Fr Robert Arida: Why Don’t You Become Episcopalian?

Recently, Fr Robert Arida wrote a questionable essay which was published on the “OCA Wonder” blog, “Never Changing Gospel; Ever Changing Culture“. Sadly, it is no longer a wonder what the upper reaches (as it were) of Syosset believes and where they want to take the OCA. It’s rather a pity.

Fr Hans Jacobse however has taken up the challenge of taking Arida to task. Jacobse, a priest in the Antiochian jurisdiction, boldly and with great clarity deconstructs Arida’s tedious arguments. Like Fr Alexander F C Webster who recently stood up for the Christian moral tradition when it was threatened by the state, Jacobse took up the challenge when it was threatened by some within the Church. Please take the time to read his response. His question to Arida is rather simple: why don’t you become an Episcopalian?

Source: AOI

By Fr. Johannes L. Jacobse

A great many of those who ‘debunk’ traditional…values have in the background values of their own which they believe to be immune from the debunking process. C.S. Lewis, “The Abolition of Man”

Fr. Robert Arida

Fr. Robert Arida

Whenever you hear generalized sentiments about how the dominant culture is changing and that “fundamentalism” prevents the Church from changing along with it, then you can be sure that competing values lurk close behind. Sooner or later those values appear. It’s as predictable as the beetle boring into dung.

Archpriest Robert M. Arida doesn’t disappoint. In his recent essay “Never Changing Gospel; Ever Changing Culture”* Arida concocts a brew of disconnected statements to conclude that:

If the never changing Gospel who is Jesus Christ is to have a credible presence and role in our culture, then the Church can no longer ignore or condemn questions and issues that are presumed to contradict or challenge its living Tradition. Among the most controversial of these issues are those related to human sexuality, the configuration of the family, the beginning and ending of human life, the economy and the care and utilization of the environment including the care, dignity and quality of all human life.

These words sound so smooth and so reasonable. No wonder. Sentimental thinking produces brews that are easy to swallow. But how reasonable are they?

Not long ago the Episcopalian Church faced the dilemma that Arida wants to introduce into the Orthodox Church: Should moral legitimacy be granted to homosexual pairings that was previously reserved only for heterosexual, monogamous marriage?

Episcopalians fought each other for several decades over the question and the traditionalists lost. But why did they lose? How could a position so clearly outlined in the Christian moral tradition be jettisoned so quickly? How could the language of the tradition be so successfully manipulated to overturn what that same tradition disallowed?

To understand how this occurred we have to understand something about the Episcopalian Church. Episcopalian society is a polite society. Polite societies are civil. Those who wanted moral parity for homosexual pairings argued under the rubric of basic human fairness and decency. All discussion was reduced to the personal and Episcopalian traditionalists found it hard to rebut the liberal ideas without violating the rules of polite discourse.

Liberalism and reductionism work hand in hand. The reasoning goes like this: When the personal becomes political the more difficult questions are left unasked because asking them is offensive to homosexuals. These questions reach deep into religious and cultural assumptions, some that reach back over two millennia.

The unasked questions include: How do we address the shift in human anthropology that is at the center of the homosexual question (“I am what I feel”), the cultural ramification of homosexual adoptions, the redefinition of marriage from family to romantic unit, the legal ramifications of sexual orientation as a protected right, and more.

Orthodox culture is different. Unlike the Episcopalians, Orthodox liberals prefer appearances of gravitas over politeness. When the liberals have a point to make, they draw out the big guns like theologian Fr. Georges Florovsky, offer allusions to recent thinkers like Fr. Alexander Schmemann, provide the obligatory criticism or two of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, cite a relevant quote from the Fathers — all the elements necessary to enforce civility through presumptions of authority and erudition.

Episcopalian liberals won the debates but they lost their church. In their rush to become relevant they became a byword for irrelevancy. The same will happen to the Orthodox Church if it trades the teachings of the moral tradition for acceptance by the dominant culture. Appearances of gravitas are just that – appearances. Esau lost the inheritance for a bowl of pottage. So can the Orthodox.

Sentimentalism never replaces clear thinking. It merely seeks to shut down debate. Arida reveals as much when he writes:

If the Church is to engage culture, if it is to contribute to the culture and if it is to synthesize what is good, true and beautiful coming from the culture to further the Gospel then it will have to expose and ultimately expel the “new and alien spirits” that have weakened its authentic voice. Among these spirits are Biblical fundamentalism and the inability to critique and build upon the writings and vision of the Fathers. A tragic consequence of these spirits is a Christianity of ethical systems that usurp the voice of Christ and distort the beauty of his face. It is the saving and transfiguring voice and presence of Christ that we are expected to offer the ever-changing culture.

Contrary to Arida, the defense of the moral tradition is not an introduction of “new and alien spirits” and not the usurpation of the “voice of Christ” or the distortion of the “beauty of His face.” The opposite is true. Arida introduces the “new and alien spirit” because his attempt to legitimize homosexual pairings violates Orthodox self-understanding and practice. The Orthodox Church has always been tolerant of sinners because Christ is merciful, but it has never been tolerant of sin or redefined sin as righteousness.

This point is not lost on Arida who blames resistance to his Episcopalian impulse on the “converts”:

First, there is among Orthodox Christians the idea that nothing changes in the Church. In fact, we know that many adult converts have been lured to Orthodoxy by this misconception (emphasis Arida).

But is this really true? No one really believes that nothing changes. Arida’s real complaint is that the converts don’t embrace the change that he thinks they should.

So what is the endgame? Should we work to find favor with the dominant culture? Should we subject the Orthodox Church to the same risk of collapse that all mainstream Protestant denominations experienced when they went sexually liberal? Do we strut our Orthodox gravitas to hide the fact that we employ the language of the moral tradition in order to subvert it?

And what should we do about Arida and his enablers? Here’s an idea. Why not let those who want to Episcopalianize the Orthodox Church become Episcopalian? That way the liberals remain happy and the Orthodox don’t have to fight the culture wars that the liberals want to drag into the Church.

“Never Changing Gospel; Ever Changing Culture” by Fr. Robert Arida, OCA Wonder (


  1. This must lead to action. We cannot just come here and argue amongst ourselves on this site. I suggest that we write and call all the hiearchs of all the jurisdictions in America, send a link to this article to our parish priests and spiritual fathers, and write/call Fr Robert directly. Who cares if he gets bothered by numerous phone calls and email. The time of passive aggressiveness and avoidance of confrontation is past. A possible letter will be written up upon which I hope we can get a long list of signatories, especially names of parents, and this letter will be sent to the hiearchs of the OCA. We should demand that the article be taken off the Wonder blog, and a retraction be given, and Fr Robert to be censored.

    • ChristineFevronia says

      Fr. Lawrence Farley publicly takes on Fr. Robert Arida in the latest audio recording posted on Ancient Faith Radio. Thank you also to Fr. Lawrence Farley for his public response!

      His response: “Is the LGBT a New Reality?” under “What’s New?” at:

  2. Bravo Fr. Johannes!!!

    Fr. Arida should be ashamed of himself for writing such an article….and article meant for the young people of the OCA. The key phrase in Fr. Johannes article is this:

    Arida introduces the “new and alien spirit” because his attempt to legitimize homosexual pairings violates Orthodox self-understanding and practice.

  3. Thank you to Fr. Jacobse for his essay.

  4. Those who want the church to abandon the Transcendentals and conform to the fleeting fashions of society are creatures of the Devil and deeply disrespectful of God and the saints.

  5. Michael Kinsey says

    Accommodating the feckless secular culture blown in the wind is not serving God alone. We may learn to like the plagues of the great whore, before the Only Holy One relents. The only way to come out of the great whore is to serve God alone. There is no choice in this matter, we will reap what we sow, like it or not. All mankind is under this same exact accountability, there is no escape, to the last jot and tittle. Here, most emphatically, God is no respecter of persons. This includes big shots. Divine Justice trumps the mercy of men, with the mercy of God. The twit cleric mentioned above does disservice to God, let alone serving himself.

  6. Why does he continue to be allowed to have a platform to speak?! Write to Fr Arida, don’t write here. Take decisive action. A letter will soon be compiled and we are going to try to get signatories on the letter. This letter will be sent to all the hiearchs of all the jurisdictions in America, including to Fr Arida. This man needs to know that he cannot do these things and get away with it with no consequences.

    In the meantime, call and write fr Arida directly!

  7. M. Stankovich says

    My response on the “Wonder Blog”:

    This discussion is a fascinating example of a very established mindset in the Church, best expressed in the opinion of the 14th century Byzantine Grand Logothete, Theodore Metochites: “In the Church, everything that needs to be said has already been said.” Theologically & dogmatically speaking, it would seem that this mindset would deter, if not condemn, any and all “re-articulation,” discussion, and examination of the eternal Truth & Tradition of the Church. But is this the actual “dogma” and position of the Scripture, Patristic Fathers, & our revealed Tradition?

    Fr. George Florovsky explores this mindset by first addressing the confounding notion that, as a “Church of the Councils,” the revelation of the Truth & Tradition was “completed” by the Seventh and final Ecumenical Council in the 8th century. Fr. Florovsky, however, challenges this idea through the person of Blessed Gregory Palamas. Palamas, he writes, condemned anyone and any theology which attempted to “contain” the uncontainable Energy of our God; eternally vibrant, eternally active, eternally invigorating & inspiring. While God is “eternally the same,” Palamas condemned those who interpreted this to mean “unchanging,” and a static “presence” in the Church and the world.

    Secondly, we hear in the Vespers of Pentecost that, with the coming of the Spirit, “all gifts have been given,” and the statement of Metochites again suggests that, not only has everything that needs to be said already been said, but with Pentecost, we have been given everything we need. But as Fr. Florovsky observes, the presumption is that all gifts have been revealed and understood. This is contrary to the Fathers, notably Blessed Andrew of Crete, who warn those who would attempt to “limit” the unlimitable Spirit Who “goes wherever He wishes.” From the Vespers, we hear that the Spirit is “Fire from Fire,” moving, inspiring, and invigorating, And such is the nature of our Tradition: never voted upon by Council or never declared by a bishop, but revealed over time by the Spirit.

    Those coming from Protestantism continually warn that they have seen and heard this “I know where this going,” narcotizing smooth-talk before: erudite, non-threatening salesmen offering carefully phrased speeches, the actual intent of which is to undermine the integrity of the Church. They, after all, are witnesses of the destruction. But we need to be especially clear with them that they speak as if their original church was in “the Fullness of Truth,” not founded in heresy & hetrodoxy – and frequently sounding as if, were it not for specific “issues,” they would still be among the heterodox – the natural history of which, inevitably, is destruction. Suffice it say that the Church has endured movements and factions promoting heresy – in some cases to the point where the Truth was held by a minority – but endured “by the the Grace of the Spirit and the minds of men.” Frankly, to lack the faith that the Church can and will endure and overcome the worst of heretical challenges is both astonishing and disheartening. Recall the Vespers Dogmatikon from the Resurrection Octoechos in Tone One: “Courage, courage, O people of God! For Christ will destroy our enemies as the All-Powerful.”

    Finally, it is the unfounded fear of re-articulation and the discussion of the unchanging Truth that has left us at the whim of the civil courts to determine issues of public morality such as homosexuality, abortion, the nature of marriage, and all issues related to the beginning & end of life. We have no moral voice of authority in the “public square,” and we, quite literally, are totally inconsequential in any public media and forum of debate. Imagine! The harbinger and chosen guardians of the revelation of the eschaton, those celebrating the “Banquet of Immortality,” which is always at the Master’s Table in the Kingdom which is to come, are inconsequential, trivialized, and voiceless in a world that so desperately needs us. “Where shall I go from your spirit? or where shall I flee from your presence?” (Ps. 138:7).

    I commend Fr. Robert for raising the discussion in a public forum, where he must be subjected to critique & accusation more for what he did not say, than for what he actually wrote. “Courage, courage, O people of God!”

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      Well, there are a lot of Catch-22s that can be tossed at “converts” from Protestantism, but most of them are false “catches”. I don’t think old Presbys or Anglicans claim their former churches had the fullness of truth, or they wouldn’t have come to Orthodoxy (after all). But this is hardly to say that those churches did not once hold certain beliefs that no Orthodox would repudiate. They are heterodox, not non-dox, after all.

      In my own case, my journey to Orthodoxy began in about 1979 or ’80, without regard to this controversy. It is true, though, that this issue had something to do with me getting busy doing what I should have done years before.

      One thing that is generally missing from these discussions is that social approval of homosexual behavior is a very old issue indeed, confronted and dealt with by the Church long, long ago. It is not what it is being made out to be by its apologists today, as a new cultural thing that the Church must reconsider in that light.

      The gentile world accepted it and it was practiced in that “culture” on a widespread basis in New Testament times and for a long time thereafter. The Church did not “conform” to it then; instead it repudiated it, and, indeed, eventually eradicated its approved social standing by late antiquity. So what is so special about the present situation? This is most definitely no “new thing under the sun”!

      You praise Fr. Arida’s “raising the discussion in a public forum”; do you also praise his “narcotizing smooth-talk” and his tendentious indirection as well? Indeed, indeed we have seen this before!

      • George Michalopulos says

        Tim, I’m glad you bring this up (re converts). Leaving aside the obvious fallacies in Arida’s arguments, it’s funny how the Lib/Progs in the Orthodox Church –who are overwhelmingly cradles–never tire in castigating converts for bringing in an “alien spirit.” When the reality is that is the Aridas of the world who have made a god of this world.

        • Arida’s anti-convert chauvinism is yet one more thing that is a tired retread from similar campaigns in heterodox bodies. In the church of my rearing (Dutch Reformed) there was a saying — “if you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t much.” If your name was VanSwoopensma, you could get by with pushing the progressive envelope, and you could also get by with snidely putting down a more conservative fellow clergyman named Smith, saying that “he just doesn’t get the Dutch tradition.” It is basically phyletism for liberals: “this is our church because we have the right genes — it was our grandparents’ church, and therefore we get to decide what the church teaches, even if it is a 180 degree turn from what our grandparents believed.”

          Same thing in the Episcopal/Anglican world. If you were a former Southern Baptist who was drawn to the Anglican liturgical and historical tradition, it didn’t matter if you had memorized the BCP and could quote Hooker chapter and verse. When in a debate with a umpteenth generation Episcopalian who didn’t know Cranmer from Crapola (and didn’t care to), that former SB could be assured of being told that he just didn’t get the Anglican tradition — and by implication, being told to keep his ignorant mouth shut.

          Arida also simply doesn’t know what he is talking about when it comes to why people from generally conservative Protestant backgrounds become Orthodox. I think it is very common for people to leave their former churches when obvious moral decay or doctrinal apostasy strikes. But the easiest thing to do as a Protestant is just to slide into a more conservative version of what you were already a part of.

          If you look specifically at people who went directly from being faithful members of a particular Protestant church to becoming Orthodox (the kind of person that Arida derides — someone like me), what we tend to have in common is that something caused us to look at the fundamentals of the churches we were part of. Whether it was apostasy or the looming prospect of apostasy or something completely different — we looked under the hood and asked, “what is it about the presuppositions of this church that even made these problems thinkable, let alone possible?” If the answer is: “nothing — the problem is not with the underlying concept, but rather just in the execution,” then that person will go from, say, the liberal United Presbyterian Church to the conservative Presbyterian Church in America — or from the Episcopal church to a Continuing Anglican body.

          But if one rather comes to the conclusion that maybe there is something deeply flawed in the whole Protestant enterprise, and that Roman Catholicism simply offers a variant on the theme — that is when you become Orthodox. Things like women’s ordination and homosexuality couldn’t have been farther from our minds when my wife and I were working through all of this — and in my extensive experience with converts to Orthodoxy, I have found that to be pretty universal. Not, mind you, because any of us are ambivalent about those “issues,” but because becoming Orthodox requires one to back up so far that you can’t even see those things with a pair of binoculars. Or at least, that was the case until this current aggressive trend started in certain parts of the OCA.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      Stankovich’s comments are a hoot.

      He perfectly illustrates the description given by Father Hans: “Orthodox liberals prefer appearances of gravitas over politeness. When the liberals have a point to make, they draw out the big guns like theologian Fr. Georges Florovsky, offer allusions to recent thinkers like Fr. Alexander Schmemann, provide the obligatory criticism or two of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, cite a relevant quote from the Fathers — all the elements necessary to enforce civility through presumptions of authority and erudition.”

      • M. Stankovich says

        Fr. Patrick,

        Fr. Hans makes such statements as a preemption because he is not familiar enough with the writings of Frs. Florovsky & Schmemann or the Patristic writing of the Holy Fathers to sustain a discussion or defend himself. His silence to my endless requests that he cite a Patristic or modern theological source for his “deductions” has proven this time and again. More often than not, the heterodox, the Christian Right, and a bevy of “conservative” social commentators are his only sources beside himself.

        As I recall, you were raised on the shoulders of the “anonymous horde” here for your “setting straight” one commentator for questioning your knowledge of Scripture, Patristics, and history. I have never questioned your gifts as a scholar, and I say this in all sincerity. Therefore, I would expect that if I have made statements that are contrary to the Tradition of the Church, you would correct me as to substance, rather than delivering a sarcastic comment that is unworthy of this especially serious topic.

