Festering Wounds in the Antiochian Archdiocese

I don’t know why this is so, but when delivered a blow like the removal of a beloved hierarch, it takes a while to unpack all the questions, and sometimes in raising questions, it invites even more questions.   

I think you’ll find the attached very revealing.  If nothing else, it will show you the shabby treatment Metropolitan Joseph received and continues to receive, apparently. 

This on the heels of two brilliant letters His Eminence wrote on behalf of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops about Belya.          

Questions for the Board    

(It takes awhile to load.)


  1. The truth does not cower. The questions posed in the letter need to be answered. The Metropolitan needs an attorney to help him collect his retirement income. I found the allegations were posted on Wikipedia. I hope someone can get this removed from the site.


    • Jane, I believe anyone can sign in to add, edit or remove information on Wikipedia

      • This is true.

      • I have never done it. Hopefully, someone will edit!

      • The Wikipedia can be a tricky place. Some articles are off limits to new accounts, and depending on the article you can sometimes encounter a big fight with well entrenched editors that have Wikipedia ‘street cred’ (no surprise they tend to be all on the left). But you can always try.

  2. Beautiful, well written letter!! Reminds me of this amazing website I recently learned about that explains how we should ask questions: https://www.voiceoforthodoxlaity.com/
    (Click on the upper right for formats, protocol, and mailing addresses of every hierarch.) Hopefully more faithful will write the bishops like this…

  3. Seems like Metropolitan Joseph is being treated like Christ by the Sanhedrin.

  4. Son of Antioch says

    Seriously? His Eminence carried on an affair for over a decade and severely hurt his church.

    The clergy have moved on from him and are looking forward to the ministery of Met. Saba.

    Sorry that doesn’t fit your narrative.

    • Antiochene Son says

      Whether it’s true or not, Christians shouldn’t participate in cancel culture. We all deserve to be canceled for our sins, but we don’t do that.

      Yes, he is out. But he is still a human being, and supposedly retired in good standing. What retired hierarch is treated this way?

      • Gen Corr says

        I agree with you Son.

        People seem to have no idea what is supposed to happen when a clergyman in the Orthodox Church appears involved in a possible scandal. He’s going to be meeting with his superiors in private and asked if there is any truth to the claims. Met Joseph therefore has answered either ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If ‘no’, then the Church fathers decide what is best for the Church, likely with Met Joseph’s input. They may decide with or without him that the scandal has a life of its own and has the potential to weaken the Church. Met Joseph chooses to retire with or without agreeing with the Synod’s decision, a new bishop is sent in his place.

        If ‘yes’, the Church hierarchy then decides what is best for both the Church and Met Joseph. Joseph then has the choice to remain a monastic or renounce his vows and become a layman. He may choose to remain a monastic and undergo whatever penance the Church deems sufficient to restore him to the good graces of the Church. At this point, his decision is a personal one. No one here is aware of the possibility they may be causing the man additional grief by this article? I think we can see what course he’s taken if the letter is not just more muckraking.

        The letter expresses clear love and concern for Met Joseph. I too have this love and concern, like many others. I have been with him since Ben Lomond. I also understand in the best pastoral sense the Church has the same love and concern for Joseph, and if he remains a monastic, he will submit himself to Her prescription for restoration.

        In the end it’s important to understand the Church is the ultimate court here. Love and concern are fine and admirable, but ultimately it isn’t any of our business whatever goes on between a penitent/subordinate and his spiritual fathers any more than what goes on between you and yours. And I personally see far more discretion and tenderness in allowing the man to retire gracefully compared to the public ballyhoo you people are making of it. It’s over, move on. You don’t have to know more or have your ‘needs’ for closure met. Do what we know how to do: pray for Joseph and pray for the Church. Antioch will handle Her affairs as She sees fit, and you must abide by it. Antioch is not Greek. And I couldn’t care less what ‘rumors’ you’ve heard in ‘high Antiochian circles’ that lots of money changed hands.

        All of this is evidence of an embarrassing naivete, self-importance, and widespread ignorance about how even a healthy Church functions. You protest like the Protesters do. Why your itching ears? Once again, we have an unwholesome mix of political blog concerning Orthodoxy being at odds with the Orthodox Church Herself.

