For the Record

Metropolitan Jonah

Metropolitan Jonah

In the case of the ousting of His Beatitude from the primatial seat much commentary has been contributed. There are many angles. It could be said that he made the right enemies. Particularly those who have a diminished view of the episcopate and other like-minded people who continue to plight their troth to the National Council of Churches. Clearly the OCA was not big enough for a traditionalist Primate and those who are more modernist in their inclinations.

Mind you, His Beatitude is not a judgmental man and he wasn’t harsh with those who had other views. Yet as diocesan ordinary of the Archdiocese of Washington, he tried to uphold the moral tradition of Christianity. This has been increasingly hard to do because several people throughout the OCA have deeply imbibed the zeitgeist and are defiant in their opposition. (The Chancellor of the OCA for example has bandied about the words “sexual minorities,” while the Dean of the Cathedral in Boston has written exegeses on alternative lifestyles.) Anyway, things were heating up at the Cathedral in Washington, where one deacon refused to commune a woman who had proclaimed her “marriage” to another woman.

Things came to a head and His Beatitude felt the need to instruct the clergy and laity in his diocese on the need for repentance. He issued two directives: the first to his clergy and the second to the people at large. They are reprinted below.

Metropolitan Jonah’s Archpastoral Letter Regarding Marriage July 2011

[gview file=”” height=”800px”]

Metropolitan Jonah’s Archpastoral Letter to Priest Confessors June 2011

[gview file=”” height=”800px”]

About GShep


  1. This is catechism. That His Beatitude had to remind the priests of his diocese of ANY of this is a clear indicator that the OCA is lost. And then they drove him out.

    • Jesse Cone says

      While I have never put much stock in the “thumbs up/down” votes, it is telling that the first 15 or so votes for all issues are those detracting from George’s point of view. I infer from this that not only is the Syosset Circle/ Synod paying constant attention to this site, they are, through that function, not silent.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Jesse–I just voted and gave a thumbs down to both your and JamesP’s posts. I voted because I felt challenged by your post; I had initially disregarded Jamesp’s post until you gave it more prominence that it deserves.

  2. Ladder of Divine Ascent says

    “Particularly those who have a diminished view of the episcopate and other like-minded people who continue to plight their troth to the National Council of Churches.”

    Leon J. Podles, The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity, xii:
    A friend of mine stayed for several weeks in an Italian town, and he and his wife attended daily mass. He was the only man in the church apart from the priest, and his presence was so unusual that it attracted the attention of the carabinieri, who investigated to see what hanky-panky was going on. After he crossed the Aegean to Greece, he was startled by the difference in the Orthodox churches. If anything, there were more men than women; the men also led the singing and filled the churches with the deep resonance of their voices.

    p. 11:
    The “rapid feminization of the mainline religious community”53 in America has been going on for some time. … Because the respondents to the census identified themselves by denomination, the census probably overstates the proportion of men in the liturgical churches because they practice infant baptism: a current non-believer who was baptized as a Catholic, for instance, will tend to identify himself as a Catholic. The charismatic curches have a higher proportion of women, but all the churches except the Eastern Orthodox had a majority of women in their membership.

    p. 204:
    There has been little honest confrontation with the mystery of evil, and this lack of confrontation has led to a trivialization of Christianity that makes it especially unappealing to men who want to spend their lives not on verbal games and pleasant rituals, but on the serious matters that can yield an insight into the meaning of existence. The work of God in the world is the most serious business that a man can devote himself to, because eternal matters of salvation and damnation hang upon it. But sin and damnation have disappeared in an ecclesiastical atmosphere of universalism and self-fulfillment.
    Churches that can preach the Gospel without the modifications that make it easy and bourgeois have a great advantage in reaching men. The rawer fundamentalist churches and the more traditional revivalist churches reach more men than liberal or latitudinarian churches. Unless the Church takes its own message seriously, as ineed a matter of the uttermost importance, it cannot expect men to take it seriously either.

  3. The righteousness of this holy man is clear, and like the Jews of old the Syosset bishops cried crucify him crucify him. And they did.

  4. Ken Miller says

    For those who are inclined to justify homosexual behavior based on arguments of genetics and that it is “not a choice”, it is fruitful to remember the Orthodox anthropology, which assigns the Spirit the role of governing the intellect and body. Although genetics does impact both intellect and body, it does not determine the immaterial spirit.

    St Theophan the Recluse summarizes the Orthodox doctrine of man in his book published under the title “The Spiritual Life”:

    Thus, by taking upon itself the arranging of its own lot, man’s consciousness became conceited, and freedom became self-willing. The complete falling away from God was accomplished with a certain aversion and hostile revolt against Him. It is for this reason that God abandoned such transgressors, and the living union was disrupted. God is everywhere and maintains everything, but He enters into free creatures only when they surrender themselves to Him. When they are self-absorbed, He does not violate their self-rule; He continues to keep and maintain them, but does not enter inside them. Thus our forebears were also left alone. If they had repented sooner, perhaps God would have returned to them, but they were stubborn, and even with obvious evidence, neither Adam nor Eve would acknowledge that they were guilty. Judgment followed, and with it the punishment of expulsion from Paradise. Then they came to their senses, but it was too late. They had to bear the punishment laid upon them, as did our entire race after them. Thanks be to the all-merciful God, that although He turned from us, He did not discard us, and arranged a marvelous way for reunion with Him.

    I have digressed a little far here. We must fix our attention on what happened within man. Indeed! The spirit had authority over the soul and body, because it was in living communion with God, and from Him it received divine power. When the living communion with God was disrupted, the flow of Divine power was also disrupted. The spirit, left by itself, was not able to rule the soul and body, but was drawn to and itself captured by them. The intellect ruled over man, and through the intellect, corporeality, and man became intellectual and carnal. Although the spirit was the same, it was without authority. It announces its existence at times through the fear of God, at other times through the alarms of the conscience, at other times still through the dissatisfaction with anything created. These manifestations are not paid any heed, but are merely taken into consideration, all care being turned to the arranging of one’s life here, to which the intellect is assigned, a life more material, because life here is conducted with a body, and everything that is corporeally tangible seems necessary.

    When this subversion of order in the interrelationships of the parts of our nature took place, man could no longer see things in their true perspective, and he could not keep his needs, desires and feelings in their proper place. These needs, desires and feelings were thrown into confusion, and disorder became their characteristic feature. But this condition, which is of course evil, would have been even tolerable, if the passions had not otherwise entered and tyrannized man. Have you seen how wrath racks an angry man like a fever? How envy permeates someone who is envious until the poor man is green? How a mournful man is so consumed by grief that he is reduced to skin and bones? All the passions are like this. They entered inside us along with selfishness. As soon as our forebear inwardly uttered “I myself,” selfishness took root inside him, this poison and this satanic seed. From this, then, developed the horde of passions; pride, envy, hatred, grief, despondency, greed and sensuality, with all of their numerous and multi-faceted consequences. Having become inbred, they agitate to an even greater degree a condition that was already perturbed without them.

  5. M. Stankovich says

    Before Photius soils him/herself, perhaps someone could explain what is so extraordinary about this letter? I would ask JamesP, why did he feel a need to remind the priests, or was it a reminder at all? Because they have run so far astray? Hmmm. Where I’m from, this is called “re-framing” – hmmm… pardon me, let me clear my throat… Sorry. You know, like “Hey, Jude, don’t make it bad, take a sad song, and make it better…

    This is a case of “cover-your-episcop-ASS-cy” because the Primate of the OCA was discovered to have this going on in his own cathedral – at least according to the hot-blooded “correspondents” posting here – blatantly and in the presence of protest. But it was, in fact, the “Last Chance Texaco” of Deacons that forced his hand. Mr. Michalopulos, as a “traditionalist,” holds this refusal to communicate her out as an “heroic stand,” likened to Blessed Mark of Ephesus, Defender of the Faith. It would appear that the former Metropolitan Jonah and Mr. Michalopulos are “at odds,” shall we say, as to whom actually understands Tradition. From the summary of his comments at a meeting following this “event”:

    His Beatitude reaffirmed traditional and sacramentally correct pastoral practice: that it is, first of all, the Father Confessor’s responsibility to counsel whether or
    not his penitent should receive the Holy Gifts (Communion).

    His Beatitude reaffirmed that, in those cases that require a publicly stated policy or a pastoral decision (communicated ‘publically’ or outside of Confession) about an individual person, it is the sole responsibility of the Bishop, in conjunction with the person’s Father Confessor, to state any such policy or make any such public decision to exclude someone from receiving the Holy Gifts (Communion). No other person, clergy or lay, may presume to do so.

    His Beatitude mentioned that, [as noted] above, it did not fall under the pastoral competence, authority, or responsibility of a deacon to make policies or individual decisions, private or public, about the moral and spiritual eligibility, of an otherwise eligible Orthodox Christian, to receive the Holy Gifts (Communion).

    Now, in that I neither ascribe to, nor hold, nor teach anything that is contrary to the Faith & Tradition we hold, I have stated I believe that the Deacon’s error had absolutely nothing to do with this woman or her sexuality, but everything to do with arrogance, disobedience, and defiance of St, Paul’s instruction to maintain hierarchy and order. This, however, is never as salacious and titillating as anything sexual. I mean seriously, this was not the Gettysburg Address, and Mr. Michalopulos gave it the pseudo moral authority it lacked in the “original.” Ah some arrive to re-eat the hash…

    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

      “Now, in that I neither ascribe to, nor hold, nor teach anything that is contrary to the Faith & Tradition we hold, I have stated I believe that the Deacon’s error had absolutely nothing to do with this woman or her sexuality, but everything to do with arrogance, disobedience, and defiance of St, Paul’s instruction to maintain hierarchy and order.”

      You sound like an Episcolian “married” lesbian female clergy complaining about the more traditional parishes supposedly breaking tradition and church order by bailing out of their church. If our clergy teach, do, or allow things that undermine their own authority, then you’ll see that authority increasingly disobeyed and rejected as well. As the OCA is discovering with its 30% drop in revenue and parishes leaving, it isn’t hard on this continent to leave and (re)join ROCOR.

      • Pere LaChaise says

        The OCA never was part of ROCOR. In fact, the Metropolia was castigated by ROCOR leaders for remaining in communion with Moscow and the rest of Orthodoxy while ROCOR was not. The histories and identities of OCA and ROCOR are distinct. Now ROCOR is an exarchate of Moscow – precisely where Moscow wanted the OCA to be by now. Metr. Jonah was expected to deliver the goods to Patr. Kyrill, who’s had his eye on the OCA for 2 decades at least. Jonah constantly said, “everything’s on the table” in regard to OCA autocephaly. If it was his choice, he may have done it. But it was not his choice to make by himself.

        Why don’t the people on this blog/forum wake up and smell the coffee? The real problem with Metr. Jonah, vis the Holy Synod, was not ethics, morality, tradition – it was his unilateralism that drove a wedge into the heart of OCA governance. George et. al. may read his unilateral signing of the Manhattan Declaration as some kind of heroism, but he blindsided his fellow bishops to hop into the camp of ‘cultural activists’ when the rest of the church was not ready – nor were they ever consulted. This happened all the time. It was not so much what he decided it was how he did it – all on his own. That’s why they asked him to quit.

        • George Michalopulos says

          You know, it’s interesting you should say that. Rather than castigate Jonah for supposedly “unilaterally” offering up the OCA’s autocephaly to Moscow, it’d be nice for everybody to know that certain luminaries in the OCA have said on more than one occasion that the OCA should go under the Patriarch of Constantinople. (In fact, other bigwigs in the OCA have been placing side-bets with the Phanar for some time now.)

          It’s a moot point now, because the OCA is a moribund institution. Moscow will keep it’s autocephaly “alive” as a legal fiction in order to pick up the remaining pieces while preventing the Phanar from taking it over lock, stock and barrel. The OCA won’t become extinct as such, it will simply limp along until that point when Moscow and Constantinople agree what’s best for them.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            I will bite. Please name names and provide citations regarding the “certain luminaries in the OCA (who) have said on more than one occasion that the OCA should go under the Patriarch of Constantinople.”

            Regarding your conclusion that overseas patriarchates (Moscow and Constantinople) will agree on the final disposition of the OCA, would you care to back up your statement with Canons, history, or any reason at all, aside for wishes and fantasies? Do you really think that either Patriarchate has temporal power to physically take over the OCA? Do you think that they can waltz to an American court and sue? Do you think that if Moscow withdrew her Tomos, the rest of Orthodox Churches would cease to recognize he validity of the Holy Mysteries performed in the OCA? Are you seriously imagining that some day in the future an OCA baptism or marriage will not be recognized by the GOA, ROCOR, and other churches? And, even if that happens, do you honestly think that the Lord will let the Gates of Hell prevail against His Church? In short, what exactly are you smoking?

            As for your statement that the OCA is a moribound institution, I would bet that if +Jonah were to be restored this afternoon, you would be singing a different tune by tonight.

            • For One: Metropolitan Theodosis asked Patriarch of Constantinople to take over the OCA. (Check it out – it’s a matter of record!)

              PS: George, I’m locked out of the thumbs up/down feature after one vote on one issue.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                FYI–I ran couple of Google queries and came up empty. Would you please give a citation? Thanks in advance.

          • Francis Frost says

            Mr. Michaelopulos:

            Once again, your mis-information is showing. The leaders of the OCA, Metropolitan Leonty and Metropolitan Ireney, applied to be received into the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the 1960’s. They were directed by Patriarch Athenagoras to work out their situation vis a vis Moscow. It was only then, that they entered into negotiations with the MP, negotiations that resulted in the OCa’s autocephaly. It was reported multiple times in the OCA’s newspaper that autocephaly was a stepping stone to a unified Orthodox Church in America, not an end in itself. Metropolitan Theodosius stated on more than one occasion that he OCA would surrender its autocephaly to a united church. In the 1960’s and 1970’s it was hoped that SCOBA would be the vehicle to form a unified church. Now it is the Episcopal Assembly. It was always understood that the unified Orthodox Church in America would be organized under the aegis of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. indeed, the MP signed off on that format at the Chambesy meeting.

            If Metropolitan Jonah had agreed to submit to Moscow, he did so without the agreement of his fellow bishops, the clergy or the laity of the OCA. Given the MP’s subordination the the Putin regime, and its willingness to violate the Sacred Canons on behalf of its masters in the Kremlin, subordination to Moscow would be deadly to the life of the church. You cannot be unaware that MP clergy “blessed” weapons used against civilians and churches during the 2008 invasion of Georgia. Perhaps, however, you are unaware that MP clergy have also “blessed” nuclear armed ICBM’s targeted at US cities. How may Americans, do you think, would want to support a church that blesses militarism and anti-Americanism? The MP also approved the ban on adoptions of Russian orphans by Americans. Never mind that they themselves have done nothing to provide homes for those children, most of whom suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome or HIV. No, on the contrary, +Kirill made his fortune, and the churches fortune, by selling duty free alcohol and cigarettes – thus helping to create more of those orphans.

            The MP’s wholesale rejection of Christian morality is bad enough. Your constant cheerleading for that body is more and more tiring.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Mr Frost, forgive me but I don’t think I made myself clear regarding the context or the import of what I wrote. I know (as do most people) that the Metropolia first went to HH Athenagoras to be received into his patriarchate. That is uncontroversial. What I was talking about is that right now as well as in the recent past, OCA luminaries have talked among themselves about doing the same thing again, only this time we’re an autocephalous church. More to the point, some of our bishops and other luminaries are what I call “autocephalists uber alles” and flagrantly present themselves as such.

              Of course, one of the excuses being bandied about to justify the criminal usurpation was that Jonah wasn’t as “autocephalist” as they were. Assuming that one or both aspects of this assertion are true, then why was Jonah singled out for retribution but not these other luminaries?

              That’s my question, nothing more. (Of course the autocephaly of the OCA is now a moot point but that’s a story for another day.)

            • Rdr. James says

              Dear Francis Frost:
              You always seem to have to denigrate the Moscow patriarchate in some what, even when you have som positive things to say. I tend to gloss over you posts because you ALWAYS mention the situation in Georgia. Has not the Moscow church done anything right, in your view?

              Getting tired of the polemics here.

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                Reader James, Monsieur Frost earns his living and has done for decades by attacking the Church of Russia.

        • Seraphim98 says

          So alternative lifestyles, boyfriends for bishops, gross fiscal impropriety, cultural relativism….these are somehow tolerable for years and years and years, but a little unilateralism from a Traditionalist pov…it’s all kick him down the stairs and good riddance to bad rubbish.. This should not be.

          As for his willingness to put the OCA’s autocephalacy on the table, the first time I read about that willingness on his part, my heart leapt for joy, finally morning in the OCA…there was a true metropolitan willing to do the hard thing if it was the right thing. Let him put that wedge (as you style it) in the heart of OCA governance (i.e. syosset), it needed and still need driving in. All these things that you cite as evidence of his unfitness are the very things that made me cheer his vision and leadership. I liked what he was doing. I liked the direction he was taking us. And as for his unilateralism…more and more I see that as less of a choice but more of the only realistic option open to him when his putative staff and a sizable subsection of the Holy Synod were out to undermine and either control or destroy him from day one. Who in their right mind can blame him? I don’t.

        • Fr. John Whiteford says

          It is a fact that the OCA was part of ROCOR, at two different points in its history.


          The documentation is very clear.

        • Pere LaChaise says:
          March 12, 2013 at 1:15 am

          The OCA never was part of ROCOR. In fact, the Metropolia was castigated by ROCOR leaders for remaining in communion with Moscow and the rest of Orthodoxy while ROCOR was not. The histories and identities of OCA and ROCOR are distinct.

          The OCA was never part of ROCOR, but the American diocese that was later called the Metropolia and eventually became the OCA was indeed under ROCOR.

          Met Platon of America was appointed by ROCOR in 1922 at the recommendation of Patriarch Tikhon. Regarding the appointment of Met Platon, ROCOR decreed as follows:

          “May it stand: in view of the expressed desire of His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon
          of Moscow and all Russia, that Metropolitan Platon of Kherson and Odessa accept
          the administration of the North American diocese, communicated by V. Rev. T.
          Pashkovsy who had arrived from Moscow in the report of July 1/14, 1922, No. 1,
          and in view of the consent of Archbishop Alexander to the temporary transfer of
          the administration of the diocese to Metropolitan Platon, Metropolitan Platon is
          considered temporary administrator of the North American Diocese.”

          In 1924, Met Platon expressed his confidence in and obedience to the ROCOR Synod in
          the following words recorded in the “American Orthodox Messenger” (No. 6 of 1924):

          “In the circumstances amid which the Russian Church in exile has begun to live,
          her one comfort and consolation is the possibility of calling Bishops’ Councils,
          composed of the hierarchs who by the will of Providence find themselves outside
          the borders of Russia. A Council of Hierarchs is morally of such a magnitude,
          that before iteven an energetic unit, accustomed to willfulness and
          stubbornness, must bow… We shall therefore expect that, even in America, they
          who say that they are authentic `bishops’ will carefully examine the essence of
          the discord in the church which they create, and will show their Orthodox
          disposition in the spirit indicated by the Bishops’ Council in Karlovtsy”.

          The same year, 1924, Met Platon participated in the ROCOR Council at Sremski
          Karlovtsky, was elected to be a member of the ROCOR Synod, and he expressed his
          full submission to this Council. However, in 1926, there was a council of the
          American diocese in Detroit wherein those who attended attempted to grant
          themselves autocephalous status under Met Platon. When later in 1926, Met
          Platon returned to the ROCOR Council in Sremsky Karlovtsy and reported on the
          outcome of the Detroit Council, ROCOR responded by stating that the Russian
          diocese in America had no canonical right to declare its own autocephaly and the
          Synod would certainly not acknowledge such an uncanonical declaration. Met
          Platon then left the Council along with Met Evlogy and it was then that both
          bishops separated from ROCOR and went into schism. Of course, the American
          diocese (Metropolia) came back into communion with ROCOR in 1935 of their own
          accord, affirming all the more that they recognized the authority of ROCOR.
          Sadly, however, in 1946 the Metropolia again went into schism from ROCOR without
          any canonical justification.