    • Mary Lowell says

      Fr. Robert’s double-speak in an earlier shot across the bow, “My Response to Myself,” has been addressed in an excellent article by Sergey Khudiev titled “Let Your Yea Be Yea and Your Nay Be Nay.”


      “We will not analyze the whole article, but let us concentrate instead on its concluding moment: ‘How is the Church going to minister to those same sex couples who being legally married come with their children and knock on the doors of our parishes seeking Christ. Do we ignore them? Do we, prima facie, turn them away? Do we, under the rubric of repentance, encourage them to divorce and dismantle their family? Or, do we offer them, as we offer anyone desiring Christ, pastoral care, love and a spiritual home?’

      Although the style, as mentioned, is characterized by rhetorical questions and leaves the position of the author unclear, he opposes the demand for ‘divorce and dismantlement of their family’ to ‘pastoral care, love and a spiritual home’.

      So what? A situation where what is completely acceptable to secular society, but is seen by the Church as a sin is not unusual. An abortionist may be a respectable citizen, working in a perfectly legal occupation, paying his taxes on time, giving money to charity, a courteous and charming man. But how do we deal with the abortionist who comes and knocks on the parish door, seeking Christ? According to the rules of repentance, do we exhort him to abandon his previous occupation? Of course, we do! Pastoral care does not at all consist of testifying to the world that his actions are good.”


      • Christopher says

        Mary, excellent points. Thanks for posting this article. After looking into Fr. Robert’s past writings, I have been a little perplexed as to why this latest one caused a reaction when in the past it appeared they did not. I am seeing now that his subversive teaching has not gone completely unnoticed…

        • Christopher, because in this case his nonsense made it’s way onto an official OCA website. As long as his shennanigans stay confined to his cathedral though, he’s fine.

      • Tim R Mortiss says

        The linked article is right on the money on the issue of the circumlocutions of Fr. Arida:

        “The article by Archpriest Robert Arrida ‘Response To Myself’ is of interest, but not so much because it shows a certain approach, which is above all characteristic of contemporary liberal Protestantism. Convinced atheists, Muslims and Christians of various confessions have something in common – they all try to set out their views clearly and without ambiguity, so that any reader can clearly grasp what the writer believes and does not believe, what you agree with him about and what you do not agree with him about and what the arguments he puts forward are.

        Liberal theologians are not like this. They have a particularity which entails a tendency to explain themselves with rhetorical questions, vague allusions and highly mysterious phrases from which you can with more or less justification guess at their positions, but are unable to explain clearly. This is very noticeable among liberal Protestants, very rare among Catholics and, until recently, simply did not exist among Orthodox. However, Orthodox do not live in a separate world and a certain influence of liberal Protestantism can creep into the Church.”


        • Christopher says

          “iberal theologians are not like this. They have a particularity which entails a tendency to explain themselves with rhetorical questions, vague allusions and highly mysterious phrases from which you can with more or less justification guess at their positions, but are unable to explain clearly.”

          This is because they are fundamentally subversive. They are well aware they can not say what they mean, so their intention is to create doubt and speak in ambiguous terms (which they also imagine to be “prophetic”) so they can start to “reform the institution from within”. These are of course tactics borrowed from the secular/ Marxist sphere…

          • God forgive me but this description of Christopher’s above sounds like a description of Met. Tikhon’s lukewarm reply posted in reply to Fr. Arida’s essay.

        • Fr. Justin Frederick says

          Liberal theologians are almost always parasites on orthodoxy. They want to live off the body that orthodoxy has grown while rejecting the tenets of orthodox faith. They don’t have the courage to leave the orthodox body and go start their own religion–probably because deep down they know too few would follow to pay their salaries. I use ‘orthodox’ with a small ‘o’ deliberately, as this scenario has played out many times in various Christian bodies.

          • Liberal theologians are almost always parasites on orthodoxy.

            Such has always been my observation. They are like the proverbial cuckoo bird who lays its eggs in nests that others have built. Liberals never have the courage of their convictions to start their own church. They take over an existing ecclesiastical body, with its buildings, endowments, and funding mechanisms.

          • Michael Bauman says

            They are like mushrooms. All the more reason to proclaim the truth at every opportunity. Guard our own hearts against the corruption of the world and refuse to participate as much as possible.

          • And for you to call a priest a parasite is much worse than me letting you know…

        • Liberal theologians are not like this. They have a particularity which entails a tendency to explain themselves with rhetorical questions, vague allusions and highly mysterious phrases from which you can with more or less justification guess at their positions, but are unable to explain clearly.

          In fact, when you try to pin them down and get them to state their positions clearly and without ambiguity, they tend to get angry. They get indignant and try to force you to prove that they aren’t orthodox — when it would be far simpler for them simply to clearly and unambiguously make orthodox statements.

  8. In the OCA, mixed marriages are tolerated in many parishes. Active, out, practicing gays and lesbians are communed in many parishes. Gay marriage and abortion are not condemned by many in the OCA. Get over it. The hierarchs will do nothing about it, because they can do nothing about it. When is the last time anyone was censored, much less reprimanded for communing a gay person, in the OCA?

    • Sean Richardson says

      OOM, it’s not just in the OCA that this happens. I’ve been active in Antiochian parishes and a member of two ROCOR parishes that allowed active, practicing gays and lesbians to commune. I’ve never been a formal member of a Greek, Ukrainian or Serbian parish, but my guess is that this happens there as well. I’m wondering how much geography plays into this. The parishes that I have belonged to have almost all been on “the left coast”.

      • I think there is a difference between communing someone who is homosexual and not openly involved in a long term relationship vs. communing someone who is homosexual and “partnered”. In the first instance, a person might simply be suffering from an inclination and, when he falls, be reconciled by confession. Of course, he may also be abusing this “breathing room”, but the same is true for heterosexuals who have sex outside of marriage. Also, really, one should not commune someone who openly identifies as “gay”. Doing so is a political statement all its own. No one would self identify as “beastialist” or “pederast”, after all.

        What cannot be tolerated is communing openly cohabitating homosexuals (or cohabitating heterosexuals in a sexual relationship, for that matter). Nor can cheerleading for the Church to change its long settled teaching on these matters be tolerated. If this is not a settled matter, there are no settled matters. Met. Phillip had it right, “We do not discuss abominations.” That was one of his finer moments.

      • Care to name those parishes, Sean?

    • > The hierarchs will do nothing about it, because they can do nothing about it.

      They certainly can do something about it. They have the power to defrock them. If such things are indeed occurring, then the onus is on them to act. The ball is in their court. Will they? Doubtful at this point, but we know they certainly have the power, and they have no excuse to not act.

  9. Par for the course.

    I remember talking to a Catholic nun many years ago. She was dressed in civilian clothing and cooing about how a gay couple acted as godparents for a baptism in her church the week before. She went on about this and that reform. I asked her precisely the same question, “Wouldn’t you be happier in the Episcopal Church?”” She laughed and replied that she was committed to changing the RCC from within. Now she has a pope more to her liking.

    None of the modernist jurisdictions have the antibodies to fight off this type of infection – and it’s terminal.

  10. I, for one, am very glad that Fr Arida wrote what he wrote and that the OCA published it. I am not in agreement with Fr. Arida, but at last, even in his attempts to cloak his comments, it is clear that his agenda about gays is now out in the open.

    It is common knowledge to anyone, myself included, who has ever been to Holy Trinity Cathedral in Boston, that Fr. Arida has an open door policy when it comes to active homosexuals. I can say this because I know that he is openly communing “married” gay couples. He is also communing gays who are not struggling with their sexuality. I don’t believe there is anyone who reads this blog or others who would not understand the pastoral dynamic in offering the Holy Eucharist to gays who are celibate or who are sincerely trying to repent.

    But this gets to the crux of the issue, repentance. I have listened to Fr. Arida preach eloquently on the subject of repentance. He’s says that it is essential as we work out our salvation and he is correct. Yet if the pastor does not view homosexuality as a sin, then is repentance necessary? – and there in is the serious issue in Fr. Arida’s approach. Gays are welcome in his parish because he does not consider their way of life as active gays to be an issue in and of itself.

    Of course this runs counter to the teachings of the Church but for some reason he felt that it was time to, at the very least, send up a “trial ballon” and see what happens. The very idea of sending up his gaseous ballon of an article in an officially sanctioned blog of the OCA opens up an entirely different can of worms and no “next day” disclaimer attempt by the OCA to distance itself (without really distancing itself) from the Arida article will do.

    This blog and its founder have been the butt end of endless jokes about his insistence of a “gay agenda” or “gay cabal” infesting the OCA. He has been taken to task by some for his troglodyte thinking. I think in some small way, Fr Arida’s article should at least give those critics pause and give Mr. Michalopulos a sense of humble vindication.

    There is and has been an active gay support group in the OCA for many years and now one of its “stars” has all but come out of the intellectual closet. We know too that the current Chancellor of the OCA is, at least, very interested in having a serious “dialogue” on the topic of “sexual minorities” in the Church. He said so in his Vitae which was used to promote himself for his current position.

    I recently watched a YouTube video of his wife, Mat. Susan Arida at a conference dealing with human relationships. Fr. Arida also spoke at the same conference. It is worth watching her presentation if for no other reason than give more context to the thinking and cross-pollination of thought of Father and Matushka and how their views have influenced the thinking of the Boston Cathedral.

    Fr. Arida is no dummy. He is well-read, a gifted homilist, a serious student of Scripture and the Fathers, but with all his gifts, I believe he has let his personal family dynamics (of which I am aware) influence his better pastoral judgement. He should be censured, not necessarily for his Wonder Blog article, for that is just the culmination of years of teaching in his parish which has led him, in my opinion, taking liberties with the imparting of the Holy Eucharist. And, let me add, if, and I fully believe he does, if his bishop is permitting this open communion of unrepentant gays at his Cathedral in Boston, then he too needs to be corrected.

    The teachings of the Church are being twisted if not perverted by Fr. Arida,- done so with elegance and with compassion, albeit misplaced. If he truly believes this, and I think he does, then he should remove himself from the active priesthood and turn his considerable talents to an academic pursuit of his beliefs because I don’t think he should or with a clear conscience do both.

    • Larry Deavenport says

      The OCA should hold firm to the Church’s teaching about gays.We are suppose to overcome our passions not give in to the Devil especially now in these troubled times.

    • Scandalized OCA parishioner says

      Ronald, Please consider going through the OCA’s spiritual court proceedings with what you know by direct observation and experience.

  11. Larry H. Puttgrass says

    I wonder if too much time is spent pondering on the issue of morality, which can be relativised since it is based on what the popular culture/society values and not enough on what is virtuous.

    If we change our mindset to discuss what is virtuous (as I understand it, virtue is a gift of the Holy Spirit which each of us individually needs to cultivate; while we may not be perfected in all the virtues, cultivating one virtue, patience for example, eventually leads to fruits of other virtues, humility, meekness, kindness, etc.). The cultivation of virtues as I understand it, assists (with God’s help) in eventually conquering our passions.

    I am interested especially in the opinions of our resident theologians and clergy on my musings.

  12. Alice Carter says

    Dear Annoyed,

    Please do write me your objections to our priest, we, unfortunately cannot write you since you are anonymous. As usual, we can count on the posters here to go into full bore witch hunt mode. A more reasonable response is a possibility. When I became Orthodox I committed myself to Christ and as an expression of that commitment I say the Creed, every line of which is true. Nowhere is it written that I was required to exclude gay people. I have been in many Orthodox churches in the USA and some in Greece. I have yet to find a priest more committed to the Gospel, to Christ Himself, to his parishioners than Father Robert Arida. I am old enough to remember that Hitler sent gay people to the concentration camps in Germany and they were require to wear a pink triangle, just as my late husband was required to wear a Jewish Star of David.

    • Rdr Thomas says

      This must be a joke. “Gay people” exclude themselves. Sin is defined as that which deviates from the image of God present in all of us. Repentance is the act of trying to restore this image (and full restoration is impossible without the grace of God and the full life of the Church). Jesus was our example here, which is why we are called to emulate him. Here’s the take-home point: because the very definition of sin is predicated on the changeless God, it, by definition, cannot be redefined or changed.

      That does not mean that if a person sincerely desires to restore his former image that he can’t; the Church welcomes repentant sinners graciously, thanks be to God! Logic dictates that for us to “excuse” this one sin from the “rubric of repentance”, though, is actually doing harm to that sinner’s soul.

      Or, if I could sum up with a common phrase among protestants: Love the sinner, hate the sin. But don’t try to call it what it’s not.

      Oh, and I don’t know if you’re familiar with the phrase “Godwin’s Law”, but you might Google it and familiarize yourself with it, and then think twice about comparing people to Nazis.

      • Chris Banescu says

        As the Scripture attest, Jesus told the woman living in sin: “go and sin no more,” not “go and make your sin your lifestyle,” or “define yourself by your sin,” or “what you’ve done is not really sin, but love,” or “go out and be proud of your sin,” or “teach others that your sin is not really sin,” or “berate others to embrace your sin.”

    • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

      Yes, but Alice, now it is the gay activists who are behaving like Nazis. It isn’t enough that now they can legally marry. Now they would force their agenda on the church as well. What Orthodox priest or bishop is calling for gays to be sent to concentration camps? Yet, I fear the gays will force the church to submit to their agenda and should the church refuse, it will be outlawed and/or branded as a “hate” organization like the KKK or Nazis.
      Another thing, just because the gay activists may have the law on their side does not make them right in God’s eyes. I’m old enough to remember Dr. Martin Luther King. Once, before leading a march for civil rights,King was rebuked by a rabbi for doing something illegal. “Everything Hitler did to the Jews in Germany WAS legal,” King told the rabbi, ” if I had lived in Germany at that time, I would have aided the Jews. I would have broken the law.”
      If the Orthodox Church caves in to the gay agenda, it will cease to be the church. It will become an American variation on the Living Church theme.
      You are being disingenuous when you say , “Nowhere is it written (in the Creed) that I was required to exclude gay people.” Nowhere is it written in the Creed, that I, a widowed priest, cannot marry a second wife. But if I do, I can’t remain a priest. That’s the church’s teaching. It’s not about me. It’s about Christ and His Church. If you think Christ doesn’t exclude, you must not have listened to the first Passion Gospel read on Holy Thursday evening ,”Because you are not of this world, because My choice drew you from this world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:19

    • Speaking Clearly says

      Alice, since you’re a parishioner, could you please answer this question: Does Fr. Robert commune active same-sex couples, and/or same-sex couples that have contracted a civil marriage?

      • This is from Rod Dreher’s blog. He got it from the Facebook page of a pro-gay Orthodox group:

        Michael Berrigan Clark: Gerard, have you been to Holy Trinity (mentioned by Maria McDowell)? This is the OCA cathedral in Boston. So entirely canonical. I am gay… I was married to my husband in a civil ceremony in 2005. When I began attending Holy Trinity later that year I was completely up front with the priest. My husband, Martin, began attending liturgies regularly about two years ago. He was chrismated Holy Saturday earlier this year. Our relationship is not a secret; I have had no negative interactions with either clergy or laity in this parish. Martin and I are not the only gay people in the parish, though after Martin became Orthodox, we are the only Orthodox gay *couple* as far as I know. I don’t think this constitutes “don’t ask don’t tell.” More like “ask or tell whatever you like… we don’t care.” Just saying.

        • I am an acquaintance of Michael Clark and I can confirm this is completely accurate.

        • “Michael Berrigan Clark: Gerard, have you been to Holy Trinity (mentioned by Maria McDowell)? This is the OCA cathedral in Boston.”

          Those who are unaware of the Maria McDowell referenced here on Mr. Clark’s Facebook posting may be unfamiliar with her work as an ’eminent theologian.’ Readers of WORD magazine will well remember her as Maria Gwyn McDowell, author of this little missive,

          Same basic subject (the promotion of modernist sexual confusion). Same approach, twisting the words of the Fathers to deconstruct all that is good and holy. I don’t know that she can be directly associated with Holy Trinity Cathedral, but if Mr. Clark is to be believed she apparently has an affinity for its theological culture. Birds of a feather, it seems.

      • Here's the Answer says

        It looks like Rod Dreher already posted the answer as to whether Fr. Robert communes “married” gay couples. He does. Never mind, Alice. Never mind.

        In the article at he posts a Facebook Group message (Pro-Gay Orthodox Christians) from parishioner Michael Berrigan Clark:

        Gerard, have you been to Holy Trinity (mentioned by Maria McDowell)? This is the OCA cathedral in Boston. So entirely canonical. I am gay… I was married to my husband in a civil ceremony in 2005. When I began attending Holy Trinity later that year I was completely up front with the priest. My husband, Martin, began attending liturgies regularly about two years ago. He was chrismated Holy Saturday earlier this year. Our relationship is not a secret; I have had no negative interactions with either clergy or laity in this parish. Martin and I are not the only gay people in the parish, though after Martin became Orthodox, we are the only Orthodox gay *couple* as far as I know. I don’t think this constitutes “don’t ask don’t tell.” More like “ask or tell whatever you like… we don’t care.” Just saying.
        October 19 at 9:32pm ·

      • I am a part-time parishoner at HTOC (I spend part of the year in Boston on business and I am not OCA but the “cathedral” is close to where I stay).