        Sometimes “a cigar is just a cigar”, there is no conspiracy here of any lasting importance. Might the GOA/EP have capitalized on this to remove a rather more upright opponent? Sure, but only if there was something to exploit. We don’t need more proof of gross misbehavior by the GOA and the EP at this point, do we? They can hardly fall any lower in our esteem.

        (And please no more poo-pooing or finger-wagging in private comments. It’s unbecoming. You’ll always have the last word as it is.)

        • Gen Corr, what about the accuser and blogger who smeared the Metropolitan? Those two snakes quietly slithered away. Hmm. What about innocent until proven guilty? The Metropolitan lost his retirement funds. It’s easy to say move on and forget about this.
          Brush it under the rug. I prefer to do what a priest once told me: bring everything into the light!

          • The only thing I would add is “again.” “What about the accuser and blogger who smeared the Metropolitan, again?”

          • Mark E. Fisus says

            The blogger and accuser aren’t the ones denying the retirement metropolitan his retirement benefits. That’s on the archdiocese.

            But truth be told, the archdiocese might not have been planning for the metropolitan to retire. These bishops are supposed to have life tenure. They might not have expected to be supporting two metropolitans simultaneously. It might be that it has to go to court for archdiocese’s insurance to pay out. Well, here’s to hoping they have insurance.

            • It is indeed the responsibility of the Archdiocese to take care of the bishop who served them all these years. I am certain the board can come up with the money to give Met. Joseph a decent retirement.

              How much do cruises cost these days?

        • Son of Antioch says

          This is the way

          • Antiochene Son says

            Are you the same “Son of Antioch” who wrote in to the blog of that homosexual defrocked priest?

    • Thank you. Perhaps some holy discernment was exercised in the situation. And, after all, Met. Joseph retired.

      • The guy can’t even go to church and take communion. That’s unacceptable. And after 30 years, most of it having to deal with Met. Philip, he deserve much better treatment: A decent stipend and the ability to have a spiritual life in the Church. Discernment should tell them they at least owe him that.

        • George Michalopulos says

          I agree. The forced expulsion from him having to even attend church is beyond comprehension.

        • From what I understand and have been told by good sources, Met. Joseph is receiving the full pension he is entitled to in retirement.

    • Daughter of Antioch says

      @Son of Antioch – I don’t know who you are or what your agenda is, but it is clear you have one. The whole point is that these allegations were unfounded and unproven and what you are doing is promoting rumors and disinformation. Until there is proof of this you should not be making a declarative statement – THAT is what is damaging our Archdiocese. We should seek the truth in this matter, not contribute to the defamation of a hierarch and hurting the church.

  5. Antiochene Son says

    It is upsetting to know that Met. Joseph’s own personal spiritual needs have been cast aside. Denied entry to churches? Who has ever heard of such a punishment in our day? And who passed such a sentence—the Board, the Synod, the Patriarch? I don’t know if he is a saint or not, but it reminds me of how St. Nektarios and St. John the Wonderworker were treated.

    I have long thought that the business of extreme lay leadership we have in the American Church is most unfortunate. Boards of trustees, parish councils, these things don’t exist in the old countries. It is the mission of the clergy, not the laity, to administer the Church. The hierarchs can bring in lay wardens if they are needed, but lay organizations should not have the power to abuse the hierarchy. The Church should not be run like a corporation, in which the board of directors can fire the CEO.

    Met. Joseph, whether he committed these acts or not, was entitled to a spiritual court hearing to be judged by his peers, not by fat cat “trustees” that have zero canonical standing.

    • 100% right, Antiochian Son. This shabby treatment is a stain on the Patriarch and the Board of Trustees. . . On the whole archdiocese.

    • “Denied entry to churches?”

      The Church may indeed be for sinners,
      but only (it seems) approved sinners…

    • Lyndon Johnson created the 5013c non profit corporation for churches. No church should have ever agreed to becoming a non profit. From the very beginning in early America all churches were tax exempt. Now, they are under the radar of the government.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Jane, you are absolutely correct about the “Johnson Amendment”. LBJ ranks right up there with Woodrow Wilson as the most dangerous of presidents.

