Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

jillions-2By now most people know that the attempts of Metropolitan Jonah to leave the OCA and be accepted into ROCOR have been temporarily scuttled. Reports from several sources who work in and around Syosset are reporting that the Chancellor, Fr John Jillions, pulled out all stops to present Metropolitan Jonah in the worst possible light to ROCOR. His activities have not stopped there however. Apparently, Fr Jillions is on another crusade to dig up evidence against other OCA bishops.

Sources inside ROCOR have confirmed that the recent meetings at the OCA Chancery in Oyster Bay Cove between the erstwhile Primate (Metropolitan Tikhon), Archbishop Justinian of the MP, Metropolitan Hilarion of ROCOR were arranged by Frs Jillions and Kishkovsky to show that ROCOR’s interest in Metropolitan Jonah and Bishop Nikolai Soriach was a bad idea.

To make their point, Fr Jillions opened the personal OCA files of Metropolitan Jonah and Bishop Nikolai and let the MP and ROCOR look at those files. This was done without the knowledge or consent of either Metropolitan Jonah or Bishop Nikolai.

This presents several questions about the authority of Jillions to share such personal information without consent, not to mention if those files are in fact keeping with generally accepted Human Resource practices as what should and should not be in personnel files.

Not satisfied with these questionable actions, or maybe buoyed by them, Fr Jillions made a trip to Johnstown, PA for a visit to the headquarters of the American Carpatho-Russian Diocese in the USA. (ACROD is an autonomous diocese under the Ecumenical Patriarchate.) That meeting was reported by Fr Jillions in his “Chancellor’s Diary” on February 8, 2013. But what was not reported by the OCA was the real purpose of his visit.

The real purpose was not to exchange pleasantries with the new ACROD bishop; rather, Fr Jillions asked for the meeting so he could look at the ACROD files on Bishops Matthias Moriak, Nikolai Soraich, and Michael Dahulich. All three formerly associated with ACROD. (Soraich attended seminary at Johnstown.)

It is not surprising that Fr Jillions had an interest in gaining information on Bishops Matthias and Nikolai, both currently out of OCA favor, but why Bishop Michael of New York and New Jersey? That piece of the puzzle comes into better focus when the case of Fr Vladimir Alexeev, Rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Brooklyn, NY is put into the mix.

In 2012 Fr Vladimir was suspended by Bishop Michael after a complaint of clergy misconduct. Last summer, Bishop Michael, escorted by a police officer, went to Holy Trinity to inform the parish that Fr Vladimir was suspended and removed as pastor from the parish. Bishop Michael and the officer were not greeted warmly by the faithful and needed to exist the church by a back door to avoid angry parishioners.

Bishop Michael however observed due process and the case against Fr Alexeev went to a Spiritual Court in the Diocese of NY/NJ. The case against Fr Alexeev was presented by, you guessed it, Fr Jillions. After making his presentation to the Court, clergy representing Fr Alexeev presented their defense of Fr Alexeev. The ruling of the Diocesan Spiritual Court was that the case presented by the prosecution (Jillions) was without merit and they ruled in favor of Alexeev. Bishop Michael did the stand-up thing and accepted the Court’s decision; he lifted Alexeev’s suspension and returned him to his parish in Brooklyn.

However the Court’s exoneration of Fr Alexeev was not accepted by Fr Jillions who immediately informed the Holy Synod that he wanted to appeal the Court’s decision to the Synod. It is not known what the feelings of the Synod are about Fr Jillions’ desire to appeal the Court’s decision, but what is known is that he went to Johnstown and was made privy to Bishop Michael’s ACROD clergy file (as mentioned above). The question is why? Was he trying to find something that about Bishop Michael that can be used as leverage against him? Could such information make it easier for Jillions to continue to pursue his case against Alexeev with Bishop Michael silenced?

Once a Diocesan Spiritual Court adjudicates a case the only person who can block the appeal of a case to the Holy Synod is the diocesan bishop –in this case, Bishop Michael. Since Fr Vladimir was reinstated, it would appear that Michael is not in favor of an appeal of the case. This is a curious game for Syosset to play, after all, Bishop Michael accepted the verdict of the Spiritual Court, and any further intereference would diminish the diocesan form of ecclesial governance. To reiterate, the case is closed, the defendant exonerated, and the priest’s bishop is accepting of the fact. Even if some in the national chancery are upset with the verdict, the fact remains that due process worked. All things being equal, the bishop would have the advantage and responsibility for what goes on in his diocese. To continue to pursue a closed case means –at the very least–that the Chancellor does not accept hierarchical authority –t say nothing of due process.

Another question to consider is, was Bishop Michael even aware that Jillions was looking at his ACROD file in Johnstown? Did he have Bishop Michael’s permission to look into his personal clergy file? Did he get the approval of Bishop Nikolai and Bishop Matthias or Metropolitan Jonah to look into and let others see those files? One would hope so! Or will these bishops find out about all this by reading it here?

This situation opens a bevy of questions about Jillions’ motives and how he conducts his job. Is Bishop Michael seen as some sort of threat to the Syosset status quo since he was the popular choice of the clergy and faithful delegates to the Parma Council? Is he being knocked down and put in his place in case Tikhon’s tenure is no better than his last two predecessors? We already know that Jillions and Tosi preferred Archbishop Benjamin Peterson for the White Hat after Jonah’s illegal ouster. Do we have an “all-powerful Chancellor” willing to do whatever is necessary to the present protopesbyterian Regime in power? Wasn’t this the complaint against the former Chancellor?

We do know that Fr Jillions has been on a clergy misconduct crusade; some would call it an unnatural obsession. We do know that he has looked into dozens of cases that were already adjudicated and sealed. Now he invades private files of OCA bishops. Why? In order to keep them quiet and in line? What right does he have to do this? Why is his position superior to that of a diocesan bishop and a diocesan spiritual court made up of clergy who he has no authority over? Is Syosset’s creeping power something that all OCA clergy should be wary about? Why the selective interest in certain episcopal files but not others?

Monomahkos will keep an eye on the workings of Syosset and report on any new developments.


  1. Nick Katich says

    George: Although Soraich attended seminary at Johnstown, he was not “formerly of ACROD”. He was Serbian and was ordained in the Serbian Church and, because of scandal, was released by the Serbs to the OCA. Being wrong on this fact, I wondered how many other facts in you missive are “facts”.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I’ll make the correction. However he still had a file there.

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      Nick Katich. Then Father Nikolai (Soraich) was NEVER released by the Serbs to the OCA. There was no breath of scandal in his life then. He not only graduated from Christ the Savior Seminary in Johnstown, he also matriculated at the Theological Faculty in Yugoslavia.
      “Being wrong on this (these) fact(s), I wondered how many other facts” of yours are facts?
      And, Nick, Bishop Nikolai WAS associated with ACROD through his matriculation at that diocese’s seminary, even if he was not an official “member” of ACROD.
      And I thank George for this just protest against the shenanigans of the current crop of the veritable UMW/AFL/CIO of archpriests. Fathers Jillions and Kishkovsky, I hate to say, have opened a new era in the Scurrilous by the way they’ve been shopping the personnel files of hierarchs all around the world and all over America, lest those hierarchs be taken out of the cruel limbo in which a canonically incompetent synod has left them.
      If some nut writes a letter to the Holy Synod or the First Hierarch, etc., complaining that I am hosting visitors from Mars who are in advanced stages of syphilis, that letter will go into my file. You may be sure that such letters were never prohibited from being put in anyone’s file. Now, these full-of-themselves Archpriests are trotting out all that stuff and, WORSE, providing their own commentaries.
      It’s beyond scurrilous: it’s utterly despicable. And it panders to the worst elements, parasitical elements, on the Body of Christ, some of which have formed into organizers of accusations, keepers of the library of sins, gossip, and backbiting. And it’s all done “confidentially”, in an atmosphere of “brotherly concern.”

      • How do we know that Protopresbyter Jello hasn’t altered or “add to” these confidential files for his own evil desires?!

        What can we be sure of at this point. Fire every rat-bastard one of them, it is time to start over.

        • Photius, Jillions is not a protopresbyter, at least not yet, but then again if he has “the goods” on all the bishops and uses it to consolidate his power, who knows when he gets that title?

        • Disgusted With It says

          While I think Photius’ language is a bit harsh, I agree with the content of his message. They need new people leading the OCA administration who are not tied to any of the previous “players” in any way. Perhaps they should bring in leadership from the DOS, the best-run diocese in the OCA.


      • Whether “gossip” sites are good or bad, this is not North Korea.

      • There is just one way the OCA can shut down all “gossip” web sites: its rulers must repent, acknowledge their wrongdoings, and do their best to remedy them.

        • what wrongdoings did these rulers do? show me the facts! and not some sick report, printed by an attorney! that uses words like “it appears” it happen. but we have no proof! your like all the rest! you hear “gossip” and you think your on to something. please bring out the facts!!! name names! i like to see people, such as yourself go to court. and bring out your facts! what you dont have any!!!!!

      • Lola J. Lee Beno says

        Internet Rule Number One: Do not keep your CAPS key locked down.

        Internet Rule Number Two: See Internet Rule Number One.

        There is a general opinion that nearly everyone has of one who does this, but it’s not usually polite to state that opinion.


  2. Jonathan Johnston says

    My goodness, what an attack you make on the Chancellor of the OCA. You make it sound as if possible “secrets” behind priests and bishops should remain secret and undisclosed. The reality is that Fr. Jillions is doing his job and doing it properly. If there are issues regarding a priest or bishop, then all of the Orthodox churches must be aware of these issues. Shuffling a cleric from one Orthodox diocese to another where more damage can be incurred certainly isn’t something that anyone should want. I thought you believed in truth and openness here; was I wrong?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Nice parry, but no dice. There are several problems with your scenario.

      1. The OCA is an autocephalous church (until further notice). That means that the strong-chancellor form of government is not suited for it (unless you also want a strong Primate, “Carl 34, where are you?”)

      2. That means the bishop is responsible for discipline in his diocese. Bp Michael did not outsource his job to Syosset but convened a spiritual court for a defendant in his diocese. Though he instigated the case, he abided by the court’s ruling. This is real accountability.

      3. The Strong Chancellor on the other hand was not content with the ruling. In civil terms, this is called “double jeopardy,” trying a man twice for the same crime. That’s egregious in an of itself.

      4. In order to circumvent this he tried to neutralize the bishop. Other reasons for doing so is that Michael, though the most junior bishop has the most ardent following (as evidenced by the overwhelming majority votes he received at Parma).

      Ultimately, the ends don’t justify the means. A charge was leveled against the priest in question, his bishop acted with alacrity, a spiritual court was convened with prosecution and defense, records were kept, the bishop recused himself from being the president of the spiritual court in order to not influence the decision, a verdict was rendered, the bishop abided by the verdict, and the accused was made whole.

      All of this was done at the local (i.e. diocesan) level. As it should be.

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        And, George, there is no system of keeping utter nonsense out of personnel files in the OCA. It some drunk sends a note accusing Jillions of being a total agnostic, the note will go into his file. If some drunk sends a note to the chancery claiming that Bishop Michael, after his wife died, led a life of utter promiscuity which would make Bishop Matthias’s reference to an ‘overnight” look like tiddly-winks, that would go in his file. If someone sent a note claiming that Archbishop Nikon is a Freemason, that would go into his file.
        Who the hell do these archpriests (and bishops?) think they are, shopping this raw data all over the world.
        Gossip about clergy actually runs through the veins of Mr. Johnstone and other gossip-mongers of his ilk, making it possible for them to get up in the morning: “A new day with who knows how much tilth out there that proves that I am the good guy, and should be in charge?”

        • Lets flood Fr. Jello’s file with “notes of concern”

          Im pretty sure I heard from a friend of a friend of a friend that he was seen shopping for a Playtex bra. Hummmmm time to lift and separate Fr. Jillions from Syosset.

      • Alexey Karlgut says

        Lest there is a confusion on “due canonical procedures”, I wanted to share some facts that might  be of interest and help, in this discussion. 

        Article XI, Church Courts and Canonical Procedures, of “The Statute of the Orthodox Church in America” provides an outline of the canonical procedure to be observed in cases in which members of the church are accused of canonical crimes.  Section 1 begins by noting that “Every member of the Church is entitled to due canonical procedure in the courts of the Church.”
        Article XI emphasizes the preeminence of canonical juridical process at the diocesan level and reflects Orthodox ecclesiology concerning the nature and prerogatives of the diocesan church.  Indeed, it provides that, in Orthodox canonical practice, there are only two types of courts, both with different roles.  The diocesan court acts as the court of first instance in almost all canonical cases.  The synodal court, comprised only of hierarchs who are members of a synod, adjudicates the rare cases which pertain only to it, i.e.  primarily cases involving hierarchs and, acting as the court of second instance, the cases which are appealed to it from the diocesan court, i.e. as “The Supreme Court of Appeals” (Article XI, Section 4, h).
        In Orthodox jurisprudence in general and in the OCA in particular, there are no supra-diocesan courts, i.e. no national, “OCA,”  “Central Administration,” “SMPAC”, or “Metropolitan Council” courts, rather only the two provided for in the Statute and Canons: the diocesan court and the synodal court, each with their specific areas of competence.
        The diocesan court, by its very name and nature, is dependent upon a diocesan hierarch for its authority.  Indeed, a diocesan court can only be convened by an explicit decision of the diocesan hierarch.  As is noted in Article XI, Section 2, of the statute, the diocesan hierarch appoints the officers of the court who are to be chosen from among diocesan clergy and/or laity (depending upon the nature of the court.)  This same section notes that the diocesan hierarch acts as the presiding officer.  However, he may, for specific significant reasons, delegate another clergyman to act on his behalf.  It is not clearly stated within the OCA statute, but the diocesan and local nature of the diocesan court would imply that the clergyman appointed by the diocesan hierarch to take his place would also be a member of the diocesan clergy.
        However, whatever significant reasons exist, the delegation of another clergyman to act in behalf of the diocesan hierarch in no way removes the court from the authority of the diocesan hierarch.  It remains a diocesan court and can only be convened at his direction and with his blessing.  It further stands that, should the diocesan hierarch, acting as presiding officer or not, with someone delegated to act in his place, decides that a valid reason exists for dissolving the court, it would seem that he may do so.  In the end, it is his court and he must confirm its decision (Statute, XI, 4, f).

        While it remains to be seen, whether or not, the Central Administration is acting in an appropriate manner, there is most certainly a process of an appeal to “The Supreme Court of Appeals” that is envisioned and existing in “The Statute of the Orthodox Church in America”, canonical tradition, and Orthodox jurisprudence, equally available to ‘defendant’ and ‘accuser’ alike. 

        It is not necessarily about ‘fair play’ or ‘double jeopardy’, but about faithfully following proper   canonical juridical process that reflects Orthodox ecclesiology.

        Fr. Alexey   

        • George Michalopulos says

          Thank you Fr for this excellent and understandable synopsis. Are we to understand that the process of appealing the decision of the Diocesan Court (in this case) was circumvented by the prosecution (i.e. Syosset)? It would appear to me to be so but I await your considered opinion.

      • Fr. George Washburn says

        Friends, George M. is in over his depth in some of this. Since I have a lot to do today let me just mention two of the more obvious, careless, and misleading things that he has said here.

        In his eagerness to assassinate Fr. Jillions he makes the blatantly false statement that appeal of a verdict is an “egregious” example of “double jeopardy.” This shows either the most fundamental ignorance of how the law works in civil and spiritual courts or the willingness to overlook what one knows in the interest of casting aspersions.

        An appeal is not a retrial at all. It is a request that a superior judicial body correct wrongs which appellant claims were committed at the lower level. And please note that I am only pointing to the false claim of egregious double jeopardy here. I am expressing no opinion as to the actual merits of the case one way or the other, and agree with George that on the surface the system as applied by the bishop seems to have worked.

        George also makes the charge late in his piece that Fr. Jillions has invaded *the bishops’* **private** files. If any of what George has written is to be believed, and I am sure it must, Fr. Jillions is said to have accessed or opened *the institutions’* files , NOT hijacked and invaded the bishops’ own files. These are presumably files maintained by institutions on students and employees to record the good and the bad for possible use in running the organizations that keep said files, for example in giving or withholding letters of recommendation backed by some semblance of documented facts rather than just personal feelings or hearsay.

        Imagine how loudly George would yell if the institutions refused to open such files in the case of the proposed transfer of a bishop George *doesn’t* like. “Cover-up, cover-up” would be the hue and cry, wouldn’t it. But here because he likes Met. Jonah – as do I – he switches to the opposite “Sell-out, sell out!”