        At HTOC, the Village People could walk in and be greeted warmly. It’s a veritable den of open sodomy. I can only assume that the OCA hierarchy is fully aware. Arida is compromised by his family life, everybody in the parish knows it.

        There is nothing new under the sun, there are zero “new” sexual issues. St Paul wrote all about this, in detail, but he’s old and sexually stuffy, or something.

        Pardon my frankness, but Arida – after this I will not attend HTOC in future – has really done it with his open statements.

        • Here's the Answer says

          It’s not about “greeting,” it’s about communing. Let’s be very clear: The church is a hospital, not a court (St. John Chrysostom). No one should ever be excluding people who identify as gay (or anything else, for that matter) from attending church and being treated with compassion and love. As someone noted above, gays exclude themselves from communion when they actively engage in homosexual activity. But they don’t exclude themselves from worship.

          • Well said Here’s The Answer. The same is true for each and every one of us.

          • I can assure you that HTOC isn’t “excluding” anyone. Nice red herring. And I do mean Red.

            I’ve communed at a lot of Orthodox churches, never seen gays “excluded” anywhere. Out gays who live that lifestyle publicly are a different matter. Arida thinks they should be “accepted” as-is, seems you do too.

            Me, I’ll stick with St Paul & the Church Fathers. They were quite familiar with gay everything; read up on classical Greece.

          • As someone noted above, gays exclude themselves from communion when they actively engage in homosexual activity. But they don’t exclude themselves from worship.

            Now that sounds pious but it is about as obtuse as anyone can get on this matter.

            The point is that at an OCA cathedral – presumably with the bishop’s knowledge as everyone else seems to be aware – gays actively involved in homosexual activity are not excluding themselves from communion, and neither are the priests excluding them.

            Why not?

            Because they have developed a theology which justifies it.

            • Arida fancies himself, and those around him heap praise and worship, that he is a deep thinker, a big brain, and a visionary theologian. He always wanted to generate a theological work of some notoriety and, well, it seems he has. For people like him, theology is a hobby and a means to an end. Congrats Fr. Bob Arida!

              • Yes, beware “visionary theologians”.

              • Fr. George Washburn says

                No, friends, I think any “congrats” (or brickbats) in this round are due Salemlemko – whatever or whoever that is – for such a perfect example of vapid ad hominem. .

                Is s/he a member of a Greater or Lesser Russian minority? One nostalgic for the days when witches could be burnt with impunity in certain parts of Eastern Mass? A perfect example of those who shoot pseudonymous arrows sneakily from hiding at others…without the faintest hint for readers of what the shooter’s credentials are or aren’t, let alone any personal axes s/he might have to grind against the target person? All of the above?

                I’m no fan of what Fr. Robert wrote, but I am even less a friend or fan of Salemlemkp’s kind of content-free ad hominem. Plenty of condemnatory judgmentalism on Fr. Robert and those “around him.” But what does that have to do with anything? People who take difficult theological positions on any “side” always have supporters in much closer and approving array than detractors. Fr. Robert’s opponent’s receive their share of kudos too!

                Just look at this junk: “Arida fancies himself…” (as if this person knows his heart) “heap praise and worship.” (as if he knows the other people’s. let alone has a divine callig to judge tem in public) “Deep thinker.” (said by one who has given us NO basis to think him more than a shallow one) “Big brain.” “Visionary theologian.” And especially the last one: “People like him.”

                Can’t you just hear the echos of the Pharisee in Ol’ Salemlemko’s last pronouncement? “O Lord, I thank Thee that I am not ‘people like him’ …. and those who approve him….”

                I have 2 recommendations for S.L.

                a. use whatever talents/energy you have to discuss facts or ideas, not crap on others, and
                b. apologize to Fr. Robert and all of us.


                Fr. George

                • Aaron Little says

                  Fr. George,

                  Will all due respect (miniscule at best), I must state that I am ever so thankful that I do not have to sit under your tutelage on a weekly basis.

                • A Boston Cathedral Survivor says

                  Fr Washburn,

                  If some commentators are guilty, as you accuse of “vapid ad hominem” attacks, consider that we are still dealing in the vacuum of any censure of Fr. Arida. He is communing gay couples, he has no right under any circumstances to do so. His bishop has abdicated his responsibilities by doing nothing to correct this grievous error. Your late Metropolitan once said, “We don’t discuss abominations.” It seems that Archbishop Nikon has interpreted that to mean he doesn’t have to do anything!

                  Your idea of apologizing to Fr. Arida is preposterous. He owes the Church an apology, for starters, but alas, we won’t get one from him because he believes in the orthodoxy of his actions of communing married gays. Fr. Arida has invited the fury of right thinking people even if those people may step over the lines of propriety as you may define them, but what is worse, calling someone out for his mistake with at times less than gentile language or letting him lead himself and other into hell?

                • Father, I agree that those of us who choose to be anonymous should take that privilege seriously and speak carefully — on the other hand, as I have pointed out before, this field of battle is one of Fr. Arida’s own choosing. If you post something on the internet, you will be responded to — vigorously — according to the folkways and customs of the internet.

                  Fr. Arida could have chosen to present his ideas at a closed clergy meeting at the diocesan or AAC level, or he could have chosen to publish an academic paper in a theological journal, but he didn’t. He posted it on a blog found on a website with the OCA’s logo — one that allows comments and feedback. And he got it, by lots of respected priests who put their names on their responses.

                  I’m not saying that everything that has been said on this forum about Fr. Arida’s conduct at HTC is true — I have no idea, even though it sadly has the ring of truth to me. But if he is going to play on the internet, it gets rough, apologies are optional, and whatever you say (and whatever others say about you) is forever.

                  Secondly, Bp. Nikon, Metr. Tikhon, and the Synod of Bishops allowed this situation to happen. In a healthy church, Fr. Arida and his conduct at his parish would have had a thorough going over several years ago, when he published his last (and in my opinion, more worthy of a closer look) internet missive, his so-called “response to himself.” And it is difficult for me to believe that none of the “refugees” from his Cathedral wrote +Nikon, +Tikhon, or others in authority. It is difficult for me to believe that the questions that hang over Fr. Arida and HTC took the higher-ups completely by surprise.

                  In this more reasonable world, he would have been questioned very specifically on what he believes, his parishioners might have been asked what he teaches, and if he were found to be breaking with a reasonable interpretation of the OCA’s stated positions (which Metr. Tikhon kindly linked to) and Church canons, he would have been removed and a new priest would have been assigned who would teach said positions and follow said canons. There is probably a priest-less mission down in the Diocese of the South full of flag-waving rednecks (God bless them, every one) that needs someone to serve Liturgy — +Nikon is the locum tenens, so it would be a simple matter to give Fr. Arida an opportunity to succeed in such a setting, under supervision.

                  On the other hand, if Fr. Arida were upholding Church teachings and following reasonable Church discipline regarding the chalice, he would have been told to publicly clarify those things, both on that same internet forum and personally to his parish.

                  Or if the whole thing was found to be baseless slander, anyone known to be spreading such slander would be excommunicated until they repented, begged forgiveness, and made things as right as they could — and other Orthodox churches in their area would be notified of that excommunication.

                  None of that happened, either because those in high places in the OCA are supportive of Fr. Arida’s outlook, or because they just didn’t want to make a fuss and were hoping it would all just go away, or that through some miracle, no-one would notice or care.

                  The response we see on this website and others is what happens in any environment where leadership isn’t doing its job — a workplace, a military unit, a playground. When there is no evidence of leadership or when there is a crisis in confidence in leadership, it should hardly come as a surprise that others will attempt to step in to fill that void — the results are often not pretty.

                • Fr. George, I’m not saying this to approve of Salemlemko’s writings, but I think most of us can recognize venting and treat it as such (i.e. with understanding and compassion).

                • Ohhhh spare me the dribble Fr. George. I don’t think your even OCA are you? Until you have been a communicant at HTOC and survived Fr. Robert, i suggest you [remain silent].

                  Those that have survived Arida and his gay conspiracy, need no credentials, permission or approval.

                  Do you really think that any of us, having coming out of that mess would be carried away by any argument you or Dr. Stankovich could make? Surely not.

                  I have a recommendation for you. Tend your flock.

                • Wait a minute. A clergyman rebuked the nastiness. Strange.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    One wonders Mr Fall, whether “the nastiness” would have been “rebuked” had Metropolitan Philip Saliba not gone to his reward. Just wonderin’.

                    • Never thought I’d live to see the day when traditional types were lamenting the absence of +Philip. And yet here we are, myself included.

                      All of this reminds me that, much to the chagrin of the more intemperate OCA types, +Philip always treated the ROCOR as fully canonical and on an equal footing with other jurisdictions, even when it was popular to crow about it being “uncanonical.” (So much for the ROCOR being guilty of the serious heresy of Donatism.)

                      He handled the Ben Lomand uprising with aplomb, and had some very admirable moments. Memory eternal on his recent name’s day (on Thanksgiving on the Church Calendar, appropriately).

                    • Salemlemko says

                      Big balls
                      Strong mind
                      No bullshit

                      + Philip Saliba, memory eternal!

                    • Indeed; Met. Philip was no liturgist, and I have welcomed Met. Joseph’s emphasis on improving parish liturgical life (he has recently decreed that parishes should celebrate ALL the Nativity and Theophany services, including the Royal Hours).

                      But when it comes to basic morality in this post-Christian culture, he never wavered. And while I like having all my church services celebrated just so, morality is the most important work of saving souls. No one will be saved who does not live according to the Gospel and the Apostolic teachings.

                      I’m not excusing an either-or approach, but I am saying that +Philip was not willing to let such basic things slide, in the way that so many hierarchs and priests are.

                    • George, I don’t understand why you posted this very profane comment by Salemlemko.

                      May Metropolitan Philip’s memory be eternal.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Helga, I’m sorry you were offended. Salemlemko was engaging in (and I was positively responding) to a type of machismo argument that is inappropriate at times but gets the message across. I never knew Philip (and took him to task once or twice) but I knew a warrior when I saw one. It’s a defect in the male character to appreciate leadership in less-than-elegant ways.

                      Still, SL’s critique fits the bill.

                    • Fr. George Washburn says

                      Hello friends:

                      Let’s be clear on something for starters. I teach the traditional position, not Fr. Robert’s.

                      But that doesn’t mean I buy into the false dilemmas presented by some of the participants here. The choice is not a simple one between anonymously a) condoning or b) mean insults. Some others: silence, citing facts, ideas or reason, using our true names, admitting that our fear prompts us to vent. Choice b) does not bring credit to the chooser, this forum, or to God or Tradition.

                      I like the spirit of Edward’s comments. He makes something explicit that is worth noticing. There is a huge temptation here to let the modern, secular, and godlessly enormous and e-normal practices and conventions of internet mortar fire overwhelm the norms of Christian discourse. Let’s not!

                      Mr Little wants to show both “due respect” and contumely. He got one.


                      Fr. George

                    • Helga, Im sorry, no offence meant to you.

                      I knew Metropolitan Philip and had conversations with him about Mark Stokoe when he came to my parish. I loved the man, he was tough and kind.

                      I would not know how else to describle him.

                    • No worries, George, I was just a little shocked.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Fr. George Washburn says:
                      December 1, 2014 at 11:16 am

                      Hello friends:

                      Let’s be clear on something for starters. I teach the traditional position, not Fr. Robert’s.

                      But that doesn’t mean I buy into the false dilemmas presented by some of the participants here. The choice is not a simple one between anonymously a) condoning or b) mean insults. Some others: silence, citing facts, ideas or reason, using our true names, admitting that our fear prompts us to vent. Choice b) does not bring credit to the chooser, this forum, or to God or Tradition.

                      I like the spirit of Edward’s comments. He makes something explicit that is worth noticing. There is a huge temptation here to let the modern, secular, and godlessly enormous and e-normal practices and conventions of internet mortar fire overwhelm the norms of Christian discourse. Let’s not!

                      Mr Little wants to show both “due respect” and contumely. He got one.


                      Fr. George

                      Hello Father.

                      A few points of clarification:

                      1.) Metropolitan Tikhon immediately took the article down, suspended all comments and reiterated the OCA’s position on the issue of Homosexuality.

                      2.) The Metropolitan did this because he recognized the problem this post by Fr. Robert caused, but did nothing or, I should say, has not done anything yet, to correct Fr. Robert which must be done. This is not being harsh or cruel, but preserves the good order of the church. The Church must speak with one voice NOT many (i.e. hence the charge of Episcopalian-ism).

                      3.) The Houston Clergy Statement, as you well know, would not happen without the tacit approval of their respective bishops. The statement happened, again, because Fr. Robert’s statement caused a problem, a big problem.

                      4.) While I agree with you that people in the so-called blogshere can get nasty and post under anonymous names, which I personally dislike, nevertheless the immense gravity of Fr. Robert’s essay changing basic Orthodox Moral beliefs caused a Metropolitan AND a Clergy Statement to issue to correct this misconception.

                      5.) Finally, corrective action needs to take place and NOT protection of Fr. Arida, which is what the Metropolitan’s Statement will amount to IF he and the OCA Holy Synod do not act.

                      So the “due respect” that needs to be shown is towards the laity that have been scandalized by Fr. Robert’s essay, which even you acknowledge when you state you teach the traditional view not Fr. Robert’s view.

                      A simple censure of Fr. Arida’s views by the OCA Synod will do just fine and THEN the clamor by the laity can stop. Just my thoughts.

                      Peter A. Papoutsis

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Correct me here if I am wrong, but with all this stink of testosterone in the air, Met. Philip is suddenly a warrior for an apocryphal comment, “We do not speak of abomination” referring to homosexuality? First, I have been told by many that this would be an example of his “rule by smackdown” mentality that was offensive and alienating, and by others that, if he even made this comment, it was no reflection of how he acted pastorally in private. And in the later case, the information came from priests who would have know his pastoral approach. I am told he he was compassionate & encouraging to those who struggled with same-sex attraction, as one would expect from a shepherd of his flock, and I have spoken to several men who were personally moved by his compassion & instruction. The obvious question to ask, however, is if one may not approach a bishop of the Church to speak regarding such “abominations,” then to whom does one turn?

                  Mr. Michalopulos, “a type of machismo argument that is inappropriate at times but gets the message across,” is nevertheless inappropriate.

                  • ……Met. Philip is suddenly a warrior for an apocryphal comment, “We do not speak of abomination” referring to homosexuality?

                    Apocryphal comment? Clever device to attempt to cast his words in doubt. Let me help you out, Stankovich. I heard him say those very words. He was referring to homosexuals. Yes, he was compassionate but that is not to be cast in a light that he condoned it. He did not! If Fr. Arida was one of his priests he would have disciplined him, in fact, I don’t think Arida would have even dared to write that Wonder blog schlock.

                    Met. Philip was approachable on this and other subjects and he was “a type of machismo” he was an authentic man and bishop but he did not brook heresy.

                    You are really bottoming out here Michael. Fr Arida is not practicing Orthodoxy by communing civilly married gays. He is wrong. He is wrong. He is wrong. Stop trying to pick around the edges of this abomination because your skirt is showing!

                    • I very much believe that Metr. Philip said that. In a public setting, where the door could be perceived as being opened to “discussion” or “dialogue” on matters of the faith, it is entirely appropriate to say that one simply won’t discuss abominations, and close the door.

                      And there is nothing surprising about having that same individual, in a private and pastoral setting, acting with love and compassion toward someone plagued with a temptation towards said abomination.

                      I have encountered that precise combination, countless times, since becoming Orthodox a quarter century ago: a firm “no discussion” attitude regarding what the Church teaches — and yet compassion and patience on a personal pastoral level. And part of that compassion and love is not allowing someone in a state of mortal sin to approach the chalice, since doing so can inflict great harm…

                    • Heracleides says

                      Umm… more like his spandex is showing.

                    • M. Stankovich says


                      If you only had so much courage when you actually had to confront someone outside the internet. You are the preeminent coward of this forum and wilt like a little girl when faced with actually taking a moral stance & making a witness. You know it and I know it. “Two gay priests, flaunting their relationship before the faculty & guests of SVS.” What did you do? Silence. You have nerve puffing your chest at me.

                      My comment had nothing to do with Robert Arida. Nothing. And you would play me for cheap attention. I was commenting on this continuing feeding frenzy of similar cowards like yourself, championed by Salemlemko who I will wager never said a single word to Robert Arida; had he done so, he would be bragging of his role as “Ezekiel,” or informing us of how he alone stood up to “Goliath” and called him a heretic. No, he and similar creeps are content to throw stones from a dark hiding place and glorify themselves anonymously. This “victim” is extracting payback, not defending the Church.

                      James, you’re in NY. Make like Rod Dreher’s wife, catch the train to Boston, and go and confront Fr. Arida. Take Salemlemko with you and match the loudness of your whining with moral action. And I say the same to the mass of cowardly anonymous accusers: if you are so brave and raging with moral indignation at what Robert Arida is doing to the cathedral & the Church, contact him and confront him. The Lord will guide and watch over you. Has Fr. Hans attempted to contact Fr. Arida and demand his clarification or repentance, following it up with moral treatise and essays? Heavens, no. He is basking in his new-found attention, and would hardly jeopardize returning to being insignificant.