    • Beg to differ. Even lies are cast in spiritual courts. The Metropolitan needs an attorney. We are not in heaven yet. Some earthly matters require legal intervention. If the Metropolitan has retirement benefits due, this must be addressed. It appears to me that OID started this brouhaha. Where is that gal with her letter?

  6. Hilber Nelson says

    One word comes to mind: Coup. The timing couldn’t be more perfect as Antiochians are now gathering for the start of their annual Parish Life Conference with Met. Saba making his debut. May courageous clergy and laity attending the conference demand an end to this sickening “Met. Joseph retired. End of story” charade led by none other than Pat. John and Met. Saba and do what this letter calls for.

    • Son of Antioch says

      From all accounts, the PLCs have been beautiful, peaceful and unified affairs. God is good!

  7. Yikes!

  8. M. Valeyko says

    Doesn’t someone in that family serve on the board of trustees for the Antiochian Archdiocese? I guess where large amounts of $$$ are, blind eyes are readily available.

    • Since we posted this, we’ve been receiving all kinds of information on the board members. People are NOT happy with the shabby way Met. Joseph is being treated and more than a few are shocked that Met. Saba and the patriarch haven’t done anything to rectify it.

    • Antiochene Son says

      The Board of Trustees is a corrupt gang of wannabe bishops, and for all the good they do, the Order of St. Ignatius with their gold medals makes me ill.

    • Wayne Matthew Syvinski says

      You shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the discerning and perverts the words of the righteous. (Exodus 23:8 NKJV)

      Do not gather my soul with sinners, Nor my life with bloodthirsty men, In whose hands is a sinister scheme, And whose right hand is full of bribes. (Psalm 25:10 [LXX numbering] NKJV)

      Your princes are rebellious, And companions of thieves; Everyone loves bribes, And follows after rewards. (Isaiah 1:23 NKJV)

      A wicked man accepts a bribe behind the back To pervert the ways of justice. (Proverbs 17:23 NKJV)

  9. Just a dad says

    Am curious what Fr. Josiah Trenham thinks/is saying about all this? Not only is he Antiochian, he was attached to the church in Santa Barbara for almost 10 years. (The St Athanasius Orthodox Church was founded by this deacon’s father.).

    “One year after establishing St. Luke’s Mission in Santa Barbara, Fr. Josiah Trenham, a former Episcopal priest, and his flock merged with St. Athanasius in December, 1994. Fr. Josiah is now the senior pastor of St. Andrew Orthodox Church in Riverside, California, a large and vital community that consecrated its new temple in 2013.”

    • Good question. I intend to find out.

    • M. Valeyko says

      He has been strangely silent, but then again, there was a decent donation made to the university where he teaches, so there may be a correlation there, who knows.

      • I don’t know what a university has to do with anything. Does he have some sort of interest in it? Does it have anything to do with his case?

        • M. Valeyko says

          The donation was made just before the special convention to a university where Fr. Josiah teaches, either this is the strangest coincidence, or Father was basically being told to keep his mouth shut. Granted this could really be a weird coincidence, but the donation was made by C. Ajalat, and based on my sources Father J was inconspicuously quiet at that convention. Make your own conclusion, but to me that screams a buy off

          • Interesting. What university was it? – Father Josiah has been conspicuously quiet since Met. Joseph’s departure.

            • M. Valeyko says

              St. Andrew Academy is the only one that would ensure Trenham’s silence, since it is directly tied to his parish. Although I do realize he doesn’t actually teach there, at least not based on what their website says.

              • I’m not sure St. Andrew Academy would (or would want to) silence Fr. Josiah. I can’t imagine Dr. Keith Buhler or Charles Ajalat being part of something like that, either. It would be very out of character for them both, IMO. Fr. Josiah not speaking at one convention probably doesn’t mean a whole lot. That’s my guess.