        Now as to Fr. Jillions *motives* in opening or accessing files in cases of possible transfer I have no knowledge and take no position. They can be used for bad purposes all right, and if it is true that he was looking in the files on Bishop Michael from his school days 35 or so years ago, I do not see a legitimate, non-manipulative purpose yet. But I do say that the mere fact of using or accessing institutional file information *in the case of possible transfers* is an intended use of such files, to be expected, and not *ipso facto* evidence of an invasion of anyone’s rights.

        I have some other possible comments about the accuracy and fairness of some of the rest of what George is peddling now that I may or may not have time to post in the next day or two. Meanwhile let me call to our recollection the series of hit pieces published here in the lead up to Parma in which unsubstantiated claims against Bishop Michael’s dealings with St. Tikhons were published in an obvious effort to lend credence to the Monomakhos editorial agenda of discrediting all OCA bishops in advance of that convocation. Reread them. It rings oh SO hollow to read George now citing the high number of votes Bishop Michael got.

        No thanks to you, George, no thanks to you. Without the false and still, months later completely unsubstantiated, claims of an EEOC **lawsuit** (as opposed to a mere, pro forma administrative letter), or alleged but unsubstantiated “conflict of interest by an insurance broker board member, presumably that vote you now belatedly seem to like – after all liking it suits the agenda of detracting from the actual occupant of the office – might have been higher.


        Fr. George

        • Daniel E. Fall says

          George, this is pretty sad editorial because it really shows how far your bias against anyone remotely related to Jonah’s exit has gone more than anything. I guess every Chancellor under Jonah was out to get him.

          If Jillions went to ACROD to review never before seen personnel files, I’m quite certain it was done with the blessing of a bishop, or perhaps even after other consultation with legal folk. As you are aware, the OCA is in a bit of a dungstorm with Matthias and Storheim lately to name a couple, not to mention a few others that were retired earlier.

          I see your editorial as a shoot the messenger piece. Sorry, but your stique is getting old, and you do need to decide which side of the Matthias fence you are on as well.

          You can’t throw mud in his sandbox and then play in it and get mad about the mud. It is a little comical when you point to Johnny and get upset about him looking at the mud when you already threw it!

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          Father George, OUR diocesan hierarchs are not employees of the Central Administration, the First Hierarch, the Holy Synod or the Metropolitan Soviet: they are “employees” of their respective dioceses.
          Nevertheless, the OCA Chancery, as a hangover from the days when the OCA was one Diocese, STILL maintains personnel files on Diocesan/Parish clergy. This is an anomaly and somewhat improper. Personnel files may and even should be the property of the Diocesan bishop of any given Priest or Deacon, NOT any Metropolitan or Patriarchal or other Administration.
          Although Bishops are not employees of the Holy Synod, it would not be deemed automatically improper if the Secretary of the Holy Synod or Its Chancery maintained files on its members.
          In both cases, it is a common rule in civilized societies that personnel files (especially medical files) are confidential and not subject to random searches or investigations. I KNOW that the files of some hierarchs contain confidential medical information, and that the release of such information from the file of a hierarch without the express permission of the hierarch whose file it is, is prohibited.
          For example, Metropolitan Theodosius’s file might very well contain information relative to his strokes and even some medical and insurance references.
          Why would e.g., Father Kishkovsky be able to not only do research in Bishop Nikolai (Soraich)’s personnel fie, but take the file out of the Chancery to shop it around to such instances as Fathers Gan and Potapov of ROCOR? Father Kiskhkovsky is a parish priest in the New York diocese who is also occupied in the OCA’s department of external affairs…There are virtuous and legal justifications for maintaining the privacy of personnel files, notwithstanding the recent legislation relative to only sexual misconduct, which clearly allows the release of information in any clergy files relative to sexual abuse.
          However, this is purely academic, or rather, quasi-academic. It is plain that there is no level too low, and no human boundary safe from the depredations and malice of some of the OCA nomenclatura, from ARchbishop and Protopresbyter on down, towards some individuals. And these depredations and the malice all may be traced back to the dread, trite Personal Problems that Protodeacon Eric Wheeler, Mr. Mark Stokoe and many others had with their own “Usual Suspects.” Metropoiltan Jonah has only recently been added to the list of those “Usual Suspects,” but he will be subject to their malice until the grave, like the others, his predecessors in offending the Nomenclatura.

          • Jonathan Johnston says


            “Thou dost protest too much!” As usual, you’re all over the place. Take your medication. You should see your file; my God, save us. Did you really do all those things? Tell everyone here about your nickname in the service.
            The entire Church deserves to know about deacons, priests and bishops who are a threat to the entire Church. Why do you think your file has been shopped around widely? Why did you try to hide a child molester anyway?

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              Jonathan Johnstone, whoever you are.
              The only nickname I had in my service as an enlisted man in the U.S. Army Signal Corps for three years and as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force who served at Goose AB Labrador (SAC), Bossier Base, Louisiana (Field Command, Defense Atomic Support Agency), Columbus AFB, Columbus, Mississippi I(SAC) (Combat Security Squadron Commander and Base Deputy Commander for Security and Law Enforcement) and in the Pentagon, at HQS US Air Force, The Air Staff as Deputy Commander, Personnel Security Group) was “Fitz.”
              i state that because you asked me to tell everyone my nickname in the service. I’d like you to know that I held a Top Secret Security Clearance for most of my service career, and that due to the sensitivity of the particular programs to which I had access, my background investigation was regularly updated at least once every five years and more often. There is NOTHING in my background that would be interested to a slimey scum-bag bottom-feeder like you, competing with the crabs and other waste scavengers, doing anything and everything possible to dirty the image of God in you (I say that, although I tend to believe you are not a believer but a church hobbyist).
              There is nothing egregious or immoral or shameful in my “file” whether in the OCA Chancery (Camp Swampy) or in the US Army or US Air Force.
              IF my file as been shopped around (liked me use of that term, eh: you aren’t the one who spelled plenitude with an extra ‘t’ are you?), this only confirms that such an activity as shopping personnel (and personal) files around typifies the actions of a Kondratick-less Chancery.
              I no longer take Cymbalta and Provigil for my clinical depression, and have not done since I retired some years ago. I briefed the Holy Synod, the Diocesan Council and my whole diocese (in an encylical letter) about that illness some years ago. i can’t imagine why you struck out so blindly and stupidly with your “Take your medication.’
              WHAT are you? One of the 72 brainless automatons that signed their Judas letter for Mark Stokoe and Paul Kucynda back in the day?
              I’ve never known a child molester, let lone hid one. You tell me why, if the founders of “Pokrov” believe that Sam Allen actually molested their children, why they’ve never brought criminal charges against him? (I state once again that it’s my conviction that their children were not molested by Sam Allen as they liked to claim, but they’ve more than dined out on it for years, and have even carved out their little corner of internet bloggery to replace a life they could never otherwise achieved, recklessly playing with the psychological lives of their own offspring.
              You write: “The entire Church deserves (sic) to know about deacons, priests and bishops who are a threat to the entire Church.” Many here, you phony, have waxed ineloguent and indignant about my revealing what I know about the sexual and other hijinks of those who have been in the forefront of Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick’s, Bishop Nikolai (Soraich)’s, Metropolitan Jonah’s accusers. Ask the forgotten Heracleides.
              By the way, please name ONE deacon, priest or bishop who is “a threat to the ENTIRE Church,’ OK?
              Stupid, silly and immoral.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Your Grace:

                The accusation against Bp Nicolai that most troubled me and seemed attested to by several witnesses was that he physically struck someone who disagreed with him. If it actually happened that is a bad thing. I also know Paul Sidebottom and find him truthful. I’m sure Bp Nicolai has many talents but that does not mean he should be a bishop. How is one to discern the truth in all this. BTW I am confident you are quite correct in the Sam Allen case.

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  Where are the witnesses to Bishop Nikolai’s alleged striking of another person? And who are they? I’ve previously heard complaints that Caucasian clergy have in the past granted themselves permission to strike and beat Native Alaskans. Perhaps eye-witness evidence of this has been swept under the carpet in administrations prior to that of Bishop Nikolai?
                  Be careful. Imitating you, what about the accusations against Bishop Innocent (Gula) that most troubled ME, and “seemed attested” (is that weaselly or what?) to by several witnesses, that he liked to feel up men, especially younger clergy whom he found exciting, and some of whom allowed it in order to get ahead? You have a right to your personal assessment of Paul Sidebottom whom you know so well…. As far as discerning the truth, signed depositions and testimony and other corroborated evidence given in a court of law or before a magistrate should be sufficient to form an opinion.

                • Jane Rachel says

                  The only thing I read about that allegation was Paul Sidebottom’s report, which can be read on ocaskews. Just google it.

                  Mr. Sidebottom did not witness any beating. He witnessed a drunk being drunk. All the things that he says Father Isidore said and did don’t amount to much, if anything. Especially when you remember, always remember, that Father Isidore was out of his mind, i.e., not reasonable, not using his frontal lobes. He was snot-slingin’ DRUNK. Maybe his own father beat him? Maybe he came from an abusive family? Since when do people read stuff like that and take it seriously? I’ll tell you when. It happens when the mob mentality takes over. Listen to the guy on the soapbox! Yeah! Get out the pitchforks and flaming torches! Yeah! Kill! Kill!

                  Seriously. That’s how it’s always seemed to me.

                  Also, look at Bishop Nikolai’s career. Look at his day job in Arizona. Look at that a second. Sorry, I’ve said this before and gotten into trouble with a real, live staretz. I wasn’t there, I didn’t see it, but if it doesn’t make sense, I cannot in good conscience accept it as true. There’s no proof. Just a lot of angry people.

                  Father Isidore was outrageously drunk. Outrageously. I can’t stress it enough. So why listen to him? Why come forward in a deposition and then let it get published all over the place, as if you are the big whistleblower, as if it is gospel truth, and when men’s lives are in the balance?

                  He needed treatment. That should have been Paul Sidebottom’s focus. Get Father Isidore to realize he has hit bottom. Help him.

                  Nope, I read the slimy thing all over again, and I still can’t find anything honorable in that Sidebottom testimony. I do wonder if Paul Sidebottom’s actual words were, kinda sorta moved around to manipulate the reader. Certainly, Stokoe’s remarks do that.

                  The fact that he wrote it the way he did, and that he let it get published makes me more sick to my stomach than Father Isidore being an alchoholic in need of help. I’ve been around people who are that drunk. They make no sense. They are belligerent, obnoxious, they don’t tell the truth, they exaggerate, they swagger, they fondle themselves, they shout, point the finger, accuse the person they are closest to, they attack anyone near them with their words. It’s awful. It’s called alcoholism.

                  Father Isidore, after going through treatment, explained himself. For heaven’s sake, doesn’t anybody believe him?

                  What did the people who wanted to get rid of Bishop Nikolai have to gain by bringing him down? Why did they want to get rid of him? What was going on behind the scenes? What were they thinking? I don’t know, but I do know that it never did make sense that he was the horrible person portrayed by Stokoe, et al. It doesn’t make sense, and that’s what bothers me.

                  • Jane Rachel,

                    The axis of Fr. Alexander Garklavs, Bishop Benjamin, Mark Stokoe and Fr. Michael Oleksa worked hand in hand to undermine Bishop Nikolai. They all supporters of Archbishop Job who was one step away from being retired for his interference inside the Diocese of Alaska was their hero or at least useful too against +Nikolai. +Job had to get on his knees and beg +Nikolai not to bring charges against him in a spiritual court. +Nikolai relented and did not disgrace +Job publicly, but +Job like the servant whose debt was forgiven went right out and jumped on +Nikolai when the Sidebottom EEOC case hit.

                    Yes, +Nikolai was no milk toast bishop like +Job who like too many bishops are more concerned with being loved then making tough calls that might not please everyone. Fr Oleksa has never met an Alaskan bishop he liked and +Nikolai wanted him to spend more time in his parish and the diocese and not galavanting all over the world. Oh, what a terrible thing for a bishop to tell his priest. Just terrible. One has to know the ego of Fr. Oleska to understand that he would not be dictated to by any bishop.

                    To those who would like to hang Fr. Isidore, I give credit to Bishop Benjamin and Metropolitan Jonah for seeing Fr. Isidore’s disease and giving him a chance to work out his salvation attached to the parish in Oregon. It is too bad that Bishop Nikolai and Metropolitan Jonah have not been afforded the same chance to continue to serve the Church as active bishops.

                    If Bishop Matthias does not return to the Midwest, the OCA will have 5 dioceses without ruling bishops: Alaska, South, Canada, Midwest and Eastern Pennsylvania. The OCA potential bishop bench is so thin that it may be a long time before candidates are found to fill these vacant sees. Yet two bishops who could serve are kept under OCA house arrest.

                    It is a real head scratcher to me but it is the way the OCA does business. Vilify a man, call him crazy and let them fend for themselves. No wonder the OCA stock is sinking faster than Enron!

                    • James,

                      Many thanks for your clarifications. This comment especially hits home and confirms what I had suspected:

                      +Job had to get on his knees and beg +Nikolai not to bring charges against him in a spiritual court. +Nikolai relented and did not disgrace +Job publicly, but +Job like the servant whose debt was forgiven went right out and jumped on +Nikolai when the Sidebottom EEOC case hit.

                      At last, someone says it outright. Bishop Job was practically declared to be a martyr (I believe that word might even have been used!) for his “humility,” yet no one comes forward, even anonymously, to admit they were wrong, to apologize, to ask forgiveness for refusing to see the truth. Shame on the priests who (blindly or not) followed him adoringly, and led their people astray! I figured it out, and here you are saying the same thing I suspected almost since day one. It’s a very bumpy carpet and walking on it without looking underneath and cleaning it out just makes it worse.

                      As for the people who think this is gossip, what many are writing here is not gossip. For me, comments like the one above by James is helping me to heal. I saw all that adoration and couldn’t understand nor follow my priest or parish into that pit; and that isolation, I can tell you, was painful. Knowing the truth will set you free.

                      P.S. I meant Bishop Nikolai’s work in Nevada, but I wrote Arizona.

                    • Jonathan Johnston says

                      + Nikolai was thrown out of Alaska by all the clergy. He was a tyrant and certifiable.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Without well organized spiritual courts, well and justly conducted such situations will always result in vilification of many with no resolution.

                      I think it becomes a case of innocent until proven guilty.

                  • Jane Rachel writes: “I still can’t find anything honorable in that Sidebottom testimony.”

                    Well, the United States EEOC found his testimony honorable after a thorough investigation!

                    From the OCA’s web release as published on Pokrov:

                    “…Those allegations have been found to be credible by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (‘EEOC’) in its investigation of Mr. Sidebottom’s allegations, and the Holy Synod recognizes that the consequences of the protracted investigation have been a source of much distress to Mr. Sidebottom. The Holy Synod regrets any adverse impact these circumstances have had on Mr. Sidebottom. The Holy Synod also regrets that Mr. Sidebottom was discharged from his position at St. Herman’s Seminary by the now-retired Bishop of Alaska, Nikolai, in retaliation for filing the complaint with the OCA, as found by the EEOC in its investigation of Mr. Sidebottom’s allegations.”


              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                I assume there are a lot of kids who were not molested by anyone, including Sam Allen. Prior records and prior convictions are not evidence of new crimes. I believe that Sam Allen was, indeed, a convicted child molester. After all, it was only when it was learned that Sam Allen was already in jail for child molestation that the HTC parents came up with the theory that their children, too, MUST have been molested: It’s a no-brainer, SAUNCA! Don’t you get it?
                By the way, SAUNCA, you referred to “all those kids EXCEPT the ones from” HTC.
                How many are those “all?” Yes, I believe that the HTC parents’ THEORY that their children were molested, is mistaken.

                • “Yes, I believe that the HTC parents’ THEORY that their children were molested, is mistaken.”

                  Of course you do. To state otherwise would be to admit you blew it big time as a bishop.

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  I tend to believe Sam Allen’s remark to a friend while in prison that he probably WOULD have molested some chldren at HTC, and that he had formulated some tentative scenarios in which to do so, but that he was arrested before doing anything.
                  As far as something being personal, yes, it eventually became so. Mme. Sakoda and Cappy Larson both publicly threatened to ruin me and to break the back of both Cathedral and Diocese financially, not only threatened but predicted the total collapse and ruin of me, the Diocese, and the Cathedral. Eventually they won a civil suit finding HTC of being “neglectful.”
                  Oh, yes, and the Protodeacon Eric Wheeler, who defended the OCA from the Pokriov ladies, liked to announce, “This is ALL Bishop Tikhon’s fault.”
                  Hard, SAUNCA, not to take such stuff ‘personally,’ no?

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Vladyka Tikhon,

                  I have conducted nearly 450 diagnostic assessments of felony sexual predators. I do not believe them when they tell me their names without photo identification, the presence of their medical record, and their criminal record. And even then I am dubious of anything I cannot independently corroborate. They live and breath by deception, distortion, rationalization, manipulation, and lies. They lie when there is absolutely no reason to lie; they deceive when there is nothing to be gained; and they distort when there is no identifiable benefit. Further, they are notoriously superficially charming, and they are fully capable and completely “fluent” at mimicking emotions they cannot & do not feel – most notably, empathy & love – and they learn by observing others (frequently the clergy and helping professionals).

