, maybe) single monks who might be available for the episcopacy in the OCA? I bet you it’s no more than 10 in the entire United States. If you delete out the gays, it’s even smaller. Elementary schools in the boondocks have more candidates for a new principal than the OCA has for a single bishop position.

          • Disgusted With It says

            “that would amount to a schismatic act”

            Let’s not get over-dramatic here. If they went to some “Holy Independent Orthodox Metropolis of the United States” then that would be schismatic. But going to another canonical jurisdiction is a legitimate move. It’s better to see souls finding a suitable home than to lose them completely due to the un-Christian actions of our so-called leadership.

            • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

              Your post is funny.
              Legitimate. Canonical. Who is really canonical?
              Who is legitimate? The OCA has lost all legitimacy as far as I am concerned. This jurisdiction was my home of almost fifty years.
              Reminds me of an episode of that fashion show “Project Runway.”
              One day you’re in, the next, you’re out.
              For years the OCA was uncanonical. ROCOR was “uncanonical” according to the OCA until a few years ago.
              Most of ROCOR’s Western Rite Vicariate were such independent orthodox but less than a year ago, and today, everyone’s cool. Er…. I mean “canonical”.
              How many Patriarchs of Kiev exist today?
              How many Greek Old Calendar dioceses?

              I don’t think things are so black and white.

              • Disgusted With It says

                I think you’re either missing my point, reading too much into it, or just ignoring it. I meant if a parish wants to go to ROCOR or MP or GOARCH or AOCNA or ACROD or UOCUSA or the Serbs or the Romanians or the Bulgarians or the Albanians (all 2 parishes) — any Assembly of Bishops jurisdiction — then God bless them let them go! It is better for them to thrive where they feel they are most comfortable rather than remain in this toxic wasteland headed by perverts and deceivers and those who cover for them.

                • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

                  Oh. Why didn’t you say so!
                  Sorry. I did misunderstand your point.
                  Too many late nights at work in a row.

                  now happily worshiping in a ROCOR parish.

                • Archpeiest John Morris says

                  Neither a Priest nor a Parish can leave the jurisdiction of its canonical Bishop without a canonical release. Even within most jurisdictions a Priest cannot move from one Diocese to another without a canonical release from his Bishop and canonical acceptance by his new Bishop. In our Archdiocese such a move also requires the approval of the Metropolitan. If a Parish wants to leave its canonical Bishop, it cannot without getting a release from their Bishop. Thus, an OCA parish cannot become ROCOR of GOA or Antiochian without the blessing of their Bishop.

        • ICallYourName says

          Seraphim, once again you have called it exactly as I see it. I have nothing against +Tikhon (except for the facts that he sat and did nothing to stop +JOB from being deposed twice, and that he went along with the uncanonical, forced resignation of +JONAH by blackmail), but if he and the Synod do not apologize, take back their international, slanderous lies against +JONAH, and release him to serve elsewhere, then whatever +Tikhon says –no matter how good it sounds– rings hollow. +Tikhon had the chance to stand up boldly (like +JONAH did at the AAC where he was elected) and admit to corruption/sins, but he didn’t even reference +JONAH at his election address, though he is standing on +JONAH’s back. He will have another chance at his enthronement, and if he truly cares about the unity of the Church, he will address this.

          • Good point, ICYN. We were told that this would be a penitential AAC. It didn’t seem so. The only mention of +Jonah was when the votes were reported.

            Father Garclavs did make a rather tasteless toast to the new Metropolitan at the dinner where he did an oblique “I told you so” regarding +Jonah but didn’t mention Metropolitan Jonah by name.

            A really sad day for the OCA.

          • Hear! Hear!

  9. Carl Kraeff says

    Here is what I heard on the Ancient faith Radio:

    Name First % Second %
    Archbishop Nathaniel 49 8.31% 81 7.11%
    Archbishop Nikon 13 2.20% 23 2.02%
    Archbishop Tikhon 118 20.00% 317 27.81%
    Archbishop Benjamin 23 3.90% 23 2.02%
    Archbishop Alejo 2 0.34% 8 0.70%
    Bishop Melchisedek 96 16.27% 161 14.12%
    Bishop Michael 205 34.75% 355 31.14%
    Bishop Matthias 3 0.51% 9 0.79%
    Bishop Alexander 8 1.36% 20 1.75%
    Bishop Irineu 1 0.17% 5 0.44%
    Bishop Mark 9 1.53% 28 2.46%
    Bishop Irinee 5 0.85% 15 1.32%
    Metropolitan Jonah 17 2.88% 17 1.49%
    Metropolitan Hilarion 3 0.51% 14 1.23%
    Bishop Basil (Essey) 17 2.88% 22 1.93%
    Others 15 2.54% 39 3.42%
    Invalid 6 1.07% 3 0.26%
    Total cast 590 1140

    As is normal, the top two candidates from the second ballot were nominated to the Holy Synod. And, the Holy Synod has chosen Archbishop Tikhon. Axios!

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Why are you giving facts such a dismal approval rating? Let me guess; could it be because in the final round of voting, +Jonah’s percentage of total votes cast declined from a measly 2.88% to 1.49%. Or that the following folks received more votes than +Jonah’s 17?

      Listed in reverse order from the table that I compiled and provided for your information:
      Bishop Basil (Essey),
      Bishop Mark,
      Bishop Alexander,
      Bishop Michael,
      Bishop Melchisedek,
      Archbishop Benjamin,
      Archbishop Nikon,
      Archbishop Nathaniel,
      and of course our new Metropolitan His Beatitude Tikhon.

      • The answer Carl is that they give your comments low ratings because your church has abused a Christ-like pastor and is unrepentant (the facts testify to that), and because you personally are committed to your own ignorance and hardness of heart.

        You asked, and I have answered truthfully. What you do with this information is your business.

    • Gailina Sheppard says

      So did 20 people pack it up before the second vote? If there were 590 votes on the first ballot, shouldn’t there be 1180 on the second? Why were there only 1140? I must be missing something again.

      • George Michalopulos says

        From what I understand yes. Twenty people left before the second vote, others left immediately after so they wouldn’t have to say “axios!”

  10. George! You wrote: “Details to follow.” Well?

  11. It appears to me that a lot of people posting here are already beginning, or are now willing, to forget that the whole Special Electoral AAC thing was based upon and so conducted under complete pretense.
    So I conclude Anaxios not to Ab. +Tiknon, but to the whole SE AAC and its instigators.

    • George Michalopulos says

      The “Anaxios” cannot be removed unless and until there is repentance on behalf of the slanderers. That would include at the mininmum a repudiation of the libels printed in the letter that was curiously unsigned.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      I am aghast that a former choir mate of mine would say such a thing. I am disappointed that a Protodeacon would presume to be more correct that the OCA Statute (that mandated the SE AAC) and the Holy Synod. By all means, let’s make the Orthodox Church into a congregationalist one, one that would be led by Internet blogs, anonymous bloggers, deacons and priests. I forgot, any decisions would be made not by a vote by self-appointed guardians of Orthodoxy who scream the loudest.

      • I am disappointed that a Protodeacon would presume to be more correct that the OCA Statute (that mandated the SE AAC) and the Holy Synod.

        I am also disappointed, but with something different:
        – That the Holy Synod does not follow the OCA Statute in its description of what is the proper procedure for a removal of the Metropolitan and a diocesan bishop. In that, I do not see any contradictions between the Protodeacon’s statement and the Statutes.
        – That the Holy Synod of a tiny but very very proud church (10 – 20 K?) would presume to be more correct in canonical matters than the Patriarch of the largest Church in the world (tens of millions), who explicitly stated his opinion on the manner in which Metropilitan Jonah hes been treated.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Prove it. And, use your real name while you are at it.

          • Prove what? That I am disappointed? You will have to believe me on this. If you mean to prove that the Statutes were not followed – read the Statutes. This has been discussed to death. If you mean that Patriarch Kirill was very firm in his disapproval – well, we have the testimony of Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky. What else? That this tiny jurisdiction is very proud? Oh, just listen to the same Fr. Leonid’s usual mantras.

        • Mitrich says:
          November 14, 2012 at 1:23 pm
          “That the Holy Synod does not follow the OCA Statute in its description of what is the proper procedure for a removal of the Metropolitan and a diocesan bishop. In that, I do not see any contradictions between the Protodeacon’s statement and the Statutes.”
          Mitrich, you read me correctly. Obeying the governing Statute in that regard would have exposed the falseness and inconsistencies of their charges against +JONAH and so would have been detrimental to their successfully achieving, asap, the end result they intended.

  12. I was there, and I heard no reports that a deal with Metropolitan Jonah were struck. I heard they were working on one and “might come up with one this week.”

  13. Patrick Reeves says


    This is enough. Were is your obedience? Where is your humility? Be careful with your shouts of “Anaxios” as there are serious consequences for such behavior. Perhaps if you had been there today in Parma and prayed with the Assembly? I was there and I heard the call from Fr. Hopko. We prayed as a church. We sang as a church and we loved as a church. The time for your venom has come to an end. Your love for one man is overshadowed by the love the church has for Our Lord and Saviour. We asked the Holy Spirit to guide us in our decision and the decision was rendered. I pray for you just as I pray for our new Metropolitan. We must move forward and protect and love our church in North America.

    Forgive me a sinner,

    Patrick Reeves

    • George Michalopulos says

      Is this the same Hopko that praised Mark Stokoe’s reportage and practiced long-distance psychiatry?

    • It is not just the love of one man but the love of the Church. You are either blind, dumb or in denial. The OCA is heading in the wrong direction and has been or awhile. Many people feel stuck and voted for the future, but are not happy about doing this. . . it’s a matter of time or them. I saw people not crossing themselves every time the Bishops names were invoked. You may feel like it’s a victory but you’d be blind, dumb or in denial. . .

      My kids and I are now in ROCOR, in a very sweet parish. Thank God!

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Why are you still taking pot shots at the OCA? I hope and pray that the sweetness of your new (ROCOR) parish rub off on you as soon as possible.

        • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

          Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!
          Hi Carl,
          You’re welcome to take potshots at me instead of at Colette, given that shooting at someone at ROCOR now could cause an inter-jurisdictional incident :).
          The OCA has a lot of problems. It’s future is not assured, and some consider it schismatic (see my other note) based on your own elastic definition of the term. Each of us still in the OCA can do our part. To start with, you could re-define down in a more traditional way your elastic definition of schismatic, so that it doesn’t apply to our Church (see my other note), and makes allowance for the non-canonical situation with the Orthodox churches in North America generally. Personally I think it’s a terrible idea to define the OCA as schismatic in that way, and that you need to reconsider your definition, especially as it also works against your other arguments here.
          Please pray for me, a sinner,
          Alf Kentigern Siewers

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Dear Professor Siewers–I did read your other note. As usual, you are making your points very eloquently. My “elastic” definition of schism was simply a way to describe what happens when individuals and/or groups separate themselves from the parish or the church they once belonged to. Now, I am ready to grant to you that this sometimes happens because in our modern world people move from one locality to another and often do not have the luxury of joining another parish of their jurisdiction. That has happened to me over the years as I attended Bulgarian, Greek, Antiochian and Greek churches as I moved from one assignment to another. I also will grant to you that choosing the local parish to attend may also be influenced by little things, such as friends belong to that parish, the location of it, or even whether one likes the priest, choir, whatever. You are right that in America, with all the multiple jurisdictions that are in communion with each other, it is rather pointless to insist that we must stay in our jurisdiction no matter what.

            What I was driving at is something that I have failed to communicate clearly: I think the motivation of somebody who changes his jurisdiction matters. Objectively, such a person has separated from the flock that he belonged to. However, since schism and schismatic have negative connotations, it would be wrong to use those terms for each such change in jurisdiction. Therefore, there must be something more than mere jurisdictional change. I am trying to put into words what I am thinking and have a hard time of doing so. Once I figure it out, I will get back with you. In the meantime, I accept your recommendation for me to ease off this subject.

            To all those whom I have called schismatic, I apologize for doing so. Please forgive me, a sinner. Carl Kraeff

          • To Alf, a curtsey.

          • Archpeiest John Morris says

            No canonical Orthodox jurisdiction in the US considers the OCA schismatic. We are all in full communion with the OCA. The problem is that except for Moscow and those influenced by Moscow no one else in Orthodoxy recognizes the OCA as the autocephalous Orthodox Church in the United States. That is a political and administrative issue, not a doctrinal matter. We can disagree on administration and still share the same Orthodox Faith.
            The Old Calendarists are a different matter. They are schismatic because they have broken communion with the Orthodox Church. I also believe that they are heretical because they have made a dogma out of which calendar one uses. Some are even worse than heretics because they deny the grace of the Sacraments of the Orthodox Church. They all are either deluded or dishonest because they spread all sorts of lies about the canonical Orthodox Church.

    • Patrick, IF the church has a love for our Lord and Saviour, as you contend, then let it act like Him, let its hierarchs act with humility and as servants of the servants of God with a love to wash each others’ feet–yes, even +JONAH’s.

      Are your so sure that your definition of obedience is correct? Where is the mutuality of love that evokes it?

      You know the Good Shepherd knows and love his sheep and lays down His life for them. Does my bishop even know me? Would he truly care for me if he did? The way the church is currently run and structured is not healthy and not godly despite the trappings.


      By the way, there’s nothing wrong with the Synod eleting its own leader, assuming he be not disapproved by the church as a whole for good reason; but a diocese should chose its own bishop provided he be not disapproved by consensus of the Synod for good cause shown. But this church remains with ahndaful of dioceses covering a vast counry, some of enormous geographic extent, and a quarter to a third of the few dioceses we have remain under the “care” of locum tenentes. This is not a recipe for the growth and health of the church. We should have four times the number of dioceses we have and all should be under the care of an active, energetic, holy shepher.

      Why do we continue to accept the status quo? Could it be that we are, as it were, trapped by rules and requirements of our own devising, with a focus on secondary matters rather than on godliness, humility, holiness, zeal and love–and that we have become used to a certain professionalism that seeks to maintain control among a small coterie of of clerical types who are not all that excited to see their numbers (and relative value) decrease.

    • Patrick Reeves says:
      November 13, 2012 at 9:56 pm
      “We asked the Holy Spirit to guide us in our decision”
      As with the 2008 AAC, I guess we’ll have to wait to hear Fr. Hopkos’ decision if that acutually happened.

    • Disgusted With It says

      They prayed as a church. They sang as a church and they loved as a church. They then chose a metropolitan as a church — who the synod rejected in favor of the one they intended to put there all along. Some church.

    • All in the Family says

      Yes indeed Patrick. And they all did the same thing at the Council of Florence. Just because you gather makes not a Council. Time will tell to judge if this gathering was blessed by the Holy Spirit less you think it enough to conclude that the sermon by a Protopresbyter who carefully crafted his words so that the synod’s choice would make it to the final two insure that the Holy Spirit was at this Council but not at Pittsburgh.

      You see the Synod had only one worry going into Parma – would +Tikhon be one of the two finalist. It is clear that when he made it, they quickly voted their man in.

      It was well played by all the players on the podium. I give them an “A+” for execution. And not a single word about +Jonah. Not one word. Such a prayerful Council.

      • Archpeiest John Morris says

        The Council of Florence was heretical because it compromised the Orthodox Faith for union with Rome. I have seen nothing that indicates that the Council in Parma endorsed anything that is heretical. If I am wrong, please tell me what the Council in Parma did that was heretical.

  14. George: Do you not have something better to do than live in fantasy land? I was a delegate. I just got back from Parma, a 4 1/2 hour drive. I was there every single second. There was no announcement made about a deal with Jonah. None. Nada. Nicevo. There were no protests. There were two people at two hotels last night holding Jonah’s picture. There were the same two people doing the same thing at the same hotels this morning while people were leaving for liturgy. There were no protesters at the Church. There was no dissention. The delegates were all eager to elect a new Metropolitan. The process went smoothly. There were more delegates than at Seattle. Carl: a correction — Jonah got 7 votes on the first ballot and 17 on the second. Hilarion of ROCOR got 3 on the first ballot and 14 on the second. Kyrill of Moscow got 3 on each ballot. George: AAC loquita; causa finita! Go fill some scripts.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Nick, since I have a real job in which I interact with real people, I don’t have the luxury of living in fantasy land. I’m glad to stand corrected though that there was no mention made of a deal with His Beatitude. There is none. They are going to turn him and his family out onto the street. His sister is gravely ill in a hospital bed and probably will not recover.

      A fine Christian witness this is. That you and others can’t see it depresses me further. All I can say is I hope you’re never treated like this.

      • Fr. George Washburn says

        Dear George:

        Your disappointment is no doubt as real as it was inevitable. I am sorry for you, because it is so clear that you really do care about the good of the Church. But there are vastly better ways to pursue it than following the ocanews example of creating and stoking fires of internet negativity. How ironic you’ve done the same.

        Frankly the tone here all too often has resembled the kind of “political enemies discourse” (‘I win by making you look bad and lose’) one hears on a Rush Limbaugh or Bill Maher talk show, not Christian friends and fellow-servants discourse, doing the only thing that is ever right for them to do in tough and hotly contested times of dispute – heal the wounds and advance the work of the Body of Christ. It is inevitable when you foster an atmosphere that places a premium on instantaneous, anonymous human reactivity; our passions, including but not limited to mine, tend to take over, and mistakes multiply.

        What about taking a look at the many trumpet blasts of recent weeks and months that have turned out to be off key…or even dead wrong? The “deal” that had been struck and would be announced in time to ….The “in the bag” choice of Bp. Melchizedek? The anointing of Fr. Vasile Susan as a saint and his writings as Sinaitic verities? The stretching of some to find any shred of negativity (the supposed failure of the St. Tikhon’s board to conduct annual public bidding contests for its insurance business, a supposed EEOC lawsuit which as far as I can tell was actually no more than a form letter from a federal bureaucrat) with which to smear any member of the Synod. (I do not include in that reference the factual mention of things like those e-mails, for they were the bishop’s own words in the face of his initial denials)

        And now you tell us, without any corroboration, “They are going to turn him and his family out into the street.”
        Show us the evidence. Why not rather say “Without a new Metropolitan in office it is understandable that the Synod has not yet acted on this important Christian duty?” Why not ask yourself if the ceaseless drumbeat of spin and negativity here (including some serious unfairness under the banner of rectifying the unfair things that some of his opponents did and said) might even have made it more difficult for the Synod under temporary leadership to objectively consider and take a good course of action? I hope and believe now they will.

        And speaking of drumbeats of negativity let’s compare this blog’s position on Met. Jonah’s financial situation with your treatment of the entirely Christian action of the Diocese of the West in assuming Monastery of St. John debts when Fr. Meletios Webber resigned …many of which debts had been rung up under Met. Jonah or accrued under a haphazard but honorable system of financial practices that dated from his administration. Well no, it suited the political exigencies of the moment to smear people and up the ante of suspicion and reactivity on the road to Parma, and so you and the “amen chorus” just threw dust in the air and shouted, and did not do the elementary fact-checking that I have done in recent weeks to conclude otherwise. The truth is that there were Christian duties to be performed in both places but you and yours were so caught up the Divine Warrant of Accusation (I still have not been shown an authenticated copy) that you attacked those who have performed that duty already in their sphere!! But it suited the Agenda to smear!!

        So be well-intentioned for the Church, but consider asking for some objective outside opinion about how you are going about it and may be shooting yourself in the foot …not to say the Church and its leaders in other, more vital, places.

        sincerely, and apologetically in one sense for being as public as I think your mistakes have been,

        Fr. George

      • Tymofiy Hawrysh says

        George, All we have to do is act like Christians and make sure Metropolitan Jonah’s family is not left without financial support. When Synod of Bishops or Syosset do not act with love, the rest of us are still in the Body of Christ and bear the responsibility too. A fund raiser for the family would easily solve some of the needs.

    • dorisweisman says

      I did see 4 people standing at the street, at the end of the driveway to the church, at the end of the Divine Liturgy, who I assumed to be protesters. It looked like they were reading or singing, and they were not holding any signs or anything like that. They were gone when I returned to the church for the plenary session. There were not any protests or disruptions withing the hall.

    • Nick, your numbers are all wrong:
      First Vote
      Second Vote

      … just for the sake of historical accuracy.

      Personally I thought it was disturbing that the delegates laughed out loud when 2 votes were reported for Patriarch Kyrill in the second round. They had no audible reaction to any other votes, not even the votes for Metropolitan Hilarion, Metropolitan Herman, or Archimandrite Meletios (Webber). I don’t know how others view this, but to me it is further evidence of the kind of ingrown, elitist culture (with its private-but-shared agenda) that was so poisonous in the Episcopal Church.

      I also wonder if all those who discussed candidates before voting recused themselves from the vote, consistent with the requirements of the OCA Statute. No wait, I don’t really wonder.

    • NIck,

      I was also there. You are correct: no announcement about a deal was made from the dais. However, one of the bishops at breakfast after Liturgy was putting about that a deal was struck but couldn’t be announced yet. There was a fair amount of discussion at that breakfast – I guess as close to politicking as happens with a one day-election-only agenda.

      Many were disturbed and wondering what to do. There were a number of suggestions put forward, and it appeared that many different suggestions were followed, but I also talked to many people who were unhappy that we had to be there to do this but were afraid of “wasting” their votes. Others knew it didn’t matter who they voted for, and thus you got the votes for +Herman, +Kirill, etc.

      • Disgusted With It says

        And that’s the sad thing about all this. The politicking. It is what the administrations of the past regularly did. The only reason they didn’t do it in Pittsburgh was because they, the synod and administration, were genuinely afraid of the masses. Thus, they went with whomever the body selected in order to save their own hides.

        But as time went on in the days and weeks to follow, they started to crave the old ways, the old control, the old status quo, and they decided to do whatever it would take to go back. They worked hard to push out +Jonah. We all witnessed their desperation — be it the MC member emails, whining protopresbyters, or the obviously dysfunctional synod and administration piecing together an incoherent, sloppy, unproven narrative to defame the metropolitan they didn’t really want in the first place. And what happened in Parma? Persuasive lectures, the invoking of prayer for spiritual direction (when the matter was already decided by the synod weeks ago), rumors… And now we’re back to business as usual — the politicking, the old ways, the old control, and the status quo. Sad. Very sad.

    • There were protesters on Broadview across from the church at approximately 10:30AM. I, too, was there.

  15. Ivan Vasililev says

    Why is it that when I scroll through the gallery of pictures on the OCA website I want to cry? It is not from joy or from anger…just deep, deep, sorrow and pity for this little “would be” jurisdiction that really “might have been”. Lets pray that things get better. What a bitter, bitter, November.

  16. I think it’s time for the pro-Jonah people to face the fact that they (we) have been thoroughly defeated. Four people showed up to protest on Jonah’s behalf in Parma? No way to spin that in a positive direction. The sobor elected a metropolitan who may be a fine man (I don’t know one way or the other), but who almost certainly won’t do anything to challenge the status quo in Syosset. That’s how it’s going to be. The OCA as a corporate body has used its procedures to decide the way it wants to proceed, and the manner in which it wants to proceed. The struggle is over, and our side lost. All that remains to be decided now is how Met. Jonah will be treated by the OCA. There is no reason to expect anything decent, though it would be a nice surprise if it turned out otherwise.

    I don’t see any point in continuing to wail and gnash our teeth online. The OCA has chosen. We now know what to expect. We have to choose too: either get with the program, or find some other jurisdiction. I absolutely understand the anger, the hurt, and the intense frustration, having shared it all myself. But at this point, I can’t see any reason to carry it on. All avenues have been exhausted. It’s love it or leave it time.

    I could be wrong.

    • Bets on how long we have to wait for the next scandal to come out of the OCA?

    • Rod,

      You are correct in your assessment. The OCA now can only blame themselves for how the OCA will progress. It can also bask in its victory in changing their direction. No more blaming +Jonah or Kondratick or whomever else. It is their ballgame now. The only loose end is how the OCA will treat +Jonah. That is the wildcard and the OCA would be smart to close that chapter with respect ASAP.

    • D.C. Attorney says

      Mr. Dreher,
      I think you are correct. The only real issue left is how the OCA will treat Metropolitan Jonah, and on that they will keep to their own counsel (legal and otherwise). I do not expect the Synod to provide any explanations for its outrageous conduct. With regard to love it or leave it, what I saw take place at the primatial cathedral over the past two years involving Metropolitan Jonah and his enemies was shocking particularly because this was a place that purported to be a church. Yet, the intrigues, backstabbing, and mean-spirited conduct were worse than what one sees in our secular government. In light of the OCA’s nearly complete lack of legitimacy, earlier this year I chose to leave it because remaining was something I could not stomach; and I am glad that I did. But I wish +Tikhon and all who remain well – everyone has to make their own choice for what is right for them at a given time in their life.

    • The struggle is over, and our side lost.

      It’s love it or leave it time

      The Anglicans succumbed to putting politics before Christ. Of course that is their foundation, it could not have been otherwise. Orthodoxy, with all its byzantine intrigue, has a different foundation.

      The solution is not to “love it or leave it” but to return our focus to Christ in prayer and fasting (Nativity Fast begins tomorrow in the new calendar) and to remember that liturgy, not politics, is where our faith is most perfectly expressed.

      I could be wrong, but Christ is always right. The only struggle that counts is the struggle to emulate Christ, church politics usually distract us from that struggle.

      • George Michalopulos says

        The question is whether a Robber Council constitutes a “church.”

        • George, something like 700 votes there, and yet you appear to take no solace or relief none of those most feared on these pages owing to conduct and choices you’ve publicized were in the top three. The one who you did ‘give the hat to’ in your article, who James Silver wrote had trifles in paperwork and not so trifles with drink was not among the leading two but third. Neither of the leading two were mentioned here extensively as being problematic in personal conduct that I recall reading (I don’t read everything).

          I’m not sure why you aren’t satisfied as your worst fears appear to have been avoided, and probably in part to the comments published here. Now let’s see if some decent future for Met. Jonah doesn’t emerge in due course. How does that go? You can’t always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes, you get what you need.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Leaving aside the fact that this was a robber council, by the standards of the world the UnAmerican Council was a failure. The people voted overwhelmingly for Bp Michael Dahulich yet just as 40 years ago, the Synod overrode their desires. What’s the purpose of this charade? It’s not even good window dressing.

            • M. Stankovich says

              Mr. Michalopulos,

              Funny, as I watched the US election coverage on CNN last week, I did not hear one commentator use the expression, “By the wisdom of men and the Grace of the Holy Spirit…”

              The people vote for “candidates,” not Metropolitans; and many jurisdictions do not accommodate even that vote. It is the Holy Tradition and Patristic teaching of the Church that those specifically endowed with this responsibility, according to St. Paul, are to make these decisions “as the Master would manage His house,” and are responsible before God for what they decide. Obedience calls us to accept their decisions. And this explains why their decisions are conciliar, and not unilateral.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              The data do not show that folks voted for Bishop Michael “overwhelmingly.” Don’t you get some sort of training in statistics and logic in your field? Like my grandfather would say (with a slap on the side of the head), what’s the matter with you George? 😉

              • George Michalopulos says

                I’m just a simple man Carl. They guy who gets 100+ more votes than the guy who came in second strikes me as “overwhelming.” Am I alone in this?

                • I mean no disrespect to Tikhon, who I’m sure is a good man, but Michael seems to have much more pastoral experience – and “successful” pastoral experience too, including building two parishes up from next to nothing as well as being a theologian and teacher; just the qualifications a ruling hierarch of the OCA needs at this point, one would think. Having read his biography, one can’t help but feel they – the bishops, that is – elected the wrong man. Ah, but then, it is all hypothetical now. For the sake of the church, I pray for Tikhon.

                • Here are the figures (Top Three):

                  First Ballot
                  Bishop Michael: 205 (34.75%)
                  Archbishop Tikhon: 118 (20.00%)
                  Bishop Melchisedek: 96 (16.27%)

                  Second Ballot
                  Bishop Michael: 355 (31.14%)
                  Archbishop Tikhon: 317 (27.81%)
                  Bishop Melchisedek: 161 (14.12%)

                  Some observations:
                  – No one received even a simply majority, let alone an overwhelming vote (67% or more)
                  – Bishop Michael’s share of the votes declined by 3.61 points from the first to the second ballot
                  – Archbishop Tikhon’s share of votes increased by 7.81 points from the first to the second ballot
                  – The delegates overwhelmingly preferred the top three candidates (71% and 73%)
                  – A majority of the delegates preferred the top two candidates (54.75% and 58.95%)

                  To put this into context, here are the results of the last primatial election (again top three):

                  First ballot
                  Bishop Jonah: 233 (36.12%)
                  Archbishop Job: 212 (32.87%)
                  Bishop Benjamin: 75 (11.63%)

                  Second ballot
                  Bishop Jonah: 473 (36.67%)
                  Archbishop Job: 364 (28.22%)
                  Bishop Benjamin: 140 (10.85%)

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    So Jonah in 2008 got more than Michael in 2012 (who got more than all the others). Wow. Ringing endorsement for Tikhon.

                    • If you want to look through your glass, darkly, you would have to admit that +Jonah was NOT the choice of 63% of the delegates (100-37). If you want to talk about overwhelming, 63% is much closer to that hard-to-define adjective than 37%.

                • Unless I am missing something profound in Orthodox political theory, Archbishop Tikhon, on the second vote, received 317 votes. Bishop Michael received 355 votes. That is a 38 vote difference, not a 100 vote difference; not what I would call overwhelming. Growing up Catholic, and waiting for the “white smoke”, I guess, perhaps, I’m only interested in the later vote since the earlier votes are actually only a “testing of the waters”, so to speak?

                  In any case, calling 38 votes overwhelming, to me, is roughly akin to calling President Obama’s 50.5% of the popular vote “a mandate”. Not so much.

          • Disgusted With It says

            Unfortunately, when you have bishops who overlook blatant homosexual activity among their clergy, that is most definitely problematic. The choices truly were dismal.

        • George,

          History will be the measure of how to answer that question. I pray that the Orthodox Faith can sink deeper roots here, but there are no guarantees. Visionary leadership is always what is needed. Clergy and laity are starved for that here in the USA. They want to be led, they want to believe, they want to sacrifice, but they need leaders to follow.

          As uncanonical as our parallel jurisdictions are here in North America, at least people will have a choice to follow those leaders who inspire them. Bishops make a huge mistake by thinking that by virtue of their respective offices that people will follow. In that they should be reminded that Christ makes all things new, and that they too need to be renewed and not sitting on their laurels. Christ is the only one who can say in total truth, “What have you done for me TODAY?”

      • One of the most prayerful people I know is a lesbian priest in the Episcopal Church.

    • Mark from the DOS says

      I think this as succinct and accurate a statement on the closing of this whole debacle as can be made. Four protesters, 17 votes, and the election of one of the Bishops behind the resignation of +Jonah says all that needs to be said. It would be nice to see a kind resolution to Met. Jonah’s status and a clarification of the statements made in the July 16th letter, but having achieved victory, I would expect the HS to choose a post Civil War type Reconstruction approach over a post WWII Marshall Plan approach. Time will tell, but it will tell without me.

    • Rod, it was 6 people . . . . that I know of. Nope not good

    • Rod (if I may),

      I cannot agree with you more. For me, 17 votes for Met Jonah on the first and second votes (I presume it were the same 17 people both times) said it all: he has no supporters to speak of in the OCA. Sure, people like him personally, but no one would charge the San Juan Hill for his sake: esp. priests and laity with jobs, parishes, kids, loans, mortgages etc. What to them are the fights of big guys in klobuks and mitres? People are tired of this since ’05: just pick a guy and leave us alone.

      Of course, my fear is that, despite all good intentions, the disobedience and disrespect shown to the first hierarch will have detrimental consequences for the OCA, and may further corrupt its internal culture. Whether by commission or omission (i.e. silence and indifference), the OCA rejected Jonah and his “vision” re primacy, episcopacy and the unity of the Orthodox in America. It’s sad, but on a certain level, it’s fine too: if there cannot be a successful marriage, let’s have an amicable divorce.

      Let the guy and those who still feel loyal to him go to another jurisdiction (if that’s what they want) and try to work there. They have nothing left for them in the OCA: let’s try elsewhere, and let God decide in the end who succeeds. Maybe we all be fine: I for one WANT God to forgive his bishops for the lies and slander against their brother, because I do _not_ want OCA to fail or disappear – there are too many real and good people in this Church.

      Also, for those who know history, it is foolish to expect from the Synod retractions of their defamation of +Jonah – bishops are not the kind of people who say “sorry”. What we can hope for is that they allow +Jonah a chance to depart and rebuild in another place, because I do believe what he tried to convey as his “vision” is the “way of the future” for the Orthodoxy in America.

      But we certainly should stop gnashing our teeth and spitting the poison of our fallen minds into the blogs – it won’t do anyone any good. As MJ said in his famous speech in 2008: we’ve been violated, we’ve been betrayed – but now it is finished. Let’s get up and start building again.

      • Sure, people like him personally, but no one would charge the San Juan Hill for his sake: esp. priests and laity with jobs, parishes, kids, loans, mortgages etc.

        You’re right, but it wasn’t always that way. Uncertain trumpet, and all that.

    • Thomas Paine says

      For the last time folks, “Syosset” is composed of several low-level employees and the Chancellor. There is no “power” there. It all rests in the OCA Synod. If you have issues, direct to the OCA Synod. + Jonah can return to his monastery.

      • George Michalopulos says

        You’re really dreaming if you think that. The bishops are controlled by Syosset. Kishkovsky has more power than any synod.

  17. Thomas Paine says

    Abp. Tikhon was a good choice and will make an excellent Met. He’s everything that a Met. should be. With good advisers and help, he should be a great success. Overall, a good choice. As for + Jonah, let him return to his monastery as he himself said he would many times. End of story!

    • George Michalopulos says

      You’re actually right. Since ecumenism/modernism/moral capitulation is more important to the OCA, I think Tikhon would be the best possible choice to usurp the Primatial seat.

      • Archpeiest John Morris says

        Exactly how is ecumenism/modernism/moral capitulation important in the OCA? There may be individual priests who are modernists, but I do not believe that they represent the majority of OCA clergy. Besides if the OCA gets too far off of the reservation, the rest of Orthodoxy will step in and demand that the OCA get on the right path or break communion with the OCA. We are all in this together, because despite our administrative decisions, we are still members of the same Church. I will admit that since it remains active in the NCC, the OCA is more ecumenical than we Antiochians are. Being a member of the NCC is certainly not my preference, but it is not in and of itself heretical. It is important to remember that Orthodox membership in such groups as the NCC and WCC is based on the Toronto principle which states that by being a member of such an organization does not mean that the Orthodox Church recognizes the other member groups as Church in the true sense of being Church. The Orthodox in various ecumenical gatherings have produced a multitude of documents in which the Orthodox clearly state that according to Orthodox doctrine the Orthodox Church is the only true Church and as such is the “living realization of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.”

        • George Michalopulos says

          Fr John, I mean no offense but I believe that recent events (regarding your assessment vis-a-vis the OCA) have proven you wrong. The ouster of Jonah was done specifically because the Apparat which really runs things in the OCA are very much ecumenist and modernist. As for your hope that if things get too far out of line that the other Orthodox jurisdictions/patriarchates will come in and set things right, I believe that is equally too optimistic by half. I very much hope that you are right but I fear that you are wrong.

          Again, I mean no offense. You and others in the Anthiochian jurisdiction are well-protected from this nonsense but this is most definately not the case in the OCA (and in the GOA to a lesser extent).

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            The GOA is also protected as long as the Ephramite Monasteries stay within the GOA. They leave and the GOA will go down the road of Modernism full force.


          • Archpeiest John Morris says

            Whatever you can say about Metropolitan Philip. He is not an ecumenist. I know this for a fact, because I have discussed the matter with him many times. I represented our Archdiocese on the North American Orthodox Lutheran Dialogue and am now a consultant to the Committee on Ecumenism of the Bishop’s Assembly. The problem, in my opinion, is not that anyone really wants to compromise the Orthodox Faith, but that they still have an immigrant’s mentality and want to be recognized by what they consider the American religious establishment. I really do not think that anyone is going to compromise our Faith. Unlike most critics of Orthodox ecumenism, I have actually participated and see how we defend the Orthodox Faith. We did not give anything up to the Lutherans. Once they realized that we were not willing to compromise our doctrine for the sake of unity, they withdrew from further dialogue with us. Take some time and read the documents actually produced by Orthodox involved in the various ecumenical dialogues and organizations and you will see that despite the false accusations of some people, we do not compromise Orthodoxy for the sake of ecumenism.

        • Bless, Father!

          Dear Fr. John,

          What generally is termed “modernism” IS important in the OCA — as well as in every other Orthodox jurisdiction. I have been a member of parishes in four U.S. jurisdictions. In three of those jurisdictions, I have been told of, or directly witnessed the effects of, priests who taught their catechumens that fasting is tailored to the individual’s mindset (and I do not refer to the long-established relaxation for pregnant women, the elderly, the ill. . .), that confession is useful but available only upon special request, and that nonfasting food may be served after the Liturgy during the four fasts, to cite only three things generally noncontroversial among Orthodox Christians. Never mind the disregard of other Orthodox practices honored by the “old-fashioned, behind-the-times” Orthodox faithful clergy and laypeople.

          At the same time, God’s grace continues to raise up stalwart, pious priests in each of those same three jurisdictions. I am grateful for His mercy.