                I think there is only one person who could silence Fr. Josiah (or any priest) and that is his bishop. Not that this is the case. To my knowledge Met. Joseph never did and it looks like Met. Saba is fine with him, as well, as he made a video as recently as a month ago. If he were really being “silenced” he probably wouldn’t be able to do that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4wHBUBojzI

          • Just a Dad says

            I don’t know him, not being Antiochian myself, but Charles Ajalat is a prominent figure in the Antiochian church who seems to have a long history of fund raising, donations, etc. – so a large donation would not be out of character. He also is well known outside of the Antiochian church, given his position as a former Chancellor of the Antiochian Archdiocese.

            Mr. Ajalat has a long history, over decades, of advocating for a single Orthodox church in the United States, with 1 Bishop per city, etc. So would not be surprised if that were a big topic of conversation at meetings such as this that Mr. Ajalat attended.

            Unify everything under Elpi and all will be well, eh?


  10. Has anyone looked into why does it seem like it is mostly women supporting and promulgating homosexuality?

    • Because they feel sorry for people. I know many of them.

      • Not disagreeing, but there seems to be a disconnect between having compassion and still holding to the teachings of the Church. It seems as if some of these women (not exclusively, but many) seem to think that, in order for me to have compassion on someone, I have to compromise the teaching of the Church. I’m curious as to what is the source of this disconnect. Finding it could alleviate this problem somewhat.

        • Everything is about “the woman.” Even movies are all about women. Look at Agenda 21 now Agenda 30. All about the woman. Why, I don’t know. It’s possible women are being asked more then men about what they think. Which would make what women think overrepresented.

    • My guess is because of the perfectly natural, and sanctifying, nurturing aspect that women have. Mothers of homosexuals especially feel that their smothering of their sons caused homosexuality.

      Also, many middle-aged women love the companionship of effeminate men because they aren’t a threat. In New York cafe society of the 50s-70s, men such as Truman Capote were escorts of wealthy women (like Jackie Onassis, Princess Lee Radziwill, etc). They were called “walkers”.

      • You guys are pretty funny.

      • George, I agree that woman tend to be more biologically wired for nurturing. But I do have a question. If gay sons are the result of smothering mothers, what is the cause of gay daughters?

        • George Michalopulos says

          Saunca, I’m not saying that “smothering mothers” cause their sons to be homosexual. It is a trope, possibly even a canard. That said, the fact remains that this is the perception of many people, men, women, parents, etc.

          There are probably dozens of other experiences and/or influences that cause young people to be attracted to the same sex. All I was doing was trying to explain why many middle-aged, usually well-off women have been in the vanguard during the 80s (and on) in normalizing homosexuality among men.

          In my experience, women who were the driving force behind this cultural change. That’s all.

          As to what makes a tomboy evolve into being attracted to other women, I can’t say. It’s also been my experience that the vast majority of tomboys grow up to be heterosexual.

          Interestingly, there’s a subset of young women who go off to college and become “gay for the stay”. Then there’s the whole “lipstick lesbian” phenomenon. Perhaps the fact that much pornography idealizes “lipstick” lesbianism is an influence in teenage girls?

          Anyway, I didn’t mean to go off-track here but instead tried to answer your question about the attraction that middle-aged women have for effeminate men as companions (and visa versa).

          At the end of the day, I think we can both agree that human sexuality is far more plastic than we’ve been led to believe. And the fact that the nihilists have made it a hallmark of identity is very worrisome.

          • Ronda Wintheiser says

            I remember reading somewhere, I don’t remember where, that at least one possible cause of homosexuality is a failure to bond with one’s SAME SEX parent.

            I’ve had that in my mind for decades; I read it when I was deeply involved in grassroots politics in the Republican Party in Minnesota back in the 80s when porn and AIDS were the big stories and the things that were foremost in the legislative arena. I personally know a number of gay people, male AND female, and knowing their circumstances and their childhood has borne that out.

            I’m not saying that is always the case. But it is in every single case of the people I have known over the years who struggle with same sex attraction. One of them is one of my sisters, and she told me she understood that from the time she was a child. She felt rejected by Mom and she never bonded with her. She also felt, as the third girl, that Mom and Dad had wanted a boy, and so she said she tried to BE one.