        • Pere,
          How on earth would +Jonah have surrendered the OCA to the MP on his own?! This is absurd. +Jonah presented the question and wanted discussion-and that’s it. Why, because the OCA ‘s vision did not pan out and it was/is not in a good position. You drank the cool-aid that he was unilateral, you bought the bait. That was all part of a ploy to get rid of him. He made people nervous . . .thinking . . charisma . . . traditionalist . . . oh no not someone who really believes, heavens no . . . makes the rest look bad. . . .he might actually do something . . .

          • George Michalopulos says

            Colette, I’m not sure that facts matter at this point. The criminal nature of the entire enterprise against Jonah was so egregious that something –anything at all–had to be thrown against the wall in order for something to stick.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              I have to yank your chain on this one George. When you accuse the OCA church leaders of doing something criminal, you have to substantiate your charges and perhaps report them to the proper authorities. Phrasing it as “criminal nature of the entire enterprise against +Jonah” does not relieve you from the burden of proving your accusation. You know that there are canonical prohibitions of such accusations that you have been making. You also know that the Canons show you the proper way to make those charges (not via your blog!). You have been making extremely serious charges against the OCA Holy Synod and the appointed Church officials for quite some time now. If you are still in communion with the OCA, don’t you think that you should instead take your charges to the proper venues?

          • Carl Kraeff says

            George–My feelings regarding +Jonah are largely those of disappointment and pity. However, I admit that I have been angered by folks like Photius, Ladder and the funny man, against whom I have expressed what I thought was justified rage. As we go into Great Lent, I will try to do better.

          • M. Stankovich says

            I smell coffee, LaChaise. Dark roast. Unmistakable, dark roast. Je bois à votre santé, mon Père François!

      • Carl Kraeff says

        More baloney. What the deacon did was arrogant and presumptuous. The worst thing about this tempest in the teapot is that the good arrogant deacon still stinks that he was in the right. No, actually the worst thing is the number of folks who agree with him.

        • George Michalopulos says

          OK, lemme get this straight: the deacon was “arrogant and presumptuous” for upholding the moral tradition of the Church but Jonah “didn’t walk the walk” because somehow he (according to you) didn’t uphold the same tradition. Which is it Carl?

          • The deacon was “upholding the moral tradition of the Church” by telling Metropolitan Jonah that he would not obey him?

            If you think the deacon was correct then you must agree with the deacon that Metropolitan Jonah was not upholding the moral tradition of the Church, and if you think Metropolitan Jonah is correct you must admit the deacon was “arrogant and presumptuous” for telling the Metropolitan that he wasn’t worth his obedience.

            • It was clear what +Jonah believed. The Dn. was in compliance with +Jonah, but could not get a decent conversation about this matter with the Priest currently in charge, so he went to a senior Dn and that Dn said he wouldn’t commune them. So that is what the Dn did. This Dn is a military man. He understands the orders of command and following orders. There was no arrogance.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                Colette–You and Christine are the only ones from Team Jonah that I take seriously. Therefore, I believe your account of what happened. However, a military man would know the chain of command better. This deacon should have gotten his marching orders directly from +Jonah or a priest, not another deacon.

                To use a military analogy, he acted as a dumb (brave new) private who went to the sergeant, instead of the officer who could have given him the only guidance. In truth, he is nowhere close to being a dumb private and I believe that in one of his explanations, he said that he could not obtain such guidance from the priests, so he just went on his own. I can understand that a man of his learning and strong convictions would feel frustrated and may be tempted to do what he did. But, I also understand that what he did was a gross usurpation of the authority of priests and bishops.

              • colette:

                Double-talk does not befit the Saints.

                After the Deacon refused the cup to a person whom he’d never bothered to speak to, much less confessed (outside his competence, isn’t that?) the Metropolitan in his kindness did not discipline him. The Deacon on this blog said that he thought this was a great kindness shown him by the Metropolitan.

                Some time later the Deacon told the Metropolitan he would not obey him.

                It is quite impossible to be “in compliance” with someone whom you intend to disobey. Indeed, even the Deacon does not claim to have been “in compliance” with the Metropolitan, and only on this blog is the effort made to purport that one can be for both parties simultaneously.

                But one cannot be for both Caesar and Brutus.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  It’s really rather simple: the Deacon had the authority to refuse Communion to an unrepentant sinner by the fact that he was given the Chalice in the first place. If he had no say in the matter at all, then he shouldn’t have been given the Chalice.

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Mr. Michalopulos,

                    Your contention is in direct opposition to the words of the former Met. Jonah himself, in his own cathedral, expressing the Tradition of the Church:

                    His Beatitude mentioned that, it did not fall under the pastoral competence, authority, or responsibility of a deacon to make policies or individual decisions, private or public, about the moral and spiritual eligibility, of an otherwise eligible Orthodox Christian, to receive the Holy Gifts (Communion).

                    You continue to twist the truth of what occurred to champion an arrogant manipulation. The deacon purposely did not inform the priest of his intention, because had he done so out of obedience and established order, he would not have been given the chalice. It’s really rather simple. There are so many forthright, worthy individuals to champion, Mr. Michalopulos, why continue to prop up a defiant, arrogant conman who embarrassed the Primate of the OCA in his own cathedral?

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      M. Stankovich: the key in those words, to me, is “otherwise eligible”. Someone who marries outside the Chuch is not cannonically eligible to partake of Holy Communion. That is true for real marriages. It would seem to be much more true for conunterfeit marriages even if they are legal under secular law. It would be especially true if such folk were demanding to be communed. That demand alone would make them ineligible, IMO. None of us has the right to Holy Commuion. It is always a blessing when we are allowed to partake.

                      Unrepentant fornicators are also barred from the cup, if I am not mistatken. St. Mary of Egypt was away from the cup for 40 years even after extensive repentance.

                      The minimum period of ineligibility for marrying outside the Church described in the Rudder is 5 years (although it can be shortened or lengthened at the bishop’s discretion). It could be for life.

                      These women don’t even have a marriage. Anyone who contracts a counterfeit marriage with someone of the same sex has automatically forfeited their right to partake of Holy Communion and should never be communed while they are together as they are simply persisting in the sin of fornication (or why call it marriage).

                      It would appear to me that, absent a bishop’s instruction to the contrary, it could be assumed that such a couple was not “otherwise eligible” and they would not be communed as a matter of course unless the bishop gives specific instructions to do so.

                      It greives me that we think so little of marriage and the Euchrist that we allow any counterfeits of marriage to pass as if they are real. No bishop or priest or deacon acting in acord with their office would even consider such people to be eligible as long as the two people were together and claiming marriage.

                      The failure of Met. Jonah to deal forthrightly with this case is sad and inexplicable. It is evidence of a failure of his courage and leadership. and is the embarasment to the Cathedral, not the actions of Deacon Mitchell.

                      Sacramental discipline in acord with the canons and Holy Tradition is never hurtful to anyone. In fact, it can serve as the catalyst for repentance, grace and new life.

                      The two women, the entire congregtion and indeed the entire OCA were denied that. There lies the tragedy, not the actions of Deacon Mitchell.

                      Your continued lambasting of Deacon Mitchell indicates to me that, despite your protestations to the contrary, you really don’t support the Traditions of the Church when it comes to homosexuality (no matter how you parse the condition). I don’t think such an inference is unwarranted or extreme. I would love to be wrong.

                      The two women in question went far beyond being troubled with same sex attraction. They are fully immersed in the sinful passions of homosexual fornication while calling it righteous and demanding that others aquiese in their sin.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      The key to the Tradition of the Church, as accurately elucidated by the former Metropolitan Jonah in his own cathedral, can be paraphrased into two helpful, instructive derivatives: 1) the Clint Eastwood, “A man’s ‘gotta know his limitations” derivative, and 2) the Salt n Peppa, “What’s the matter with your life? Why you ‘gotta mess with mine?” derivative (which I would also note is commonly referred to as the Fr. Alexey Karlgut, “We are not a democracy,” derivative). Imagine, Mr. Bauman, that as our soul is committed to eternity, what does the Church prescribe to be sung at the Burial of the Dead but the glorious Psalm 118:

                      Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
                      who walk according to the law of the Lord.
                      Blessed are those who keep his statutes
                      and seek him with all their heart—
                      they do no wrong
                      but follow his ways.
                      You have laid down precepts
                      that are to be fully obeyed.
                      Oh, that my ways were steadfast
                      in obeying your decrees!

                      One-hundred-seventy-six verses totally devoted to obedience and love of the Law, concluding, Mr. Bauman, in an assurance to the Lord that, while, “I may have strayed like a lost sheep, I have not forgotten Your commandments.” Astonishing!

                      Not that I have any intention of pursuing this “you really don’t support the Traditions of the Church when it comes to homosexuality (no matter how you parse the condition)” – and, of course, one monkey don’t stop the show – I will simply say, give yourself a big loving hug because you are wrong. We are all “immersed in the sinful passions,” Mr. Bauman, and have you not – even once – held your breath at the church entrance wondering if, like Mary of Egypt, this time you will be prevented? I have & I do. And for the record, my argument has to with obedience, arrogance, and self-will, not homosexuality.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Mr. Stankovich regarding your question below: I hold my breath every time I go forward fully expecting to be turned away. I would not complain if I were.

                    • George Osborne says

                      And you know all of this how? The priest told you this from his own lips? Met. Jonah told you this from his own lips? Oh, okay, I get it. You are just as willing to create “evidence” when it suits your purpose as you accuse others as doing. Credibility, dear brother. Credibility.

                  • The issue, George, turns on this judgement: “an unrepentant sinner”

                    The woman in question has a regular confessor, and she and her situation were known to the Metropolitan. The deacon, acting without having spoken to the woman her confessor or the Metropolitan, deemed her to be “an unrepentant sinner” on the basis of what?

                    As we launch into Lent we are fond of speaking of the Orthodox Church as a “hospital for sinners.” It is a metaphor, but a useful one.

                    Given that metaphor, what we witnessed was a patient being treated by a doctor, with the head of the hospital aware of both the patient and her treatment. And then we have an orderly who decided that both the doctor and hospital head were wrong without having looked at her charts or ascertained what treatment was being applied, and who substituted his own treatment for theirs in a most public manner.

                    The deacon judged a person to be “an unrepentant sinner.” He did not know when her last confession was nor of its contents. He did not know what corrections were being given for what conditions. He does not know these things to this day.

                    This is the real tragedy, both for the deacon and the Church. Declaring someone to be outside the Church on the basis of gossip leaves us all potential victims of such ill-informed Protestant shunning.

                    Lent is coming. I take my leave of this.

                    Forgive me if I’ve offended any of you. For my part I have taken no offense, and forgive as God forgives.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I call her an “unrepentant sinner” because she publicly proclaimed her sin. She would be unrepentant if she publicly repented to her scandalized brethren at St Nicholas.

                      To all, I repeat CQ’s words to me: “Forgive me if I’ve offended any of you. I likewise take no offense. God forgives and I forgive.”

                    • Why you believe you know more about this than the deacon is a puzzle to me.

                      Clearly there is a subversive group at the cathedral that was in opposition to the policy of the bishop. Clearly this group included at least one confessor (probably a priest). Clearly you have some direct connection to this group.

                      I’ve seen this door to door urban warfare in the Episcopal Church. I’m not naive about “what is going on”. But I still don’t know where you get off claiming more knowledge about the situation than the deacon.

                      p.s. I believe George meant, “She would be publicly repentant if she publicly repented.”

                    • nit picking says

                      I would like to point out that the Dn. Brian has been trying to spread the responsibility for the situation created by the actions taken by him as confessed in his own writings on this forum onto others.

                      For example, he accused the “DC Nuns” of “contributing” to the problem when the truth of the matter is, they were only guests at the parish with no authority until they could find more permanent housing:

                      For the record, the nuns weren’t any help on the gay issue at St. Nicholas. In fact, others mentioned to me their disappointment that the nuns seemed closer to the other side (Link).

                      He implied that Fr. Denis Bradley was intimidating people into silence:

                      The dictate NOBODY SHOULD GOSSIP is just what Fr. Denis Bradley would tell people to shut them up about the profanation of the Holy Eucharist and betrayal of fundamental decency at the cathedral. It is also what one of the nuns told a parishioner who shared with the nun her concern over the overt presence of gays at the cathedral. (Link)

                      Dn. Brian Patrick Mitchell admits on this forum that he was “fed up.” In reality, he really did do what he did not because someone gave him blessing to do it, not because he was ordered, but because it is what he wanted to do.

                      By his own admission, the letters published by Metropolitan Jonah concerning appropriate pastoral response to giving communing individuals participating in same-sex relationships came out only AFTER this entire fiasco blew up. Maybe it’s safe to say, as a response to this entire fiasco involving the deacon? If it was in response to the fiasco involving the deacon, then it’s even worse in my opinion. Too little too late especially since it was occurring in His very own cathedral!!

                      Why weren’t the clergy in his own cathedral communicating with his Beatitude? Why weren’t they beating down the door of his apartment and telling him “hey you know, we got this conflict going on between us and in our community and we need some direction from you, tell us what to do!!!” Why did Dn. Brian Patrick Mitchell go to the Proto-Deacon and not his Hierarch at whose cathedral he was serving? This is what is on my mind. If he did go to his Hierarch, why didn’t his Hierarch give him a definitive answer? If his hierarch gave him a definitive answer, why doesn’t he just say, Metropolitan Jonah said “I give you blessing to do x, y, z…” then he can tell everybody to drop dead. Pretty straight forward.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Nitpicker, I still can’t break away from the simple fact that any ordained man who is entrusted the Chalice has no responsibility for that Chalice. If he’s not fit then he shouldn’t be given it. And if it’s alleged that he was himself defiant, then he should be brought up on charges to an ecclesiastical court. To me it’s that simple.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Michaelopulos,

                      Were you instructed by the former Met. Jonah to hear her confession? Are you privy to the pastoral counsel and/or epitimia or instruction offered this woman? Are you aware of the manner by which they might conduct their private lives? The answer, of course, as is true of the deacon, is a resounding “no.” Then, by what Pharisaical pretension & unlearned arrogance do you continue to defy the Tradition of the Church and the correct interpretation of the former Primate? Survey says: arrogance & ignorance. The only feasible grounds for repentance “for cause” is you & the deacon for your willful disobedience of the Metropolitan.

                    • nit picking says

                      Um wrote:

                      Clearly there is a subversive group at the cathedral that was in opposition to the policy of the bishop. Clearly this group included at least one confessor (probably a priest). Clearly you have some direct connection to this group.

                      It would appear that the greatest subversive at the cathedral was the Deacon himself who did not follow the chain of command, created the conflict out of his self will, put Metropolitan Jonah into an impossible situation and then Metropolitan Jonah was forced to put out the epistles that he did so as to cover the deacon’s *ahem*….cover the deacon’s actions and prevent any further tension and conflict which only gave the rest of the synod more ammunition to use against Metropolitan Jonah. Then the Deacon jumped ship, shifted blame, apologized to no one, stabbed and continues to stab Metropolitan Jonah in the back (look up his comments on this forum if you don’t believe me) and is the one that is utterly unrepentant in the face of his public sin.

                      Smoke and mirrors……even Houdini never produced such a show.

                    • CQ,

                      The lebsian at the DC Cathedral does have a “father-confessor” who is also gay. Let’s get real here. This retired priest continues to foster his lavender flock at St. Nicholas. He does not confront them in their sin, he tells them they are “ok” and that it will take time for the Church to catch up with his views on gays.

                      How do I know this? A person who use to go to him for confession told me. This person felt uncomfortable when this priest was affirming his lifestyle while he was trying to free himself of his sin.

                      So, yes, CQ, these women went to confession but their confessor was in no way advising them to stop. How could he, he has lived with his lover for many years now and this was known to Met. Theodosius, Metropolitan Herman, Fr. Constantine White, Deacon Sergius Miller, Metropolitan Jonah, and now Metropolitan Tikhon, Fr. John Perich, Fr. George Kochno, etc. etc. etc. All +Jonah did was give more ammo to the gay clergy club in the OCA and in DC to push him out.

                      You can bet that +Tikhon will do nothing about this and St. Nicholas Cathedral will continue to dwindle in spiritual significance.

                    • M. Stankovich says


                      Whether there is an iota of truth in anything you have said, you are the prime rib of rodents. Personally, I would always be looking for that farmer’s wife and her carving knife, because the only thing worse than a blind rodent, is an anonymous, yellow-toothed, weave-tailed, disease spreading rodent. Scratching, scratching, scratching between the walls until you look up to see the “tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.” (Matt. 21:31)

                    • Disgusted With It says


                      So then maybe the last good people should leave St. Nicholas, not look back, and let Sodom be destroyed according to its own sinfulness.

                    • Disgusted With It says:

                      So then maybe the last good people should leave St. Nicholas, not look back, and let Sodom be destroyed according to its own sinfulness.

                      No, the last good people should stick to their guns and stay, and pray, and confess, and bring more people in, and work on removing all abominations, and make sure that the cathedral works as a Church of God should. Think of all these people who worked so hard and sacrificed their last pennies to build that magnificent church! They are with us at every Liturgy, wherever it is held! And we should just let the evil one take all this?

                    • Disgusted With It says


                      I sympathize with your feelings. However, the reality is that the good people are being used and taken advantage of by certain bishops and clergy. They enjoy this control — whether it’s emotional ties, or people hoping to do the “Christian” thing, or people who are just flat out duped in the matter wanting to believe that the bishops and clergy really are honest and that the scandal is really the fault of “those other people”. These so called religious leaders willingly and knowingly take full advantage of that. So either the good clergy and faithful who remain need to play hardball and fight for what is right by exposing and fighting the evil, or know when it’s finally too much and follow the example of Lot. Either way, God will not be mocked!

                • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                  CQ, who are you? How do you know what I told Metropolitan Jonah? If all you know is what I have written online, you have misunderstood me. I never once told the Metropolitan I would not obey him. I only told him what I could not do in good conscience, trusting in his kindness and decency that he would not order me to do something contrary to conscience. He never did, and for that I thank him.

                  • “I only told him what I could not do in good conscience…”

                    The idea that the individual conscience is the highest authority in the Church is Protestant, not Orthodox.

                    Clearly your declaration of conscience to the Metropolitan resulted in his obeying you, and your commanding the Church….or just maybe the fruits were that you were transferred to another parish, from which you sought refuge in the ROCOR.

                  • Archpreist John W. Morris says

                    To DC above
                    If a priest is an openly practicing homosexual, why has he not been laicized? How can this be? The Church cannot tolerate any priest who flaunts his disobedience to the moral teachings of our Church. If we do not put a stop to this sort of thing now, we will become like the Episcopalians.
                    Even a Deacon should not obey a Metropolitan or Bishop who instructs him to disregard the moral principles of the Church which are crystal clear. An unrepentant and practicing homosexual or lesbian may not receive Holy Communion. If the presiding Priest or Bishop gives a Deacon and tells him to give Holy Communion, he has a duty to guard the Chalice. Why is this even an issue is totally beyond me.

                    • Fr John,

                      Welcome to life on the ground in real-time at St. Nicholas Cathedral. It has been an hospitable domicile for gays for decades and there are enough pro-gay laity in leadership that refuse to even discuss the issue.

                      It is really not a healthy place attested to by the many families that have left in the past couple of years. Now, with even more pro-gay clergy on the staff, I don’t see a good outcome.

                      But of course, as Mr. Stankovich seems to believe, even talking about it is rat-like. He would fit in very well at the DC Cathedral. Very well.

                    • Fr. John,
                      You say:

                      If a priest is an openly practicing homosexual, why has he not been laicized? How can this be?

                      The truth is that he is not an openly practicing homosexual, and whether the emphasis in this phrase should be on “openly,” or on “practicing,” or even on “homosexual” is unknown. Whether he is practicing on not is not an open information. Everyone knows that he lives in a house with two men: one Roman Catholic priest and one layman, who oscillates between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox faiths. That is it. One cannot go officially by only the outward appearance of these men, and thus many people suspect him of being homosexual but have no proof. But who knows? And suspicions are not (and should not be) sufficient for action.