          As for the rest of the world stepping in to reprimand another jurisdiction, I don’t indulge in such daydreams. Examination of the Ecumenical Patriarch’s activities quash that option.

          • Archpeiest John Morris says

            We need to remember that we are Eastern Orthodox. Orthodoxy is not legalistic. So we have to be very careful to fall into the trap of Western legalism. Fasting is a difficult subject because some people cannot fast strictly. We have to be honest. The fasting traditions were developed at a different time in a different place where the basic diet was very different than the basic American diet. I do believe that we need to modify the fasting rules to fit our American diet. It is not as great a sacrifice for people who usually only ate vegetables and considered meat a luxury to strict fast because it did not mean changing their diet that much. It is a much greater sacrifice for the average meat and potatoes American to strict fast. Some of the rules make no sense in the modern world, partially because they were developed on the Mediterranean where sea food is much easier to obtain than it is in most American cities except for those on the coast, where it is expensive. For example, we can eat lobster during the fast. That made sense several hundred years ago, because at that time, lobster was considered junk food for the servants. It was not the luxury that it is to us today. I have hypoglycemia and my wife recently learned that she is a diabetic. She has been hospitalized all month due to wounds on her feet that cannot heal. I am also recovering from a total knee replacement. Right now I am on my own at home. I eat whatever I can. When she gets well, I plan to see a dietician to discuss what we can and should not eat and how we can follow the fast while avoiding problems our blood sugar. Sometimes, I get very weak, with a cold sweat and nothing brings me back like meat. Would you believe that onion rings messes up one’s blood sugar? Thus, I am doing the best that I can right now. Because of my problem with low blood sugar, I cannot fast before the Liturgy or I would faint. I ran out of food a few months ago and did not eat and almost did not make it through the Divine Liturgy. I even lost my voice. I always remind people of the tradition, that is no meat, dairy products or fish, but tell them to make an honest effort to do the best that they can. I encourage them to at least give up meat. My people know better than to serve non fasting foods at a pot luck supper during a fasting season, so I do not have to remind them about it. As far as Confession is concerned, I hear Confessions before and after every service and by appointment. I also preach on Confession several times a year. However, there is no canonical requirement that one make a Confession before every Communion. I tel people to try come at least during the fasting periods and whenever they have committed a major sin. Some people come every month.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Plus we gotta remember that the vast majority of food that is available to working people is processed and unwholesome (think potato chips, cinnamon rolls, etc.) When we substitute pasta for meat during Lent we tend to put on pounds.

            • Just wondering how “Western legalism” differs from “Eastern legalism,” like that of the Pharisees just for example.

              I guess I’d prefer you not perpetuated myths of Eastern inherent goodness and Western inherent evilness. These are unhelpful myths to say the least.

              I know this was not a major point of your post, but I caution against reinforcing unhelpful stereotypes in the future. Denying our shared humanity (and the real world in general) has the potential to do great harm and no potential to do good of any kind.

              • Archpeiest John Morris says

                It is not a matter of goodness or evilness. It is true that Orthodox do not think the same way as Catholics and Protestants. Catholicism is closer to Orthodoxy, because they accept the Eastern Fathers, but Catholicism still has a great deal more faith in human reason than we Orthodox do. Since the Second Vatican Council, some “Catholic” theologians have become much too liberal and have accepted the ideas of feminist and in some cases even gay theology. Even classical Roman Catholic theology is very rationalistic. Compare Thomas Aquinas to St. Gregory Palama and you will see the difference. Protestantism is very different because they hardly know the Eastern Fathers and their theology is a variation of Augustine. Liberal Protestant theology is almost completely rational. Once Protestants believed in the Bible, but now the liberal Protestants do not even accept the clear teachings of the Holy Scriptures, because they treat it as a human book and reject the divine inspiration of the Bible. Look at what has happened to the Episcopal Church to see what I mean.

                • The ability to reason is God given and is necessary to communication and to community.

                  Reason is not the invention of the West, nor does reason require legalism. It is a God given faculty of the human mind.

                  If legalism is a problem, you need to explain why. Then apply that insight to your value system. In other words, why not use reason to overcome legalism?

                  Most of what the Episcopal Church does is extremely unreasonable, being neither internally consistent nor consistent with common sense. It is hard to sell selfishness and dishonesty as religious ideals even in a liberal democracy, and reason doesn’t help the case. Most Episcopalians appeal to experience not reason as their authority these days. When they do appeal to reason it is a smokescreen to avoid any real thought or analysis, again not a real commitment to reasoning with others.

                  Also, please do keep in mind that the large majority of Anglicans are not in communion with Episcopalians these days, precisely because Episcopalians have abandoned the authority of scripture and have abandoned any meaningful commitment to unity in Christ (in other words, they have abandoned the universal Church as a value let alone belief).

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    Human reason is too limited and corrupted by sin to enable us to comprehend the mysteries of God. Besides as Kant showed there is no such thing as pure reason. Human reason is always highly subjective. The West trusts far too much in human reason in an effort to understand the mysteries of God. For example, Calvinism is completely logical. If God is all powerful, He decides who is saved and who is not. The problem is that Calvin and his followers failed to understand that how we are saved by grace but still have free will is a mystery. How bread and wine can look and taste like bread and wine, but still be the Body and Blood of Christ is a mystery that we cannot understand with our limited minds. Liberal Protestantism is completely dominated by post-Enlightenment presuppositions and has turned Christianity into a movement to establish a just society instead of a means for salvation. They deny the divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures and simply ignore or redefine parts that do not fit into their personal preferences. This is because Protestantism has no commitment to the historic Church and could care less how the Church has interpreted the Bible through the centuries. Thus the Fathers and Ecumenical Councils have no authority for them.
                    Despite the claim of some Anglicans, Anglicanism is and has always been Protestant. There is no real commitment to the doctrine of the Fathers and the Ecumenical Councils. There is not even a commitment to Anglican doctrine, because Anglicans have never agreed on what they believe. What has happened to the Episcopal Church recently is actually very un- Anglican because one group has taken control and is trying to impose doctrinal conformity on the Episcopal Church for the first time in its history. The problem is that group is controlled by radical feminists who are also committed to gay liberation. Today an Episcopal Bishop can deny the Incarnation and see the Creed as a mere metaphor but cannot refuse to ordain a woman. In time, all Episcopal Bishops will also be required to allow their clergy to bless same-sex “marriages.”
                    Actually, the Anglicans who have broken Communion with the Episcopal Church are playing a typical Anglican game. They are still in Communion with Canterbury, which is also in Communion with the Episcopal Church. Thus through their Communion with Canterbury, the Anglican groups which have broken with the Episcopal Church are still in Communion with the Episcopal Church.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says


            With all due respect what you cite as Modernism is not Modernism. Further, without giving context to the examples that you give then the examples are meaningless. People with sicknesses, medical conditions, the elderly, do have execise relaxed fasting. I, like Father Morris, have Hypoglycemia, and fasting for me is very difficult. I have done strict fasts in the past and I have had medical complications that have caused me to pass out or to become so light-headed that I immediately needed to break my fast just to get back to feeling normal.

            Confession is also something that varies between jurisdiction, but still encouraged and practiced. Growing up in Chicago and going to Koraes Elementary School we all had a set time of the month throughout the year that all of us as student went to for confession. As we grew up, and for some of us Grew out, the Church did not encourage confession at a set time or on a given schedule, but as needed. I do not know what you necessarily mean by “Special Occasion?”

            The two extremes in the Church between Akrivia and Economia need to balanced. One leads to Fundamentalism (Akrivia) and the other to Modernism (Economia). A well-balanced Orthodox life, I would even say an asthetic life in the sense of constantly praying, reading scripture, going to church when you can, especially with young kids gets a little dicy, having a spiritual father you can talk and converse with, etc., all make up a balanced Orthodox Spiritual life.

            What does this mean? It means you don’t rip up the pew if its in Church, but accept it. It also means that if somebody is pushing for the the acceptance of certain things or lifestyles (hint, hint) we say very firmly NO, and direct then to the nearest ECUSA.

            Believe it or not it works and you get less frustrated to boot.


            • Thank you, Peter. I safely can say now that I finally (!) have internalized the lesson that people do not read Internet posts with any degree of care. Quoting myself verbatim: “(and I do not refer to the long-established relaxation for pregnant women, the elderly, the ill. . .)” Reading this would have saved both you and Fr. John a great deal of typing.

              I did not even hint that confession is mandatory prior to every reception of Holy Communion. (I don’t believe that, either.)

              As for cooking, I am neither persuaded that it is difficult or unbearable to learn to prepare and eat vegan meals (or vegan plus seafood), nor persuaded that it is an unbearable burden on “meat/potatoes” diners to adhere to Church teaching. I had to teach myself to cook in this manner, and I’m no cleverer than anybody else.

              The rash and outlandish assumptions made by people about each other truly disturb me. I don’t have time to continue analyzing Peter’s and Fr. John’s posts, nor interest in refuting additional points that weren’t even present in my original post to require refuting!

              • Archpeiest John Morris says

                I am sorry that I offended you. As a Priest my job is to lead my people to a deeper spirituality. That means that I have to go slow. If a person who is not used to strict fasting tries to go suddenly begin to strict fast, more often than not they will soon give up. It is very difficult for Americans used to an American diet to get the right nutrition on a diet based on a strict fast. It was much easier for us to strict fast in Houston which had fresh sea food like squid, etc., that we could eat than it is here in Mississippi where I do not have such easy access to scallops and other sea food. When I was in seminary, both St. Vladimir’s and Holy Cross did not strict fast except during the first and last week of Lent and on Wednesday and Fridays during Lent. We gave up meat, but ate fish and dairy products. The important thing is that we remember that it is a fasting season and that we try our best to fast. Remember the fasting traditions are goals rather than strict legalistic requirements. It is also important that we not judge others who do not fast as strictly as we do. That is why we begin Great Lent with the Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican to remind ourselves not to judge others.

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              To Peter A. Papoutsis

              Perhaps you can give me some guidance how to observe the fasting seasons. As you know, I am hypoglycemic and we have just learned that my wife is diabetic. She has been in the hospital for a month due to ulcers on her foot that will not heal. I have just had a total knee replacement. Thus, this year, we are just trying to keep our blood sugar even and are not worrying too much about the fast. If anyone can help us develop a fasting diet that works for people with our condition, I would greatly appreciate it. My doctor told me to eat plenty of meat to keep my blood sugar even.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                Hi Father:

                As a fellow Hypoglycemic I have also been told to eat meat to keep my blood sugar up as it can drop on a dime on me if I am not careful. First, I discussed this issue with my priest that told me first and foremost I cannot do anything that would harm my health as harming my health has nothing to do with fasting. Second, I discussed with my doctor what I could substitute for meat to keep my blood sugar up. Answer, get your protein in other than through meat to keep your sugar and energy levels up. Beans, lentils, nuts, salads (with dressing), and fish and shell fish cooked in margarin or other butter substitutes, and keep to your regular eating habits. I recently found coconut oil and so far even though it gives food a sweet taste it has not caused me to crash so try coconut oil.

                On Wednesdays and Fridays my wife and I have fish, mostly Salmon or Tilapia. Try to get wild as its healthier, but most Tilapia is farm raised so don’t worry to much about it if you cannot find it wild. But include a bean salad with some type of dairy dressing and cheese on the side like smoked gouda (believe it or not I hate Feta) Do try to include dairy at first then cut it out later on, OR try dairy substitutes. On Saturday night eat past 8:00 pm, but snack of raisins, fruit or granola. Personally I eat apples, or pears, but my Big Boy Alex likes strawberries so I share a bowl of cut strawberries with the little guy. I also like figs, preferrably the regular figs, but here in America they are very hard to get so settle on the dried figs if you like them. Try to have natural unprocessed sugar, but avoid Honey as that will pick you up and crash you fast. I made that mistake once and never again.

                Currently I found that almond and rice milk are excellent dairy substitutes and help me avoid dairy even more than before, but get the unsweetened Almond and/or Rice Milk because the sweetened or vanilla Almond and/or Rice Milk will give you too much sugar and you will start to crash later in the day or night.

                So a nice balanced fast of a diet for me has been fish, shell fish, rice, fruit, vegtables, beans and lenties (made in a variety of ways), almond and rice milk. Then the last week of Lent or the last week of the Christmas fast I cut out fish, shell fish and dairy, but stick to beans, rice, vegtables and as a snack during the day either a peanut butter, almond butter or sunflower butter sandwich with no jam or preserves on either regular wheat bread or whole grain bread. I found that whole grain is much better. However, you have to be careful as even wheat and whole grain have fillers that can breakdown into excessive glucose which will cause you to crash quickly. so get the REAL wheat or whole bread without the fillers OR get Udis Rice Flour bread now sold in most supermarkets like Jewel and Dominicks and Whole Foods.

                So this is what works for me and I have to adjust it as I go along, but I avoid meat, I avoid most cooking oils, I CAN avoid Fish and Shell Fish, and now with my use of Almond and Rice Milk (Unsweetened) I have cut out dairy.

                Now because I eat past 8:00 pm on a Saturday I can go the whole morning on a Sunday without eating if I am taking Holy Communion, but even here you have to be smart as I always have a breakfast bar (blueberry or strawberry) in my pocket at all times IF I feel a drop in blood sugar coming. I can whip that bar out and eat it and stop an episode before it happens.

                Now this may not sound like fasting, but it is, it really is because my body is craving meat and dairy so intensely, even with this diet, that I then just struggle, like eveyrbody else, do give up this type of food for the sake of my faith in Christ and do my fast the best that I can without hurting myself. So the forgoing is what I have been able to come up with. You may require something else, but as long as you discuss these matters with your priest AND doctor and come up with a plan/diet that works for you then you can keep the fast without hurting yourself.

                I hope this has helped.


                • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                  Thank you very much. Right now, my wife and I are trying to get our blood sugar in order. I have to eat on Sunday before the Divine Liturgy. I eat two eggs with toast. I ran out of food on Sunday and almost collapsed during the Divine Liturgy. I actually lost my voice. That has never happened before. I learned to be very careful and read labels of any food that I consume. I also learned that some things marketed as Sugar Free are made with sorbitol dose the same thing to my body as regular sugar.

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    I communicated with my Father Confessor who told me to follow my physician’s instructions and eat meat. My wife, a diabetic, who just came home after a month in the hospital due to ulcers on her feet was also told to eat meat. The canons do allow an exemption for the fasting traditions for a person suffering from illness. I should add that all functions in my parish coffee hour, covered dish dinners, etc. follow the fasting traditions.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Fr, if I may suggest this modification: I have discovered the tastiness of soy products, felafel, and bean curd. They are excellent meat substitutes. In my hometown are several Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese restaurants that use soy and bean curd to fashion delicious meat substitutes. You reall don’t know that you’re not eating meat. Felfel as well the way the Lebanese do it looks and tastes like hamburger. Just some thoughts

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      To George;

                      God bless you for taking the time to give me advice. The taste is not the issue, according to both our doctors we need the protein that meat gives. My wife used to make a really good chili with meat substitute during Lent. Right now, I am following my doctor’s advice to the letter because I do not want to go through the kind of hypoglycemic attack that I had in New Orleans. I thought that I was having a stroke. My wife must control her blood sugar. She just got home after over a month in the hospital because of diabetic caused ulcers on her feet. God forgive me, but I am afraid to do anything but what our doctors tell us to do.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Fr. please forgive me, I forgot to mention that all of the substitutes I named are high in protein. The fact that they have no fats is a plus. However soy is high in estrogen so that’s not a good thing for men in the long run.

                  • My sister has had diabetes for many years. Recently, she has been working with a doctor, who is a biochemist from the UK. He has instructed her to give up all processed packaged foods (read the labels), all types of natural sugars including those derived from beet, cane, corn, maple, honey, date, agave, and even fruits as fruits contain fructose. The worst offender is high fructose corn syrup, as this will cause a significant rise in blood sugar. She uses 100 percent pure organic stevia extract, available from Trader Joes, to sweeten her tea. This herb seems to help prevent her cravings for sugar.

                    Whenever she eats meat or eggs, she makes sure that these animals are either grass fed or organically raised. More importantly, she has found that eating cheese, butter, and yogurt from grass-fed cows and goats has really helped her control her blood sugar. Whenever she feels hungry, consuming a small piece of cheese with butter stops the craving for sugar and gives her energy. She has also discovered that margarine, which is highly processed and which is almost always made from soy (usually GMO soy), causes her ankles and feet to become very painful and swollen, so she avoids any products containing soy.

                    My sister also eats wild caught salmon from Alaska or Canada. Below is a wonderful recipe for these winter months whenever the fast allows fish. This soup can be shared with the parishioners during the Nativity Fast.

                    About eight ounces of wild caught fresh frozen salmon (available at TJs) can be made into a delicious soups for two with one onion, one large carrot, one potato, tomatoes, a cup of asparagus and a cup of broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, bok choy, and/or brussel sprouts. Expand this soup as needed. When all the (organic) vegetables are almost cooked, place the salmon, which has been thawing in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, on top of the soup and let it simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until it flakes into small pieces. This soup is delicious and imparts a lot of energy.

                    Incidentally, my sister also avoids any foods which contain genetically modified organisms (GMO) or are likely to contain GMO crops. Interestingly, several Antiochian Priests have stated that GMO foods, including corn and soy, might contain rat genes, which would make those foods unsuitable for the fast. Since giving up GMO foods, my sister’s stomach is no longer upset, her feet no longer ache, and she has more energy.

                    For more information about GMOs, please go to http://responsibletechnology.org/gmo-basics/gmos-in-food

                    For more information on diabetes and diets, please go to the website of Dr. Fred Pescatore who a medical doctor and nutritionists. His newsletters are right on and have helped many.

                    My prayers. Hope this helps.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Father, both my late wife and my wife whom God gracisiously sent were/are diabetic. My late wife died of complications from it. It is nothing to mess around with. If you don’t control it, it will control you.

                1. Don’t worry about the food part of the fast, find other ways to fast. Eat less, for instance. The diet regimine for controlling blood sugar is a life-long 24/7, 365 day fast in its own right. There are many, many things you cannot eat and the disease sometimes makes you crave the very things that are not good for controlling the disease. It also can play havoc with your emotional equillbrium so that even being kind to folks is sometimes a challenge. Seems like an opportunity for a lot of spiritual warfare.

                2. Follow your doctor’s orders. Folks with blood sugar problems need balanced protein to regulate their sugars. Meat proteint usually works best.

                3. Areobic exercise both to help loose weight and keep the metabolism working better is essential.

                4. Your area of the country presents some problems as temperatures and humidity of over 80 can make it more difficult to control the disease.

                5. Get rest.

                6. My new wife uses Elderberry Juice concentrate as a supplement. The best we’ve found is from Wyldewood Cellars here in town (no added sugar, no alcohol). You can order it on the web. It really seems to help.

                It would be helpful for an Orthodox doctor or dietician or someone would develop a more fast appropriate diet for diabetics that would also include alternative spiritual practices when the food part simply cannot be adhered to.

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          Fr. Morris and all Others (Fr. Hans that includes you):

          Off-Topic. I would like to know if you recommend any good books from an Orthodox Christian perspective as to the criticism that Orthodoxy has with Calvinism and what a truly Orthodox perspective is or response is to the Calvinism Doctrine of Predestination and Election. I did not get to buy any new books this holiday season so I want to get some on this topic.

          Thank you for your time.


          • Archpeiest John Morris says

            Since you asked, I will answer your question. I hope that no one thinks that I am being arrogant, but I recommend my latest book, THE HISTORIC CHURCH: AN ORTHODOX VIEW OF CHRISTIAN HISTORY. I deal with Calvinism and all other non-Orthodox groups, tell their history and why we Orthodox disagree with them. I wrote it so that an Orthodox Christian can easily learn about the various groups that call themselves Christian and how they differ from Orthodoxy. As far as I know it is the only survey of Christian history written in English from an Orthodox point of view. I published it in a way to make it as inexpensive as possible. Do a search on the Amazon site under Archpriest John Morris. Here is a review on the Amazon web site:
            I finished reading this book about a month or so ago. It was the most thorough, easy-to-read, and excellent book on Christian history I’ve ever read. He starts from the very beginning of Christian history at Pentecost, all the way to the present day. He talks about all the ecumenical councils, the schisms, heretical groups/heresies, the teachings of the Historic, Ancient, Eastern Orthodox Church, and all the teachings of the other Christian sects, from Catholicism, to Baptist, to Quaker, to Unitarian, to United Church of Christ, to Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, etc. It gives the history and what each believes, and also gives the whole history of the Orthodox Church up to present times. I HIGHLY recommend this book for those interested in an accurate and fair view of Christian history!!

            • Fr. John,

              Has the Kindle edition been corrected? You have reported earlier that it is full of errors and mipsrints.

              • Archpeiest John Morris says

                I complained to my publisher about the mistakes,and asked them to correct them. but have not seen the Kindle edition myself. I published the book so that it would be as inexpensive as possible in the paperback edition. It is rather long to conveniently use it in the Kindle edition, because it is designed not only as a book that can be read from beginning to end, but also can be used as a reference work so that one can look for the chapter containing information about a Christian group and read about it. That is why I have so many section headings. Thus, if you want specific information on Calvinism, you can go to the chapter on Calvinism. It is rather difficult to do that on a Kindle.

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  I just bought your book. I can hardley wait to read it. Thank you again Father.


                  • Archpeiest John Morris says

                    I hope that you find it useful. I wrote it to fill a void. All surveys of Christian history are written by non-Orthodox and fail to consider the Orthodox point of view. I actually had a contract with Regina Press to publish it, but Schaeffer lost interest and reneged on the contract. Given some of his recent statements, I am glad not to be associated with him. In any case, I had it published so that the book would not be too expensive for the average Orthodox Christian to buy. I hoped to provide a way that an Orthodox Christian can know who the other Christians are and what to say to them during a religious discussion. I especially wanted to give Orthodox Christians the information that they needed to defend Orthodoxy in discussions with Roman Catholics and various types of Protestants, some of whom can be very militant in trying to convert Orthodox.

          • The Ancestral Sin by Fr. John Romanides is the best work on this topic that I have found so far.

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              This reminds me of something that happened during the North American Orthodox Lutheran Ecumenical Dialogue. The Lutherans had spent well over an hour arguing with us over their Augustinian doctrine of original sin and total depravity. Finally, a Greek Orthodox Priest, said, “I am a Greek and have a concept of the astetic and I must tell you, your theology is ugly.”

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      The problem is: advisers. Who are they? Do they give good advice or not?

      • George Michalopulos says

        Doesn’t matter. If the core principles are wrong to begin with then advisors don’t matter.

    • Ivan Vasililev says

      наши Черненко–Our Chernenko

    • I don’t think he can just return to a monastery as a monk. He’s a bishop. I think the canons don’t permit bishops to go back to just being monks and abbots and the like. I could be wrong. Someone better informed of such things might have better insights than myself.

      • D.C. Attorney says

        Actually, St. Theophan the Recluse did just that. He was a bishop and, in light of a scandal of which he proclaimed his innocence, he left his position and went off to a monastery for the rest of his days. He did so for the good of the Church because he could not get the scandal to die down.

      • ChristineFevronia says

        The canons prohibit Met. Jonah from returning to a monastery? What’s next, telling Jesus He can’t heal on the Sabbath?

      • Archpeiest John Morris says

        I cannot believe that it would be considered a violation of the canons for a retired Bishop to live in a monastery. Besides there is always the principle of economy that would allow such a thing because it is not a violation of the doctrine of the Church. I may be wrong, but I believe that the canons to which you refer forbid a Bishop from becoming a Great Schema monk.

    • One problem with your post, Mr. Pain, and that is “good advisers and help”. How is that going to happen, Metropolitan Jonah, the rightful primate of the OCA was never afforded “good advisers and help.” Rather he was given sneaky, behind the back, screw you advisors and little or no help from those who were supposed to help (Syosset). If “good advisers and help” and help had been provided by the most Godly man among all of the then bishops of the OCA, then he would still be the official Metropolitan, and the OCA would be going ahead on a godly path and growing rather than shrinking.

  18. The choice of the synod was clear for several weeks. Metropolitan Tikhon was the perfect choice, he is passive, he does not move quickly on matters, he will not do anything without the consent of the synod, he will be a figurehead Primate. I don’t say that in a pejorative sense, just an observation based on his past performance as a diocesan bishop.

    The election of +Tikhon now sets in motion the next moves including where +Mark (Maymon) will end up. My sense is that he will be the front-runner for the vacant see of Philadelphia. He and Fr. Atty of STS are very close friends and it would be a good fit for Maymon and Atty to be reunited. Atty continues as dean of STS, +Mark becomes diocesan bishop of EPA and dean of STS. Does he have the support of the clergy and laity of EPA to be nominated? Time will tell but look for his rehabilitation to continue and for him to be in higher profile in that part of the OCA.

    The next move now is for the DOS to get a new bishop. I think that the synod will move with some haste to get that part of the OCA under control with a bishop who will be in the mold of a supporter of the new synodal run OCA. Gerasim may be the odd man out because of his previous ties with +Jonah, however he too is undergoing rehabilitation under the tutelage of +Benjamin so his litmus test will be if he will be a synodal team player.

    The Midwest is still up in the air with the return of +Matthias anyone’s guess. I think it will be a very tricky road for him to return to the see of Chicago, but if he does return he will certainly be a compliant hierarch on the synod.

    As far as how this election will be viewed around the world, especially in Moscow still depends on how the synod deals with +Jonah. Nothing has changed there. If they stick it to +Jonah, Moscow will not be on board and have already sent the message three times to the OCA that unless +Jonah is handled with respect, all bets are off going forward on how Moscow will view the OCA.

    +Tikhon will try and be a peacemaker. He will try and do nothing to add any more fuel to the smoldering fires that still exist in the OCA. He is not an inspirational figure like +Jonah. He will be extremely careful maybe to the point of frustration with the Syosset staff, but I would guess they are happy with the choice of +Tikhon who will not make any changes in Syosset staffing of any importance.

    +Tikhon is making plans already to move to Syosset which means that +Mark (Maymon) will have to find another place to live. His time there is short and he will be slotted for another assignment. Again, I think EPA is the obvious choice because it kills two birds with one stone, the vacant see and the situation at STS.

    Life will go on, the OCA is now on a new course, a course that will do little to stem its numerical decline, but the tradeoff is business as usual. Bishop Michael will return to New York and New Jersey licking his wounds from a stinging rejection from the synod in not being their choice. I don’t think he got even a single vote from the synod. Time will tell.

    • If life will go on as usual, that means that DOS will continue to grow and prosper. Hopefully, other dioceses will start to emulate the DOS and that will indeed change the trajectory that you are describing. Archbishop Dimitri’s policy of mission planting and encouraging evangelization helped his priests and parishes to effect the growth in DOS that is so exceptional in the USA. Thus, as long as the Metropolitan, the MC and the Chancery staff do not get in the way, we will continue to keep on growing. We have clergy and laity who believe and trust in the Lord, and. if you think about it, that is what we truly need to succeed.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Well now, Carl, you’ve set the DOS up for failure. What makes you think that “the Metropolitan, the MC and the Chancery staff” are not going to get in the way?

        • I think that it will be as in the days of Archbishop Dimitri of blessed memory. That is, the missionary ethos and zeal of the DOS deans, parish rectors, deacons, sub-deacons, readers, choir members, handmaidens, acolytes, etc… will continue to burn with love for the Lord and our communities. We will move forward simply because we are cheered on at all times with a cloud of witnesses and because we are helped by the Lord, His Mother, the saints of North America and all His saints.

          • Another one says


            I think you might underestimate two things with respect to returning to the DOS of yesteryear.

            One, just how much Vladyka Dmitri shielded the DOS from the intervention of Syosset over the years. His genius was in part how subtly that was done. Occasionally you’d hear him talk about autonomous diocese, but quietly. He just ignored them whenever possible.

            Second, the DOS has gone from a non entity within the OCA to a growing source of revenue to the OCA. Now the DOS is big enough that the OCA will never let the DOS return the “days of Archbishop Dmitri of blessed memory.” The DOS will be brought to heel, and any bishop elected will be firmly in alignment with Kishovsky’s vision for this church.

            More’s the pity.

            • George Michalopulos says

              I know. Even if we give them the names of two nominees who are clean, they will go out of their way to find lacky. Dn Eric Wheeler is the preferred choice of the Syosset Set.

      • Carl,

        There are no guarantees , as you well know, that the DOS will continue to grow. I hope that it does but the South was in the unique position since 1978 to be in a demographically growing part of the nation with a bishop who’s heart was for missions. It is one thing to take advantage of that and quite another to revive dying parishes. I agree with you 100% that no Church can survive unless it has an aggressive mission-planting attitude. Sadly in the other dioceses of the OCA since 1978 those efforts have not emulated the DOS, but that is not to say that it can’t. It will take strong leadership by diocesan bishops willing to think beyond the here and now and plant communities where the shifting demographics can benefit from new missions. It will mean closing other parishes that have died. Needless to say, the OCA is not the only Orthodox Church that is actively planting new missions. As in other things for the OCA the unknown is if its seminaries will be able to produce the needed number of new clergy to fulfill a full-throated mission-planting plan. All these things are interrelated.

        The South is still dotted with many very small communities but headed by missionary clergy who sacrifice much to be on those front lines. Sadly I know of at least two groups of folks who would like to start new missions in the south but are reluctant given the actions of the OCA in recent years. The OCA will have to deal with that reality of rebuilding trust. They will have to stop their internal “cannibalism” as one high-ranking Greek priest observed. That will take time and while that is happening other jurisdictions without the internal machinations of the OCA will not wait. In the end the more new communities planted by any jurisdiction bodes well for Orthodoxy in this land, but the OCA has a long way to go to regain a measure of stability for such reluctance on the part of would-be OCA mission plants to be overcome.

        History teaches that there are no Orthodox Churches in Asia Minor, where once it was a bedrock of Orthodox witness. But like the Church in Albania, new growth can take place as it has under the inspirational leadership of Archbishop Anathasios. Visionary, inspirational leadership is the legacy of Archbishop Dmitri of blessed memory. It will take that those types of qualities for the OCA going forward and time will tell if it has such men to be such leaders.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Thanks for the thoughtful post. I agree that bishops, like all leaders, need to have personal charisma and not rely on their official authority if they are to have success as leaders. However, in the DOS we have in place priests who were nurtured by Archbishop Dimitri and they are continuing to function as before, even if they may be dismayed at the turn of events. I see them turning to each other, to be led by their deans and senior priests. I see them fired up still. in spit of their disappointments, establishing new missions and continuing to fight the good fight. (I apologize here to folks from outside the DOS; I simply have lost touch with the other dioceses). I honestly do not think that the future of DOS depends on OCA having a great primate, MC and national officers–good, competent ones will be sufficient. I think that DOS will continue to flourish under the current Metropolitan, the Holy Synod, chancery and Metropolitan council. Here is praying that we get a bishop who will be supportive of his priests so they can continue to excel.

          • Carl,

            Thank you for your kind reply. One of the things that distinguished Archbishop Dmitri of blessed memory was that in spite of what was going on in Syosset while he was the bishop of the South, he pretty much followed the saying, “What goes on in Syosset stays in Syosset.” He worked very hard to insulate the DOS from Syosset and only called on their good offices when it was necessary. That was also part of what he instilled in his clergy in the South. As he use to like to say, “Tend to your own knitting.” In other words, stick to you work in the parish and let me deal with the synod and Syosset.

            Whoever the next bishop of the South is, in this current climate of overreach by the MC and the Synod into the internal affairs of dioceses, such an approach will not be, how shall I say, a preferred quality in a potential bishop on the synod. In particular, the mission creep of the MC is a totally new thing in the OCA’s history, SMPAC, Ethics, Crisis and other various committees. All of this blurs the lines of responsibility between a diocesan bishop and the syosset/mc axis thus, I would suggest making it more difficult for a diocesan bishop, like Archbishop Dmitri to keep his diocese insulated from what he considered nonsense and distraction from the missionary work of his diocese.

            In theory you are correct, a new metropolitan makes little difference in the day-to-day life of a parish in any diocese, however the next bishop of the South will be expected to dictate the decisions of the synod in a much more forceful manner than Archbishop Dmitri ever did or believed he should.

            I don’t think a free-thinking independent styled bishop like +Dmitri is what the new OCA is looking for and certainly the idea of a free-thinking independent +Jonah going back to the South as a diocesan bishop has been rejected. A tip off as to the expected attitude for the next bishop down here?

      • What a joke, Carl. The bishop of the DOS was chosen to lead the church in that direction and look what you guys did to him? Your denial is willful, but it is still denial. There will be no “emulating the DOS” now that the synod has roasted Dimitri’s chosen successor and feasted on his flesh.

        Enjoy your celebrations, but face reality if you hope to succeed going forward.

        • Does no one here still think that the Synod will give in to public pressure and allow +Jonah to have Dallas. At least here he’s “far away” and “can’t get into trouble as long as he doesn’t ‘interfere’ outside of his diocese (which, knowing the Christian that he is, he will probably not.)

          I still think he could be a wonderful fit for the South.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Of course he would be a wonderful fit. That’s why he’s toast.

          • What public pressure? 4-6 persons protesting and a very small number and percentage of votes (17 votes in each of the ballots, or 2.88% and 1.49%) do not indicate a great big clamor, do they?

            • Carl is right, but more importantly, look at the dog that did not bark in the Miami meeting.

              • Disgusted With It says

                That is because the bishops are well-schooled in Marx: “Religion is the opiate of the masses.” And they sure do use that as much as they can to their advantage.

          • Public pressure? Reread the votes for Met. Jonah or some outside candidate at Parma? Go to AFR and listen to the heart cry of the laity and clergy of the OCA for honorable and just treatment of Met. Jonah…it’s the one with shortest runtime 0:00 secs. What will they not dare to imagine they can do to the DoS?

            God may yet preserve Vladyka’s labors in Christ’s southern vineyard, but if so, it will be a miracle of divine intervention more than any expression of good will, and Pastoral love for the people of the DoS by the Holy Synod.

            Then again…they may hedge their bets…and risk bishop that we would actually hope to have as an anchor against what might happen if they tried to force a “hostile” candidate upon us, especially if it is has become their plan to release Met. Jonah to ROCOR. If they do and ROCOR takes him, and if they locate him anywhere near the coasts of the current DoS, then that will be a signal from the MP that even Syossett cannot ignore…and soon enough the DoS of the OCA will return to 14 or 15 parishes served out of the cathedral in Miami, while the greater part of the DoS petitions to join ROCOR or votes with their feet to enter ROCOR. I think something close to that is a real risk..a danger that even they must comprehend. Then again, the DoS may be the fly in their ointment of their vision for the OCA and they may do all they can to encourage us in the DoS to go elsewhere individually or en masse.

            If they plan to put a punitive candidate on the throne of the DoS…they would be doubling down on the lack of resistance they felt at Parma, and doubling down that the rank and file of the DoS will meekly accept someone hostile to Vladyka’s vision and work…more willing to tear it down than build upon it . But if Met. Jonah by then is with ROCOR and the DoS is saddled with an effective anti pastor….then the days of the DoS in the OCA as it presently exists will be truly and shortly numbered.

            Given the general quality of our priests in the DoS and their forbearance, it would take something like a major bit of punitive meddling with the Throne to get them to a place they would actually consider leading their flock elsewhere….but if the Synod ever manages to tread across that threshold…that is the day the OCA steps off the cliff towards not mattering much anymore…the last little old transexual left tottering about New England can turn off the lights.

      • In my experience, the DOS is in much, much, much better health than the Diocese of Eastern PA. I have been in mostly all of the OCA churches in Philadelphia and, to try to put it mildly, it is simply so sad. There seems to be no missionary zeal, no effort or energy to attract new members. The parishioners are pleasant, but there are so few parishioners anymore (relatively to the very large church and impressive church buildings), it is just so sad. Few of the OCA churches there have Vespers (I think because so few parishioners live in the city near the churches anymore that no one would come?). The OCA cathedral in Philadelphia (St Stephen’s, I think) has become much more Russian as of late, and it seems that membership at the very beautiful St Nicholas church is low these days (so, so sad). Assumption of the Virgin Mary church is in the same predicament, I think, and they have a young, energetic pastor as far as I know.

        I have also been to the MP and ROCOR churches in Philadelphia — yes, mostly Russian, but much more vibrant and many more members. These days when in Philadelphia, I prefer to worship in Slavonic at the MP or ROCOR parishes because it is simply not as depressing.

        Compare with the DOS — majority convert parishes, people energetic, a much more young parish population as well. Part of this is probably cultural — going to church in the South is still a thing that a lot of people do, while in the Northeast a lot of people have given up church altogether.

        But the mindset in the parishes are so different — in the DOS, it is focused on evangelism and on attracting new members. In the Northeast, the focus seems to be so insular and internal — on how we can preserve ourselves and on prepping for the Russian festival. One model grows, the other model doesn’t.

        Whoever is the next bishop of Eastern PA is going to have a very hard time growing the diocese I think.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Yeah, and whomever the Holy Politburo allows to be bishop in the South will undoubtedly work the same EPA magic that Tikhon worked.

    • Disgusted With It says

      Speaking of the DOS, did anyone make it a point to make introductions between Fr. Gerasim and the synod? I mean it would be a shame if they were all together at a church event, YET AGAIN, and none of the bishops were to ever meet him.