            Another person I know is one of my cousins, a male person. His mom was raging with mental illness when he was born, and his dad was so wrapped up in trying to deal with his wife that he grew up without having much opportunity to even get to know his father and he told me he felt cut off from his dad and rejected by him.

            This makes a lot of sense to me. To be perhaps always trying to connect… with one’s same sex parent… over and over again…

            The other thing that seems often to be the case is that people who struggle with same sex attraction were molested as children. My ex-husband was molested by an uncle, and once I was married to him I stumbled onto him wearing women’s clothing and make up, and he expressed to me that at the same time he was being molested as a boy, he felt neglected by his father because his father doted on his sister, and she was always being dressed up in pretty clothes… and he was… not…

            • Ronda, much that was dark to me
              has now become much more clear.
              I know people to whom I think this fits.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Rhonda, FWIW, the famous Greek poet C P Cavafy, was the youngest of seven boys. His mother wanted a girl so badly she was so distraught, so she took to dressing him like a girl and calling him “Eleni” from almost the time he was born.

              Again, anecdotal but there you go.

              • Veras Coltroupis says

                Homosexual Cavafy is responsible for the myth of Greek homosexuality, debunked by the great grandson of the Archdeacon of Exeter (Homosexuality, however was prevalent in Asiatic religions) : Egypt, Greece, Rome, Freeman Oxford 1996 p184 young boy’s initiation.. sexual element of the relationship appears to have been restrained, and may not have involved any actual penetration.. substitute for women by older men who had not yet reached the age of marriage.. family would be vigilant to ensure he was not being abused.. For a Greek male to accept the submissive role in a homosexual relationship, or to be paid for this role, was considered so degrading that, in Athens at least, it resulted in the loss of citizen rights

            • Michael Bauman says

              Rhonda, my dear mother was an identical twin. She fell in love with my father, married and had my older brother and me. Her twin took refuge in same sex relationships despite growing up bonded at the hip and both being part of Martha Graham’s dance company. Their mother was the first woman to graduate from the University of Iowa Med School. Their mother did not raise them. They grew up in same sex boarding schools having little contact with either parent. My aunt absolutely despised her mother while my mother was more mild in her dislike. My grandmother was only allowed to practice pediatrics and obstetrics. My mother and aunt grew up in boarding schools having little contact with either their mother or father (also a doctor). My mother married my dad and left NY about 15 years before my aunt left. They remained devoted to each other and “modern” dance the rest of their lives. Because of their devotion to dance, I was able to meet and get to know several high level dancers some of whom were same sex oriented, some not. All different styles of dance. It is mysterious.

              Good to see your name again. I hope all is well with you.

      • Yep, exactly George.

        My advice to any man who’s struggling with sexual issues of any kind is to avoid like the plague well-intentioned, Western, young-to-middle-aged women who “want to help.” This includes their overbearing mothers if said mothers are unable to fade into the background.

        In my experience it’s extremely difficult for some western women to grasp the reality that men and women experience sexuality differently. We’ve been so inculcated with the opposite lie – that there’s no difference – that this reality can be difficult for some to believe.

        The stages of parenting in terms of what parents need to do for their children is (1) do stuff for them when they’re babies/toddlers, then (2) help them do stuff when they’re a bit older, then (3) stand back and offer support and fade into the background when necessary when the kids are older.

        Women with an agenda or who don’t know what they’re talking about are not the ones to be giving life or sexual guidance to young men. Not at all.

        Remember Sister Vassa’s sexual advice to young men? Good Lord.

        • Seriously, somebody over at ROCOR needs to rein in Sr Vassa.

        • “ My advice to any man who’s struggling with sexual issues of any kind is to avoid like the plague well-intentioned, Western, young-to-middle-aged women who ‘want to help.’”

          A similar question for you as the one I asked George. Almost all references to being “gay” on this blog (and many like it) assume the person in question is a gay male. It seems to be the default position. With that in mind,

          What advice would you give any women who’s struggling with sexual issues of any kind? Should they also avoid young-to-middle-aged women who want to help?