                  My point to you is a simple one: neither you nor (then) Fr. Nicholai were qualified, nor adequately prepared to assess and/or manage a serial sexual predator in the cathedral. I imply no pejorative, but when you say you “tend to believe his remark,” you do not appreciate that this is a man who would lie to his own mother about his date of birth! The OCA settled & it is finished. But judging by the fact that you can be repeatedly drawn into into this same argument seems to suggest there are individuals you need to speak with, not shun.

                  I will say this to you, Vladyka, for as many of these individuals as I have seen – going into the encounter fully knowledgeable of their history and the specifics of the crimes – I have been completely deceived, completely made a fool of by the best of them. My only advantage is that, upon discovery, I have the opportunity to recall them and confront them directly. Then I go home, and in a two-step process, put my clothes in the washer, and thoroughly shower. It is 80% symbolic.

                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  That being said MS, the fact remains that the fellow in question did not abuse any children while attending the LA cathedral. Note that I did not say that he couldn’t have, or wouldn’t have, or whether it was even prudent for him to be there, only that he didn’t while he was there.

                  Huge difference.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Mr. Michalopulos,

                  The only “huge difference” is that an accusation raised today by a child is considered definitive until disproved. How did we reach this conclusion? By protracted comparisons of verified victims of child sexual predation – verified meaning they have been photographed, videotaped or witnessed in the act of being abused, or by confession of the perpetrator. These verified victims rarely, if ever, make false accusations, and are infinitely more likely to deny that abuse occurred, despite documented evidence to the contrary. Further, in protracted examination of children that have withdrawn accusations of sexual abuse – and it was insignificant as to whether the suspected perpetrator was a family member, known assailant, or stranger – researchers found the most likely reason the accusation was withdrawn was pressure from the family against scandal and “consequences” (e.g. loss of primary financial provider), and not that the report was false. The facts as I see it:

                  1) Saunca is correct: the single greatest predictor of sexual perpetration is a past offense.

                  2) Saunca is correct: there is no consistently effective model or modality for the treatment of child sexual predation, with the exception of incarceration.

                  3) In this case, children made accusations of sexual contact with a known child sexual predator; since the research is clear that children rarely, if ever, make false reports of sexual abuse, there is no reason to question the veracity of their report, and they should have clinically engaged as victims.

                  4) Vladyka Tikhon has previously attempted to make an argument for “iatrogenic introduction,” meaning “over-reactive” parents and professionals introduced or provoked “false impressions” and memories to these children, thereby making their accusations unreliable. He has called attention to the notoriety of “McMartin Daycare Case” in CA in the 1980. I find this unfounded, unqualified, and shameful. Search my comments, as I have addressed this issue previously.

                  5) My comments are that of a clinician, not a peace officer or officer of the court. That the legal system can or cannot formulate an adequate prosecution and conviction is insignificant. There are major obstacles to overcome when the victims are children and they have been threatened by their perpetrator. Again, Saunca raises the reality of what I have read in most criminal records: histories of accusations, arrests, and the inability of law enforcement to develop an adequate prosecution.

                  If you have information to the contrary, Mr. Michalopulos, I am interested in seeing it. Otherwise, I stand by my conclusion as accurate.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Because no charges were filed by potential victims. It’s the same thing with the Manson Family, they went on a killing spring one night killing the Tate-LaBianco families. They weren’t accused of any murders that took place that night in Pacific Palisades. Not that they couldn’t.

                • Heracleides says

                  Never thought I’d live to see the day, but I have to agree with Mr. Stankovich on this one. As a fellow clinical social worker who worked for years as a probation officer in a juvenile sex offenders unit, everything Stankovich has written in his post above is spot on. No doubt about it, hell has officially frozen over.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  All I know is what’s in the police blotter. Just as I don’t know that Jonah wasn’t receiving aid and comfort from the CIA and that’s the real reason the Synod had to get rid of him.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Your Grace–I think that the Church needs to respond appropriately to both allegations of abuse and actual instances of abuse. The Church’s culpability may range from a mild form of tort, such as simple negligence, to criminal action, such as facilitating a crime. Thus, it is important to take simple and common sense steps to make sure that convicted child abusers are not put in positions that would provide opportunities for them to recommit. If they are put in such positions, the prudent thing to do would be to closely supervise such individuals. Thus, that argument that Sam Allen did not in fact abuse children is not an adequate reason not to have had taken proper cautions to preclude abuse.

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  Carl Kraeff, you are right in hindsight. However, at that time NO parishes had taken proper precautions to preclude abuse. Nor, you must admit, had the parents of the Sunday School children at Holy Trinity Cathedral taken ANY such precautions or indicated any interest in what their kids were doing while the parents had their coffee hour.

                • Cappy Larson says

                  The children are adults now. They now know only too well that their former bishop never believed them.
                  Bishop Tikhon has done his best to spread his lies for twenty years. I guess he believes if he says it enough people will believe it. Probably most do. Because he is a bishop!
                  If Bishop Tikhon “tends to believe” Sam Allen, then clearly he doesn’t believe the victims.
                  I really don’t care anymore, but if Orthodox people are truly interested in their Church, they should care about the truth.
                  Why the OCA allows this retired Bishop to continue posting this trash is beyond me. But even more perplexing is how he ever got to be a bishop.

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  I also have to agree with Mr. Stankovich’s assessment. He is correct.

                  Peter A. Papoutsis

                • A word on the McMartin case from the jurors:

                  Jury foreperson Luis Chang explained the vote: “The interview tapes were too biased; too leading. That’s the main crux of it.” Another juror told reporters, “Whether I believe he did it and whether it was proven are very different.”

                  Relying upon a botched (at every level) criminal investigation and proceeding to declare “nothing happened” is to swallow whole what the media misinformation machine spewed.

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  I still stand 100 per cent behind my posting of February 25, 2013 at 8:51 pm:
                  No one has been found guilty by any appropriate or competent authority of having molested children at Holy Trinity Cathedral, San Francisco. This is not my personal opinion, it is fact.
                  Sam Allen has never been found guilty or even accused by any appropriate or competent authority of having molested children at Holy Trinity Cathedral. That is not my personal opinion, it is fact.
                  Holy Trinity Cathedral, however, has been found guilty in a civil case of not having taken appropriate or sufficient measures to prevent child abuse there, presumably based partially on the obvious inability of anyone to establish that children were actually abused there. They were found guilty of neglectfulness.
                  Of the three sets of parents originally alleging or suspecting child abuse by Mr. Allen had taken place, two of them pursued the matter after i met with the parents face-to-face in San Francisco. One set did not pursue the matter further, and the father of that set of parents was a pediatrician. I suppose Heracleides and a couple others will round up ten or fifteen thumbs down for this message. It’s ok. Cappy, Melanie: they never managed to convince me. I think I’ve acted appropriately to my disbelief. I don’t approve of gambling.
                  I note that Cappy Larson today accuses me of lies. I ask that she let me know of any lie I’ve told. ANY LIE.

          • This particular subject is one of the most important that George has touched on. In today’s OCA, you have committees and entire Metropolitan Councils and Synod (I would guess today it’s upwards of 50 people discussing any of these matters) discussing sensitive, private personnel and disciplinary matters that should never go beyond two or three people, at most. Orthodox polity being what it is, and Bishop Tikhon explaining it quite clearly, it seems a simple matter that at the next All-American Council a statute change would be passed that forbids such records to be kept by any Central Administration official in any way, and that all personnel records are under the direct supervision and authority of the diocesan bishop. Furthermore that records must be maintained under the strictest confidentiality, and that all employees at the diocesan and CCA level must sign a confidentiality agreement that forbids dissemination of such information, citing severe penalties for breech of the agreement. Furthermore, that the Metropolitan Council would be forbidden from discussing disciplinary matters of priests or bishops in any context.

            These are standard HR practices that the OCA has trampled on, and it’s time that priests and bishops take back their right to privacy under civil law. The CCA should have no records at all on any priest. All records must be maintained solely by the diocesan hierarchy and the contents should never be shared with anyone without the permission of the subject. It’s time to make that statute change.

            • So Simple, you unearth yet another reality of how in the absence of clear limits those in power can easily misunderstand their positions. What is the OCA Statute, a most imperfect document, has again been abused to justify fallen human agendas. Given the nature of such an imperfect set of rules, I wonder if not only said Statute should be modified but entirely abolished and in its place a new and God-centered document in its place.

              A document written by lawyers in a particular time and place, full of intentional ambiguities has deformed too many people the result of which is what we see being played out in the OCA. Better to consign it to the trash heap of history so that free men and women of good will are not tempted by its legions of ambiguity.

              • Fr. George Washburn says

                Dear So Simple and James:

                Both of you well meaning folks seem to be coming at this issue from similar, American government-referenced vantage points which do not take their bearings from what I understand to be authentic, traditional Orthodox doctrine and practice as to the role of presiding bishops. Thus So Simple refers to passing new rules at the next convocation about what kind of files the Metropolitan may or may not keep in his offices (governing by majority vote legislation a la representative democracy) and So Simple refers to abolition of the system so that free men and women of good will are (well, he gets sort of muddled here and doesn’t suggest a coherent alternative, but I think it is a sort of populist or libertarian exclamation, blaming lawyers and ambiguous rules and people with flawed human agendas) not “tempted by the system’s “legions of ambiguity.”

                What if instead of trashing the individuals who are trying to right, or at least run, the ship now, the people ‘assembled’ here were to step back as Fr. Karlgut counsels to look at the OCA’s whole scheme of things in light of that traditional Orthodox teaching? If I understand tradition correctly, there are few if any of the beloved checks and balances that inhere in all our American setups, and one is left, instead of the characteristic risks of democracy like bad compromises, lethargy, political horse-trading, etc. with the downside of one individual or group holding much relatively ‘unchecked’ power.

                it is fun and even falsely comforting to imagine, when a system of leadership or the individuals exercising it don’t seem to be working well, that doing the opposite, or at least something quite different that we find appealing, will solve the problems and assure things will run smoothly. In the cold light of objectivity I think all those mirages disappear and we are left with the realization that there is no fool-proof system, nothing that is abuse-proof, but if a retooled and more traditional system were in place wouldn’t we at least know that we were accepting the risks and challenges inherent in the whole Orthodox “system” of belief and practice? Not an easy task, especially when you try to parse out of the historic record all the possible non-Orthodox compromises with secular power that state Church Orthodoxy made under czars, emperors and sultans.


                Fr. George

                • George Michalopulos says

                  That would be a good thing Fr. However the powers-that-be just can’t “stand back” and “examine the big picture” so to speak as if they were some secular, for-profit corporation that makes widgets. They are a Church. As such they preach repentance. Will they repent of what they did to His Beatitude? Of brutalising priests who dare to ask questions? Will they apologise to entire dioceses for not abiding by their own rules and which continue to flounder and remain vacant after three years?

                  • Fr. George Washburn says

                    Good point about repentance, George. When Christians go forward after trouble that is an indispensable element.

                    You speak about it as if it were only the business of others, however, and not you and me too. Earlier this week you peddled a version of events CENTERED by name on Fr. Jillions and Met. Tikhon as willing co-conspirators, if not tools, of Fr. Kishkovsky. Please re-read it if you have forgotten.

                    Now this morning, with nary a blush, you report that these same two men seem to be tipping Fr. Leonid over the side, or at least asking him to use the gangplank right away. And then you blithely proceed to call on unnamed (thankfully) others to repent. And to use the unpleasant little word “finally” in the closing sentence of your report, as if Met. Tikhon, who has only been in office a few months, should have done in days or weeks what Met. Jonah could not in several years.

                    Tomorrow is the Pharisee and the Publican out here on the coast, and I have to tell you George it does not take much imagination to hear you thanking God that you are not like any number of the Publicans who have the actual responsibility of leading the OCA under adverse conditions that you have helped make worse. What if you were to show the way and demonstrate the Publican’s prayer just this once?


                    Fr. George

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Power is checked by the call to repentance. Each of us is called to such an orientation. The more we are obedient the less abuse.

                  • Michael Bauman says (February 24, 2013 at 4:00 pm):

                    Power is checked by the call to repentance. Each of us is called to such an orientation. The more we are obedient the less abuse.
                    Power is almost always seized in some sort of hostile environment, usually to the benefit of the powerful and to the detriment of the powerless.

                    Authority, though, is generally conceded by people to their leaders in much more mutually beneficial circumstances.

                    In The Church, we need and respect legitimate authority.

                    Loving fatherly direction and acountability to the family which is Christ’s own Body. That’s the ticket!

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Yes, Monk James, big difference between power and authority. My point, totally experential–my experience–is that when I am humble and obedient even if I feel it necessary to bring things that are wrong to clergy’s attention it works out better than if I am not humble and obedient.

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  I understand that no children at HTC, including the children of the Pokrov folks, came forward or initiated any reports of sexual contact or abuse with anyone until people at HTC learned that Sam Allen was in jail for sex crimes against chldren. it was then, after some parents grilled their children that the narrative of their having been molested by Sam Allen (with whom some of the parents had had OTHER issues) was produced. Soon after I learned of all this, by telephone call of one of the parents, I went up to San Francisco and met with parents from three families. At that meeting, none of them said anything convincing to me, but I didn’t make up my mind until much, much later, that the children were not molested by Sam Allen. In our initial face-to-face conversation with those parents. I was, of course, very disappointed that the then dean of HTC. Fr. George Sondergaard, had NOT been the one to notify me of the topic. I had to learn it from Cappy larson and another woman, childless and now dead. On the telephone. As Larson related what she believed must have happened to her children, i waited until she had told me ‘everything’, and then i talked to Laura, the childless woman. I said to her that no matter how horrid the tale, at least the alleged perpetrator was identified already and had been locked up. I thought we should be thankful for that. Laura, spoke to Cappy Larson, and said “He thinks we should be grateful the criminal is locked up!” Cappy screamed, “NEVER.” later she explained that she had said “Never” because his being already in jail prevented her from “getting at him.”

                  I respect Mr. Stankovich’s credentials and experience. However, ONE of the three fathers involved is a Pediatrician. After we spoke, i never saw him again. He and his wife did not take part in any of the attacks against the Cathedral, its staff, or me, nor did they participate in the civil case that resulted in a finding that the Cathedral was guilty of neglectfulness. it is true that the Cathedral building is a complicated many-roomed and -storeyed ideal place to play hide and seek. Parents could see tell their kids to go to Sunday School, or someone could take them, and that would be the last the parents ever saw or heard of their children until they were through with their coffee and social and went looking for them. It seemed to me (and it still does) that the court was correct in saying the Cathedral should have taken more care to insure that the children were properly supervised at all times. (The OCA’s Holy Synod had not yet come up with proper procedures, such as insuring that parish children were not to be left alone without TWO responsible adults). Also, I had remarked at my meeting with the three sets of parents that they, too, should share some of the responsibility for neglect. KNOWING as they did, the Cathedral, its plant, and the personnel, including Sam Allen, why had they never bothered to visit their children in their Sunday School classes and KNOW EXACTLY WHERE THEIR LITTLE ONES WERE AT ALL TIMES? The pediatrician and his wife especially seemed to be affected by that suggestion: perhaps that’s why they remained aloof from the whole Sakoda/Larson/Pokrov crusade.

                  While Mr. Stankovich may feel that it’s important to keep those alleged events alive and fresh in the consciousness of little chlldren even into adolescence. i always disagreed with that approach. I thought that no stone should be left unturned in preventing the children from thinking they were permanently traumatized, permanently damaged, permanently at a disadvantage with their contemporaries. However, Melanie and the Larson’s were totally dedicated to keeping the flames burning. I have some memory of school days. A couple of years later, Mrs. Sakoda gave an interview about the awful damage done to her son to a local, popular Bay area newpaper. To me the thought was appalling that a boy in puberty or early adolescence would have to face his peers in public school as ‘the guy who was molested by a pervert.” To me it was appalling that the Larsons had their teen-aged daughter accompany them on public demonstrations. I remember one Feast of the Holy Trinity at the Los Angeles Cathedral where I remained the Rector. Coming out of Church after Liturgy, I learned that Cappy and associates had been picketing out on the street in front of the Cathedral with large placards, ala Freboro Baptist, ‘”STOP CLERGY ABUSE’, etc. This was patently more vital than the Eucharist for them. Prior to the alleged molestations, Larsons and Sakoda and some others were already indignant that some former members of HOOM were allowed to serve as Altar Boys; that some MEN were allowed to act as readers, and that some, such as the choir director and others, wore cassocks around the church. Mr. Larson said he didn’t understand why we had to sing the Lord’s Prayer before meals, and so on. As soon as the news of Sam Allen’s arrest became known and the parents began to investigate their children, they began to say that it was because Sam Allen sometimes wore a cassock the children were tricked into thinking he was a person of power, a PRIEST! Based on that trickery, they decided that Clergy Sexual Abuse included abuse by anyone wearing a cassock, whether or not they were clergy. it seems to me the message of the Pokrov parents to their children was always this: “Do NOT get over this: do NOT get past this.’