    • “+Tikhon will try and be a peacemaker” — not a bad thing in my little world…..

      • George Michalopulos says

        Ordinarily I’d agree with you. Peace will not happen though as long as Jonah continues to be maltreated.

        • And, as long as +Jonah does not ask his supporters to pipe down.

          • Mark from the DOS says

            Silence in the face of injustice is no virtue. +Jonah’s silence has been true obedience, love and respect for the HS. But you still want that pound of flesh, eh?

            If the HS were, after five months of inaction, to release +Jonah or provide for his future service within the OCA, then I think there would be little said by any of his supporters other than “Thanks be to God.”

            It is the continued inaction of the Synod that is to blame., not +Jonah’s failure to speak when he has been told not to.

          • You mean Patriarch Kirill?

      • Disgusted With It says

        But unfortunately “peacemaker” on the OCA synod means he won’t rock the boat. He will probably just allow them to continue the status quo of not investigating uncomfortable situations for the bishops’ “friends” and the like. And that’s exactly why he’s wearing the white hat right now. We’re back to the good ‘ol days of accountability only applying to some people.

        • George Michalopulos says

          He will allow the SMPAC renegades to go full throttle. Even allowing old cases to be opened. Lawyer up!

    • Nikos said:

      “Gerasim may be the odd man out because of his previous ties with +Jonah, however he too is undergoing rehabilitation under the tutelage of +Benjamin so his litmus test will be if he will be a synodal team player.”

      “Rehabilitation” implies that there was some wrong doing on the part of Fr. Gerasim that he needs to be rehabilitated from. The Synod wants to get to know Fr. Gerasim better by having him serve as a priest in an OCA parish where his pastoral abilities can be demonstrated. While he certainly has experience as a monastery Abbot, confessor, and spiritual father, he previously did not have any experience as a parish priest in the OCA and so his current placement is not completely without reason. Whether or not Fr. Gerasim has been handled fairly by the Synod, it is important to make clear that he has not been accused of any transgression from which he must be “rehabilitated”.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Jason, your words are true as far as they go. However you fall into the trap of testing him as a “parish priest” as opposed to his career as an abbott. IMHO, we need more abbotts as bishops than parish priests. For one thing, they’ve undertaken the ascetic struggle more completely. Second, they are beholden to nobody. Third, America will never have more and compact dioceses as long as we are beholden to only promoting parish priests as bishops.

        I say this because I am more convinced than ever that only married men should pastor parishes.

        • I agree with you, George. We need more genuine monastics as bishops, and experience as a parish priest is not essential. My main point was that ‘Whether or not Fr. Gerasim has been handled fairly by the Synod, it is important to make clear that he has not been accused of any transgression from which he must be “rehabilitated”.’ In other words, I don’t necessarily agree with the Synod’s decision, but wanted to point out that they didn’t make that decision in order to “rehabilitate” him after some moral transgression.

          Regarding bishops being taken from the monastic ranks, I could only imagine what the GOA would look like if bishops were recruited from the Athonite monasteries within its jurisdiction. No doubt there will be many on this list with no real experience of these monasteries who would balk at the idea, and I don’t think the GOA is ready for such a thing, but I think this could be a great blessing for the GOA. My understanding, however, and please correct me if I’m wrong, is that the GOA guidelines stipulate that only celibate parish priests can be made bishops, so monastics without parish experience are not eligible.

          • George Michalopulos says

            I have no essential quarrel with what you’ve written. The problem is that with the new soviet/psychotherapeutic paradigm that is regnant within the OCA, what guarantee does anybody have that their priest or bishop won’t be trundled off to St Lukes?

          • “We need more genuine monastics as bishops, and experience as a parish priest is not essential.”

            Very true. Case in point:


            I’ve read it, and I highly recommend it for those disappointed by the status quo in the OCA.

            Needing more prayer and less blog reading, I’m taking my leave of you all. Wishing all God’s peace and blessed Nativity Fast and Feast.

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            I could not disagree with you more. Experience as a parish priest is absolutely essential for anyone aspiring to become a Bishop. A parish is not a monastery and the faithful are not monks and nuns. A Bishop must have a good understanding of his people and their lives and most importantly how hard it can be to be a parish priest. He must understand how parish councils work and how they should work with their priest. We live in an increasingly anti-Christian society and a Bishop must understand the secular society in which he will have to function. I am not calling for a lax Bishop or for one who compromises the Orthodox Faith, but for one who has the pastoral experience necessary to be a Pastor to his Diocese. It is also necessary for a Bishop to have the sense to distinguish between what is Holy Tradition that can never change and customs that can change.

          • Jason,

            The “rehabilitation” I was referring to was his friendship with +Jonah over many years and his sponsorship into the OCA by +Jonah. The good monk Gerasim needs to be taught that he no longer is loyal to anyone but the synod. I did not mean to insinuate that he had done anything morally wrong, except be a friend of +Jonah, which in itself can be a very dangerous thing these days! 😉

          • Bruce Wm. Trakas says

            There is no criteria in the GOAA that encourages or limits priests eligible for elevation to the episcopacy to have been parish priests. In fact, most of their time pastoring parishes tends to be rather limited. Having served as a deacon to the Archbishop of America seems to have some unofficial importance, with 3 of 9 metropolises, including the so called Direct Archdiocesan District, having hierarchs who had been a deacon or the archdeacon to Archbishop Iakovos.

            GOAA hierarchs seem also to have tended to have had experience in administrative posts with the Holy Archdiocese, prior to their episcopal elevation. Archbishop Demetrios currently has 3 auxiliary bishops who have administrative responsibilities with the Archdiocese, one is the current Chancellor. I’d bet that they are all in line for elevation to one of the Metropolitan Sees, should one become available. His former Chancellor is the Metropolitan of Pittsburgh.

            I think the failings of some hierarchs, as indicated by the documented actions of Bishop Matthias of Chicago, point out the importance of monastic experience, enabling a man to grow into and live the “angelic life,” “not being a part of this world.” This is within the canonical tradition of the church, too. But a bishop should also have experience in administering a parish to understand what is involved in parish operations, the parishes they supervise, the parishes that have issues brought to their attention that require episcopal counsel, the parishes that he will be imposing responsibilities upon.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Bruce, when all is said and done, and the history of American Orthodoxy is written, it is going to be the monastic bishops who will be remembered.

              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                Being a monastic and being a Bishop are different things. A man may filed with the Holy Spirit and a gifted spiritual adviser, but lack the skills necessary to administer a Diocese. A Diocese requires both a spirit filled man and a good administrator. Most or all, it requires someone with understanding of the situation of his clergy and faithful and the good sense that they are not monastics and a Diocese is not a monastery. I would never vote for someone for Bishop who had not spent significant time as the Pastor of a parish. Nothing would be more disastrous than for a Bishop to try to run his Diocese the same way that one runs a monastery. It is very dangerous to try to impose monastic spirituality on clergy with families and laity in the parish.

        • Not from the recent experience, George.

  19. Michael James Kinsey says

    Pick up your crosses and follow the Chirst. This does not mean, it is necessary to obey ruling bishops, Authentic Christians will continue to be faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. They may rule the Synod, but they can never rule the heart of the Chosen. Personally, I wouldn’t follow these bishops to a dog fight ,if it was between my toes. It’s their chuch, let me know if it ever become the Christ’s. I am done here.

    • Pick up your crosses and go home. Christ has left the OCA, the Lord does not condone murder. This is a Church of murderers, from the homosexual loving priests in the Northeast to the SOB’s that ripped His Beatitude to pieces the same limp hogs that installed Tikhon of Parma. Someone above called for an leadership that would inspire, well that won’t happen anytime soon, will it? They will fill the vacancies with the same waste products that they continue to spawn. Things will not change for a generation or more, by then the OCA will be a footnote in a long out of print book. All hands abandon ship! Abandon ship!

      • Again, what exactly are you smoking, injecting or digesting?

      • Disgusted With It says

        I assume Photius means spiritual murder, for which there is a good case to be made.

      • Thomas Paine says

        Good, go abandon ship. Your twisted view of the OCA and it’s leaders is just that, twisted. Certainly not reality. Go to ROCOR because we all know, they, only they, have the real truth.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Trouble is, ROCOR & MP is growing, the OCA is contracting.

          • Maybe so, George, but I’ve spent some time tonight going over statistics for American Orthodoxy (from Fr. Jonathan Ivanoff, and from the Patriarch Athenagoras Institute), and the demographic situation is pretty grim all around. Inasmuch as this blog focuses on the travails of the OCA, it has been a real education to see how critical the situation in the OCA is. You posted a working document from the Spring 2012 meeting of the Metropolitan Council, in which the imperative of evangelization and parish revitalization was discussed, in light of the near-catastrophic demographics facing the OCA.

            I find myself wondering how on earth any of this is going to amount to anything in light of the leadership crisis. I know I live in something of a bubble, but here in the Diocese of the South, where most of my Orthodox friends and contacts live, the people I talk to are walking wounded in the worst way. They are clinging to their own parishes, but faith in the church leadership is nil. And that frightens people about the future. Even folks who didn’t involve themselves in the politics of all this when Jonah was the Metropolitan are worn out. Again, I don’t presume to speak for everyone in the DOS; I’m just reporting what I’m hearing. It’s not even anger any longer; it’s just numbness and weary disgust.

            How do you evangelize as an OCA parish when many people doubt that there will be any such thing as an OCA in five to 10 years? Serious question. Granted, nobody becomes Orthodox so they can join the OCA (or the Greeks, or the Antiochians, et al.), but rather to know Christ through Orthodoxy. Still, there’s the matter of parish stability and faith in the corporate future…

            • I want to add, George, that from what I’m hearing — your experience, and that of various readers, may differ — is that this weary disgust is not simply the legacy of the turmoil surrounding Metropolitan Jonah, but weary disgust over the last 10 years or so in the life of the OCA: the moral rot at senior levels of the Church, and the inability of the Church to deal effectively with this chronic sickness within its own administrative body.

              You and I, George, have come to somewhat different conclusions about the fitness of Met. Jonah for the white hat, but we both agree that the way he was treated by the Synod was and is disgraceful. Whatever Jonah’s failings — and I believe they were significant — he stood for reform, and for a renewal of evangelical zeal. That was so appealing to many people. Orthodox from other jurisdictions would tell me how much they envied us having a leader like him. I would have conversations with non-Orthodox who had become curious about Orthodoxy after hearing him, or reading something about him.

              Now that’s gone, and it’s not coming back, because the Synod does not want that sort of thing. I accept that, but I am completely confident it will in time prove to have been a fateful — and fatal — decision. In rejecting the person of Jonah, the OCA’s Synod and apparat also rejected a vision of the Orthodox future. Many ordinary Orthodox Christians grasp this, and despair that the patient can be saved. One reason our small Orthodox community in the small town where I’m living didn’t consider appealing to the OCA for a mission (or rather, a full-time priest for the mission we have here), even though we’d gotten together the money to pay for a full-time priest, is because in light of the way things have gone in the OCA at the Synodal level these past couple of years, we don’t have any faith that there will even be an OCA five or 10 years from now. We are all making a huge investment of our time, talents, and money into establishing this ROCOR mission, and we’re doing so with confidence because we believe that whatever ROCOR’s own problems (and no church is without them), the Church’s leadership can be trusted, and the Church itself is stable.

              • Dear Rod,

                Thank you for your voice of reason and charity. I will pray for your mission efforts with ROCOR. Over 33 years ago, I became an Orthodox Christian at St. Mary’s OCA Cathedral in Minneapolis with my eyes wide open. Since then, with the recent past events, my “loyalty” to the OCA has pretty much ended. I have many dear friends, both in the laity and clergy, and pray for their futures, as God wills.

                Again, thank you for your input to this forum.

                • Thanks, Rebecca, for your generous remarks. I found myself grieving last night for the Paffhausen family in the loss of Met. Jonah’s sister, and thinking about the crosses that family has had to bear in these last two years, especially in these past few months. Even if one concedes that Met. Jonah at some point brought some of these troubles onto himself, it seems perfectly clear to me that he is far more sinned against than sinning. Whatever the case, he is no longer a threat to any of those people in the Synod. They’ve broken his power and influence; he is at their mercy. I have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes in negotiations between his representatives and the Synod, but I am sure many will be watching closely to the way the Synod treats him now as a sign of whether or not to stay in the OCA. This, because it will be a bellwether for whether or not the OCA is worth saving.

                  I cringed last night when I looked on the OCA.org site and saw a big headline and photo celebrating the new metropolitan’s appearance at the DC cathedral, and below it a short notice about Met. Jonah’s sister’s death. It didn’t escape my notice that while Met. Tikhon was celebrating liturgy in the cathedral that used to be Jonah’s (and in which he is forbidden to set foot, if memory serves), Jonah was at the bedside of his sister as she died.

                  The thing that I remain skeptical over is that any of this will matter to the Russians. I’ve been hearing for two years now that Moscow is getting mad about all this, and they’ll come over and get the OCA sorted. But nothing happens. Seems to me that the OCA Synod is poking the bear, confident that the bear is not going to get riled up, no matter what. It’s a dangerous game to play, but who’s to say the Synod’s calculations are wrong? They haven’t been so far.

                  • Rod, I noticed that, and that they also took the opportunity to prominently refer to His Beatitude by their scornful and idiotic deprecation of his title.

                    But I think it is best to ignore their stupidity for now, and grieve for Laurie, and pray for her family.

                    • Helga, as a point of information: it was unusual that Metropolitans Theodosius and Herman were granted to use the title “Most Blessed”/”His Beatitude” after their metropolitanate ended (and I’m not sure why this was granted). Returning to “Most Reverend”/”His Eminence” is the normal practice.

                    • Max,

                      As a point of curiosity, what precedents are you referring to? Name your sources for such demotion as a “normal practice.”

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    Rod-On OCA.org news listing, the most recent is the first one. On November 18th, two stories were posted: first the notice about Laurie (may her memory be eternal) and then the one on Metropolitan Tikhon’s first liturgy at his cathedral. I bet you a dozen doughnuts that if the order had been reversed, you would have also complained.

                    • Keep your donuts, Chester. I’m not complaining about OCA.org. Of course it makes sense to lead with the new Metropolitan’s first liturgy at his cathedral. My point is that the juxtaposition of those two stories tells a tragic tale.

          • Whether the OCA grows or shrinks does not distress me apart from my desiring financial and spiritual stability for the good priests and other clergymen therein. My prayers are for more people to discover Christ in His Holy Orthodox Church, and for those people already within her haven to grow in Christ. Jurisdiction is quite secondary, so long as truth is taught and the Orthodox faith of our Holy Fathers can be lived. This has been my viewpoint for well over thirty years, even though it still seems but a tiny minority perspective.

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        Nonsense. Christ will not ever leave the OCA. Christ does not leave any part of His Holy Orthodox Church. We may as sinners not follow Christ and sin, but the Church is the Body of Christ and cannot sin. There may be corrupt Bishops and immoral Priests, but Christ is still in His Holy Church despite corrupt Bishops and sinful Priests. You should not be so devoted to one hierarch that you would consider leaving the OCA because things did not work out. I am not taking sides for or against Metropolitan Jonah, but he is now history. The OCA must go on with Metropolitan Tikhon and the clergy and faithful should accept the decision of the Holy Synod. The Church is not a democracy and should not be. I have been in a Church that operated as a democracy, the Episcopal Church, and we all know what has happened to the Episcopal Church.
        Christ’s presence in the Church is not dependent on the worthiness of the clergy. Christ can work through a sinful Bishop or Priest. He must, because all Bishops and Priests are sinful.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Fr, with all due respect, why can’t we say the same thing about the Church of Rome? Is the Holy Spirit still resident there? (Not a rhetorical question btw.) While I wholeheartedly agree that the Church is “not a democracy” I very much believe it is not a kleptocracy or kakistocracy either. I’m sure there is much place for due process. If Jonah was a heretic, schismatic, or moral reprobate, then he should be removed but only in a canonical fashion. And I would be calling for his removal. (For the record, Jonah wasn’t a heretic, schismatic or moral reprobate and he wasn’t removed in canonical fashion.)

          I’m afraid that many Orthodox are triumphaslistic when they say that a local church can’t perish. North Africa in the first millennium was the backbone of Christendom. Asia Minor was as well. The patriarchate of Babylon was bigger than Rome. There is no Church in these lands, save for some fragments that are not in communion with each other or with the other patriarchates on a haphapzard basis. What do you think will happen when the OCA reverts to Stokovite form and punishes bishops who dare to engage the culture? Syosset is now firmly wedded to the GOA/Archon view of cultural engagement, that is to say not any at all. What is important to these people is not monasticism, traditionalism. or orthopraxy but seeing how many pictures Bishop X can take with Suzy Starlet and Gov Arnold Actionfigure at the next Ritz-Carlton shindig.

          You may say that your beloved Antiochian jurisdiction is in no danger of going down this primrose path and arguendo, I agree with you. But now two of the three largest jurisdictions are no longer sympathtic to your Metropolitan’s morally stalwart stance. The remaining traditionalists within the OCA and GOA of course wish your jurisdiction the best but together the GOA and OCA have outflanked you.

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            I do not know that it is true that two of the three largest jurisdictions “are no longer sympathetic to” Metropolitan Philip’s stand on the moral issues. Our Metropolitan has said nothing on moral matters that is not the teching of our Church. I have not read or heard any statement from any American Orthodox Bishop of any jurisdiction challenging the standard Orthodox position on sexual morality. I have seen several postings by the Bishop’s Assembly and the Greek Archdiocese of the old SCOBA statement on the issue of same sex marriage, but have seen nothing contrary to that anyhwere in any official Orthodox sight. Those who know me best, know how trusting that I am. I find it very difficult to believe that any man could serve in an official position in a Church like ours knowing the teaching of the Church while secretely living an immoral life. Not that we all sin, but some sines are so great that they should automatically merit removal from any office in the Church. That woluld include any form of sexual immoratlty. Thus, far I have seen nothing by any OCA Bishop that openly endorses homosexuality or any other kind of sexual immoratly. The one case of sexual trangression that has been acknowledged but did not lead to the suspension of the Bishop cannot help but make me wonder how anyone can criticize us over ouir treatment of my friend Bishop Demetri, who is still not allowed to serve.

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            No we cannot say the same about the Church of Rome. The canons clearly specify local self government with no provision for any kind of universal jurisdiciton or supremecy like that claimed by Rome. Indeed, it is not possible to reconcile the organization of the Church specified by the canons with the Roman claims. The canons, however, do not specifically define what powers the local primate has and what powers the local Bishops have. There is some room for local variation. There is no one size fits all model in the canons for the administration structure of an autocephalous Orthodox Church, except that the ultimate authority is the Holy Synod which has authority over every Bishop including the Patriarch or whatever they call the Primate. I do not think that is a good thing to have too much division within a national Church. That means that I believe that wherever I go in the Antiochian Archdiocese, I should find the same basic liturgical practices and same rules concerning non liturgical matters such as marriage and divorce, etc.

            • Fr. John, I respect you, but which version of “the canons” are you reading?

              Specifically which canon says “the ultimate authority [in an autocephalous Orthodox Church] is the Holy Synod which has authority over every Bishop including the Patriarch”?

              According to your reading of these same canons, who is a member of this synod? And likewise, how does it exercise its despotic authority (for example, can it act based on a 50% +1 vote?)?

              In the English translations I have read, the canons are very clear that no bishop except the primate can do anything outside his own diocese.

              There is only one reason to support poorly defined governance structures, and that is so they can be manipulated. Or I suppose because there is so little unity that the body in question cannot agree on a way forward.

              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                Canon XXXIV. (XXXV.) of the Holy Apostles.

                The bishops of every nation must acknowledge him who is first among them and account him as their head, and do nothing of consequence without his consent; but each may do those things only which concern hisown parish, and the country places which belong to it. But neither let him (who is the first) do anything without the consent of all; for so there will be unanimity, and God will be glorified through the Lord in the Holy Spirit.

                This canon establishes the principle of adminisntration of the national Church by a council of the Bishops led by the Primate.. In time this evolved into the Holy Synod of an Autocephalous Church and the Local or Eparchal Synod of a Self-Governing Church. The position of “head” evolved into the Primate sometimes called a Patriarch as in Antioch, Russia, etc. or an Archbishop as in Greece, or a Metropolitan as in the OCA.
                The Holy Synod discusses matters of the Autocephalous Church and makes its decision. At least in Antiochian practice even the Patriarchate cannot override a decision of the Holy Synod, but must accept the will of the majority. Often in Orthodoxy, decisions are made by consensus.
                If the Holy Synd is not the hightest authority of a local Church, what then is the highest authority in an Autocephalous Church?
                A council representing the clergy and laity has no doctrinal authority. That is a majority of the Sobor or Archdiocesan Convention of the Antiochian Archdiocese cannot change the doctrine or worship of the Church.
                Naturally the highest authority in the Orthodox Church is an ecumenical council.

              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                I just realized that I did not answer your first question. I got the quote in my answer from the Internet. I keep all my theological books in my office, including my copies of the canons. I cannot go to my office at the Church right now because I am stuck at home recovering from a total knee replacement. I use two versions of the canons. I have an old copy of the Rudder, which I believe is no longer in print. I also use the volumn on the Ecumenical Councils from the Nicene Fathers. You ahve to be careful with the English version of the Rudder because it was published by a group loyal to the condemned heretic Apostolos Makrakis. They added a lot of commentary that is not really part of the canon law of the Orthodox Church.

        • Michael Bauman says

          That’s not what the Bible says. The candlesticks can be removed.

  20. Brad Day (Barnabas) says

    The Newly Elected Metropolitan Tikhon is a surprising and not so surprising choice. I got to personally know him, during my twelve years of monastic formation there, when he was known as Fr. Mark. He is a quiet and humble person, who doesn’t say much unless he actually has something to say. He was known and continues to be known as a peacekeeper. Peacekeepers are easy targets in public life. Especially now, when it has become a common past time for some people to publicly trash the bishops over the internet. Some people will not like or trust Metropolitan Tikhon because he is not a charismatic public speaker and/or because he is quiet spoken and a reserved person. Some of those same people will no doubt begin to fabricate and spread conspiracy theories about him. Such will be his cross. May God grant Metropolitan Tikhon many, many years of service to our beloved Church. – Riasaphor Monk Barnabas (Day), St. Tikhon’s Seminary Class of 1999.

    • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

      Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!
      Well put, based on my limited encounters with His Beatitude Tikhon. Although he also can be eloquent.
      Unworthily I agree also with Observer that now he needs our prayers.
      Many years to His Beatitude Tikhon!
      Please pray for me, a sinner,
      Alf Kentigern Siewers

    • What you say sounds good regarding the new Metropolitan Tikhon, but the big problem that he has to overcome, repent of, and ask forgiveness for, is his part in forcing the real Metropolitan to hit the road. It is a kind of “Come back Shane” scenario. The fact is, Shane (Metropolitan Jonah) won’t be coming back.

  21. Put your energies into praying for your new Metropolitan. He appears to be a very good Christian, a man with a pure heart. God can use such a man for His purposes. Remember, the scriptures say that Moses was very meek and look how the Lord used him. Have faith in God. It is a new beginning- give God a chance to work. Our part is to pray.

  22. Metropolitan Tikhon certainly has his hands full. For those who are getting on the band wagon and taking shots at George now, just remember that he is not the one who is accused of molesting a boy in Canada, he is not the bishop who is involved with in a relationship with his deacon, he is not the one who slandered and never retracted his remarks about Metropolitan Jonah, he is not the one who was teaching quack psychology at a monastery, etc.

    Under the circumstances, I think Metropolitan Tikhon was the best choice that anyone could make. But the truth of the matter is that he is extremely passive and if history is any indicator, he will do little to clean up the OCA. (Kinda sad isn’t it?)

    I voted with my feet several years ago and haven’t looked back. I do, however, pray for my friends in the OCA who hang onto the dream of the OCA. We should all go to the churches that help us best with our salvation, and if some wish to remain with a 20,000 member jurisdiction that is not really part of the rest of the Orthodox world, they are entitled to their choice. Who really cares what’s taught at monasteries anyway, right? It’s not like we actually see these people on a daily basis. The same is true with all of the homosexual clergy. We’re not in their bedrooms at night so what should we care? And why should we care if one man like Metropolitan Jonah is thrown to the curb or a little “touchy feely on a camping trip” with an archbishop is covered up or a few inappropriate emails are exchanged between a bishop and a young woman. Hey, they’re consenting adults, right? You people who are bashing on George, I apologize. The more that I think about it, you’re the smart ones. Enjoy your OCA. But do me a favor, keep it to yourselves.

    • “jurisdiction that is not really part of the rest of the Orthodox world”

      Thank you Patriarch Nicholas for your august verdict. As long as you are asking the folks in the OCA to do you a favor and keep her to themselves, I wonder if you could return the favor and keep your opinions to yourself.

    • Disgusted With It says

      I think the OCA (outside of the DOS) HAS been keeping it to themselves, as evidenced by the declining membership numbers. They’ll just continue to keep up the good status quo work.

  23. It was a robber council.
    Its’ results are those of a robber council.
    All who brought it about and conducted it, brought about and conducted a robber council.
    All who participated in it, willingly or unwillingly, participated in a robber council.
    And all the historical facts underlying it are now a matter public record in this blogsite.

  24. It was a robber council.
    Its’ results are those of a robber council.
    All who brought it about and conducted it, brought about and conducted a robber council.
    All who participated in it, willingly or unwillingly, participated in a robber council.
    And all the historical facts underlying it are now a matter public record in this blogsite.

    • From what I read and hear, there was almost 100% sheeple at the . . . whatever it was.

    • And the entire Orthodox world will recognize it as valid and send their congratulations…the non-Greeks, at least.

      • Well, those who do will announce their agreement with Met. Jonah being deprived of his canonical right to due process with respect to the charges against him. Not good!

      • Son of Job #2 says

        Maybe not. They may see this as treason by bishops. Especially the letter.

    • Thomas Paine says

      No robber council. A robber council is one set up in opposition to a real council to push through decisions a normal council would not. Parma was none of that. The representation of the entire OCA was there. The voting was open and complete. The entire Church spoke. No opposition forces; no “robber council” just the entire Church speaking in unity.

      • George Michalopulos says

        “The voting was open and complete”? Then why did not the #1 vote-getter get the white hat?

        • The number 1 vote-getter received far less than a majority of the vote. Just like +Jonah did not at any point receive even 50% of the vote, although he was indeed the one with the most votes. I suppose plurality means something more in Oklahoma than the rest of the universe. Besides, I know that you know that the delegates do not elect, they nominate. I know that you know that the Holy Synod elects the Metropolitan in secret. So, why are you saying nonsensical things?

          • Disgusted With It says

            But Mr. Kraeff, you would have to admit it is disturbing that for weeks before the meeting bishops were overheard saying they were going to elect +Tikhon, while at the same time preaching to the clergy and delegates to pray hard as they consider their vote. Then “poof!”, surprise! Guess who just happened to be in the top 2 (thanks to some good politicking) and chosen over the #1 vote-getter/nominee. I assume you mean well, but take off the rose colored glasses.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              For weeks folks here have talked about who the Holy Synod was going to pick, regardless of the nomination vote. The likely winners of the “pre-determined” Synodal vote were Bishop Michael, Archbishop Tikhon or Bishop Melchisedek. It happened! One of them made it! Thus, everything was pre-arranged! What a crock.

              BTW, how can you present as a fact, the unsourced and for all we know completely bogus speculation that “for weeks before the meeting bishops were overheard saying they were going to elect +Tikhon”?

              • Disgusted With It says

                This didn’t come from “folks here”. It came from “folks” I know who heard it directly from the bishops themselves. Originally the preferred choice was +Benjamin, but then it changed to +Tikhon after the Manton issues went public.

                Don’t believe me if you don’t want to, it’s your choice, but if you believe everything this synod and administration tell you then you might as well believe fairy tales too. You are being used. Good luck with that.

              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                That is how it works in the Orthodox Church. The clergy and laity in some jurisdictions have a right to nominate candidates for the episcopate, but the Synod actually elects the new Bishop. As Orthodox Christians we have to believe that the Holy Spirit works through the Synod to select the right man for the episcopate.

                • Gailina Sheppard says

                  Question: Does the Holy Spirit work through the Holy Synod to enthrone a diocesan bishop and if so, is it the providence of the metropolitan to redefine his God given role in the absence of any wrong doing? I am asking this question in the context of “how it normally works in the Orthodox Church.”

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    The way it normally works, as in any other organization, the top leader–no matter how the organization is set up, may try to “redefine” his role. For any such redefinition to occur in the Orthodox Church, the top leader must acquire personal authority to be able to enlarge his canonical or statutory authority. Let’s keep in mind that it is an absolute requirement for the Metropolitan to obtain the unanimous consent of his brother bishops. Sometimes such consent is obtained ahead of any major policy statements (follow the decision making process to the letter). Other times it is done in anticipation (it is better to forge ahead and ask for forgiveness later). It helps for the Metropolitan to be popular by the laos (personal charisma) or to be backed up by the state (derived authority). The problem with any Metropolitan forging ahead too many times either without getting consent (or in spite of disagreements) is that he had taken an oath do be obedient to the Holy Synod. in addition, in many churches, the Holy Synod is the supreme canonical authority. Thus, the Holy Synod is the real authority in the Church that has the competency to decide whether the Metropolitan is acting within bounds or has exceeded canonical or statutory norms. Therefore, to answer your question, it is not “the providence of the metropolitan to redefine his God given role.” For any head of the local church to do so would be tantamount to having a super bishop, like the Roman Catholic Church does. Absolutely heretical.

                    • Heretical?

                      You are conflating so many different things in just one post that I don’t even know where to start. It is obviously not worth the effort anyway.

                      But I will say it has been instructive to watch you guys floundering around in your own minds with your own pet theological ideas, putsing around and nursing your own preferred visions of this whimsical fairyland you call “my Church,” or if you are feeling your oats: “Holy Orthodoxy”.

                      The very fact that your clearest definition of yourself comes when you say “not like Rome,” and the fact that so much of your own attention is focused on Rome, really does help point an outsider to where the Church and legitimate spiritual authority must be.

                    • Suppose the synod comes to the new primate and says, “We want you to make us a strawberry cheesecake.” The primate responds, “Is this your unanimous decision?” The synod says, “Yes.” The primate thinks about this and responds, “I’m not going to make you a cheesecake.”

                      I ask you sincerely, is this primate a heretic?

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    No it is not the province of a Metropolitan to redefine his role. But is is the province of the Holy Synod to define roles and decide how the Church is to be administered. That means that there is no universally applied model for Orthodox administration, but that each autocephalous Church is free to apply the principles of the canons according to its specific needs. In any autocephalous Church the ultimate authority is the Holy Synod. As long as the Holy Synod does not do anything heretical it is free to administer its own affairs. If the Holy Synod somehow embraces heresy, the rest of the Church can step in and demand that Orthodox teaching be restored. In some cases when there is a conflict that cannot be resolved by the local autocephalous Church, the Ecumenical Patriarch can call a meeting of the representatives of the other autocephalous Churches to intervene as he did a few years ago in Bulgaria.

                    • Why bother with a constitution, statutes, etc., if the synod can do whatever it wants?

                      If what you are saying is true, the corporate documents would only need to do three things: (1) define the membership of the synod, (2) define how it makes decisions (for example, majority vote), and (3) define its powers as despotic. Everything else could be handled through the minutes and official proclamations of the synod.

                      If what you say is true, the OCA Statute is a charade and a waste of time, if not in fact a cynical lie.

                    • Fr. John, are you saying that the Canons of the Orthodox Church that deal with the administration of the Church are not obligatory?

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      To PdnNJ

                      Not at all. I am saying that the canons are inspecific and refject different times in the history of the evolution of the Church. For example, the canons do not specify how local Church becomes autocephalous or give a specific list of the rights of a Metroplitan and the rights of a Diocesan Bishop. Thus, there is room for interpretation according to the needs of each autocephalous Church. Throughout the history of Orthodoxy there have been different administrative models . Some give more power to the Primate than others. Some allow the laity and clergy to nominate candidates for the episcopate for election by a Synod of Bishops. Others only allow the Synod to nominate and elect. It took a great deal of effort by Metropolitan Philip for the Antiochian Archdiocese to win the right to nominate our own Bishops here in America. At one point, the Holy Synod declard that only the Holy Synod could nominate and elect and that we have no authority to even nominate candidates for the episcopate in our Archdicoese. His Eminence successfuly won for us the right to nominate our local Bishops and for our local Synod of Bishops to elect local Bishops. He also won for us the right to nominate three candidates for the office of Metropolitan to be sent the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate for them to elect one of the nominess approved by our clergy and laity to be our Metroplitan. There was a period of confusion when we switched to tne new system of local Bishops, but eventaully the Holy Synod worked things out and now peace reigns in our Antiochian Archdiocse.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      I realize that I did not adequately answer your question. The North American Antiochian Archdiocese is not an autocephalous Church, and cannot make up its own rules. Despite our self-governing status we are still subject to the Holy Synod and Patriarch of Antioch. The Holy Synod of Antioch is the ultimate authority over the the roles of local Bishops. In our case, the Holy Synod decided to apply to our Archdiocese the same standards applied to other Archdioceses within the Patriarchate which are headed by a Metropolitan assisted by local auxiliary Bishops. . For example, Metropolitan John is the head of the Archdiocese or Europe and has three auxiliary Bishops, one in France and two in Germany.

                  • Archpeiest John Morris says

                    I assume that you are making a not so veiled reference to the problems of the Antiochian Archdiocese a few years ago. What really happened was that we went through growing pains. We went from one Metropolitan to diocesan Bishops but had not clearly defined the authority of the Metropolitan and the authority of the diocesan Bishops. It took some time to work things out and reach an understanding about how we would apply the new system. I personally believe that the Metropolitan should have authority and not be a figure head with no real power. It is also important that there be uniformity of practice and liturgics within the same jurisdiction. I should be able to go to any Antiochian parish and be able to concelebrate without any difficulty. In some other jurisdictions the translation of the Divine Liturgy and other practices differs from diocese to diocese and even from parish to parish. I do not believe that that is a good thing. We need a Metropolitan who has the authority to hold the Archdiocese together. One thing that Metropolitan Philip is very concerned about is that we only use approved translations of the Divine Liturgy and other services of the Church to preserve our unity as an Archdiocese.

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    Thank you very much. I have had hypoglycemia for over 30 years, but the last 6 months, it has gotten really bad. I am seeing a doctor who specializes in diabetes and hypoglycemia, but had to cancel my next appointment until I have recovered more from a total knee replacement. My wife who recently found out that she is a diabetic had terrible ulcers on her foot and has been in the hospital since Nov. 7.

      • “The entire Church spoke.” “just the entire Church speaking in unity”

      • It was a “robber” council because it was the culmination of Met. Jonah being “robbed” of his canonical right to due process wrt the charges against him by those who instigated and conducted it.

    • Dear Father Deacon–Have you lost your senses? Slurring the church that you serve in this manner is at the very least shameful.

      • Didn’t slur “the Church.”
        Be careful what you accuse others of based on your own misunderstanding.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Physician heal yourself!

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Dear Father Deacon–The last time I checked, you were attached to an OCA parish. I apologize if I am wrong.

          • So is Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald)

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Dear Father Deacon–If you had not noticed, I had chided Bishop Tikhon. Now, it is your turn.

              • C. Kraeff:
                Is this what you mean?
                scold, chastise, upbraid, berate, reprimand, reprove, rebuke, admonish, censure, lambaste, lecture, give someone a piece of one’s mind, take to task, rake/haul over the coals; informal tell off, dress down, bawl out, blow up at, give someone an earful, give someone a roasting, give someone a tongue-lashing, come down on someone like a ton of bricks, slap someone’s wrist, rap over the knuckles, give someone hell, take to the woodshed, have a go at, give someone what for, chew out, ream out; formal castigate; archaic chasten; rare reprehend.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  I had meant it in the following sense: “to voice disapproval to : reproach in a usually mild and constructive manner”

                  While we are at it, why not look at all aspects of the word?

                  Rhymes with CHIDE: bide, bride, eyed, fried, glide, guide, hide, pied, pride, ride, side, slide, snide, stride, thighed, tide, tried, wide.


  25. Affirm Courage: Heal the Abused & Abusers 

    Glory to Jesus Christ!
    Dear Presbyter Anonyma,

    We thank God and I praise your letter which states the silent ministry of each presbytera, protonica, dobrodijka, preoteasa, khorea, mother, and matushka for centuries. It is painful and saddening to realize that such messages still need to be shared in an anonymous fashion. It requires courage to declare anaxios at any time, even when facts make it blatantly obvious. God bless you for taking courage to do so in a detailed, discerned fashion.

    What creates deep consternation is the observable silence on this issue from men – clergy and male laity. The lack of response leads one to perceive some type of hidden complicity, false guilt or fear of being criticized or other reason. These are God’s children that are to be protected by men who bear the fullness of ensuring the safety of God’s women and children.

    Healthy patriarchy protects, prevents, heals, nurtures, educates and saves as coworkers with our Lord. Healthy patriarchy deals with the issues discretely, tenderly but completely with courage defusing the fears, despite the squeamish nature of sexual abuse and our own sexuality. Many healthy fathers: we thank God for what you are in fact doing. The rest of us are to rise to embrace this yoke and cross with grace and love.