        • Veras Coltroupis says

          I’ve had friends who went into and out of homosexuality who totally support Socarides view that homosexuals are trying to replace a bad same-sex parent while sluts are trying to replace a bad opposite sex parent.

  11. Greek Soprano says

    Questions 30 31 32 56 57. Common link? Begins with E and ends with S.
    We need signal not noise, and Met. Joseph needs a bulldog lawyer – now.

  12. The same reason women shouldn’t be allowed to vote. The same reason 98% of Stockholme syndrome cases have been women. The same reason many women look to government to be their husband. Women can be psychologically manipulated to accept anything, they adapt very well regardless of how psychotic the situation maybe. It’s why historically Muslims have successfully maintained harems without revolt. Men with lipstick in women’s sports is supportedly mostly by women themselves.

    • OK, let’s not get carried away. You (not you, personally) say on one hand how all the men these days are “soy boys.” You want them voting?

      Because of the way Stockholm syndrome is defined, it applies more to women, i. e. feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim toward a captor. How many women do you know who are physically able to kidnap or take a man hostage?

      If women can be talked into anything, how come there are so many men out there with the hearts broken?!

      Women outvote men.

    • Well, being a monarchist I’m not necessarily in favor of anyone having the vote. But that said, it is true that the Democratic Party as we know it today could not exist and the “pendulum” would not have swung anywhere near as far to the left as it has if only men had been allowed to vote. The Dems would never win any election at the national level were this so. So I leave it to you to surmise the origins of the present foolishness and insanity.

      But the road back to sanity is probably not all at once. It would take a violent revolution to make such drastic changes. Perhaps it is better to be dragged out into the sunlight inch by inch, foot by foot.

    • Veras Coltroupis says

      There are reports of nonbinary gender going back centuries, even Rodkinson’s 1899 Babylonian Talmud mentioning hermaphrodites and incomplete men. HOWEVER, the bulk of today’s homosexuals have probably been suggested into such practice by feminists, who view their emphasis on homosexuality as a way of ending what they see as male dominance. You would really be surprised to learn that the attraction for Islam for a lot of American blacks is their conservative view of moral issues. You would also be surprised to find Black Americans are more religious than whites, and less likely to be muslim than whites.

  13. Hilber Nelson says

    I hope this letter becomes known as the truth bomb that imploded the house of cards erected by the deceivers who concocted this coup. Before much more dust settles, now is the time for concerned clergy and laity to hold the trustees’ feet to the fire of accountability. Without immediate action, there’s a good chance nothing of real substance will come of this letter. It now falls to brave clergy and laity to keep up the heat. Met. Saba is at the Parish Life Conference right now to solidify in the eyes of attendees his rightful place as successor to the throne, as no doubt will be glowingly reported in The Word Magazine next month when it arrives at my door. That rosy official narrative will prevail unless faithful clergy and laity initiate a firestorm of accountability within the archdiocese that relentlessly demands answers to the letter’s searing questions. The trustees need to get the message that while the letter has exposed the coup, We The People of our archdiocese are coming for the coup makers. We will not let you get away with this.

  14. It is dangerous to suggest that Met. Joseph should retain a lawyer to take action against the Archdiocese. Regardless of whether he has been wronged or not, that would be an explicit violation of 1 Corinthians 6 in a very similar fashion to what Fr. Alexander Belya has been doing to ROCOR for the past year. For Christians to involve the secular authorities in their own disputes is a terrible witness to the non-Orthodox in our country. What would be best is to continue to express these concerns to the hierarchs involved and to care for Met. Joseph ourselves as well as we are able. Does anyone know where he is currently living?

    • So what would be the correct action.

      • Read the life of Saint Nektarios of Aegina and you will know the answer.

        • Live out his life as a monk? He’s doing that. I think people want to take care of their “board” issue and that’s what this is all about.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Good point, Gail. It’d be easier for Metropolitan Joseph to live his life out as a monk if he could attend church services.

        • Antiochene Son says

          St. Nektarios was the victim of a crime. Yes it led to his salvation in his individual case, but that doesn’t mean we should just ignore other injustices and just say “be like St. Nektarios.” That is lazy and callous.