                  Mr. Stankovich, you may think that is the correct approach: sorry, I do not.

                  I want to emphasize, relative to Mr. Stankovich’s correct opening sentence, that NO CHIDREN RAISED ACCUSATIONS. Parents raised accusations and then called in professionals to verify them. That also applies to Mr. Stankovich’s point ‘3)”.

                  The children made no accusations to be accepted or improperly rejected. The parents did. Surely, Mr. Stankovich knows the dynamics involved there. There is a great opportunity for panicking parents to do wrong, even if well-meaning.

                  After meeting with the parents, feeling WAY out of my depth in the matter of child-rearing and mental health. I turned to the nearest to a professional amongst the clergy of my diocese. Father Nicholas Soraich, who had some experience as Director of a Presbyterian Clinic in lAs Vegas for teen-agers with dependency problems, but was now working with the Clark County (Las Vegas) District Attorney in the area of child support. He went to San Francisco, the Cathedral, and met with “everybody.’ Great were the expressions of “AT LAST” and so on. Especially satisfying, according to them, was Father Nicholas’ sanctifying and purifying tour of the entire Cathedral plant with quarts of Holy Water. I also let Father Sondergaard go back to Archbishop Dmitri’s diocese, and replaced him with Archpriest Victor Sokolov.

                  He incensed the parents by holding a Molieben of Forgiveness (“For the Increase of love”) after a Sunday Liturgy, and by encouraging that everyone try to learn from, but GET PAST the trauma. I’m not sure why Bishop Nikolai, who at the time had been the hero that saved the day from the criminally obtuse bishop, me, has now become the recipient of ill-feelings from the Pokrovians.

                  I used to hear from Bay Area clergy that the Pokrovians had visited and “tried out” this or that parish, but, last I heard, they never found an Orthodox parish or priest that met their criteria. That’s too bad. There are many, many wonderful clergy and parishes in the Bay Area besides ours,

                  • Vladyka, that is a long explanation that essentially claims: It’s all the parent’s fault.

                    Perhaps this is why the physician who listened to what you had to say to him and the other parents shook the dust off his sandals at you and the OCA, and for all you know the Orthodox faith.

                    “I never heard from him again” is victory for someone interested in not being bothered, but I’d think it failure for anyone attempting to spread the Gospel.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      My explanation, CQ, is that it’s my conviction that the parents at Holy Trinity Cathedral that believe their chidren were molested/sexually abused by Sam Allen are mistaken in their belief. You say I “essentially’ claim that it (What?) is all the parents fault. No, I don’t claim that at all. I deny it happened. Yes, I declare that if there’s any neglect of children involved in the hypothetical offense, the parents MUST share responsibility for the neglect that enabled the hypothetical event to occur. THEY “enabled’
                      How could I blame anybody for something that never happened?

                    • Vladyka,

                      What happened was that nearly every family with a child at Holy Trinity Cathedral left that parish. Many left the OCA. Some left the Orthodox Church. Fr. Victor Sokolov, of blessed memory, took charge of a parish that was a shell of its former self.

                      By your own account some people who brought their concerns to you were never heard from again. In your telling this is a judgement against those who left your care loudly, but to the rest of the Church your recounting demonstrates your callous disregard for their souls.

                      Something happened, Vladyka. People who trusted to you were betrayed. People who looked to you for guidance were blamed. People who needed you were abandoned. In what is a pattern for your tenure, a parish that turned to you in its need was rebuffed and blamed by you for daring to bring you their problems.

                      Something terrible happened, Vladyka. You chose to “tend to believe” hearsay about what a pedophile claimed. You chose to disbelieve the faithful Orthodox Christians entrusted to your care. That’s what happened, and it had real effects on real families and a real parish.

                      Not that any of these somethings matter.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      CQ. If I were a parent, I, too, would have probably transferred to a safer parish, even if St. John of Francisco were the Bishop instead of me. HTC was not known, even when the Larsons and Sakodas were still around, as overflowing with children. i’m not sure why you are anxious to blame me for causing parents to panic. It’s still a dangerous place. Right on the corner of a busy downtown city block, with no fields parks, vacant lots and lots of street people. The building is small, complex and some members still can get lost in it. It became FAMOUS in those days as “the place where all those children were abused.” Some parishioners, CQ, were appalled by the Larsons and Melanie Sakoda, as well. There’s no need to blame me or anyone else for being responsible for some families leaving. I repeat, if I were a parishioner with kids, I, too, would have distanced my family from the place.

                      I never picketed the place as families arrived for services, CQ.

                      You say I blamed the parish. That’s totally untrue. Sakoca and the Larsons were NOT “the parish.” The COURTS, CQ, blamed the parish for negligence. If you say I blamed the parish for child molestation (which i believe did not HAPPEN there) I think there’s something wrong with your logic.

                      You, CQ, have a chip on your shoulder: it’s called ‘Bishop Tikhon.” Try to get over me. I’m not that big a deal as you make me out to be. it was not my idea to become a Deacon. It was not my idea to become a Priest, and it was not my idea to become a Bishop. This is on the record. I retired honorably and under no cloud whatsoever. Were you at my retirement banquet in Las Vegas? Did you watch the presentations, especially the DVD highlighting the life of the diocese during my incumbency? Have you read the resolutions of the Diocesan Assembly SINCE I retired?

                      I don’t mean to brag, because I think I’m a piece of shit, personally. But one of my faults is I can’t stand obvious lies and twisted attempts at logical discourse. At eighty years and three months, I’m not going to change much. Sometimes I regret how easily i was talked into ordination and then leaving Washington DC, the only place i was ever as happy as I’d been in the US Army Signal Corps and US Air Force. I listened to Father and then Bishop Dmitri too much. You, and before you, Saunca, have listed many outright untruths about me and what I’ve said. Since an untruth has to be told with the intent of covering up the truth before it’s a lie, I’ll give you both the benefit of the doubt and say you both, like Mmes. Sakoda and Larson, are merely regaling us with falsehoods, rather than branding you as malicious liars. The worst thing I can think of to say about you is that you believe what you say here.

                      By the way, I totally disregard the first five “thumbs-downs” which may appear on this post. They would be my “usual suspects” who decide on thumbs-down according to my name at the top of the post.

                    • Vladyka,

                      To be clear: I blame you for nothing. You have long reacted exactly as one who writes “I think I’m a piece of shit, personally” would be expected to react.

                      I have not regaled you with a single falsehood. I do think it important that the “nothing happened” meme you’ve been trying to peddle be put in context of the fruit borne by the events and your reaction to them.

                      And you might remember that I was the one who pointed out on this board that you were not hounded from office for any reason, but that you retired at your own timing for your own reasons.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      CQ, I must take issue with you (if I understand you correctly). If nothing happened, then nothing happened and it’s wrong for any self-appointed crusaders to inaugurate a career based on a falsehood. To take His Grace Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald to task for something he didn’t do, didn’t countenance, or reacted in a way that was not to the pleasing of some people is morally suspect. That abuse has been initiated against children by people working in churches is not news and it’s commendable of the Pokrov ladies to try and root it out. But to somehow continue to blacken the name of His Grace because of some tenuous, nebulous connection to the time in question is wrong.

                    • Bishop Tikhon: wishing you all the best says

                      I almost always give you a thumbs up, unless it won’t load, which it won’t this time either. So, here’s a verbal thumbs up.

                    • Fr. George Washburn says

                      Well friends, it is somehow SO fitting that the phoenixes of bitterness over the SF cathedral allegations have risen once again from the fire in a thread that bears the title “Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss.” Only have to change the word Boss to Bull and you have a pretty good idea of what’s crackin’.

                      How many of us watched the negativity entrench itself on the old Indiana List 14 or more years ago? Subsequently there was derailing of discussion on ocanews because pokrov and/or Bishop Tikhon could not shut up about it and each other then. And now, redux or rethree, or refour ….or four hundred?

                      Nobody can prove anything now on this site one way or the other. And even if you could it would have little if any significance to what ought to be the subjects of our concern and efforts here and now. How fitting that both sides are at least invested in heavy criticism of the current administration while steadfastly ignoring what a spectacle they make of themselves by still digging through ashes of the past, with the axes they mean to grind and use on the “enemy” actually growing duller by the blow.

                      You folks who are expressing curiosity about what happened! May I urge you with love to run like heck in the opposite direction of digging into this. Look at the people who have fallen into the habit of still stirring old grievances decades later. For the sake of your souls and/or the real present and future of the OCA focus there instead of on trying to decide something that is way out of our ambit and far beyond our insight to resolve with any certainty from this far distance. The common law jurisdictions developed something in previous centuries called “statutes of repose” that forbade people to litigate and relitigate matters that had reached a certain age and staleness because they knew that if they didn’t have a bar to that kind of thing certain kinds of people and personalities would dig in and fight each other in court until hell froze, and then try to keep going on the ice.

                      Green St. antagonists go to your graves if you must churning out the bile, blood on the boil, brains on empty or neutral or amygdala reactions or whatever. But please stop dragging those old red herrings through current discussion where they don’t help and just distract people and spread the nasty smell of rot that grows riper by the year. Both sides of this exchange in my opinion are living examples of why a Church like the OCA cannot be governed by anyone at all: too many of the supposed participants, the setters of others straight, are clinging to their own agendas. George, for the good of us all exercise a little editorial discretion please and choke of these folks; they can’t seem to stop themselves!

                      Next time i will try to tell the readership how I feel about this!

                      sort of churlishly,

                      Fr. George

                    • George,

                      Let’s not conflate things.

                      HTC’s pastor unknowingly put a pedophile in charge of Sunday School. The pedophile was later arrested, charged and convicted of abusing other children. The parents of the children at parish (which happened to be Bishop Tikhon’s Cathedral) quite understandably freaked out and called their Bishop.

                      The Bishop is not to blame for what did or did not happen in that Cathedral’s basement, and Bishop Tikhon has stated that he believes nothing happened, not that he knows nothing happened.

                      What happened for sure, verifiably, happened at and in the wake of Bishop Tikhon’s meeting with HTC’s parishioners.

                      What actually happened was that the Bishop told the parents that they bore responsibility for the situation. What actually happened was that nearly every family left the Bishop’s Church. What actually happened was the Bishop did not particularly care where those families went so long as he was left alone.

                      And so what happened was the depopulating of a parish of the OCA in the wake of a scandal that is a scandal regardless of whether or not the pedophile in question managed to molest any of the children the hapless pastor entrusted to his ministry.

                      There’s nothing remotely “nebulous” about Bishop Tikhon’s connections with what actually happened, to be honest not many Bishops managed to respond well to such scandals in those days.

                      But I am sure of this: What actually happened was bad, and if a similar exodus of a Cathedral in the wake of a scandal were to occur in any OCA parish today you, George, would trumpet it as another sign that the OCA is doomed.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      OK, thanks for the correction. I must ask though, if by “unknowingly” putting a paedophile in charge of Sunday School, this mitigates against the pastor. It’d be one thing to knowingly put such a pervert in a position of authority, wouldn’t it?

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Fr. George,

                      εὐλόγειte ὁ κύριος!

                      Thankfully, I know nothing of the history of which you report, and my knowledge of the details of this situation in specific is limited to the two threads where it has “arisen” on this site. I have entered this discussion for one reason, and one reason alone: I believe I would be remiss, and it would be unconscionable on my part not to correct the inaccuracies regarding child sexual predators and the dynamics of child sexual abuse. Because most incidents of abuse are never disclosed, believed, or reported, studies of prevalence universally concede underestimation, and that as many as 50% of all females will have experienced some form of inappropriate sexual contact before they complete adolescence.

                      Beyond this instruction, I am an ally of the work of Ms. Larson, and I respect that Vladyka Tikhon is the anointed of God. Tango: out.

                    • Not sure what you mean by “mitigates against the pastor.” He was naive, yes. He preferred to think the best and not to do due diligence. Perhaps he had no idea how to do due diligence with regards to those placed in positions overseeing minors.

                      The world in 1990 was waking up to the issue, and I would say that most people still had the “that could never happen here” view of such things. Now, of course, we know differently.

                  • Cappy Larson says

                    Can’t have it both ways, Your Grace, if nothing happened to the children as you say, why are you blaming the parents for being responsible for their abuse?

                    • Again I ask you what did or did not happen? Were the children abused by Sam Allen at holy trinity or not?

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Cappy, think a minute before letting your knee kick your keyboard! You know very well I’ve never blamed you for abuse, but for being neglectful, more egregiously than the members of Holy Trinity Cathedral whom you sued. I DO blame you for having your coffee and not knowing exactly where your children were and what they were doing. That’s being neglectful No one, however, thought of suing you and making some cash off your neglect.

                      You are repeating an untruth if you keep saying I blamed any parents for abuse, especially you!

                      Right, you assumed that there are no pervs lurking around San Francisco churches, right, and that, therefore, there was no need to be dedicated to watching over your children at all times?

                    • oliver douglas says

                      This discussion is very odd. For me, it is simple-someone touches my kid, call 911. So the cops can take me in for destroying the $%$#@ who touched my kid.

                    • Cappy Larson says

                      Police reports were made on behalf of at least 4 children that I know of from HTC. Bishop Tikhon says we did not bring the case forward. Victims don’t decide to bring a case forward, the DA does that. If it was my choice I would have, but it was out of my hands. Due to the fact that Sam Allen was already facing a 15 year sentence for abusing another child and the children at HTC were very young (2-5 years old) the case did not go forward. The SF Police Department did support the families in getting help from the Victim Witness Program. It allowed funds for the children to get therapy. Also I want to clear up another inaccuracy from Bishop Tikhon, Cappy did NOT sue the Church. The Church contacted our family when another suit was being settled and asked if we needed assistance with therapy. When we got our very small settlement from the Church, we returned the money to the State of CA Victim Witness program. The money for therapy dried up long before therapy ended. Also it is important to note that even though Sam Allen served his entire sentence, he is still locked up. He was found to be a Sexually Violent Predator and he remains locked up in a medical facility some twenty years later. That’s how dangerous he is. Bishop Tikhon says that no allegations came from the children. What did he expect? The 2-5 year olds should have looked up the correct number and called to inform him of their abuse? Maybe they should have sent him an email? (BTW the above facts can all be documented) I’ve gone on with my life. I didn’t bring this most unfortunate part of my life up for discussion here. It’s not something we dwell on as a family. My husband was not happy when he heard that Bishop Tikhon was posting about us again. I think it’s evil for Bishop Tikhon to continue to bring this up and continue to blame the victims. We didn’t start the Pokrov site because our children were abused. We started the site because of the way the children were treated (or not treated) by our Bishop and the OCA. And like I said in my first post, the children are adults now. They know the truth and they also know that Bishop Tikhon never believed them and are aware of what he continues to say about them. And it’s shameful.

                    • Heracleides says

                      “Your Grace, if nothing happened to the children as you say, why are you blaming the parents for being responsible for their abuse?”

                      When Bp. Tikhon saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took diaper-wipes and washed his… ‘hands’ in front of the blogosphere. “I am innocent of these children’s lost, ah, innocence,” he said. “It is the parents responsibility!!!” (Paraphrase of Luke 27:24 NIV)

                  • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                    The response HERE, Saunca, was to specific reproaches made by Mr. Stankovich.

                    I never ever asked the parents not to worry about ANYTHING; I merely looked of something to soothe them. According to what I’d observed, in cases of child abuse, the children themselves had been grilled and interrogated sometimes in open court in an effort to determine WHO had one WHAT to them. THEN the authorities tried to find the offender and bring him or her in to be grilled Again, the children would be asked to repeat the whole shebang and so on.

                    When I was told that the alleged perpetrator had ALREADY been apprehended, I IMAGINED THE PARENTS would be glad that they would not have to put their kids through all that. i thought then, and I think now, they should be thankful that a long and painful process had been circumvented by the GOOD FORTUNE of the “perp”already being locked up and no threat to any children from his prison cell.

                    If you think telling them to be thankful Sam Allen was in jail meant “don’t worry,” i disagree with you. Why do you put such a black construction on that?
                    2. I never EVER said I talkd to Sam Allen! Never, Ever. What I said was that NOW, after hearing every shred of information available about the case, I NOW “TEND” to believe that Sam Allen was telling the truth when he confided in a friend who publicly reported that Sam Allen had confessed to wanting and planning to molest the children, but had been prevented from doing so by being locked up. Get it? I now tend to believe him.