    Authority and truth come from within the Church, the Body of Christ, not from an office perceived to be above the body. “The Holy Spirit – The Church,” reigns in truth not as the authority of an office or the officer alone. Bishops preserve, protect and proclaim the fullness of the faith from within the fullness, the circle of the Church. Bishops testify and correct while they bear the honor of character to do so.

    The Orthodox Church in America struggles with transparency, truth and graceful discipline. The Synod of Bishops flounder about as they are being taught in our time, how to function by grace and truth in the context of abuse cases, with the added maddening exposure the internet provides. However, God’s grace is at work to freely unveil all darkness to the light. We are all coworkers of grace with God in this regard. His light is within us.

    Truth is like oil (on water), it always rises to the top.
    Правда як олива, завжди випливає на верха.
    Ukrainian saying

    For this reason we need to pray incessantly to Mother Olga of Alaska for her protection and healing of all of the faithful – especially the abused and the abusers. Remember – most often only the abused abuse. These include the manipulative and power hungry. As the Lord embraces each and every one, so must we for the upbuilding, repentance and healing of each person concerned.

    Our common efforts to ask God’s mercy by praying the Akathist to Matushka Olga is a first step. Her prayers and ours can increase an awareness for healing the abused girls, women, and boys but also for the prevention of abuse and protection of these children of God. This needs to be affirmed and entrenched in all parishes and families. Much much education is needed, affirmed, repeated, in “Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into…” the lives of youth and young adults.

    “Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into…” the lives of youth and young adults.

    Lovingly with gentle firmness and truth, the educating of boys and men on how to treat girls and women is needed. Affirming girls and boys and ourselves as temples of the Holy Spirit – filled to the brim with amazing humanity creates God’s grace for sobriety and wholeness. When these qualities will be fostered in all times and places, abuse can and will be prevented. “The Light of Christ illumines all.”

    Matushka Olga of Alaska shines today for us – a light of gentleness, tenderness, meekness and insight for healing and guarding the wholeness of children and adults. St. Herman of Alaska, our Ever Blessed Theotokos and Joseph the Betrothed all guide us and teach us in our ministry to children and adults. Let us turn to them with open hearts and minds, to let the balm of grace pour out through them and us to all.

    Akathist to Matushka Olga of Alaska

    An article on the Life of Matushka Olga of Alaska by now Deacon Kevin Wigglesworth.

    Matushka Olga teaches “God can create great beauty from complete desolation.”

    You are all God’s co workers in spreading the gospel of Christ.
    When we spend more time praying and loving than criticizing, we see real fruit from our efforts.

    And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life. Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

    Phil. 4:2-4

    What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

    Romans 8:31-32

    "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." Romans 15:13

    Rejoice in your perseverance and dedication to the truth with grace.

    In Jesus Christ,

    Tymofiy Hawrysh, Reader
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

  26. These sentences are taken from the magazine of the organization The Voice of the Martyrs
    “As American Christians we face similar questions{as Christians living in lands where persecution is the norm} that begin with the cross. The cross or prosperity? The cross or popularity? The cross or family and friends? The cross or comfort?

    Following God requires answering these questions. ”

    Maybe God is trying to find out what is really important in our lives.

  27. Heracleides says

    What really happened at the Parma Council – “Empty” – viewable here.

  28. Fr. George Washburn says

    Hello friends:

    It has been a tough couple of weeks for most of the people who participate here. I feel a little sheepish about having replied to Job # 2 on a different thread here last night without affirming his pain. Before I did reply to him, however, I looked back at the Sons of Job editorials, and I do not feel bad for having criticized their counter-productive approach to the very tough issues facing the OCA …and all of us.

    Some of what we see here in my opinion may come from confusion about the role of the Metropolitan. In OT Israel we saw a sort of divinely ordained separation of powers with prophet, priest and king functions performed by different people in most cases.

    A Metropolitan certainly isn’t the king, and one wonders how the other roles – prophet and priest, to say nothing of administrator, are to be combined in a single individual? The leader, at one and the same time, of a perpetual revolution against sin and an old and tremendously tradition-drenched bureaucracy and all the agendas and human cross-currents that implies!!! God help us…and him. There is a part of me that is glad to see Met. Jonah off the direct path to a heart attack that it seemed to me he was inexorably soldiering toward.

    In a corporation it was traditional, I believe, to draft a job description and simply go out and find someone who they thought fits. From what little I know of management, that often seems to involve trimming off, or trying, probably with little real prospect of success, to reshape, the parts of the guy that do not fit, and usually leads in turn to frustrated expectations, expensive internal frictions, turnovers and restarts, and endless alternating cycles between opposing poles and viewpoints.

    Some wiser heads in the business realm, I think, call rather for honestly assessing the available candidates, choosing the one you think is the best *approximation*, but with some realism about what this particular person does NOT bring to the table, and then trimming the *job description* to fit the guy. I really don’t know how, in the real world of church politics and against the backdrop of a “difficult,” shall we say, history, how do you even get that kind of candor and honest dialogue started? And with whom? Certainly not with the anonymous on the internet, at least not after the first few minutes.

    Nobody has all the tools to perform all those tasks beautifully. In our spoiled brat, fantasy-addicted age of entitlement without responsibility, compounded by all the magical thinking, hidden agendas, and other handicaps that churches operate under, we demand to have it all ….and then subvert and trash the people or institutions who do not deliver on the fantasy. I think this was part of the Met. Jonah story.

    Yes, there have been bad guys who never should have held office in the first place, or stayed there so entrenched, but while being realistic about them we must not yield to the temptation to let past wrongs set the tone or the terms of the attempt to go forward or tempt us, as it did the SoJ editorial writers, into wholesale and unfair smears. False expectations among many other things are near the root of the problem, not to mention the unhealed passions of us all.


    Fr. George

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Dear Father George–May I add some additional thoughts?

      One of the problems with a Primate is the different expectations that exist regarding his role and authority. On the one hand, Archbishop Dimitri believed that the OCA Primate was akin to a Chairman of the Board–he called the position the Presiding Officer of the Holy Synod. On the other hand, there are some who think the Primate is a super-bishop–not merely a diocesan bishop who wears a second hat as the Presiding Officer of the Holy Synod, but one that is the head of the local church, with the diocesans being subordinates. My view is that Canon 34 is effected best with the first approach. OTH, there have been heads of local churches and jurisdictions who have acted more like the second approach.

      I would think that one way to regularize this situation would be to rotate the primacy amongst members of the Holy Synod. This way the temptation to inflate the position would be diminished. Another way would be to either expand the pool of candidates in accordance with 1 Timothy 13 or to restructure the governance of the Church. There has been sufficient ink on the former, so I will address governance.

      In a very real sense, priests are Deputy Bishops; they have most of the roles and authority of a bishop (as defined by the diocesan of course). Amongst priests, there is additional differentiation: assistant priest, rector and dean have differing responsibilities and levels of authority. If the bishop is smart, he will use his priests wisely and delegate as much responsibility and commensurate power as he can. I remember that when it came time for the US Air Force to implement quality, the way it was done was to devolve responsibilities and authority down to the lowest possible level. It worked; first, because it was more realistic to spread responsibilities and authority around (as not every boss is equally adept), and second, because there was more of a buy-in from the subordinates (who put more thought and effort to their own projects than to their bosses’ projects). So, what I am saying here is that we should normalize the way a healthy diocese runs: Bishop, Chancellor (one of the deans), Chief Deputies or Deans, Deputies (or parish priests), as well as Assistant Bishops (Deacons) and laity with specific subject area expertise. Moreover, institutionalize the roles, responsibilities and authority of the Deputy and Assistant Bishops so that you have continuity and prevent monarchical and/or capricious rule by a diocesan bishop. This way, instead of putting all sorts of expectations on our bishops, we spread roles and responsibilities and will have an excellent chance to come up with a well functioning diocese, even if any of the leaders is less than stellar.

    • Disgusted With It says

      Fr. George,

      Are you saying that what the SoJ writers have said is fantasy? That you know the allegations are not true? Because if that is the case, I can tell you there is so much more they haven’t reported that would make you thoroughly disgusted. I think these folks have just finally reached the tipping point and want to see their church cleaned up. Simply pretending the problems aren’t there does not solve them. In fact, it makes them worse. What do you say to a priest who knows first-hand that such immoral things are happening within the highest levels of the Church, “Just let it be, it’s not for us to question them”? Ask the local RC priests how that tactic worked out for their church. The issue is not about one man. It’s about all of us being played for fools by our so-called leadership.

      You are very lucky to be in a jurisdiction with moral leadership. I would hope you can try to be a little more understanding of those who are not.

  29. M. Stankovich says

    Pardon me for intruding into this, apparently, never-ending story, but my post yesterday was an attempt to announce the 80th birthday of Bp. Tikhon (Fitzgerald). A full 25 of those years he served as the OCA Bishop of San Francisco and the West. Perhaps my “announcement” was too nuanced or subtle, but there is not one word of congratulations for him. You might reconsider…

    • George Michalopulos says

      You are right, I should have said “Many Years!” publicly instead of through the email.

    • Gailina Sheppard says

      I chose another means to acknowledge his birthday, as well, as did 40+ people that chose to do it on Facebook, alone. Again, “many years, Your Grace!”

  30. Southern Discomfort says

    I have a question for readers from the Diocese of the South: What would it take to make you leave for another jurisdiction?

    It’s obvious to me that Parma is the end game for the whole +Jonah debacle. He is not going to be bishop of the South. I know there are some people clinging to that hope, but it’s pointless. As some commenter on this thread put it earlier, there was no demonstration of pro-Jonah sentiment at Parma. Even the DOS Assembly in Miami was not exactly a hotbed of resistance. Unfortunately, the world of Monomakhos readers is not the world of the OCA, and this was proven at Miami, and at Parma.

    What next? Do we wait to see who the Synod sends as the DOS bishop? Do we reach out to ROCOR about starting missions? Do we just keep on keeping on in our local parishes, and make ourselves not think about the national church? How do we know what to do?

    My personal opinion is that the OCA has signed its death warrant. I am not saying that I want that to happen, but I think it is inevitable, because +Jonah represented the evangelical zeal of the Church, and the Diocese of the South did too. +Jonah is history, and the DOS is flat on its back, morale-wise. Maybe I’m wrong, and it only seems like that because all my friends are depressed about the future of the OCA. I might be living in a bubble, for sure, and things might not look as bad to most of the OCA as they do to me and my circle.

    What I am too worn out to do is keep reading angry blogs, which feed my own anger, and to hope in vain that something might happen to turn this mess around.

    What is Plan B?

    • It is hard to say. I’m disappointed in recent events but am not each to jump ship from the OCA to elsewhere…though I admit at this juncture is a very tempting idea. I too am tired of being outraged and angry at the latest twist of the knife. I am confused about the Holy Synod, I know people, priests among them who speak well of various of them, yet collectively they did what they did without a word of explanation that makes sense. I could even have accepted that Met Jonah’s a really nice guy, a godly man, but his administrative style is a bad match for the administrative needs of working as synod in the spirit of conciliarity, have him step down at Met. and be given one of the presently vacant dioceses and rejoin the synod, and pick someone new. That would be honest and straightforward without any mendacity or recrimination…just trying get the best man for the job at the helm, nothing more, nothing less. But nothing like that happen, his character was defamed under OCA administrative cover, and a number of punitive restrictions put upon him as if he had done something wrong. And we get chirping crickets.

      The Holy Synod confuses me, as I said, and for the sake of others I know and trust I am willing to concede that there are good and ostensibly godly men among them (some). But what they have done in doubling down on falsehoods concerning Met. Jonah, and the they have handled it since has destroyed my collective trust in their governance. I have none left…not for them as they are presently constituted.

      The thing is though…they are not, so far as I know heretics, or the espousers of heresy…though some it seems may be moving in that direction. Not likable, not trustable, is not the same thing as not any longer being an Orthodox Christian and not therefore being capable of remaining as an Orthodox Bishop. To me there is something fundamentally awry in principle, if sometimes not necessarily awry in practice, to pick a church and a bishop the way one might shop for coffee. As others have said to me, unless they can keep me from loving God, serving Christ, and praying it’s not worth my soul to get overwrought about them.

      My experience of the Orthodox life is at the parish, not the diocesan or national level. By God’s grace and mercy I have a wonderful parish and a wonderful priest and he has tried very hard to encourage his flock to not become entangled in this present distress, but rather pray, serve one another, preserve the peace of our hearts and trust God. It would take a lot to convince me it was God’s will to walk away from such a priest and parish…almost no matter what happened politically in Syossett (or however that lexically confounding name is spelled).

      So the following would be my personal threshold to leave the OCA:
      1. If we got a new bishop who himself became disgusted with what has and continues to happen in the OCA and petitioned to go to the MP.
      2. If we were given a brutal/uncaring/incompetent shepherd intent on punishing the DoS and undermining the legacy of Vladyka, Ab. Dimitri, then if parishes began to petition the MP, my own parish included, I would be inclined to follow.
      3.The only way I would leave as an individual is if the OCA were declared unorthodox any longer by the other Orthodox jurisdictions and my parish refused to leave, or if MP/ROCOR started a mission near where I live that was significantly closer to me than my present parish (it’s 2 hour drive for me one way right now, and I go almost every week) That way I would be leaving for more sensible reason…to go to a parish that is much closer to where I live.

  31. Nicholas Sandoukas says

    This may have been addressed already in the comments section, but I have not read thru the comments section due to how toxic it normally is. My question is when we will get the details on the lack of a deal with Met Jonah? Also if this was addressed in the comments section why was no new story posted on the main page of this web site?

    • How do you give details on the lack of a deal? The Synod has behaved in a manner that would seem to indicate that they intend to destroy this man, and his reputation, and make it virtually impossible for him to get a job to support himself. It could be said that the ring side seat that his sister had for their unChristian humiliation of him contributed to her decline and death. The stress on his aging parents through all this is unconscionable as well. Heck of a deal so far.

      New Metropolitan has been elected. Nothing to see here. Move along…

      • Totally agree, despondent.

        We got a little information about it from Stokoe’s interview with Svetlana Vais, apparently Metropolitan Jonah has been offered various “positions” and rejected them. No comment on the actual feasibility of those positions, or whether the Synod means to put him through the six months of “therapy” in order to take them, or what would happen to his parents in the meantime.

        Metropolitan Jonah has no real future in the OCA.

  32. Carl Kraeff says

    Just to bring y’all up to speed on the congratulatory letters that have been received so far:

    His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia

    His Eminence, Archbishop Leo of Karelia and All Finland

    His Beatitude, Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine

    His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chair of the DECR of the Moscow Patriarchate

    His Eminence, Archbishop Justinian of Naro-Fominsk, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA

    His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

    His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph and His Grace, Bishop Daniil of the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada, and Australia

    His Eminence, Metropolitan Zachariah Nicholovos of the Northeast American Diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church

    His Eminence, Metropolitan Alexios Mar Eusebius of the Diocese of South-West America, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church

    • George Michalopulos says

      Enjoy yourself Carl. I hope you enjoy those “congratulatory” letters when you come to the realisation that you made Laurie’s last days really miserable. Hope you and your Stokovite overlords sleep well at night.

      • gloat |glōt|
        verb [ intrans. ]
        contemplate or dwell on one’s own success or another’s misfortune with smugness or malignant pleasure.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Your criticism is misplaced. Please direct them to the persons who signed these letters of well wishes to Metropolitan Tikhon. BTW, did you really think that this would not happen? Again, the world has not and does not revolve around the OCA and certainly not around +Jonah. Grow up!

        • George Michalopulos says

          Yeah, I actually believe that there is a thing as justice, so I guess the joke’s on me.

          • Don’t confuse “justice” with “what I think should have happened.”

          • Michael Bauman says

            God’s justice is different that ours. St Isaac the Syrian says that we can know nothing of God’s justice, only His mercy. Which is reflected in Portia’s speech in the Merchant of Venice where she says, “in the course of justice, none of us should see salvation.”

            It is the quest for justice that makes those who are prusuing the latest scapegoat feel justified and allows them to use any means to achieve their “noble” goal.

            The way of righteousness is not the way of justice. The Israelis and the Moslems in the Middle East are in a constant quest for justice and we Orthodox all too often join in. Death and destruction are the fruit. Justice is of the law (at best). At worst it is simply the passion for human vengenace and the desire to dominate according to human will.

            As long as there are significant numbers of people in the OCA who make the quest for justice their goal, the OCA will continue to fail. After all is not the principal behind normalization of homosexual behavior “fairness” or simple justice?

            The nature of God’s justice is revealed, IMO, the the parable of the 11th hour and the Paschal Sermon of St. John Chrysostom but also the parable of the wise and foolish virgins.

            “So I beg you…have mercy”

            If you cannot have mercy at least celebrate with Thanksgiving all the joys of creation in each and every day. Then we will be too busy to seek or expect justice.

          • Carl is acting childish-ignore him. Justice will come and surprise us . . .

    • I’m puzzled why all the congratulating hierarchs would go along with +Jonah being denied his canonical right to due process.

    • George Osborne says

      I find this list very odd, Carl. Don’t you? Where are Greek local churches? The GOA American archdiocese? The Church of Antioch? The Romanians? The Poles? The Japanese? The Finns? The EP? The Carpatho-Russians?

      Oh, yeah, silly me, I fogot. THEY DON’T RECOGNIZE THE OCA as a local church (with some window dressing exceptions!)

      Maybe some more Oriental Churches will pop-up or RCs.

      I would say that just dressing up someone with a white hat doesn’t necessarily make it all that big a deal to the rest of the Orthodox world!

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Nothing has changed. This is as it was in 1970, 1977, 2002 and 2008. BTW, the Finns sent in their usual congratulations.

        Regarding the Greeks (Constantinople, COG, Alexandria and Jerusalem), I find it odd that they continue not to say anything at all. I am saying this because the enthronement of the new Pope of the Coptic Church, with whom there is no communion, was attended by the EO Patriarchates of Alexandria and Constantinople and effusive letters of congratulations was penned by the respective EO Patriarchs.

        • Exactly, nothings changed. There is no movement in the direction of any other Jurisdiction joining the OCA to form one unified Orthodoxy in America. No one is coming into the “fold” anymore. Instead there is another jurisdiction -Georgia- on our soil, which is growing and taking more people away from the OCA. They are not interested in coming under the OCA banner-no one is. The experiment is dead in the water.

    • Personally, I’m puzzled and perplexed why any congratulating hierarch would thereby accept Met. Jonah being denied his right to due process as specified by the Holy Canons of our Church?

      • George Michalopulos says

        Yeah, I can’t wrap my head around that one. That would be like POTUS congratulating the new President of Krapistan after he assassinated the previous President.

        • George,

          One cannot have their pie and eat it too. Perhaps those who are congratulating Met. Tikhon are merely bestowing upon each other earthly rewards and praises because they may not be granted an eternal one.

          Remember that St. Seraphim of Sarov, St. Nektarios of Aegina, and many other modern saints were despised by their own bishops who were never recognized as saints themselves. Wasn’t St. John of San Francisco sued by members of his own flock?

          Lord have mercy on us and save us.

        • ProPravoslavie says

          It is important to remember that while the Patriarch of Moscow “congratulated” Met. Tikhon, he did so while reminding Met. Tikhon to treat his predecessor well. It should also be remembered that while ROCOR congratulated Met. Tikhon as well, the same ROCOR continues to treat Jonah as a real metropolitan.

          The Mosow Patriarchate does not seem ready to go into another ecclesiastical war, this time in America. Around the time of the council in Parma, Pat. Kirill was in a sudden visit to Jerusalem, where the huge bills being claimed by an Israeli utility from the Holy Sepulcher was high on the agenda. Then, just a few days ago the Patriarch of Constantinople was again quoted making noises about making Ukraine “autocephalous” and that it is Constantinople’s “canonical territory”. There is also the continuing fall out from P***y Riot and the Russian media’s continued war on the Russian Church (most recent battle being the slander against the Sretensky Monastery having a brothel). Any move by the MP right now to “seize” OCA will doubtless be presented in the Western media as another malevolent attempt by the neo-USSR to put a foothold in the USA , and will only magnify its current problems.

          At present, the most that the MP and ROCOR can do is to acknowledge OCA, but only barely.

          Just a few weeks ago, all ROCOR and MP hierarchs in the Far Abroad met in London, and only a couple of weeks ago Met. Hilarion (Alfeyev) was going around USA, largely ignoring the OCA and even discussing the situation in OCA with the head of the GOAA. These all seem to be signs that something big is just around the corner…

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            This is interesting. We forget that there are other things going on besides our own chaos. I expect a continued cold shoulder treatment by the MP towards the OCA.

            Let’s face it, the OCA now needs at least 3-5 years of absolutely no controversy between then and now for things to settle down. I seriously doubt that that’s going to happen.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Not with you stirring the pot, George.

              • Carl,

                You are backing a dead horse. The OCA will not be able to get out of its own way. I wish all the best for the new Metropolitan but he is inheriting a broken Church and there is nothing in his background that would lead one to believe that he has the skills to right the ship unless he makes bold moves to cut from the dysfunctional OCA and chart a fresh and new course. The OCA is in a free fall and the latest unforced error of Jillions to link the OCA with the opinions of Mark Stokoe, Mark Stokoe who has not shown his face in his home parish for the last two months, now being the spokesperson for the OCA?

                The utter ineptness of the OCA now having three former Metropolitans? What Church in the Orthodox world has three former Primates still alive? Moscow will not relent in its disappointment and being embarrassed by the actions of her daughter Church. But there is no one to blame now. The OCA according to Stokoe has ended its TIme of Troubles, so all new ones can’t be blamed on anyone else but those who are in charge, including Jillions who is either so naive or cunning to allow Stokoe to stick it to the OCA’s Mother Church by his childish comments.

                No, things will not be peaceful in the OCA unless +Tikhon takes a firm hand and changes course, and I doubt that is why he was elected by the synod to be a change agent.

              • There is no need to stir the pot. The non-canonical behavior, the slander, the violations of the OCA Statutes are not going away.

        • Protocol requires these greetings.
          I wouldn’t read too much into it otherwise re HB Met Jonah.
          Moscow has already made its desires re Jonah known both publicly and privately, I’m sure.

    • Five (5) of those nine (9) hierarchs that congratulated the new First Hierarch are hierarchs of the same Local Church–the Russian Church, while (2) of the nine (9) are from hierarchs not in any Orthodox dyptichs.it’s true a minor hierarch of the Bulgarian Church also commented as well as the Finnish Church. So….THREE (3)of the Local Orthodox Churches produced congratulations on this momentous occasion of setting up yet another Hierarch in the OCA’s first place. WOW!

      • Carl Kraeff says

        I posted the greetings list to make the point that Moscow sent a strong message: She is not going to contest the turnover. However, before we make a great deal of those who sent in their greetings, let’s wait until what happens at His Beatitude’s enthronement. At +Jonah’s enthronement the following occurred:

        Among the guest hierarchs and clergy that were able to attend the Enthronement were:

        – His Grace, Bishop Mercurius, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, who represented His Eminence, Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, Patriarchal Locum tenens of the Church of Russia;

        – His Grace, Bishop Ilia of Philomelion, representing His Beatitude, Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana, Durres, and All Albania,

        – His Eminence, Archbishop Abel of Ljublin and Kholm representing His Beatitude, Metropolitan Sawa of Warsaw and All Poland.

        – His Eminence, Metropolitan Christopher of the Serbian Orthodox Mid-western Diocese;

        – His Eminence, Archbishop Nicolae of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America and Canada;

        – His Grace, Bishop Thomas of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America;

        – His Grace, Bishop Jerome of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

        In addition to visiting hierarchs,

        – Fr. Mark Arey, the ecumenical officer of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, who represented the Patriarchate of Constantinople;

        – Archpriest Jan Polansky, representing the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia;

        – Archimandrite Kirill Hovorun who represented the Church of Ukraine.

        Although unable to attend in person, His Eminence, Archbishop Leo of Karelia and All Finland conveyed his greetings in a message read at the Enthronement banquet.

        Source: http://oca.org/news/archived/his-beatitude-metropolitan-jonah-enthroned-at-st.-nicholas-cathedral-washin

        • George Michalopulos says

          For what it’s worth, ACROD just installed their new bishop, Gregory Tatsis. No one from the OCA was invited. However, I think the EP went on to screw things up by not inviting any MP bishops there, thereby overplaying his American-subjugationist hand. The ultimate loser regardless is the OCA, it didn’t even register a blip. I’d say our days are numbered.

          • Given that ACROD & the old Metropolia/OCA largely share the same DNA, it’s hard to read this as anything but a snub. Ditto the MP.

            • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

              Since the two US Ukrainian bishops were involved in Bishop Gregorys installation,it was quite prudent of the EP not to invite any Russian bishops,MP OR ROCOR.The Ukrainian Nationalist press would have really done a number on those two bishops.Though most of Ukraine is Orthodox,a large segment of the diaspora is Uniate Catholic.Many Ukrainian Catholics support the so-called Patriarch Filaret of Kyiv,who is not recognised by World Orthodoxy.Of course,by being part of World Orthodoxy,these two bishops Metropolitan-elect Anthony and Bishop Daniel,would be in communion with Moscow,but they have to tread a bit lightly here in the diaspora.They have already lost some parishes to Filaret as it is.
              The Patriarchate of Bulgaria is part of World Orthodoxy and Patriarch Bartholomew himself was at Patriarch Maxims funeral.However,I wonder how the Greek American press would react should a Bulgarian hierarch ever participate in the enthronement of a GOA hierarch.

          • Fr Jonathan Tobias says

            Way too many assumptions here, based on an absence of information.

            And then to go on with the analysis, and drawing inferences, based only upon a lack of data and gaseous assumptions is not the stuff of logic, but merely an exercise in cherry-picking information that appears to support conclusions already jumped to.

            We have our own American and Carpathian work to do. It’s the work of the Kingdom. I suggest you train your analysis upon your own purview — what you know, not upon what you don’t know.

        • Carl,

          The list you produce is not as impressive as the list for +Herman’s installation. I doubt that +Tikhon will have as good a turn out as +Jonah but for sure he will not have a list of bishops coming close to +Herman.

          • DC Indexman says

            What about the list of Bishops that will come to the enthronement for the new first hierarch of the Ukrainians here in the U.S. That service is now scheduled for St. Andrew Cathedral in Silver Spring, Maryland in January. Can you predict who will come for this one?

        • Archpeiest John Morris says

          The following was posted on the Antiochian web site:

          His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, on behalf of the hierarchs and all of the faithful of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, extends his best wishes and prayers for Metropolitan-Elect Tikhon, that the Lord will grant him many years, and that the Lord will richly bless our brothers and sisters in the OCA.

  33. Mark from the DOS says

    The Letter that Will Never Be Written

    Beloved Brothers and Sister of the Orthodox Church in America:

    Christ is in our midst!

    It is with great awareness of my own unworthiness, that I have accepted election as Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in America. I ask for your prayers, that God’s will be done and that the OCA, this vine planted by His right hand, be sustained, nurtured and by God’s grace permitted to grow.

    As I begin my service as Metropolitan, I am acutely aware of the pain, discord and anger amongst many of our members, resulting from the circumstances leading to my election. I feel it more than you can imagine, and I accept it as my burden to bear. For us to move forward together, we must renew and recover a sense of trust in the leadership of the Holy Synod. We, as heirarchs, understand that we cannot lead when those we ask to follow must first be convinced of our sincerity, honesty or motives. The broken bond of trust is our failing; it is my failing.

    As Metropolitan, I beg your forgiveness for my part in allowing this bond to be broken. I have sinned, and I have been unworthy of my calling as a Bishop in the Holy Orthodox Church. I cannot change the past, but I can change my future. I ask forgiveness for the pain caused to the faithful by the letter of July 16, 2012. Many parts of that letter were in error. Fr. Symeon was never received as an OCA priest. Metropolitan Jonah never knowingly shielded a rapist from prosecution or from church discipline. Indeed, records of the OCA show that Met. Jonah recused himself from the investigation because of his role in inviting the nuns and Fr. Symeon to the U.S. Upon recusal, oversight of any investigation fell on the Synod, and any failings are ours. I repent and beg your forgiveness for permitting that letter to be published without thorough vetting and verification. I am most grieved by the fact that the action of publishing that letter resulted in the media painting unsavory and untrue pictures of Metropolitan Jonah. I beg forgiveness for not immediately correcting those misperceptions. I ask this of you, though I am unworthy to receive forgiveness. I will privately prostrate myself and beg forgiveness from Metropolitan Jonah personally.

    Though I cannot undo what happened in the past, I can assure all who have been grieved by Metropolitan Jonah’s plight, that he will either be returned to active ministry for the OCA or released to another jurisdiction in the next 60 days. The details may take time, but I assure you that one of these outcomes will be achieved.

    Finally, I ask, again, for your prayers. I will not ask you to trust me. I will only ask that you give me, and the Holy Synod, the opportunity to earn your trust.

    An unworthy sinner,
    Metropolitan of All-America and Canada

    • Michael Bauman says

      If it were ever actually written, it would be the first step to healing in the OCA. Why not sent it to Met. Tikon directly and personally?

    • Sadly, such a letter will never been sent because the OCA is run by lawyers, who wrote the Stinkbomb letter to begin with, written to justify not explain, to punish, not heal. The synod must take full responsiblity for allowing it to be published, and they will not admit their grievous mistake. Why? Because they think they are right and did no wrong. That is how much in prelest they are under.

      In light of this, the OCA will continue to be afflicted by its sin toward Met. Jonah and like one who does not confess his or her specific sin without qualification, the OCA will be wounded and open to additional spiritual infirmity. Like a person, a Church can’t grow spiritually until it confesses its sin and repents.

      • M. Stankovich says


        And the open question to the former Met. Jonah should be:

        Before you would presume to seek the position of diocesan bishop, how do you intend to address your comments to the 16th AAC regarding the “disaster” that was the hallmark of your four years as Metropolitan, and for which you took full responsibility? Further, you stated that because of your love for the church and the faithful – and to “repair” the relationships with your brother bishops – you would do “whatever necessary,” yet ignored the recommendation of the professionals with whom you participated in a 5-day structured evaluation?

        It seems reasonable to believe that St. Luke’s recommendations for continuing care are as valid today as they were the day they were offered. Further, they were undoubtedly clinically sound and clinically supportable in an evidence-based diagnostic axis. Should the Synod members act as if they did not exist? As if “not being in charge” resolved the underlying pathology? Is it possible that this transcendent monastic is more than a bit manipulative?

        Perhaps, Nikos, my friend, that is how much in prelest you are under.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Why stop there? We could ask the remaining diocesan bishops how they justify their episcopates while they behaved in uncanonical manners themselves.

          • What would be the point of asking them? Rather, we should ask other canonical bishops in North America to evaluate the behavior of the OCA bishops. An investigation and an ecclesiastical trial.

        • Dear friend Michael,

          Why not contact Met. Jonah and ask him if that part of his speech was of his writing or given to him with the ultimatum that he either read it and do what it says or face retirement/removal as Primate. This is not living in pretest, these are the facts. It is up to you my friend to live with such a reality. God and history will be the judge of all these actions.

        • Jesse Cone says


          I always get a little giddy when people bring up that “administrative disaster” complaint against +Jonah because it hi-lights the problems with the OCA quite nicely.

          First, it hi-lights the fact that these administrative failings are so “disastrous” that no one outside the Syosset Circle knows or cares about them. Notice I’m not saying +Jonah doesn’t/ didn’t have faults as an administrator; just that they were of such a nature that forcing (or even allowing) such a mea culpa on a public stage is inappropriate to the point of idiocy.

          Thus, the second thing it it hi-lights — the disconnect between Syosset and the boots on the ground. +Jonah is loved and respected by Orthodox in the continent because of his wealth of gifts, but the Syosset Circle cannot or will not see it. Instead, they see vague, controversial disagreements between them and their primate as damning.

          The third thing is that they find this internal matter regarding their beef with +Jonah so damning they force their issue with him upon the rest of the OCA. The damage caused to the OCA because of some personal animosity against +Jonah is astounding. There are no winners — but some people seem ok with that as long as +Jonah is among the losers.

          The last thing is that administrative failure and inter-church turmoil has erupted after +Jonah. They don’t need his help to mess things up, they’re doing just fine on their own. They have a representational parish that is “losing” money in scandalous and fashion, and despite public pleading seem to be covering it up rather than investigating it; a bishop publicly humiliated and a Synodal response that demonstrates their double standards; a pitiful excuse of a reason for leaving their most lucrative diocese perpetually without a bishop, including the public cancellation of an election; a seminary in jeopardy due to allegations of conflicts of interest and illegal changing of bi-laws; a blistering indictment as a welcome to the new Metropolitan from their most significant ally; a libelous, vicious, and demonstrably false letter accusing their own primate, which has further trashed their own credibility with other jurisdictions by further substantiating the claim they “eat their own”.

          All this in the span of a couple of months.

          What, again, was +Jonah’s “administrative disaster”?

          • M. Stankovich says

            Mr. Cone,

            Let me respond to you before you actually drift off to the “Who are you & who cares?” obscurity file you deserve:

            In only a matter of several days, Nikos suggested I ask Jonah if he was “coerced” in his speech at the 16th AAC; Mr. Michalopulos has quite harshly challenged me to explain “exactly” Jonah’s relationship with the drunken, gun-toting, rape-accused absconded hieromonk; and now, Mr. Cone, you sarcastically ask me “what was Jonah’s disaster?” Now, on the one hand, I am a bit offended, and on the other, I am quite impressed with the near-existential quality of absurdity: you set a hedge around the Big Fish and would initiate a debate with me! Mr. Cone, you are a classic Trickster! Ask Jonah! Demand answers and “recompense” from him like you have everyone else! Too little “guile” in him? Too perfect a monastic? Too much the suffering servant of Isaiah? Nah. He lawyered up!

            There it was again… I know it was muffled, Mr. Cone, but I did hear this time: “Greyhound non-stop service to ROCOR now boarding at Gate 6.” Скатертью дорога!

            • Another non-answer answer by Stankovich. You really are the poster boy for the new OCA. Live inside the bubble of your own information. Pretty soon you will start quoting your own posts are proof-texts of reality. Anyone want to know what the OCA is going to turn into? Follow Stankovich’s posts. Classic.

            • Michael Stankovich,

              Aren’t you the person who wrote months ago that you knew that +Jonah had been offered a settlement of $1.8 million? You even wrote “written by his own hand” in reference to the existence of this settlement that you supposedly had seen or knew about. Why should we continue to read anything you write?

              You consistently fail to address legitimate points of discussion (the numerous, detailed questions regarding Syossett and the circumstances of +Jonah’s resignation) but instead attack the persons who raise those questions on this blog.

              And since when is seeking the advice of a lawyer wrong? “Lawyering up” is not a fault, nor is it un-Christian. +Jonah has not filed a lawsuit. He has merely sought the assistance of a lawyer in navigating the turbulent waters of Syosset’s documented incompetence. I’m sure if you were wrongfully terminated from your practice by your board of directors, you would seek legal assistance as well.

              And +Jonah is not a mere “monastic” as you continue to claim. He has been and will always continue to remain a tonsured monastic. But he is also an Archbishop and has attained the level of Metropolitan. An analogy… Let’s say a community organizer becomes a state Senator for three years then becomes the President of the United States. After Presidents leave office, is it customary for them to go back to their former salaries and jobs, or doesn’t their experience count for anything? Yes, +Jonah will always be a monastic, but he has served as Auxillary Bishop, Archbishop, and Metropolitan. Surely you must understand this?

              Why must you continue to insinuate that since someone is a “monastic”, that it is acceptable to heap abuse upon that individual? Monastics are not slaves or whipping boys simply because they have vowed obedience to the church. Your comments about +Jonah’s monasticism and your demand that he submits to ongoing abuse are very disturbing and troubled.

            • Jesse Cone says


              While it is not lost on me that you have failed to answer the most basic question posed to your perpetual accusations against Met. Jonah, I commend you on your public demonstration of the “this isn’t your church” attitude I have encountered over and over again from the Syosset Circle. A certain Protopresbyter gave me a similar response when I asked him if his criticisms of me applied as well to Mr. Stokoe.

              Honestly, I don’t understand much of what you write, but your anger is palpable.

              +Jonah, even in his weakness, showed us all the way forward. You just keep showing some of us the way out.

              • M. Stankovich says

                Mr. Cone, you transparent Trickster, you’ve already tried this “poor me, you reject me” slice of day-old bread on me previously and it’s as lame now as it was then: have you considered that if people are “repeatedly” showing you the door it just might be you? Might I suggest humility, obedience, and the desire to learn a wiser more prudent course of growth & endearment? Boo-hoo, indeed.

                You cannot argue that Mark Stokoe is a graduate of SVS in its heyday, and possesses a systematic, graduate-level education of Orthodox Theology. Likewise, you cannot deny that he directed national & international Orthodox educational programs ably and admirably for years. As I recall, none of these may be said of you. He earned a voice – and while you may vehemently disagree – he did earn it. You did not. To even suggests such a comparison is an insult to Mr. Stokoe.