                      For myself, I cross the street to avoid no one, and I fear no one. “I can do all things by him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:13) The society and our moral presence crumbles around us, and our “champions” have become internet-empowered cowards who use rhetoric and empty bluster to attempt to battle the powers of darkness that surround us. Mr. Michalopulos proclaims that this “noise” has stop[ped] the pro-gay acceptance train in the Orthodox Church in its tracks [and even] derailed it.” Really? You weren’t listening Holy Week, Mr. Michalopulos: “The time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them.” (Jn. 16:2-3) If only the battle we are so passively losing could be won on the internet and in anonymity,.. Maranatha!

                    • Has Fr. Hans attempted to contact Fr. Arida and demand his clarification or repentance, following it up with moral treatise and essays?

                      Dr. Stankovich, I agree that internet anonymity can be abused, in the process destroying the credibility of what is said. I try not to write things that I wouldn’t be willing to say to someone’s face in the presence of witnesses. I think I usually succeed, at least to my satisfaction.

                      I agree that any “survivor” of HTC who complains anonymously online but didn’t attempt to talk to Fr. Arida or didn’t write a letter to the bishop is probably guilty of dereliction of duty. There are responsibilities that adults have, and making formal complaints when they are warranted is one of them — speak or forever hold your peace, so to say…

                      But I disagree that Fr. Jacobse has some sort of duty to have contacted Fr. Arida. They don’t share a jurisdiction, let alone a bishop. Even if they have some sort of personal relationship from having met, I see no such duty. Fr. Jacobse responded to Fr. Arida in the same format that the latter used — an openly available piece posted on the internet. What on earth is wrong with that?

                      If you wrote an article for SVTQ that I vehemently disagreed with and thought was dangerous and I called you up on the phone, demanding that you retract the article, I feel fairly confident that you would tell me where to get off, and maybe challenge me to write my own article if I thought I knew so much. No, in that situation, playing by the rules would mean either writing a rebutting article, or at least a letter to the editor — attempting to respond in the same forum. If they wouldn’t print what I sent them, I’d look for another outlet that roughly correlated to SVTQ.

                      I get the critique of anonymous critics of Fr. Arida. I don’t get the criticism of Fr. Jacobse — at least on this point. What would be inappropriate would be if Fr. Jacobse took information from a more private source about Fr. Arida, and immediately escalated it to the level of the internet.

                      We have previously discussed an example of something with that kind of inappropriateness. Metr. Ireney gave an internal directive to the priests and parishes of his diocese. Fr. Schmemann, rather than responding in a similarly limited forum, responded in an “open letter” published in a theological journal with worldwide distribution. I say this not as an excuse to say something bad about Fr. Schmemann — it’s just a good example of what not to do if we want to insist that people play fair.

                    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                      For what it’s worth, Edward, within a few days of his controversial post on the OCA’s Wonder blog, I called Fr. Robert Arida and left a voice message. He has not yet extended me the courtesy of a return call.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Fr. Alexander,

                      In my mind, your action has great worth, and I, for one, applaud your effort. There is no excuse for this silence, other than to affirm. I congratulate your example of following the Apostolic Tradition, rather than casting stones, and you have my respect.

                    • Fr. Alexander, you have gone above and beyond what is necessary, and you are to be commended for it. I have made multiple attempts to think of a valid reason for a lack of response, but cannot think of one that holds up under scrutiny. Even a “thank you for the call, but I have decided not to discuss this with anyone but _____” would meet basic standards of civil behavior.

    • Joshua Reagan says

      Dear Mrs. Carter,

      I think you misunderstand the reaction of those who are opposed to tolerating homosexual behavior in the Church. We don’t want to send homosexuals to death camps, like the Nazis did — we want to help them avoid something much, much worse: hell.

      What’s bad about Fr. Arida’s behavior is that he is misleading homosexuals. If they believe they can engage in homosexual activity and not need forgiveness for their sins, then they won’t repent. If they don’t repent, then God may send them to hell. So, while Fr. Arida’s approach to these difficult issues has the benefit of making practicing homosexuals feel welcome in his parish, it puts them in danger of hellfire. That is irresponsible and wicked behavior.

      In fact, it is the conservatives who are the more loving on this issue. Those who are interested in preserving the faith handed down to us from the Church Fathers will joyfully endure the mockery and spite of those who are against the Church and her teachings in order to spread the life-saving Gospel. That means telling people with love when the world is leading them astray.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Joshua, my goodness , hell? How un-Christian of you. (Sarcasam off)

        I think you misunderstand those who really want to normalize homosexual behavior. They long ago ceased to believe in any sort of traditional Christianity. Replacing it with an erstatz ideological replica of their own making in which they are the arbitors of cool. Even Jesus Christ is a figment of their imagination

    • Estonian Slovak says

      Please don’t hand me that crap about gays here suffering like Jews in the Third Reich. My Greatgrandfather was a German Jew. He didn’t perish in the Holocaust because he had settled over here long before Hitler. Three of his cousins did, however. That’s not counting my Slavic relatives who perished at both the hands of the Nazis and the Soviets.

    • Tim R Mortiss says

      The Creed says nothing about adultery, theft, lying, etc. etc. What does that have to do with the point? Why these non-sequiturs and misdirections?

      • Why these non-sequiturs and misdirections?

        Because it is only through non-sequiturs and misdirections that you can try to twist the Orthodox faith into one that embraces what has been considered to be a grave sin for as long as God has revealed himself to mankind.

        • Larry H. Puttgrass says

          Thus my point above about being occupied with morality and not focusing on the cultivation of virtues.

          • The development of virtue goes far beyond the avoidance of sin, but the latter is an unavoidable step on that ladder. If the clear identification of what constitutes the vice of sexual immorality is obfuscated, then what how likely is anyone to develop the virtue of chastity?

            But perhaps I am missing your point.

            • Larry H. Puttgrass says

              I think I understand your point Edward.

              In my opinion, the person who is in communion with the Church in ALL regards, that struggles against their passions, doesn’t need to identify the peculiarities of a sin or a passion to recognize the sin. To paraphrase a somewhat well known movie “you don’t have to bite the doughnut to know it’s sweet.”

              Don’t we say “Lord, teach me thy statutes.” ?

              I’m not speaking of obfuscating anything. I am speaking about the possibility of cultivating another viewpoint while discussing this and similar issues and asking (sincerely asking), is it necessary or no because of the flaws in the theological and ideological language.

          • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

            Here’s a very brief reply to your “point,” Mr. Puttgrass (if that is truly your surname instead of where you’d rather be on weekends), which I shall take at face value as a genuine question about expenditure of spiritual energy instead of a veiled attempt to discourage Orthodox Christians from engaging in faith-based public moral witness to an increasingly morally decadent, anti-Christian society.

            The cultivation of virtues–and the corresponding struggle against the passions–is at the root of Orthodox moral tradition. I presume that you would concur with our moral tradition by acknowledging justice as a virtue. As a primarily other-regarding virtue, justice takes us beyond ourselves, beyond our own personal spiritual path to theosis, to our virtuous relations with other persons and within the various communities in America and the world in which we live. The latter include, of course, our marriages, families, neighborhoods, workplaces, churches, other voluntary associations and organizations, and the American state at all levels–local, state, and federal. Thus our pursuit of personal and social virtue compels us to engage our elected officials and various political, social, and cultural elites in America and the world–and the “principalities and powers” behind them–with evangelistic zeal and the prophetic call to justice. To separate virtues and “morality,” in your obviously disdainful use of the latter term, is to do intellectual violence to both and to forfeit the public square to anyone but us Orthodox Christians.

            • Larry H. Puttgrass says

              Thank you Archpriest Alexander. I did not realize the connection that you mention and am grateful for your insights. If you recall, I did request that our resident clergy and theologians (and you Reverend Father certainly fit THAT description) comment on my musings which where purely a way to try to understand the issue better.

              I don’t disdain the term morality. I just see the way that it is thrown around in many circles fraught with pitfalls. The way you use it, well, that’s different.

              St. Athanasius the Great stated that “men have a tendency to worship that which they love.” Rather than loving God with all their heart, their soul and might, they love themselves (and consequently their sin) making what is unlawful, lawful (what is immoral, moral). Thus my problem with the way the word “morality” is used in many circles, even in some circles which claim to be Orthodox (as the subject of this blog which generated this discussion demonstrates) but to a mind so tiny and inept as my own, clearly are outside the phronima of the Church.

              Having said that, let me just state that I thank God for your witness in Texas.

              I am not a theologian. I am not a member of the clergy. I’m just a poor struggling Orthodox Christian trying to live a Christ pleasing life.

              I wish you would do a bunch of online videos like ‘coffee with Sr. Vassa” – Orthodox Ethics 101 or something. However, maybe you could dumb it down just a little bit for those of us that aren’t quite as intelligent as you.

              Would you do me the kindness please of giving a brief definition of justice and it’s proper administration as well as it’s relationship to authority?

    • Fr Mark Hodges says

      Alice, no one is talking about excluding anyone. That’s a false straw man, raised to attempt to avoid the issue of sodomy as a sin. The Orthodox Church excludes no one. So-called “gay people” are not excluded, but welcomed. The issue is, the teaching of our Lord, of the Church, the Scriptures, the Fathers and the Canons is unanimous that sodomy is an abomination, a very serious sin. The Catholics put it in quite an accurate Orthodox manner by describing it briefly as an “intrinsic disorder.” The healing of the Church begins with the recognition of our sin, and the issue is the admission of sodomy as sin to be repented of and healed.

      Also, Alice, you reveal the utter barrenness of your argument when you accuse the faithful of being like Nazis and witch hunters. Again, no one is advocating murder, sexual-orientation genocide, hatred or even exclusion. You are the one who brings this up, falsely painting those who love as those who hate.

      Another of your “tells” is to imply that because the Creed doesn’t explicitly talk about sodomy means sodomy is not a sin. These aren’t even weak arguments, they are desperate grabs at empty brushes, again to try to paint those who love as those who hate. The Creed doesn’t mention rape, either. Pedophilia isn’t mentioned by the Creed. Nor does it mention murder, etc.

      As it’s been said many times, the time has come when men call evil “good,” and call good “evil.”

      The point is, anal sex is harmful physically, psychologically, and spiritually. God calls it an abomination. It is, always has been, and always will be, sin. In fact, it is a particularly harmful sin, a unique sin against one’s own nature, as well as against the created order and the God of creation. Those who have fallen into this sin are welcome to come, as they are, to us. But eventually, if they seek out the truth (and if the truth is lovingly taught), the time will come to admit reality and repent, and struggle against their passion. This healing path of the Church is denied –salvation for the homosexual is denied– by those who would enable sodomites by encouraging Orthodox to tolerate sin.


    • Fr. Arida wrote this in 2011:

      “As a priest in the state of Massachusetts where homosexual marriage has been legal since 2004, the law of the Commonwealth has never intruded upon my ministry nor has it sought to alter the Church’s vision and theology of marriage. That some Orthodox Christians feel obliged to voice their opposition to same sex marriage for fear that the Church will inevitably be coerced to comply and therefore oblige same sex couples with a rite of marriage seems premature.

      [C]ivil law does not and will not become the standard for what takes place within the precincts of the Church.

      Apparently it has, and does..

      • They always say that our protests and concerns are “premature” until it is too late to do anything about it.

        They always say that what happens in civil society is of no concern to us as Christians — that we have our own internal standards and therefore should not engage in external debates regarding matters that (they say) don’t concern us.

        Until the civil society changes dramatically in an anti-Christian way. Then they say that we need to “engage in dialogue with it.” Seen that movie… know how the final scenes go…

        And yes, I know I am using a generic “they.” I can’t define who “they” are, but, like pornography, I sure as hell know “them” when I see “them.”

    • Steve Knowlton says

      Well, there you go.

      If you would like your clergy to live up to the church’s teaching on this matter, then it’s a witch hunt, and you’re no better than Hitler. Talk about a slave to a modern idiom.

  13. M. Stankovich says

    To Fr. Hans:

    It seems to me that there is a certain indisputable fact missing from your presentation: we are voiceless, trivialized, insignificant, justifiably ignored, and irrelevant in the “public square.” We, whom the Lord chose Himself to prepare to defend and suffer over the Truth he bestowed upon us alone, with the “peace of God that surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7), are, in effect inconsequential. We are an ethnic “ornament,” hat-tipped by a polite society & media, but when a “tempest” arises – such as homosexuality, abortion, the nature of marriage, and all issues related to the beginning & ends of life – we are not even on the radar. And most importantly, it is our own doing.

    Fr. Robert Arida is a “symbol” for you and many who are seeking an easy, safe target to focus your anger & anxiety. Secondly, you have managed to provide more “content” to his essay than his entire essay, basically of what you think he is saying. All in all, you end up appearing “traditionalist,” rigorously Orthodox, and a “tough guy.” But I repeat, Arida is an easy and safe target with no personal consequences for your “dressing him down” with your potent accusations of what you think his intentions might be.

    My question to you is: why is your blog not flooded with similar chastizement of the bishops and hierarchy of the Church – whom you yourself stated lack moral authority – for their total indifference; concern for, in effect, the “trees” over the “forest”; and pretty much everything insignificant & trivial? You have a new leader of your jurisdiction. Where is your “sorrowful epistle” decrying secularism, ecumenism, indifference of the clergy & faithful, and all of the issues that undermine the Church in America? The fact is, you are unwilling to face and endure the consequences of addressing the real hindrance to the flourishing of Orthodoxy in America: a lack of leadership by bishops with no moral voice. In effect, we are left alone, parish by parish, except in matters of consequence, and my thought is that if you were somehow courageous, the consequence would be swift and stark. Instead, you snipe at Robert Arida – one man who, literally, is of no consequence to the Church, whatsoever – simply because you can.

    Your comment regarding Frs. Florovsky & Schmemann was a cheap convention, and you would do well to immerse yourself in their writings and those of the Holy Fathers than your usual fare. And I heartily recommend the book Cowardice: A Brief History by Chris Walsh, not intended as an insult, but because it is an excellent exposition.

    • Michael,

      Your old friend Fr. Arida is communing openly gay couples in Boston. That is a fact. It can’t be defended. You have already said you are against economy being extended to same-sex couples.

      James says:
      October 17, 2014 at 12:13 am
      Mr. Stankovich,

      I am sure you are not in any way inferring that such “economy” be extended to legally married gay couples. Am I making the correct conclusion? A simple “Yes” or “No” will suffice my curiosity. Thank you.

      Rating: +17 (from 25 votes)

      M. Stankovich says:
      October 18, 2014 at 1:11 pm


      We are not talking about theory here. We are talking about praxis. Fr. Arida is wrong and has NO RIGHT to extend the Eucharist to married gays or gays who because of his teachings are not repentant.

      • Remember, if our Bishops call out Fr. Arida, they must BY DEFAULT call out every other clergy member who does the same exact thing as Fr. Arida….including themselves.

        Keep up the good fight through prayer and action and voice, always done in the Spirit of Love with the intention of repentance and restoration.

        • Oh but they musn’t and won’t. The bishops of the OCA suffer not even the slightest cognitive dissonance by treating two similar situations completely differently. If they fear embarrassment, they hammer or the coverup will come out. If there is no such fear, carry on, nothing to see here.

          So long as Fr. Arida remains in the protected class, nothing will happen to him. If he crosses the wrong person, the same overlooked actions will be used against him. It is remarkably easy to predict the action or inaction of the OCA synod.

      • M. Stankovich says


        On the day I am privy to the confessions and to the spiritual counsel given to them – that they are not being counseled to struggle, to strive, and to reach for the path of purity, singlemindedness (σωφροσύνη), and obedience that we are all called to follow – but are, in fact, being encouraged to continue in their sinfulness (be they homosexuals, adulterers, or fornicators), I will join your opinion.

        • On the day I am privy to the confessions and to the spiritual counsel given to them… I will join your opinion.

          This is perhaps valid for certain secret sins, but for open sins, that doesn’t apply. If a parishioner were to leave his wife and openly co-habit with another woman, would he dream of going to a priest to ask for communion? I’m not sure I can even imagine that parishioner daring to walking into the church past the narthex, quite frankly, but maybe I’ve lived a sheltered life.

          But if he did ask, I can’t imagine that any priest worth his salt would simply counsel him “to struggle, to strive, and to reach for the path of purity, singlemindedness (σωφροσύνη), and obedience,” and then invite him and his live-in (if she were Orthodox) to the chalice. Or if she weren’t Orthodox, to just go ahead and christmate her so she wouldn’t feel left out. And the fact that he wasn’t, in his counsel, explicitly, verbally encouraging them to continue in their sin wouldn’t change the fact that such a priest would, through his very actions, be encouraging them to live in a state of adultery (or fornication, if he were divorced). And because of the openness of the sin, the priest would, by communing them, be telling his parishioners that the two aren’t sinning — so feel free to go and do something similar.

          This isn’t rocket science, and no amount of convoluted gobbledygook and throwing around Greek words like σωφροσύνη changes it. Any illiterate peasant Greek grandmother in any age of the Church could tell you, in plain and unpretentious words, what is right and wrong — either in the heterosexual scenario I described above, or in the homosexual scenarios that have been described as happening in Fr. Arida’s parish.

          • Christopher says

            “Any illiterate peasant Greek grandmother in any age of the Church could tell you, in plain and unpretentious words, what is right and wrong — either in the heterosexual scenario I described above, or in the homosexual scenarios that have been described as happening in Fr. Arida’s parish.”