                    You call that denial. Why do you put such a black construction on that?

                    3. I DO think that the parents must share responsibility for the NEGLECT of which the Cathedral was found guilty and FINED. I DEFLECT no responsibility, only ask that they share it. The place was not a dictatorship with no elected parish council, and the Dean, Father George Sondergaard was a soft and malleable as a marshmallow.

                    4. I agree, I did think the parents were astonishingly neglectful. I believe many parishioners shared that point of view. After all, they confessed that they had no idea where there chidren were, if they had HAD to go looking for them during coffee hour.

                    5. I tried to understand the Larsons. They had issues with the parish and with Sam Allen BEFORE these events. i believe that there was a certain amount of ‘We were RIGHT” which partly fuelled their slant on things. I didn’t change the subject. Why did you put such a black construction on what i wrote?

                    6. What do you mean by my “getting over this? it is the CHILDREN ;who should be allowed to get PAST the matter, but are not allowed to. Even today, Cappy, apparently, indicates the flames of resentment and hurt are burning high. LET HER be resentful. LET Melanie be resentful. I’m thinking of the children in this “getting over.” Why do you put such a black construction on that?

                    As for what I did or did not MAKE a pediatrician (or any of the parents) feel or not feel, neither you nor I am an expert in that matter. Do YOU think they had no share in the responsibility for the neglect of their children during coffee hour? It’s my belief, Saunca, that if you’re going to have “Sunday School” , and I’m not sure you should, perhaps it should be a family affair and the parents should be present in the classes. What do you think. Although I have no chidlren, I feel it’s natural for most parents not to want to let their little ones out of their sight, period.

                    Your point six is hard to understand. I’m not allowed to do WHAT? Who is not allowing me? How does that entity prevent me from getting over ANYTHING?

                    And finally, I don’t give a rap whether or not you believe me about anything. I’m nothing in the great scheme of things and so is my credibility. The older I get the more I realize how unimportant it is for me to be liked.

                    I do think you need help though. Go talk this over with a trusted priest or family member. Try to get a life with our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ. I’ll pray for you. God be with you, saunca!

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Vladyka Tikhon,

                    Quite contrary to your accusation of my issuing “reproaches,” and understanding that I am not defending your decisions and response as the events unfolded, I am apparently the only one to appreciate how you might have reached such conclusions at the time. However, Vladyka, I will insist that your present attempt to maintain your position – notably, “it never happened” – in the context of overwhelming research to the contrary, is indefensible.

                    At the time, there were a number of significant “infections” in the fields of psychology & forensics (e.g. ritualized, systematic molestation; “repressed” & “false” memories; and manipulative – in fact coercive – interviewing & diagnostic techniques), but these have been thoroughly disproved (though sadly even at my back door). Further, you are relying on the fact that one parent was a pediatrician, suggesting knowledge and authority that was not there. Having personally been in medical school in the same era, I can tell you that the cursory training I received pales by comparison to the yearly mandatory training my wife, a social worker, receives here as an employee of Children’s Hospital. And finally, neither you nor the the dean were prepared for such a situation. Thus, I can appreciate how you arrived at the conclusions you did, and acted in the manner you did. This does not, however, change the fact that both your decisions and your actions were in error, and, in fact, constituted grave error that ultimately has affected the lives of the victims, their respective families, the parish, the OCA, and you.

                    As I have described previously: children reported sexual contact with an adult; children rarely, if ever make false reports of sexual contact; many victims are “sworn to secrecy” (e.g. “Your mom said this was OK, but you can’t tell anyone, even her!” “You’re so special, only you & I can know…”), or threatened (“Your parents will spank you… – hate you… -send you away…”); this contact was specifically with a known child sexual perpetrator, which is the single greatest predictor for re-offense. Vladyka Tikhon, it happened.

                    What these victims and their families need and deserve from you is an apology.

                  • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                    Saunca, I really LIKED your “all logic aside!”

                  • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                    Saunca! What ARE “word semantics?” Is there such a thing as “non-word semantics?” By the way, I LOVE playing with words. it’s what makes humans different from all other liviing things—symbolic interaction which includes “Playing” with language;arbitrarily changing meanings by agreement, and so on.
                    That’s why I thanked you for your priceless “all logic aside.” It identifies your particular sort of language user, “playing with word semantics” gives me yet another find for my memoirs. Good thing I don’t know your name, right? How mortifying to have one’s bungling attempts at speech out there for everyone to see!
                    And it’s not only assertions that are problematic. There also seems to be a problem with interpretation. I said you needed help, and you (excitedly?) asserted this was a clinical judgment. It wasn’t, Saunca. It was a SPIRITUAL recommendation. Get it now? That’s all right…no one’s accusing you of sinning. What an idea, right?

                  • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                    Saunca, you asked me this question: “You say “I do think you need help, though.” May I ask how you’ve come to this clinical decision?”
                    How am I to answer a question about a clinical decision when I made no clinical decisions at all?
                    I attempted to emphasize the obvious: that I was referring to spiritual help and the need for spiritual help. Nothing clinical about it, right?
                    Did I misunderstand your question? If not, then tell me what clinical decision I made and how I expressed it, please.

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  Father George Washbufn, it is my impression that “So Simple’ was encouraging the approach you now recommend. He feels that the Statute is defective precisely in the areas you find problematic, and that it should be re-written to insure a traditionally canonical polity, especially relative to the hierarchical principles! Face it, the OCA Statute represents an achievement of a Church that was on an administrative cliff when contact with the Church in Russia was lost, along with all support from that Church. It’s become kind of Sacred Cow or Golden Calf however, as has the Metropolitan Council and Saint Vladimir’s Seminary… These three entities (they are only the most prominent of many) need attention and restoration to their place in a truly Orthodox church life in the OCA. None of them does what they once did, exceptionally.

            • Henry Chinaski says

              That is because dysfuntional leaders like commitees. They eliminate accountability and provide cover. The leader is no longer accountable because he is just following what has been established by committee. When in fact the leader has manipulated the committee covertly. This is usually done by finding a sympathetic committee member, or possibly members, to come to the leaders defense, or champion the leaders cause. This is done because of the members’ personal insecurity or the fear of the loss of collegiality of the group. A commitee with a covertly aggressive leader operates much the same as a dyfunctional family.

          • Guy Westover says

            Vladyko Bless!

            Something else to consider is a serious violation of the HIPAA laws which insure the privacy of medical records. I’m not certain of their extension to particular this circumstance, but perhaps the offended parties should be encouraged to seek legal counsel.

    • Sick of the Hypocrisy says

      So what about Bishop Benjamin? What about Archbishop Nathaniel? What about Bishop Mark Forsberg and Archdeacon Gregory Burke? Why does Archbishop Nikon refuse to move against that last two? Why was Bishop Ireinu threatened with deportation by Archbishop Nathaniel when Ireinu brought charges against Nathaniel. Why does Jillions refuse to investigate his former parish priest who has been living with his long-time partner for decades (after divorcing his wife), most of which when he was the priest in Randolph, NJ?

      It is called selective prosecution for the purposes of consolidating power. It is called securing the status quo. It is following the old adage, the best defense is a good offense, it keeps people away from snooping around your own file and it is hypocrisy.

      • I was just going to write this. If he’s going to do this-do it all and do it right.

      • Sick of the Hypocrisy says

        I guess we get no answers to my queries so it must be acceptable for BishopmBenjamin to brow beat and bully and act like a man out of control (gravely troubled) and keep his See. What a sorry example of a shepherd for the flock and even sorrier jurisdiction the OCA.

      • Guy Westover says

        Do Bishop Mark (Forsberg) and/or Archdeacon Gregory receive any income, compensation, or financial benefits from the OCA presently?

        Just curious.

        • I do not believe they are getting anything from the OCA. Actually, they are both independently wealthy since Bishop Forsberg’s mother left him several million dollars of which Bishop Mark gave 1 mil to his “friend” Archdeacon Gregory. And these two just go along as a couple and the OCA averts their eyes. [Another OCA priest] lives with his long-time lover companion [name omitted], and no one in the OCA does a thing. But, what the heck, consenting adults and all that jazz. Just look the other way and everything will be just fine. As Fr Jillions reported to us today from Met. Tikhon……

          “But we should not be ashamed of ourselves as the OCA. We have been doing great work.” and Jillions went on to assure us that…..I would add that there is a new, calm spirit compared to meetings in the past. We’re even ahead of schedule as we work through the agenda. And despite some tough issues that must be addressed, the general sense is that we have turned a corner. Thanks be to God.”

          Inside the bubble talk at its finest!

          • Michael Bauman says

            Fr Jillions: I would add that there is a new, calm spirit compared to meetings in the past.

            Exactly what always happens after a purge-pseudo peace. It won’t last long and soon the pot will be bubbling once again. It cannot be fixed except by a miracle, a miracle of repentance, love, humility and forgiveness.

            Until I do it, I cannot expect anyone else to do it. Even if I do it, I cannot expect or demand it of anyone else.

            If, after prayer and reflection, it is necessary to move on for your own spiritual health, then do so with a heavy heart while continuing to repent, blaming no one else, holding others always in your prayers especially those you feel have wronged you. But remember: “…against You only have I sinned and done evil in thy sight….”

            Then and only then will healing occur.

            In additon, realize that even if you move on the dysfunction will continue in your own heart. Do not feed it by thinking yourself righteous. If you do, you will gradually separate yourself from the Church.

          • Reading that thing from Fr. Jillions about the “Metropolitan’s Bell” makes me think all is not as peaceful as Fr. Jillions says. +Tikhon is rather soft-spoken, so it’s easy to imagine he finds it hard to get a word in edgewise.

            Yes, the OCA is in a “time of troubles”. One could say it has always been in something of a “time of troubles”, but it certainly worsened greatly with the betrayal and undermining of Metropolitan Jonah. Certainly, this “time of troubles” will not end until those responsible for it are held accountable for their actions.

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              Helga, “The ‘Time of Troubles” for the OCA began with the blatant and even brazenly uncanonical assertion of Metropolitan Herman, Archbishop Kirill, Archbishop Peter, Archbishop Nathaniel, Bishops Job and Seraphim and the rest that although they were shocked and disturbed by what I had revealed to them after they had taken advantage of my illness-related absence from a previous Synod meeting to agree to receive the person now known as OCA’s retired hierarch: “Archbishop Lazar Puhalo” , although he was, in fact, a deposed Deacon, uncanonically ordained to the Priesthood and made a Bishop by flagrantly schismatic hierarchs, that “WE” cannot now reverse our decision or it will cause a scandal in the Church and the Faithful will feel we’ve let them down…That was the first foot landing on the downward slope on which the OCA has been STEERED since then.

            • Fr. George Washburn says

              Well “Helga,”

              I don’t like dialoguing with masked men, especially those wearing a female mask, but let’s take a quick look at your little assertion above: that the OCA’s time of troubles will not end until those responsible for Met. Jonah’s resignation …presumably not including Met. Jonah himself…have been brought to account.

              We can find plenty of support for such an idea in secular jurisprudence, the system of “retributive justice” which we all see at work, or failing to work, in the world around us – to say nothing of the fantasy world of crime and punishment “entertainment” that is all around us ….and even inside us! And of course shot through and through human history outside the realm of anything that passes for jurisprudence, where the law of tribe and jungle or desert, tooth and claw, dictated reaction, retribution, ethnic cleansing or whatever once you can gain power over your “enemies” or those related to them.

              But where in the teachings of the Orthodox Church do we find such ideas? Or in church history, the actual practice of wise Christian leadership, where can we say it has “worked” as opposed to the myriad of examples of where it has NOT worked, and even sowed the seeds of further, futile, future frictions?

              And what a nightmare it would be to actually pursue what you advocate. A Met. Tikhon administration focused on uncovering and punishing hidden motives and largely oral communications among widely scattered individuals, an investigation by relatively untrained and inexperienced investigators who COMPLETELY LACK any subpoena power to compel participation by the reluctant (presumably anyone who was against Met. Jonah would be reluctant) and any sanctions to deter people from non-cooperation or spinning the facts? It would be difficult to imagine a more certain recipe for stagnation, wasted money, time and energy and negativity.

              Last summer I took a very interesting CE course centered on the concepts explained in a book entitled Managing Polarities in Congregations by Roy M. Oswald and Barry Johnson. It focuses a searching and effective analytical tool on the seemingly endlessly repetitive cycles between differing “poles” in local parish life: bean counters followed by visionaries, scholars v. popularizers, traditionalists v. innovators, evangelists instead of do-gooders, etc. The central idea is that any reactivity or purging against a person and the approach s/he embodies virtually guarantees a new cycle of reactivity and negativism and purging focused on those who succeed in devaluing, opposing, and driving out the first person. A congregational perpetual machine that you, Helga, may be advocating on the national level.

              Of course the Church needs to change in order to do well, and that involves a whole lot of people like you and yours (not to mention me, some of the people who opposed Met. Jonah, and everyone else) losing our focus on others and offering the Church the fruits of OUR repentance and love, not the fruits of further ecclesiastical machinations poorly modeled on the secular.


              Fr. George

          • Harry Coin says

            Peter and I don’t often agree, but what he wrote above is spot on.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            A mean, sneaky and evil way to discount Father Jillions’ positive account of the new regime. I am getting the feeling that Father Joseph Fester has reappeared under yet another moniker. Shame on you!

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              Well, Carl, I’m not sure that was sneaky! Of course, it could have been phrased in a less “mean” way. I would have said something like, “I think it would have been wiser for Fr. Jillions to let someone else make a judgment on whether things have improved or deteriorated SINCE he became Chancellor.” After all, Carl, some might think that Fr Jillions is tooting his own horn, so to speak, or laying himself OPEN to charges of being self-absorbed, as in the unheard-of publication ante mortem of his private diary for everyone’s “benefit.” We, of course, don’t think that at all, do we?
              And to accuse some anonym here of really being Fr. J. Fester, is not exactly, “un-mean”, is it? That would be like saying that Denise is using your name to post here, no?

              • Carl Kraeff says

                Your Grace–When I was in High School, my classmates elected me as the “most persistent.” True to form, I have been persistent in baiting the man to flush him out. I guess I have to finally give up as, no matter what invective I throw at his direction, he remains well hidden.

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  I’m not at all sure that Fr. Joe Fester disapproves of Father Jillions at all; in fact, I doubt it.

    • Are you some kind of a nut?

  3. I am so tired of all the garbage coming out of both the oca and the eoa and the bad behavior of some of the bishops is as if the are in it for the power and not the love of Christ , there arrogant behavior sickens me. I go to my church say my prayers folow my contince and go home to take care of my family Ino longer listen to any of them.

    • Michael Bauman says

      And that is precisely the problem, sue. If we no longer listen to our bishops, we, in some ways, cease to be Orthodox. Even if we have to do as Jesus instructed concerning the Pharisees: “Do as they say, not as they do” we must listen.

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      sue, what’s the eoa if you don’t mind me asking?

  4. The issue is not that Jillions is on a crusade against corruption. If this were true, and if he were doing it uniformly and equally, then those of us who support Jonah would applaud it. It would mean most of the Holy Synod would be brought up on charges, especially his favorite bishop Benjamin. I don’t have to remind readers of this web site of the laundry list of corruption and moral failings among the bishops that are whispered behind the scenes within the OCA – if anyone is unaware, go back and read the article by the Sons of Job. If Jillions and Tosi were truly on a crusade for purity, they would have supported the investigation into Benjamin that Jonah began, but instead, they put a quick and decisive end to that investigation. So much for openness and transparency. If they were truly trying to clean up the OCA, then Bishop Michael and Jonah would come out smelling like roses in comparison.

    What is really going on, which is so obvious to many, is a purging of conservatives and traditionalists in favor of the ecumenical modernism and de-stigmatization of sexual sin championed by Kishkovsky, Benjamin, Jillions, Tosi, etc. It is so obvious. If you had to name 3 bishops during Jonah’s tenure who stood for traditional and Scriptural views on sexuality, the first three names that would come to mind are Jonah, Michael, and Matthias. These were the only bishops to release statements in response to the same-sex marriage legalization a few years ago. Don’t get me wrong – I am no fan of Bp Matthias after his inappropriate texting, but I am against selective enforcement, magnifying the splinter in some while ignoring the logs in others. There is a sin greater than the moral failings some of the bishops are guilty of, and that is hypocrisy. The hypocrisy in this case stinks to high heaven.

    • For those of us who are not familiar with the personalities, could you give us a short explanation of the careers of Father Leonid Kishkovsky and Father???Tosi, sorry ;I can’t remember his first name. These seem to be extremely well paid and prominent people in the Orthodox Church of America. It seems their opinions really count in the hierarchy even more than some bishops.

      Also, Mr. George M., how did this situation with the priest Father Alexev start? What did he do that people wanted to take him to spiritual court two times? I am sorry to say that I know very little about church politics and have to look all these things up on the web for hours to understand them so help me, please.