                Nikos & Mr. Cone, the “debate” and the “resolution” will not be coming from me. The church has “resolved” all the necessary issues “by the wisdom of men and the Grace of the Holy Spirit,” as did those before, and as will those after us. All that remain are conjecture; and if there has been injustice, Our God, the Just Judge, has promised to resolve it. The church has chosen a path that diverges from this endless process of “dogs returning to their vomit,” and acknowledging “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.” (1 Cor. 14:33)

                I did not suggest you should leave, Mr. Cone – “In my Father’s house are many rooms.” (Jn. 14:2) – bit I was strongly suspecting that the atmosphere of the Divine Spirit of the recent council will make it necessary for you to listen rather than instruct, or you will find it intolerable and choose to leave.

                • Another who swears full faith and fidelity to Mark Stokoe. Sheesh. Glad the Holy Spirit was officially in Parma, according to you and Fr.Hopko because I guess He wasn’t in Pittsburgh according to the same great sage of telling us where the Holy Spirit is and isn’t.

                  Honestly I don’t know who is more full of themselves, you, Stokoe or Hopko. Birds of a feather, I suppose.

                  • Nikos, notice that Metropolitan Jonah’s cardinal sin, in the eyes of Syosset functionaries and other enablers like Stankovich, is not anything he actually did as Metropolitan, but his retaining legal counsel after the coup.

                    Apparently, having a lawyer is some horrible thing that monks are not supposed to do, although these people don’t object to spending ungodly amounts of money on the OCA’s legal team for their own benefit.

                    The truth is that the Syosset functionaries thought Met. Jonah’s monastic lifestyle meant that they could do whatever they wanted to him. They expected him to roll over and take the beating because he would never stand up for himself.

                    If they actually thought Met. Jonah was engaging in frivolous and vengeful legal action against the OCA, you would expect them to attack the actual merits of the case. But no, they attack him simply for defending himself.

                • Stankovich, I see you are waxing poetic on the “grace of the Holy Spirit” of Parma. Yes, it was so grace-filled, it had to be stage-managed. So blessed by God, the business of the council needed to be protected from honest procedural questions. So infused with the will of the people, the bishops had to cull delegates based purely on whether or not they had expressed critical opinions of the events that precipitated the council.

                  As I recall, Metropolitan Jonah attended SVS not long after you did, learned at the feet of Fr. Alexander Schmemann and Fr. John Meyendorff just like you did, earned the same M.Div you and Mark Stokoe earned, and even added an M.Th for good measure. He spent years working as a lay assistant in parishes, was ordained to the priesthood, was tonsured a monk, fostered several missions, and even MacGyvered a monastery out of the mold-eaten hermitage in Point Reyes.

                  Some might call that a degree of success in church work. It is certainly an advantage over one whose noble accomplishments include settling old scores with a church gossip blog.

                • Stankovich,

                  The educational merits and Orthodox accomplishments of Mr. Stokoe aside, please understand that your tone and argument tell young, enthusiastic converts like me that there is no place for them in the OCA.

                  After all, how could I proceed to graduate from SVS in its heyday and run Orthodox institutions and make friends like Mr. Stokoe? I am in my twenty’s.

                  Moreover, I do not set myself up as a foil to anyone — and even then questions still remain. If, as one Protopresbyter claimed, hierarchs should not be judged on the internet then why was it acceptable for Stokoe to criticize +Jonah? That question garnered not an answer, but an attempt to exile me from business in the OCA. Likewise why should my question asking you to spell out what exactly was the administrative “disaster” of +Jonah’s garner name-calling and bravado instead of an answer?

                  This behavior, from a select few, is likely to convince enthusiastic twenty-somethings that of all the Orthodox fields to labor in, it would be best to avoid the OCA’s.

                  That would be reasonable, no?

                  • Jesse, there is no need to waste your time building a time machine so you can attend SVS in the late 1970’s.

                    Stankovich’s listed criteria for “earning a voice” are completely self-centered and arbitrary masks for the real criteria, which involve being part of a coterie of SVS alumni and their renovationist bastardization of Fr. Alexander Schmemann and Fr. John Meyendorff. Metropolitan Jonah himself fits most of the criteria Stankovich listed, but you see how much credit that earns him, because Metropolitan Jonah doesn’t subscribe to their ideology.

                    • Helga,

                      SVS once Fr. Hopko took over as dean the school went into an ACOA syndrome. It is only now pulling itself out of the projection of Hopko’s demons onto the students and facility of the seminary. His tenure there as dean was a disaster and his removal as dean, oh, sorry, his retirement, that is the PC version, was necessary. He may have been Fr. Alexander’s son-in-law, but he was never even close to being a true successor to him.

                      I think the new leaders at the seminary are trying very hard to secure it from the stormy OCA seas around it. The school needs to survive even if the OCA goes under the waves.

                      Fr. Alexander and Fr John were like comets that blazed across the theological sky and burned white hot while they were with us. Now is the time for sober reflection on their teachings. What was right, what was not, and what should survive going forward. This is normal but to some the mere mention of questioning their thought is anathema. There is an old Russian saying that translates into English like “Trust but verify.” Always a good approach and one underway as we look at the legacy of these two men.

                    • Thanks Helga, but what I am supposed to do with all these flux capacitors?

                    • Nikos,

                      Not surprising, any of it.

                      I agree that SVS needs to exorcise the spirit of the OCA. The OCA doesn’t give them a shred of financial support, the best they could do was a weak AAC resolution requesting parishes consider donating 1% of their funds. How long has SVS been in a state of financial exigency while Syosset throws money away on the chancery?

                      And Fr. Hopko’s tenure as dean? Don’t get me started!

                      Metropolitan Jonah has a great deal of respect for Frs. JM and AS, but he’s not such a fanboy that he can’t recognize any flaws in their thinking, nor does he push heterodox ideologies into their writing that the priests never intended.

                      And Jesse? I suppose you could build the time machine anyway, there’s plenty of worthwhile things you could do besides going to school with Stankovich and Stokoe. Just be sure to top off the tank in the DeLorean before you go. 🙂

              • Mr. Stankovich has shown himself incapable of answering questions directed to him here.
                The cause may have something to do with the people he must encounter in his work.

            • lexcaritas says

              No one made in the image of God deserves the “Who are you?” and “Who cares?” file. Christ has given His life for each–from the foundation of the world.


              • It’s ironic that no one would know who I was if it wasn’t for Bp. Mark stealing emails and publishing them.

                I think I am just as happy as Stankovich to see my name returning to that file.

                • Ah, Bishop Mark, the stealer of emails, the co-hort of Mark Stokoe, the back-stabber of Met. Jonah, the opportunist who is moving into the diocesan bishop’s residence in So. Canaan as he now tries to wiggle his way into the OCA Diocese of EPA.

                  Clergy and laity beware. This man is not worthy of the diocese of EPA.

  34. I’ve been asked to inquire if, after having the Holy Synod’s wits scared out of them by Patriarch Kirill’s advice, it’s true that Metropolitan Jonah has “generously” been offered the position of Archbishop Benjamin’s Vicar with the title of Berkeley at a salary of $40,000 per annum? Does seem “comfortable…..”

    • Master bless.

      Just out of curiosity, if he is to be offered a position under Archbishop Benjamin…who I believe has been one of his primary opponents on the Holy Synod…isn’t that something of a poison pill…fly in the ointment…whichever metaphor for a spoiled good thing one prefers? And with respect to metaphors, if true, it seems something of salt in the wound, a two step demotion to serve under someone who doesn’t like you very much and who has successfully engineered your humiliation. Secondly, where I’m from 40K is comfortable, but that is not necessarily the case in other parts of the country…i.e. the SF area where 90K is like 30K most anywhere else. Is 40K in Berkley a livable income?

      • Seraphim98, I think the best metaphor is that it’s a slap in the face.

        • Maybe…if so though it seems a very dangerous game to play…that would suggest not concern/discomfiture with respect to the MP’s request…but rather a raspberry in the general direction of Moscow. A surface acquiescence that thumbs it’s nose at Met. Jonah and the MP and all those who sought an honorable resolution to his troubles. The MP is not blind or ignorant and would see such a move as not just an attempt to further humiliate Met. Jonah but an insult to the MP as well…of course it could be a calculated attempt to irritate Moscow just enough to have her open her doors to Met. Jonah so the OCA’s hierarchy can just be rid of him…a net plus in their book without having to pay 40,000.

          Of course…it could also be viewed as one faction of the Holy Synod putting a pair of highly placed, not necessarily friendly eyes in Ab Benjamin’s domain.

          • If this is true, can anyone see any other outcome than BB doing his best to break Metropolitan Jonah, making every day a living hell for him? Truly, the MP needs to break communion with the OCA and then dictate terms for a restoration to take place, which would include decent treatment of Metropolitan Jonah and some much-needed house cleaning. Putting Jonah under Benjamin is to put a gag on the former so that his voice would never again be heard, which is exactly what BB and his buds want.

            • Or, hypothetically, the plan is to offer +Jonah untenable assignments, then, when he does not obey, they suspend him for disobedience, so he can be released to no one. At that point, all the libelous material produced becomes irrelevant, because of the disobedience.

              They like to repeat strategies, and this one worked on Fr. Z, didn’t it?

              • Hamartolos says

                If the Synod’s final offer to +Met. Jonah includes an assignment to Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral in L.A., as His Grace Bishop Tikhon confirmed elsewhere in this thread, then His Beatitude would have to watch his back like a hawk. The faithful majority of the parish would doubtless welcome him, not least for his bold public witness to Orthodox moral teaching (signing the Manhattan Declaration, joining the annual March for Life in D.C., etc.).

                A small Living Church clique at HVM, however, for whom the boring old Orthodox teaching on abortion, sodomy, inter-religious marriage, etc. is something of a social embarrassment, might seize on the least whiff of trumped-up canard of alleged misstep by +Met. Jonah and send word of it flying to DOW HQ as fast as their little fingers could text. The English choir director at HVM, Mrs. Julia Azrael, after serving as unelected HVM delegate to last year’s All-American Council (she was simply designated by the then-rector), wrote an anti-+Jonah report for the parish newsletter in which she opined that “the big question about the Metropolitan’s ability to lead the OCA was not resolved at the AAC.”

                Beggar, meet question. Hardly a friendly or even neutral welcome waiting for +Met. Jonah in THAT quarter, it’s safe to bet. And how comfortable would it be for His Beatitude, whose public statements commendably show zero tolerance for false moral teaching, at HVM, where the aforementioned English choir includes this gentleman, a friend Mrs. Azrael reportedly pays to sing, along with other non-Orthodox singers who publicly avow the same behavior? http://lambdaent.com

          • Seraphim98, I think you have it on the money when you say the offer is an insult to Moscow as well as Met. Jonah. The OCA bishops don’t respect Patriarch Kirill or the Moscow Patriarchate any more than they respect Met. Jonah.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              I do not think so. Whether or not this report is true, an offer of $40,000 is very generous.

              • George Michalopulos says

                You would think so.

                • Hey Carl, how does the “generous” $40,000 compare to the salaries of the “office boys” at Syosett?
                  Could/would YOU live and adequitely support your family in Berkeley CA on that salary?

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    You have monks amongst the staff the Chancery? Let me ask you this question: How many monks do you know who make that kind of money?

                    • Disgusted With It says

                      All the bishops are monks. So, in the interest of not being hypocritical, I expect you would advocate to cut ALL of the bishops’ salaries to $40,000 or less?

                    • Carl, you are willfully ignorant.

                      This is an archbishop, one who is still addressed even by his detractors as Metropolitan and His Eminence. Many bishops and primates in the Orthodox world are monks. Not all monks are bishops, archbishops, and primates. I know Fr. John is trying to make the case that Orthodox people are incapable of logical thought, but he is wrong and you are personally responsible for your attempt to use illogical thought to perpetuate the harm being done to Jonah and his family.

                      By demeaning your own Metropolitan Jonah further, you demean the OCA further.

                      You have been used as a tool and dishonorably so. Stop with your foolishness. You have a brain. Start using it.

                      Jonah did not have to offer his resignation as primate. He never resigned or retired as diocesan bishop. A good faith and fair arrangement is that he continue to make at least what he has been making. I assure you the secular courts will not be as blind as you pretend to be.

                      At the very least, I’m certain you can agree that he should make more than Bishop Mark who actually did sin publicly against the church and was rejected by the Diocese of the South because of it. Metropolitan Jonah, on the other hand, would be welcomed in the Diocese of the South and in ROCOR. The only reason to pay him less than he can make in those positions is to make him and his parents suffer. It is sadistic. It is really evil, and unattractive at that.

                    • Your kahunas run out of answers for you?

                    • Again, the only fair salary in this situation is exactly what he has been making or more. Anything less is unfair. Nothing short of profound immorality could lead you to want to treat this man and his parents unfairly.

                      If there is difficulty finding the money, each bishop and church employee who had a voice in Jonah’s removal and who makes over $40,000 can take a 5-10 % pay cut in order to pay Jonah what he was paid as primate (or 90-95% of that if they wish to include him equally in the sacrifice). If the Holy Spirit suddenly and unexpectedly reveals to you that $40,000 is not much, then we can limit pay cuts to those making over $70,000 or even $100,000. The people losing this income will not complain since they know how important it is to accomplishing God’s will for the Church.

                    • Carl has officially come down from crossing the bridge to living under it. *cough*

                      Seriously… who would deny Metropolitan Jonah a living wage? There’s also the support of his parents to think about: Metropolitan Jonah is their only living child now, and he needs to be able to work in order to fulfill his responsibility to support and look after them.

                      But none of this will move Mr. Kraeff’s pity! To him, $40,000 is very generous, even though it would mean Metropolitan Jonah living in one of the most expensive parts of the country, supporting three people on maybe a third of what he made as Metropolitan, and working for someone who hates his guts. Metropolitan Jonah could do better as a public school teacher!

                      The Berkeley offer is a sick and appalling joke, and it shows the OCA bishops do not respect Patriarch Kirill or the Moscow Patriarch, despite the years of strong support Moscow has shown the OCA.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      You’re missing the point Helga. Carl and his like believe what they believe because phariseeism trumps all. As long as the letter of the law is being followed, the spirit can be mangled beyond all recognition.

        • Could it be their plan to keep Jonah muzzled and confined and from a following gathering around him?

      • $40,000 is not to be sneezed at. And Jonah is a California native. If he would wish to pursue a doctorate in anything, there are many good institutions that award it in the area; after all, it’s not as if he’d have to be content with one of those Fordham doctorates that even a Father Hopko was able to achieve, barely! Berkeley, Stanford [(his old alma mater (with Father Gerasim and others)], etc., Santa Cruz..and a few others all within commuting distance of Berkeley. When Vladyka Dmitri was Bishop of Berkeley he lived in quarters provided by the Menlo Park parish. And of course, he could also get a housing allowance. For example Archbishop Benjamin lives rent-free in the parsonage/Rectory of Holy Trinity Cathedral and gets a nice housing allowance in addition. Oddly, this is a rather normal situation not only in our Church, but in most Protestant congregations, where the Pastor lives rent-free in the parsonage, while also getting s more or less hefty housing allowance. The geniuses, law experts and so forth of Archbishop Benjamin’s SIC committee, remember, listed this very thing as one of Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondraticks CRIMES: “he lived rent-free in a house owned by the Church while drawing a housing allowance.” !!!! How many people clucked their tongues over that one, in utter ignorance of an I.R.S. approved and NORMAL arrangement? Oh, yes, the lawyer on the S.I>C. Committee, Mrs. Julia Azrael, got her law degree from Fordham, too, through night courses. If you have that report, check it out.
        You will find the report is a report on allegations ONLY. The Special Investigation Committee spent hours, days, weeks, months, compiling allegations and accusers, but proved NOTHING. Yet it is regularly cited as an authority. it’s only an authority on allegations and the details of allegations, while admitting regularly throughout “it’s impossible to prove,” “it’s impossible to state as fact that….’ And it is waved in the air and even re-printed here on “Monomachos” as if it was a source of some truths or other, while it most certainly is not. Most people, i’ve learned, really WANT that report to be true….and, it turns out, this is decisive in the Holy Orthodox Church of today, in America, especially when free of ‘foreign interference.”
        No doubt Metropolitan Jonah is weighing his options and offers and is completely relaxed about ‘the whole thing”.
        The OCA’s Holy Synod can say that they ;provided an option of comfort for him, and if he rejects that for another offer that might come his way from, say ROCOR, even if they don’t pay anybody peanuts, it’s “no skin off our teeth”, they may say.

        • I would be tempted to “sneeze at” $40,000 in the state of California. Maybe he could rent a tent to live in.

        • If he is masochistic enough to put himself under the authority of a sadist like Benjamin, then St. Luke’s might actually be professionally obligated to hold him indefinitely or transfer him to a long term care facility.

          The only right treatment is to release him to another jurisdiction. They can hand over any documents related to his “incompetence” and highlight these along with any other allegations they might like to add in the release letter itself. This will cover even their episcopal-sized back sides in the event that Jonah should have dessert after his evening meal some time, leave a folder of papers on his desk one day and have trouble finding it the next, or whatever it was he did to sin against God and His Church while primate of the OCA.

          The synod will never do the right thing.

          One reason they might have trouble negotiating a settlement is that they must have Jonah’s complete silence about what they did to him. If they allow his witness out, they might as well tell the truth themselves. They’d rather go to civil court than do that.

          Another reason they might have trouble negotiating a settlement is that they will have to pay him anywhere from $5-50 million dollars if the libel and unlawful termination case goes to court. My own calculations indicate a minimum of $2 million lost pay (possibly more) for the remainder of his working years, a good $2 million in guaranteed pension after that (possibly more). The libel case itself, for such a prominent national figure and the powerful stigma attached to the various accusations thrown into the public sphere, has to be in the millions to tens of millions of dollars. You add in the emotional distress of this illegal defamation of character, fraud (and possibly other charges) on both Jonah and his family (if his family joins as parties, they could make a strong case before any jury), I would not be surprised to see a jury award in the many tens of millions of dollars. Again, the synod will not offer an appropriate amount without court intervention, partly because their shrinking church cannot afford it, but the court will not base it’s decision on ability to pay.

          A fair option is you release him to another jurisdiction (like ROCOR), you pay him a minimum of $2 million to settle the wrongful termination (or whatever the new jurisdiction and the two parties agree too, the new jurisdiction should not be responsible for a new arbishop’s salary if they were not “advertising” for one), you transfer his pension monies to an investment program of his choosing, then you offer to correct the public libel through a public statement (the wording of which Jonah agrees to), then offer a set amount for his silence for however many years Ben, Nate, and Mel have till they retire (or however many years they can afford to pay for). Obviously this is a negotiable length of time for a negotiable amount. If the OCA bishops are disinclined to come clean with their church members, it is only fair that they pay a market rate for Jonah’s silence. I’d hold out for $1 million a year, if it was me. I’d much rather be able to tell my story than to be paid not to tell it. I’m sure most people would feel the same way. At any rate, that’s what a fair out-of-court settlement would look like. I do not think the megalomaniacs in the OCA will offer a fair settlement out of court. I believe they will require court intervention, in which case the monetary amount will be as high or higher, and Jonah will not have to be silent, though they probably cannot be forced to release him to another jurisdiction. In this scenario, Jonah can live out his years as a lay scholar and philanthropist (perhaps supporting monasteries around the country, or whatever the Holy Spirit guides him to support).

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Great advice for Wall Street. Not so much for a monk. I am horrified.

            • Carl, I admit those $ amounts creeped me out as well. The synod has a problem with one of it’s own and everyone who donates is on the hook for it? Was it everyone who donates who led to the explosions?

              • Anyone who sends money to the OCA from this point forward is an enabler of these self-proclaimed “holy” men. If you want to pay for the silence of those abused by despotic sadists, then by all means do send money to the OCA. Just don’t claim ignorance and outrage about how the money is used after the fact.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              My kahunas were whispering to me to call y’all very bad names, but I resisted.

              • Carl Kraeff has kahunas whispering to him! NOT GOOD!!!

                • Just an observation…I think the intended word is cojones not kahunas. Cojones is a Hispanic slang reference of man bits traditionally associated with manliness or boldness. Kahunas are Polynesian shamen/sorcerers. These too may be bold and manly but it’s not quite the same thing when one or the other is whispering in one’s ear…though one I’m sure requires a bit of physical contortion to hear if indeed they are whispering.

                  • kahuna |kəˈhoōnə|
                    (in Hawaii) a wise man or shaman.
                    • informal an important person; the person in charge

        • $40,000-It’s nothing in Bezerkly and don’t forget he must take care of his parents-very expensive there. Plus he’d have to move them again which may take the life of his father. +B knows all this, he’s trying to humiliate +J. It’s a game. Nothing Godly about it. +Tikhon said he’d take care of +Jonah respectfully when asked recently. We are still waiting +Tikhon . . . .

          • Carl Kraeff says

            So, we have come to a situation where a ROCOR lay person is holding the Metropolitan of the OCA to account. Does anyone else see the strangeness of Colette’s words and conduct?

            • George Michalopulos says

              Not really. You know, the whole “speaking truth to power” thing and all that.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                I am not questioning her right to free speech but the quality of her utterances. Surely folks have do not have immunity from criticism when they say things that are wrong and inappropriate.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Your utterances sometimes don’t withstand scrutiny themselves.

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    That is also true with some of your utterances. However, you and I are part of the family and retain the right to speak up on family matters. She has separated herself from our family and joined another. I just think that it is impolite, tactless and downright rude for her to continue her polemics as long as she is part of ROCOR. Russians have a good word for her conduct: некультурный.

                    • Kraeff, the sociopaths running your church give a bad name to all Orthodox people.

                      They also give a bad name to all organized religion and to the human race itself.

                      They mock and break the heart of their Creator.

                      You don’t have to be Orthodox to speak up when someone is abused, when the abuse is perpetuated, and when the abusers lie about what they have done. Remember the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Samaritans were outside the Jewish family, big guy.

                      Remember Jesus’ command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It was in the context of explaining this commandment that Jesus told the Parable of the Good Samaritan. The exemplar was the Samaritan, the outsider, the non-Jew, the Heterodox, the Heretic.

                      Stop promoting evil and do good. The health and success of your church will follow. Even if it does not, at least you will have obeyed the direct command of Jesus, who you claim is your God.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Talking about projection!

            • Carl, I am still in the OCA, and Colette’s question is my question.

            • More importantly Carl-an ex-OCA person- who will not stop speaking out until the OCA plays fair.

              • Iconographer Power! says

                Comparing who oughta getta right to speak

                Colette is an acclaimed iconographer and graduate of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, for starters

                Carl is the CEO of his parish, according to him on various online resumes, and a person who goes around to South Carolina schools to talk about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

                So, both are doing worthy work. I’d say that the OCA seminary graduate part of Colette’s background, however, trumps training at Air Force Intelligence School at Lowry AF base in terms of writing religious institutional opinion. Not to mention the stay-at-home mother part of the force that is Colette trumps about any discernment training.


                • Carl Kraeff says

                  I did not realize that I have online resumes. I know I have not put any out there for public consumption. In any case, I must correct you on two particulars: I am not and have not been CEO of any parish; if I were, I assure you that I would not have the freedom to be as active as I am on the Internet. Secondly, I have run statewide programs (process improvement, substance abuse prevention, victim assistance) but I have never been a prevention specialist , nor have I been on the front line, doing the important work, for decades.

                    • Now really. Those websites are created by robots that synthesize whatever they find about a person and mash it together “well enough”. Usually wrong in important ways. If there’s more than one Carl Kraeff out there the robot is surely drawing whatever information is available about both of them, given that it’s pulling Monomakhos comments where he’s identified only by his name.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      For Sparky–Thanks for providing the link to “my” zoominfo page. I wonder how somebody could impersonate me to do this? Was it in jest or hate? It certainly was a quite crude gesture that was probably engineered by somebody with whom I have locked horns before. Now, can somebody tell me how I can get zoominfo.com to erase that bogus page?

                    • No “body” involved, Carl. That’s done by a computer program (called a “robot”) that collects and analyzes data.

                      Based purely on your participation on this blog, the robot has determined that you are the CEO of the OCA church (that’s right, not just your parish but of the whole church).

                      I’m sure no harm will come to you, since you have been playing the role of ally to gay activists here. But hopefully now you can begin to imagine why others posting online choose to withhold their legal names.

                      Although I’m sympathetic toward your desire to have the profile removed, I don’t know if that is possible or if you even have that right. You could try, but all data used to produce that page is publicly available for the rest of your life and beyond. You could spend a lot of time and money in court and with very little benefit. It’s also possible that they will remove that page if you just email and ask them to (with an explanation of how it is misleading). Let us know how it goes. I’m wishing you success. Even though I found the robot’s conclusion amusing, and find your tireless support of immorality in the OCA deplorable, I do not wish you personal harm.

        • Thomas Paine says


          Since anyone can remember, you’ve had this fascination with ROCOR. Why did you go to the OCA? Was it because they didn’t want you? Yet you continue at every turn glorifying them. I’m quite sure you were brainwashed like + Jonah. Furthermore, RSK is guilty as sin. Stop with this fantasy that there was no proof. Ask Dn. Eric; ask Fr. Strykis; ask Fr. Kucynda; ask anyone who was there. You must have received some kick-back to continue to defend him. It’s time for you to start dealing with reality, don’t you think? Or, is your bi-polar world nice and cozy with it’s fantasies?

          • George Michalopulos says

            Dn Eric, I think your diatribe against Bishop Tikhon is animated in large part because you don’t like that he’s been poking holes in the SIC report and the Syosset Hagiology for many months now. He may not be 100% correct but each day that goes by makes the Cult of Syosset look worse for the wear.

          • Thomas Paine says (November 27, 2012 at 5:16 pm):

            Since anyone can remember, you’ve had this fascination with ROCOR. Why did you go to the OCA? Was it because they didn’t want you? Yet you continue at every turn glorifying them. I’m quite sure you were brainwashed like + Jonah. Furthermore, RSK is guilty as sin. Stop with this fantasy that there was no proof. Ask Dn. Eric; ask Fr. Strykis; ask Fr. Kucynda; ask anyone who was there. You must have received some kick-back to continue to defend him. It’s time for you to start dealing with reality, don’t you think? Or, is your bi-polar world nice and cozy with it’s fantasies?


            In addition to being libelous and contumacious here toward Bp Tikhon Fitzgerald, ‘Thomas Paine’ once again tries our patience by making yet another attempt to convince us that Fr Robert Kondratick is somehow ‘guilty as sin’ of something so far unspecified, since the Nassau County prosecutor and NY State judge determined FrRK to be innocent of all the allegations falsely brought against him.

            Prior to that exonerating process of disclosure, discovery, and deposition of witnesses in civil court, Met. Herman summoned me to a meeting with him because of our fundamental disagreement regarding his sacking of FrRK. Fr Paul Kucynda, who famously said that he and MetH had employed the criminal defense law firm of Proskauer, Rose to ‘build a firewall around the metropolitan’ was also at that meeting, although he said almost nothing but nodded in agreement with my points. The synodal letter reprimanding FrPK for his behavior in this entire matter pretty well destroys any credibility he might have had.

            We talked and talked, and I clearly demonstrated that the three reasons which MetH had adduced to justify his firing FrRK were all of them false. Now, more than six years later, MetH admits that he was too hasty in that action, and would like FrRK’s entire situation rto be eviewed and corrected.

            It takes a real human being to own his mistakes and try to fix them, This is the christian way, but — so far — there’s been no action. The ‘bad guys’ in the Holy Synod can’t stand the embarrassing thought of having to repent their persecution of FrRK. Or Met. Jonah, for that matter.

            ALSO: Fr Stavros Strikis was one of the clergymen who recanted his testimony as recorded by the ‘Special Investigating Committee’ when he was informed by the State of NY and the attorneys taking his deposition that he was liable to punishment in civil law for perjury should he not speak truthfully then, so he properly abjured his earlier statements.

            People like ‘Thomas Paine’ don’t seem to understand the full significance of the institutional rot at the heart of the OCA which could even contemplate, let alone carry out such evil and injustice as this whole affair brought down on FrRK and his family.

            So I suppose it must be said again, and emphatically, that our OCA will not begin to be healed unless and until FrRK is reinstated as an OCA priest in good standing.

          • Disgusted With It says

            I’m sorry, but “Thomas Paine” doesn’t seem to live in the real world, let alone a Christian one. He is just another pharisee trying to rationalize at least one of the corrupted “camps” of the OCA leadership. We need new, fresh, honest and morally upright leadership in the OCA. Let’s stop digging up these old re-treads of the past along with their friends and family. Seriously, couldn’t they at least find a chancellor — among all the clergy of the OCA — who doesn’t have direct ties to Wheeler and Stokoe??? The fish stinks from the head down.

          • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

            Thomas Paine-

            That bi-polar comment is a cheap shot even for you. It demonstrates not only ignorance of the disease itself, but a certain meanness on your part.

            Of ALL the OCA bishops, Vladyka Tikhon of the West and Vladyka Nikolai have more respect (in ROCOR) individually than all of the others do collectively.

          • ThomasPain or Deacon Eric, whoever. After some years of study on my own, which included friendship with some Eastern Ukrainians and some Greeks, I finally became Orthodox in 1960 at Lackland AFB, Texas. I was a catechumen of Chaplain (Captain) Peter Zolnerowich’s while attending USAF Officers Training School, and soon after being commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the AF, I was received into the (Russian Orthodox) Church in the E.O. Chapel. I knew little of politics and emigre church divisions at that time; however, Father Peter (a former roommate of Father Serge Glagolev’s at SVS) spoke well of ROCOR and i never heard anything that negative about ROCOR until five years later, when I left active duty for one year to matriculate at SVS. There i learned more about EVERYBODY and came in contact with industrial strength church politics for the first time. After completing a full academic year at SVS, I applied to the Air Force to go back on active duty (1966). i was called up immediately, and shortly afterwards was assigned to Hqs USAF (the Air Staff) in the Pentagon, where I served until 1971. For my first years in DC, I found attendance at the ROCOR parish to be much more edifying, spiritually uplifting, and in general, conforming to the historical icon of the Orthodox Church; however, my OCA Bishops, none of them taught heresy bare-headed in the Church, so no matter how I would have felt personally more “comfortable” in ROCOR, I never left the OCA; in fact it was the elevation of Father Dimitri Royster to the episcopate and the vicarial see of Washington that severely curtaiiled my worshipping at St. John’s ROCOR Church. (Archimandrite Nicholaos Peccatoros was the rector then–long before Father “CIA” Victor Potapov). I sang in both choirs at St. Nicholas and read sometimes (alternating with Mme. Anna G. Besouard) at Vigils. Father Arkady Moisejew and Protodeacon Vladimir Malash (kovich) were true extraordinarily talented and intelligent clergy there: they were of a calibre once found many places in the Metropolia but hardly to be found at all in today’s OCA. Several of the OCA’s outstanding clergy had been formed in ROCOR in Europe; Fathers Alexander Kiselev, Father Dimitri Gisetti and others had been trained and ordained in ROCOR in Germany before coming to the U.S. Yes, ThomasPain/DeaconEric, I suppose you could say that I preferred (and prefer?) ROCOR to the OCA very much. But…to leave because of that and not because of bareheaded heresy on the part of the OCA episcopate would be to betray the very essence of the Orthodox Church which animates and enlivens ROCOR to this day.

            Pain, you claim I miss no opportunity to “glorify’ ROCOR. This post comes closer to glorification than I’ve ever come, and even it is not glorification.
            As for proof of the allegations made by Deacon Wheeler, no one has produced it! Please, if you know of proof, evidence, point us to it!! If you’re Deacon Eric, please don’t give us garbage like your present employee, Paul Hunchak, a former errand boy in the Chancery having actually observed Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick shredding documents and not being able to identify just which documents were being shredded! you KNOW the charges of mingling of funds in the St. Sergius Chapel account were proved unfounded even in Metropolitan Herman’ time. You know, but the S.I.C. report hides the truth that Dwayne Andreas wrote a letter and signed it, a letter to Metropolitan Theodosius personally and shared by him with the whole Synod, that clearly DEPOSED that the funds he had given to Metropolitan Theodosius were to be used at his SOLE discretion, WITHOUT reference to ANY church office or other entity. I retain a copy of that letter. The S.I.C. was not allowed to include that letter in their case: Archbishop Benjamin wouldn’t allow it: anyhow, he’s never seen it himself due to his ostrich-like head being in the dirt. When queried about the Andreas letter, S.I.C. members say they didn’t include it because (get this!) because it was “ex post facto!” (As if every deposition ever considered by a court and accepted into evidence had ever been anything BUT ex post facto!!!

            Of course, T. Pain, if what is left of the OCA continues down its slippery slope to canonical irrelevancy and starts to be just ignored by the other Local Churches, I, as a retired Bishop, may very well ask ROCOR if they could apply Economy in the case of a hierarch who wished to be received into their brotherhood without being able to point to bare-headed heresy preaching in the OCA.

            Even at eighty, i believe I could still be useful, but I’ve only been contacted the number of times that I have fingers on one hand by any hierarchs of the OCA since i retired several years ago.

            Oh, and T. Paine, I don’t think ANY Priests of ROCOR get paid as much as the 70 some senior Priests who mobbed up on Protopresbyter Rodion when directed to do so by Mark Stokoe and those hierarchs who adored him. I don’t think any of them are paid as much as clergy seminary faculty at SVS. One of the three most prominent, active, and competent Archpriests in ROCOR is that Yalie computer programmer who was ordained before he was 21 and raised a family while his long-suffering and talented spouse, Tatiana, worked in her florist business all these years, and is the Rector of the Transfiguration Cathedral in LA., Mitred Protopriest Alexander Lebedeff. He is paid PEANUTS compared to your average newly ordained priest in the OCA. They don’t have a pension plan or a church-wide medical insurance plan, either. I’m not saying this is good, on the contrary, but perhaps it explains the relative lack of ambitious clergy in ROCOR? You could fund two or three priests in ROCOR parishes on the salaries and other compensation of any one of these three OCA Priests: Fr. L. Kishkovsky; Fr. Eric Tosi, Fr. John Jillions, Fr. Alexander Garklavs, Fr. T. Hopko, etc., etc.

            Ever-memorable Bishop Alexander Mileant was the Rector of the ROCOR Protection parish here in L.A., and he had a wife and family. They paid him $240 dollars a month in the 1970s. He neverheless went to night school and got a degree in electrical engineering and then a JOB at JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratories) which was able to put bread on the table. His wife divorced him and married another. He became a Bishop and still kept working at JPL. It’s true that there were in the Metropolia “once upon a time” clergy willing to live in “evangelical poverty”: Metropolitan Leonty springs to mind—but that’s history in the OCA. I begrudge none of the clergy his compensation high or low, and believe it is still shameful, but since T.Pain asked me to make comparisons (which I’ve previously avoided lest I be perceived by intellectually challenged or those of plain old ill will as “glorifying ROCOR.”). I hope he is appropriately stimulated by my reply.

            • Why does Deacon Wheeler hang out at the OCA Chancery these days? On the OCA web page there are photos accessible of Metropolitan Tikhon serving Divine Liturgy in the Chancery Chapel on the recent Feast. One shot of the choir shows Deacon Wheeler singing in it. Perhaps his brother-in-law, Father Jillions, likes having him around for moral (!) support? I wonder who’s minding Wheeler’s floral business. Do you think it’s his loyal familiar, Monsieur Hunchak?
              I wonder, will Frs. Jillions, Wheeler, Kishkovsky, Hopko, and Company soon be restoring Mark Stokoe-Brown to his former position of OCA Youth Director? Talk about a “homogeneous” assignment!!!!!”

              • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

                Homodox Church in American?
                “keepin it gay in the HCA”

                Next thing we know perhaps His Grace Mark will be given the See of Fort Lauderdale (the San Francisco of Florida) or perhaps Greenwich Village.

                I think everyone will agree that S.F. is THE appropriate See for ARCHBISHOP Benjamin. (NEVER did I ever expect to use the words archbishop and Benjamin together in reference to BB Peterson!)

                Oh I know, the icing on the cake would be to haul “Archbishop” Ron Lev Lazar of Ottawa out of retirement and perhaps place him in a prominent academic position!

                At least if H.B. Jonah were given and accepted Berkley perhaps His Grace B.T. still has enough pull (knows where most of the bodies are buried) he could offer Met Jonah friendship, guidance and some possible safe words to keep B.B. at bay.

                Yeah, I’m feeling a bit angry and bitter seeing the jurisdiction most of my life begin to circle the the bowl on its way down and out.

                O Lord, save your people,
                and bless your inheritance!
                Grant victory to the Orthodox Christians
                over their adversaries,
                and by virtue of your cross,
                preserve your habitation.

              • Your Grace, what a bizarre question! You may as well ask why Mark Stokoe is privy to information about the assignments offered to Metropolitan Jonah by the OCA, commenting on the proposals to alleged journalist Svetlana Vais.

                At least Protodeacon Wheeler lives in the area of Syosset and has a brother-in-law who works there…

                • Well, you know, Helga, when a Protodeacon doesn’t serve the Divine Liturgy on one of the 12 Great Feasts, let alone on Sundays, I, for one, and I’m not judging your Priesthood at all, wonder if he EVER serves, and if he CHOOSES not to serve, i wonder why he hasn’t requested to be deposed or hasn’t been deposed. Is it perhaps that he does not acknowledge the duty and responsibility of his Bishop to direct him to serve, failing a disability? I can’t help it if you think it is bizarre of me to ask such a question, and I don’t blame you if your own Bishop(s) has a different idea of his calling from my own. As for Mark Stokoe’s priviness, isn’t it just that old Deep Throat syndrome?