          It’s no different than twisting St. Seraphim’s “acquire peace and thousands will be saved” to mean we shouldn’t evangelize.

          • St Nektarios had the strength to overcome such evil.
            Others may lack the strength to successfully resist.
            Are we happy to let them be tested beyond their strength?
            Would this not make us complicit with said evil?

            What did the Lord tell us to pray?

            Matt 6:13
            καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν,
            ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ.
            and let us not be brought into test
            but free us from the evil one.

  15. Saint Nektarios didn’t seek redress. He suffered silently and trusted in God, who vindicated him. No need for lawyers.

    • Who said anything about Met. Joseph seeking redress? We’re the ones seeking redress.

  16. Ronda Wintheiser says

    This reads like what happened to Metropolitan Jonah.

    • Son of Antioch says

      Hardly. Met. Jonah did no wrong. Met. Joseph {Editor Note: purportedly] carried on an affair [Editor Note: which he has denied].

      • In the courts of mankind, accusations can only be
        ‘proven’ or ‘not proven’ beyond reasonable doubt.
        Even if so proven, legitimate doubt can still remain.
        ‘Guilt’ or ‘innocence’ is known only to God.

      • Not only did Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen) not do anything wrong, but he was overthrown by a “palace coup” among key members of the OCA Synod of Bishops and malcontents with their own agendas in his jurisdiction’s headquarters in Syosset, NY. They opposed his attempt, among other things, to withdraw the OCA from the odious National Council of Churches (sic) in favor of cultivating ecumenical ties with more traditional Protestant denominations. So a coup developed ostensibly based on a particular pastoral situation that they misrepresented egregiously to the American public.

        But the insurgents did not stop there. Only after three years of “negotiations” conducted by legal counsel did the OCA finally release Metropolitan Jonah to ROCOR as a “retired” metropolitan but with unprecedented “conditions” that were tantamount to unreasonable demands.

        Nonetheless, since August 2017, Metropolitan Jonah has served, by the grace of God the Holy Trinity (who will not be mocked), as my successor as Rector of St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church (ROCOR) in Stafford, VA. And that little “country church” has prospered and grown more than three-fold during the last six years!

        [Full Disclosure: After serving as a parish priest in the OCA (Romanian Episcopate for 17 years followed by 5 years back on active military duty as a senior US Army chaplain followed by another half-year as a professor in Okinawa, Japan), and almost 2 years as rector of the then little OCA church in Stafford, VA, I decided–together with the parish deacon–to request a transfer from the OCA to ROCOR as soon as the sabotage against Metropolitan Jonah became unmistakably clear to me. In December 2012 my deacon and I were granted canonical releases to ROCOR, and, after another 40 days of appeals and negotiations, the entire parish (minus three parishioners) and our properties was officially closed by the OCA and reborn as St. Herman of Alaska Russian Orthodox Church!]

      • Son of Antioch says

        Won’t post my reply to your “editorial clarification?”

        • Because unlike sites you may be use to, our site is moderated. Because Met. Joseph is no longer a public figure, George and I cannot print that which we don’t know to be true if it’s damaging to someone’s reputation. Your insistence on saying what he, himself, has denied could be construed as defamation unless you have proof which you have not offered nor would we publish if you did.

          When I delete a comment, it is your cue to move on, Son of Antioch. Your “editorial clarification” is your opinion and it is insufficient. It doesn’t prove anything. We don’t know the truth and more importantly you don’t know the truth so why would we print it?

          Met. Joseph was my bishop for over a decade and I have never known him to lie, cheat or steal. If he says the allegations are untrue. I have no reason to disbelieve him and I’m not going to allow someone to say differently in front of our 14,000 readers. We are sticking to the record.

  17. Ronda Wintheiser says

    How is that couple even allowed in the Church??? How does this go on and nothing is done about it? They kick Metropolitan Joseph to the curb but this woman and worse, her husband a deacon, is allowed to continue, I assume, attending an Orthodox parish???

  18. Ronda Wintheiser says

    I decided to see if this Melissa person, or the clergy at her husband’s church, would talk to me. I sent a message via the church website; I haven’t heard a response yet from them.