            Excellent point. However, it is just this very thing that Fr. Robert and his defenders would have us doubt (it is what they no longer believe – if they ever did). It is this very thing that they have to subvert, and thus the language of “alien spirits”, “fundamentalists”, and the like. It is this very thing that Met. Tikhon and the synod need to clearly and unambiguously defend, and not hide behind the false assertion that an “engagement of culture” will somehow lead us to what looks like a questioning, and then a “re-understanding” or a “re-articulation” of the Truth…

          • M. Stankovich says


            You “can’t imagine that any priest worth his salt would simply counsel him “to struggle, to strive, and to reach for the path of purity, singlemindedness (σωφροσύνη), and obedience,” and then invite him and his live-in (if she were Orthodox) to the chalice?” Neither can I, and I am finished with this tedium of rephrasing and reiterating every sentence because it just isn’t succinct enough to meet your scrutiny. You are obviously the wiser man, and I defer to your assessment of “convoluted gobbledygook.”

            I personally do not have the faintest idea what Priest Robert Arida is saying and/or requiring of this gay man who said on Facebook that he is married and found a “gay-friendly” parish to attend, or for that matter, any of his spiritual children. Like each and every priest, he was “made a minister, according to the management of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,” (Col.1:25) and he will answer for his ministry to the Lord. The fact remains, however, that neither do you have such knowledge, nor should you. The relationship between a confessor is beyond our scrutiny.

            Finally, I believe you are seriously misguided in making the distinction between “secret sins” and “open sins,” and what does and does not “apply.” St. John Climacus corrects you:

            Fire and water do not mix, neither can you mix judgment of others with the desire to repent. If a man commits a sin before you at the very moment of his death, pass no judgment, because the judgment of God is hidden from men. It has happened that men have sinned greatly in the open but have done greater good deeds in secret, so that those who would disparage them have been fooled, with smoke instead of sunlight in their eyes. So listen to me, all you accountants of other people’s faults, listen well; for if, as is certain, it is true that “you shall be judged with the judgment you have used yourselves” (Matt. 7:2), then whatever sin of body or spirit that we ascribe to our neighbor we will surely fall into ourselves. Those who pass speedy and harsh judgments on the sins of their neighbors fall into this passion because they themselves have so far failed to achieve a complete and unceasing memory of and concern for their own sins. Anyone untrammeled by self-love and able to see his own faults for what they are would worry about no one else in this life. He would feel that his time on earth did not suffice for his own mourning, even if he lived a hundred years, and even if a whole Jordan of tears poured out of his eyes. Mourning of that kind has, as I know, no trace in it of slander or harsh judgment. It is the murdering demons who push us into sin. If they are balked here, they get us to pass judgment on those who are sinning, thereby smearing us with the stain we are denouncing in others.

            You can always recognize people who are malicious and slanderous. They are filled with the spirit of hatred. Gladly and without a qualm they slander the teaching, the doings and the virtues of their neighbor. I have known men who secretly had committed very grave sins and had not been found out, yet cloaked in their supposed goodness they lashed out against people who had done something minor in public.

            To pass judgment on another is to usurp shamelessly a prerogative of God, and to condemn is to ruin one’s soul.Self-esteem, even when there are no other attendant vices, can bring a man down. Similarly, if we have got into the habit of passing judgments, we can be destroyed completely by this alone, for the Pharisee was condemned for this very thing. A good grape picker chooses to eat ripe grapes and does not pluck what is unripe. A charitable and sensible mind takes careful note of the virtues it observes in another, while the fool goes looking for faults and defects. It is of such a one that it was said, “They have searched out iniquity and died in the search” (Ps. 63:7). Do not condemn. Not even if your very eyes are seeing something, for they may be deceived.

            So, as I have reached my destination, James would suggest – in some patronizing, whiny Hallmark psycho-platitude – that “this entire situation is now causing [me] to do [my] best to make some sort of spiritual sense out of the senseless,” while Christopher just cannot seem to appreciate my indignation at being referred to as “listening to demons,” and Fr. Patrick finds me a “hoot” for listening to the Holy Fathers and the “big guns,” rather than “hooves.” This here is Crazy Town, Edward, and you seem quite annoyed that I can’t be more succinct and “unambiguous?” Nah, buddy. By all means, you carry on as you undoubtedly have more to say before the dust settles. This is my station, and with another request for forgiveness, I am out of this discussion.

            • Christopher says

              Mr. Stankovich,

              Thanks for the quote by St. John Climacus. Honestly, it bears reading several times no less.

              Now, do not the saints pass “judgement” when they point to the Truth, when they uphold (often with their very lives) the sacred Dogma and Tradition of the Church? Of course. That’s the problem with applying the quote as you would have us – that Fr. Robert can openly preach and teach his “truth” that is in explicit disagreement with the normative moral Tradition – as an ordained priest of the Church no less (and I won’t quote it yet again)…

        • Michael,

          I am sorry that this entire situation is now causing you to do your best to make some sort of spiritual sense out of the senseless. The only justification for Fr. Arida giving sacramental shelter to married gays and gays who o not think that their lifestyle is a sin is because their pastor agrees with them.

          This is what Fr. Arida believes and this is what he is putting into practice in his parish. He does not have the right to make those decisions and because of that he is in spiritual trouble.

          I am not saying that he is not compassionate. He is. I am not saying that he has ventured on this course without serious thought and even prayer. I am sure he has, but like Flannery O’Conner once wrote:

          I do not know you God because I am in the way. Please help me to push myself aside.

          Fr Arida needs to get out of the way of his own ideas so that God can lead him back to the straight and narrow path that leads to the Kingdom of God.

      • If the church does not recognize same sex marriage, then why would you accuse Fr. Arida of doing so? He didn’t marry anyone and if he offered someone the Chalice, you all know if would be after Confession. And we have gone round and round about whether someone approaches unjustly or not and how that is on them and that the priest ain’t Santa Claus.

        Unfortunately, you cannot say witchcraft does not exist(homosexual marriage is not recognized by the church) and then accuse someone of witchcraft(recognizing a non-church gay marriage). The eagerness to which that is done here is amazing and a logical leap that is honestly incomprehensible.

        Fr. Arida communing a civilly married same sex couple is hardly a crime worthy of defrocking. HINT: You don’t commune a couple not recognized by the church as a couple or a couple for that matter. In fact, if anything, Arida opens the door for discussion to unanswered questions. If a murderer confesses to his priest, then what is to be done? Of course, this is answered. How should it be different for a gay person whose sin affects mostly them? Of course, this, too, is answered. The next problem is if the couple has a child-does the church fail to baptize that child due to Liturgical awkwardness? Christ answered that, too, but not sure you all like the answer.

        If a same sex couple walks in the church, what would Christ say to them? Go away? Or we don’t think it is best? Or, join the rest of sinners and believe in me and have everlasting life?

        Fr. Arida’s essay to me looks like a call for help and a call for Christian compassion in the matter. My high school children don’t see the condemnation of homosexuality as sinful behavior as beneficial to anyone. They don’t see any value in it whatsoever(sorry George). And, I’m guilty of a Rhett Butler attitude as well. I understand the conventional view of saving a homosexual from themselves, but my kids, quite frankly, don’t buy it. They are not in an odd minority, nor am I.

        Sadly, by disparaging Arida so much, I’d say the church is on the road to decline, not through some horrible onslaught of homosexuality and its acceptance, but rather through perverse unwillingness to recognize the world for what it is and not for what you want it to be…

        Finally, I’m quite alright with the churches teaching on marriage remaining the same, but there are unanswered issues. And, if nothing else, consider the children; all of them.

        • Tim R Mortiss says

          “If a same sex couple walks in the church, what would Christ say to them? Go away? Or we don’t think it is best? Or, join the rest of sinners and believe in me and have everlasting life?”

          I think he would say something like: “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more”. Or, in that scenario, come in and sin no more.

          • What do you smoke Tim? Cuz I want some…the suggestion that sins are not repeated by humans is a fantasy. And while Christ told the prostitute to stop selling herself; he did not tell the fatman to diet heavily, nor did he tell the prostitute to avoid pleasure.

            Christ would not have said those words to the homosexual. If he would tell any sinner to go ; then the need for church is absent. Consider your own words…

            • Kate Hartounian says

              Hey Fall, I don’t doubt that you want some of what he’s smoking. Let’s face it, your high school students follow your predatory indoctrination. You are not Christian at all, because, as you know, Christ constantly gave the Apostolic command to “go,” with the promise that He would be with them always as they went. Stop corrupting our youth.

              • Oh Kate, I am not letting you off so easily. Explain in precise terms what Christ would have said and meant to a homosexual that walked into the church. And do so in language that promulgates church attendance. Arida is behaving in a more Christian fashion than anyone I have seen condemning him. It is not loving in any way to remove gays from the church.

                And while you are at it, stop labeling me as “not Christian at all”. It is not valid.

                And as for corruption of “our” youth, news flash! I did not corrupt them; this is the way they are taught in school. To respect diversity and differences in people and not hate Bobby because he has two mommies. This would be in contrast to talking quietly about retardation, negroes, or gays. And even Christ would have not accepted your notion. And maybe you’ve heard of Matthew Shepherd? Sort of a societal standard now-don’t blame the liberals for that!

                Finally, it is so incredible how everyone here and you, it seems, have never repented of the same sin twice.

                The only real issue for Arida is recognizing the problem that man, woman, and child is the ideal. And that is all. The rest, communing gays, is not close to an issue. Folks here on “one who fights alone” can’t complain about who he communes. They are not privileged to decide. And the ramblings of Arida have gotten an overwhelmingly sad response. Justin Frederick called liberal clerics parasites…can you believe it? He lost his title. I will never refer to him as more.

                I am learning a lot about Orthodoxy’s dark side and it ain’t a few gays. I’m starting to consider what is truly alien.

                • Christopher says

                  ““not Christian at all”. It is not valid.”

                  Actually, it is more valid than you are capable of thinking due to the limitations of your non-Orthodox world view – which although you refuse to name is obviously modern and of the “non classical Christian” (let alone Orthodox) variety. It is unfortunate that we live in an age where the term “Christian” is so elastic as to be almost meaningless.

                  As to the rest of your assertions, they are modernistic interpretations of everything from Holy Scripture to “compassion”. You even through in “negroes”! Your quite the cliche Mr. Fall

        • “‘Fr. Arida communing a civilly married same sex couple is hardly a crime worthy of defrocking. HINT: You don’t commune a couple not recognized by the church as a couple or a couple for that matter.”

          Mr. Fall, I have asked you before if you were Orthodox. You don’t appear to be – perhaps you attend an Episcopalian church? In any case, your naked ignorance of basic Christian (and in this case Orthodox) belief might best be shown by the above quote.

          Christianity 101:

          If I sin (which all save Christ do), and want to approach the chalice, I must be repentant. So, if I murder, I must repentant of said murder, repentant, and then I can approach the chalice. Now, if I murder, and hold on to the belief that murder is my ‘civil right’ or some other positive affirmation of murder – so that not only do I believe my sin was not in fact a sin, but a positive moral good to be affirmed and repeated in the future, then I am not in any way “repentant”, and thus neither I nor my priest (and here the priest would be following normative church discipline) allow me to approach the chalice

          Your effort (and Fr. Robert’s and everyone else who think like this) to deny that these homosexualists who affirm their “lifestyle” of affirming their sin through ‘civil marriage’, continued sexual relations (with no attempt to repentant of these relations as shown by instead of stepping back from them they instead affirm them through civil “marriage”) are somehow not in fact affirming their sin and sin in general, well it’s as nonsensical as saying 2+2=7.

          I would recommend to you a good catechism (Clark Carlton’s “The Faith” comes to mind) but I don’t think you are there yet. You might want to return to school and learn how your fellow man uses language and logic to communicate “meaning” as you seem quite lost…

          • Thanks for the educational advice, but I attended Orthodox church for many years and don’t need that book. Baptized, born, raised Orthodox, observing some time away lately, but I still pray if you have concerns.

            The fat man is no different than a married gay.

            He may or not confess his overeating, and he may always do it, but how many times has a priest put him on a scale for all to see his repetition? Arida is only saying there are problems with the approach.

            Personally, I don’t see how anyone enjoys riding this horse-meaning Arida. It already kicked off one big doughboy-yeah, that one.

            What concerns me after much reflection is priest’s posting on the internet. Whether it is Arida’s ramblings on a new perspective on Orthodox dealing with homosexuals or Justin Frederick calling all liberal priest’s parasites, neither are helpful.

            Perhaps the real problem with declining memberships are the unmetered musings of priests on blogs.

            • Estonian Slovak says

              You seem to have an obsession with fat people, Mr. Fall. I’m guilty of overeating, yet I’ve rarely been over 230 pounds. Wheras my wife outweighed me most of our married life. The way I eat, I should weigh about 400 pounds.
              You can spot the fat person by appearance, just like you can usually spot the African American. You can’t spot a gay person on sight, unless they really advertise their lifestyle..
              Here is another thought to ponder.The drunk doesn’t need booze to live.The smoker doesn’t need tobacco to live. Nobody has to have sex to live. But everybody, fat or thin, needs food to live.Had you lived through a famine like millions of Ukrainians did, you would most likely load up your plate every chance you got and not worry about getting fat.

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          Dan Fall says, “My high school children don’t see the condemnation of homosexuality as sinful behavior as beneficial to anyone. ”

          Good point. Let’s have teenagers decide things in the Church.

          • Or the Matthew Shepherd Act can decide for foolish clerics .

            • Because we need to stop the epidemic of Orthodox clerics who are murdering people? Perhaps off-point mentions of the Matthew Shepard affair should be a corollary to Godwin’s Law, because it is every bit as intellectually lazy as bringing up Nazi’s.

              • No Edward. My children, when being taught about the Matthew Shepherd laws in school are taught what? They are taught to reject the hatred of diversity, including homosexuality.

                If the church only condemns them; my children will reject the church. The logic is fair.

                The lines aren’t pure black and white, but they exist. And it is not intellectually lazy, but wisdom to recognize dissonance between two proclaimed goods.

                Here, people want civily married gays removed from the church. In the school, such thought would be on par with disrespect for diversity.

                It is you who is being intellectually lazy by bringing up a defeated political party from 70 years ago.

    • Ronda Wintheiser says

      Mr. Stankovich, you write, in response to Fr. Hans:

      “Secondly, you have managed to provide more ‘content’ to his essay than his entire essay, basically of what you think he is saying.”

      I grant you Fr. Arida’s piece is so dense and wordy that the reader can arguably accuse him of obfuscation — or simply have difficulty figuring out what the heck he’s saying.

      Until he actually comes out and says it at the very end of the piece:

      “That there are Orthodox Christians who misuse the never changing Christ to promote a particular political agenda and ideology or as license to verbally and physically assault those they perceive as immoral along with those who would question the status quo of the Church impose on the Church a ‘new and alien spirit.’”

      So tell me, Mr. Stankovich, who are these folks he is referring to? Who are those who “misuse the never changing Christ to promote a particular political agenda and ideology as license to verbally and physically assaulting those they perceive as immoral and those who question the status quo” etc. etc. etc, ?

      • M. Stankovich says

        Ms. Wintheiser,

        You seem to be under the mistaken impression that I am the attorney representing and defending Fr. Robert Arida personally. You are welcome to ask me personal opinion of him, but it is not pertinent to the matter at hand. Neither am I your concierge nor personal army. If you – or anyone – have questions for Fr. Robert Arida, I suggest you contact him.

        • Ronda Wintheiser says

          Mr. Stankovich, my impression of you is nothing of the kind, although you do come off like a lawyer.

          And I did ask you your personal opinion, not of Fr. Arida the person, but of what he wrote. Who do YOU think he is referring to in the paragraph I quoted?

          • …first stone folks

            • Michael Bauman says

              Dan, that is a totally incorrect, dehumanizing and slanderous comment. It shows the depths of your ignorance as to the approach to sin within the Church. Do you even pay any attention to what is written here or do you simply allow your worldly ideology do your thinking for you.

              Your teenagers have an improper understanding as well. I wonder where they got that?

              • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                Michael, I wrote this elsewhere and stand by it:

                The Orthodox Episcopalians posit a new anthropology — that passion is the ground of self-identity — which makes posting the Arida article on the youth page particularly heinous, even evil in my estimation. It denies the very freedom that Christ promises.

                • Christopher says

                  If Fr. Hans will allow me to refer to some clarification on that he himself made on these matters:

                • Or maybe the Matthew Shepherd Act discussion in high school results in high school children that behave better towards homosexuals than Orthodox clerics.

                  • Unless you have evidence for something Fr. Jacobse and other priests on this forum have said or done that constitutes a hate crime, I would stop bringing up the Matthew Shepard Act (and please, at least get the unfortunate young man’s name right if you must invoke it).

                    I will quote from the law: “Nothing in this Act…shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the free speech or free exercise clauses of, the First Amendment to the Constitution”

                    In fact, your repeated references to a criminal statute when talking to Orthodox priests who are just trying to uphold their Church’s teaching could be described as harassing and maybe even…. hateful?

                    • Oh, please already with the logical hopscotch. The children are taught to respect diversity. If they see something different from a priest; they will develop opinions about what? The priest and his doctrine.