                  • But you can bet dollars to donuts that when the see of Boston becomes available, this Protodeacon will end up crammed in there as Bishop.

                    Wait and see.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Or, more likely the Albanians who sustain the diocese of Boston will bail. This will make it easier for Methodius of the GOA to press his claim as the only bishop of Boston.

                  • Deacon Eric Wheeler says

                    You old fool! This year will mark the 25th year that I have been worshiping at St. Sergius Chapel. My family has worship there over these many years and my children know this as their only church. My wife’s life was celebrated there during her funeral and the chapel has been ministering to four generations of our extended family. Our family has in fact celebrated all the sacraments in the chapel except marriage, which one day will be accomplished by my daughter 😉

                    As far as you questioning my diaconate, I have been a deacon in the Orthodox Church for over 26 years having served at the altars of every diocese of this country. In addition to serving the primate of the Orthodox Church in America, I have also had the privilege, over the years, to serve with the Patriarchs of Russia, Georgia, Albania, Constantinople, Poland, the Czech Lands and Serbia – some in this country and some in their respective lands. Serving has always been a part of my nature.

                    While you may believe that a deacon must serve at the altar of every service he attends, I have taken more literally the term serve. Serve may take the form of serving at the altar, of singing in the choir and even cleaning the church after everyone has left. And as far as attending church, I do attend the feasts when my secular job allows for it – unfortunately I still do have a mortgage to pay.

                    For those of you not familiar with the chapel of St. Sergius, we are a community of about 20 people. With that number, probability has it that the number of people who actually can sing is quite limited. Add to that that mix of male/female parishioners; the number of basses and tenors from this pool is extremely limited. That being said, while I would love to serve every time there is a service, 95% of the time, I am the only tenor in a choir of 4-6.

                    So, for the first half of my diaconate I served at the altar at every service I attended, and for now, with humility, I serve where I am needed. Some of the priests at the chapel do like serving with a deacon (especially Fr Eric Tosi) and he will ask me to serve with him on occasion making sure that Father Basil Summer is in attendance to sing tenor. But, for the most part I am the resident tenor – even at Pascha!

                    Now, as far as posting on this site anonymously, I have never posted an anonymous post in my life. Really people, if I sign my name as Deacon Eric, what difference would it make to any of the posts which you have attributed to me. I stand by what I wrote, and I stand by the fairness of the SIC report. Father Kondratick and I were as close as brothers, and when I asked him after all of this had taken place if he was sorry for what he did, his response was “Every day of my life.” Brothers, let this all end with repentance!

                    And Sue, I have lost my wife after a wonderful marriage of 30 years, I have two children in their late 20’s who are beginning to launch, I look forward to grandchildren and an extended family, I question the role of intimacy, sexuality and marriage in my future and I look at the priesthood as a discipline to maintain celibacy sometime in the future as I work out my salvation. I still cry every day for the loss of my wife knowing that she abides in the Kingdom. Now, do you honestly think that I even think of being a bishop in this church and all that would entail in my life!

                    I am also sick am tired of those of you who have come into the church deciding that the litmus test for Orthodoxy is the position on abortion and homosexuality. Note to converts, our Orthodox church has been dealing with these issues for centuries. Ya’ll, who are wrapped up in these conspiracies, need to rediscover why you joined our Church and if it is because you were runnin’ from somethin’ in your former delusion, you may have come for all the wrong reasons. I have often said that many people who have joined our church are suffering from episcopalian stress syndrome. Take a good look at what it means to strive to be in communion and union with God. I think it is time many of you on this site re-discovered what Orthodoxy is all about. And you certainly are not going to find it here.

                    And finally, Vladyka, in reference to Mark (ha, as long as this is the National Enquirer of Orthodox blogs I’ll give you something to talk about, my daughter and I are going out to dinner in NYC with Mark and Steve on Friday night) where in the world did you ever come up with the word priviness?

                    You old fool!

                    -Deacon Eric

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Your harsh words towards people (not just His Grace) shows me just how far the triumphalist delusion has injected itself in Syosset. There are no “litumus tests” here or among “converts” about this, that, or the other. Those are just code words that liberals everywhere use when they are losing an argument.

                    • Father Kondratick and I were as close as brothers, and when I asked him after all of this had taken place if he was sorry for what he did, his response was “Every day of my life.” Brothers, let this all end with repentance!

                      You call Bishop Tikhon “an old fool” and you give us your pious “brothers, let us repent?” You were “as close as brothers” to Father Kondratick”? Yet you played Cain to his Abel.” How dare you try and justify your actions. Don’t you ever get tired of it?

                      All your “accomplishments” as a deacon, serving with various heads of Churches was made possible because Father Kondratick rescued you when you were being shown the door at SVS. He saved you and your wife and gave you a place to serve. And, in return, you became a Brutus. Shall we speak of how you held a black sword over the head of Metropolitan Theodosius?

                      You may wish to rewrite your own biography as you now seem to think you are being called to the priesthood, and now your name being sowed as a bishop in the future, but there are still many of us “old fools” who know you.

                      Do you regret, “every day” what you have reaped upon the OCA?

                      “You old fool.” Those three words tell us all we need to know about you.

                      Repentance is what is needed in the OCA today. However it appears that your spirit of self- justification and obsession to always be right clothed in an angry spirit are now an institutional part of your OCA. Thanks for that gift.

                      You owe His Grace, Bishop Tikhon an apology.

                    • Mr. E. Wheeler, who claims to serve as a Deacon “when he attends” church, asked me a question:
                      “… where in the world did you ever come up with the word priviness?”
                      Answer: I coined it. Shall I define it for you, perhaps? Let us all know.
                      It is sometimes opined that the blessings of heretics are curses. I hold an analogous view towards Mr. Wheeler’s calling me an old fool! Abertausend Dank, mein Junge!
                      Oh, the days are just too SHORT!
                      “I stand by the fairness of the SIC report!” Oh! Oh! Oh! Short but FULL!
                      80+, and I can still get a deacontaster going!

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      Deacon Eric:

                      I know nothing about your past or whatever controversies in which you have been involved. However, I do not understand what you have written. Are you trying to argue that the Orthodox Church does not oppose both abortion and homosexuality? Of course the Church teaches that both are morally wrong. Secular society has forced us to emphasize our position on these issues because many in society which now accept both as moral and acceptable behavior. If we did not have the president and every speaker at the Democratic National Convention defending both abortion and homosexuality we would not have to reaffirm our position on these issues. If we did not have the drive for same-sex marriages and gay pride parades in our major cities, we would not have to re-emphasize the teaching of our Church that homosexuality is immoral and sinful.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      “You old fool.” If you are a Deacon in the Orthodox Church and you start off your response like this I would greatly advise you get back into your prayer life and fast and seek repentence yourself. If not then you and the OCA will stumble and fall.

                      The Pharisees said to Christ that they had Abraham as their father, just like you stated that you have worshipped at St. Sergius Chapel for many years and that Orthodoxy is not just about Abortion and Homosexuality?

                      Well, I do not know what you mean by this because the Church can never lose its prophetic voice and must always speak the truth to power. Here in Chicago Cardinal George has constantly spoken out against Abortion and same-sex marriage and just recently did so last night on our local NBC News outlet tackeling head on again Abortion and the sin of Same-Sex Marriage. Bishop Demetrios of the GOAA speaks out on Abortion, The Assembly of Bishops spoke out on Abortion, Homosexuality and the recent HHS mandate that directly violates our religious freedom. This is not in keep with the prophetic voice of Orthodoxy? This is a CONVERT THING? Really?

                      I can tell you have personal issues that you need to resolve, and I am glad you are having dinner with Mark and Steve, as all three of you needs to serious re-evaluate what damage all of you have caused to the witness of Orthodoxy in this country. I bid you peace and hope you realize how much of an UN-Christian response you gave no matter who it is that you were responding to and an apology is in order.

                      If you do not humble yourself to apologize then everything George and others have said on this Blog site will have been validated 10 fold. Decon Wheeler the choice is yours. Choose wisely.


                    • “I are going out to dinner in NYC with Mark and Steve on Friday night…”

                    • Gregg Gerasimon says

                      Deacon Eric writes,

                      “I am also sick am tired of those of you who have come into the church deciding that the litmus test for Orthodoxy is the position on abortion and homosexuality. Note to converts, our Orthodox church has been dealing with these issues for centuries. Ya’ll, who are wrapped up in these conspiracies, need to rediscover why you joined our Church and if it is because you were runnin’ from somethin’ in your former delusion, you may have come for all the wrong reasons….”

                      Like other posters here, I have no idea what Deacon Eric’s point is. I was baptized as an infant, but like any active Orthodox Christian who is over 18 years old and whose parents cannot force him to go to church anymore, I’m a “convert” every day, just like most of us here. And honestly, if it weren’t for people coming to Orthodoxy as adults, our churches outside of the Northeastern United States would be empty.

                      I’m under the position that Orthodoxy has always had the same position on abortion and active homosexuality — that both are spiritually harmful, both separate us from God, if unrepentant both make true communion with God not possible, and in the case of abortion it’s the taking of life — these are not accepted by the Church as normative, never were, and never will be.

                      As Father John Morris writes so truly, “secular society has forced us to emphasize our position on these issues because many in society which now accept both as moral and acceptable behavior” — and it’s certainly true that in the years to come, in our western society, Orthodoxy must be even *more* vocal in our positions on social issues.

                      But again, I don’t understand the point that Deacon Eric is trying to make on abortion and homosexuality.

                    • Dn Eric psychologizes,

                      I am also sick am tired of those of you who have come into the church deciding that the litmus test for Orthodoxy is the position on abortion and homosexuality. Note to converts, our Orthodox church has been dealing with these issues for centuries. Ya’ll, who are wrapped up in these conspiracies, need to rediscover why you joined our Church and if it is because you were runnin’ from somethin’ in your former delusion, you may have come for all the wrong reasons.

                      I don’t know if this applies to me, but I feel quite misunderstood. And sneered at. It’s dripping off my computer screen.

                      Inasmuch as this is meant for me and those I know on this site, this is further demonstration that (a) you are part of the Syosset Circle, and (b) that they do not understand at all what is going on here.

                    • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

                      Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

                      It is interesting that the flagship worship space for the OCA has about 20 folks in its community.

                      Perhaps the Strategic Planning effort would be well served, in addition to looking at why the OCA has the only governance structure of its kind among local Orthodox churches in the world (we’re so “special” :-)) to also look at whether it wouldn’t be better to have our jurisdictional headquarters where there are more rank-and-file regular folks from a more diverse and inclusive set of backgrounds than in suburban Long Island. (The Census info for Syosset listed on Wikipedia shows a population with 0.5 percent African Americans and 2.92 % Hispanics, and about 2.8% of people in the neighborhood under the poverty line.)

                      A more inclusive area for our headquarters might also help cure the grumpy ol’ Mr. Wilson attitude toward converts evidenced by some OCA insiders (the “get out of my yard” school of natural church development apparently). Somehow other jurisdictions seem to be happy with converts, and their insiders are not complaining about them being hung up on morality. How are those OCA demographics and missions doing?

                      Among the converts in the OCA whom I know, those who are concerned about its governance problems aren’t obsessed with moral issues except to the extent that those same issues strangely seem often so passionately on the minds of well-connected folks embedded in the organization’s social networks criticizing converts who are not.

                      Their focus is more on how the well-connected in a Church organization treat those who are not, and whether there is truth in advertising about practice of Orthodoxy inside our jurisdiction when converts are asked to contribute their families and cash based on its public face and there seem to be differences between that and its private face.

                      Whatever the truth of that, the statistics regarding Syosset don’t present any icon of inclusiveness. Should we get a carload of diverse converts together to worship at the Chapel there, and see if any of its regulars faint or call a security guard? 🙂 Or maybe everyone would suddenly remember that we’re all in communion together.

                      Please pray for me a sinner,


                    • Wheeler, a Deacon, wrote: “my daughter and I are going out to dinner in NYC with Mark and Steve on Friday night.”
                      I want everyone to mark the date on the calendar. It’s apparently the first meeting of the new MCC – Metropolitan Community Council of the OCA!

                    • Why are we surprised with the lack of respect for the Holy Canons from the Synod? Now a mere deacon dares to address a bishop “You old fool”, apparently, not fearing any consequences.
                      Canon LV of the Holy Apostles: If any of the clergy insult the bishop, let him be deposed: for “thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.”

                    • A protodeacon calls a retired bishop an old fool in a public forum (twice) and implies that the Orthodox teaching on abortion and homosexuality is subject to review, in the course of which he insults hundreds of converts…the arrogance! Who has oversight over him (Tikhon? Michael?) and what are they going to do about this?

                    • All in the Family says

                      To all here who have gotten a taste of the character of Dn. Eric Wheeler, remember, this same spirit of arrogant self-justification and elitist mentality and disrespect for bishops and priests, that moved him to be self-proclaimed saviour of the OCA.

                      This is the same man who has opened his home to his brother-in-law, Fr. John Jillions, Chancellor of the OCA and who regularly whispers in his ear how the OCA should be run.

                      But, his disrespectful attitude in print is only the tip of the iceberg of his private sneering comments about clergy and bishops and how the OCA should present herself.

                      Dn Eric is under Metropolitan Tikhon. Metropolitan Tikhon’s email address is:


                      Cut and paste Dn. Wheeler’s “old fool” remarks and send them to his bishop. I seem to recall a priest getting run out of town for calling one bishop a turd and another a worm. What does calling a bishop “an old fool” twice get ya? And this isn’t the first time he has been snotty to Bishop Tikhon.

                      Let’s see if the new Metropolitan will discipline one of his deacons and tenor in the chapel choir?

                    • A sympathetic and impressive response highlghted by humilty and a commendable willingness to serve when and as needed–but one marred by confusion caused by inclusion of the last two paragraphs suggesting that the murder of unborn infants and the practice of homosexuality should not offend and boasting of an upcoming dinner with two men holding themselves out as married.

                      By that, I’m afraid, I am shocked and most disappointed.

                      Should we then thank God that St. Sergius chapell remains so small?


                    • Fr. John Morris, welcome to our world!

                      There are plenty of people in the OCA ranting about “Episcopalian converts” who are “ruining the church”. What they are referring to are people who are simply proclaiming what the Orthodox Church has always taught, who may be converts or cradle, and if converts may have come from any number of places. This anti-“Episcopalian convert” business is the movement to marginalize people who object to tacit approval of homosexual behavior and coupling. It’s in all the jurisdictions now.

                      By the way, in the OCA, it has become associated with another movement which seeks to subjugate bishops to laypeople under the guise of “conciliarity”. Not subjugate them to all laypeople, mind you: just subjugate them to a handful of self-proclaimed Guardians of the Revolution.

                      Metropolitan Jonah is only a recent and high-profile victim of all this, because His Beatitude is strongly opposed to both the sodomite hypocrisy and having his rightful authority marginalized. He is also a convert from the Episcopal Church and has not been shy about a desire to welcome more Episcopalians into Orthodoxy. All of this is anathema to the novel movements, and until these movements are repudiated, the people behind them are just going to keep persecuting innocent people.

                      It’s Metropolitan Jonah today, it may be you tomorrow.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Prof. Siewers,

                      I applauded your previous comment as aligned with foresight. Now, I personally disagree with your confusing what will turn out to be a paramount issue for a an OCA again in a state of transition and refocus – strategic planning – with foolishness, particularly when you are in a role blessed by God to contribute.

                      The issue here, as I see it, has nothing to do with converts per se. The issue is specifically arrogance and the lack of humility; the lack of desire and the unwillingness to learn; of the lack of obedience & the lack of discipline; the lust for “influence,” the assumption of an unearned “voice,” and the pretense to teach & instruct without qualification or standing; and an unprecedented lack of respect and appreciation for the teachers, theologians, architects, and laborers who so carefully delivered this Faith into our hands as they had received it. If I am not mistaken, this is frequently referred to as “following the way of the Fathers before us…”

                      Today marks the 29th anniversary of the falling asleep in the Lord of Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann. Unimaginable! Memory eternal! His vision & understanding of Orthodoxy in America – particularly in tandem with the writings of Fr. Florovsky – is unparalleled. What do I read here? The jingoistic crap of those who have not invested the time to read his writings or speak with those who actually knew him, but anonymously dare to pejoratively refer to him as a “Parisian,” modernist, or “innovator” and would suggest to us we need to “re-evaluate what is still relevant about Alexander Schmemann.”

                      And what is proffered instead by this unlearned, unsustainable, arrogant band of “mainly anonymous?” Apart from the “apophatic,” what-could-we-have-been-thinking ho-hum of “that’s what did us in as Anglicans,” there is… Jonah Paufhausen. Charity, the decision of the 17th AAC, and sheer boredom suggests that it is both pointless and unhealthy to continue to pursue this trail. The point, Prof. Siewers, is that no one among these vocal stone throwers have the faintest idea of any sense of direction, any sense of strategy that does not call for bitching, complaining, and whining. It has nothing to do with converts. It has all to do with ignorance and arrogance.

                      You have a voice and the apparent talent, Prof. Siewers. My first semester at SVS, I really did not want to be in the choir. It was intimidating, there were too many “divas” & characters, too much time commitment, blah, blah, blah. I avoided it. Quietly I received a message before dinner, to go speak with Fr. Alexander; I immediately panicked, What had I done? I knocked, he called me in, told me sit. He said, very quietly, with a warm smile, “God has blessed you with the ability to sing, yes?” “Yes. Fr.” “I myself am a poor singer. Singing is a great gift, yes?” “Yes, Fr.” “Then we agree?” “We agree, Fr.” And for months, when he passed as he was censing the chapel during the Vigil, he made it a point to touch me on the shoulder. I touch you, Prof. Siewers.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      To Helga:

                      As you describe it your world is certainly not my world. I do not know any Orthodox clergy convert or otherwise who do not teach the traditional Orthodox view that abortion and homosexuality are wrong. Certainly, our Antiochian Bishops are very firm on these matters and instruct their clergy to uphold the teaching of our Church on these issues. I can honestly write that I have never met an Orthodox priest in any jurisdiction or have read the writings of any legitimate Orthodox theologian who questions the traditional teaching of our Church on abortion and homosexuality. There are some issues that are not open to revision or discussion. Abortion and homosexuality fall into this category. That does not mean that there have not been non celibate homosexual clergy, but when they are discovered, they are suspended. I might add, I have never found this to be a controversy among the laity of the parishes that I have served. They all agree with the teaching of the Church on these matters. In fact, if I ever questioned the teaching of the Church on homosexuality during a sermon, the Bishop would not have time to discipline me before the people drove me out of the parish.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Fr John, neither Helga nor I mean any offense. But your worldview is only correct as far as your jurisdiction is concerned. Others have brought forward information that shows that in the OCA –especially on the East Coast–all talk about Christian morality is derided as “intolerant.”

                      Exhibit A would be Dn Eric Wheeler’s recent diatribe. If this isn’t an example of collusion and complicity with the spirit of the age, then nothing is.

                    • Stankovich says,

                      What do I read here? The jingoistic crap of those who have not invested the time to read his writings or speak with those who actually knew him, but anonymously dare to pejoratively refer to him as a “Parisian,” modernist, or “innovator” and would suggest to us we need to “re-evaluate what is still relevant about Alexander Schmemann.”

                      Please show me where Fr. Alexander has been derided on this site.

                      Also, please show me where people outraged over behavior like (for example) the demonstrably false STINKBOMB of a letter has anything to do with the legacy of Fr. Alexander.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Thank you Jesse. I for one have great respect for the legacy of Schmemann. I just despise his elevation to idolatrous status by the Kishkovsky/Stokoe wing of the OCA. He had some great ideas. The perpetuation of the MC was not one of them.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      To George Michalopulos

                      If it is true that some Orthodox consider upholding the teaching of our Church on abortion and homosexuality “intolerant,” that is moral heresy. Any Bishop who tolerates a Priest who teaches moral heresy should be suspended together with the Priest. The Church cannot tolerate any kind of heresy including heresy on moral issues. I do not expect the average Orthodox layman or laywoman to have a detailed understanding of the Christological decisions of the Ecumenical Councils, or to be able to explain the teachings of St. Gregory Palamas, but I do expect them to live their lives according to the moral teachings of our Church. If any canonical Orthodox jurisdiction in this country tolerates moral heresy among its clergy, God may very well be protecting other Orthodox from its influence by keeping us divided into different jurisdictions. I know that our Antiochian Bishops do not tolerate that kind of thing. I know that for myself, I would rather stay divided than risk contamination of our doctrine on moral issues through unity with any group of so called Orthodox who do not adhere strictly to all the teachings of the Church including its moral teachings. Any Orthodox jurisdiction contaminated with moral heresy needs to clean up its house before even talking about unity with other Orthodox. I would much rather be under a foreign Patriarch than have a united American Orthodox Church if it means allowing moral heresy to infect the Antiochian Archdiocese.

                    • You’re welcome George.

                      I’ll also add the I came into the Church through a wonderful Antiochian parish, and that during my catechumenate there I was introduced by them to “For the Life of the World”. I am, and will always be, indebted to that book. Since then I have (unwittingly following Stankovich’s advice) paid special attention whenever Fr. Alexander has been invoked.

                      It strongly appears to me that though my Antiochian priest and parish had no explicit ties to Fr. Alexander they have been much more true to Fr. Alexander’s legacy — a legacy of evangelism through rich and obedient sacramental living — than those who rubbed shoulders with him administratively.

                      If all I had seen of Fr. Alexander had been what I’ve seen of his legacy in the OCA, his name would be repugnant to me and my family. Stankovich: for his sake I really hope you are not his legacy.

                      I said this during the OCAT days, and I’ll say it again. The Syosset Circle does not seem to understand that disagreement with them about their behavior or ideas does not necessarily constitute arrogance and willful ignorance. It constitutes disagreement. We may sit at your feet while you teach and still not believe you or be convinced by you. Trotting out a resume or a big name may help us to give you the time of day, but it won’t guarantee agreement.

                      But again, all of the bloviating from the Syosset Circle about legacies and Fr. Alexander is a smokescreen for the fact that they cannot answer the simple questions put to them.

                    • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

                      Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

                      Dear M. Stankovich,

                      I was, genuinely, touched by your kind words to me. But they are indeed undeserved due to my unworthy foolishness. I do with much more reason appreciate your insights and writing, when they are not in the style of an artillery bombardment :).

                      Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh (GOA) recently posted this link online (not in any context related to the OCA; I mention the source only so that Protodeacon Eric doesn’t worry that I pulled this from a vast right-wing-conspiracy webpage, since I am a convert :-)):

                      Note one of the points, a la the Screwtape Letters, on “How to Kill a Church”:
                      “Rather than living as a community, think about yourself as a family. Families are difficult to join. They bicker and fight, lack a mission or purpose, and are together by obligation and history (or marriage).”

                      Yesterday, along with a large group of Orthodox folks from around the country, I found myself in the Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Executive Building for a presentation to Orthodox Christians sponsored by the White Office Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, co-sponsored by IOCC.

                      I was struck by the pan-Orthodox nature of the gathering, motivated by service, which seemed to offer a hopeful glimpse of a unified future for American Orthodoxy.

                      Meanwhile the OCA by itself is a small jurisdiction with a peculiar governance structure, unlike that of any other local Orthodox Church in the world, in which we do seem to have (or at least it’s perceived that we have) a lot of very tight social networks functioning like the endogamous “family” model mentioned in the link above. (Our host here has called this the “protopresbyterianocracy.”)

                      We have had a disproportionate amount of severe governance problems in the past ten years, and have a declining demographic profile that’s a big challenge for a small jurisidiction like ours.

                      I do think that all this would be a good thing for our Strategic Planning effort to examine, through a comparative study of governance structures in local Orthodox churches; also of whether it’s a good thing for Syosset (a close-knit removed suburban center that is not a monastery) to continue as our jurisdictional center rather than basing ourselves in a diverse major city, given the iconographic sense of closed-ness that our current location seems to express.

                      Part of such an examination could help look at issues and relevance of the “family” model (in the endogamous sense mentioned above), that “insider” versus “outsider” dynamic. Is this related to the OCA’s lack of growth overall, and to its lessened influence as a leader in unifying American Orthodoxy? Should we continue with our splendidly isolated autocephaly or seek to merge with another/other jurisdictions?

                      The fact that the Strategic Planning process does not seem to be examining directly the elephant in the room of our jurisdiction’s governance and roiled community life is itself surprising given a decade of turmoil, and the non-canonical situation of American Orthodoxy. Even if one has doubts about the corporate Strategic Planning model in our Church, it would seem that focusing on self-assessment of the OCA in Orthodox terms would be an integral component of such an effort, as in the secular realm.

                      Separately, on a very practical and immediate level, we could try to address the issue of unity by taking up a “one book one jurisdiction” project (similar to those done outside the Church in the “one book one city” projects of some places like Chicago) and all of us in the OCA read “Everyday Saints,” and have discussions on it relative to how to make our jurisdiction more welcoming to converts, with less of an “insider-outsider” perception.

                      Another quick iconographic and unifying step toward addressing this, which wouldn’t require Strategic Planning: Feature our Metropolitan Tikhon’s hierarchical insights regularly on the front of our webpage rather than the doings and thoughts of the head of our Syosset
                      administrative staff, however worthy.

                      Please pray for me a sinner,


                    • Until I see a written apology to Bishop Tikhon, there is one deacon who will not be serving with me. I would say he should leave with the catechumens but he needs all the instruction he can get. Clearly he needs some instruction on the issues of abortion and homosexuality. This is just incredible. Get thee to a monastery.

                    • oliverwendeldouglas says

                      Looks like someone was juicing up at a pre-dinner party before he hit the “send” button. Holy cow!

                    • Mark from the DOS says

                      Is this real? A deacon just called a bishop an old fool twice . . . oh our leadership!

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              Your Grace:

              Perhaps I did not understand you. Do I understand you to claim that “bare-headed heresy preaching” takes place within the OCA? If so, what heresy? As you well know, I am Antiochian and defend our practices and our Metropolitan and Bishops. I have argued with people on this blog over pews, wearing the cassock outside of the Church, Evening Divine Liturgies, and do not share the reverence for monasticism or the old calendar that some do on this blog. I also do not share the OCA view of itself as the autocephalous American Orthodox Church. However, I consider these disagreements about externals or administrative matters not over doctrinal matters. I have read that the OCA is soft on homosexuality, but just read two articles on the OCA web site that correctly express the Orthodox teaching on this subject. Therefore, I am puzzled about just what heresies are being preached in the OCA.

              • Archpriest Morris! I explained in answer to a slimey question that the reason I had never left the OCA/Metyropolia tot go to ROCOR was because there would be no justification for deserting my own bishop. Get that part?
                The only reason one may break communion with one’s bishop is that he teaches heresy bare-headed and in church. Get that part?
                SINCE I remained in the OCA is that not, therefore, PROOF of my conviction that my Bishop has NEVER been found teaching heresy bare-headed and in church?
                Why then, and on what basis have you somehow imagined that i’ve declared or hinted that any OCA Bishop has ever taught heresy bare-headed and in Church?
                I don’t care if you can’t face the idea that pews are destructive of the Tradition of standing in Church, facing East in the hope of the second coming of Jesus Christ. I don’t care if you have become one of those people who deny that the historic STREETWEAR of Orthodox clergy is a Rason, and that neither the Rason nor the podriassnik/anteri is a “Church garment” at all, let alone a liturgical one! If, under the Sultan, it was impossible to wear a pectoral cross over one’s rason in public on the street, I didn’t fall victim to the “Stockholm Syndrome” and say it was good not to wear a pectoral cross and a rason on the street. I don’t care if you and others completely sacrifice the Liturgy of time in order to serve Evening Liturgies not preceded by the Vespers Matins and the Hours and instead of breaking the Strict Fast of the 24th of November with bread and water or kolyva after sundown on the 25th, then, in order to serve a societally conformist Midnight Mass while keeping the Church empty on the Day of the Nativity. I don’t care if you don’t realize that monasticism is a reaction to popular impiety which began with Constantine making the Church respectable and a means of getting ahead in life or keeping the family together. I don’t believe in defending or condemning any calendars and I do not care if you always feel persecuted and misunderstood by non-Antiochians.
                i reply to this because you once again (how many times is it) have listed all the items that are of such importance to YOU PERSONALLY, while complaining that others make too much of them.
                No heresies are being PREACHED in the OCA and you are sadly mistaken if you claim that I stated the opposite.

                • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                  Your Grace:

                  You should carefully read what you wrote and be more careful on how you express yourself. You most certainly did imply that heresy is being preached in the OCA. When I asked that question, I was defending the OCA because I do not believe that heresy is being preached in the OCA. If I defend the OCA against those who claim that the Devil is now in control of the OCA and encourage people to remember that despite its problems the OCA is still Orthodox, I am accused of being a dupe of Syosset. Then someone like you comes around and implies that I am less than Orthodox because I defend the practices of my own Archdiocese against those who lack the theological sophistication to recognize that externals and incidentals are not the essence of Orthodoxy. Externals and incidentals like pews, wearing a cassock on the street and Evening Divine Liturgies are not in violation of the Holy Tradition of the Church because the Holy Tradition is about much more important matters than such externals which any student of the history of our holy Church can tell you have changed over the centuries. The Holy Tradition never changes because what is important is the doctrine of the Church. For your information, I always serve a full Matins before the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, but I do it early in the evening with the approval of my Bishop so that people with children can come. I am a pastor not the igumenia of a monastery. I have to do the best I can to make it possible for my people to participate in as much of the liturgical life of the Church as possible. When people work or in school, they cannot attend the Divine Liturgy on the morning of a feast. Thus the Evening Divine Liturgy is a very good way to help the faithful observe the feasts of our Church. I have never understood the issue of pews since there are ancient liturgical texts that refer to the people sitting at various times during services. The Kathisma of the Psalms, the cry of the deacon at various times, “Stand aright.” If people did not sit in the temple, we would not have a service called the Akathist Hymn, which means “Not Sitting.” If no one sat why would the ancient Orthodox Church name a service “Not Sitting?” I am not a monk and do not have to dress as one. I live in an area where people do not understand Orthodoxy and would consider us strange if they see me in a cassock in the grocery store. As a non Baptist Church in the South, we have enough prejudice to overcome without giving people more reasons to consider us strange. Whether or not I wear a cassock outside of the Church has nothing to do with what I believe or teach in my Church. Your ideas do not represent the entire OCA. I have seen many OCA Temples with pews, many OCA clergy who wear modern clerical attire outside of their Church and not cassocks on the street. I was recently in a meeting with a high official of the OCA who wore a clerical shirt and collar. I have even served Evening Divine Liturgies with OCA clergy. In a society has been taken over by the advocates of abortion and same sex marriage, it is sinful for Orthodox to argue and divide themselves over such unimportant matters as pews, cassocks and Evening Divine Liturgies.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Fr John, I don’t know whether the devil can be in charge of a church for even a season, but I do believe that the Holy Spirit can withhold His Grace. If I didn’t believe that, then I would go down to the closest ECUSA church and take Communion after all, their Apostolic succession is just as secure as that of Athens’. For what it’s worth, I very much fear that the OCA is on its way to the embrace of NCC-ist apostasy. Perhaps I’m wrong and this present fight has woken the traditionalists up to the nefarious machinations of the NCC’s various agents-in-place. If so, then that could be the silver lining in this sordid affair.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      I cannot agree with you. There is no comparison between the OCA and the Episcopal Church. The Orthodox Church does not recognize the so called Apostolic Succession of Anglicanism. In every case in which an Anglican clergyman has converted to Orthodoxy, they have been received as a layman. You cannot have Apostolic Succession if you lack Apostolic Teaching and are in schism from the Church, by Church, I mean the Orthodox Church. Anglicanism is Protestant to the core. It has a few Catholic trappings, but the mind set even of the High Church is completely Protestant because even if an Episcopal priest holds beliefs that are close to Orthodoxy, he is under a bishop who is in communion with bishops who deny the basic teachings of the Christian Faith. Read some of the writings of Bishop Spong to see what I mean. Even the continuing Anglicans are in communion with bishops who are in communion with Canterbury, which is in communion with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church who is a radical pro-gay feminist. Even 33 years ago, when I was at Holy Cross, I once used the library of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass. There were signs even then advertising meetings of the pro-gay group on campus. Anglicanism is hopelessly compromised and cannot claim Apostolic Faith or Succession. The OCA has both Apostolic Succession and Apostolic Faith. There may be some OCA clergy and Bishops who hold personal beliefs or live a secret lifestyle that is not Orthodox, but there is no way that the OCA is going to officially accept homosexuality or women’s ordination or any other heresy. It will not happen. I do not like the NCC and seconded the motion that led the Antiochian Archdiocese to withdraw from the NCC, but I do not believe that being a member of the NCC means that the OCA or the Greeks agree with the other members of the NCC or even recognize them as real Churches in the sense that the Orthodox Church is the Church.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Fr, I mean no offense, but whether we recognize the Apostolic Succession of Anglicanism or not is moot. They do and the claim is buttressed by the line of archbishops of Canterbury going all the way back to St Augustine of Canterbury, who was installed as first ABC by Pope Gregory I the Great (if memory serves).

                      The same could be said for the Coptic Church whose patriarch is a lineal descendant of St Mark, the founder of the Church of Alexandria. And of course the Pope whose seat was founded by Ss Peter and Paul.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      To George Michalopulos

                      It is not moot whether or not the Orthodox Church recognizes the claim of the Episcopal Church to have Apostolic Succession. The Orthodox Church is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. The Episcopal Church is a schism from Roman Catholicism, which is a schism from Orthodoxy. According to the doctrine of the Orthodox Church, the Episcopal Church lacks Apostolic Succession. They may be able to produce a chart showing their historic succession back to an Apostle, but it does not make any difference if they are in schism from the Church and do not uphold the Apostolic Faith. Anglicans do not even claim to uphold the Apostolic Faith because they do not agree among themselves on what they believe much less with us. There is no doubt that historically Anglicanism is Protestant, not only Protestant but heavily influenced by Calvinism. Read the edict on the Episcopal Church by St. Raphael of Brooklyn at http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/hawaweeny.aspx You can dress up in fancy vestments, use incense and chant, but if the doctrine that you are teaching is Protestant, you are a Protestant. Besides they forfeited any claim to Apostolic Succession when they began to ordain women. As, Fr. Alexander Schemann wrote, “Those who are ordaining women are not making women priests, they are abolishing the priesthood.” The Episcopal Church not only ordains women, it allows its clergy to bless same sex “marriages,” and has an openly practicing homosexual and an opening lesbian “bishop.” Even in conservative Vicksburg, Mississippi, they drove the Rector of The Church of the Holy Trinity out because he vocally opposed same sex marriages.

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    I just received the following from the Antiochian Archdiocese:

                    We were saddened to learn that His Beatitude Ignatius IV, Patriarch of Antioch and all

                    The East was taken to St. George Hospital in Beirut yesterday after suffering a stroke.

                    He is currently in critical condition at St. George Hospital.

                    We ask all of the clergy and faithful of this Archdiocese to pray fervently for

                    His Beatitude.

                • Isaac Crabtree says

                  Your Grace, this was epic. You retired too soon, and I wish that more hierarchs would speak out this way. So many Americans in the Church have been lulled into accepting anti-canonical practices– no confession before communion (if ever!), pews, organs, etc.

                  I’m in ROCOR, and I must admit that sometimes it is exceptionally burdensome to go into parishes of jurisdictions with modernistic practices like pews, men and women standing together, and things like vesperal liturgies. I was just at a gathering where I spoke with a Greek Orthodox female professor who doubted the historicity of Israel’s crossing of the Red Sea, and even most of the Old Testament. I thought to myself– how are we even in the same Church? I know she doesn’t speak for her hierarchs, but has her own community not told her that we believe in the Holy Spirit Who “spake by the prophets” and that God cannot lie?

                  I’m glad of ROCOR’s reconciliation with Moscow, but as a practical matter ROCOR’s traditional Orthodoxy does not mix well with local modernistic parishes. I’ve found that I really can’t go to them much because I start entertaining ideas about old calendarism. I have to say to myself “Church of Russia” a few times to clear it up.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    I too, regret His Grace’s untimely retirement. I can’t say that I know how things were run in the Diocese of the West during Tikhon’s archpastorate, I can say that his brave commentary is a breath of fresh air (even when I don’t agree with them). How utterly unlike what we usually hear.

                    For what it’s worth, the bishops that I find to be fine evangelists and homilists presently are Basil of Wichita, and Isaiah of Denver, Kallistos Ware, and Metropolitan Jonah (once he gets wound up). I heard wonderful things about a recently ordained Antiochian bishop (I believe of Brooklyn) from a priest who attended a liturgy in which he spoke. The people there actually gave him a thunderous ovation. So it’s not all bleak. As for those who have reposed, I would add the Venerable Dmitri (of course) and every now and then the late Metropolitan Anthony of the GOA (SF).