                    • Well Fr. John this was why this situation was so horrendous, why people finally left and why people didn’t want to talk about it in detail here or anywhere. There was a reverse persecution, if you will to anyone confronting the issue.
                      Now, I don’t know for a fact that the priest is a practicing homosexual but it is common knowledge that he lives with an acknowledged homosexual and owns property with him in Canada.

                • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                  Carl, the appropriate military analogy is:

                  You’re under assault by the enemy. His lead element has stormed the parapet and is already in the trenches bayoneting the troops. A second lieutenant reports this to the commander and his staff, but none of them will give the order to shoot for fear of hurting someone unnecessarily. Finally, the first lieutenant tells the second lieutenant, “Go ahead and shoot! That’s what I’d do!” The second lieutenant does just that, but it’s too late. By then, their position is overrun and in the enemy’s hands.

                  Afterwards, the commander admits that we really can’t allow the enemy into our trenches, and that the order to shoot should have been given much earlier, but preferably not by the most junior officer. Disgusted with the whole mess, the second lieutenant applies for a transfer to another unit. The commander is later relieved of his command for cause.

                  • Now we know that other commanders were fighting on the enemy side all along.

                  • Disgusted with the whole mess, the second lieutenant applies for a transfer to another unit. The commander is later relieved of his command for cause.

                    The Deacon has more clarity than George does: He is clear that he believes the Metropolitan was not a good leader who therefore deserved to be relieved, and because the Metropolitan was not a good leader the Deacon was justified in his actions.

                    And apparently a majority of those rating the Deacon’s comments agree with him that the Metropolitan deserved his fate.

                    The Deacon at least has the advantage of being coherent. Those who claim to be for both the Deacon and Metropolitan have abandoned any such pretense.

                    • For the record, I put a thumb’s up on Deacon Patrick’s comment before noticing the last few words as a swipe at Metropolitan Jonah. I will stand by the thumb’s up because most of the comment was worthy of it, but I do not agree that Metropolitan Jonah was “removed for cause”. I probably would have not voted had I noticed the insult prior to clicking.

                      From the deacon’s own testimony, you are obviously ignorant of the facts of the matter, only cherry-picking ideas you have picked up or fabricated that suit your intent to defame Metropolitan Jonah.

                    • Helga,

                      I ask you to cite where I have ever defamed (or even disagreed with) Metropolitan Jonah.

                      The deacon you “thumbs upped” has made his opposition to the Metropolitan crystal clear. There has been no “cherry-picking,” there has only been clarity that one cannot support both the deacon and the Metropolitan whom the deacon has declared unfit for service.

                      Look to your heart’s content, you will not find a single instance where I have not stood forthrightly with the Metropolitan, and not a single comment in which I have defamed a man whose compassion and mercy shines the Light of Christ into the world.

                    • CQ, even Metropolitan Jonah was said to have admitted that he should have been paying more attention to the situation and acted more quickly. I see no reason to argue with that if that’s how he feels.

                      If I have mischaracterized your attitude towards Metropolitan Jonah, I’m sorry, but it was very difficult for me to imagine you were a supporter of Metropolitan Jonah after you claimed we were calling him a liar for casting doubt on the circumstances of his resignation. The truth is that there’s a lot of doubt to be cast on those circumstances. If you care about him, please pray for him and his parents, and the repose of Laura’s soul.

                      I’m not as patient as I used to be. Please forgive me, for I am a sinner.

                  • Deacon Patrick,

                    I am finding your analogy hard to understand. Is the commanding officer in your case the Dean of the cathedral or the Metropolitan? Like I said when we talked about the matter in person, you were kind o placed between a rock and a hard place. Another deacon, by the way, has not asked for a transfer, but is no longer serving after a change in policy iin his Diocese. I wonder if not serving is an option? Is that disobedient?

                  • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                    Deacon Patrick! Since you called your hypothetical case: “the appropriate military analogy,” are we to assume you are a veteran of WWI?

                    I think it’s a horrible analogy. No commanding officer or general staff removed Metropolitan Jonah after any one specific event. Rather, Metropolitan Jonah, a little more than a year into his incumbency, was subjected to harassment by his peers until he finally, back against the wall as it were, resigned

                    • Correction Your Grace: …until he was forced to resign, and under false circumstances. Metropolitan Jonah subsequently wrote letters to the Synod saying he rescinded that resignation and considered himself their Primate…Three (3) letters!!!

                      (Readers of this blog: I know this for a fact – I witnessed it and report it to you now – I do not have copies in my possession, so don’t bother to ask for them – take my word or pass my comments by – I have no intention of telling you my name so you can dismiss me on some basis you latch onto – I am not lying now, nor have I ever lied to you here – simply believe it or don’t.)

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      “FYI”!! No one can force a Metropolitan to resign, especially one with an elementary knowledge of canonicity and of his position. as well as a conscience!!
                      There is no such thing as a false circumstance.
                      if ‘false pretences” were involved in Metropolitan Jonah’s ******decision****** to resign, name them.
                      You claim, anonymously, that Metropolitan “subsequently” wrote letters to the Synod “saying” he rescinded his resignation. When is “subsequently?” Last week? Last month? Before or after he found out no one else would have him?
                      Surely you would not claim that Metropolitan Jonah was not smart enough or competent enough to understand the implications of resigning, would you?
                      You refuse to identity yourself because you don’t want to be “dismissed.” Why, if you have Metropolitan Jonah’s best interest at heart, would you not be willing to risk being “dismissed” in order to help him?
                      I’m trying to imagine Pope Benedict now writing letter ‘rescinding’ his resignation because it was “forced under false circumstances!” They’d probably have him locked up in the Vatican equivalent of a psych ward! False circumstances!!! Oh, my.

                    • Your Grace, you grasped FYI’s meaning clearly when you thought she intended to say the resignation was under false pretenses, and it was.

                      Whether you like it or not, or whether you like Metropolitan Jonah or not, he was indeed forced to resign, and it was done under false pretenses. If you want to know the details, you would have to ask him yourself. Otherwise, be content with finding out with the rest of the world.

                      As for Metropolitan Jonah’s wish to transfer out of the OCA, the real problem is not Metropolitan Jonah, it’s that the OCA has gotten into an unprecedented mess. Apparently, it is God’s will that Metropolitan Jonah spend a little longer in the fire. May it purify and not consume him.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Helga, I asked FYI what FYI would mean by false pretences if false pretences rather than the cretinous “false circumstances” was the claimed basis for Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation.
                      You apparently feel that Metropolitan Jonah lost his freedom in Christ or else ignored it, because of forced pretences. That’s your right. You tell me that if I want to know what the false pretences which FYI cited, I should ask Metropolitan JONAH? What? The person who alleges personal knowledge of three (3) letters from Metropolian Jonah to the Holy Synod, wouldn’t know what the false pretences are? I didn’t ask for “details” and you must have used the word to divert attention from what I actually asked for. if I were writing a novel, Helga, I STILL couldn’t come up with a “false pretence” that FORCED the Primate/First Hierarch or any other hierarch to produce a resignation. Yes, if someone said, “If you don’t sign this letter I’ll tell all your secrets,” and there were no secrets, that would false pretence. If someone said, ‘I’m going to have your parents bumped off if you don’t sign this lettter,” but did not have the means or intention to do so, that would be a “false pretence.” WHAT FALSE PRETENCE fooled Metropolitan Jonah into resigning, Helga? That’s the question.
                      But, you know, people here are claiming that a woman refused to repent in the Mystery of Penance, that a Deacon KNEW that she did not repent, and he therefore valiantly, virtuously, canonically, heroically refused her the Mysteries of Christ’s Holy Body and Blood. No one is required, in the interval of time between
                      confession and communion to demonstrate to the public that they are repentant. No One.
                      Same with an alcoholic. He repents, but still can’t avoid the stuff. No one Christian could call him “unrepentant”. A damned fool? Possibly.
                      How was Metropoliltan Jonah FOOLED into resigning, Helga?

                    • Your Grace, you accuse me of trying to distract from giving you what you really wanted by talking about details, but then you ask, “WHAT FALSE PRETENCE fooled Metropolitan Jonah into resigning, Helga? That’s the question.”

                      As I told you before, you need to ask Metropolitan Jonah for that.

                      You have repeatedly accused Metropolitan Jonah of “looking back from the plough”, and now that he was “fooled”, in resigning, when you admit you do not know all of the facts. I am not going to tell you what really happened just so you can give it your usual treatment of sensitive information. You want to know, you ask him, and if he wants you to know, he’ll tell you.

                      Otherwise, like I said, be content with finding out with the rest of the world.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Helga, even if Satan had threatened to abort a woman’s baby in front of Metropolitan Jonah if he refused to resign, he STILL resigned, i.e., looked back from the plough. One indeed may JUSTIFY that looking back from the plough, Helga, but that does not deny that he DID look back. You, Helga, are saying that he was forced under false pretences to look back from the plough, to resign, and when asked “What false pretences,” you say “Ask him, don’t ask me!”
                      I don’t believe, Helga (please, please, please understand this) that there WERE any false pretences that forced Metropolitan to resign. I don’t CARE what the DETAILS are. I just want a general, generic HINT as to what ANY false pretence was that purports to have FORCED Metropolitan Jonah to turn back from the plough, which he certainly did, although you remain in denial or want to appear tor remain in denial about it.
                      I feel that if Metropolitan Jonah is the one who is saying that he was forced to resign under false pretences, no one has revealed thatt, that HE is the source of that cock and bull story, until you, just now, in your message of march 22 at10:54pm.
                      You don’t get to cry out, as on an elementary school playground, “If you don’t believe that Billy is pregnant, ask HIM!”
                      Seems to me you’re just getting in deeper and deeper, and when you’re called on what you state with such certainty, your only reply is “Don’t ask me!’

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Helga, Metropolitan Jonah has not said anything about false (sic) pretenses, nor about the equally improbable “false circumstances.” YOU and FYI have done, though.
                      I don’t want any details, just the plain “false (sic) pretenses’, without details.
                      Since Metropolitan Jonah has not told me or Monomakhos anything about any “false pretences” or “false circumstances” causing his resignation, I’ll just state for the record that in my opinion you and FYI are lying.
                      As for “finding out with the rest of the world”, o vain clerk, I don’t have to wait. I know.
                      Why would you say, though, that I NEED to ask Metropolitan Jonah anything? Is that neo-Neanderthal-journalese-speak or what? Didn’t you mean ‘should” or “ought’?
                      A clergyman speaking Valley Girl!!! What next!
                      Here’s a catechism lesson for you, Helga:. ONE Thing is needful.
                      Finally, Metropolitan Jonah did look back from the plough: he resigned. Running after the plough and shouting “Wait! i couldn’t HELP it!” does not change that bit of real history.
                      There were no pretenses that fooled Metropolitan Jonah, Helga, None at all.

                    • Your Grace, I am not saying anything at all about what Metropolitan Jonah says or would say. But you are wrong for accusing him of “looking back from the plough”. See to your own sins, Vladyko.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  It is even more simple: The deacon upheld Holy Tradtion in the face of those who were desecrating it. To believe otherwise is to wish to call what is unholy, holy: homosexual fornication.

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    I am most fascinated by Mr. Bauman’s emphatic comment – and even Deacon Tartuffe now bursts forth to assume the role of the warrior Dimiti – as it seems to speak to the crux of the issue: the defense of the Eucharist. Personally, I find absolutely no foundation nor precedent for such a concept in the Scripture, in the Patristic Fathers, nor the Tradition. Please, where does it arise in the Eastern Tradition?

                    Certainly I read and have read instructions as to the cautions and precautions of the physical protection of the Eucharist – personally witnessing the poor Archdeacon literally forced to the floor by Archbishop Dositheus (Ivanchencko) to consume with his mouth what accidentally spilled from the chalice when his arm was bumped (and later to drink the very water that washed the floor, burn the cloth, and bury the ashes). Or that a man was turned away from the Eucharist by Archbishop Anthony (Medvedev) because his face was bleeding from shaving and ordered to stop it before returning. Likewise, despite the announcement on Pascha at SVS that the Eucharist was for the Orthodox alone, some “visiting heterodox clergy” seemed to boast that they had communed at the hand of Fr. Schmemann himself. Fr. Alexander heard this and confronted them by saying, “You did this to your own condemnation. And it seems to me that the mediation of St. Simeon the New Theologian, counted among the Prayers before Communion, adequately attests to the Eucharist as a “burning and consuming fire” for those who would approach unworthily. If, in fact, anything or anyone is to be defended, it would precisely the one who who would approach unworthily: “Behold, for this is a consuming fire!” Is that what was in the deacon’s heart? Honestly? No. She sickened him to the point where he had enough.

                    What a pretentious, what a ridiculous, and what a fraudulent rationalization for self-will run riot. Now we need “defenders” of the Eucharist. Of what? Its integrity? Its holiness? Its strength? What idiocy! It is a consuming fire that no one approaches worthily or without consequence – be it positive or negative. And I am amused to no end in the very capital of “What Would Jonah Do?” Jonah has spoken exactly pursuant to the Tradition of the Church, and still the half-baked theologians will not submit:

                    His Beatitude reaffirmed traditional and sacramentally correct pastoral practice: that it is, first of all, the Father Confessor’s responsibility to counsel whether or not his penitent should receive the Holy Gifts (Communion).

                    His Beatitude reaffirmed that, in those cases that require a publicly stated policy or a pastoral decision (communicated ‘publically’ or outside of Confession) about an individual person, it is the sole responsibility of the Bishop, in conjunction with the person’s Father Confessor, to state any such policy or make any such public decision to exclude someone from receiving the Holy Gifts (Communion). No other person, clergy or lay, may presume to do so.

                    His Beatitude mentioned that, [as noted] above, it did not fall under the pastoral competence, authority, or responsibility of a deacon to make policies or individual decisions, private or public, about the moral and spiritual eligibility, of an otherwise eligible Orthodox Christian, to receive the Holy Gifts (Communion).

                    If you cannot believe the former Metropolitan Jonah, speaking in his own cathedral, to the very people affected by the arrogance of the deacon, who will you believe?

                    Yup, that was me defending defending the former Met. Jonah, because he is absolutely correct. And because he is absolutely correct, he is in no need of my defense. And kids, no one “defends” the Eucharist.

                    • To amplify the point: Jesus personally communed Judas at the Last Supper.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Why not have open communion then? Why deny communion to anyone for any reason?

                      Yet we deny commuion to faithful, God fearing hetrodox routinely. We deny commuion to Orthodox who are Masons when they are simply involved with the charitable work. We deny commuion all the time to folks who need to repent and work through things.

                      To accept these two women is a sham and a sham and destructive to them, the people who serve than and the community itself.

                      I’m beginning to think that Deacon Mitchell was set-up. It was all a big act to force his hand and get him out.

                  • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD says

                    Thank you, Michael, for your clear perception of the “issue” (which ought, of course, not be an issue at all) of communing unrepentant sinners–in this case, homosexuals who boast of their sexual deviancy in an Orthodox church during coffee hour (one lesbian couple) or trumpet their pseudo-marriage on a freely-accessible website (a second lesbian couple).

                    To cut through all of the detours, obfuscation, procedural legerdemain, and rhetorical sophistry that some would throw up on this message board and elsewhere, I offer, yet again, the pertinent sections of Metropolitan Jonah’s unmistakable apostolic instruction in June 2011 to the priest-confessors of the OCA’s Archdiocese of Washington (in which I served as a parish priest and confessor at the time) as the only material content worthy of consideration:

                    Therefore, you are directed to exercise your pastoral leadership in the parishes of the Archdiocese of Washington through faithful, conscientious, consistent performance of these specific duties. . .

                    4. To exclude from the Holy Mysteries of the Body and Blood of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ any parishioner who refuses to acknowledge, confess, and eradicate from his or her life sins against authentic Christian marriage, including fornication, homosexual activity, or adultery.

                    That direct command, as it were, of the ruling hierarch could not be clearer to any reasonable Orthodox Christian among the clergy or laity.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD,

                      Somehow, Reverend Father, I would pay real money to witness a deacon that purposely circumvented your authority, whatever the issue. What’s the expression, Sir? “Dressing him down?” Are you seriously defending his personal disgust for this woman as “leadership?” And on top of it all, you suggest I am somehow intentionally deceptive in my “argument?

                      The fact that you feel the need to “appear” here specifically to defend arrogance and purposeful disobedience – when honorable options existed – because you are unable to temper your dislike of me personally is the only thing that is clear, and it is hardly apostolic. And apparently, you are unable to “man up” and admit it, but would “clothe” in $5 verbiage.

                      Please, someone call Um. And tell him to bring his shorts and his mess-kit. I’ve got two clergy here, officers & gentlemen both, who have no idea as to the actual spiritual state of “unrepentant sinners,” but despise them nevertheless. Bon appetite, mon ami. I’m off to wretch.

                    • Michael, you called? You do live in California, correct? Would you say you live about 3,000 miles away from the parish you are so worked up about? Would you say you consistently live in California, Michael? Not in Washington, DC? I’m puzzled why you know more about a parishioner 3,000 miles away than her own deacon, and more than a priest in her diocese, the same diocese that is consistently 3,000 miles away from you.

                      Is the gay activist network in the OCA so small that you get regular reports from 3,000 miles away? I find that hard to believe. Besides, you are not even in the OCA, correct? Do you folks have a name for your network? If you want me to take anything you say seriously on this issue, you will need to name your informant, or name your network, or at least describe your network. You have implied that Bishop Benjamin is someone you are still close to. I suppose he might have connections here and there, but why would he care enough about parishioners in another bishop’s diocese (3,000 miles away) to give a non-church member (also 3,000 miles away) regular reports on their spiritual health?

                    • M. Stankovich says


                      Networks aside, it seems to me that you made a statement that I was “contriving” an inordinate “distaste” for homosexuals in the Church – a “mountain out of a molehill,” as it were, an exaggeration of data, episodes, and attitude. Further, that this “stance” was not only false and a misrepresentation – good lord, you were not aware of it! – and that perhaps this was a calculated tactic from the Gay, Inc. playbook to drum sympathy & promote an agenda, blah, blah, blah. As I recall, you said I didn’t know how to live in the “real world.”

                      Since your statement to me, a most dear, a most beloved, a most sacred friend of mine died of a debilitating disease within the very heart of the OCA, a married individual, having confessed same-sex attraction and some of the most crippling shame I have ever heard a human being verbalize. Why? Because that is the underlying reality of attitude & feeling provoked the Orthodox Church in America. That is why Deacon Mitchell refused the woman the Eucharist. That is the momentum of the the term “Lavender Mafia,” and the abuse of Fr. Thomas Hopko as a “pastor,” and the ignoring of Jonah’s correct interpretation of the Tradition of the Church, and why Fr. Webster is uninterested in anyone’s state of repentance, how Mr. Michalopulos accuses me of “justifying the continuing homosexualization of the OCA,” and Amos has none-so-subtley accused “too bad there is no Mrs. Stankovich” (when there is). Hatred. Nothing more, nothing less. Even as we asked for forgiveness for the cosmic impact of our sins, we somehow – in some arrogant, prideful, Pharisaical madness – raise our eyes to heaven and say “But at least I’m not like that lady in the DC cathedral.”

                      So, Um, you were were the only dumbass stupid enough to offer, and I believe you owe me.

                    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD says

                      Mr. Stankovich, I address you directly here for the last time on this message board re your comment: “why Fr. Webster is uninterested in anyone’s state of repentance.”

                      You and I have never met nor do you know me in any way aside from public communications online or in print. This is no longer, if it ever was, amusing or a forensic exercise. You’ve done quite enough here. Have you no shame? Have you no sense of decency? For the love of God and His holy Church, stop viciously smearing individuals by name, both clergy and laity, and divining our intentions, impugning our motives, and attacking our character.