                      I am only sharing realities of my children’s perspectives and my concern about the church. Given the dialogue here, I don’t think my children would join the church. They were adopted.

                    • Estonian Slovak says

                      Denying Holy Communion to those living in sin constitude a hate crime. Meanwhile in Netherlands, gays are frequently beaten up by Moslems.

                • I have a few questions for you Fr. Hans.

                  If a person is baptized Orthodox; then decides they are gay, but refuses to Confess their gayness as sin; then they adopt a child, can that child be baptized in the church and can that gay parent bring that child to church and attend services? Can their partner attend with their children ?

                  If the gay couple then wed; should they still be allowed to attend with their children?

                  If they are married for the benefit of the children, but repent of being gay, how does that affect your answer?

                  No traps-just want to hear your answers.

                  • If a person is baptized Orthodox; then decides they are gay, but refuses to Confess their gayness as sin; then they adopt a child, can that child be baptized in the church and can that gay parent bring that child to church and attend services?

                    I think this is a question for the bishops – something they should clearly and unambiguously answer in light of the normative moral Tradition. Right now, it appears priests are given much leeway. Too much given the reports as to what is happening in Fr. Robert’s cathedral and elsewhere. What exactly does one do with a person in open rebellion to the basic Dogma, and yet (strangely) wants their children to be baptized? Of course, these situations must be exceedingly rare. This hypothetical person is by definition a rebel – someone who is trying to accomplish something, a “change from within”, etc. They must be recognized for who they are. Still, it is a possible scenario. On thing is certain – the Church must always remain faithful and not allow a sin to be defined away.

                    Mr. Fall, the rest of the “attend” questions are a yes, because the Devil himself can attend a service (and often does). What they can not do is approach the chalice…

                    • Well, these are real issues priests face.

                      And your name is not Fr Hans, but your answer was civil – pun intended.

                      There are things to discuss and that is the only thing I will say about Arida’s pandora.

                      Regardless of what you desire-assuming no unrepentant gays at Communion is your desire-you, Christopher, have desires as well. And here is the sticky bit. Your desires may not be the best for all parties.

                      Consider the children. That has been my point on the subject. Even though it, too, has been twisted out of context.

        • Dr. Stankovich, you are critical of those who decry what (you say) they “think” he is saying, and of providing content to his essay that (you say) is not there.

          It is therefore more than reasonable to ask you, as a rigorous scientist, to help us by telling us precisely, in clear English that anyone can understand: what he actually is saying in his essay, in what specific ways he is being misinterpreted, and what specific content has been erroneously added to his essay by his critics.

          I, in this instance, am not interested in your personal views about whether you agree with what he said. Nor do I think that anyone is asking you for “inside information” based on any personal relationship you have or have had with Fr. Arida.

          What is being discussed is his essay. You have, if I understand you correctly, stated in several different posts that all of us are making the article something that it is not. It is more than reasonable to ask you to provide us with your understanding of exactly what Fr. Arida is saying. I realize that the hazy, pseudo-intellectual, and obfuscatory character of his essay might make it difficult for you to do that. What many of us are saying is that we have read and heard so many of these hazy, pseudo-intellectual, and obfuscatory statements in the past (almost to the point of making me wonder if Fr. Arida’s real crime here might be plagiarism) that we feel confident in saying that we do, very well, understand his full meaning.

          Do enlighten us.

          • Indeed. There are obviously some intelligent and faithful people who comment here and elsewhere who have yet to see this drama. Thus the vigorous defense of what truth is carefully embedded in Act I of the script. Those of us who have already seen the play recognize its opening act and know how it ends, for the playwright is not a man but a now very familiar spirit.

            To the doubters, all we can really say is keep watching. By the final act either the actors or the audience will no longer be recognized for what they seemed to be at the beginning of the play.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Michael, you can do better than this.

    • Dr. Stankovich,

      I often appreciate your insights, but sometimes you can be positively obtuse. I consider myself to be a reasonably intelligent guy, but I really don’t follow whatever point you are trying to make. I realize that your response was directed to Fr. Jacobse, but it was an open response, thus presumably meant for the edification of the rest of us.

      Would you mind restating, more clearly and simply, the take-home message you were trying to send to Fr. Jacobse and, by extension, to anyone who agrees with him?

      • M. Stankovich says


        First of all, my comment is here for the simple fact that Fr. Hans has made some change on his site that prevented me from posting there (a javascript & cookie error) on a Mac, even from 3 separate browsers. I wrote him and he did not respond to me. I am already under “moderation” of my comments; perhaps I have been censored. I have no way of knowing.

        I am sorry to say that you are missing a significant bit of the history of the years of “interchange” between myself and a number of posters – the history of which is available by searching my posts, but I highly discourage you – on this and the AOI site. There are, however, two important points to my participation: 1) I only enter discussions where I am reasonably certain I am correct and can demonstrate my assertion(s) by evidence; I am, after all, trained a researcher and scientist. And 2) I absolutely refuse to address “symbols” of the Big Fish – instead of those who should be addressed – because it is safe, relatively consequence-free, but would ultimately make me appear wiser, more learned, and in so many cases, “more Orthorodx.” In fact, I am also repulsed by those who lack the integrity to address even a “symbol” to their face. You would find any number of occasions where I have objected to conjecture-turned-internet “truth” without the respect given to contact an individual directly for their opinion. The persons of Fr. Chancellor Jillions, Archbishop Benjamin, and Fr. Thomas Hopko immediately come to mind. For me, there simply is no legitimate excuse for this form of cowardice. If you do not possess the fundamental courage to address someone you dispute, shut up. Cowardice – as the new book I cited discusses – is an insidious pollutant and infectious destroyer of unity, cohesion, and joy. This not my opinion, but the opinion of the Fathers.

        Robert Arida stands to “take down the Church?” What a farce. Robert Arida stated the obvious.

        • Dr. Stankovich,

          Thank you for your response to my question. I share some of your concern — and even some of your disdain — for those who do not address people directly. Elsewhere on this thread, I have specifically called out those who are throwing around names without providing any evidence that their names should be associated with this matter (including the names you mention above).

          I would note, however, that those who are promoting changes in the Orthdox Church’s understanding of and approach to certain moral matters have made a conscious decision to approach this in a specific political manner.

          My personal context for this debate is not only based on having had exposure to “culture wars” in a couple of different heterodox bodies. There was a time in my life when I was deeply involved in secular politics at relatively high levels. Once you have seen how politics works, it is hard not to recognize political maneuvering for what it is. Just as you, as a scientist and researcher, cannot “turn off” that part of yourself and pretend that you don’t see what you see, neither can I turn off my political antennae and pretend that I don’t see what I see.

          Political tactics are what they are, and they are generally pursued either out of naked self-interest or out of a belief that the ends justify the means (if one even believes that the means are not ultimately unethical).

          You criticize those who go after Fr. Arida rather than after the “big fish.” You very conspicuously fail, in that sentence, to identify the name(s) of the “big fish” who the critics on this site should be contacting. I would note that you are assuming that those “big fish” would respond, and you are assuming that they would respond honestly and forthrightly. Two very big assumptions.

          But the fact is that this is, most self-evidently, an essentially political campaign. One of the tactics in a political campaign is that you allow or direct a lower-level (and thus dispensable) individual to float trial balloons, to see what the reaction will be. Only after the waters (to mix metaphors) are considered to be safe do the “big fish” enter said waters. I would also note that Fr. Arida specifically chose the medium of the internet to float this trial balloon. Note that Fr. Arida’s article has now disappeared. Yes, someone has perhaps saved screenshots and the like, but there is still a level of haziness that comes with the territory of using the internet as a tool. There is even an element of plausible deniability that comes with using the internet: “that was just a blog-post on the internet — surely you don’t take seriously everything you read on the web, do you? Can you even link to the article?”

          Fr. Arida could have chosen any number of media for expressing his views — such as an Op-Ed in the Boston Globe (which I guarantee they would have been happy to publish, as long as he was forthright about his bottom line). Or he could have had it published in hard print in the Orthodox Observer (I assume that it is still the official OCA publication — it has been a long time since I have seen a copy).

          Even more to the point, he knows exactly who in the hierarchy is sympathetic to his views. He could have asked those “big fish” to write such a piece — or to co-author it with him. But he didn’t. That wouldn’t have been smart politically for anyone involved.

          Bottom line, Fr. Arida (perhaps in loose collaboration with those who agree with him) specifically chose this specific playing field. Those who are in disagreement and opposition have met him (and them) on the field of their choosing.

          Were I still in the OCA, would I write a formal letter to my bishop about this issue? Absolutely. Vladyka Tikhon was the recipient, many years ago, of a letter of mine that I wrote asking him to clarify his specific liturgical position on something that I disputed with one of his priests. He never wrote me back, but he responded in his own way (the liturgical practice in my parish shortly thereafter changed to what I had been quite certain was what Vladyka Tikhon wanted). But, like you, I only wrote him because I knew I was able to be specific in my questions and that I was quite certain of the answers. And I was quite certain that he would care (which he did).

          I had a good relationship with his successor, who was always good to me and my parish, who was never anything but honest and forthright with me, and whom I respect. Were I still in the OCA, be assured that I would be writing him about this and asking him for a clear response. I do not personally know my current ROCOR bishop, and I am mulling over the appropriateness of writing to him about something that is happening in a diocese of another jurisdiction, and the appropriateness of asking him to spell out the directives that he gives to his priests on the matter of dealing with same-sex couples approaching for communion. Since I see no evidence in my current parish that the priest would countenance such a thing, and since no-one has given me any information of any kind regarding names of priests in my diocese who are active homosexuals or who commune active homosexuals (let alone information that I could deem credible) , I am not sure that such an intrusion would be justified.

          My point, in summary, is that it is not as simple as telling people that they should go straight after the “big fish,” especially when many may not know exactly who those big fish are and what their exact relationship to the matter is. If big fish are indeed involved, they have chosen to stay in deep waters and allow Fr. Arida to venture into the shallows to do some splashing about to see what happens (and they have found out).

          But you, as a trained scientist and researcher, can help us, if you like. Spell out the names of the people who really should be the object of people’s questions and ire — I feel confident that most critics on this blog would be happy to leave Fr. Arida alone and turn their attention directly to them.

          • Brian McDonald says


            Re: “If big fish are indeed involved, they have chosen to stay in deep waters and allow Fr. Arida to venture into the shallows to do some splashing about to see what happens (and they have found out).”

            I, too, have been exposed to high doses of radioactivity from the ‘culture wars’ in liberal Protestant Christian bodies (former Presbyterian pastor turned Orthodox 22 years ago). I, too, found my political antennae highly sensitized by that experience. I’m afraid I have to agree with you that this past history makes it difficult to retract the antennae and its therefore it’s “hard not to recognize political maneuvering for what it is.” Without claiming any absolute certainty on this, the idea that Fr. Arida’s post was intended as a stalking horse has more than a little plausibility.

          • M. Stankovich says


            I was specifically referring to the one-time statement of Fr. Hans that the Hierarchs – all the bishops – individually and as a whole lack a voice of moral authority in our society. I found this a profound and courageous statement for an individual priest to be making. He also brought to my attention an essay he wrote regarding Solzhenitsyn’s statement that words have power, especially the power to affect change. Another profound observation, in my estimation, and I admit I found both very inspiring as well. The point I was making is the incongruence between what he says and what he does.

            I could speculate as to why the incongruence exists, but I will not. But I do know what I observe: Rather than directly addressing those responsible for the massive Orthodox indifference to the moral issue of our time – the Hierarchs – Fr. Hans attempts to skewer “surrogates,” 3rd & 4th string players (e.g. Dr. David Dunn, Fr. Thomas Hopko, Frs. Robert Arida & Alexis Vinogradov, and frequently me) who are of absolutely no consequence except in the “sandbox playground” of the internet. Mr. Michalopulos praises him for “taking Arida down,” and as Fr. Schmemann used to say, “Pardon me, but who cares?” And, please, the idea that Fr. Arida’s essay was “floated” by “insiders” of the OCA to measure its reaction in a plan for future action? Madonna mia! The machinations of the seriously stupit! Same-sex marriage – like abortion – will be the rule in our country because of the generalized indifference of the faithful, and the lack of a voice of moral authority by the Hierarchs. All “surrogate” goblins notwithstanding.

            As I said, pursuing a “surrogate” is fraught with… nothing. There are no negative consequence such as being suspended or removed from your parish – your source of income, censure and imposed penance by your bishop, or the admonition from your colleagues to stop “rocking the boat.” Just accolades & the “tough guy” T-shirt. But the unseen consequence is the mistaken impression that something has been accomplished, or worse, that something significant has been accomplish. It is the nature of indifference and cowardice to seek out the “stasis” that pre-dated the “ripple,” and this case is no different.

            I stand through the Services of Holy Week dumbfounded with the déjà vu of the predictions of the Lord that we alone have been chosen to suffer, that the suffering is inevitable & inescapable, but all the while assured & comforted that the Lord has “overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33) and will never abandon us. And I am further dumbfound at how quickly I forget these same realities. All “surrogate” goblins notwithstanding.

            I think, in all, this is a fairly unambiguous response, no?

            • Well stated. There is little you wrote that I don’t in the main agree with.

              I would add, though, that addressing bishops does not mean that priests and laymen should not also be responded to when they speak untruth, or questioned closely when wrong teaching is suspected to be hiding behind ambiguity. After all, Arius was a mere priest.

              At this point, criticisms of bishops are going to be negative — things they have failed to do. Much of the “danger” in pursuing a bishop thusly is the built-in problem of proving a negative assertion. It is always more straight-forward to respond to an incorrect positive assertion.

              I don’t know, but I highly doubt if Fr Jacobse or any of the priests on this forum would hesitate to confront a bishop who wrote what Fr. Arida did.

              But perhaps I am wrong.

        • Fr. John Whiteford says
          Stankovich in his study
          • How sad that this has become the icon of the OCA regarding Fr. Arida’s teachings and practice. The OCA is running out of wiggly room if it wants to consider herself part of the communion of Orthodox Churches.

          • Precisely, Fr. John!

          • Hey Whiteford, nice pic of you, Hans and George. Very appropriate.

          • Steve Knowlton says

            This dynamic plays out in the strangest places.

            Fr. John W. might want to enquire into his new mission in the State of Washington, where the same attitudes are allowed.

  14. Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

    Write your bishop, or write these bishops, who are directly responsible for the priest and the “Wonder” blog:

    His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon
    P.O. Box 675
    Syosset, NY 11791

    His Eminence Archbishop Nikon
    PO Box 149
    Southbridge, MA 01550

    • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

      Fr. Protodeacon, do you really think those bishops can or will do anything about the situation? You and I and Fr. Hans and others like us have already been written off as “hate-mongers” and “bigots”.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Fr Andrei, even if at the end of the day it’s just two or three priests and deacons preaching the Gospel –and no bishops–then you three must keep preaching. Even at the cost of martyrdom.

      • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

        Whether they can or will, they ought to hear the clamor of condemnation.

        • Chris Banescu says

          “Not only for every idle word must man give an account, but for every idle silence.” – St. Ambrose

          “Nothing can be more cruel than the leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe reprimand which calls another Christian in one’s community back from the path of sin.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

          “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a time of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.” ~ Dante, The Inferno

        • The “clamor of condemnation” is fine, fervent prayer is an irreducible minimum.

          But once a church administration has decided to be a political animal in service to the world, the only thing they will understand is having their funds dry up and watching that money go elsewhere. Hate to be cold about it, but there are many, many places — from a needy mission to your local food bank — for whom your tithes and offerings would be a God-send.

      • Sue Simpson says

        Most all of you here have blown this issue totally out of proportion. You have crucified Fr. Robert Arida with trumped up information. All of this coming from the right-wing contingent here; Fr. Hans, George, Whiteford, Tikhon and others; probably ROCOR. Fr. Arida was calling for a “pastoral approach” to the issue of homosexuality which is exactly what Christ would do. However, the right-wing mob here would rather crucify the man. No better than the Pharisees and Sanhedrin of old.

        • I think you got it Sue!
          Any ‘pastoral response’ would be anathema to some people, and deprive others of the possibility of repentance.

        • Sue,

          There can be no love without truth. Neither can there be truth without love. So how did He who is Truth and Love incarnate in our midst speak to the ‘moral’ controversy of His time?

          The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”
          Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”
          The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”
          Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”

          The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?”

          And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
          They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”
          He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”

          Pastoral? Divinely so! And this without one whit of ambiguity or compromise of the truth in the name of ‘love,’ so called.

    • Ronda Wintheiser says

      Sigh… I have written to Metropolitan Tikhon. I even sent the letter certified. I received absolutely no response — not even an acknowledgement that he had received it.

      I’m not certain he did receive it.

      • Send it certified with a Requirement for Signature (the ‘green’ post card). Then you will know that at least his secretary (or housekeeper) received your letter.

      • Brian McDonald says

        Rhonda, you won’t get a reply. Over the course of my life I’ve written to several Ecclesiastical figures with whom I differed and never heard back. The last time was to Chancellor Jillions. I felt it was a kind of duty to do so while at the same time I assumed it was pointless. On the basis of prior experience, I was sure that they’d be holding the Olympic ice-skating in Hell before he got back to me, and, in this assurance I was not disappointed. As with you I got not so much as a form letter to acknowledge receiving what I think was a pretty thoughtful email, in no sense the kind of anonymous rant we sometimes see on Monomakhos; but again on the basis of prior experience, it’s precisely what I expected.