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    But we are in the same Church, the Orthodox Church. Your concern with externals is misplaced. What matters is doctrine. Different Orthodox have different customs. We do not all do the same thing but we believe the same thing. We believe every thing in Pomazansky’s Dogmatic Theology, the dogmatic text at Holy Trinity School of Theology. ROCOR is in full Communion with the Antiochian Archdiocese despite some differences in practice. Our clergy in West Virginia regularly serve with the monks at Holy Cross Hermitage. I believe that Bishop Thomas has also served there. When I served at the funeral for Fr. Matthew MacKay in Houston, there were at least 6 ROCOR priests serving with us. I could give you a list of things that we do, especially during Holy Week, that the Russians do not do. To me these customs are an important part of the proper celebration of Holy Week, but I would never call the Russians not Orthodox because they do not do them. It is the Orthodox Faith that unites us, not local customs that differ.
                    I do disagree with the so called theologian who does not believe that Moses crossed the Red Sea. That is part of the Bible and is constantly referred to in our Orthodox liturgical texts. Unfortunately, some Orthodox have fallen under the heretical influence of modern Western Biblical scholarship. Although they call it Historical Criticism, as a former professional historian trained in real history, I can tell you that their work does not meet the standards expected from a real historian. If an historian applied their methods to the study of any historical subject such as 19 century German history, my specialization, they would be laughed out of the profession. The work of these so called Biblical scholars is marred by post-Enlightenment prejudices against anything supernatural and pure speculation, not serious historical research. As a result they treat most of the Bible as mythology because they disregard the divine inspirations of the sacred texts and treat the Holy Scriptures as any other work as literature. A Christian cannot do that because we believe that the Bible is divinely inspired. We also believe in God. If God wants to part the Red Sea, He has the power to part the Red Sea.

                • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                  Your Grace:

                  Upon further reflection, I realized that your priorities are all wrong. We live in an increasingly secular society and you waste time criticizing other Orthodox because they do not agree with you on unimportant externals like pews, cassocks and Evening Divine Liturgies. That is not only counter productive, but shows a profound misunderstanding about what the Church is all about. The Church is about salvation, not preserving 19century Russian customs. We need to concentrate on Christ, prayer and spirituality. We need to find a way to reach out to a society that desperately needs the truth that only the Orthodox Church can provide. We cannot do that if we are arguing about whose liturgical practices are the most Orthodox. These silly arguments only prevent us from fulfilling our most important mission which is preaching the true Faith to those around us. Orthodox need to get their priorities right and concentrate on how we as a Church can witness the truth of Orthodoxy, and quit wasting time arguing over unimportant externals.

                  • Speaking of prioritis, eternal memory and blessed repose to ever-memorable Ignatius, Patriarch of Antioch!

                    I’m sorry that Father Morris continues to expostulate defensively, rather than addressing his misperceptions, first, that I stated that heresy was being taught by OCA bishops, and second, the even lamer, “You most certainly did imply that heresy is being preached in the OCA.”

                    No, Archpriest Morris; there you are also wrong. You are totally unable to point to any of my words which imply an accusation of heresy against any bishop(s) of the OCA.

                    If you’re coming apart in view of not being able to respond sensibly to what I’ve written, you should not make INFERENCES that do not follow from what I wrote and call them IMPLICATIONS of mine.

                    it Saint Basil the Great provided us an example of unwritten Holy Tradition (please, note the capitals, they are deliberate) as the making of the sign of the Cross, I consider this to be a Holy Tradition that is an ESSENTIAL part of being an Orthodox Christian in this world whose prince is Satan. I do not consider such to be “externals”, non-essential or adiaphora as do Martin Luther and his following, wherever that following may be found.

                    I don’t cringe at the idea that a stranger in a supermarket or Starbucks may find my appearance abnormal. In fact, I hope he will be curious enough to ask me why I’m dressed so outlandishly, as a man on the streets of Washington DC once asked Vladyka Dimitri. Many people have gotten shorter or longer lessons on Orthodoxy and the Orthodox Church from me because my outlandish appearance excited their interest. Professional evangelists give lectures on how to get people’s ears. It’s easy. But if I want to be seen as an average guy, even an average Christian clergyman who has absolutely nothing to communicate but same-old, same-old, then I’ll go out an buy a black “clergy suit” and wear a nice ‘clergy shirt’ with it. That’ll keep them at their distance, will it not? You guys are really S-LO-W, and, Archpriest Morris, I am not addressing Antiochenes in particular, no matter how much you’d like me to do so, confirming your dogma that everybody misunderstands you and all Antiochenes and worships Russianness.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      Your Grace:
                      Clam down. I did not accuse of you of stating that heresy is being preached in the OCA. I wrote, “Perhaps I did not understand you. Do I understand you to claim that “bare-headed heresy preaching” takes place within the OCA?” Thus, I simply asked a question to clarify what you meant.
                      People often ask me what Church I am from when they see me dressed in my clergy shirt and collar. This gives me a chance to tell them something about Orthodoxy. I always put on my rasso when I bless homes. One day, I blessed two homes close together, so I decided instead of carrying it and putting it on when I got into the house, I decided just to keep it on. Not only is it difficult to drive a car in a rasso, when I got out of the car at the next house a women across the street yelled at me, “are you the Pope.” You are absolutely right there are traditions that are not written down, as St. Basil wrote. I frankly doubt that you can find any writing by any of the Holy Fathers relating to any of the issues we have been discussing. They had more important issues with which to deal as we do if we are to fulfill Christ’s command to peach the Gospel to America. It is the Church which determines what those unwritten traditions are not us or even an individual Bishop. Since our Archdiocese is in full Communion with the rest of Orthodoxy including the OCA, it is obvious that the rest of Orthodoxy does not consider our pews, clerical attire, and even Evening Divine Liturgies heretical or a violation of the Holy Tradition of the Church. Let us cease arguing about these externals.
                      There is indeed in Orthodox theology the concept of non essentials or what the Lutherans call adiaphora. We call them theologoumena.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Well, I think you are both right. God clearly prefers some forms of worship over others. It is important how we do what we do. It is of more importance that we do it for the right reason: love of God.

                    Yet, it cannot be said by most that we love God sufficiently to completely ignore the so-called externals. Most of the time I’m not sure we know enough to determine what is external and non-essential and what is not.

                    I’ve worshipped in parishes with and without pews; those who require confession betore receiving the Eucharist and those who do not; those in which women are separated from the men and those where they are not. Although my in my home parish we have pews, do not require confession before receiving the Eucharist, and the men and women co-mingle. I would, frankly, prefer no pews, confession before communion; men and women separated.

                    Nevertheless, I sincerely doubt they make any difference to my salvation and I more deeply doubt that anyone can prove to me that they do. Knowing myself just a bit, they might make me more smug and allow me to think of myself as far more holy than I actually am.

                    Still, it is easy to get too comfortable and allow a slow slide into accomodation with the world. That must be resisted.

                    Pray, fast, worhsip, repent, live a life of mercy (almsgiving). One can do that with or without pews; no one is prevented from going to confession as often as one wants (weekly confession is available at my parish). Nor does the proximity of the opposite sex in worship prevent me from attending if I want.

                    The Church will look differently in this time and place if we allow her to, but the life-giving presence of the Holy Trinity will always be there, if we want God in our midst.

                    We need not be Greek, Russian or Arab peasants unless we are.

                    Like it or not, Americans are more diverse, less formal in some things, yet highly influenced by a German sese of order in others (pews for instance).

                    • I wish Rev. Morris would make up his mind. The first time i asked him where he had found me claiming that heresy was being taught in the OCA in a recent message, he replied with this: ““You most certainly did imply that heresy is being preached in the OCA.”
                      Once again, I ask Rev. Morris where i implied that heresy is being preached in the OCA.
                      even though he just denied he wrote what he wrote, denied it rather brazenly from my point of view!
                      Rev. Morris’s philosophy about adiaphora (which are NOT theologoumena at all!), or “non-essentials” leads inevitably
                      to the idea of the Low Mass: a Liturgy cleansed, no doubt sensibly and Antiochianly, of all “non-essentials.” Every single Protestant denomination defines itself by separating “essentials” from “non-essentials” I prefer the Orthodox concept of fullness in all its aspects. I am filled with sadness as i see a priest denigrating as “non-essential” what many simple folk of all ethnicities in the Orthodox Communion just treasure and love with pure hearts.
                      I’ve never said pews are sinful or “evil” as Bishop Iakovos of Chicago once averred. I just think they are not good for the Faithful. I know all the excuses for blending in by wearing “clergy-suits” and “clergy-shirts.” I condemn no one for wearing them, no matter what Fr. Morris imputes to me. i just think the rason is better and more missionary-minded an article of street clothing. i have no idea AT ALL why Morris and thsoe of like mind with him wear a rason in Church. Please explain this.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      To Bishop Tikhon

                      Your Grace:

                      Every Orthodox theologian recognizes the difference between the Holy Tradition of the Church and traditions or customs. Throughout the centuries various national Orthodox Churches have developed their own local traditions. These differences have nothing to do with the doctrine of the Church and should not be a source of controversy among Orthodox Christians. There are lots of differences between Russian tradition and Antiochian tradition. For example, when we take Kairon, we venerate all the icons on the Iconostasis not just the icons of Christ and the Thetokos. The priest not the deacon does the censing before the Great Entrance. During the Great Entrance, the deacon or priest if there is no deacon wears the Aer on his back not his shoulder and has ribbons to tie it in place. During the Great Entrance of the Presanctified Divine Liturgy, the priest wears the Aer on his head. We also do not concelebrate the Presanctified Liturgy and never wear an Epigonation or pectoral cross at the Presanctified Divine Liturgy. We also take Communion the same way that we do at any other Divine Liturgy, because the wine is consecrated when a particle of the Lamb upon which consecrated wine has been poured is placed in the Chalice. These and other differences such as pews are not doctrinal and should not be a source of controversy among Orthodox Christians. They have pews in the Patriarchal Cathedral in Damascus. Surly the successor to Sts. Peter and Paul would not have pews in his Cathedral if it were against the doctrine of the Orthodox Church to have pews in the Temple.

                  • Thomas Paine says

                    Fr. Morris,

                    WOW! A voice of reason.

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    Your Grace:

                    Forgive me if my last comment was disrespectful and undiplomatic. I wrote it when I was upset about the news of the death of our Patriarch. I am also in a great deal of pain right now. I went to the Liturgy on Sunday for the first time since my operation and over did it. I am sorry that we disagree, but I do not think that it is productive to continue to argue about externals. The reality is that the OCA and the Antiochian Archdiocese are in full communion and recognize each other as Orthodox despite a few minor differences on non essential externals. We should never forget that fact or allow minor disagreements over externals to cause division between us. I think that it is important to place our emphasis on the teachings of the Holy Fathers and the Ecumenical Councils and not on minor differences in practice.

                • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                  Your Grace:

                  I reread your post and apologize for misunderstanding what you wrote.

        • “$40,000 is not to be sneezed at. And Jonah is a California native.”

          Your Grace,
          According to his bio, (and to the Chicago Tribune when reporting the libel produced in Syosset,) +Jonah is NOT a California native, but was born in the Chicago area.

          Boy, we need a new thread on this topic. 500+ comments is getting a bit hard to navigate! George?

          • What an important point, Father sue! Thanks for increasing the 500+ comments to which you refer, with something of such import!
            I should have just said that METROPOLITAN Jonah is a Californian, and left it at that: I had no idea i was misleading The Faithful in matters of nativity.

    • Your Grace, did the whole “sole support of his parents” thing escape their attention?

    • It was at the Los Angeles cathedral, Your Grace, and required 6 months at St. Luke’s first. This was – and continues to be – a smack down! Benjamin said at the last metropolitan council meeting that he was going to bury +JONAH, and he is on that course.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Now, which one of the bishops (a) is posting here as “FYI” or (b) whispering sweet nothings to “FYI” who is probably a priest?

        • Shame on you, Carl. You are scandalizing the faithful with these groundless accusations against the All Holy Synod.

          Tsk tsk.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Dear Um—There is a problem with this sort of insider reporting from the Holy Synod. If what FYI reported is true, then my question makes literal sense. If he just made it up, my question can be taken as sarcasm. There is another possibility of course; the proposed arrangement was made known to the MC and somebody in the MC leaked it to FYI. Either way, it is wrong and the scandalizer is FYI.

        • FYI is probably employed at or frequents Syosset. Why would C. Kraeff think that a Bishop is breaking ranks to post anything here?

          • Carl Kraeff says

            If it is an internal Holy Synod matter, who else?

          • Carl Kraeff says

            I think I have a better theory: the leaker is HE Jonah. He leaks to his consiglieri, Father Joseph Fester, who posts on Monomakhos under the names of “Um,” “FYI,” and half a dozen other monikers. ..

            • Heracleides says

              Sorta like Carl, Stookey, and Pink Tutu?

            • Carl, you like that theory better because it is less scandalous or more scandalous?

              Hatred of Jonah is not a logical reason to prefer a theory. Sorry about that, big guy.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                I think I will accept Professor Alfred Kentigern Siewer’s proposal to quit posting for the remainder of the Nativity Fast. Sinner that I am, however, I want to say this before I leave:

                I do not hate +Jonah. I have been perplexed, irritated and angered by him, but I have never hated him. OTH, I must admit that I have a very hard time with Father Fester. I dislike him very much indeed, but I do not think that I have ever hated him.

      • He will end up burying himself. Who will be a party to this shear obsessed hatred? I wiped the dust from my sandals of it.

      • Thanks, FYI. I got confirmation of the ACTUAL offer elsewhere. Metropolitan Jonah was offered Berkeley and, as I’d already heard, has not given his answer yet. Los Angeles, with Abbot Gerasim’s help, is just getting over the wounds inflicted by the assignment and expulsion of the previously assigned Rector.
        Don’t check anything on the OCA site: they still have J. Strickland as being in L.A., and Abbot Gerasim attached to Syosset.

      • ChristineFevronia says

        FYI, did Archbishop Benjamin really say that? That he was going to “bury” Metropolitan Jonah?

  35. Michael Bauman says

    Basil, regarding your comment above: https://www.monomakhos.com/extra-syosset-report-of-deal-struck-with-met-jonah-not-true/#comment-44166

    Nothing will be done, because the attitudes expressed seem to be the norm.

    The only thing in his comments that is corect is that, unfortunately, His Grace Bishop Tikon (retired) can probably be considered old, yet I for one pray for many more years for him.

  36. Thomas Paine says

    To All In The Family and others,

    You don’t know Dn. Eric. His comments are accurate. BT should have never been ordained nor consecrated. Fr. Schmemann didn’t support his ordination yet + Dimitri pushed forward with it anyway. The result: the worst bishop in the history of the Metropolia or OCA. And, in retirement still making trouble and proving he should never been seriously considered for any office in the Orthodox Church. For those who don’t know, BT is bipolar and could have been, probably should have been committed years ago. Dn. Eric isn’t the problem, BT is.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I cannot disagree with you more. The more I get to know about Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald, the more I respect his courage. Too bad he’s still not on the Synod.

    • Disgusted With It says

      “Fr. Schmemann didn’t support his ordination yet + Dimitri pushed forward with it anyway.”

      Soooooooo, Fr. S had to approve every ordination? Sure, the seminary should be asked for their opinion and evaluation of a student, but you make it sound like he should have had veto power over the bishop. Besides, I’m sure Fr. Alexander would be utterly ashamed of the un-Orthodox and un-Christian actions, beliefs and teachings of his so-called “followers” (or “legacy” as some would say) today.

      As for the “worst bishop in the history of the Metropolia or OCA”, really? I’m confident a certain other bishop of the West today is much more deserving of that dubious distinction.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I allowed this post not because I have anything against Bishop Tikhon (I don’t) but because I wanted to continue to smoke out the mendacity of “Thoomas Paine.”

        • Thomas Paine says

          “Mendacity?” Afraid not. Apparently you aren’t aware of BT’s “scorched earth” legacy. Besides spreading vicious rumors about deacons, priests and bishops (most wildly untrue), he was instrumental in trying to split the Antiochian evangelicals from the Antiochian Archdiocese. He even told them, “If you leave + Philip, I will take you in.” + Philip and + Theodosius put a quick kabosh on that. Incidents go on and on. BT was instrumental in pushing Soriach into Bishop of Alaska. He was a total disaster and the entire clergy rebelled and threw him out. We could go on and on, but why? Don’t try and re-write history on this forum. RSK was guilty; + Herman was guilty; + Jonah thought he could unilaterally make decisions for the OCA and + Tikhon (retired) was a disaster as a bishop.

          • George Michalopulos says

            As far as Fr Kondratick is concerned, you keep asserting that “he was guilty” over and over. And yet the “spiritual court” that tried him was clearly a kangaroo one and as for his supposed crimes the secular authorities looked at the “evidence” and yawned. So tell me again, why should we believe you?

            • All in the Family says

              Speaking of “unilateral” decisions, what about the unilateral decision of the OCA synod to sentence +Jonah to the DOW under +Benjamin? Is that ok with you Thomas (N.C.) Paine? And what “unilateral” decisions of Jonah are your referring to?

              Honestly, you have no idea how stupid you are making the OCA look.

              • All in the Family says (December 15, 2012 at 3:11 pm):

                Speaking of “unilateral” decisions, what about the unilateral decision of the OCA synod to sentence +Jonah to the DOW under +Benjamin? Is that ok with you Thomas (N.C.) Paine? And what “unilateral” decisions of Jonah are your referring to?

                Honestly, you have no idea how stupid you are making the OCA look.



                OMG!! I know who TP is! Now all that blather TP writes is congealing into a recognizable blob of antichurch, unchristian toxin!

                May the Lord forgive him and all of us, and let’s all forgive each other.

                Let’s hear the Gospel again and again and learn it better so we can expel the poison and be healed.

                It’s probably time — and past time — for the camouflage of pseudonyms to be abandoned here.

                Our Lord tells us: ‘When you mean “yes”, say “yes”; when you mean “no”, say “no”. Everything else comes from the devil.’

                I interpret this to include cloaked identities, which we Christians must avoid if we’re to be taken seriously and not fall under divine condemnation.

                While I respect George Michalopulos’s editorial discretion in the past, I am certain now that it’s no longer helpful at all to conceal the identities of correspondents on the Monomakhos blog.

          • Thomas Paine has just lied about me. While I would, indeed, have welcomed any Orthodox Christian into the Orthodox Church in America, in accordance with the Tomos of Autocephaly, if petitioned by anyone, I certainly never invited any “Antiochian evangelicals” from the Antiochian Archdiocese. That claim by Paine is yet another product of his “vain thoughts and evil imaginations.” I’ll go a little further, and say that I was VERY content that none of those EOC “suits” came into my Diocese! In fact, to be honest, Fr. David Anderson gave me the real “heebie-jeebies!” I did receive two veterans of the EOC invasion, though: Father Leo Arrowsmith, who hardly qualifies as any kind of Antiochian evangelical; after all, he was a former Jesuit and teacher at the Jesuit St. Sophia college in Tokyo who had been ordained not by Metropolitan Saliba, but by Cardinal Doi! I received his wife, too. Although I’m nothing special as a Bishop, I don’t think I qualify as a “disaster,” in fact, I found my wonderful diocesan retirement event in Las Vegas, the speeches and the gifts, especiallly the commemortive DVD, and the almost annual resolutions at Diocesan Assemblies since then, the most recent one on the occasion of my birthday, to provide HINTS that I should not think of myself as a disaster.
            I hesitate to say, ‘Judge not lest ye be judged,” usually, but I find Paine’s foolish and death-defying declarations of judgment on Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick, Metropolitan Herman and Metropolitan Jonah to be just the judging against which our Saviour admonished us. I don’t know what his problem is. Is he perhaps an immobile shut-in, suffering from the results of a terrible accident which affected mind and body? There are Alaskan clergy who stood up for and still do stand up for Bishop Nikolai (Soraich). I was not at all instrumental in Bishop Nikolai’s being installed as Bishop of Sitka and Alaska; in fact, I wanted him to be MY vicar Bishop in the West, but at the time i and my diocesan council tried to get the approval of the Holy Synod, Archbishop Kyrill insisted that he and other bishops were older than I and it wouldn’t be fitting for me, therefore to have a vicar until senior members, like Metropolitan Herman, Archbishop Peter, and himself had one. All I could say at that time was “My diocese can afford to provide me the assistance of a vicar: I can’t help it if your finances are in such a state that that’s not the case for you!” Later, the Synod approved Father Nikolai, my own Chancellor, to be the Metropolitan’s Vicar Bishop of Bethesda. I had NOTHING to do with the mass of evidence submitted through the sexual abuse committee relevant to the incumbent Bishop Gula in Alaska which led to his death before he could be hauled before a Spiritual Court and tried, but I read it all. I also had nothing to do with election of Bishop Nikolai of Bethesda by the Diocesan Assembly of the Alaskan diocese. These are more “vain thoughts and evil imaginations” of Paine (and some other men of bad intention). By the way, there’s not one member of today’s Holy Synod who approaches Bishop Nikolai in competence and dedication to the Church. No, not one. I’ll testify to that any where, orally or in writing.
            Paine what is it that you fear in not revealing who you are? Embarrassment? It’s my conviction that those who know you have no illusions about you at all. Get over it.

            • Mark from the DOS says

              Bless Vladyka!

              You reference something called a spiritual court. What should you make of the fact that since the removal and deposition of Fr. Bob, we have seen suspension after suspension, removals etc. and nary a word about a spiritual court in any of those instances. By what procedure are bishops and clergy “administratively” removed without recourse to a spiritual court to judge the basis for their removal?

              • Mark, what do I make of that? I discern a great deal of indecency and disorder, don’t you? The Soviet (Conciliar) Union and its satellites in the Soviet (Sovietsky-Conciliar) bloc were also famed for indecency and disorder which they called ‘Socialist Legality.” The show-trial of the Chancellor was, it seems the last time the attempt was made to seem to be following an apparent canonical, i.e., legal procedure, but it was what one might call a “Potemkin’ court”, formed to deceive and appease its public, but not even effective as such!
                Without a restoration of and dedication to canonical decency and order, the OCA must flounder, praying for a strong Leader to come along. I’m sorry to say that the example of Bishop Nikolai (Soraich) makes me suspect that there are now too many little men, mediocrities of the first water, who have and maintain an ability to influence events and exercise authority which they will never willingly give up, to allow for a strong leader of his sort to emerge, but only one totally in debt to “the usual suspects” now ruling the roost.

          • And I still want to know what decision Jonah “unilaterally” made for the OCA. If it was a pattern, that means you need to have at least three examples (at an absolute minimum and those three would have to be really egregious), but I suspect you don’t even have one.

            This is a man who was so submissive that he even resigned as primate when asked. He was not required to resign by any law.

            But you know all this, and truth is not your objective. Neither are you concerned with things like love or even fairness.

          • Thomas Paine says (December 15, 2012 at 11:22 am):

            “Mendacity?” Afraid not. Apparently you aren’t aware of BT’s (various issues perceived by ‘Thomas Paine’….)

            WAIT A MINUTE!!!!!

            George Michalopulos (rightly, in my opinion) challenged TP’s (HAH!) version of things. TP then says that he’s ‘afraid not’, immediately abandons the subject at hand (his own veracity/mendacity) and then goes on to confess someone else’s (perceived) sins.

            What kind of shell game is TP trying to play on us here?

      • George Osborne says

        Remember! Metropolitan Theodosius was Fr. Schmemann’s protege. As we would say here in the South, maybe he wasn’t such a good a judge of horse flesh.

        Secondly, I was scandalized and horrified by Mr. Wheeler’s comments. I cannot accord him his proper title as he obviously by his own actions has rendered himself worthy of that office and honor by uttering the comments made concerning Bishop Tikhon. Never in my 35 years as an Orthodox Christian, unworthy as I am, have I ever read or even imagined a minor clergyman publically uttering such statements against a bishop. First of all, Bishop Tikhon’s medical diagnosis means nothing to me and is absolutely irrelevant. He is a consecrated bishop and should be accorded all possible respect if for no other reason the mere fact that he sits in the chair of the apostles. If the question is worthiness, who among us is worthy of anything…even our next breath, for crying out loud. In my humble opinion, this situation is even more of a litmus test than that of + Jonah. If a mere deacon can utter blasphamy and say “Thou fool” to a bishop unpunished and un corrected, then the OCA HAS forfitted any claim to respect or normalcy. The fact that his brother-in-law is Chancellor should not shield him for a canonical inquiry and will tell volumes about Father Jillion’s character and fitness for office. If + Tikhon permits a brother bishop to be slandered without correction, then truly Fr. Hopko’s statement that the Holy Spirit wasn’t in the OCA was not in error, it was prescient.

    • Paine has reminded me of Vladyka Dmitri, for which I am thankful. When, in Washington DC, where I was singing in both choirs at both Liturgies and even assisting with the reading at Slavonic Vigils on Saturday nights, Vladyka Dmitri proposed that I could do “more for the Church” and that I consider becoming a Deacon I agreed. I was ordained a Deacon at St. Nicholas on December 19th, 1971, the parish feastday. Bishop Dmitri said to me, before that, when he was telling me how to petition for ordination, “Stephen, I want to let you know that before going ahead with ordaining you, I checked with Father Alexander Schmeman and asked if there would be any problem from the seminary if I ordained you when you only completed one full year there. He said, “Stephen Fitzgerald? Problem? Tell him to enter my name as his first character reference.” I always got along well with Father Alexander. I got along well with just about everyone at SVS except T. Fryntzko (the cook, Natalia Mitrofanovna Zembara called him “Furtzko” (which hinted at his known proclivity for breaking wind at most inappropriate times, like during the prayer of St. Ephraim), and the arch-cynic, Fr. Schneirla who was then the token Antiochian on the faculty and taught a very source-critical course in Old Testament.
      I have suffered from Clinical Depression which was well-controlled (after trying Zoloft, Effexor-XR, Wellbutrin and other chemicals until, finally, a combination of Cymbalta and Provigil helped me very well until my retirement. I don’t believe I’ve ever suffered from “bipolarism” or “bipolarity.” and I can’t imagine where this Paine got the idea… perhaps Wheeler made it up? There was one guy posting here who claimed I didn’t complete a full school year at SVS. That is also an untruth and verifiable as such by a call to the SVS office for a records check. I believe that the last times my Background Investigation was updated to renew my Top Secret security clearance, my period of study as entered on my DD Form 398 was verified by the Air Force’s OSI (Office of Special Investigations.
      I wonder why Paine wasn’t invited to the Kaffee-Klatsch of Wheeler, Stokoe and Brown lately–are they perhaps too “butch” for him?
      Just joking.. Paine told a total untruth about my relationship with Father Alexander. That’s all right. Envy is a terrible master…
      By the way, when I went back East (after being appointed Rector of the Los Angeles Cathedral upon Fr. Dimitri Gisetti’s retirement) to interview John Jillions as a possible candidate as my second Priest, I was talking with Fr. Dan Hubiak, the Chancellor, when the phone rang and it was Father Alexander asking me to stop by the seminary office when I was through talking to Jillions. I did so. I can verify another part of Paine’s rant about Father Alexander’s “followers.’ While I was having coffee (and a smoke) with Fr. Alexander in his office, the phone rang and Father Alexander had some rather angry words with the caller. When he hung up he said, ‘it happens all the time: I’ll comment on some earlier practice in the Church and one of these guys will later go out to a parish and do that practice, claiming I approved it! That was a man from Minneapolis complaining that Fr. N. had begun serving the Divine Liturgy with the doors open from beginning to end and said that I had said that was the right way to do it!! ” He asked me if I’d read “The Fourth Man”, and I had. He said he always liked that type of story. We covered a lot of ground that day…it was the last time I had a really long, private conversation with him… Oh, another, earlier recollection. It was at the All-American Council in Montreal, where Theodosius was elected to be Metropolitan (although Bishop Dmitri got a LOT more delegate votes than he). I was amazingly chosen to be the Protodeacon at the Molieben of Installation at the SS Peter & Paul church where the Council was held. Afterwards, Father Alexander, very “up” and happy, said to me. “We’re all watching to see what vestments Metropolitan Theodosius will select to wear for his first Liturgy as Metropolitan (it was to be held the next day at the hotel). He’s very fussy about that and always wants to look just right!” I remember too, when Metropolitan Vladimir was allowed to retire from the San Francisco see and allowed to be attached to a parish in Canada on the condition he would never set foot in the San Francisco diocese again…We were talking with Father Alexander about this when someone (was it Father George Benigsen? A younger Priest? I can’t recall yet…)asked “Father Alexander, did you have any idea that Metropolitan Vladimir was “that way” before all this happened? ” Father Alexander rather snorted in his way and announced, “Any IDEA? My dear, he LIVED with us when he was a seminarian!” Some people today have no idea how different attitudes about homosexuals were, formerly, at, for example, SVS. There was one Archpriest, an alumnus, who always appeared on campus in the Fall to greet and ‘inspect”, frankly, the new crop of seminarians each year, as he actually announced to me and and a couple others on the seminary lawn the second or third day I was there, looking me archly up and down. Then there was the Antiochian student from Montreal who said to me once when several of us were having a bull session in somebody’s room, ‘Oh, STEPHEN! You’re going to have to buy some pyjamas instead of wearing that night shirt…when you cross or uncross your legs, we can see EVERYTHING” Whereupon he actually nudged somebody, ala Monty Python! I DID go out and disgustedly buy some pyjamas. Then there was the teacher of Greek, a Greek American, who, Peter Pritza told me, had been appointed by Father Alexander to keep track of and report on any and all “gay” seminarians to Father Alexander personally and privately. That man eventually was ordained an Archimandrite and not long after became one of the first OCA members to die of AIDS. Then there was the young pre-theological seminarian who developed a “crush” on David Black and made a nuisance of himself popping up whenever Black would go out for coffee or a walk to Nathan’s,etc. it was around mid-term exam time, and he came into the old main dorm from the pre-the’s dorm (then called the new building) with the intent of “dropping in on” David Black. Unfortunately for him as he tried to go up the stairs, Leonid Kishkovsky stopped him and said, ‘Where do you think YOU”re going, V.?” I’m going upstairs, because I have to see David,” and he tried to push his way past Leonid, who, amazingly, hauled off an decked him, whereupon he went back where he came from “V” was brazen, indeed. At my very first Forgiveness Vespers as we came up from bowing down to the ground before each other, it was V. who, instead of exchanging kisses on the cheek, stuck his tongue way into my mouth. What a disagreeable shock. A
      nother student who later became a Bishop confessed to me that I’d been appearing to him in his dreams as a unicorn (!!!!!). In later years I was often asked, especially, by Father John Meyendorff, ‘What was the REAL reason you decided to leave us and go back to the Air Force?” I could have listed all that stuff, but there were other factors that were decisive, and I left it at that. It is now and was then my conviction that there was nothing that I could have revealed to the faculty and administration of which they were not already aware, anyhow. I am not a hero of virtue and probity and high Christian morality, but at my age i no longer will put up with outright untruths about myself, such as the ones uttered by Paine and others.
      Father Alexander was a real man and a real human being and an extraordinarily gifted teacher. He is much missed, to be sure and can never be replaced, but he was, of course, often misunderstood even by some of the very people who quoted him as some kind of oracle, and who impute sentiments and declarations to him which are only products of their misperceptions, at best: of their imaginations at worst.

    • All in the Family says

      Thomas Paine,

      I think that Wheeler’s comments to a bishop of the Church has given us all we need to know about him. Knowing him and seeing him in action on a regular basis does not surprise me that he would act in such a disrespectful way. But please feel free to continue your delusion about the OCA and the role Wheeler has played and is playing in its current downward trajectory.

      What would it take for you to realize that things are really bad for the OCA? Moscow not showing up at the “enthronement” of +Tikhon? Would that be a clear enough signal that the way +Jonah is being mistreated is not without consequences?

      Until +Jonah is treated with the respect of the former Primate of the OCA, until those running the OCA get their heads out of their collective delusion, the OCA will not recover. Until +Jonah is given a respectable severance package so he can care for his parents and until he is released to the MP, the OCA will continue to be further isolated.

      And, what action will +Tikhon take against one of his clergy for saying such disrespectful language? Anything? I doubt it which again proves the obvious point.

      Anyone in Syosset listening? The ball has been put squarely in your hands. The clock is ticking.

      • M. Stankovich says

        May I ask if it is the actual phrase employed by Protodeacon Wheeler, or the sentiment conveyed in the phrase that is so “outrageous” to everyone? I recall a recent use of the phrase “the daft old bishop” not being gone, but in the attic, that passed without comment. Likewise, at any given time, you are free to click on the “satire” offerings at the top of the page where – as I seem to recall – there are at least three humorous cartoons of the bishop. Again, I have read no “outrage.”

        Likewise, this is hardly the first time these two individuals have chosen to “have at it” with one another in this public forum – equally & with a seemingly common “delight,” regardless and in spite of their calling, position, and common sense. And of course, viral the report of the exchange becomes. And setting aside the all-things-being-equal hypocritical silence at the similar comments/cartoons, Vladyka Tikhon does not respond as “victim” of character assassination (“Et tu, Brute?”), but actually gloats that he can still “get a rise” out of the the Protodeacon! Does this speak of more fun to come?

        Enough of the fake outrage and the deep, overblown “metaphors” of Syosset and underground bunkers. Parasitic relationships are parasitic by nature. That individuals – let alone clergy – are dumb enough to hang their drying underwear in public is enough said.

        • Ah! M. Stankovich, everybody loves you and admires your valiant position in society which is of untold value to those in poor mental and “emotional” health.
          What does the “likewise” at the beginning of your second paragraph mean? I ask because it is entirely separate in thought and in moralizing from the preceding paragraph.
          We ALL love and are in awe at your professional knowledge which you graciously share with us, and we listen to your advice and moralizing with gratitude.
          You’re right, too many of us, unlike you, are obsessed with the actual words our Lord chose in saying ‘He who calls his brother a ‘fool” and so on and when we see what appears to be an actual DARE of our Lord by Wheeler calling someone a fool outright, twice, we should first consult with you on the moral implications of that utterance before daring to express a personal opinion, not previously vetted by you.
          After all, we may be sometimes inconsistent, unlike you, whom we can only hope to approach in acuity, experience, and knowledge of human nature! Yes, I do admit, I’ve often thought that little deacon was cute and ienjoyed teasing him when he gets too serious about himself. You didn’t appreciate me descending to that level, and I apologize to your sense of rectitude and virtue., which i have sinned against.
          Thanks to George Michalopolos for causing us to come in contact with such perspicacity and knowledge of HUMAN NATURE as you obviously possess and generously display. Without George’s blog, we’d hardly have ever heard of you! I’m so grateful to make up a part, however minor, of your audience! May God always be with you!

        • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

          Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

          Matt. 5:22

          Folks supportive of the OCA inside circle have liked to criticize Dr. Joel Kalvesmaki’s writings, for example, as over the top and beyond the pale in language, while implying that responses such as the Protodeacon’s are justified.

          Yet compare the actual text of the writings of Dr. Joel, a respected scholar, on the OCA situation, with those of the Protodeacon, in terms of their approach to hierarchs. My encounter with the latter on another online site consisted of him out of the blue simultanously making fun of my name and in effect making wrong assumptions about my politics, having never met me.

          Yet undoubtedly plenty of folks who criticize a lot of the discourse here as beyond the pale are nodding their heads and saying “you go Protodeacon!”

          I’ve had more than my share of going beyond the pale online, but have tried unworthily to apologize and seek forgiveness.

          Maybe I’ve missed it, but I haven’t seen such effort from any of the folks supporting the “OCANews side” of things, including here the Protodeacon.

          There’s more than enough over-the-top comments online to go around, starting with that venue that arguably started blatant disrespect for hierarchs online, OCANews.

          Only the former publisher of that has been rehabilitated (without any public expression of repentance for his online doings, so far as I know, although I’m also happy to be corrected on this) in our Chancellor’s Diary.

          Another reason to replace the latter with a regular column by our Church’s canonical leader as First Hierarch, Metropolitan Tikhon, in a role of unifying peacemaker.

          Please pray for me a sinner,


          • SARCASM ALERT!

            The “Chancellor’s diary” we are afflicted with all too often is a symptom that Fr Jillions believes he has a right and duty to “teach” us from his sage wisdom. I am not sure when he took upon himself that self-appointed duty.

            I would much rather hear from +Tikhon than the lord chancellor of the OCA. However in keeping with the long tradition of the OCA, they keep their Metropolitan’s at arms length from the flock and give us a man who by virtue of his title thinks we actually care what he writes. (Alas, a reason for the disposal of +Jonah who tried to buck that tradition.) Another example of Syosset arrogance.

            But then again, if the OCA chancellor wasn’t writing his daily thing nor rifling through clergy files looking for miscreants, all the while ignoring his own pastor who for years has lived with another man, I suppose he wouldn’t have much to do. If he wasn’t imposing himself on the Church like he did when he showed up at the Assembly of NY/NJ expecting a place of honor, thank goodness his appearance was treated with polite recognition but nothing more, the poor soul would be hard-pressed to earn his $150K salary.

            But lest we forget he has told us that , “all is fine” in the OCA now.

            • Nikos, in all fairness, Fr. Jillions did get a doctorate in NT from Thessaloniki. But I don’t find his blog particularly edifying, especially since it is so transparently one of Syosset’s tools for keeping the rabble quiet.

              However, I can’t imagine what you would find desirable about hearing from +Tikhon more often. I have never thought he was a particularly good writer or homilist. Does he have any good points?

              • Good question, Helga. He is the most boring speaker ever. You would think after being on the Synod for the past eight years he might have learned how to speak to a subject… ANY subject. But just search for him in youtube and you’ll find a couple of really yawnish homilies that go on and on ad nauseum about…. well, nothing.

                But I do understand Nikos’ point. I’ve said it before on this blog, but again… the Chancellor’s Diary makes me want to vomit, which is worse than the impromptu desire to yawn that comes over me when Tikhon opens his mouth.