                      And may our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ have mercy on your soul.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Fr. Alexander,

                      I was amused to hear from a bishop I know in ROCOR that you are as dramatic and “наглый” (brazen? someone help!) in person. Who would have thought…Obviously, you’ve spent all together too much time “leading” and controlling by intimidation: “puffed up, he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof comes envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings.” (1 Tim. 6:4) As Hamlet said, “Go to, I’ll no more on it. It hath made me mad!” I am neither impressed nor intimidated by your “high & tight” and all that authoritative marchin’ around posturing you’ve thrown at me. I have worked with military heroes, combat physicians & nurses whose humility shamed me, but who treated me with a collegial respect that made me a better person.

                      If you are, in fact, a man of your word, I sincerely appreciate your prayer. And In all sincerity, I wished you success at the announcement of your acceptance into ROCOR, but you chose to ignore it. “You’ve done quite enough here.” Well, you are one down, after all. And by the way, it is “Dr. Stankovich” to you. Show some respect. I have earned it.

                    • Heracleides says

                      Wrong – it is NOT “Dr. Stankovich.” As has been discussed on both AOI and this blog in times past – your online resume “did not list any doctoral degrees. It did show extensive experience in social work, some of which related to chemical dependency.” You have never provided evidence of having completed the requirements necessary for receiving whatever doctoral degree it is that you think you are now owed respect; in fact, you have previously stated that you were unable to complete said requirements due to injury & illness. Traumatic brain injury or not – do try and remain grounded in reality Mr. Stankovich.

                    • Michael,

                      You say:

                      you were were the only dumbass stupid enough to offer, and I believe you owe me.

                      Why do you call me a dumbass and stupid? What did I offer? And what do I owe you now?

                      Are you saying I am a dumbass for talking to you, stupid for interacting with you? I’ve read your words to me several times and that is the only coherent interpretation I can come up with. If I am a fool for believing in your potential, Michael, then so be it.

                    • Michael,

                      Addressing paragraph 1 & 2 of your comment to me above: You are making a strong claim that the predominant attitude in the OCA toward homosexuals is “hatred” and “distaste”. I see no evidence of that. Certainly not here on this blog.

                      The only evidence you provide is an anecdote of a married man who had a lot of shame over his same-sex attraction before he died of a terrible disease. The disease and death sound terrible, but if they are directly related to his same-sex attraction (as your story implies), then you are making the case for why love does not look the other way or brush these things under the carpet and why the teaching of the Church is justified from a scientific perspective. Or are you saying his heterosexual marriage was causally responsible for his shame, disease, and ultimately his death?

                      When you condemn the OCA for hating gays, are you sure you are not confusing hatred of gays with frustration about the harm done to both religious and secular communities by gay activism?

                      I know gay men and lesbians who oppose key objectives of the gay activist community, and some heterosexuals who work harder and more manipulatively for the “gay agenda” than any individual with a same-sex attraction. Any time you push for radical social change, people are gonna be opposed to that, but there are good reasons to oppose many gay activist objectives. The biggest problem with the single-sex marriage agenda is that it ignores the needs of children, who are always more vulnerable and less able to speak for themselves than their parents or adoptive parents. The biggest problem with same-sex married/partnered individuals communing in your church is that it ignores the clear teaching of your church and the needs and integrity of all those individuals who are trying to live together in community under the authority of these teachings. I could go on, but in no case does frustration with someone who promotes homosexual behavior in an Orthodox community require or imply hatred of all individuals who experience same sex attraction.

                    • ChristineFevronia says

                      Michael Stankovich, you are a liar. Please apologize to the good and kindly Fr. Alexander, and this will go no further. If you persist in your cruel bullying, well… game on, and your false persona will be taken down.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mighty Hercules,

                      When one graduates from medical school in this country, one receives the degree, Medical Doctor. Mine, in fact, states, “Cum Laude” The National Licensing process and Board Specialty and Sub-Specialty Certification processes are completely separate matters. I complete two of the four years of residency necessary to be licensed before being disabled with cancer and “voluntarily” left the program. For that matter, I could have left the program to become a fisherman. In either case, It does not change the fact that I hold the degree, Medical Doctor. I make no claim to be being a “licensed physician,” because I was unable to continue to complete the process by virtue of disability. Twice my original residency program – the last being as recently as 2006 – graciously offered to re-instate me to completion, but it was financially impossible. And so it goes…

                      And so, Herc, buddy, if there is some other disappointment of mine you’d like to rub my nose in, let me know ahead of time. I’ll bring a six-pack and we’ll make an evening of it.

                    • Heracleides says

                      So you say Mr. Stankovich – I don’t believe a word of it. I say this based on your past response (or lack thereof) relating to questions regarding your supposed education: Until you supply concrete evidence of your supposed doctoral degree, I will remain convinced that your are nothing more than a rather pompous MSW who is not above lying about his supposed qualifications to pontificate from a rather minuscule soapbox.

                    • M. Stankovich says


                      Last evening, at his initiative, I spent several hours in conversation with Fr. Alexander Webster. I cannot speak for Fr. Alexander, nor are the details of our discussion the concern of anyone apart from us. But I describe this event simply to publicly express my appreciation & respect for his initiating in contacting me. As we agreed, we were modeling a form of communication & behaviour increasingly offensive, and increasingly disrespectful, without even knowing one another. I promised him I would would phone him prior to continuing this path, and I most certainly will do so…[deleted by editor]

                    • ChristineFevronia says

                      Praise God.

                • First of all, thank you for referring to me as one among the saints . . . we’ll see.
                  Secondly what are you talking about . . ?? I think you’ve misunderstood something. . . . perhaps a lot of somethings . . .
                  Thirdly were you there at the Church experiencing any of this? Think for a moment how many people got out of there and not because of the dn.– because he left. There was one message- the one everyone should have been on board with from the Bishop and another from a priest undermining the Bishop followed by parishioners in some sort of leadership and then other priests trying to hold the fort down not knowing what they were doing-it was utter chaos. I believe +Jonah was in the perfect storm which was just waiting to happen in that parish. In any other parish this would have been a non event.

                  • Dear Colette and DC folk

                    Has anything changed at the cathedral? Anyone been there recently? Who is serving as Deacon?

                    • Well Yo, I left so I don’t know now.

                    • Yo,

                      The only thing that has changed in DC is that there are a new cast of clergy but the same old lavender subculture remains. The so-called administrator, Perich, is trying his best to recast himself as some sort of savior. He is playing up to the Russians like a high Russian but he is strictly ‘ponashomu”…[Deleted by Editor]

                      He is trying his best to isolate Fr. Valery who is the only priest on staff who is really doing the work of holding the place together. Bradley still shepherds his gay followers and Fr. George is so pro-gay that one can only wonder what type of spiritual guidance he gives, he being a disciple of another colorful priest in the DC diocese, Fr Harillchak in Reston.

                      Honestly the place is a sad caricature, not much different from Syosset trying to put the best spin on its death spiral. An example is the trip to Rome. One has to wonder why the OCA went to Rome only to be embarrassed again by being treated like the red-headed step child. But if you read the OCA website you would think that Pope Francis and +Tikhon are best buds. +Tikhon hardly got a handshake from the new pontiff while Pat. Bartholomew was given every courtesy by the Vatican. Not even Met. Hilarion of the MP was given any extra time with the Pope.

                      Attendance at the Cathedral is down. Income is down, and so many good people have left. The good news is that these good people have not left the Church but are now faithful and generous members of other Orthodox Churches in the area. A glimmer of good news.

                    • DC, you say:

                      Fr. George is so pro-gay that one can only wonder what type of spiritual guidance he gives, he being a disciple of another colorful priest in the DC diocese, Fr Harillchak in Reston.

                      Can you give any factual support to your statement that Fr. George is pro-gay? I have never seen or heard anything to that effect. Guilt by association? I am not claiming that you are wrong, but I am not aware of any supporting facts either. Honestly, I want to know the truth.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            CQ answered you better than I could. I will only add by asking you if you also see yourself as someone who is upholding the moral tradition of the church. George–I thought you were a conservative and yet you are here spouting idealist and/or post-modern nonsense.

        • Archpreist John W. Morris says

          I for one agree with with the deacon. Even a Patriarch cannot order a deacon to violate the teachings of the Church which on this matter are crystal clear. An unrepentant lesbian living in an immoral relationship is forbidden to partake of Holy Communion. We are not Episcopalians. We are Orthodox and still believe in Biblical morality. Anyone who gives Communion must refuse the Mystery to anyone who lives in a sinful relationship like a lesbian “marriage.” We did not ask for this fight. Whether or not we like it or not we are engaged in a great culture war with those who reject Biblical morality. We cannot compromise our beliefs for the sake of being accepted by our sinful secular American society.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Father John, the culture war is but a symtom of the real war waging: The war between the path of life and the nihilist path of ‘pleasure’ and destruction–the worship of the will to power.

            We are all impacted and infected. That is why appeals to fairness and so-called justice are so effective a tool in the hand of the evil one.

            The antidote is deep, sincere repentance, i.e, using the tools of the Church to ferret out any love of darkness that resides in our souls. Only then will be have the purity and humility to withstand those who wish to continue in rebellion.

            That is essential to the Orthodox Christian life. It is the first command Jesus uttered in His earthly ministry: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

            Without it, we are utter pawns to the evil one. No one who has sincerely repented would be shocked or dismayed by being refused communion BTW but always consider it an uwarranted gift. Note: this attitude is attested to by the prayers before communion from St. Basil the Great and others.

            A life of pleasure, ease and comfort as promised by the egalitarian/materialistic rulers and the easy grace peddled by heretic/apsostate Christians or the life of struggle, shame, and self-humiliation, the Cross. Rule in hell or serve in heaven.

            We have the opportunity to be mad at others–deeply saddened for their obscene choices or take arms against the same obscenity that we harbor in our own souls–rebellion against God.

            The world is becoming increasingly insane. We are constantly faced with the options of surrendering to the insanity, trying to ignore it, or following the way of the Cross. Morality alone is insufficient. Reason is laughably ineffective. The world in which we live is deeply irrational.

            The Way of the Cross is not popular, even amongst sincerely faithful Christians. I don’t like it. I have yet to embrace it. It is not a path of negation, although saying no to the passions and adhereing to a moral rule is part of it-a small first step. More it is a path by which we embrace our own creaturehood and boldly rely on the source of life: loving the creator more than the created thing.

            If we were to embrace it as a people, as the Church-the bride of Christ, we would not be really troubled by the ‘culture war’. The doubts and confusions and obsfucations which are peddled by those live that war would not effect us. We would be persecuted but we would hold onto our peace and gain our salvation as well as witness to others who long for the truth.

            If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

    • nit picking says


      Thanks for the Fraggle Rock.

    • M. Stankovich says:
      March 10, 2013 at 11:11 pm

      “the Deacon’s error had … everything to do with arrogance, disobedience, and defiance of St, Paul’s instruction to maintain hierarchy and order.”

      Before Stankovich “soils him/herself,” he should know that a Priest must never put a Deacon in a position of being “dammed if he does and dammed if he don’t” and expect unquestioning obedience. Any uncertainties should be worked out between the two beforehand in order to “maintain hierarchy and order.”

      • George Michalopulos says

        I think the real point regarding the disingenuous use of “good order” can be stated thusly: Both the priest and the Levite passed over to the other side of the road for the good order of the Temple and to honor the Mosaic Law.” (Which btw they did.)

      • M. Stankovich says


        Of course you are correct. But don’t blame the the priest. The deacon in this case purposely avoided informing the priest so as not to be dissuaded by “hierarchy and order.” This is referred to as deception, arrogance, and willfulness, in the very cathedral of the Primate himself. PdnNJ, you were ordained a deacon: at any point were you instructed, commissioned, or ordered to defend the Holy Mysteries? No, you were not. You were given a liturgical fan and instructed to keep insects away.

        colette would defend this deacon as a “military man.” In what man’s army is insubordination and disrespect of the chain of command “honourable” and praiseworthy behaviour? There were many honourable options available to him so as not to be in a position of being “dammed if he does and dammed if he don’t,” such as simply recusing himself. But arrogance turns men into bullies:

        “And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus to him, Put up again your sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” (Matt. 26:51-2)

        The glorious meditation on the law that constitutes Psalm 118, that likewise constitutes the framework of the Lamentations of Great and Holy Saturday are not sing-song extravagance, but speak of the Servant who was obedient even unto death: “Your law is my delight.” Unfortunately, there seems to be no comprehension or appreciation for the magnitude of this concept, nor the ramification of disobedience and disorder. And the the Deacon Tartuffe is championed as a one tin soldier

    • Just so Ya Know says

      The primatial cathedral as an extremely gay friendly place predates Metropolitan Jonah by at least two Metropolitans. There is significant gay leadership in the laity and representation within the clergy. So, it was not a matter of this situation developing under his leadership.

      Rather, he actually began to deal with the issue of the OCA lead cathedral being sparse with children comparatively speaking to some other local Orthodox cathedrals with large populations of families with children and less of an obviously entrenched gay presence.

      There are lots of children at St. John’s, the ROCOR cathedral and a pretty large number of children at St. Mark’s OCA, pretty cloe to the primatial cathedral. Both are about a twelve minute in town drive from the primatial.

      Met. Konah did not, I will mention, start a lot of negative activity against homosexuals and was cordial with the gay priest. Rather, his focus was on trying to bring families back to the cathedral and other parishes. We’re talking the future here and he realized its value.

      BTW, Is it really necessary to your wounded self esteem to write about people soiling themselves? I don’t know nor do I particularly care who the Photius person is behind the netname. This is a forum for exchanging ideas?

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        “Just so Ya Know,” it’s obvious and to be expected that you wouldn’t “particularly care who the Photius person is behind the netname.” Neither you nor that person is willing to stand up for his or her own “ideas” expressed here. If they were worth anything, your ‘ideas’, you’d identify yourself. Even Martin Luther signed his name! There’s something “not quite” about Orthodox Christians that won’t identify themselves.
        I mean, if you won’t stand up for your own ideas…?

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Your Grace–On the other hand, his points are surely valid. The one point that stands out for me is the implication of his admission that +Jonah’s focus was “on trying to bring families back to the cathedral and other parishes” and not confronting the issue with practicing homosexuals. In other words, he certainly talked the talk, but did not walk the walk–not at DC or Miami. Now, before you jump on me for using such street language, they sound better and more polite than the plain English alternatives, don’t you think?

          • George Michalopulos says

            Again, your unreasoning rage against Jonah blinds you to all sense of proportion. How exactly did Jonah “not walk the walk” with these encyclicals? He most certainly did. I also know for a fact that several of these people would commune at St Nicholas’ only when Jonah wasn’t there (he traveled incessantly) or made it a point to get in the communion line that wasn’t manned by the deacon.

            As for the situation in Miami, HB did address the situation, following the procedures instituted by the Church. He contacted the locum tenens of our diocese. Since he doesn’t seem to think there’s a problem I suppose the point is moot. Of course if you really cared about moral laxity in the DC cathedral I assume you care as well about Miami. Feel free to address the latter issue with the powers that be in the DOS.

            • just so ya know says


              The encyclicals you posted above have an emphasis on affirming the family. As part of that affirmation, he has discussed active fornication as an unaffirming aspect of modern life and how that should be considered by confessors and other active clergy in accordnce with Church teaching.

              Whether a heterosexual person commits fornication or a homosexual person commits fornication is irrelevant. Both are not family affirming. Both are dissing the sanctity of marriage. Many churches in addition to the OCA are confronting these and other secular society issues deleteriously affecting the Church.

              I don’t know what Carl K would have expected Metropolitan Jonah to do other than what he did. Surrounding persistent sinners with examples of people living clean family lifestyles doesn’t seem a bad idea at all. Some people get caught up in sexual desire driven lifestyles because they feel they only have membership in societies that foster these desire driven lifestyles. Their friends are all living together or there is pressure from their social set to experiment with and live abnormal lifestyles. They don’t see what’s normal. Seeing families is great for everyone, monks included. Understanding how great children are and how precious they are can sometimes be difficult to understand by poeple in sexual desire driven lifestyles.

              Did not Jesus say

              Suffer the little children to come unto Me for such is the kingdom of heaven.

              By the way, I forgot to mention by name that the Greek cathedral, Hagia Sophia, in D.C. and the Antiochian one, close by in Maryland, all have lots of children and well formed church school programs. In the past decade, both the Greek cathedral and St. Mark’s have expanded their church school space with education building additions.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              I was referring to the fact that he did not back his encyclicals (talk the talk) with specific actions to address the issues at Washington and Miami (walk the walk).

              He could have addressed the Washington issues at any time. If he was a good and caring pastor, he could have called in the relevant people and laid down the law. He could have told the unrepentant parishioners why they could no longer approach the Holy Chalice. He could have taken other personnel actions, if warranted. He did neither.

              He could have addressed the Miami issues while he was locum tenens of DOS. If he as a good and caring pastor, he could have taken proper personnel actions as warranted. He did not.

              Look, I am not the party that is banging the war drums against a homosexual takeover of the Church. You have been throwing out examples of this dire danger, examples that include issues in Washington and Miami. At the same time that you have been pointing at +Jonah as the only one who could prevent the homosexual takeover. I am merely pointing out that +Jonah did nothing to address those two issues, except to make speeches and to write warmed-over encyclicals.

              • just so ya know says

                Karl sez

                Look, I am not the party that is banging the war drums against a homosexual takeover of the Church. You have been throwing out examples of this dire danger, examples that include issues in Washington and Miami. At the same time that you have been pointing at +Jonah as the only one who could prevent the homosexual takeover.

                I just saw this comment. I personally have not been

                banging the war drums against a homosexual takeover of the Church

                I am not a member of the cathedral. I know neither the lesbian couple other posters have spoken about nor have I discussed

                specific examples of dire danger in Washington and Miami

                I have definitely also not

                been pointing at +Jonah as the only one who could prevent the homosexual takeover

                Quite to the contrary, my own feelings on the homosexual, fornication and adultery issue is precisely what you quoted Metropolitan Jonah as saying, that it is the job of the confessor to counsel against taking communion, and then if someone is unrepentant with the lifestyle that has led to their being barred by the confessor, then it is the bishop’s job to make any public pronouncement, i.e. the confessor would have to consult with the bishop concerning someone going against the result of the confessional . The priest giving communion has the right to ask whether someone he does not know has confessed, and whether they are Orthodox. Beyond that, if some priest or bishop or metropolitan would suspect that someone was actively licentious, but the licentious person continued to be deceptive, he could not refuse him communion. It would be the person deceptively taking communion who would face judgement for the act of communing, as you yourself have stated. We cannot expect clairvoyance of our priests, bishops and metropolitans. There is a difference between someone who is gay and someone who is fornicating. So unless someone is advertizing unrepentant acts, how do you know if someone is or is not showing restraint?

                Whatever our tendencies, we all understand self restraint. For example, one of my areas of unrestrained behavior is the dollar size bag of Cheetos. I should not have them because of their fat and salt content, the presence of MSG and the carb load but I have been known to frequently consume the whole bag and even justify same to self. I have to remind myself of the need for self restraint and choose not to eat them. Barely into Clean Tuesday and I am thinking about Cheetos?

                In the case of the cathedral, did any of the priests bring up a difficult dilemma with their bishop? Or did the active couple feel they had the go ahead from their confessors?

    • Ken Miller says

      I was at St Nicholas throughout these events. My family and I are no longer at the Cathedral because I care about the eternal salvation of my children.

      If you wish to be hard on Jonah for allowing this to happen under his watch, then why not say the same about the current metropolitan? The Cathedral is still communing open homosexuals and same-sex “married” parishioners. If anything, the Cathedral is even more militantly lavender now than it was then.

      Many of us would have loved for Jonah to rule with an iron fist, but that was not his manner. He preferred a soft-spoken deferential way of defending the truth. He was anything but a unilateralist. Still, it is better to have someone stating the truth gently and softly than what we have with other bishops who are completely silent in confronting the lavender heresy.

      As for the deacon, he was absolutely NOT disobedient. Prior to his refusing communion to the person who was not qualified to take communion, no priest or bishop had ordered him not to withhold communion from those who were not worthy to partake. In fact, it was Cathedral policy to allow deacons to administer communion, and necessarily the authority to administer communion comes with it the responsibilty to protect the chalice. Any other position is self-contradictory. You either have the authority to administer and protect, or you have neither, but it is impossible to have only one of these because they are inseparable.