        Ecclesiastical bureaucrats and pseudo-shepherds who believe they are way out in front of the flock, do not make it a point to acknowledge the inconvenient bleating of their uninformed sheep, let alone “dialoging” with same. Time is precious. There are probably better ways of spending it than pouring out your honest concerns in communications that will only garner the chirping of crickets.

        An angry slapdown would be better, wouldn’t it? It would make you feel you kind of counted!

        • Many years ago I sent a letter to my Episcopalian Bishop regarding his support of ordination of women.
          I received a personal signed reply outlining why he supported such. i disagreed with him, but respected his
          respect of me to answer my objections.
          I’ve not gotten such a mature response from any Orthodox bishop or other clergy I’ve petitioned. Says a lot for how the ‘plebs dei’ are considered here, I think

    • Scandalized OCA parishioner says

      Protodeacon Mitchell:

      Can you outline for us the proper procedure to report someone for investigation by a spiritual court? I am saddened by the Father Arida article and apparent actions and also by trial by internet when proper steps are not taken by those with experience and evidence to submit. Thank you!

      • Here's the Answer says

        It’s a very simple and straightforward procedure. You go to your bishop and register your complaint. He makes the determination as to whether to proceed with a spiritual court. You would have to be in Fr Arida’s diocese (New England) to register a complaint regarding his actions. Read the link below.

  15. Speaking Clearly says

    One of the responses posted on the blog masterfully exposes Arida’s cunning “shell game”:

    “Deconstructing the theology of insinuation” of Fr. Robert Arida’s article ‘Never Changing Gospel; Ever Changing Culture’”

    The (ostensible) thesis of the article can be stated succinctly and in terms that are unexceptionable and conformable with the nature of the Church: the Church must address the ever-changing conditions and needs of human culture in a way that conforms to Her unchanging truths, principles and mission. So far so good.

    The real aim of the article, however, is not stated clearly but is implied, suggested and insinuated with considerable skill and subtlety. But we can state it clearly. The author wants the Church to change her timeless ethical and moral witness to the present culture by changing Her traditional and scriptural understanding, witness and teaching on sexual and other social issues to conform with the current understanding on these matters–i.e., homosexuality, same sex unions, euthanasia, etc.–that the “culture” now supports and strives to inculcate in all its members. However the author does not honestly and forthrightly state his purpose in clear and unmistakable terms, but presents his argument in a rather disingenuous and even dishonest way.

    We need to break down the way the author presents his argument because that is the way we will be able to see his theological method, which can be called a “theology of insinuation.”

    Here is his technique, his “theology of insinuation” which is skillfully and insidiously used.

    1) The author separates concepts from their contexts: concepts like past, present, future, unchanging, change, repentance, metanoia, love, Gospel, Church, tradition.

    2) Stripped of their contexts–that is, the way they are actually used, meant and understood–in Church tradition and history, the concepts become abstract, that is, rather general terms empty of specific meaning and are thus empty symbols to which new meaning can be attached or empty vessels in which new meaning can be poured.

    3) The author then assigns negative meanings to the now abstract concepts he wishes to weaken and positive meanings to the abstract concepts he wishes to strengthen. He also limits the meanings of certain key principles to conform to his argument or intent. A key and very telling example of this approach is how he limits the meaning of “metanoia” to “change of mind” in the prosaic sense of changing of one’s views about something or other, rather than its true meaning of a reversal of orientation, a turning away from sin and a turning toward Christ incarnate in virtue.

    4) He employs the unassailable truths of the Orthodox faith in a subtle way that is contrary to their true purpose by weaving them in throughout his text, using their unquestioned truth to support his very questionable intent. This he does by asserting the truth at the beginning or in the middle of a paragraph, such as the unchanging nature of Christ (Jesus Christ, the same, yesterday, today and forever) or the infinite love and mercy of God, thus compelling the reader’s assent, then surrounding that truth with questionable and even reprehensible ideas, without actually linking these ideas with the true doctrine, but insinuating that the true doctrine has not been fully realized in the past and suggesting that it can–and indeed should–be stretched or expanded to embrace these questionable or reprehensible concepts or ideas or meanings. He suggests that the unchanging doctrine or truth is not what is at fault but rather that it is our (that is, the Orthodox presently striving to be faithful to these doctrines of our faith) past and present interpretation that is at fault, by limiting and distorting the true meaning of the doctrine which is meant to “engage” the culture, “contribute to” the culture and “synthesize” what is good, true and beautiful that is coming from the culture.

    5) The author separates theology from ethics in an illegitimate way in order to “free” Christian ethical teaching to change and respond to the “ever-changing” ethical confusion of the present world so that the Church can be “relevant”, i.e., “have a credible presence and role in our culture.” In so doing, he also separates Christology from anthropology, and both from soteriology and eschatology in a way that empties them of their true content. In order to achieve the questionable goal of having the Church be more “accepting” of changing mores and life-styles, he sacrifices, or rather, prostitutes by misuse the sacred certainty of what was “believed everywhere, always and by all.”

    6) “To preach the never changing Christ requires us to be ever changing.” This is Fr. R.A.’s fundamental thesis-statement, and it is fundamentally, or rather, insidiously fallacious. It is a dangerous simplification, rooted in the intellectual “shell game” he plays throughout his article with the terms “unchanging” and “change”. The truth of the reality of the never changing Christ demands of us the faith, obedience, humility and discernment to know and attach ourselves to the unchanging reality of Christ, while being at the same time flexible, alert and responsive to the every-changing needs of the world to which “God so loved that He gave his only-begotten Son.” In other words, we as human beings and Christians living in but not of the world must be both unchanging in essentials and have the ability to change in communicating and witnessing to that unchanging truth in response to the needs and capacities of the present world. Orthodox Christian ascesis, based on repentance, is the method by which we may realize the state of living in and responding to a changing world from the unchanging Center of our being, which is Christ.

    7) By far the most obvious, telling and infallible signal, for anyone who has followed, read, or endured the widespread assault on the traditional doctrines and practices of Christianity over the past two generations, is the author’s use of the word “dynamic”. To be dynamic is the ultimate positive compliment of all the purveyors of cultural and ethical change in the Church. And sure enough, Fr. Robert uses it: the requirement of a “true” Christian to be ever-changing is a “dynamic process that never ceases.” He even maintains that “dynamism” is an aspect of holiness when he asserts “this dynamism characterizes holiness given that our relationship with God and one another is always changing-always expanding.” I quote the entire statement to show also how he uses a self-evident truth as a half-truth, shaving off an essential part of the truth in question in order to make it fit his argument.

    There are many other specific criticisms that one could make about how Fr. RA manipulates words and meanings to suit his aims, such as his use of the word “synthesize” in relation to how the Church related to culture in the past. but there is no need to belabor this further. Once you see what he is doing and how he does it in the article, the tendentious and disingenuous nature of his argument is laid bare. I do not by any means want to discredit the entirely laudable aim of calling the Church to search for more effective ways to minister to the people in our post-post-modern society, or the warning to the Church to avoid the entirely unChristlike temptation to wall itself away from society in a “righteous” moral ghetto. But a theologian who is a self-proclaimed follower of Him who is the Truth incarnate should speak the truth in righteousness and not with the ingenuity of slippery disingenuousness that is unworthy of the holy name of truth.

  16. Chris Banescu says

    Bravo Fr. Hans for writing a wise and truthful rebuttal to the misleading, worldly, and misguided “preaching” of Fr. Arida.

    The duty of true and faithful shepherds is to preserve and defend the Christian faith. “We are to defend Christianity itself–the faith preached by the Apostles, attested by the Martyrs, embodied in the Creeds, expounded by the Fathers.” wrote C.S. Lewis. We cannot add or subtract from the teachings of Christianity based on individual opinions regarding God or man or other timeless tenets of the faith that we may consider difficult or objectionable.

    There are certain lines that Christians, especially priests and Christian leaders, cannot cross and still remain a Christian. In his book, God in the Dock, C.S. Lewis cautioned that clear boundaries of Christian doctrines must be established and maintained by all who preach Christianity. If such limits are forsaken by pastors, the only honorable solution is for them to change their professions. “But I insist that wherever you draw the lines, bounding lines must exist, beyond which your doctrine will cease to be Anglican or to be Christian: and I suggest also that the lines come a great deal sooner than many modern priests think. I think it is your duty to fix the lines clearly in your own minds: and if you wish to go beyond them you must change your profession,” (C.S. Lewis).

    Some relevant quotes to keep in mind in this battle for truth and righteousness raging in the very heart of the Orthodox Church:

    “Controversy and conflict in the church are never to be relished or engaged in without sufficient cause. But in every generation, the battle for truth has proved ultimately unavoidable, because the enemies of truth are relentless. Truth is always under assault. And it is actually a sin not to fight when vital truths are under attack.” ~ John MacArthur

    “False teachers and doctrinal saboteurs inside the church have always confused more people and done more damage than open adversaries on the outside. Is an attacking enemy who promises his arrival in advance and wears a uniform for easy identification as dangerous as a terrorist who is hidden and acts with deadly surprise? The answer is obvious.” ~ John MacArthur

    “That is true even though fighting sometimes results in conflict within the visible community of professing Christians. In fact, whenever the enemies of gospel truth succeed in infiltrating the church, faithful believers are obliged to take the battle to them even there. That is certainly the case today, as it has been since apostolic times.” ~ John MacArthur

  17. Tim R. Mortiss says

    There are a lot of very good responses to Fr. Arida’s article in the article’s reply section.

    Fr. Arida’s arid and tiresome indirection, his failure to forthrightly state what he means (although we all get where he is going), all of the abstruse pseudo-arguments– it is sad and discouraging to hear such stuff from an Orthodox priest on an OCA website.

    Sad and discouraging because we former Presbyterians, like the former Episcopalians, have heard this all before; these battles were fought for at least 25 years before the final defeat of orthodoxy (small-o) in that church

    “Nipping in the bud” by the heirarchies is desperately needed, or there is a long, ugly process ahead.

  18. @Alice, I tire of the accusations of those that support the heresy of accepting sexual acts between two people of the same gender as normative make against those who uphold the teachings of the Church as “not accepting the gays”. Not one, I repeat, not one person in the Church is teaching that we ought to treat gays like crap or “exclude” them. No one! You insult and judge many who do show love to everyone, including those struggling with homosexuality by making insinuating comments like that. However, there is at least one priest who is teaching we ought to accept homosexual sexual relations as normal and not sin. And that Alice, is evident before you in that article.

    As for the list you requested, the teachings of the Church is crystal clear on this subject, nothing I say will help elucidate an already clear issue. Perhaps you should go find a catechumen class to attend as a refresher. That’s no biggie, I sometimes go to an inquirer’s class for a refresher too.

    So please, stop with the baseless accusations and judgmental, hypocritical pontifications, and say something substantial. If you’re not willing to do that, the Episcopal Church could use more members!

  19. Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

    A priest of the Church has openly challenged, on an official website, the Church’s teaching on a fundamental matter of morality. Only the most vigorous corrective actions against the priest and the website can pound out the impression that the OCA is doomed.

    • George Michalopulos says

      In a perverse way, I’m glad Arida wrote this. In doing so, he smoked himself and the Syosset liberal/humanist clique out. I guess once they thought Jonah was gone, they won the day. Instead, it seems it was a pyrrhic victory. They showed themselves to be like the Bourbons of France once they returned to power: they forgot nothing and they learned nothing.

  20. Alethia Bringer says

    As alluded to above, Fr Arida’s views are obviously the result of his personal family situation. One of his children embraced a homosexual lifestyle, and Fr Arida became sentimental in the process. He apparently could not hold in balance the delicate Christian practice of loving the person whilst not affirming or condoning her actions. Perhaps if his child was a drug addict he would ask the Church to reconsider the joys and benefits of cocaine?

    • Priest Raphael Barberg says

      When first I became aware of Fr. Arida’s teachings,I suspected as much. As a fellow parent my heart goes out to him. We should not judge the man, but we should indeed condemn his harmful teaching.

      It seems he is guilty of what liberals often charge conservatives with: seeing the world in black and white. The reality is you can indeed love your son without feeling like you have to toss out the entire moral teaching of the Church in order to do so.

      • As one who is married but struggling with same sex attraction, I can understand Father Robert’s pain, to the degree that it is possible to empathize. I cannot speak for others, but my struggle has been hard, ranging from relative peace to bouts of tremendous doubt and depression. He may have seen his child struggle immensely and then give up. I can understand. But I believe our personal pain and doubt, no matter how acute, should at worst lead us to a humble agnostism rather than spur us to preach against 2000 years of faith and all the pastoral implications of doing so.

        God knows how I’ll make it through this life, but I hope, with the Grace of God, to cling to him and make it through as our holy Fathers have before us.

        • Sal,

          Thank you for your comment and for sharing your experience. It certainly has the ring of truth about it, and my heart goes out to you. One of the things that struck me when I became Orthodox — in a very conservative corner of the Orthodox Church here in America — was the compassionate attitude that I encountered towards those who suffer from the specific temptation/passion of same-sex attraction. I had brought with me some of the cruel attitudes of disdain and exclusion from my former delusion. I now burn with shame at some of the things I said and thought, but we don’t get do-overs.

          I was struck by how these very traditional Orthodox Christians that I encountered during my catechumenate gently straightened me out, pointing out that I had no idea what it was like to engage in that particular struggle, and directing me back to my own sins — all while making it clear that homosexual activity of any kind — even in the mind — was as strictly forbidden as adultery or murder (but like those sins, also never — ever — beyond the reach of repentance and the liberating and transforming grace of God). It was like nothing I had experienced in my Protestant and Anglican years or in my time of exploring Roman Catholicism. And this was 30 years ago, long before there was anything remotely politically correct about being sympathetic to what homosexuals suffer.

          All that I can say is that there are passions that I have struggled with my entire life — I know that they will never go away completely. But in Orthodoxy, I found the spiritual tools — prayer, the Holy Mysteries, confession, the entire ascetic tradition… that have enabled me to make progress over the last 30 years on things that I either didn’t recognize in myself as soul-killing passions, or that I had given up on being able to struggle against before becoming Orthodox. I have had 3 or 4 outstanding father-confessors who really knew how, in very few words, to help change my life. Such confessors do not grow on trees, but neither are they uncommon — not every priest is cut out to help every Orthodox Christian in their struggles, and I pray that you find one who can really help you, if you haven’t. It is worth traveling over land and sea to find one. All priests have the grace of conferring the Mystery of Repentance and granting Christ’s absolution, and we should avail ourselves of the soul-cleansing grace they have to offer us, as often as possible (I have been to confession far, far, more times in my life than I have been to communion). But not all have the gift of spiritual direction (and I have met more than a few priests who are humble enough to admit that, unbidden).

          In reading the lives of the saints, it is clear to me that many of our great ascetic saints — men we revere and whose icons we kiss — struggled with, and conquered, this specific passion. Fr. Seraphim (Rose) — who I have no personal doubt is a saint because of the miraculous ways in which he has answered my prayers — is a contemporary example of that. I don’t think it is an accident that his sanctity is beginning to become apparent just at the time when the need for clear help and direction in the struggle of same-sex attraction is most acute. None of us will ever know what anguish he went through in conquering it, and it would be unseemly to speculate about whether, when, and how he fell on that journey to sanctity. But in the process, he became a man who transformed the world around him, and transformed countless lives, including my own, even though I never met him.

          Sometimes, the greater the struggle, the greater the reward and transformation — small consolation at the time when someone is suffering, but true nonetheless. Someone pointed out to me that some of the Holy Fathers have taught that for every sin that we have allowed ourselves to indulge in, there is a corresponding pain that we must experience as we work on allowing God to purify us of those passions. The experience of the spiritual life is that as we fight each passionate thought to a standstill, we have a short period of peace, then another one comes up out of our subconscious (helped by the demons, who have a minimum of thousands of years of experience at this) that must be purged. And then another moment of peace, and then another struggle — over and over. And once God sees that we have learned how to struggle, he (inexplicably, to our minds) seems to abandon us and leave us to struggle in darkness. As with everything else, Christ, too experienced this, most acutely on the Holy Cross, when he cried out in anguish, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me. Sometimes it seems like the well of the passions and the suffering that goes with purging them one by one has no bottom — the saints who wept for one more day to repent even as their faces shone with the uncreated light give us the example that we are to treat that well as being indeed bottomless (even as the end of their lives showed that they had actually emptied that well of the passions and were living in direct communion with God in a state of sinlessness).

          Forgive me for going on, but something inside me told me that your comment warranted more than clicking a thumbs up. If none of what I said applies to you, perhaps, with God’s grace, it will apply to someone else who reads it, and will encourage them. If nothing else, it is a way of doing penance of sorts for those times in my life when I have been cruel and disdainful in thoughts, words, and actions towards those who suffer from the particular temptation and passion of same-sex attraction.


          • God bless you, Edward, for your thoughts. I do have an excellent spiritual father as well as other helpers. My struggle is much more one of faith and doubt rather than flesh. The resulting depressive episodes bring further doubt, and a vicious cycle continues. Well, at least it has helped me empathize with those struggling with doubt! May God keep our clergy from this pain.