                • Helga,

                  You are correct in noting that our dear Lord Chancellor Jillions earned a PhD in NT. Funny that no Orthodox institution ever hired him?SVS passed on him. That Orthodox Institute in England he was associated with was a flop while he was there. He ended up teaching at a Uniate school in Canada!

                  But, you are right, he has a PhD. Pretty soon Tosi is going to have one too. Doesn’t that make us all feel so much better?

                  But, everything is fine now. All is well.

                  • Fr. John taught me an interesting point of practice. When he announced that we would sing “many years” to a monk in attendance, I caught from the whispers among the laity that usually “God, save your servant” is sung.

                  • Nikos, it is oddly fitting for there to be so many Ph.Ds in the administration, because one could say the OCA itself has gone from B.S. and M.S., to being “Piled Higher and Deeper”.

                    Apart from his fancy sheepskin, Fr. John Jillions doesn’t exactly have the history one would associate with a hire for such a critical administrative position in the OCA. But it doesn’t take much to go around yelling “ALL IS WELL! ALL IS WELL!”

              • Helga! Why in the world are you asking any of us about Metropoltan Tikhon’s good points?
                The best authorities on Metropolitan Tikhon would be the clergy and other faithful of the Diocese of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, as well as the denizens of both St. Tikhon’s Monastery and St. Tikhon’s Seminary, no? I personally have never heard anything resemblind a negative comment from any of them. Of course, if he’s living and breathing you can find SOMEONE in that diocese to say something detrimental….but it’s reaching, really reaching to ask Monomakhosers to rate him when until he was elected, he was not that well-known. I think the worst thing one MIGHT opine about him is that he lacks combat skills. I feel that he compares favorably with every other incumbent member of the Holy Synod, bar none. This is truly not saying much at all, but I was and am of the conviction that he is a better monk and Christian than I am, just going on my own personal experience of him.
                By now, given the OCA’s notorious proclivity for dissing most all First Hierarchs; Theodosius, Herman and Jonah, for example, isn’t it remarkable how little of substance or even evil imagination has been thrown at him yet? The most anyone’s come up with is that his mother is an Anglican clergyperson/priest. I didn’t convert my own mother, either. She remained a devout Lutheran churchgoer until the end, even when the Church assigned a divorced man as the pastor of her own congregation which was a total earthquake-like shock to almost everyone at the time. No matter how much one detests the rather brazen and conscienceless actions of the members of the Holy Synod and their supervisors amongst the clergy and laity, lawyers and non-lawyers, MBAs and non-MBAs alike, there is no basis to harass the persona of Metropolitan Tikhon. I’m sure that Metropolitan Jonah regards Metropolitan Tikhon highly. Why not follow his lead?

                • Newsletter from St. John Monastery at Manton (Metropolitan Jonah’ old haunts):
                  We’ve finally gotten our Fall/Winter newsletter put together and dropped into the snail mail today. (It was originally a Fall newsletter, but we had to change it to a Fall/Winter newsletter!)

                  The newsletter is posted electronically on our website as well: http://www.monasteryofstjohn.org/html/newsletter.html

                  We wish everyone a very blessed holiday season.

                  The Brotherhood of St. John’s Monastery

                  • DC Indexman says

                    I would like to say the same. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everybody and may Peace and Joy abound for all — and tiny Tim says God Bless, everyone of us!

                  • “a very blessed holiday season”. How politically correct, secular and theologically denuded of a greeting.

                    Forgive my harshness. I understand what Vladyka is getting at.

                • Your Grace, you may be right when you say Vladyka Tikhon’s persona has little to do with the “rather brazen and conscienceless actions” of the OCA. However, those “rather brazen and conscienceless actions” have led to great personal benefit for Vladyka Tikhon, while he has done nothing to apologize for or explain this.

                  • Helga, you may be right when you say that the rather brazen and conscienceless actions of the Holy Synod and those who it listens to and who don’t listen to it, led to “great personal benefit for Vladyka Tikhon,” I’m not sure he himself, though, considers being elected Metropolitan to be a great and personal benefit, but I’ll ignore that possibility right now. Meanwhile, as I’ve said before, more than once, I feel that Metropolitan Jonah’s brazen and unconscionable reference in a rabble rousing oration on the floor of an All-American Council to “raping the Church” is something that Vladyka Jonah “has done nothing to apologize for or explain.” I once hinted that the unOrthodox “Karma” might be imputed now. Even if the accusations against Metropolitan Theodosius and Protopresbyter Rodion S Kondratick had been TRUE, the repetition of them at that late date was gratuitous: one would think that the fine qualities ascribed to Metropolitan Jonah as a Christian and a preacher and teacher might have been otherwise manifested. But, what do you think, Helga? Do you think Metropolitan Jonah would have been elected without that stimulating witness he made against his predecessors?

                    And WHERE is any courageous and public objection to the treatment meted out against him, any public indication of a wish to withdraw his resignation, coming from Metropolitan Jonah himself? Has he issued at least a note of thanks to those who have made an outcry, on the Internet on his behalf?

                    Do “they” have a hold over him? What do we know apart from rumors and suppositions about his feelings? We feel “it must be” concern for his parents that leads him to be silent. Has he ever indicated that to anyone? No, while I feel that Metropolitan Tikhon is as guilty of passiveness and a willingness to roll over to avoid increasing scandal in the Church or be seen to be “the holiest ” of the bishops, I’m just puzzled how it happened that someone to whom such courage, particularly in public speaking is attributed, Metropolitan Jonah,, is now so taciturn and unresponsive. I personally surmise that Metropolitan Jonah will do anything not to interfere with any possible “job offers” from outside the OCA He’s not rocking the boat… That’s only practical and human, but not exemplary.

                    Accusations against Metropolitan Theodosius were made while he was still incumbent, and he confuted them all, mainly with a signed deposition from a millionaire who had handed millions over to Metropolitan Theodosius stating that it was his personal desire and intention that Metropolitan Theodosius disburse that money SOLELY at his own discretion. The only entity in the Orthodox Church who had jurisdiction, legal and spiritual, over Metropolitan Theodosius’s actions and teachings, etc. was the Holy Synod. The entire Holy Synod, including Archbishop Nathaniel, Bishop Seraphim, Archbishop Job and the rest issued a consensus statements agreeing that those funds were to be expended at the sole discretion of Metropolitan Theodosius, and, since the funds did NOT come from OCA collections, donations, assessment, drives, etc., but from outside the Church to him personally, they would not be subject to the audits and restrictions to which ordinary “discretionary funds” are ordinarily subject. Naturally (and by “naturally” I mean according to the traits of human nature) there were many who resented not having a “say” in disbursing the funds, and who wished to control whether or not Metropolitan Theodosius stuck to plans he had originally liked for using those funds. E.Wheeler, a deacon, was one such, and he got additional motivation to strike out in jealousy and indignation, when, after a management study by an outside firm recommended that more Chancery functions, such as Treasurer, be “outsourced,” he was let go and a series of interim treasurers were appointed, while the outsourcing was blocked over and over. I thank God that Metropolitan Tikhon was elected, considering the awful, worse, alternatives. It gives the OCA at least another chance however problematic, to act like a Local Church. The turf wars are just beginning: let’s not let the usual suspects have another victory, ok?

                    • Your Grace, I do not understand how you can think Metropolitan Jonah’s would-be successor is another chance for the OCA, when this same person was directly involved in activities you refer to as “brazen and conscienceless”, activities that directly led to his taking Met. Jonah’s place.

                      I also don’t understand why you have to hold Metropolitan Jonah’s take on the financial scandal against him. He was an abbot in California when all that happened. Whatever the truth is, at the time, all he had to go on was the SIC report. He didn’t speak up at the council in order to rub the allegations in, he spoke up because the Synod asked him to, and because he knew innocent people were hurting and needed help. What he said was meant to help them move past the scandal.

                      I really don’t understand how you could suggest Metropolitan Jonah’s cruel treatment at the hands of the Synod was any sort of karmic retribution for that.

                    • Helga, the air in the NW must be bracing!
                      1. Metropolitan Tikhon is not “Metropolitan Jonah’s would-be successor.’ He is, rather, Metropolitan Jonah’s successor as Archbishop of Washington and Metropolitan of All-America and Canada.
                      2. Metropolitan Tikhon is no more “directly” involved in brazen and conscienceless” activities than Metropolitan Jonah was.
                      3. Bishop Tikhon doesn’t hold Metropolitan Jonah”s take on ANYTHING against him. He found his EXPRESSION of those “takes” on the floor of the All-American Council to be reprehensible and childish to the max. He does not believe that “raping the Church” was dictated by the Holy Synod to Metropolltan Jonah. No such “raping of the Church” has EVER taken place. IT’S A DEMAGOGIC EXPRESSION. And IF “all he had to go on was the SIC report” then he shouldn’t have expressed himself at all.
                      4. What “innocent people” were hurting and needed help? it seems to me that the only instances that got help from his demagogic, rabble-rousing address were those who have taken him down.
                      5. I doubt if Bishop Tikhon believes in karmic retribution. But I think his use of it was meant to imply a certain justice at work. Perhaps Metropolitan Jonah’s as innocent as a firearm.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      You’re mistaken re point #2. If Tikhon was on the Synod (and he was) when it released that egregious, defamatory leter, then he was “directly involved in brazen and conscienceless activities” against Metropolitan Jonah.

                      As for point #3, you would only be right if it can be proven that Tikhon wasn’t one of the bishops who forced Jonah out onto the floor to address the angry mob. This raises an interesting point: why didn’t he address the people and take responsibility for the scandals of the past?

                      However, let us (for the sake of argument) take you at your word. That “no such ‘raping of the Church’ has EVER taken place.” If this is true, then why was Metropolitan Herman removed? And at the very least, shouldn’t Fr Kondratick be restored?

                    • Wrong, George! Only Greg Nescott, Archbishop Benjamin and a couple others were DIRECTLY involved in the production of the STINKBOMB of a statement. The other members of the Holy Synod were involved only in abstaining from voting on the release of it according to the urgings of Father Jillions, Archbishop Nathaniel, Archbishop Benjamin and a couple others. “Directly involved” to me, George (and “where I went to school”) pertains only to those that decided to write it, and wrote it. You can no more say that Metropolitan Tikhon was DIRECTLY involved than you can say that every delegate to the Parma Council was “Directly involved” in replacing the former First Hierarch, Jonah, who resigned, with the current First Hierarch, Tikhon. Of course, all members of the Holy Synod should repent of being COMPLICIT in the resignation of Metropolitan Jonah, just as they should, obviously, repent of being complicit in electing as First Hierarch, Metropolitan Jonah, who they’ve confessed to not knowing before they elected him, which was a grave dereliction of duty which has resulted in scandals still resulting from that. According to their own narrative, they elected a bewildering bungler!!!
                      Further, where may we read that the Holy Synod was faced by an angry mob? Where may we read that the Holy Synod directed Metropolitan Jonah to face an angry mob? If the delegates to the All-American Council were facing an angry mob (and no chairman made any such determination), then they should have closed it, immediately and called the police.
                      Are you intimating that it was only a “mob” that approved of Bishop Jonah’s ROUSING, rather than placating, address? Are you now claiming he merely bowed to an angry mob and said what they demanded to hear? Why choose such a wimp as First Hierarch? “Facing an angry mob, indeed.” I understand Bishop Tikhon was IMPLORED to resume posting here due to the increasingly bizarre dialogues. And I agree with him. But, you know, I don’t have the calm spirit of equanimity of the likes of Fr. George, or Father Hans or Jane Rachel or Gail Sheppard. Besides, in the case of Metropolitan Jonah, he hasn’t uttered a peep indicating that he is anything but pleased and relieved t no longer have the responsibilities the Holy Synod gave him when they elected him. I feel that he is, rather, somewhat satisfied with what he has been able to accomplish at such a relatively early stage in his membership in the clergy, As he once told Bishop Tikhon, “Why, I’ve actually served on the very same spot as the Patriarchs of Moscow and All Russia have served—-how cool is THAT?”

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Those others were referenced in the notorious email as being part of the conspiracy. Because they said nothing, then they are complicit. If my name had been in the email and it had been revealed, I know what I would have done: immediately denounce the mention of my name. At the very least.

                      As for Pittsburgh, I wasn’t there. But others were and they were angry and the Synod knew it. That’s neither here nor there however. If then Bishop Jonah took to the floor and propagated lies, half-truths, exaggerations, etc., in order to appease the mob/campaign/whatever, then it was the duty of Bishop Tikhon (or whoever) to publicly call him to the carpet as a rabble-rouser or demagogue. Instead, they voted for him! This was pointed out by Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald time and again on this blog.

                      As for His Beatitude “not uttering a peep” in his defense, did you ever stop to ponder the the trial of our Lord and Saviour before Herod and Pilate or how he instructed His followers about their upcoming trials? “It will come to pass that you shall be brought into the synagogues and tried and those that will kill you will be doing the Lord’s work.” Against such certitude, there is no defense.

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      As a brother in the Faith with the OCA, I cannot help but feel pain and sorrow to see all the fighting in the OCA. I know that people feel strongly and that people have been hurt by the treatment of Metropolitan Jonah and feel your pain. However, sometimes the time comes when it is best to forgive and go on. The rest of Orthodoxy is not going to get involved in the internal affairs of the OCA or take sides in this conflict. I have no doubt that as Moscow has the rest of Orthodoxy will recognize Metropolitan Tikhon as the Primate of the OCA. His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon was invited to participate with Metropolitan Philip at the memorial services for our departed Patriarch at our Archdiocesan Cathedral.
                      I pray for the healing within the OCA and that the OCA will continue to grow and prosper and that one day in God’s time we will all be united in an American Orthodox Church. Sometimes, we have to forgive and forget and unite for the good of the Church and let God judge those who have done wrong. As I have written before I firmly believe that God will protect the OCA as He protects all Orthodox.

                      Your Brother in Christ
                      Fr. John W. Morris

                    • Bishop Tikhon’s right! The most accurate assessment of the former OCA First Hierarch, Metropolitan Jonah, could be expressed by Maggie Smith in her fantastic role as …
                      Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, thus:
                      “The man just doesn’t have any bottom!”

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      What exactly did the good Dowager mean? No bottom as in “no guile”?

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      George–Since you are talking about this DA character, I would think that it could mean one of two things:

                      – no substance as it has fallen off the opening where the bottom would otherwise contain it.


                      – no testicles, that is, no courage, fortitude or character.

                    • Well, “bottom,” in this very common British English expression, means “capability for great strain.” It originally was used of horses. When a horse has a particularly heavy load to pull, he tends to get his bottom close to the ground in order to accomplish the job. A horse that can get down and pull a good load is said to have “bottom” or “considerable bottom.” Contrariwise, a horse who can’t really get down in back and pull a load, and doesn’t even bend his hind legs to do so, is said to have “no bottom.”
                      it’s something LIKE “guts”, but not quite; something like ‘sticktoitiveness, or stamina, or patient refusal to give up, but not quite. it survives and is widely used even today in England because there’s no exact equivalent. I’m surprised I had to explain this! I remember it coming up quite often in that humorous English sitcom; “Yes, Prime Minister,” where it was used for this or that candidate for election or appointment to a high position: “The man simply has no bottom!” Has nothing to do with guile or the lack of it. If we didn’t have to be so PC, we’d say something close to “no manliness.”
                      What a great idiom! It took all that to explain it!

                    • It would seem appropriate to criticize Jonah for his deficiencies ONLY AFTER you stop actively abusing him.

                      But if you really want to play that game, there are plenty of saints and at least one God who submitted to the abuse of the self-proclaimed “People of God” in a non-violent way.

            • ChristineFevronia says

              Nikos, can you help me out with the salaries? Ever since I found out Met. Jonah was paid only $3,000 a month while he was Metropolitan while staff like the Chancellor receive $150,000 a year and the Counselor makes $120,000 a year, I have been trying to find the exact salary amounts of all of Syosset’s staff. The OCA budget sheets are very unhelpful with their categories. Do you know a source? And please correct me if I am wrong, but doesn’t the Metropolitan Council determine salaries for the Metropolitan and for Syosset staff like the Chancellor? Thanks in advance for any info you might have.

              • Christine

                Call your respective MC member and ask him or her to tell you. Or call Fr Tosi and ask him to share that information. As Secretary, he should give you that information. Transparency and all that, right?

                516-922-0550 Syosset phone number.

              • Keep Up the Good Work says


                It would be nice if some of these boys did some calling for you. Maybe there are periodic financial reports that detail these things. Some parishes are very transparent about their finances. Every non profit entity has to file federal and state taxes concerning their employees and to list their most highly compensated ones. However, churches are exempt from filing 990 forms. See the discussion at http://org.law.rutgers.edu/publications/law-religion/articles/RJLR_6_1_2.pdf

                My feeling is that in return for tax deductibility of donations, churches ought to file a 990 simply to let parishes and parishioners know how their donations are spent.

                Btw, your email no longer functions so it is impossible to send you anything.

        • M. Stankovich says

          Since you and your cub scout den seem set on “tagging” me with this “dancing around,” “avoiding the real issues” hoohah, chief, let me be as succinct as possible and set this matter to rest once and for all.

          First, you seem constitutionally incapable of accepting that this whole business – every injustice, real, imagined, or fabricated on both sides and by every party – is moot. It is finished. “By the wisdom of men and the Grace of the Holy Spirit” the Church has simply begun a new chapter. And how long do you intend to gnaw at what is now the carcass; whining, complaining, bitching, and claiming a justice that is certainly not yours? Do you hear that crumpling of paper? It’s the sound of someone trashing the 17 votes received equally by the former Met. Jonah & ArchBp. Benjamin – twice. And you feel confident in your rudeness toward me for not joining you and your band of hyenas?

          But more importantly, chief, there is a word for someone who would definitively comment as to the nature of occurrences at events to which they were not a party: jackass. I ask you, chief, what could I possibly tell you about the actual relationship between Jonah and the drunken, gun-totting, rape-accused hieromonk? Two people know definitively; one fled, the other is not speaking. What could I possibly tell about Jonah’s actual resignation? Two people know definitively; one wrote a letter at his own hand, and the other gave a brief public description once. They were the only two people in the room, yet one is branded “coerced,” and the other “a liar & tormentor.” Neither speak. As I see it – and let me repeat myself, I don’t care – Jonah is the only person who can answer and settle all the burning and stinking questions you have rattling around in your head. Not me. Not anyone else. Jonah could do it. But he won’t. Ever.

          Now, you are free to take it up with Jonah, and we’ll see just how fast he can dance. But you won’t, because you are cowards. Oh, and jackasses.

          • George Michalopulos says

            The trouble is, injustice is never “finished.” Most people by the time they reach middle age understand that injustice and sin create other problems that eventually explode. That’s why Christian gentlemen believe in mercy and forgiveness, something that is pitifully lacking in some of your critiques of His Beatitude.

            • M. Stankovich says

              Mr. Michalopulos,

              It would seem to me better to first determine the truth – not conjecture, not assertion, not “cascade” – but the truth. Only then may you speak of justice. As I have noted earlier, the only person who can definitively answer all of these forgettable… I see Fr. Schmemann has his hand raised, Yes, Fr. Alexander: “Pardon me, but who cares?” Thank you… questions is Jonah. He is not speaking. Which is to say, we will never know, Mr. Michalopulos. Ever. Oh, and did I mention that I don’t care?

              Secondly, this is the Church, not Don Quixote. You seem to have forgotten that our God is a jealous God (Josh. 24:19), hardly dependent upon your arrogance for what is rightfully His: “He who brings me justice draws near; who will stand against me?” (Isa. 50:8) In whose name are you demanding “repentance,” “apology,” recompense, and justice? The Lord? The Church? The 17 knuckleheads who voted for Jonah (twice) in Parma? This is not noble. It is the epitome of pride.

              Lastly, bitterness robs us of our trust in our God, the Just & Righteous Judge, to rectify every injustice and inequity:

              And I saw something else under the sun:
              In the place of judgment—wickedness was there,
              in the place of justice—wickedness was there.
              I thought in my heart,
              “God will bring to judgment both the righteous and the wicked,
              for there will be a time for every activity,
              a time for every deed.”

              (Eccl. 3:16-17)

              And the wise judge concludes, “Therefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his place: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?” (Eccl. 16:22) Injustice is everywhere and forever, Mr. Michalopulos, but our faith and our trust is in One Righteous Judge. Regardless, it seems to me that the “protagonists” on both sides – for reasons known only to themselves – have “kept the good wine until now” (Jn. 2:10) and chosen to remain silent. An excellent vintage, say I. And so I ask you, Mr. Michalopulos, is their example not worthy of emulation here? Move on.

              • Stankovich says “move on”.

                Do you want to tell that to Pat. Kirill or should I? Last I heard his express concern has not yet been tidied up.

              • Thank you, M. Stankovich, for your admonition to move on. Good point, probably everyone should move on to ROCOR, GOA, Antioch, you name it, apparently the OCA is soon to be an anachronism found only in the church history books.

          • And yet again you avoid saying anything about the specific, to put it mildly, untruths, contained in the letter and thus used to slander Metropolitan Jonah. This is not about moving on or dwelling in the past. Lies are lies and they do not go away.

          • Stankovich obfuscates by asking,

            And you feel confident in your rudeness toward me for not joining you and your band of hyenas?

            I feel confident in my position because your inability to answer the questions levied at you. Likewise, I feel more and more confident that Fr. Tosi was lying or incorrect when he said there was an investigation into the STINKBOMB letter, and the silence regarding the public slander of Met. Jonah further contributes confidence to my position that this was indefensible.

            But, since you speak of Met. Jonah’s quietude and Parma, let’s go there. What did you expect from people who look towards +Jonah as a spiritual example? A public hissy-fit? Disorder? Frothing-at-the-mouth outrage? People forcing a scene through the walls of a carefully constructed and thoroughly expensive voting booth? Expecting such things further shows how little you understand the man we admire.

            He has consistently shown us a spiritual way forward; something for more than political (read: backstabbing) acumen and administrative ambition.

            • M. Stankovich says

              Mr. Cone,

              Holy cow, Pal! I have played your foil & proverbial straightman for how many posts in a row now, and this is all you’ve got? Sisyphus is yelling over my shoulder for his job back: “This Mr. Cone is killing me!” The fact of the matter is your form of pride is especially offensive because you cannot stop; if I were to continue, you would continue to respond indefinitely. This could potentially be interesting if you were the least bit instructive, but you are not. This could potentially be entertaining if you were the least bit amusing, but you are not. And worst of all, you are boring the living hell out of me!

              Jonah, Tosi, letters, slander, ambitions, I do not care. It is finished. The highest, most sacred form of decision-making of the Church, the Council, which transcends the sinfulness, errors, and even frank stupidity of the individuals who comprise the entity “by the wisdom of men and the Grace of the Holy Spirit” has moved on. The lessons of previous error are more openly available to anyone & everyone than at any point in history – emails, text messages, murderous gossip, anonymous cowards of every breed and fashion – and there is nothing more to be gained by “getting to know Jonah,” or again processing any of the hundreds of “details” that will one day constitute the OCA version of a Star Trek convention. It is finished. There is again hope and we must move on.

              The last word is yours, Mr. Cone, and fool’s false gold it is. Le Fin, et bon soir.

              • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

                Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

                Not sure what page in The Rudder states that a Council in a non-canonical situation of overlapping Synods in the same shared territory is infallible or the last word, also given that it is of course not an Ecumenical Council?

                But if we’re speaking of conciliarity as in sobornost in Orthodox ecclesiology, it would seem that the voice of concerned laity regarding questions about potential injustice in the Church are part of our tradition. St. Nektarios, for example, during his time of persecution, sought to avoid public scandal but also nonetheless worked to right injustice in the Church organization. Often high-volume laity supported him. That’s not to make any analogy between persons living or dead here, but to point out an historical example of how, unlike the Catholic ecclesiological notion of passively suffering under infallibility, Orthodoxy offers in conciliarity a different approach.

                In addition, in such spirit of conciliarity, it’s worth noting that folks under others of the overlapping Synodal authorities in North America likewise see legitimate questions to address in how and why Metropolitan Jonah was removed.

                Meanwhile, in answering Nikos’ objections to the Chancellor’s Diary, perhaps this could all be solved if Syosset were moved to a monastic center (instead of a Long Island suburban mansion), with a working farm. Then the feature could be called The Chancellor’s Dairy, and be a series of reflections on the cycles of life and work at a rural monastic farm. Perhaps Ellen Davis at Duke could help consult on developing that new web feature, based on her excellent scholarship on agrarian roots of the gospels? http://www.cambridge.org/gb/knowledge/isbn/item1165352/?site_locale=en_GB

                But whether or not The Chancellor’s Dairy idea is a non-starter, and on a more serious note, I agree that regularly featured words from Metropolitan Tikhon would be much preferable, canonically appropriate, and healing, instead of any current or proposed featured columns by the head of the administrative staff, however worthy.

                Please pray for me a sinner,


              • Stankovich,

                I didn’t realize you wanted me to instruct you. All this time I’ve been trying to keep this simple and pointed by asking you questions that should be answerable.

                – What was +Jonah’s administrative “disaster”?
                – Do you believe the July 17th letter was correct in its accusations and accurate in the facts it provides?
                – If so, how do you square that with conflicting evidence about the timeline and the acceptance of the priest in question with the OCA?
                – If not, don’t you think the letter should be publicly corrected, with apologies?

                Fr. Tosi has said that they are investigating the claims made in the letter; an investigation we are anxiously waiting for yet see no evidence of. If the investigation is real, then the OCA has not moved on. What should we make of the situation if the investigation does not exist?

                If you want to answer my questions, great. If not, and I’m boring you, feel free to practice what you preach and move on. At least you can understand that the questions have not been answered, and that to many of us, this fact is quite problematic.

                I have one final question for you: why is it so important to you that we move on now? Why not wait for a couple more months, perhaps a year, while the stench from all this fades from our nostrils?

                Does answering these questions really seem like a Sisyphean task to you?

          • M. Stankovich! Arithmetic, competence, and intelligence check.
            You wrote; ” It’s the sound of someone trashing the 17 votes received equally by the former Met. Jonah & ArchBp. Benjamin – twice. ”
            Does that mean that out of 28 votes, Metropolitan Jonah and Archbishop Benjamin each received 17?
            Does that mean that out of 17 votes, Metropolitan Jonah and Archbishop Benjamin each received 8-1/2?
            What electing entity is comprised of 28 or 17 voters? The OCA’s Holy Synod has never had more than ten members, and now it has, I think, about six or seven?
            I mean if there’s such a thing as Behavioral “SCIENCE”, These questions should be easily answered. We all have faith in your intelligence and await the results of your thought and calculation.

            • M. Stankovich says

              Vladyka Tikhon,

              I certainly hope you have not been holding your breath – figuratively or otherwise – but I do appreciate your catching the error in my report.

              As noted in an actual transcript as provided by the Ancient Faith Network, the results of the 1st Ballot indicate that of 590 total votes, Archbishop Benjamin received 23 votes and Metropolitan Jonah received 17 votes. The results of the 2nd Ballot were identical in this regard.

              And there you have it, Vladyka. I inadvertently shortchanged his eminence of 6 votes, obviously neglected essential context (total number of votes) in which to understand the data presented, and on account of your single-handed fastidiousness, I humbly stand corrected. And that, I might add, is not the first time this year.

              Pay attention, kids! This is called “speaking to substance.” Sure, Vladyka managed to rub my nose in it a little in the last paragraph, but on the whole, he pointed out a legitimate error, and I stand corrected. And RIP my brother, Rodney King, who really gave it a shot.

              • MS tells us that “it is finished.” Of course these are the words of our Lord as he gave up his spirit on the Cross. And yet, we also know that his death on the Cross was not the end of the story. The resurrection was still to come.

                And so, dear brother, although in your mind, “it is finished” with regards to +Jonah and the direction of the OCA, the final chapters have not been written. And how ironic that others in the past, like Metropolitan Herman advised us that “it is finished” when your pal Stokoe was bringing things to light. He didn’t stop when he was told to finish his “work.” Now Stokoe and you, and others of your brethren tell us “it is finished” the “time of troubles” are over.

                Well, it is not over and it will not be over until the sins perpetrated against +Jonah are rectified by the bishops who lied or at the very least, misrepresented the facts, as the basis for his removal.

                The time for resurrection is at hand, but it may be that those who killed +Jonah will need to go to their own Golgotha first so that their respective ministries and the life of the OCA can be resurrected.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Trouble is, injustices rarely allow us to “move on,” don’t they? Think of slavery for instance. I’ve come to realize that by listening to your increasingly shrill admonition to “move on” that the forces behind Jonah’s ouster are anything but confident. You people should be sitting pretty, instead it looks like you’re running scared.

                  Why is that may I ask?

                • M. Stankovich says

                  You, Mr. Michalopulos, are sadly ironic. I have often quoted our Father, St. Chrysostom, on this site, with this same quote: “The Jews wandered forty years in the desert without hope. But fear not. For your leader is no longer Moses, But Jesus Christ.”

                  I have waited forty years – from the first day of this Orthodox Church in America – and I can wait longer. Jonah Paufhausen was a minor “ripple” in the footnote of history and means absolutely nothing to me. Confidence? “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength!” (Phil. 4:13) You sit like an elf in the final scene of CS Lewis’ “Last Battle, amidst the glowing sunshine of the new morning, imagining you sit in the utter darkness of the “trouble of injustices.” Look! Look! Can’t you see! “Don’t lie to me. There is only darkness here.” Shrill, Mr. Michalopulos? C голосом архангела!

                  I am happy to offer you the opportunity to join me for a few days of reality, Mr. Michalopulos: I’ll take you on a guided tour of what bitterness and the “trouble with injustice” does to men – even women if you like – over time; row by row, cell by cell. It makes them old, ugly, wretched, and hopeless long before their day. Maybe then you’ll set set aside your arrogance and again trust that our God is Just. Merciful, Righteous, Fair, and will correct all injustices and right all wrongs. If He needs your assistance, I’m sure you’ll be notified. Move on.

                • Coming from you, I take what I said as a positive in hitting a nerve which causes you to vomit. Keep dreaming MS. It seems to be a good escape for you.

                • Stankovich, you say we should let this go, while mysteriously the OCA refuses to let Met. Jonah go. You cannot seriously expect us to leave him behind. That will not happen.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  First, “Helga,” Vladyka Tikhon has outright accused you of being an unnamed priest posing as an “unassuming” layperson of the OCA, just “speaking her mind.” When you are prepared to address that with the same “righteous indignation” with which you scorn my name, then I will address you. Until then, you are a “jackass, understudy,” a second-tier jackass as Dante would have it, for a practiced, more despicable form of deception. Son House sang about you: “Don’t you [bear no] mind people gininn’ in yo’ face.”

                • George Michalopulos says

                  M S, rather than justify your own rationales, you choose to deride Helga because she won’t respond to another correspondent? That makes no sense. It does make your own brief against Jonah look weaker bythe day, however.

                • M. Stankovich seems to have really lost it again.
                  I wonder–do you suppose he’s been jealous of the impact Mr. Wheeler, an OCA deacon, made? How else explain his calling Helga a jackass? E.Wheeler and M.Stankovich seem like babies competing to see who has the dirtiest diaper! He quotes the Golden-mouthed smugly and piously and then shows his own Garbage-mouth. What would that be in Greek I wonder? Oh, I know! It’s TRI-polar-Compound Narcissistic Disorder in bloom. The third pole would be ” I know some great men.” Try a little Gangnam Style; it’s relaxing.
                  M. Stankovich accuses Helga of scorning his name. When was that, exactly? I missed it.
                  And as for the insistence on moving on…We’d all like to move on, but the stench of the Holy Synod’s STINKBOMB of a statement just will not go away! Not until somebody mans up and apologizes for its scurrilous mendacity, misanthropy, and general Godlessness. The little gang of petty church-bureaucrats that composed it should be given dunce caps for their incompetent bungling…and outright scandal-mongering. The S.I.C. (Stretching It Completely) report, likewise, is still out there in all its noisome wishful thinking. It certainly impressed the savages, like the first time the latter beheld a mirror! Two epic ventures into misleading themselves and the Faithful!

                • Stankovich, I have not scorned your name, nor am I scorning it now. It does not appear that you want to be addressed with your given name, since you only use your initial. You have specified that you do not want to be addressed by the honorific “doctor”. All that leaves me with your surname.

                  I didn’t think I was expected to reply to Vladyka Tikhon’s insinuations. But how is that relevant? Instead of chasing after trifles, maybe you need to concentrate on finding things you yourself have scorned.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  There have been, in fact, more – grossly & disgustingly & shamelessly more – comments, guesses, conjecture, accusations, and questions to/for/about me personally than any Paschal/Festal/ joyful messages exchanged between individuals posting here over years of exchanges! Where was your “sensical reasoning,” Mr. Michalopulos, when my sexual orientation was crudely challenged and “Helga” & the jacksass deacon were deriding the length of my hair and riffing on my lastname?

                  “Helga,” do you even imagine I could not predict your response to me? Seriously? I don’t care who you are! Have the priest who advocated “civil disobedience” in Parma & now demands a “written apology” from Protodeacon Eric upgrade your seat to join him on the third-tier jackass level. Kudos. You’ve earned it. End of story. Your “motivation” is your business.

                  Vladyka Tikhon, there is some science even I will not entertain: how many times, as the Fathers say, will a “dog return to his own vomit?” I’m no Pavlov, but I would imagine that even a cur finally says, “Enough. It may not go away, but I can.”

                  But I also wish to say that there are individuals here who are, in fact, precious to me, To these, vastly out-numbered, I am sincerely grateful, and it is for these I return.

                  And to all a good night…

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:
                  December 22, 2012 at 11:27 am

                  M. Stankovich … quotes the Golden-mouthed smugly and piously and then shows his own Garbage-mouth.

                  And he probably thinks that we miss or overlook that.

                • Stankovich, I would like you to cite a single instance where I have ridiculed your surname. I don’t remember having an opinion on the length of your hair, as I’m not sure I know what you look like.

                  If you’re done masticating the scenery, I’d like to know why the OCA bishops don’t want to release Metropolitan Jonah.

              • Michael Bauman says

                To bad you won’t listen to more substantive corrections.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Mr. Bauman,

                  From the 9th Ode of the Canon of the Pre-Feast of the Lord – which, in fact, is the identical Canon we sing at the Matins of Great and Holy Thursday:

                  Come, O faithful,
                  Let us enjoy the Master’s hospitality!
                  The Banquet of Immortality!
                  In the upper chamber, with uplifted minds,
                  let us magnify Him in faith and in love!

                  The Winter Pacha is upon us, Mr. Bauman, my brother, and I greet you in the Feast!

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Mr. Stankovich. And to you and yours as well. May His mercy be with all of us. I will let you know what +Basil has to say

        • All in the Family says


          Come on. Your friend the Protodeacon called his elder and a bishop of the Church “an old fool” twice. He should man up and apologize. This is not complicated. The question becomes is the deacon mature enough to do so. Only he can answer that, not you, not anyone else. He said it, he owns it. Now what?

          • All in the Family says

            Still not a peep out of the Protodeacon. No apology. Nothing. He still owns those words. His silence speaks loudly.

  37. Carl Kraeff says

    Artakhshassa the Great says on January 4, 2013 at 9:19 pm: “Only Greg Nescott, Archbishop Benjamin and a couple others were DIRECTLY involved in the production of the STINKBOMB of a statement. The other members of the Holy Synod were involved only in abstaining from voting on the release of it according to the urgings of Father Jillions, Archbishop Nathaniel, Archbishop Benjamin and a couple others.”

    I feel like starting by addressing you as “Your Grace,” but I will refrain. In any group, only a part of that group will produce such a statement. So, nothing unusual in your statement that only four people drafted the statement. Nothing unusual also that the authors of the draft urged its adoption. So, the only thing that really matters is whether there were any “no” votes; abstaining is in effect a ‘yes” vote. Thank you for confirming, once again, that it was the Holy Synod as a united whole that acted in this matter, as the Synod had done at Santa Fe and other occasions. What is truly remarkable is how patient they have been with +Jonah.

    • Refusing to endorse is not affirming anything, Carl. Silence is not consent: ask the members of the “Confessing
      Church” of Nazi Germany. It is a canard and unreasonable to say, “the only thing that really matters is whether or not there were any “no” votes. If there are five voting members of a voting entity, and three of them abstain, while two vote “yes”, the measure does not pass ‘by majority vote.”

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Here is a scenario: All in favor: “ayes” are heard; opposed: nothing is heard. Ayes have it, motion is passed. Now, in this instance the only thing that the opponents of the letter had to do was to ask for a recorded vote to stop the letter from going out. In a Synod, where unanimity is expected, silence is indeed assent. One must hear a nay vote, or better have it recorded, for any other eventuality. On the other hand, I see that you are making a great distinction between being merely involved in this affair and being “directly” involved. I have no problem with that distinction; I just draw a different conclusion. BTW, I must say it is a relief to have you on this forum for you are a ray of sunshine.

        • Carl,

          You are whistling pass the graveyard with your attempts to justify the STINKBOMB letter. It was full of lies and character assassination. If this shows unity of the OCA synod, no wonder the OCA is a sinking ship.

          Here is a scenario, the synod apologies for the letter, apologies to +Jonah and stop trying to lower the bar of what leaders of the Church are called to be.