      • Anna Rowe says

        You wrote :

        In fact, it was Cathedral policy to allow deacons to administer communion, and necessarily the authority to administer communion comes with it the responsibilty to protect the chalice.

        Is this in writing and when was this implemented? Was former Metroploitan Jonah made aware of this policy?


        • Dear Anna,

          It has been my observation that people at the Cathedral don’t read what is in their policies, they follow their own rules. Many in recent years started reading the rules only to find out that long termers seemed not to know them nor wanted to follow them . . . . Anyway, I’d like to know too if this is written anywhere Ken.

          • Anna Rowe says

            Dear Colette,
            The deacon’s authority comes from the bishop. A deacon does not act unilaterally. The former Metropolitan Jonah confirmed proper pastoral practice back in June or July 2011. There is no cathedral policy. What does “long termer” mean ?

            • Yes it does, but the “authority ” of the Bishop came after the fact, knowing the church would explode if he did’nt throw a bone to the unknowing (my opinion). . . . I believe deacons should not administer communion, but it makes no sense if he is put in authority of the communion cup not then to gaurd it. If they were not to turn anyone away then neither of the dn’s seemed to know it. It was never discussed. How then can anyone jump on the dn. for this? That is not being fair. This should have been an oportunity for the communicant to have-for the first time- clear guidance of the faith, clear boundaries. Instead they got mixed mesages and confussion. If anything I’d say you had a unilateral priest.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        I do not know of any canon, statute, policy or practice that allows a mere deacon to determine who cannot receive communion. Therefore, I think you are blowing smoke. But please, prove me wrong.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          Apparently, it is not the usual practice for a deacon to give Communion in the Russian tradition. However, it is quite common in the Antiochian tradition. When my knee was really bothering me, I asked a deacon from a nearby Antiochian parish to assist with the Divine Liturgy and asked him to administer Communion because I was in a lot of pain. Any person administering Communion must protect the Sacrament from being given to non-Orthodox and people openly living in serious sin. If a person comes to Communion and crosses themselves Roman Catholic style would you expect a deacon to give that person the Eucharist? Anyone administering the Eucharist must act as a guardian of the Chalice. It does not have to be written in canon law. It is a matter of common sense.

          • George Osborne says

            Amen, Father!! You hit the nail squarely on the head. When a priest hands the deacon the chalice and request him to distribute the Gifts, he becomes the guardian of the sacrament. Period. End of discussion.

        • oliver douglas says

          SO, as long as you don’t know about something, it doesn’t exist.

        • Yeah, imagine that someone approaches the deacon wearing a dog mask, or drawing a charcoal swastika on his forehead, or sucking on a lifelike dildo, or while chanting to himself “I like drunk grandmas,” or while making fake burps and giggling?

          Pretty sure the deacon must withhold in every case. Pretty sure you know this. Pretty sure your bias is showing through on this one.

          Drinking to their own damnation and creating a scandal for all or being embarrassed and maybe frustrated temporarily? Apply the golden rule. Which risk would you want your deacon choosing for you?

          • nit picking says

            Um wrote:

            wearing a dog mask, or drawing a charcoal swastika on his forehead, or sucking on a lifelike dildo, or while chanting to himself “I like drunk grandmas,” or while making fake burps and giggling?

            You would think so, but in reality, no and I will tell you why even though you think you already know the correct answer.

            I had the privilege to accompany an Orthodox priest to a visitation at Christmas time to an institution for people with severe mental disabilities. This institution was in a very poor country. I guarantee it is nothing like what most people in the U.S.A. are used to seeing.

            Over crowded, noisy, smelly, the staff is overwhelmed. The patients are thrilled when the priest comes with the chalice to give them communion. They all start shouting and clapping their hands…”look Jesus is coming!!!” Some know how to receive properly. They make the sign of the cross, they open their mouth, they let me wipe their lips. Others have to have an orderly hold them down while the priest gives them communion and they are yelling like a million demons are trying to come out of them at once, but they swallow and I give them a piece of antidoron and they are all smiles afterwards. Then there are the fun ones. The ones that put on their special clothes, bring out their toys to meet Jesus, to show the priest, want to hug the priest before, during and after they receive communion, the ones that are hanging onto his stole, the ones that can’t stop touching his beard because they love how soft it feels, the ones that love that his hair smells like incense and keep shouting it to everyone and me walking around with a stupid perplexed grin on my face watching the priest take it all in stride making sure everyone gets communion, that the whole body of the church of Christ is taken care of.

            Dog mask? If I was a priest, I would move him up to the front of the line. He needs it the most.

  6. Daniel Fall says

    None of this letter was necessary.

    What exorcised such a letter?

    Was it the obesity rate in America?

    If it was only a letter for a few priests, then why was it addressed to all?

    I believe it was for the perceived ‘culture war’.

    Totally unnecessary.

    • Disgusted With It says

      In my opinion, it is totally necessary in every community throughout our country today. It is clear and correct teaching on Orthodox Christian truths. Did the synod publish their 1992 document to merely say they “did something” about it and then bury it in a file for eternity? Those who do not agree with the teachings of the Church are free to find some denomination that teaches otherwise where they can be happier and perhaps more “spiritual”.

    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

      “If it was only a letter for a few priests, then why was it addressed to all?

      “I believe it was for the perceived ‘culture war’.

      “Totally unnecessary.”

      Completely necessary, we have openly sodomite couples (or even things like a “transgendered” man posing as woman married to a woman) on both coasts communing and we have bishops/priests moving to overturn the teachings of the Church. I really hope my parish votes itself out the OCA and goes to ROCOR, even if we have to leave the building behind, I don’t want to have to go the ROCOR parish in the same city with just my family.

      • Pere LaChaise says

        Such an benighted, reactionary comment. Anyone who’s been around a few years knows the longstanding ROCOR habit of taking on priests who were laicized or deemed canonically impeded by things like divorce, remarriage, what have you out of other jurisdictions, and re-baptizing them (Donatistically citing ‘invalidity’ of previous sacraments) and ordaining them to serve, albeit largely with no payroll. You have to give it to ROCOR – they don’t take care of many of their clergy.

        • They have made their mistakes (who hasn’t) but more importantly they have also corrected them . . .

        • oliver douglas says

          Citations please.

        • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

          And the OCA accepted an ex-ROCOR deacon who had been laicized,then ordained “priest” by a Serbian bishop who was himself “consecrated” by uncanonical Ukrainian bishops.OCA didn’t recognise such bishops because they reconsecrated Archbishop Valerian (Trifa) after he had recieved consecration at hands of same Ukrainian hierarchs.(One wonders what they did with the priests and deacons +Valerian ordained from the time of his first “consecration” in 1953 up to his reconsecration by the Metropolia circa 1960? Perhaps someone in the know like Bishop Tikhon can enlighten us?)
          Then said deposed deacon becomes a bishop under jurisdiction of “Kyivan Patriarch” Filaret,who was deposed by MP,mother church of OCA.
          To quote Samuel Weller in Dicken’s “PIckwick Papers,” ‘Come,sir,this is rather too rich,as the housewife said to the pastry cook,when he sold her a meat-pie that had nothing but fat in it!”

          • That Serbian Bishop was Metropolitan Iriney Kovacevic , who’s consecration was fully recognized
            by the Serbian Orthodox Church under Patriarch Pavle when the so called Free Serbian Church
            reunited with the Serbian Patriarchate in 1992. And, not all Ukranians are “samosvjaty”.

            • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

              In fact,Metropolitan Ireney had his consecreation normalised by the then Auxentios Synod of the Greek Old Calendarists.Patrriach Pavle showed pastoral love and oikonomia in receiving the Free Serbian Metropolia.None of this changes the fact that Lev Puhalo was deposed as a deacon by ROCOR.Leaving that fact,and aside from his Serbian history,how canthe OCA recognise an episcopal consecration of a Patriarch who was deposed by the Mother Church,the MP?
              Yes,I know that today,most of the Ukrainian Orthodox in the diapora here in America are now under the EP.

              • Alexander says

                Fr. Andrei,

                What on earth are you talking about?

                “Metropolitan Ireney had his consecreation normalised by the then Auxentios Synod of the Greek Old Calendarists.” How, exactly, does one ex post facto “normalise” an episcopal consecration? Please document your assertion because its sheet poppycock.

                Second, Pavle was full of pastoral love, but he himself did not not receive the Serbian Orthodox Metropolitante of New Gracanica. This was done through the Synod and Holy Assembly of Bishops. While many a Serbian primates have yearned to be infallible popes able to unilaterally effectuate things with the stroke of a pen, Pavle was certainly not one of them.

                As to Puhalo, no comment. One thing’s certain, Irinej did not consecrate him a bishop.

                • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

                  Thank you.I never said Metropolitan Ireney DID make Puhalo a bishop.As to the part of normalising a doubtful consecration,I learned this from thed late Hieromonk Kallistos Pazalos.He began his priesthood in the Free Serbian church.Also,as a Greek he wasquite familiar with some of the Old Calendarists.I can’t verify with him now,he’s been dead 20 years.I don’t see any point to continuing the discussion,since it would only lead you into temptation.

              • In 1983 or 84 the then Free Serbian Church simply entered into communion with
                those old Calender Greeks and they participated in the consecration of the Gracanica
                Monastery, but they did not ” normalize” +Irinej’s consecration.
                EVERY jurisdiction has its own sins………I know…….I am old and lived in Europe and America…
                God will be the judge….I used to attend services at Russian Synod and Patriarchal Parishes.
                I’d go to vigil at the Synod Church and Liturgy at the Patriarchal or some times the Serbs or Greeks.
                I have to say that Rocor usually has the nicest services, and in those days, they had many
                saintly bishops, for example Archbishop Antonij of Geneva and others.

          • Fr.,

            My memory may be failing me, I believe that we’ve gone round and about the issue of Metropolitan Irinej (Kovacevich)’s episcopal consecration on this site before. Taso is right.

            Researching Irinej’s apostolic succession was an integral part of the “negotiations” leading to the 1992 reconciliation of the Metropolitanate of New Gracanica with the Patriarchate of the Church of Serbia. In short, the SOC Synod’s appointments — then Archimandrite but now retired Bishop Atanasije (Jevtic) and currently Metropolitan Amphilohije — researched the issue and confirmed its validity. For all their numerous shortcomings, neither Atanasije nor Amphilohije are exactly ecclesiological or theological lightweights. Their work was done in advance of the April, 1991 meetings that resulted in an “agreement in principle” to reconcile. There was no “re-consecration” or anything of the sort.

            In February, 1992 Irinej showed up at the Saborna Crkva and concelebrated with Patriarch Pavle and other SOC bishops.

            There were — and are — all sorts of issues with the Metropolitanate of New Gracanica, its legacy, and the entire SOC. Some of them are very serious. But, Irinej’s apostolic succession is not among them.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Please let us not single out any particular jurisdiction. Don’t you think that every local church has made mistakes along these lines? Lord have mercy.


        The above is a ROCOR letter on same sex unions from 2004. Perhaps there are other encyclicals about same sex unions in other Orthodox jurisdictions? Is this not an issue for all us Orthodox?

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          A few months ago the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in North America reissued the old SCOBA letter condemning so called same-sex marriages. It was on the web site of the Antiochian and Greek Archdioceses.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Interesting that you would drag the whole parish into schism instead of doing it by yourself.

        • Carl, please stop slandering people who join ROCOR by calling them schismatics. That’s wrong and you know it.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Helga–We have had this discussion before, but a revisit may benefit the casual readers. Caveat: I did once apologize for calling such people schismatics and I am keenly aware that I am not appearing to be constant.

            First, the matter of calling people schismatics. I think that there is a slight difference between determining whether an action is schismatic and calling those who commit that action as schismatics. Again, I must apologize as I am aware that I sound like I am splitting hairs. I believe that calling schismatics by that appellation is not slander when that person is in fact a schismatic. I do concede that such labels can be hurtful and thus should be used sparingly, if at all.

            Moving on to what constitutes schism, I have in mind the following from Orhodox Wiki:

            “The word schism, from the Greek σχίσμα, schisma (from σχιζω, schizo, “to split”), means a division or a split, usually in an organization. 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.

            Usage within Christianity

            The words schism and schismatic have found perhaps their heaviest usage in the history of Christianity, to denote splits within a church or religious body. In this context, schismatic as a noun denotes a person who creates or incites schism in a church or is a member of a splinter church, and schismatic as an adjective refers to ideas and things that are thought to lead towards or promote schism, often describing a church that has departed from whichever communion the user of the word considers to be the true Christian church.”

            In other words, schismatics are not folks who just change parishes for personal reasons (church is closer, choir is better, is not getting along with the Warden, or some other issue, such as the calendar, head coverings, etc..). However, when an entire parish splits or when an individual calls others to join him, they would fit the definition.

            I should hasten to point out that not all schisms are bad. In my personal experience, my church–the Bulgarian Exarchate–was considered in schism from Constantinople and heretical to boot on account of ethnic-phyletism. “The Church of Greece was declared autocephalous in 1833 in a political decision of the Bavarian Regents acting for King Otto, who was a minor. It was only recognized as such by the Patriarchate in 1850, under certain conditions with the issue of a special “Tomos” decree which brought it back to a normal status.” Etc…

            To sum up: If an OCA parishioner is urging others to join him/her to change jurisdictions, then he is a schismatic. If an OCA parishioner just shifts churches for personal reasons and does not recruit others to follow him, he is not a schismatic. In either case, such schismatic actions may be good or bad. That is my reading of the definitions that I cited and of the historical evidence that I gave.

            • Anna Rowe says

              And those who shift churches, whether schismatic or not, and continue to bash their former parish are IMHO – angry. I pray they rejoice in their new home and find peace.

              • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

                Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

                Dear Kyrill,

                The complication here is that, canonically, all the jurisdictions in North America arguably are schismatic, in the sense that there are multiple Synods with jurisdictions in the same territory.
                The OCA itself could be judged schismatic in particular because it requested and received autocephaly without recognition by most of the local churches and ancient patriarchates around the world. Applying the word to the American jurisdictional scene, and to the OCA,could in that sense be factual as well. But, as with your past use of the term, even with your current helpful qualifications and apology, I don’t see that the term ordinarily is helpful as opposed to incendiary in American Orthodoxy. Unless, as may be the case, we all need a good hard look in the mirror as to how all of us operate as Orthodox Christians in America organizationally. In which case I think we should be applying it to ourselves more diligently rather than labeling others.

                In Christ,


                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Dear Professor: I agree with you with one small caveat. Granted that we should concentrate primarily on ourselves, isn’t it possible to apply it to ourselves as well as to others?

              • To be clear, it’s not anger, it’s disgust. And it is only at particular persons.

                • Anna Rowe says

                  I understand. Church should never be a place to go and be disgusted or frustrated or even angry if that is the case. If one finds a better place one is most fortunate. There are those who choose to stay for whatever reason. We should honor each others decisions to stay or go and move on.

          • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

            Poor Carl! I don’t think you’ve forgiven the Russians for supporting the Serbian nation.BTW,those same “schismatics” gave you the late Archbishop KIrill(Yoncheff).Were they “schismatics” when Vladyka Kirill was made bishop?I don’t recall OCA reconsecrating the man who was their senior Archbishop for many years.You seem to want to have things both ways.Are you sure you’re not really a Russian,yourself?

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Dear Father Andrei–Whatever gave you the idea that I would not recognize that the Macedono-Bulgarian Churches in North America divided, with one faction going with Sofia and the other going with ROCOR. Indeed, I was there at the consecration of the then Archimandrite Kyrill, who was a classmate of my father at the Sofia Seminary. So, yes we did schism.

              As for the business of Russians supporting Serbians, do you mean the perfidious attack by Serbian forces against the brand new nation of Bulgaria in 1885? No, I consider the Russians to be Bulgaria’s liberators from the Ottoman yoke, even if we had a rough patch when Tsar Alexander III’s government tried to treat us as a Russian province. And, I also truly appreciate the sentiments expressed in Proshchanie Slavyanki, a clarion call for Russia to come to the aid of the Bulgarian forces during their attack on the Ottoman Empire (First Balkan War). BTW, I highly recommend the way that the Kuban Cossack Choir sings it, with great emphasis on “Stanu vo veru Russkaya zemlya.” I love that.

              Father Andrei–I am chagrined that you think I am calling ROCOR to be schismatic. I have talked only of OCA individuals and parishes who have switched to ROCOR. They would be in schism and schismatic no matter which jurisdiction they fled to. Please remember that I also said that I use the words descriptively. I cannot help it if you and others have a thin skin, but I certainly ask for your forgiveness for this misunderstanding.

              • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

                “I have talked only of OCA individuals and parishes who have switched to ROCOR. They would be in schism and schismatic no matter which jurisdiction they fled to.”

                My reading of history is the Metropolia was under the ROCOR synod twice and schismed twice from the spiritual authority to which the Metropolia previously recognized itself as reporting to (1937 6th All-American Sobor, etc). We can assume this situation was corrected when Moscow granted autocephaly, but that grant included right of parishes to return to Moscow. So any OCA parish is able to return to ROCOR without schism, much less individuals (does that work other way around, laity who join a OCA parish are “schismatics” if they come from another jurisidiction btw?).

                But, really, the whole OCA (except for stubborn schismatics who would probably quickly find themselves out of communion with world Orthodoxy) can be closed up just by Moscow saying they somehow made a mistake, that they withdraw autocephaly upon closer examination of the Metropolia’s past relations with ROCOR, that Moscow does have the right to grant autocephaly but that the Metropolia had been a schismatic body at the time and has proven unable to govern itself since.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Regarding the Tomos of Autocephaly, here is the actual language that is relevant to your point:

                  “3. The following are excluded from autocephaly on the territory of North America:

                  a. St. Nicholas Cathedral and its possessions, located at 15 East 97th Street in New York City and the accompanying residence; and also the immovable possessions in Pine Bush, New York, together with buildings and edifices which might be constructed in the future on this land;

                  b. Parishes and clergy in the U.S.A. which at present are in the Patriarchal Exarchate and which desire to remain in the canonical and jurisdictional care of the Most Holy Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia – these parishes, desiring to remain in the canonical jurisdiction of the Most Holy Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and excluded from the Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America are the following: (a list of 43 specific churches follows)

                  c. All parishes and clergy in Canada, which presently constitute the Edmonton, Canada Diocese of the Moscow Patriarchate (they all desired to remain in the jurisdiction of the Most Holy Patriarch).

                  7. The Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America shall have exclusive spiritual and canonical jurisdiction over all bishops, clerics and laymen of the Eastern Orthodox confession in continental North America, excluding Mexico, and including the State of Hawaii who are presently part of the Metropolitanate, or who shall later enter the Metropolitanate; and over all parishes which now belong or later shall be accepted into the Metropolitanate, excepting the entire clergy, possessions and parishes enumerated in Paragraph 3, points a,b,c.

                  8. The Moscow Patriarchate shall not lay claim to either spiritual or canonical jurisdiction over bishops, clergy and laymen of the Eastern Orthodox confession, or over parishes mentioned in Division 1, Paragraph 7, and by the present yields to the Metropolitanate, all jurisdiction to which she has laid claim on the above mentioned territory (Paragraph 7); excepting the entire clergy, possessions and parishes enumerated in Paragraph 3, points a,b,c.

                  9. The changing of jurisdictions by parishes which are in the canonical care of the Moscow Patriarchate after the proclamation of the Metropolitanate’s autocephaly shall occur on the initiative of the parishes themselves and after bilateral agreements in each concrete case between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Autocephalous Church in America.

                  10. The Moscow Patriarchate shall not receive into its care in North America any clerics without written release or any parishes except parishes from uncanonical ecclesiastical organizations in Canada; and shall not canonically permit clergy and parishes remaining in its care to enter any of the Orthodox jurisdictions but the jurisdiction of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America.”

                  So, the short answer to you is that the Tomos did not even envision OCA parishes going to the ROC. Indeed, the only possibility of jurisdiction change was ROC to OCA (See paragraph 9 above).