    And then I went to Melissa’s Facebook page and jumped into a thread to ask her a few questions.

    I just asked her why she would have any interest in being Orthodox since the Church has always condemned homosexual behavior as sin; in Fr. Hans’ famous words, why don’t you just go be Anglican?

    She responded with legitimate ire. She doesn’t know me. She demanded to know who I am, and I just told her I’m in the Antiochian church. She said she doesn’t answer to me, nor does she answer to any hierarch or anyone at all. That her husband agrees with her and supports her in what she’s doing.

    Her page is full of anti NRA rhetoric and she had a meme there mocking people who are worried about drag queens when they should be worried about guns. She said drag queens are not be feared, so then I posted a link to the story about the drag queen parade and what they were chanting.

    She made liberal use of the mocking emoji, and she told me “I am who I am. My husband is his own person. And you better shut the f— up about him. What I will do is block you now.”

    So. That’s where that went.

    She’s fearless. She sincerely believes she answers to no one

    And it appears she’s right.

    • Christine says

      When I hear of these sorts of people invading the Church, I wonder how in God’s name can they read Holy Scripture and justify their behavior? My teenage niece has taken it up on herself to memorize the short letter of Titus over the summer. (She chose it, it was not assigned!) I swear, just from studying this one short Biblical letter, my teenage niece understands God’s behavioral expectations far more than nun Sister Vassa or this ordained Deacon’s wife.

  19. As soon as this all happened, the example of St. Nectarios came to my mind. There are certainly many similarities between the two situations. I’ve known Met. Joseph for many years and those around him and was very hurt to see what happened to him. I keep a copy of the letter he wrote as he “retired”, https://www.antiochian.org/regulararticle/1378, to remind me of the love he has for all of us. I’ve heard nothing about him since he retired, so I can’t speak to any of the accusations leveled in these chats. My parish priest was very close to him and, as far as I know, has been unable to speak to him since he “retired”. So, I do agree that the stories don’t line up. Bp. Basil has not been forced to flee the country and cut all ties with his children . . . though I do understand it is a different dynamic. I do honestly believe that Met. Joseph, out of love for his children, chose to retire rather than drag the archdiocese through a division, since none of this can ever be proved one way or the other. As others have noted, time will tell and God knows.

    Having said all of that. I recently returned from the DLAW PLC . . . my primary reason being to “scope out” Met Saba. I give him credit for coming to the lion’s den and facing the storm head on. He could have stayed in NJ, but he knew that DLAW was ground zero for what happened and there was a lot of hurt and pain. Having attended, heard him speak, and watched him interact with other, I do believe that Met Saba’s heart is the in the right place and this was not something he was seeking in any way. He has been put in a very awkward position and is trying to heal the wounds, as best he can, with love.

    At the same time, I’m still not “sold”. Met Joseph cleaned house . . . and paid the price. I have a feeling that Met. Saba is not going to “rock the boat” in any way, so the archdiocese may flounder. Met Joseph inspired us in our faith and was a leader. Met Saba is more of a healer, as that is what is needed now. I hope that Met Joseph has not been “left out to dry” and continue to pray for him. It’s all in God’s hand now and I pray for our archdiocese and that God will raise up strong men to fill all the vacant bishoprics in our archdiocese that the seeds of the future may be planted now and the fruit will be evident down the road.

    • Thank you for writing this.

    • I pray for our archdiocese and that God will raise up strong men to fill all the vacant bishoprics in our archdiocese that the seeds of the future may be planted now and the fruit will be evident down the road.

      The Diocese of the West specifically needs a bishops oversight, there are a couple of very problematic parishes I can think of (Gail knows of one of them I believe), that get away with certain things & “conferences” because they have no oversight.

  20. Michael Bauman says

    Rule of thumb: We get the Bishops we deserve

  21. Jeff Moss says

    If it’s true that Met. Joseph’s conditions including being kept from entering any church…that is part of what the imprisoned Met. Pavel of the Kiev Caves Lavra says is being imposed on him too.


    • If the Church is for sinners,
      then being barred from entry therein
      is surely testimony to innocence?