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        Mamacita, Father Tosi’s Christian name is George, but he goes by “Eric.”

  5. oliver douglas says

    Fr. Jillions apparently is feeling pretty secure in his power and authority, and what appears to be a self bestowed sense of immunity or invulnerability. However, there are various federal statutes that are designed to protect the privacy of medical and financial information. There are also laws dealing with libel and slander, not to mention blackmail and extortion. While a lawsuit by one clergyman against another is frowned upon or inappropriate or even against canons, when an individual has his back against the wall, or finds himself facing a bully or (dare we mention it) a psychopath, he may feel the need to rally all weapons he can in his defense. (And is it really against the canons to take on the devil?) Apparently, this scenario has not been seriously considered by those seeking private files or those disclosing them. If this type of information sharing is really happening, it is really upping the ante-were someone to threaten my livelihood, vocation, or means of supporting my family, I would go after him with both barrels. The in-house apparat lawyer must not have extensive experience in federal court litigation or he would have pointed out the problems. Full contact litigation is nasty, expensive and uncovers all sorts of stuff that one may have wanted hidden. And, finally, if a crime has been committed, the clergy victim is not the one who would be seeking legal redress. It would be some public prosecutor, state or federal, who may not mind a nasty case of this sort. Anyone can make the prosecutor of the legal violation and point him in the right direction for further investigation. The DA may just want to open a great big can of whoop-[nasty word]. Beware.

    • “While a lawsuit by one clergyman against another is frowned upon or inappropriate or even against canons,”

      I believe there are canons that give instruction on how to sue . . .

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        Colette wrote, ‘I believe there are canons that give instructions on how to sue…”
        On what does Colette base that bizarre belief?

    • Alexey Karlgut says

      Not to disagree with Oliver Douglas, who says: “The in-house apparat lawyer must not have extensive experience in federal court litigation or he would have pointed out the problems. Full contact litigation is nasty, expensive and uncovers all sorts of stuff that one may have wanted hidden.”, but, ANY Civil Court would take following into serious consideration, before accepting ANY litigation against the Church.

      Nothing is more important to churches and to survival and health of their faith communities than the right to select their ministers according to the dictates of their unique doctrines and polities. The First Amendment accords churches total autonomy over such matters, protecting them not only from meddlesome legislatures and executives but also from private common law claims which threaten that autonomy and would directly abridge the fundamental right of churches to select their ministers and thus is barred by the First Amendment.

      ​For well over a century, the United States Supreme Court has vigorously protected the autonomy of churches in ecclesiastical matters. The First Amendment’s guarantee of church autonomy secures the exclusive jurisdiction of churches over matters of doctrine, polity, religious teaching, and governance, thereby ensuring that churches can govern their spiritual and ecclesiastical affairs free from state oversight or entanglement. 

      An integral part of what is often called the “Church Autonomy Doctrine” is the long-recognized “ministerial exception”, which precludes civil courts from adjudicating any claim that interferes with how a church selects, regulates, or dismisses a minister. The Constitution protects not only whom a church selects to be a minister, but the ecclesiastical process by which a church arrives at the decision to make such a selection. 

      In these matters, the First Amendment ensures that churches answer to God and their respective faith communities, not to the state. The integrity and the very existence of almost all religious communities depend on their right to select persons for ministry who are willing to espouse the beliefs of the church, adhere to and exemplify its tenets, and are ready and able to preach and exhort others to live by its laws and precepts. The claims of any plaintiff based on assumed “privacy rights” or “employment contract” would require the very sort of civil-court inquest into, and interference with, a church’s doctrines, polity, and ecclesiastical procedures that the First Amendment flatly forbids.

      The application of tort principles to the OCA would be barred by the First Amendment because it would require judicial examination of the church’s internal policies and procedures. An examining court would have to examine the procedures for extending/terminating assignments within the church, the role of the bishop(s)/administration in extending assignments, whether the bishop/administration acted reasonably within their responsibilities, and other internal policies and procedures. 

      When a court is required to interpret Canon Law or internal church policies and practices, the First Amendment is violated because such judicial inquiry would constitute excessive government entanglement with religion. Any inquiry into the policies and practices of the Church in hiring and supervising their clergy (including reviews of personnel files) will involve the Court in making sensitive judgments about the propriety of the Church’s supervision in light of their religious beliefs and policies, which would violate both the Free Exercise Clause and Establishment Clauses because it would inevitably require examination of church policy and doctrine with the intent to pass judgment on their reasonableness. The judicial inquiry into a religious institution’s (Church’s) practices of hiring, retaining, ordaining, and terminating assignments of clergy, will necessarily involve an impermissible judicial interpretation of constitutionally protected religious activities that would inhibit religion.

      Fr. Alexey

      • oliver douglas says

        Well, yeah . . . but just as pedophilia is not protected by the First Amendment, so would extortion or blackmail or any other regular old crime or offense not be protected by the First Amendment. The legal action would not relate to canon law or a determination of who could be a clergyman or internal church policies. It would deal with a plain vanilla crime. A church may not want to promote someone to a higher rank, and that is protected, but disclosing his health records to those without a need to know constitutes a violation of HIPPA-you know, the health privacy act that is shoved at you every time you go to the doctor’s office. So, the violation would not have anything to do with an “ecclesiastical matter”. No one would be asking the judge to determine what was “truth” or who could be a clergyman-just whether a federal statute applicable to everyone was violated. And BTW, who said the OCA would be sued-just a person on some sort of vendetta. Remember those guys in BLanco, TX. They paid the price. I sure would not want to take the chance of spending the next few years answering deposition questions.

        • Mark from the DOS says

          Generally employers are not covered by HIPAA. If they operate a self-funded, self-adjudicated health plan, maybe. But generally not.

          Don’t get me started on Fr. George’s misstatements about appeals and double jeopardy. If a defendant is acquitted by the finder of fact at trial (analogy to the priest’s situation) the prosecution does not get to appeal and retry him. I think Fr. George claims to be a lawyer of some sort, but if so, he either doesn’t practice or is trying to cow people with his credentials, facts and law be damned.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Mark, I think they would be covered by HIPPA if they use the personally identifable health information for purposes other than administration of the plan, much like insurance companies that underwrite fully insured plans. Certainly there are a whole raft of privacy laws that would come into play besides HIPPA.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              FYI, this is from the horse’s mouth:

              The HIPAA Rules apply to covered entities and business associates.

              Individuals, organizations, and agencies that meet the definition of a covered entity under HIPAA must comply with the Rules’ requirements to protect the privacy and security of health information and must provide individuals with certain rights with respect to their health information. If a covered entity engages a business associate to help it carry out its health care activities and functions, the covered entity must have a written business associate contract or other arrangement with the business associate that establishes specifically what the business associate has been engaged to do and requires the business associate to comply with the Rules’ requirements to protect the privacy and security of protected health information. In addition to these contractual obligations, business associates are directly liable for compliance with certain provisions of the HIPAA Rules.

              If an entity does not meet the definition of a covered entity or business associate, it does not have to comply with the HIPAA Rules. See definitions of “business associate” and “covered entity” at 45 CFR 160.103.

              A Covered Entity is one of the following:

              A Health Care Provider: Doctors, Clinics, Psychologists, Dentists, Chiropractors, Nursing Homes, Pharmacies…but only if they transmit any information in an electronic form in connection with a transaction for which HHS has adopted a standard.

              A Health Plan: Health insurance companies, HMOs, Company health plans, Government programs that pay for health care, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the military and veterans health care programs

              A Health Care Clearinghouse: This includes entities that process nonstandard health information they receive from another entity into a standard (i.e., standard electronic format or data content), or vice versa.

              For substance abuse clients, the privacy requirements are even stricter than HIPAA. For an excellent discussion, see However, the requirements apply to covered entities only.

              At issue then is whether the OCA is a covered entity under HIPAA and /or 42 CFR Part 2. I do not think that it is, but that determination is up to lawyers. Another consideration is Father Alexey’s excellent summary above of the current U.S. jurisprudence regarding churches. You put the two together and I do not see a self-evident legal issue here.

              • Mark from the DOS says

                I agree with Carl 100%. I don’t see it. Just doesn’t sound like a HIPAA issue at all. Employers can get health information in all kinds of ways. That doesn’t make them a covered entity.

  6. Jonathan Johnston says

    This is another case here of George creating issues where there are no issues. Then BT chimes in and all of you people create scandals where there are no scandals. The Chancellor’s of all the Orthodox dioceses and their heads share the files regarding clerics of other Orthodox Churches, esp. if they accept them into their dioceses. This has been done for years especially with SCOBA and the NEW Episcopal Assembly (controlled by the Greeks who are compiling info on every deacon, priest & bishop). Regarding Soriach, he was with the Serbs, but why didn’t they want him? He went to the Greeks and then ended up in the OCA, became Bishop of Alaska and caused a mass revolt of all the Alaskan Diocese which threw him out. Gee, maybe if the OCA had his “files” he wouldn’t have been able to inflict himself on the poor Alaskan Orthodox. What’s that? Oh yes, BT was his prime supporter who pushed him into that spot. What does that tell you?

    • All in the Family says

      Jonathan Johnston is trying his best to deflect attention by repeating the company line that he is again trying to repeat so as to further embed it as truth and history. As for the exchange of files as if they were caches for barter, well apparently they are as you, Mr. Johnston confirm, and I am sure your good friends in Syosset are doing their best to defuse this article and are feeding you information, for it will be a cold day in hell before your cohorts ever admit the contempt they feel for others, bishops, priests, deacons, since they are THE superior AUTOCEPHALOUS (sic) orthodox church in america, the only claim they can make for how they run their internal affairs.

      So, Mr. Johnston, nice try but another underhanded dealing by Syosset is under the microscope.

    • Actually, there is an issue.

      Why wait till AFTER they are bishops to see the files? I’ll tell you why, because the OCA never asked for the files in the first place and just accepted them into the OCA without due diligence.

      • Robert, you make a good point and if the OCA didn’t do their due diligence BEFORE any of these guys became bishops, then they are even more incompetent. But it begs the question, why is Jillions doing this without the permission of those bishops? Does he think he is above the law of common sense and decency? The fact that he is doing this without their knowledge calls into question his motives. Why would he not ask them if his motives were pure?

        Jillions needs to fess up to those bishops and if he did this behind their back, he needs to pay the price for his arrogance.

        • Daniel E. Fall says

          If Jillions is doing something, what makes you think it is his own initiative and why would you jump to conclusions of his wrongdoing and pricepaying in one leap.

          The long jump record is held by some real leapers. Mike Powel, 29′ 4 1/4″

          Good luck.

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      Monsieur Jonathan Johnstone wrote: “The Chancellor’s of all the Orthodox dioceses and their heads share the files regarding clerics of other Orthodox Churches, esp. if they accept them into their dioceses. This has been done for years especially with SCOBA and the NEW Episcopal Assembly.”
      Nothing at all has been done for YEARS with the Episcopal Assembly. What an idea!
      Nicholas Soraich is a talented and motivated administrator and missionary. He’s never needed pushing by me or anyone else. He’s a self-starter. He had outside gainful employment throughout his period as an Orthodox Priest, when initiating and building up the St. Simeon Serbian Church in Las Vegas, when initiating and building up the St. Paul the Apostle OCA Church in Las Vegas, and while supervising a Presbyterian clinic for teenagers with dependency problems and while running a large (over 100 employees under his supervision as Director of a department of the Clark County (Las Vegas) District Attorney’s office. Yes, when he asked Bishop Sava to release him to the OCA, Bishop Sava said he could release no one to the OCA but could and would be willing to release him to the local Greek Bishop Anthony, who could then release him to me. After one year pastoring the Greek Church in Las Vegas, Bishop Anthony tried to bribe Father Nicholas to stay at the Greek Church which was prospering so mightily, with the promise of a new car and a large increase in salary. Father Nicholas refused and asked Bishop Anthony to honor his agreement to release him to me, and he did so. He started with a few people worshipping temporarily in a funeral parlor in the desert: That became the large, flourishing Church of Apostle Paul with its big, white Mediterranean style architecture. When he was elected to be a bishop, i told him he’d have to accept the election; moreover, he would have to quit his job for the DA. The Governor of Nevada, Monsieur Johnstone, declared Father Nicholas’s historic last day at work, ‘Nicholas Soraich Day” throughout the state of Nevada. Alaska was SO lucky to get him as their bishop! However, some clergy were used to a “laissez-faire” style Bishop (Bishop Vladimir, Bishop Theodosius, Bishop Amvrossy, Bishop Gregory, and the so NOT heterosexual Bishop Innocent (Gula) of blessed memory.) With those bored, self-absorbed, and rather epicene types. convert Priests like Fr. Michael Oleksa (a former Lutheran), who had, practically speaking, total autocephalous status, were actually given direction and, horror or horrors, made to abide in their parishes! Neither I nor anyone else, Monsieur Johnstone, would have or could have given a push to Bishop Nikolai—he was out in front of everyone under his own power. However, he was no match for the church politicians (“We are free men in the Diocese of the Midwest”, etc.) who preferred to curry favor with their flocks rather than lead them.) You, Monsieur Johnstone are ludicrously mistaken in every way about Bishop Nikolai (Soraich).

  7. Hyperdox Hank says

    I gotta say, George, since +Jonah’s been out of the picture, I don’t even get your angle anymore. It wasn’t but a few months ago that you yourself were on screeds against +Michael and +Matthias. What’s your position? The MC and the chancellor have too much power? The authority of Bishops should be absolute? There should be no super-diosconal policy on how to handle sexual abuse cases (see Law, Cardinal)? The people you hated on the MC are gone (taken out by the bishops you now hate) and the roster of current bishops you actually like seems to be holding steady at zero. With the number of episcopal scandals in the OCA in recent years, believe me, no one in Syosset is looking for more dirt. It takes and actual arrest (+Seraphim) or an unignorable accusation (+Matthias) to suspend anyone. It’s come down to a “+Jonah or the whole house burns” position. The fact is that +Jonah was unanimously asked to resign by a Synod that includes some extremely conservative bishops. Priests are underpaid and over-worked (granted, that is irrefutably true), therefore any action at all taken by central admin on anything, no matter how positive, is demonic. The OCA is rife with rumored-to-be-gay clergy who need to be taken out, but +Nicolai is some kind of persecuted innocent. It’s unclear what or who you’re for.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Fr George Washburn, Hyperdox Hank and SAM, if I may, I’ll reply to all of you.

      First of all, thank you for your criticisms. I need to be kept honest. In no certain order here is my defense:

      Let’s begin with what I believe, my worldview so to speak. In regards to the Church, I believe in this governance model:

      1. autocephaly.
      2. diocesan autonomy.
      3. transparency (which means robust debate/no code of silence).
      4. accountability.
      5. the observance of minimum standards in relation to the secular sphere.

      You can see that I have followed those principles. In the issue of Bishop Matthias (whom I view as a traditionalist) I did not want to pile on regarding the leaked emails/texts. I could have ignored them. Instead I didn’t. Why? Because there would be no transparency or accountability. Second, I wanted to highlight the manifest hypocrisy displayed by those who conspired against His Beatitude.

      In the issue of Bishop Michael (whom I also view as a traditionalist), the issue was one of an incipient EEOC suit against St Tikhon’s Seminary. That was newsworthy. I believed then (and continue to hope now) that this issue could be resolved before it went to court and a just settlement could be reached.

      In the issue of Metropolitan Jonah, I took him to task for succumbing to the extortionist tactics employed by the Synod to force him to go to St Luke’s Institute. I said that in doing so, he was bringing scandal not only upon himself but the Church.

      If this appears to be “all over the place” it’s because the incredible dysfunction that exists in the OCA. Kindly permit me to go on.

      In the case of Arb Nikon, I took him (or his scheduler) to task for allowing a Muslim woman to preach from the ambo of one of his parishes. Mind you, that’s his diocese and he’s entitled to do so but the same forbearance was not extended to Jonah regarding his dreaded “unilateral” sighing of The Manhattan Declaration.

      The adherence to diocesan autonomy is haphazard at best. Arb Nathanael Popp is allowed to exercise near-papal authority within his semi-autonomous exarchate regarding certain priests but Jonah was raked over the coals because he dared to tonsure a dying woman into the monastic order. The reception of Bp Melchisedek Pleska is likewise problematic but the entrance of nuns from his monastery in Greece is viewed as a cause for scandal.

      The Statutes of the OCA state clearly that an episcopal vacancy is to be filled as soon as possible, that a locum tenancy is not to last more than ninety (90) days. The Dioceses of the South and Alaska are now in the third year of vacancy. When the DOS meet to nominate Abbott Gerasim Eliel as their candidate, the locum tenens abruptly and unilaterally cancelled the electoral assembly, inconveniencing priests and delegates to stay an extra night in Miami for no reason at all. The cost to many parishes was not negligible.