                  • Carl Kraeff says


                    I have a question: Since the Tomos precludes (a) any transfer out of the OCA into the ROC and (b) any new ROC churches that are in addition to those listed in Paragraph 3, are the letter, spirit or both of the Tomos violated when a new ROC or ROCOR church gets started?

                    • Disgusted With It says

                      I think this is what many people have been saying all along. Even those few Churches in the world who say they recognize the OCA autocephaly, including Russia, don’t truly recognize it because of things like this. It appears that it is not worth any more than the paper it’s printed on. So if I were a Greek or Antiochian Orthodox bishop, for example, why would I worry about an alleged autocephaly that the grantor of the document doesn’t even take seriously?

                    • Let me put it this way, Carl: if these are in fact violations of the letter and/or spirit of the Tomos, the MP and ROCOR’s lack of concern for what the OCA thinks should speak volumes to you.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      I agree with both Disgusted and Helga. Indeed, I have been thinking along these lines for a long time, at least since the “maximal autonomy” idea was floated. I really do not think that this evolving understanding of the Tomos has anything to do with OCA per se, certainly not with any personalities. What I am seeing is elephants contending in two spheres:

                      1. In the ecclesiastic sphere, we are a pawn (as are other small churches) in the battle for supremacy between Moscow and Constantinople. We are not going to get any overt support because the other churches are either dependencies of the two major players or are afraid of crossing one of them. I see a sliver of hope in only one area; SVOTS has succeeded in building bridges to, at the very least, the Serbian, Romanian and Antiochian churches.

                      2. In the geopolitical sphere, the attractiveness of the OCA to the ROC lasted no longer than the attractiveness of the United States. Or, after the world started to lose its healthy fear of the USA as the lone superpower. Since the ROC has decided to be the de facto state church ofn Russia, the ROC has no need of the OCA and indeed must strengthen her own presence everywhere, just as the Romanians, Serbians, Bulgarians, and even Georgians are doing.

                      My conclusion is that geopolitical and self-interests will dominate world Orthodoxy for decades to come and that concepts like autocephaly, evangelism and other forms of inter-Orthodox cooperation will be used only tactically. I think that in this setting, other concepts like schisms will also be used as tools. What depressing thoughts!

                      That said, my head tells me that I need to separate myself from this mess as much as I can. Using the upcoming Great Fast as an excuse, I will “schism” from this forum. Forgive me, as sinner. And, as God forgives, I forgive.

              • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

                I admit my response to you was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction.I should never have even brought up the Serbs.I guess I’m still smarting from the remark that someone else made vis-a-vis my celebration of Paschal liturgy seperatly from Paschal Matins in the Serbian church.I figure that person was either a self-hating Serb,or a Russian who is convinced of the superiority of Russian liturgical forms above all others.
                I would fit your definition of schismatic since I left the OCA for ROCOR in 1976,upon finishing St.Tikhons seminary.True,I was neither priest,nor deacon,and I took no parishes with me,but I maintain I acted correctly for matters of faith.Let us remember that in the 60’s it looked as though Constantineople really was going to unite with the papacy and much of World Orthodoxy was prepared to follow their lead.
                What people like myself find troubling is that when ROCOR finaly reconciled with the Mother Church,when we did exactly what the OCA was telling us to do for years,suddenly it isn’t good enough.I’ve served in three different OCA dioceses since the reconciliation,I was ready to accept a parish under the omophor of the late Archbishop Job.I’m American-born,English is my native tongue,I aquired both Russian and Ukrainian at a later date.I support the CONCEPT of an American Orthodox Church.I just question whether in fact the OCA is such a church.I apologise if I offend.

            • Dear Batushka,

              Do you happen to know why the ROCOR got rid of the Bulgarian Archdiocese? And why did Bishop Kyril choose the OCA for a new home in 1976? Who engineered this?

              • Carl Kraeff says

                If you do not mind, I would like to introduce the historical account as Father Andrei responds.

                “Established in 1963 the diocese was originally under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). It had its origins in the decision of Metropolitan Andrei (Petkov), then head of the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia (named at that time the Bulgarian Diocese of North and South America and Australia), to regularize his relations with his mother church, with whom he had broken after World War II and subsequently was elected to the rank of metropolitan.[1]

                In the late 1950s, Andrei petitioned to be accepted into the Russian Metropolia but had been rebuffed by them for unclear reasons, so in 1963 he petitioned and was approved by the Holy Synod of the Church of Bulgaria to be readmitted to the Bulgarian episcopacy and continued to lead Bulgarian Orthodoxy in America. One of his clergy, Archimandrite Kyrill (Yonchev), disagreed with his decision and was consecrated by the bishops of the ROCOR to serve as head of the Bulgarian Diocese. Due partly to Metr. Andrei’s advanced age, Bp. Kyrill persuaded many Bulgarian parishes to accept his authority.

                In 1976, Bp. Kyrill and his diocese left ROCOR and joined the Orthodox Church in America, thus creating its Bulgarian Diocese.”


                • George Michalopulos says

                  Carl, your own words call several things regarding your understanding of “schism” into question.

                • Disgusted With It says

                  So were these Bulgarians who left for ROCOR and then landed in the OCA ever granted a canonical release from the Bulgarian Orthodox Church?

                • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

                  To Yo,
                  Carl basicly explained the history of the Bulgarian diocese accurately.He left out the role of ROCOR Archbishop Averky(Tausheff).Vladyka Averky was of the Russian White Emigration,he spent his teen and young adult years in Bulgaria,knew the language well,and recieved his theological education there.He was a great lover of the Bulgarian people,and it was through his efforts that Vladyka Kirill was made bishop.No doubt,Vladyka Kirill waited until his friend reposed in 1976,before deciding to leave ROCO

                  • Dear Batushka Andrei,

                    Yes, your information about Archbishop Averky fills in the missing pieces. Thank you for your information.

                    As to why Bp Kiril might want to be in the Metropolia to begin with, it might be the existence of a large number of Bulgaro-Macedonian or Macedono-Bulgarian (take your pick) churches some of the ethnic parishes have migrated out of the OCA. What were once primarily Macedonian are now often new Macedonian Orthodox parishes. Those parishes that were Serbian joined either of the Serbian groups. Even the body of the Metropolia’s Dean at St. Tikhon’s Monastery and Seminary, Nikolaj Velimirovic, was disinterred taken back to Serbia for reburial.

                    Some of the Bulgarians were with the Patriarchate and some were with Kiril. Despite this, Bishop Kiril maintained a good relationship with Metropolitan Joseph of the Bulgarian Patriarchate within SCOBA. Now, Kiril has fallen asleep in the Lord and Joseph has been recalled to Bulgaria. If the rationale for the ROCOR is that the Russian speaking diaspora in America need not join the OCA to have a kind of self rule, how can the Bulgarian archdiocese be justified under an American bishop raised in Hollywood who does not even speak Bulgarian? Should there not be something akin to what happened within the Serbian and Macedonian Orthodox churches here in this country, i.e. once their churches were safe from communism, they moved back to the mother Church?

                    As for the Romanian and Albanian Episcopates, at least many of these parishes have still Romanian and Albanian speaking prelates and both have native speakers as bishops. What is your opinion? I really think in some respects that the rapprochement of the ROCOR and the MP, the very fact that the ROCOR was not expected to become a part of the OCA speaks volumes, especially allowing the ROCOR mission parishes.

    • Defend the Faith says


      I disagree that His Beatitude’s letter was totally unnecessary and that it was just a ploy about the “perceived” culture wars.

      Given the fact that bishops on the OCA Synod are protecting gay clergy in their midst and who are not doing their duty to remove them from serving at the Altar of the Lord, +Jonah was correct in reaffirming the teachings of the Church.

      Is it not the case that every year the OCA Synod puts out a letter regarding the Sanctity of LIfe in conjunction with the pro-life march in Washington, DC? This certainly is a “culture war” issue.

      The refusal of the OCA to reiterate it’s position of homosexuality in general and specifically a ban on gay clergy gives the appearance that they are compromised on the issue when bishops on the Synod have been compromised on this personally in the past.

      At the recent Metropolitan Council meeting in Syosset the topic of “Contemporary Issues” discussed at length the gays in our midst question and the creeping agenda of folks like Fr. Jillions and other OCA clergy to advocate for a dialogue with the Church on the issue. To me the only conclusion of such a “benign” discussion is to make it easier for homosexuals to find a more welcoming place for themselves and their lifestyle inside the OCA. Others here have voiced their strong objection to such a “dialogue” because they view it within the prism of a slippery slope analogous to what has taken place in the Episcopal/Anglican Church.

      Personally, I have nothing against homosexuals, some of my best friends are gay…… but the Church rules on this are what they are and to me they are not open to discussion. The gay life is not compatible for clergy nor those who desire to be communing members of the Church. Gay people are not bad people they are human beings who like anyone else we are called to love, but that love does not mean we accept their way of life. That is not our call because the Church and Holy Scripture make it clear that homosexual sexual activities are an abomination. Can a gay person, struggling with their sexual desires and who understands that such desires are sinful have a place in the Church living a celibate life possible? I would say yes they do but when as in the case of the lesbian couple in DC flaunt their lifestyle and approach the Chalice as if it is their right, the clergy, including a deacon who is responsible for that Chalice has a duty to protect it. The extension of that duty given to a bishop or priest when they are ordained is passed along by the blessing to distribute the Eucharist to a deacon. There are not two sets of rules one for bishop/priest and one for deacon when it comes to the Eucharist.

      Thus, I must respectfully disagree with your summary conclusion that this was just a “culture war” scrimmage and unnecessary.

    • Jesse Cone says

      Mr. Fall,
      The term “culture war” suffers much abuse. For this reason I hesitate to apply it to myself. Let me illustrate using your comment, which you probably meant in the following way. “+Jonah sent the letter because he saw himself waging a holy war against culture based on a poor understanding of current issues and a harmful us vs. them mentality. +Jonah was playing the role of the Pharisee and attacking the Publican”

      Another way of reading your statement could be: “+Jonah perceived that many of those in his flock were victims of a war since they were part of culture where lies are being told about important truths. +Jonah was playing the part of a shepherd by responsibility defending his sheep”.

      Your slight, if that’s what you intended it as, falls short due to its own tendentious ambiguity.

      Tell me Mr. Fall, what harm did this letter do?

    • Daniel your response shows either ;
      1) you have no idea what is actually going on in the OCA around the country or

      2) you don’t care what the Orthodox teach or practice and do not care to ‘pass on’ the faith.

      I have stated before that people on the National Cathedral’s (DC) Parish Council when presented with quotes of the Orthodox understanding of marriage/sexuality from Scripture, Canons, Councils, Fathers–in order to reaffirm what the OCA already proclaimed in its Statues– stated that that was not Orthodox. They were totally unaware of their own history and practice. Some made statements such as, ‘That’s not in the Creed . . .’. Others said, “that’s outdated” . . . The very thing the Orthodox need is to hear what we believe. There was no better way to handle the chaos and lack of faith within the Church than to present a clear, simple teaching on what the Orthodox believe and practice. Metropolitan Jonah was correct in how he handled this.

      • Daniel E. Fall says

        Absolute nonsense.

        I really don’t care about the DC cathedral’s problem and Metropolitan Jonah didn’t need to reiterate the churches position on homosexuality. Of all the things he could talk about with the people; he discusses homosexuality which affects perhaps 3% of the general US population and perhaps 3/10th of a percent of the Orthodox churches population-and that is probably pretty darn close.

        And you suggest I have no clue?

        The reasons for the letter are because he was trying to get us to vote a certain way in secular matters, which would affect more like 70% of Orthodox Christians because the majority are probably of voting age or older, any other reason addressing 1000 people out of a million with required reading in churches would have been better off addressing our eating habits because it would have helped more people. Or alcoholism, or nearly ANY OTHER SUBJECT.

        Nope, let’s pick on all the gays and talk about how wrong their lives are….rather than reflecting on our own which is what Orthodoxy is really more about.

        It wasn’t a good letter friends…we can all agree to disagree, but many, many people did not appreciate it and patting yourself on the back for being a good non-gay Christian is pretty hokey baloney.

        Patently absurd…sorry to say.

        • George Michalopulos says

          This makes absolutely no sense. To say that there was no problem with sexual defiance regarding partaking of the Holy Mysteries is absurd. Even if we were talking about just 3% of the congregation, if these people openly scandalized their brethren by defying church tradition that would be a problem. If just one person in church blows his nose incessantly that’s a distraction and if he does it to bother people, that’s a scandal as well. You don’t need legions of scandal-mongers to have a problem.

          • Daniel E Fall says

            So, let me understand… If a few Orthodox parishoners defy their priests, the entire group needs to be addressed?

            This is the school teacher that catches Bobby and Sally throwing erasers and lectures the whole college lecture hall for 30 minutes instead of talking with the perpetrators.

            Unless a deacon had explicit names of people to not Commune, it wasn’t really important. If a deacon from another parish had served; what would the outcome have been?

            If the church didn’t believe the behaviors of the woman warranted serving her Communion; the discussion needed to be with her earlier, not as an embarassing turn away.

            The question is serious because if you Commune an alcoholic; it really isn’t any different except the drunk might be stumbling. And the alcoholic may need Communion more than anyone in the church (not for the sip of wine).

            Regards and thanks for the forum and chance to speak

            • George Michalopulos says

              Well, yes. The teaching office of the bishop is to all sinners, even those who do not partake of a certain sin.

              I am curious though, do you equate openly “married” lesbians with “Bobby and Sally” who are disrupting the class? That would seem to be the thrust of your analogy.

              • Daniel E. Fall says

                I would equate married lesbians taking Communion as being disruptive to the country club concept.

                If another parishoner’s greatest sin is gluttony, is he charged with stepping on the scale prior to Communion?

                The church really doesn’t recognize marriage outside the church does it?

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Daniel Fall,

                  1. two people of the same sex co-habitating for emotional, financial and fornication purposes is not a marriage.

                  2. The Church blesses marriages preformed outside the Church if the partners were not Orthodox when they were married and later came to the Church with the marriage intact.

                  3. The Church does not bless marriages of any Orthodox outside the Church.

                  4. Any Orthodox person who marries outside the Church is not to receive communion for a time determined by the bishop. The canons say at least 5 years to life, however in actual practice these days it is much shorter than that, depending on the circumstance. The official position of the Greek Church expressed on at least one web-site is that the excommunication should be for life. I doubt that is inforced.

                  5. Part of the process of restoration to communion after such a marriage is repentance both for the act and for any other sins that led to such a marriage in the first place and the pentitent(s) must show real humility and obedience to the directions of their confessor. I remember one story from when I first came into the Church about a faithful Orthodox woman who mararied, out of love, a Jewish man. From that point she did no longer partook of the communion. She went every Sunday and prayed for herself and her husband. 18 years later, he converted and came into the Church. They were able then to receive communion together. Love is patient and long suffering and allows us to shoulder burdens for the sake of others. It is not insistent or demanding.

                  6. If the hypothetical glutton were to go to coffee hour and scarf as much food as possible and wolf it down in front of everybody, reveling in their gluttony, not once but consistently then that would clearly show a lack of repentance and would likely cause their priest to withhold commuion from them. Or if they came up to the Cup snacking on a twinky?

                  7. When a couple of opposite sex is co-habitating, even if they are not fornicating (unlikely) and wish to get married in the Church, the standard pastoral direction is that they should set up separate residences and cease sexul relations prior to the marriage ususally for a period of at least 6 months.

                  Since the DC couple had, reportedly, contracted a pseudo-marriage outside the Church, they were not eligible, according to the canons to receive communion unless they acknowledged to their confessor that the act itself and the intentions behind it were sinful AND separated.

                  Since the DC couple were proudly proclaiming that they were ‘married’ outside the Church and were living togehter, they were not eligible to receive commuion, even if they had been of the same sex.

                  I know you don’t believe this, but homosexual behavior is a sin. To believe that such sin cannot be overcome by the grace of God is a denial of God’s omnipotence (acording to my Bishop Basil). To believe that temptation to sinful sexual behavior is not meet for confession and ascetic discipline is to go against the clear intention of the teaching of the Church on addressing our passions before they flower into active sins.

                  It also goes against the words of our Lord Jesus Christ:

                  But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Mt 5:28

                  by extension that would also include lusting for some of either the same sex or of the opposite sex leading to fornication

                  Marriage is a sacrament. As such, it entails the unification of heaven and earth, the created and the uncreated and requires that the partners be male/female. It is not just an act of the two principals, but an act of the community in which they are married. One cannot stubbornly believe otherwise and be part of the Church.

                  My priest once told us in a question and answer session, in response to a question, that if anyone even supported a “woman’s right to abortion” they should not approach the cup, even if they had never actively participated in or supported an actual abortion. The belief alone, unless sincerely repented of, was enough to bar them from the cup.

                  He does not quiz people when they come to the cup, but the specific person who asked that question admitted that they never communed anyway.

                  That is the traditional practice of the Church.

                  The only reason that Deacon Mitchell’s action is at all controversial is because of those who wish to change that practice.

                  At our baptism in the Church, we agree to be subject to the Church and her teachings as part of our desire for union with Christ. If there is some teaching of the Church that we simply cannot believe or accept, then honesty and integrity demands that we not participate in the sacrament of commuion. To do otherwise is to desecrate our own soul and it is an act of violence against the community itself if we not only persist in the communion but make a public spectacle of it.

                  If a person does not believe the doctrines and teachings of the Orthodox Church, and cannot reconcile themselves with those beliefs and practices, fine. Go elsewhere and allow those who do believe to worship in peace. If, however, the attitude is one of “I want to believe, help my unbelief” there are many in the Church who will love, support and struggle with you. At least that is so in my parish, St. George Cathedral in Wichita, KS. There is no hate here.

                  It is a violent act of willfulness to attempt to force others in the Church to stop believing the traditional teachings of the Church and to believe as the world does. Such violence stems from unresloved pain, pride, anger. lust of power, lust of the flesh and despondency–no different from the spirit that animates the Westboro folks. It is essentially demonic and will consume those who immerse themselves in it.

                  I have seen the immense pain in the eyes of homosexual friends many times over the years. I have tried to comfort them, empahthize with them while gently reminding them that Christ can heal their pain. Or, most often, simply giving them the comfort of human caring. It is a syndrome that is quite difficult to penetrate, but with God, all things are possible.

                  O Lord and Master of my life! Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother; For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen

            • Michael Bauman says

              Mr. Fall since you have admitted that you don’t think homosexual behavior is wrong, you don’t see any reason to deny these women Holy Communion.

              You are wrong on both counts.

              There are plenty of places the women could go and be lionised for their “courage”. Instead, they are in open defiance of Holy Tradition and arrogating their will and desire above the Church. That is a grave sin no matter what the reason.

              • Daniel E. Fall says

                Well, actually Michael, that is not at all what I have stated. I have stated homosexual behavior is not something I comprehend and so I have decided I will not personally judge it. The behavior of full on male homosexuals is beyond disgusting to me, so be careful about how you comprehend my personal attitude please. This does not suggest I believe homosexuality fully appropriate and certainly I don’t believe the Orthodox Church ought marry homosexuals. But, because I find it incomprehensible, I have decided it isn’t my place to judge that which I don’t understand. Those are my personal thoughts since you addressed it.

                …but I got news for you-a cleansing of the church of homosexuals is unlikely and if you believe in Jesus, you know it is also clearly wrong by all we have been taught. If homosexuality is a sin, then is not alcoholism? Why then were alcoholics not turned away if they drank alcohol during the week, or if there is an obese person, why were they allowed to drink from the cup? Was there obesity from gluttony not visible? Was a sniff test done on the boozehound?

                I also asked if a Deacon from another church had served would he have done the same? It is a simple simon type approach. If another Deacon would have given Communion, then the Deacon that did not erred because he acted on his own, without explicit instructions.

                If the cup means so much, then are you suggesting if the cup is violated, they will sneak by on God as well? Pretty cool religion if I sneak by on the almighty’s priests, I can get into heaven?

                Please gentlemen, this is heresy and I think you know it.

                I think what bothers you most is the country club aspect of the church isn’t the same if there are a few homosexuals around.