      As for the most recent lapse in decency, the files of certain bishops are opened without permission to various and sundry people. No effort has been made by the central administration to allow those named in the files to get their side of the story. Compare this to the secular sphere.

      The interference by the central administration into the life of the Diocese of NY/NJ in regard to an adjudicated proceeding. To leapfrog over the bishop so to speak.

      Others will come to mind.

      • nit picking says


        I agree with everything you write except the following:

        The reception of Bp Melchisedek Pleska is likewise problematic but the entrance of nuns from his monastery in Greece is viewed as a cause for scandal.

        The nuns in question are not from his monastery in Greece. They are from their own monastery and Bp Melchisedek is apparently from multiple monasteries since he was tonsured to the Great Angelic Schema at one, left it, and was released from another where he never resided or served as is evidenced by his own biography.

        Bp Melchisedek’s biography can be viewed here:

        • I wish to correct your testimony here because “the nuns in question” WERE “from his monastery in Greece”, as he lived for many years in Thebes and then Karditsa in the Women’s monasteries, since when the men’s monastery, Petra, was opened in Katafigion it was unsuitable for his delicate health conditions. Further, I personally attended to B. Mel following his open heart surgery in “his monastery”, my monastery, in Greece. (By the way, I discovered from your link that there are very ‘convenient’ gaps and even misinformation in “his own biography” on Orthodoxwiki.)

          • Sister “DC Nun”,

            he lived for many years in Thebes and then Karditsa in the Women’s monasteries,

            Then Bp. Melchisedek was “serving” at those monasteries. They are not “his,” they never were. The only monastery that can be referred to as “his” is the monastery of his repentance. In monastic parlance, the monastery of one’s repentance is where one’s tonsure to the Great Angelic Schema occurs. In Bp. Melchisedek Pleska’s case: Dormition of the Theotokos, aka Petra Katafigion. He was released by another monastery in which he never resided or served. Making his release from that monastery absolutely absurd and illegal in every fashion. I believe you also know that this is accurate.

            (By the way, I discovered from your link that there are very ‘convenient’ gaps and even misinformation in “his own biography” on Orthodoxwiki.)

            (sarcasm alert on)

            *gasp of astonished surprise*

            Really? Do you think it might have been done intentionally to mislead the general public? Perish the thought!!!

            (sarcasm alert off)

          • Sister “DC Nun”,

            he lived for many years in Thebes and then Karditsa in the Women’s monasteries

            That means he was serving as their chaplain. This does not make the monastery his personal property or imply that he is the spiritual father or founder. That is one of the points I am trying to make clear. The monastic sisterhood in Thebes existed well before Bp. Melchisedek arrived on the scene to serve as their chaplain.

            By the way, I discovered from your link that there are very ‘convenient’ gaps and even misinformation in “his own biography” on Orthodoxwiki

            (sarcasm alert on)

            *astonished gasp*


            You don’t suppose there is something illegal and canonically questionable in Bp. Melchisedek’s transfer that someone is trying to “cover-up” do you?!!!

            Perish the thought!!!! ;p

            (sarcasm alert off)

            Yes sister, I noticed that also. That’s why I posted the link. I would have hoped it was obvious what my intention was from the context of my message.

        • Does anyone have a link to where one of the OCA magazines publishes Bishop Melchisidek, then a priest’s release to the Church of Greece?

  8. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    “Sources inside ROCOR have confirmed that the recent meetings at the OCA Chancery in Oyster Bay Cove between the erstwhile Primate (Metropolitan Tikhon), Archbishop Justinian of the MP, Metropolitan Hilarion of ROCOR were arranged by Frs Jillions and Kishkovsky to show that ROCOR’s interest in Metropolitan Jonah and Bishop Nikolai Soriach was a bad idea.”

    I take this sentence to be a thesis statement.

    It is not without a problem, however:

    It (grammatically) presumes that there was already an allegation to be “confirmed.” That is to say, “sources inside ROCOR” are said to provide back-up for someone else’s allegation.

    Is this the case? Is there some other support for this allegation?

    I ask, because the allegation, if true, is both dramatic and damning.

    • And as any journalist knows, passive voice is to be avoided like the plague.

      Print the best evidence of a report. Quote it. Then print the reaction.

  9. George:

    I won’t pretend to expect rigorous standards of journalism from you. You are not a journalist, and your site is mainly driven by opinion. This article is an exemplar of the problems that this type of opinion piece produces. The over all tone of you article is one of distrust and malfeasance. Jillions the devious chancellor is on the prowl for information with which to blackmail his colleagues and his superiors. This is a serious charge. Yet, what evidence do you marshal? Mostly innuendo and anonymous sources. Sound familiar? Mr Stokoe please call your office.

    It is astounding that you accuse Jillions of painting Metropolitan Jonah in the worst possible light, whilst doing exact same thing to Jillions. Worse still, you publicly paint the Chancellor’s actions in the worst possible light. Pot meet kettle!

    Let’s talk about what we really know. To borrow your phraseology “what we do know is that [George] is on an [anti-Syosset] crusade.” And perhaps justly so. I, for one, am fed up with the incompetence on display. But I try to base what criticism I have on publicly verifiable and documented events. George, I suggest you do the same.



    • Next Metropolitan Jonah Bible Study says

      10:18 AM (9 hours ago)

      Please be advised that the date of this week’s session of Orthodox Studies
      with Metropolitan Jonah has been changed from Friday, Feb. 22 to Sunday,
      Feb. 24 at 7:00 pm.

      In XC,
      Fr. Victor

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Thanks for the info. I hope we can change our plans to attend.

        • CannotBelieveA"Christian"CanBeSoRude says

          Please, Sir, if you cannot add to the conversation please refrain from inserting your acrimony.

          • Next Metropolitan Jonah Bible Study says

            Dear Mr. Kraeff,

            You will be very welcome, and anyone else, if you wish to come. Understand that children are welcome, that we share tea and some small fasting items so no one need feel faint or hungry, and we will follow upon the last You Tube televised study in Corinthians. It is upstairs in the building attached to St. John’s Orthodox Church approachable from the exterior stairway.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            I was trying to point out the absurdity of posting that off-topic announcement in this particular thread. It was the posting by “Next Metropolitan Jonah Bible Study” that added nothing to this conversation. Let me provide you with an analogy. Imagine that we are attending a play–let’s say Romeo and Juliet. Imagine that in the middle of the balcony scene, somebody in a mask comes on stage and announces that there is a sale on Crocs at the local shoe store. Now do you get the picture?

            • Dear Carl,

              I posted that here because a number of the people who attend the bible study, or watch it on Youtube or listen to the MP3 files online are writing in this blog. Also, people who miss Metropolitan Jonah are checking this blog. The topics change, especially since George is interested in neo-conservative politics, so, if one waits to be timely and on topic, it might be too late. I am just copying information from the mailing list of St. John the Baptist Church. Because there are volunteers recording, people need not attend. Also, people can participate by sending an email to the Metropolitan after reading the relevant passage. Also, some Lenten lecture series is under discussion. It is really nice of St. John’s to host the spiritual studies which are truly pan Orthodox.

              • Touchy Carl. says

                Now Carl, that was not a proper reply to Next, etc. I am glad no matter where it is posted to know about the next Bible Study being led by Metropolitan Jonah.

                • I propose (are you reading George?) that a permanent topic be created that would contain all the comings and goings of +Jonah.

                  • CannotBelieveA"Christian"CanBeSoRude says: says

                    Well, you have explained my confusion by my reading of your snide and snarly retorts…And, a Christian would indeed not be so rude.

                  • CannotBelieveA"Christian"CanBeSoRude says

                    Well you have explained your position well as I’ve found in my reading of your retorts. It’s clear now, and I recognize that a Christian would indeed not be so rude.

            • Carl, I’m glad for those Bible Study announcements. They help space cadets like me keep up with the schedule. A lot of people who post and read here are interested in Metropolitan Jonah’s work. If you don’t care, Carl, it’s your loss.

              Thank God for Fr. Victor Potapov and the DC-area Orthodox community for giving Metropolitan Jonah a venue to share his gifts with the world.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                This is what my position is, which was posted about three hours before you jumped in:

                “Carl Kraeff says:
                February 26, 2013 at 11:15 am

                I propose (are you reading George?) that a permanent topic be created that would contain all the comings and goings of +Jonah.”

                I proposed this because I do believe that “A lot of people who post and read here are interested in Metropolitan Jonah’s work.” Period.

  10. ” In the issue of Bishop Matthias (whom I view as a traditionalist) I did not want to pile on regarding the leaked emails/texts. I could have ignored them. Instead I didn’t. Why? Because there would be no transparency or accountability. ”

    And I will continue to repeat that these “leaked” texts were part of a guaranteed confidentiality to protect the accuser AND the accused. It is unconscionable that they were leaked and posted on the internet. I maintain that by leaking them, it makes any other person who wishes to make a confidential report of misconduct against anyone less likely to do so for fear of public humiliation/embarrassment, etc. – I don’t care who the accused or accuser is.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Anonymous, I take it then you agree that the leaking of Fr Joe Fester’s emails was likewise wrong?

      • Also Anonymous says

        It would seem to me that publishing confidential emails, publishing confidential texts that could be embarrassing to the victim of sexual misconduct, and publishing posts from a confidential private forum are all the same sort of action.

        • Well, I take your point. It’s certainly something I had to consider in my own mind.

          However, I do see some differences between what George did and what Stokoe and his crew did. For one thing, there’s a difference between publishing the works with names attached, and publishing them anonymously.

          There’s also a difference between publishing them in order to damage the writers, versus publishing them in order to further the very same cause the writers had when making the comments.

          I don’t think for a second that George had any malicious intent towards these priests. He was trying to give their concerns and opinions a wider audience so that more people would be aware that this isn’t about George and some supposed vendetta against the OCA. It’s about the OCA being run into the ground by a bunch of idiots, and one doesn’t have to be on “Team Jonah” to see that.

          That said, if it had been me, I would have secured the authors’ permission before publishing, or else paraphrased their content rather than furnishing direct quotations.


            Gather your facts before you toss this stone. This is not a case of leaking, but of exposing, and at the specific request, and with the assistance, of the victim.

            It WAS the accuser who sent the information to the world at large, as she couldn’t get justice from the powers that be in Syossot. Oh yes, and she still hasn’t, as they are now trying to push the accused Bishop down the throats of the entire diocese.

            Clear enough?

      • George, yes I do agree that leaking those emails was wrong. Period.

    • Wasn’t it the accuser herself who leaked the texts? I would think she of all people would have a right to take her complaint public if she wished.

      • If I were a young, recently quite ill young woman being pressured by a bishop for sleepover face time, I think I would wish to save my Orthodox sisters from having to even deal with such an issue. Time was of the essence in preventing further incidents and pressures. Not to mention, there was pressure to avoid the normal confessor and substitute Mr. up close and uncomfortable bishop

        • Damage Control says

          What is totally amazing to consider is that Bishop Matthias was assigned (by the OCA Synod) Bishop Maymon be his mentor. That is like the blind leading the lame. Oh, how far the OCA has fallen. They are all by themselves out there on a limb.

          • Damage Control, help me get this straight:

            Bishop Mark has trouble with the idea that it’s wrong to take something that isn’t his, and he’s supposed to teach Bishop Matthias how not to overstep boundaries?

            Bishop Mark was driven out of the Midwest, the only diocesan see he’s ever held, and he’s supposed to give Bishop Matthias pointers on rebuilding trust with the Midwest?

            Stupidity, thy name is OCA!

          • Just add chocolate chip to the cookie dough and voila’, chocolate chip cookies.

            What a horrible way to attack another human being, shame on you.

            • Shame on a Bishop that takes advantage of a young girl under his care and tells her to ignore her Priest, that he cares more for her than her boyfriend, and requests to sleep over in her small apartment, then without any shame says to the diocese that he’s sorry he was caught and doesn’t think it’s any big deal anyway…never any apology even!

              Shame on a Bishop who takes a telephone given from his predecessor and then knowingly monitors private emails (as the password was mistakenly not erased) for over 5 months, snooping into private and personal business, until something he knows can harm that predecessor comes up, whereupon the private emails are forwarded by this Bishop to an internet troll for wide publication…never any apology even.

              Neither of these Bishops think that they did anything wrong.

              What a horrible attack they have perpetrated on other human beings. How can you defend them? Shame on them!

      • Wasn’t it the accuser herself who leaked the texts? I would think she of all people would have a right to take her complaint public if she wished.

        Helga, I do see your point. My point is that the texts were not solely hers. They also belong to two other people: her boyfriend and the bishop. The other concern I have is the assured confidentiality given to both parties. I wonder if the bishop had breached the confidentiality agreement of the complaint, what would be everyone’s reaction?

        Looking at it from a different point of view, I ask your indulgence with a story. Quite a few years ago my son’s girlfriend got pregnant. She did not tell my son until after she had sought information from Planned Parenthood regarding an abortion. When she told my son, he immediately said that an abortion was not a necessary route, please marry him and they’d work out whatever needed to be done. He loved her. She loved him. She said no. She wanted a career not a child. She had already made up her mind by the time she told him. Buying into “it’s the woman’s choice”, he supported her decision to take the pill and aborted his child (my grandchild) into the toilet that night. He told me this story six months later while sobbing. He ended the relationship not soon after.

        He believed and supported that belief that a woman has the right over her own body. Sadly, her right trumped his right (and strong desire) to have the child. Her choice trumped his choice. Her ‘rights’ trumped his ‘rights.’ Really?

        For her when she flushed the toilet the issue was done and over. For him….well, he will carry he loss of his child forever.

        Why am I telling this story? I acknowledge there is a wide difference between releasing texts and aborting a child, I maintain that the ‘rights’ of the one do not exclude the ‘rights’ of the other person in the issue. The complainant released those texts because they “were hers and it was her right.” What about the ‘rights’ of the bishop?

        I doubt anything I have written would change anyone’s mind, but appreciate your indulgence Helga, George and other readers, for allowing them to be posted.

  11. Damage Control says


    Your article on the OCA Chancellor has sure put the Jillions and Tosi’s knickers in a twist! They are running around in damage control mode how to respond to your article. It appears that they are going to deny everything which is stupid but, well, consider their past actions. I have already heard that one violated person is talking lawsuit against the OCA.

    Best Syosset come clean, admit their mistake and apologize, otherwise they will be adding more sand under their faulty administrative foundation and more dirt on top of their grave.

    The Syosset clergy files are not secure. They are guarded under any protocol to prohibit unauthorized additions to a cleric’s file and without an open and transparent policy any current or former OCA bishop, priest, or deacon could be taken advantage of my those looking to do them harm.

  12. M. Stankovich says

    Mr. Michalopulos,

    I have read and re-read this entire thread – and I scold you for allowing someone to refer to the Chancellor of the OCA as “Fr. Jello” in violation of your own policy – and it is very difficult to understand its purpose. Is this a “courtesy call” – I got your backs – to the Synod of Bishops who, to a man, have been castigated & scorned as untrustworthy & unworthy? I’d of thought you were more of the Ali & Gipp school, Let ’em fight, don’t break it up, let em’ fight!” Or was it a general “heads up,” public service to the OCA faithful to be aware of this “smiling jack” who, though no serial thief (yet), needs more uncorroborated projections of your bitterness to really convince us of his dark character? Hmm. Whatever the case, I do get that you have settled on the “nobility of altruism” as an excuse for shamelessly disparaging without ever exchanging a single word with the man directly.

    I will repeat myself: I have known Fr. John Jillions nearly forty years and I love him as my friend and brother. He is gifted, talented, pious, warm, kind, and educated, father, husband, and priest. There is no place in his heart for the motivations you so shamelessly ascribe to him, Mr. Michalopulos. You believe you “know” a man based on murderous, filthy gossip, and it is shameful. And I will add to this, you have gotten tremendous mileage on his “connection” to his brother-in-law, Protodeacon Eric, and now, with no comment, no dramatic “scoop” from you, the “icon” of the Syosset conspiracy “Axis,” the victim-of-victims is being revealed as the psychopath he always was. I sincerely hope you are preparing your apology post to the Protodeacon who no more accused a “righteous,” innocent man than you. Should I suspect that the timing of your “missive” has anything to do with the collapse of the “Axis” house of cards?

    I have pointed out to you previously that the tone & character of your posts are increasingly bitter, increasingly mean, and increasingly angry. You say this is, in fact, “disappointment.” In my opinion, disappointment is best addressed by contemplation, refocusing, and solution-oriented action. Apparently, your “solution” is to disparage easy, vulnerable targets, promising to keep your ear in the gutter for further developments.

  13. Fr. George Washburn says

    Good morning again, friends:

    Here’s some scattergun responses to a number of posts here and another take on what George originally posted.