                The deacon erred. Metropolitan Jonah and Bishop Matthias erred with useless proclamation.

                Pretty big errors. The church ain’t a country club-if it is-it is done.

                Give me a sin list of sins that are acceptable to you so that I know if I can attend Liturgy with you guys. I know homosexuality is on there, so you can omit that one.

                • Dn. Gregory Conley says

                  Daniel Fall says “homosexual behavior is not something I comprehend and so I have decided I will not personally judge it.” Quite a slippery basis on which to determine right and wrong. I assume Mr. Fall also does not comprehend beastiality and therefore would not condemn it either.

                  I mention this sin because scripture addresses homosexuality and beastiality at the same time. Lev 20. It also mentions that a man should not have sexual relations with his father’s wife (step-mother).

                  St. Paul adresses this again in I Cor 5 “It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
                  I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”

                  Mr. Fall, I would remind you that St. Paul is writing here in context of the Eucharist. Those living openly in such fornication must be “put away” until brought to repentance. I would think that the clear teaching of both the Old and New Testament in this regard and two thousand years of Holy Tradition would settle the matter, but apparently for some it does not.

                  • Daniel E. Fall says

                    Like I said before, if a Deacon were serving from another parish, he would do only that which was explicitly requested by the priest otherwise he is forced to make inferences and assumptions he is not privy to as a priest receiving Confessions.

                    As for the comparison to beastiality, this is the second typical response from conservatives; more typically it would be oh Mr. Fall, I suppose because you don’t understand paedophilia; so you believe that is okay as well. No, the differences are clear. The homosexual is a consensual relationship, the other two are not. The animal cannot consent and it is not a relationship between two thinking persons, so spare me the false logic! And if the pedophile suggests the relationship is consensual; it can’t be accepted as such because the consenting person is not at the age of consent. Regardless of those facts, I have stated I don’t understand a homosexual consenting relationship and would rather not concern myself with it.

                    I enjoy your little offensive slam at the end of your post suggesting two thousand years of Holy Tradition paints me as an idiot. Actually, the words stated sort of further condemn your own logic flows. The idea that fornicators are such a problem is incredibly interesting. If you had to find out if all the single persons of consenting age in the church had slept with anyone before Communion, how would you do it? Would it be with a survey, or how about a fornicator detector? I’d like to use more appropriate language, but I digress. In the Orthodox church, the individual bears a lot of responsibility-if they are lying to themselves; it is certainly bad enough.

                    How about Deacons don’t hear Confessions? I think that is the tradition.

                    If homosexuality is a sin, can’t the homosexual repent? If they try to repent, but fall back into their lust; how is this so different than an alcoholic slipping back into the bottle, or the glutton pigging out after Communion? It isn’t, unless you are suggesting once you have sinned sin x, you can no longer repent of sin x and must only repent of new sins. If it is, please provide me with the sin rating scale of the Orthodox church, I haven’t seen it renumerated. Perhaps Bauman would be so kind since he was full of numerations earlier.

                    You fellas need to get over being so bent about a few gay folks. It really does you little good to try to condemn it so much. I’m not even a personal advocate for gay marriage; I don’t think marriage et al deserves government recognition at all.

                    • Dn. Gregory Conley says

                      Mr. Fall,

                      Perhaps this is spitting into the wind, but I will try to answer at least some of your comments.

                      St. Paul’s example of a man having his father’s wife is one involving a consential relationship. Male/female adultery is a consential relationship for the most part. Just saying a relationship is consential does not make it right or in a theological sense, not sinful. St. Paul says put away the offenders. They need to be brought to repentance.

                      I am not trying to argue the role of a deacon with you. That is a whole different discussion and I would agree one that is open to debate, nuance and full of hypotheticals. I see no profit in us discussing the matter. However, in answer to your statement that you find my logic flawed when it comes to fornicators, I will stick with what the Holy Apostle teaches. Yes those living openly, unrepentently in sexual sin are a problem within the Church and have been from the beginning.

                      Finally, Yes homosexuality is a sin, just as the other sins you mention, and yes thanks be to God we can repent. But we must repent, for except we repent we will all likewise perish.

                    • Disgusted With It says

                      “…it can’t be accepted as such because the consenting person is not at the age of consent.”

                      What exactly is the “age of consent” when it comes to paedophilia? In some cultures in the world it’s considered 13-14 years old, and others 18 years old. In some states of the Union it’s 16, others 17, and others 18. It’s all so confusing that I just don’t understand it and perhaps I should reserve judgment. OR, maybe I should be honest enough to call a sin a sin when I see it, and not try to make ridiculous excuses. Even the little kids in Church School learn the basics about morals.

                • Disgusted With It says

                  “But, because I find it incomprehensible, I have decided it isn’t my place to judge that which I don’t understand.”

                  So do you reserve judgment on paedophiles too? Should they just be allowed to continue doing what they do because you don’t “understand” it?

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Daniel, I have never once said or thought about the possibility or desirability of “cleansing the Church of homosexuals” That is a gross misunderstanding of what I have said.

                  We cannot ‘cleanse the Church” of any sin or those who fall into those sins nor should we even try. We are the maimed, the halt and the lame. We are one giant leper colony. We are open to all, in love, who wish to be healed. If there are people who do not understand that, they do not understand the Church. Not everyone comes however, not everyone who does come actually partakes or should partake of the all that is here.

                  To be healed demands that we be a community of a common faith/love, a common belief, a common practice which includes a committment to repentance from those sins that bedevil us and shatter us and a willing forgiveness of others. That is one of the reasons we can share a common cup and we do not consciously allow those who do not share in that commonality to share with us. That is the Apostolic teaching.

                  God is not “out there somewhere” He is really present in the Body and the Blood. When someone comes to the cup in arrogance, they are mocking God to His face.

                  When someone is exculded from receiving the communion it is to protect them, not to punish them. For those who repent, the exclusion is only for a time and works for the salvation of their souls. For those who refuse to repent, it prevents them from becoming even more intransigent in their sin so that the presence and love of the Lord does not “harden their hearts like Pharaoh”.

                  Before partaking we are supposed to cleanse ourselves in prayer, fasting and repentance…still we implore our Lord to “…comsume us not” but to grant that our partking might be for the strengthening of our faith and the healing of our bodies and souls.

                  So, what is it that we want, healing that is beyond comprehension for sins equally incomprehensible that torture us or acquiesence to those sins out of some twisted idea that we must accept the sinful state in which we live because to do otherwise is hatred and bigotry.

                  Great Lent stands as a beacon that our loving Lord both calls us to be healed and can heal anything. Far from “cleansing” anyone from the Church we are called to embrace each and every one who has the strength, humility, faith and love to enter the crucible of a repentant life. .

                  O Lord and Master of my life! Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother; For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen

                  I behold the Bridal Chamber, richly adorned for my savior, but I have no wedding garment to worthily enter. Make radiant the garment of my soul, oh giver of Light and save me.

                  My sins are legion, I ask each of you to consdier me in your prayers, especially during this time.

                  • Daniel E Fall says


                    Everything you said is even more reason to not concern yourself with whether a lesbian woman is going to the cross, or whether a drunkard is trying to stop drinking and is going, or if a fat man is going, with the exception of the community aspect. And for the reason no one concerns themselves with the last two; none ought concern themselves with the first.

                    And the deacon is not able to hear Confessions, so he has no business deciding who’s in and who’s out for the benefit of the community, nor for the benefit of the sinner.

                    I’m sorry, but I will never be convinced a deacon, acting on his own, turned someone away and it is acceptable. I am hard pressed to see if George stuck with his convictions of following the hierarchical structure of church that he would allow homosexuality to shatter that framework.

                    • Daniel,

                      Again you miss the point and try to lump sins together. The point, again, is that the women in question at the Cathedral DO NOT BELIEVE that their lifestyle is wrong. If a drunk comes to the chalice and DOES NOT BELIEVE his drinking is wrong or that it has seen and unseen ramifications as all sin does, then he or she too should not drink the Cup of Immortality unto their condemnation.

                      Your blind spot in thinking that a deacon is some sort of second class ordained citizen of the Church is flawed. He as well as anyone in the laos of God are responsible for the integrity of the Church and Her Sacraments. Those responsibilities vary, but to think for one moment that someone coming to the Chalice is knowingly doing so as an act of pride and thinking they have a right to commune, it is better to deny them than to have an attitude, as you seem to follow, “we are all sinners therefore we all are equal.”

                      Yes, we are all sinners, but sinners who know they are and by the Grace of God and His mercy, “in the fear of God and with faith and love, draw near” is not the same as approaching the Chalice as some sort of protest against the Church’s teaching on homosexuality.

                      Judgements have to be made when it comes to the Chalice and if that upsets the political correctness of our day and age, it is not the Church’s fault and any priest or bishop who gives people a pass BY SAYING it is ok for you to commune because I agree with you that a homosexual life is OK, is also under condemnation. And in the case of the DC couple that is exactly what is taking place.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      It is not the sin, it is the rationalization and glorification of the sin. That hurts everybody. Greed has been treated the same way and it has destroyed parishes and brings opprobrium to the Church. Look at St. Demetrios in Queens. Look at St. George in Troy, MI. and the trouble that brought all of Antioch.

                      Why is that so hard to understand?

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      As to your last point, I suppose the laity should have done nothing when the “Union of Florence” was proclaimed because the hierarchy approved it.

                      The cultural and political forces behind the promotion of the normalization of homosexuality make it an eccelsial issue, not just a personal one. The normalizers are the ones who have elevated it to that status. They want to cleanse the Church of we reactionary bigots.

                    • Anna Rowe says

                      Hi Dan,
                      I am posting in reply to your post as it is the only one working that is closely appropriate. Please forgive me.

                      There is the Handbook for Church Servers (Nastolnaya Kniga) by Sergei V. Bulgakov. There is a section regarding Communion and the Deaconate. The deacon’s authority comes from the bishop. The chalice should not be handed over to the deacon. Perhaps this book is no longer used or it’s just for Russian Orthodox???

                      Thumbs up Dan. That’s not working either.


                • Dn. Gregory Conley says

                  I just re-read what I wrote….sorry for the misspelling of consensual.

                • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                  Daniel, what does the Holy Apostle Paul say about those who “eat and drink unworthily”? He does not say what you say here:

                  If the cup means so much, then are you suggesting if the cup is violated, they will sneak by on God as well? Pretty cool religion if I sneak by on the almighty’s priests, I can get into heaven?

                  Please gentlemen, this is heresy and I think you know it.

                  Instead, the Holy Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:29:

                  For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

                  This is why the Cup means so much to us, Daniel. It is not always life-giving; it is instead soul-destroying when one partakes of it unworthily. To persist in believing otherwise is real heresy — grave heresy.

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Clericalism suffocates; it makes part of itself into the whole sacred character of the Church; it makes its power a sacred power to control, to lead, to administer; a power to perform sacraments, and, in general, it makes any power “a power given to me”! Clericalism separates all “sacredness” from the lay people: the iconostasis, communion (only by permission), theology. In short, clericalism is de facto denial of the Church as the Body of Christ, for in the body all organs are related and different only in their functions, but not in their essence. And the more clericalism “clericalizes” (the traditional image of the bishop or the priest – emphasized by his clothes, hair, e.g., the bishop in full regalia!), the more the Church itself becomes more worldly; spiritually submits itself to this world…

                    The tragedy of theological education lies in the fact that young people who seek the priesthood are – consciously or unconsciously – seeking this separation, power, this rising above the laity. Their thirst is strengthened and generated by the whole system of theological education, of clericalism. How can they be made to understand, not only with their minds, but their whole being, that one must run away from power, any power, that it is always a temptation, always from the devil? Christ freed us from that power – “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…” (Matthew 28:18) – by revealing the Light of power as power of love, of sacrificial self-offering. Christ gave the Church not “power,” but the Holy Spirit: “receive the Holy Spirit…” In Christ, power returned to God, and man was cured from ruling and commanding.

                    Journals of Fr. Alexander Schmemann

                    What amount of mercy, what amount of compassion, or what amount of love would it take to approach the most heinous, despicable, unrepentant of sinners and privately tell them, “If you approach me for communion, I will refuse you. Approach Fr. X, or Deacon X to avoid embarrassment and creating a scene.” What amount of respect & obedience would it take to inform the confessor & dean, “This is my conscience, and please instruct this person to come to you for communion.” In both cases, the “exertion” strikes me as insignificant & merciful. How this can be seen as outrageous, unreasonable, or not at the very lips of the Apostle is unimaginable to me.

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      Michael, your quotation about clericalism is irrelevant, and for your information, before I turned the woman away, I had already informed the Metropolitan and the priests at the cathedral that I could not in good conscience continue to participate in communing them. They ignored me and handed me a chalice anyway, apparently presuming that I wouldn’t let my conscience disrupt with their routine.

                      Your argument about sparing the woman’s feelings is why many churches commune everyone who comes for it. We Orthodox don’t do that. We turn away people who are not Orthodox or who are Orthodox but not prepared for communion. It happens somewhere every Sunday, and nobody complains publicly about the embarrassment or hurt feelings of those turned away. There are worse things than embarrassment and hurt feelings. One of the worst is eating and drinking damnation unto yourself not discerning the Lord’s Body.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Any celebrant who really cares about the Faithful, would avoid imparting the Mysteries unto judgment or condemnation of anyone. That judgment and condemnation may be the result of partaking of the Mysteries by some, especially those who do not perceive the Body and Blood of God in Them, can’t be doubted.
                      Some with perhaps limited or crippled perceptions tend to interpret refusal of the Chalice as an act which protects the Mysteries from defilement. Nothing of the sort. it is, rather, an attempt to protect the unrepentant or the undiscerning from great harm which would be visited on them by imbibing of Them criminally, i.e., without perceiving the Lord’s Body and Blood. This is why we all approach, first of all, with FEAR. why we pray that our communion will not be unto judgment or condemnation. The Priest who withholds the Mysteries out of fear for the soul of the person from whom he is withholding Them, is guilty neither of clericalism (here a total red herring of Stankovich’s) nor of failure in Love.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      Dn. Brian,

                      Is this what happened?

                      Divine Liturgy was going on. You had already told the priest (and the Metropolitan) you could not commune the women in good conscience. The priest handed you the chalice anyway.

                      Doesn’t the priest bear the responsibility, in this case, for Deacon Brian’s refusal?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Saunca, you raise an intersting point. If I understand you correctly, it is only the Communicant who bears the responsibility for deciding the fitness as to whether he can partake of the Gifts.

                      That would mean that the celebrants/ministers of Holy Communion bear no responsibility for the dispensation of the Gifts, that the onus is completely on the side of the Communicant. If so, then why do we need special licensure/training for the priesthood? What difference does it make who the deacon/priest/bishop is?

                      That would also mean that there is no need for the sacrament of Confession.

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      Dear Jane Rachel,

                      Did I tell the priest, just before he handed me the chalice, “I’m not going to commune those women if they come to me”? No.

                      Did I try for eleven months to get the Metropolitan and all of the priests at the cathedral to stop communing them, telling them with increasing urgency that I could not keep “holding the cloth” for those women? Yes.

                      At some point, when your pleas fall on deaf ears, you stop pleading. You stop waiting for others to take action, and you either give up or take action to fill the void.

                      I chose to take action, believing that that is what the situation demanded. I still believe that. The woman I turned away didn’t get what she deserved — she got BETTER than she deserved. She got the truth. She got to face her peril squarely. She got a chance to turn and live — which was shamefully snatched away from her by all the people who rushed to comfort her by blaming me. They only confirmed her in her sin.

                      The cathedral also got a chance to turn and live, as well as the OCA and any other Orthodox in this country who have been turning a blind eye to gross immorality and persecuting people who speak out against it, steering the Orthodox down the Episcopalian path, which we see openly advocated here by those arguing for open communion so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings.

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      Saunca, other churches do what you would have us do: They let each individual decide for himself whether to commune, no questions asked, no penance required. We don’t do that because it is neither Apostolic nor Patristic nor Orthodox nor loving nor life-giving.

                      You have only to read your Bible to know this. Start with 1 Cor. 5. Then read what the Fathers say about 1 Cor. 5. Afterwards, sample a few canons on how sinners are to be amerced. They don’t leave it all up to the individual, because there are no individuals in the Church — there are only persons in communion, reconciled to each other by common faith and practice. All “individuals” are outside the Church. There you can do your own thing as your conscience dictates. In the Church, you can’t.

                    • Good grief, people! Someone is committed to sexual sin, brags about it in public, and attempts to change the teaching of the church to allow for her favorite sin. At what point does a deacon’s decision to withhold the chalice become controversial? Why do any of you care about hurting the feelings of an activist who is targeting your church as part of a broader social change campaign. Taking off clothes and rubbing genitals when you are not married has always been considered a grave sin. Doing it with genitals of the same sex, always a grave sin. Purposely leading others to believe you are doing it, grave sin. Bragging about sin in church, grave sin. Trying to lead others to accept grave sin in the church, grave sin.

                      You all can be gay activists if you want, but grow the hell up. Respect others who are trying to live in community with integrity. Get out of the church and pursue your own agenda on your own time and dime. That’s just basic respect for the dignity of other human beings. You should have learned this in kindergarten. You gay activists are the most selfish and immature people in our society today.

                    • Heracleides says

                      Re: Um’s latest post above…

                      Where’s the thumb’s up button when it’s really needed!?!

                    • Disgusted With It says


                      Remember, this is the OCA where the definition of “sin” is relative to who you are and who you know.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Saunca, dear one,

                      My thought: save your energy for good deeds! St. Ephraim the Syrian wrote:

                      If you are angry at your neighbour, you are angry at God. If you rebuke your neighbour, you rebuke God. Dishonour your neighbor and you dishonour God. The sign that you love God, is this, that you love your neighbour; and if you hate your neighbour, your hatred is towards God. For it is blasphemy if you pray before God while you are angry. For your heart also convicts you, that in vain you multiply words: your conscience rightly judges that in your prayers you profit nothing. Christ as He hung on the height of the Cross, interceded for His murderers; and you who are dust, son of the clay, rage fills you at its will. You keep anger against your brother; and do you yet dare to pray? Even he that stands on your side, though he be not neighbour to your sins, the taint of iniquity reaches unto him, and his petition is not heard. Leave off rage and then pray; and unless you would further provoke, restrain anger and so shall you supplicate. And if he (the other) is not to encounter you in fury, banish rage from that body, because it is holden with lusts.

                      This has nothing to do with homosexuality. Nothing. It has to do with “increasing urgency,” with “unheeded pleadings,” with the anger & pride that invariably leads to disobedience, disorder, scandal, and chaos. This is why the Eucharist is placed in the hands of the priest when he is ordained, and instructed to “protect it.” The Deacon? Nothing. Not a word. Handed a fan to keep the bugs away – and Fr. Schmemann explained it with a sigh, “In our mission to sanctify everything, he is even instructed on fanning in the sign of the Cross!” The Divine Liturgy is not the time or place for demonstrations.

                      Vladyka Tikhon obviously does not remember this, but I stood not 10-feet directly in front of him at the funeral of Bishop Boris (Geeza) (even held his arm as he censed passed me on the very shaky wooden framework that held Vladyka Boris’ casket over his grave) when he said, “The Divine Liturgy is not the time for eulogies. We will do that later.” This made perfect sense to me.

                      The point, Saunca, is that the “topic” has degraded into the usual face-offs and neither you nor I will make the slightest impact. But this is the scourge of Sisyphus, not the reward of righteousness. When Eisenstein was told that “99 Nazi scientists declared the Theory of Relativity was wrong” he said, “If I was wrong, it would have only necessitated one.” Mark my word, you will see this again. Their witness.

                    • Michael,

                      It is you, the gay activists, who have raised this issue in the first place by “rebuking” a deacon and “raging” against him.

                      Reread what you have written above. How bold you are in your hypocrisy and hatred.

                      You raise the issue, then accuse others of raising it. You raise the issue because of homosexuality, now claim it has nothing to do with homosexuality. You, of your own volition, rebuke a deacon in public and rage against him and his supporters because you believe rebuking and raging is a sin.

                      You do not help gay people by being dishonest. Lying does not change reality. This is your issue, initiated and perpetuated by you and your gay activist community. From start to finish this is your issue. You attack others, expecting them to cower in fear. When they do not, the best you can do is to tuck tail and run screaming that everyone else is mean and damned for their meanness.

                      Who gave you authority over a deacon in another diocese, in another jurisdiction. By who’s authority do you rebuke him? Only your ordination as gay-activist-at-large could “give you this right,” nothing else. Even then, by what authority do you preach against a deacon online. Are you now a priest in the Church of Gay Activism and therefore you rank above a deacon and have the authority to rebuke him publicly?

                      Reread your message above. This type of hypocrisy is putrid and destroys your soul. Now you plan to poison your sister with your own hatred. Repent of your actions against this deacon. Repent of your efforts to minimize sexual sin within Orthodoxy. Repent of your actions to mislead your sister and other souls with her. And please, please, stop lying, so that we can have a conversation again.

  7. Father Victor's Email says

    Dear Brothers & Sisters,

    Here are the latest videos recorded by parishioner Andrei Skurikhin. Unfortunately, because of computer problems he couldn’t upload Sunday’s lecture by Nicholas Chapman, but promises to have it up ASAP. Will keep you informed.

    In XC,

    Fr. Victor

    March 8, 2013. Feast of the First and Second findings of the precious head of St. John the Baptist.

    Sermon by Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen)

    Orthodox Studies with Metropolitan Jonah</

    March 10, 2013. Sunday of the Dread Judgment

    Sermon by Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen)

    Sermon by Archpriest Victor Potapov

  8. Carl Kraeff says

    Here another item for the record:

    “Bishop Peter of Cleveland Presides Over Historic Liturgy in Three Hierarchs Chapel
    17 February 2013 • Three Hierarchs Chapel • Virginia Nieuwsma

    In the first Divine Liturgy celebrated at St. Vladimir’s Seminary by a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), His Grace The Right Rev. Peter, bishop of Cleveland for the Diocese of Chicago and Mid–America, presided over Sunday’s service at Three Hierarchs Chapel. The Very Rev. Dr. Martin Swanson, dean of the Orthodox Pastoral School and rector of St. Basil the Great Orthodox Church in St. Louis Missouri, accompanied His Grace. The choir interspersed Slavonic responses with hymns in English, in a liturgical celebration which Seminary Dean The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr noted “would not have been possible just five years ago” prior to the restoration of the canonical link between ROCOR and the Russian Orthodox Church on May 17, 2007.”

    Glory be to God!

  9. Carl Kraeff says

    More for the record.

    January 22, 2013

    VRev Fr Marcus C Burch, Chancellor of the Diocese of the South visited SVOTS students from the DOS on Friday, January 18 through Sunday, January 20. Accompanying Fr Marcus was VRev Fr Thomas Moore, the Dean of the Carolinas’ Deanery of the DOS.

    In addition to meeting with DOS Students Frs Marcus and Fr Thomas Moore attended the Fr Alexander Schmemann Memorial Lecture on Friday evening. During the visit Fr Marcus met those students and their wives who are finishing SVOTS this year to discuss placement possibilities. He also met with 2nd year students who are petitioning for ordination to begin discerning placement potential. Before Vigil on Saturday afternoon he met hosted a luncheon with all of the students. This provided an opportunity to meet with the first year students, all the spouses, and children. While there they discussed the following: 1) Process for placement within the DOS, 2) desire for all rising seniors to do a summer internship in a parish in the DOS between 2nd and 3rd year, 3) making assignment as a 2nd/Assistant for 1 to 3 years for all DOS graduates, 4) DOS Seminary Debt Service Program (DOS will service the student loans for seminarians who are assigned in the DOS during the duration of their assignment).

    Additionally, Fr Marcus met with Frs Chad Hatfield and Fr John Behr to discuss these programs and desires.

    While at SVOTS, they attended the Pahikhida for Fr Jacob Myers that was served Saturday afternoon before Vigil Saturday evening, and concelebrated with Seminary Clergy at Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning.”

    • George Michalopulos says

      I’m glad a panikhida was served for Fr Jacob. It’s too bad not one bishop took the time to serve at his funeral.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        I was nonetheless very impressed by the turnout of the Deputy Bishops at Fr Jacob’s funeral. Besides, the chief celebrant was the Chief Deputy Bishop and Chancellor, Father Marcus. I know many of the priests who were present and they are all great church leaders, exemplifying in many aspects the description provided by Saint Paul to Saint Timothy.

        That said, we are praying constantly for God to grant us a new full time chief shepherd for, as good as Archbishop Nikon has been, it would be best if we had a new Bishop of Dallas and the South, someone of the caliber of Father Gerasim. For the latest regarding the nomination process, go to and cursor down to “Update on the Episcopal Search from the Diocesan Council Meeting,” dated March 8, 2013.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Deputy bishops“? Do they sit on a “Deputy Synod”? You outdo yourself here. This make me think of that hilarious movie Moscow on the Hudson. In an early scene, Robin Williams and his family are sitting in their dingy apartment watching the news and the anchorette says that “Grain harvests exceeded the previous five-year plan…” and these poor schlubs just sit there and laugh at the sheer mendacity of it all.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            I have been using the tern “Deputy Bishop” for priests for a while now. I borrowed a military and business term that is equally used in law enforcement, where Deputy simply means somebody who is authorized to act in the name of the principal. Looking at it another way, deputies must have a principal who deputizes them, otherwise they would not be deputies but some other thing. So, my usage merely reflects our organIzational principle from almost the beginning.

            The reason I have taken to using this is to introduce some context and balance to the discussion. I think you have proved my point in this latest chit-chat. You rued the fact that no bishop served at Father Jacob’s funeral. I countered by pointing out to the many priests who were there, priests who day in and day out function as the bishop’s deputies. You then made fun of me by implying that I was putting a Soviet-style positive spin to what had happened, implying perhaps that the funeral service was somehow deficient because the bishop was not there. Indeed, the phasing of your criticism, “not one bishop took the time to attend” was an unwarranted criticism of our bishops. It was unwarranted primarily because it damned them for indifference and lack of love for Father Jacob, his family, his flock, the Atlanta Deanery and the Diocese of the South.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Carl, “deputy bishop.” That’s a good one. Nothing like grasping for the last straw as one tumbles over the cliff. Deputy Bishop will be remembered for a long time to come.

        • I’m basically with Carl on the terminology here. I would say “bishop’s deputy” to express what Carl means, but there is precedent for the semantically ambiguous form “deputy bishop”. To the best of my knowledge, a sheriff’s deputy is sometimes called a deputy sheriff — those are synonyms rather than different terms. In other words, a deputy bishop would be a deputy of the bishop (a person appointed to represent or empowered to act on behalf of a bishop) rather than a bishop who has been deputized as a bishop by some unidentified authority. To my understanding, priests do function as bishop’s deputies in many respects. I have no opinion on whether it was ok for a bishop to be merely represented and not actually present at these memorials, but I think Carl may deserve an apology about the choice of term issue.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Anonymous–Your attempt at witticism has failed you. The original phrase (I believe by Stalin) was “useful idiots.” Thus, one can say “Carl, you may not be an idiot but you sure are useful” or “Carl, you may be an idiot but you sure are not useful.” Your usage is simply off. Is English your second language or are you a product of the dreadful education system that we have?

          • I have used “to make an omelette you have to break a few eggs” a time or two. It feels pretty good when placed in a sentence. Same with “useful idiot” quote (or legend). But — and it’s a big but — the experts are not certain as to who used them or when. The most popular choice is Lenin. Though no one has shown them as having been used in any Lenin transcripts. Same with “to make an omelette you have to break a few eggs”.

            The earliest known usage in Western media is in a 1948 article in the social-democratic Italian paper L’Umanita – as cited in the New York Times article on Italian politics.

            A 2010 BBC radio documentary titled Useful Idiots listed among “useful idiots” of Joseph Stalin several prominent British writers including H. G. Wells and Doris Lessing, the Irish writer George Bernard Shaw, the American journalist Walter Duranty, and the singer Paul Robeson.

            Belief can be a funny thing.

    • Carl,

      What is your point of reposting this story about Frs Burch and Moore going to SVS? This has been going on for years so it is not “new” news?

      I have to agree with George, it was a terrible example to the Church and the South that an OCA bishop was not present for at least one of the services for Fr. Jacob.

      How long will the South have to wait for a bishop?

      • George Michalopulos says

        It’s worse than that actually. Not that long ago a retired priest died in a small, dying, very rural, out-of-the-way parish. (I.E., not a major metropolitan area like Atlanta.) Besides a healthy coterie of priests, the chief celebrant was a bishop. It was not even a considered a possibility that a bishop would not be there. Simply unthinkable.

        • I am very sorry to hear that. I suspect +Nikhon’s health was a factor but surely some bishop could come in his stead.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Surely, some bishop could have come in his stead. However, in the New, Improved OCA, it was more important that every possible bishop be at the enthronement of Tikhon, especially since hardly any other bishop would be there.

      • What is the current relationship of SVOTS in the OCA? Isn’t SVOTS wanting to be more independent of the OCA?

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Colette–SVOTS’s relationship to the OCA is very simple and basic: while SVOTS is an integral part of the Orthodox Church in America, it is also positioned to be the flagship seminary in North America for all Orthodox jurisdictions. Here are the vision and mission statements:

          “”VISION: With God’s help and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Seminary aspires to be the premier center of Orthodox Christian scholarship and pastoral education and to operate as an exemplary Orthodox Christian institution.”

          “”MISSION: St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary serves Christ, his Church, and the world through Orthodox Christian theological education, research, and scholarship, and the promotion of inter-Orthodox cooperation.

          “In this way, the Seminary prepares students for ministry as bishops, priests, deacons, lay leaders, and scholars so that they may build up Orthodox communities, foster Church growth through mission and evangelism, teach the Orthodox faith, and care for those in need.”

          This is in line with OCA’s understanding of herself as a continuation of the original Russian mission to North America, as well as her realization that her autocephaly is not an end in itself but a tool to achieve administrative (canonical) unity on this continent. Thus, SVOTs, as the only doctoral level Orthodox seminary in the New World, belongs to OCA and to all Orthodox on this Continent. This is reflected in the composition of its Board of Trustees, as well as in its student body.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            Carl Kraeff is 100% right. SVS “belongs to OCA and to all Orthodox on this Continent.” It’s as responsible to the Church of Greece as it is to the OCA. That’s the “connection.” it’s more autocephalous than the University of Paris was in its heyday, and proud of it.
            From his cathedra, the Dean, Fr. Thomas Hopko, wrote (in the SVS News):
            “Pastors and Professors
            The first DUTY (my caps) of the Church’s bishops and priests who daily pastor and govern Christ’s flock is to be responsible for those who become professors in our theological seminaries They are to foster, guard and defend thiss critical calling in the Church, and to see that its candidates are properly trained, appointed and retained in their duties. (sic)
            A second duty of the bishops and priests who care for Christ’s Church is to work in closest communion with the seminary professors in order to LEARN (my caps) from them by carefully, RESPECTFULLY (my caps) and responsibly monitoring and questioning their study and teaching.
            A third duty of the Church’s archpastors and pastors is to mediate between the seminary professors and the general membership of the Church… defending the propriety of Christian study and teaching on the highest scholarly level…by bringing the professors’ teaching about God’s Word, the Gospel and Christian doctrine to the faithful…..”

            Please note that the Holy Synod of Bishops was never informed of their duties and responsibilities by that dean, nor were they given a chance to examine it. Some of them to this day may not know that their are such duties assigned them by Father Hopko!

            As for the “President” of St. Vladimir’s being the “Primate” of the OCA, that’s like the President of Japan being the Emperor, although the Japanese Emperor is kept in the loop by the Japanese government!

      • Carl Kraeff says

        James–My point was to provide some context and balance. In other words, my up-beat postings are like antacids that I hope will neutralize the prevalent bile here. Although the visit to SVOTS may not have been “new” news, nonetheless it showed that the business of DOS goes on, that we have good and caring pastors, and that there is a continuous stream of folks who are attending SVOTS and will likely come back to us. Also, I do not know about other folks, but I truly love seeing the seminarians and their families so that I can thank them and pray for them.

  10. Michael James Kinsey says

    My heart, mind and soul were soothed as I read the flawless affirmation of the Consul of the Truth. The clairity of Met Jonah to focus all attention on these life giving and life affirming moral stands, shows the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he obviously serves. I would like to add, love God and serve Him alone, live by His Word and bread, do not tempt God. The relationships they maintain, are live giving, when our response is the same as the Lord Jesus Christ.

  11. Michael Bauman says

    The teaching of the Church is simple, unequivocable and direct. The Orthodox way is chastity which means, among other things, celibacy before marriage and faithfulness after marriage. If those who are beset with same-sex attraction choose not to pursue marriage (everybody knows that marriage is male-female and it is so ugly that I even have to mention that), then they must remain celibate and do whatever is necessary to resist the urges to engage in sexual activity outside of marriage just as everyone else who is not married.

    The Church as erred in not preaching more actively and upholding the teachings on chastity, marriage and divorce. Thus we have to take rear-guard measures when it comes to homosexuality.

    We have been too silent on the sin of fornication in all of its forms; too slient and too acquiesent on divorce and remarriage. Without adherence to the standards and teachings of the Church economia becomes impossible.

    I am married and in communion by an extrondinary act of mercy on God’s and the Church’s part. It has made me realize how important maintaining the Tradition in the Church is. Even though my marriage is a joy to me and works for the salvation of us both, I am also saddened at how weak I am and what a low opinion I actually had of marriage previously. Not to mention how decimated matrimony is in the wider culture in this time.

    It is decimated and in tatters because we have ignored and repeatedly violated the revealed truth of our own human nature and the interrelationship we are supposed to have with God and between men and women. Carnal sexuality has assumed a role that is far too important. But without God, that is only to be expected.

    Those that acquiese even further and bow to the normalization of homosexual activity and same-sex attraction will no longer be part of the Orthodox Church, no matter what they claim. There are many people who are looking for a strong compassionate witness to the sin and apostasy of our time. Some will pander to the world, others will not. Most already know their choice.

    It will split congregations, families and jurisdictions just as heresy has always done. It should not be an ideological political battle, that is only descending further into the darkness of this world. It should be a prophetic call to repent. It must be accompanied by a clear teaching and adherence to a chaste life in all areas, not just sexual, for chastity is not just about sex.

    The question for each of us is not what others do or have done, but our own personal response. Rather than reacting negatively to the darkness, we should work to strengthen our own foudnation and witness. Increase our own repentance and deepen our prayer; allowing the Holy Spirit to enlarge our own hearts and warm the coldness there.

    Love and obedience to the teachings of the Church are the best weapons we have. The Orthodox Church has the path to healing. We need to practice it, then we can show others.

    • Seems to me Michael B. that marriage and also all of our life has been influenced by the secular thought that our sexuality is the center of our being and determines everything, whereas the Bible, and God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are concerned about the well being of our souls. In all the stories of Jesus where He says, The Kingdom of Heaven is like…the subject is never mentioned. David in the psalms worries about his soul. Yes he goes off the track but he pays a hefty price and wants, desires to be at one with God once again. Do we?

      So where is the center of our being? We must determine that and go from there.

      • The Wedding at Cana was Jesus first miracle . . . . He mentions it, just not in our terms.

  12. Orthodox Observer says

    lists on page 3 a few OCA synodal members by name in the article on Archbishop Anthony of the Ukrainian Archdiocese’s enthronement.

    Archbishop Nathaniel of Romanian Episcopate of the Orthodox Church in America; Bishop Melchizidek, Bishop Michael, Bishop Irenee of the Orthodox Church in America and others

  13. Gregg Gerasimon says

    So good to read about the new Roman Catholic Pope Francis:

    “[A man who] chose to live in a simple apartment rather than the archbishop’s palace [in Argentina], who gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of taking the bus to work, and who cooked his own meals.”

    Actions speak much more loudly than words.

  14. Sinking Feeling says

    The living room of the Titanic was repainted and rededicated today.

    • If that’s not a sign it may at least be an omen.



      Sinking Feeling says On March 14, 2013 at 5:50 pm:

      The living room of the Titanic was repainted and rededicated today.

      • Damage Control says

        You have to admit that it is a very nice shade of blue with the accent white trim. The renaming of the living room in honor of Metropolitan Leonty appears to be another step in the on-going movement to canonize him as a saint in the OCA.

  15. M. Stankovich says:
    March 20, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Whether there is an iota of truth in anything you have said, you are the prime rib of rodents. Personally, I would always be looking for that farmer’s wife and her carving knife, because the only thing worse than a blind rodent, is an anonymous, yellow-toothed, weave-tailed, disease spreading rodent. Scratching, scratching, scratching between the walls until you look up to see the “tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.” (Matt. 21:31)

    Mr. Stankovich,

    When you can’t refute the facts you sully the messenger. Then you quote the Gospel? How sad.

    • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

      Yes,he calls you a “rodent” and a deacon of the church after Molieres famous hypocrite “Tartuffe”.Then he expects us to honour him with his title of “Dr.”

      • Damage Control says

        Fr Andrei,


        In reading some of the recent comments by Mr. Stankovich he tells the world that he was disabled due to some injury. The injury must have been quite traumatic since it caused him to stop his pursuit of an advanced degree in medicine. I have to wonder if his injury was physically painful and if he is still dealing with the aftermath of it? I know of some people whose lives were permanently altered because of, for example back injuries, which meant they were on pain killers for the rest of their lives, even some becoming addicted to them which at some point meant they had to go into rehab. There is no doubt from my personal observation of people in this awful condition that it affected their judgement and caused them to make some decision (paranoid) because of their afflictions and addictions.

        I am not saying that Mr. Stankovich is in this category because he has not shared such information with the group but I hope that this is not the case and that his rat calling “Tartuffe” comments are just his attempt at humor?

        • Jane Rachel says

          It’s a tactic he uses to discredit people. They should know better than he does whether they deserve it or not. So why do it? It derails what is really going on. Calling people names, e.g., dirty, rotten, no-good, rat-faced lily-livered, stupid, idiotic, uneducated, dead-person-hating, hateful, immature, cowards, etc., etc., takes the heat off the real issues. Who are the real culprits? The bottom-feeding, plotting, conspiring, thieving, rage-motivated, people-destroying, double-life-living, cover-upping, white-washed tombs.

        • Anna Rowe says

          The disability was cancer and the roadblock was financial.

  16. Trudge at SmartVote says

    Reading these posts makes me think one of the saddest things in our time is to be a Christian.

    At least in the past the crises produced great saints and ascetics and hierarchs with gravity.

    I thought it was mainly in Protestantism, but the modern infection of the ascendancy of the self has affected Orthodoxy too. People make Jesus into a projection of their own concerns and aspirations. In this lack of awareness, it amazes me how many there are within Christianity who do not care about their own souls, whether in the example of the Washington Cathedral, or priests and bishops that are tasked with the care of the soul yet are apostate, or in how some on this blog conduct themselves with their fellow man. It is as if it is all free and they have ruled out any consequences.

    It is like a generalized loss of the fear of God and the dread judgment seat of Christ has taken hold.

    I see it in the children at the parishes my wife and I are visiting since we left the OCA – not crossing themselves, nor saying the symbol of faith, the Lord’s Prayer, nor the confession, hanging over the chairs looking bored. I have seen some even mocking the Divine Liturgy. Nobody seems aware or concerned, and I have brought it up with the priest a couple of times.

  17. Google for the truth says

    To reply to Mr./Ms./Dr./Fr. Heracleides: There is a Michael Stankovich whose job resume is posted online and found from a simple google search of his name. Along with much chemical dependency experience, his education section lists an MSW degree as well as an MD degree from SUNY Upstate Medical University in 1989. I do not know if that is the same person. If so, whether practicing as a physician currently or not, he would have earned his “Dr”.

  18. Michael:

    How is Ruth?


  19. Michael Bauman says

    Mr. Stankovich says:

    The Divine Liturgy is not the time or place for demonstrations.

    Exactly why the woman should not even have been up there to receive.