    I’m glad to see people actually taking a look at some of the fundamental issues, not to say anomalies of OCA structure and authentic Orthodox polity that underlie so many of the discussions that crop up here about how the OCA operates. If this site was operating the way it could, but doesn’t, Fr. Alexy Karlgut’s recent, thoughtful piece on how the OCA could be restructured would have been a featured guest editorial, and people could chew more on ideas and how to put principle into practice instead of on each other.

    Retired Bishop Tikhon’s technical point of wording about bishops not being employees is valid I guess, but for whatever reason the OCA administration ….and I’ll bet this dates from the days of Fr. Kondratick’s stewardship and before, if there was a before …keeps some kind of personnel files on bishops in the Syosset offices. So whether we call them employees or non-employees, there are seemingly the same sort of files that are kept on employees for administrative uses.

    So Simple’s message had lovely tone and content. I’d love to have him/her elevate the tone of our discussions still more by signing by his/her’s real name. Although I don’t think the issue is quite as simple as the name or the post suggests. For example this: if the OCA is an independent Orthodox jurisdiction does its primate have the right to maintain files on the diocesant bishops who serve “under” his leadership? And what does “under” really mean? Just that he chairs meetings and presides at services, or that he has some real authority? And what is the appropriate scope of diocesan bishop independence? So completely autonomous that they have no accountability to anyone? To their Synod? And if to their Synod, then may that Synod delegate authority to its administrative personnel or its chair to maintain files on the bishops themselves? What are the theological implications of one choice or the other, and the practical ones. My understanding is that there is no such thing in Orthodox polity as a bishop who is completely a law unto himself, and that it is his communion with the other bishops that makes and keeps him authentic. I do not see anything inherently incompatible with that mutuality among bishops that would forbid them from agreeing to have central files in which they themselves are the subject of a folder. i am sure there are other perspectives on this that would be more profound or reflective than mine.

    The whole casting of this issue by George, in such unpleasant, personalized terms against Fr. Jillions makes it almost impossible to raise the underlying structural and theological issues and have a productive discussion about them. I agree that George has become to some extent the victim of his own rhetoric and is now so anti-institutional, so pessimistic, and so full of his own anointing to judge others that he has really become a negative part of the events in a way I am sure he never intended.

    The original editorial makes the point that three bishops looked at the files of two bishops who are themselves requesting transfer. One of those. Met. Tikhon, is the bishop in charge of the office where it seems that the files were kept. My understanding is that all the tangible property of whatever diocese an Orthodox bishop rules, whether it is a parish church building or the office equipment and files, is held by the persons who use them in a sort of trust subject to the bishop’s complete authority. If that is true, then why are people saying that the files kept in the very office building where Met. Tikhon presides cannot be opened by him without the consent of the people who are the subjects of the file’s contents? In authentic Orthodox polity is there any other solution? in American “the laws and procedures govern the guy who occupies the office” polity, of course, the occupant of the office is subject to whatever legislation or administrative regulation, etc. applies. But in Orthodoxy isn’t it fundamentally the other way ’round? And isn’t it part of the OCA dilemma that its statutes and practices are a mishmash of the two?

    I still don’t think the commentators here are dealing effectively with the question of implied consent. If as we are led to believe both Met. Jonah and Bp. Nikolai have affirmatively requested release to ROCOR and/or the MP, how can we possibly get lit up about those jurisdictions doing normal “due diligence” investigation on the candidates by looking at the files, doing so VERY narrowly through the one bishop in each jurisdiction who is in charge on this continent, and doing so, according to George’s account, under the supervision of the Met. whose office has custody of the files.

    Mr. Westover’s comment about HYPPA is interesting. Those initials crop up just about everywhere. But it is sheer guesswork on our part here as to whether it applies AND whether or not the prospective transferees gave some sort of actual or implied consent to look at the files. i can’t envision a genuine request for transfer with any hope of success without SOME sort of consent to look into the facts and files.

    Oh well.


    Fr. George


    Fresh from the ministry of truth, from the ministry of plenty. Food and money for all!
    (No more nuspeek for me. Anyone who has looked at our finances at a glance knows what a crock of bull hockie thus is. The “richest” of the diosies out there gives over 30% of it’s budjet to central church administration, and he has the audacity too lie like this? Where the heck is the fruits of thi labor? Where is the free siminary’s? The alms and hospitals? The orphanages and care fir the elderly? This lie is the straw that breaks the cammle’s back!

    • provides the background on Father Jillions’ financial development consultant

    • Alexey Karlgut says

      I believe that great effort needs to be made to review and change centralized administration and it’s attempts to justify it’s existence and relevance, to an  absolute necessity on strengthening and growing the dioceses and parishes of the church, where, ” in the celebration of the Eucharist we become the Body of Christ and are equipped with all that is necessary to work out our own personal salvation, in and through Christ, and to bring this salvation to the world.”(SP p.7), and to proper teaching of Orthodox ecclesiology, that the sum total of the church exists within each local diocesan church and the unity of the local diocesan churches, expressed through the unity of their shepherds, create what is referred to as the “Territorial Church”, and that the diocese contains within itself, complete and total catholicity: all that is necessary to be the church, and an effort to redirect limited financial resources of parishes and dioceses of the church from Central Church Administration (CCA) to where all the Christian work is being done (i.e. parishes and dioceses), and to prevent redundancy of efforts and unjustified expenditures by CCA.

      While vast majority of vital and fundamental witness, ministries, and life of the Church are manifested most directly and dynamically in local parish communities and sustained, nurtured, and empowered within the diocese, CCA is only concerned with collecting taxes to pay salaries and to perpetuate bureaucracy.

      This is verified by the report of the OCA treasurer for 2010 (2011, and partial 2012), wherein it clearly states that during the year 2010 (and following years), the CCA expended over 90% of revenues from fair share assessments contributed by participating dioceses toward administrative expenses, while for the same time period reporting expenditures of 2% for charity, missions, Church growth, and seminaries (COMBINED!), and 3% for evangelization, Christian education, Christian service, youth/young adult ministries, pastoral life, vocations, liturgical music/translations, and chaplaincies (COMBINED!). And that is while reporting an operating surplus of over $450,000.00 for the year 2010, with surpluses for 2011, and 2012!  

      The CCA assessments during 2008-2012 at $105 per capita level (as well as current $95 level), levied upon participating dioceses, and, thereby, diocesan parishes, constitute a financial hardship in distressed economic circumstances, and hinders the ability of the parishes and dioceses to properly attend to strengthening the parishes, establishing and growing missions, and expanding witness, ministries, and Christian outreach.

      Reorientation is most necessary at this time for the church to continue it’s mission!
      Preeminence of the the diocesan church vs. centralized administration, that reflects Orthodox ecclesiology concerning the nature and prerogatives of the diocesan church, has to become a priority in church-wide discussions. 

      Fr. Alexey                                

      • Fr. George Washburn says

        From where I sit Fr. Alexey’s talking a whole lot of sense, at least if we are thinking of and working for the healthy future of the OCA. There is too large a fraction of this fiction of an online community invested in friction and faction, venting over disappointments, dwelling on real wrongs and inventing imaginary ones out of sheer anger and pessimism,, and trashing other members of the Body of Christ.

        Enough of blame-casting over the past or tendentious hit pieces in the present. They waste a very limited capital of good will, set people against each other, and put the focus on past, personalities and/or mistakes, all of which lead to endless petty frictions that obscure the real things with which the Church must grapple.


        Fr. George

        • Well, there was going to be a strategic plan that would ordain a direction for determining the financial needs of the CCA, but bishops got nervous about Jonah running it into culture war coffers I suppose.

          As for the 400k operating surplus, paydown to Honesdale come to mind? Last I recall, that was 1.6 M.

          I personally don’t expect any central administration run from NYC to be inexpensive. Or Washington DC for a little twisted humor-sorry George.

          A fair critique of Fr Jillions letter would be to recognize the 3% calculation is not really valid. I am uncomfortable giving a fair critique here with um, hum, bum, and crum responding, but I have a different take.

          Running churches is all admin cost. If a church is able to give to charities; themselves are not included!

          So, for the letter he wrote; while good intent, it is factually just wrong. On 100k, for example, if the church gave, 5k to other charities, the admin cost is 95%. And that would be a good number because we all know that a church can’t run on 35k for all admin costs, even 95k is tough.

          Fact is, Fr Jillions will never get slammed by me like ug, rug, and fug, but his math is off due to economies of scale. The 35% figure would mean for Red Cross collections of 10 million, they should operate on 3.5m and dispense the balance to needy.

          Bog, cog, and log need not respond.

          The strategic plan, not fuzzy math, nor conservative principle need drive the CCA budgets. Once a plan is agreed, it should be sound enough to help decide if the Metropolitan is going to spend 5, 10, or 50k on travel, for example.

          And if anyone actually reads my comment; the notion all OCA collections would result in 65% going to charitable causes is nuts. The people are paying for a priest; he isn’t a program expense…sorry. Neither is a bishop….sorry, again. Fr Jillions is not part of that 35% number-it ain’t the same.

          If the CCA operating budget is 2m a year; it’d be nice if 5 or 10% went to charity, but it would only be feel good money. As a wiser fellow points out; local efforts would be better perhaps. Again, a good strategic plan would drive that spending plan, not someone in Colorado’s idea the CCA budget is too low for charitable giving.

          Ain’t it fun to pick on Colorado?

          And some guy in Texas that thinks 10 dollars is a fair figure can go buy a six pack instead of commenting, or better yet, give it to the Red Cross.

          If you try to compare a church to a charity, the church loses badly, so don’t!


  15. ill say what needs to be said – thanks for quoting The Who.

  16. thanks for quoting the Who!

  17. anonymous insider says

    Fr. Frank Miloro, the Johnstown Chancellor, is NO friend to either Bishops Matthias or Michael. Members of the Johnstown Consistory have even spread lies about them concerning why the went to the OCA. The ACROD diocesan administration has NEVER been fond of the OCA in general.

    Here is just one public example of how the ACROD administration feels: When Bishop Michael was a priest at St. Tikhon’s one of his deceased wife’s parents died. He went to the funeral at the Johnstown Cathedral and was forbidden to serve at the funeral by the Johnstown Administration. Can you imagine being a priest in good standing and being forbidden from burying a parent in-law?!

    I feel for all three of these Bishops whose files may have been revealed by the current administration in Johnstown because the diocese does have an ax to grind against these men, and the OCA in general.

    • You are partially correct.

      ACROD is not fond of the OCA–they are EP people, the OCA are…well, who knows.

      And exactly what “lies” ? don’t throw around accusations without at least some allegation!

  18. Heracleides says

    My take on recent events emanating from the Syosset Cesspool is titled “Muppetry” and may be viewed with my other images here. (The usual stooges should refrain from viewing lest they irreparably damage their sense of humor.)

  19. Henry Chinaski says

    Be careful, the innverse is true also. It’s equally blasphemous to pray, “Thank God I am not like that Pharisee”!

  20. Touchy Carl. says

    Cappy Larson says:
    February 25, 2013 at 9:41 pm
    The children are adults now. They now know only too well that their former bishop never believed them.
    Bishop Tikhon has done his best to spread his lies for twenty years. I guess he believes if he says it enough people will believe it. Probably most do. Because he is a bishop!
    If Bishop Tikhon “tends to believe” Sam Allen, then clearly he doesn’t believe the victims.
    I really don’t care anymore, but if Orthodox people are truly interested in their Church, they should care about the truth.
    Why the OCA allows this retired Bishop to continue posting this trash is beyond me. But even more perplexing is how he ever got to be a bishop.

    Ms Larson,

    Exactly what physical abuse did your daughter suffer by Sam Allen? You say he abused your daughter, Bishop TIkhon says that no abuse took place. That is the dividing line here of disagreement.

    It is clear from your statement above that your distain for Bishop Tikhon and the OCA runs very deep. Again I ask, what actual abuse did your daughter suffer?

  21. Cappy Larson says:
    February 25, 2013 at 9:41 pm
    The children are adults now. They now know only too well that their former bishop never believed them.
    Bishop Tikhon has done his best to spread his lies for twenty years. I guess he believes if he says it enough people will believe it. Probably most do. Because he is a bishop!
    If Bishop Tikhon “tends to believe” Sam Allen, then clearly he doesn’t believe the victims.
    I really don’t care anymore, but if Orthodox people are truly interested in their Church, they should care about the truth.
    Why the OCA allows this retired Bishop to continue posting this trash is beyond me. But even more perplexing is how he ever got to be a bishop.

    Ms Larson,

    Exactly what physical abuse did your daughter suffer by Sam Allen at Holy Trinity Cathedral in SF? You say he abused your daughter, Bishop TIkhon says no abuse took place. That is the dividing line of disagreement.

    It is clear from your statement above that your distain for Bishop Tikhon and the OCA runs very deep. Again I ask, what actual abuse did your daughter suffer? This would clear things up in the minds of those who are late to this debate.

    Thank you

  22. Damage Control says

    How sad, brother Michael that you are so defensive. Of course what we think is truth must always be measured against THE TRUTH that is Jesus Christ. I would never ascribe to myself what I believed was absolute truth as you apparently ascribe to yourself. Maybe you need to take a break.

  23. Henry Chinaski says

    “It is called selective prosecution…”

    I’d call it two-stepping with a bit of the three step shuffle. Toss in a little misdirected animosity and it’s one big party and you don’t even have to touch a drink.

  24. Melanie Jula Sakoda says

    I find myself unable to keep silent when incorrect information about the molestations at Holy Trinity Cathedral (HTC) is posted. I will be addressing those errors.

    CQ wrote:

    “HTC’s pastor unknowingly put a pedophile in charge of Sunday School.”

    Samuel David Allen was **never** a Sunday School teacher at HTC. In fact, Allen was not even Orthodox until a little less than 3 weeks before his final arrest.

    The Sunday School teachers at the time of Allen’s arrest were Cathy Spiro and Stephen Rigdon. The previous teacher was Kelly Moore, now Matushka Kyra Moore. Before that, if memory serves me, Nadine Kalinin was the teacher.

    Moreover, the Sunday School at HTC was held **before** Liturgy. Coffee hour, of course, was **after** Liturgy. During the coffee hour, after eating, the children played in the place designated for their use by Father George Sondergaard, our priest. This is when the bulk of the assaults are believed to have occurred.

    Whether or not Father George knew about Allen’s criminal convictions would have been a question of fact for the jury to decide, had the two lawsuits not been settled, as there was conflicting evidence. FWIW, Allen himself said that he informed Sondergaard in April of 1990.

    • You are, of course, correct and I apologize for my factual error re: Sunday School.

      I would still err on the side of charity with regards to Fr. Sondergaard. I prefer to think that his error, while negligent, was not malicious.

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      Thanks for these corrections, Mme. Sakoda.

  25. Melanie Jula Sakoda says

    Bishop Tikhon wrote:

    “Of the three sets of parents originally alleging or suspecting child abuse by Mr. Allen had taken place, two of them pursued the matter after i met with the parents face-to-face in San Francisco. One set did not pursue the matter further, and the father of that set of parents was a pediatrician.”

    Your Grace, you appear to have forgotten the three letters written to you by this pediatrician, dated December 10th, 18th and 26th of 1992, which clearly indicated that he believed that child sexual abuse had occurred at your cathedral. You responded to those letters on December 15th of 1992, although the doctor did not receive your letter until after the 26th.

    You also seem to misremember who filed the second HTC lawsuit. That action, San Francisco Superior Court Case # 965838, was initiated by the wife of the pediatrician. According to a document Cappy Larson and I found in the court file, that suit was settled for a substantial amount.

  26. A couple of days ago, a good and trusted friend, who is a lay-member of the Metropolitan Council, has told me that no formal request for +Jonah has been initiated by any jurisdiction. What goes on here?

  27. Melanie Jula Sakoda says

    Cappy Larson wrote:

    “Police reports were made on behalf of at least 4 children that I know of from HTC. …”

    I would just elaborate on a couple of points.

    The molestations at HTC were reported to the San Francisco police in San Francisco by the 3 mothers. I would note that Cappy herself made the first report.

    Case # 910-399575: Reported on 3/27/1991
    Case # 910-411947: Reported on 3/29/1991
    Case # 910-461102: Reported on 4/9/1991

    Cappy also mentioned that the children, with the help of the police, were entitled to monies from the California Victim/Witness fund. In addition, the children will be notified should this sexually violent predator, Samuel David Allen, ever again be eligible for release.

  28. Be sure to check out newest articles (3/6) on Pokrov website…OCA is goiong to have a hard time with this one!

    • Confused. says

      Stuart, is a site dedicated to weed out sexual abuse in the Church. So what does the 3/6 article have to do with that mission?

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        How does one (or Pokrov) WEED OUT sexual abuse in the Church?
        Who or what has Pokrov ever weeded out? They are publicists.