            But all you say is true and God never leaves one’s side. The Fathers make this clear and it’s true in mine and your experience.

            • I can empathize with the struggle with faith and doubt. I won’t say that we’ve all been there, but many of us have, and to say that it is painful and brings on the temptation to give in to depression and despondency is an understatement. I wish you the best in this struggle. It is my conviction that God holds more tightly to us than we are able to hold on to him.

  21. Christopher says

    After reading the responses to Fr. Arida’s so called “preaching”, I am actually encouraged for the OCA. This is the first time I can say that since I left the OCA a number of years ago during the financial crises. Of course, if the synod of the OCA was worth anything at all this drivel would have already been pulled from that web site. In a profound sense, the OCA is still very very broken (and that’s saying something in America where mediocrity and brokenness is the norm for the hierarchy). Still, by evidence of the responses (I particularly liked Fr. Thomas Soroka’s) there seems to be hope for the OCA. Perhaps in the next generation of bishops…

    • Christopher,

      Your optimism is understandable but the pernicious teaching and actions of Fr Arida along with others of his same ilk that teach at SVS have planted seeds of disobedience which must be rooted out now, exposed to the Light of Truth and rejected.

      What pernicious teaching and actions? This from a member of the Gay Holy Trinity Cathedral in Boston.

      Michael Berrigan Clark Gerard, have you been to Holy Trinity (mentioned by Maria McDowell)? This is the OCA cathedral in Boston. So entirely canonical. I am gay… I was married to my husband in a civil ceremony in 2005. When I began attending Holy Trinity later that year I was completely up front with the priest. My husband, Martin, began attending liturgies regularly about two years ago. He was chrismated Holy Saturday earlier this year. Our relationship is not a secret; I have had no negative interactions with either clergy or laity in this parish. Martin and I are not the only gay people in the parish, though after Martin became Orthodox, we are the only Orthodox gay *couple* as far as I know. I don’t think this constitutes “don’t ask don’t tell.” More like “ask or tell whatever you like… we don’t care.” Just saying.
      October 19 at 9:32pm ·


  22. Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.

    “These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, abide in Him.

    “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.”

    Those who know Him who is Truth know simply – and simply know. For them there is little need for refutation of this sort of sophistry, for they will not recognize the voice of a stranger, nor give credence to his words.

    … and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

    A faithful old priest of mine frequently used to reference the word “millstones” when speaking of the purveyors of such confusion. Bishops are unlikely to be the remedy for this sort of gibberish, although they certainly should be. The only remedy for the faithful is prayer.

  23. will remember Fr. Arida’s supporters such as Dr. David C. Ford ….
    and not to be funny but what is Fr. Arida wearing on his head?

    • I believe that Dr. Ford wrote a response to the original Arida essay that was supportive of a priest who had written a strongly-worded critique of Fr. Arida’s essay. I would therefore not impugn him with supporting Fr. Arida’s apparent position without providing written proof. I do not pretend to have read much of anything Ford has written — perhaps he has written muddled and ambiguous things (which would be pretty much par for the course when it comes to much of the output of OCA seminaries, it seems), but this sort of accusation shouldn’t be loosely thrown around.

      • Edward, Dr Ford was/is indeed supportive of a priest writing a strongly-worded critique of Fr Arida. I can’t and won’t put words in his mouth, but he is anything but muddled or ambiguous. For the most part, overwhelmingly, the teaching at St Tikhon’s is remarkable and incredible!

  24. Let’s be real here people. Do we really believe that a letter writing campaign to the Synod and Fr. Arida is going to make a difference? It may get the article removed, but will it change anyone’s mind/opinion?

    The Synod has not done one thing to censor other priests who do/believe the same exact thing as Fr. Arida (namely Fr. Ted Bobosh – as has been pointed out by other commentators on this very blog). The men who are being individually and systematically chosen/placed as bishops are, IMHO, supporters of the same mind-set as Fr. Arida and Bobosh (and other priests). Our very own Metropolitan Tikhon did nothing about a gay priest in his Diocese prior to his election. Do you honestly think he’ll do something now?

    How sad is it that WE faithful need to correct our shepherds AFTER THE FACT because they didn’t think/read/care to make sure that THE TRUTH was followed BEFORE such an article was released. Yet, at the same time I say, Thanks Be To God there are those who have the conviction and courage to do so! You are all in my prayers.

    As for Fr. Arida struggling as a parent with a child who is homosexual (per a previous commenter), I cannot imagine how that must feel. How much more of a testimony would it be to love your child unconditionally yet hold firm to the Truth of the Gospel in the context of that Love? How much more powerful would it be to say to your child, “I love you but dislike what you are doing. Here are the boundaries.” Is it hard? Yes, I’ve had to do it with other issues, so speak from experience. We do our children and ourselves a big disservice when we say, “Here are the boundaries but they don’t matter. Do whatever you want.”

    All this being said, if someone has a letter to be sent, I’m happy to put my name to it.

    • Estonian Slovak says

      There was a Greek professional man who was ordained deacon. The problem is that there was canonical impediment, either he was twice married. His pious parents, probably from Greece, said something like,”Stop, son! You can’t do this!” They knew that their son shouldn’t be ordained, but the bishop thought otherwise.
      It seems our society can’t say “no” to anything anymore, except traditional family values, of course.

    • Christopher says

      I am afraid you are right Philippa. The more I look into this the more I realize that the OCA is indeed a den of the gay agenda (and has been for several decades), sort of what happened in the Anglican church for at least two generations before they moved out into the open and quite literally destroyed their church.

      Those of you who are reading this and are in the OCA: This is the endgame. You have one last chance (and only one) to clean your house, or your little corner of the Church will no longer be the Church (but some sort of modernist cult that labels itself a “church”). If you think you can “tolerate” these demons in your midst for longer than you already have you are going to find out how wrong you are (well, your children will find out)…

  25. where is Met Tikhon? Fr John Jillions? Fr. Eric Tosi?
    do any of them care to know whats happening in their own church ???

    • Maybe they agree with Fr. Arida…

      • The three mentioned most certainly do agree with Fr. Arida. As does Mark Stokoe, Pdn. Eric Wheeler, Fr. John Jillions, Fr. John Tkachuk, Fr. Ted Bobosh, Andrew Boyd, members of the Synod and a bishop-elect, faculty at SVS, and the OCA list goes on and on and on.

        The OCA has become a mockery of a jurisdiction and it is long past time for other Orthodox Churches and jurisdictions to keep their distance from them for the sake of their respective flocks.

        • It is one thing to criticize Fr. Arida, who put his views out there to be criticized. If he is as bright as everyone says, he knew good and well what dog whistles he was blowing — and that dogs on both sides of the fight would be able to hear those whistles.

          It is likewise fair game to criticize his bishop, who is responsible for knowing what sorts of things his dean is writing and doing in his own cathedral. There is evidence there to support the criticism.

          But if you are going to tar and feather Fr. Tosi, Fr. Jillions, Metr. Tikhon, etc., it is only fair to ask for some supporting evidence.

          I don’t disagree that the OCA is all too often its own worst enemy. I received tremendous spiritual benefit from my time in OCA parishes. I also hope never again to be in a situation where the only Orthodox parish reasonably available to me is an OCA parish. Both can be true. But for criticisms to have validity, they must be fair.

  26. Priest Seraphim Holland says

    Some very good pastoral comments. The OCA had blundered. They need to fix this mess. Fr Robert should be suspended, told to write a retraction, and the Bishop over the site should issue a clear statement. There are many who are confused by his disingenuous words, and they must be protected! A true pastor will not pretend, or cower under the hammer of the accusation of being judgmental that the left wields with regularity. There must be a swift and decisive response. I hope for this, but alas, do not expect it. Let’s be perfectly honest here. There have been rumors of some OCA hierarchy and clergy being soft on homosexuality. Here is their opportunity to make a sincere apology and present the unambiguous teaching of the church. Fr Robert must be disciplined for this to have any credibility. If they do nothing, they are endorsing this heresy.

    Priest Seraphim Holland
    ST Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney TX

    • Christopher says

      Fr. Seraphim,

      You probably don’t remember (if you were even the priest at the time) but I believe it was your congregation really made our family feel welcome when we were evacuated from New Orleans during the immediate aftermath of hurricane Katrina. One of your congregants (whose name escapes me) was even lining up jobs for my wife and I in case we were not able to go back (we did – though not for long). Were you originally up the road a bit towards Van Alstyne?

    • Fr. Seraphim,

      This would be a perfect time for ROCOR, ROC and like-minded hierarchs throughout North America and beyond to publicly rebuke the OCA and follow that up with concrete public actions. There could be no bigger favor done for those of us faithful in the OCA who are devastated by this situation. If you have any influence, please encourage such. It’s time for the OCA to either shape up or be subject to isolation or anathema for its own health or that of its (fleeing) members. It would be a good time for the ROC to admit the questionable circumstances of the autocephaly, and then to renounce it.

      • M. Stankovich says


        Based upon recent history, I suspect your request that “ROCOR, ROC and like-minded hierarchs throughout North America and beyond to publicly rebuke the OCA and follow that up with concrete public actions” would be met with the ever-popular hierarchical silence. Bienvenue renard au poulailler!

    • Scandalized OCA parishioner says

      Father please consider posting this comment on the OCA wonder blog. Comments are still open under Met Tikhon’s substituted article. Thank you in Christ, a scandalized OCA parishioner

  27. I don’t know how much effect a letter writing campaign will do. However, I’m suggesting we go further than that. In addition to a letter, I think we should call Syosset and Fr Robert at his parish directly. At the very least, it would communicate loud and clear that we are not accepting this, especially if parents with children write and call. Will that cause them to do something, maybe, maybe not, but at least we would have done something. Perhaps if they receive enough phone calls and letters, they will do something, at the very least, remove the article from the Wonder Blog.

    We can also contact the administrator of the blog, Andrew Boyd, who apparently works for the OCA department of Youth and Young Adults. You can contact him at

  28. When the hierarchy seems to be caught up in contemporary norms and refuses to exercise discipline, there is a remedy here in the United States for the Orthodox. And it is a remedy that we would not have were we united in one local church:

    Vote with your feet. If your church suffers from heterodoxy or apostasy, do not remain there to “fight the good fight”. There is no good fight to be fought there. Once the priesthood and bishops are compromised, it is very likely over. Leave. Eschew the bitterness and hard feeling. Do not finance apostasy.

    This is the lesson one should glean from the same process as it has played out in several Protestant churches. Fortunately for us Orthodox, if your OCA or GOA parish entertains this foolishness, there may be a ROCOR or Serbian or Old Calendar Greek parish close enough for comfort. Please, for the sake of your own soul, so you are not fighting battles within the Church about matters settled long ago, simply pack up and leave.

    This may seem harsh or premature but it is not in the least. These apostates are committed to ruining the Church. They do the devil’s work. They will empty their own churches and, God willing, help fill the churches of those who actually hold the faith. And that seems to be what God has in mind for this period in American Orthodoxy.

    • Christopher says

      Misha is more correct here than many will want to admit. Those of us who are causalities of “fighting the good fight” in the protestant mainlines can tell you just how close to the end you folks in the OCA truly are. These anthropological issues (of which abortion and homosexualism are the most obvious) are the canaries in the coal mines. You get this stuff wrong, and it is simply a sign of a much much deeper problem – a true apostosy that no one has recovered from historically. What an anti-Christian anthropology reveals is fundamental acceptance of modern categories of thought. It also reveals (as Fr. Jacobse has been arguing for years) that even though the language of the Gospel and classical Christianity is still used and indeed “preached” every Sunday, the MEANING of it has been transformed into something other – something quite modern (a modern spirit) and something that is quite literally from the demons.

      Now, I fully expect several responses to this rationalizing why I am wrong and it’s not this bad, pointing fingers at other jurisdictions (“they have the same problem”), etc. etc. These responses will be as hollow as they sound however – you are on the edge, just about to go over, and you will not be able to recover…

      • Fr. Peter M. Dubinin says

        Christopher – And your remedy is….? I’m done running from this to that to the other….. The OCA may be on the verge; may have already gone over… I understand and conduct Ortho-praxis as an Orthodox priest; my goodness I turned my own mother (a god-fearing Baptist and by far more holy than I) away from the chalice because she isn’t in the Orthodox Church. Do you really think I will minister the Holy Sacraments in any way contrary to the teaching and practice of the Orthodox Church? The Holy Tradition delivered to me within the Church makes no concession for any sin, but calls all to repentance; this I am charged by my ordination to preach and teach. Believe it or not, there are a good many like me still within the OCA.

        • Fr. Peter,

          First, thank you for your God bearing service to our countrymen (and women) in uniform and overseas.

          You are absolutely correct, as there are a good many like you in the OCA. The evidence of this (among other things) was the many responses to that essay which unfortunately (and tellingly I think) Met. Tikhon has allowed to be removed (against his first instincts obviously).

          As to a remedy, I am quite the sinner myself (and thus know nothing as to how the Spirit works in these matters) and so these are my speculations:

          IMO, a remedy would be “visible” and “public”, as opposed to bishops and clergy working “behind the scenes in a pastoral manner” that is always justified as “generous and loving”. It would also be something unambiguous and clear. As many of the posters pointed out to Fr. Peter’s essay, what is need on this particular matter (homosexualism and the Church’s relationship to it vis-a-vis “the culture”) is certainly not the rejection of the Church’s clear moral position, or even some ambiguous “discussion”, but clarity. Thus it will not involve a dialectic because that is always and by process and definition ambiguous. It will look more like a teaching, a clear commandment from God – which of course is what the Church actually has on this subject. Finally, and here is the hard part, keeping with the visible and clear it will involve public censor of those in the clergy and synod who do not in fact support the Church’s clear moral teaching on this subject. In other words, it will be the very opposite of what Met. Tikhon’s response has been, which among other things praised Fr. Peter’s “positive contributions” to some supposed need for a dialectic with culture…

          Since all this seems likely a bridge too far for your synod, It seems to me the OCA’s only real hope is a return to Moscow (even though this is also unlikely). Thus, my pessimism that there will be a remedy. It’s almost as if all the good people and clergy in the OCA (a majority far larger than these innovators in my opinion) are now living “in resistance” so to speak…

    • Your right, Misha. I remember the Episcopalians (on the traditional side) in my family went down this painful slippery slope. Their church is now closed.

    • MIsha,

      It is premature to start fleeing the church. Those of us within the OCA need to stay an fight to expose this rot until one of two things happens.

      1) Our Hierarchs grow a pair and uphold the teaching of the Church.

      2) The OCA is cast off by the rest of the Church as departing from Orthodoxy.

      To leave now would allow the these people to continue to spread heresey beneath a veneer of legitamacy.

      • You are absolutely right that it is too early to start fleeing. But neither is there a lot of time. These things happen very, very fast. It was 6 years between the time that President Clinton signed DOMA into law and when the first same-sex marriages were legalized in Massachusetts.

        The same-sex proponents do want you to leave the OCA — make no mistake about it. The more of you that leave, the easier it is to indoctrinate those who remain into the new way of thinking.

        But what won’t work is to close your eyes and hope it goes away.

      • No dan, you’re wrong.

        These people need no “enabling” to spread their false Gospel. Once in power, they have the power. The tell tale sign is that there is no censure. Even if there were some censure, but only in response to overwhelming criticism, it would still be too late. That would indicate that the powers that be agree with Fr. Arida but still can be cowed, on occasion, by faithful Orthodox. Yet if they only allow like minded candidates into their own ranks, it is only a matter of time.

        The ship is sinking. Now, I do understand that in certain areas the ship is only sinking very slowly and that, eventually, some of these more pious parishes might elect to come under another jurisdiction. However, if your priest is like Fr. Arida, or even if he speaks out of both sides of his mouth on these types of issues, it is probably past time for you to leave and you should exit with all deliberate speed.

    • Fr. Peter M. Dubinin says

      And of course Misha, you know the mind of God. Cut with the pompous, self-righteousness already. As to the recurring comments throughout the entries on this thread from those who left mainline protestant churches – O, we’ve heard this language before; it’s just a matter of time before…., allow me to add “language I heard in the past” – in the fundamentalist Baptist circles in which I used to run – can’t fellowship with that church (even though doctrinally they are identical) because they fellowship with another church which is suspect (i.e., their doctrine does not match completely with ours). In a hermeneutics class taken so long ago, the professor made reference to another divinity school in the area which considered itself eschatologically agnostic; the collective gasp of disbelief sucked the air out of the room. How could they be so misled? After all the Scriptures clearly teach a pre-tribulation rapture of Christ’s Church followed by seven years of tribulation followed by a literal 1000 year reign of Christ on the earth; how could they be so wrong? The remedy – flee such error, lest you too be tainted, smirched with their wickedness and your minds become darkened to the truth. Are you saying Misha, I will succumb to falsehood and apostasy if I do not flee the OCA for another jurisdiction? Am I no longer your brother in Christ if I remain? When His Beatitude, Jonah, considered pulling OCA priests out of the military chaplaincy should DADT be repealed, I spoke with him and offered up to him my recommendation he not do so. Our numbers are so small in the military, to remove us would have gone unnoticed by the powers that be; if anything, there may have been a sigh of relief breathed in the Judge Advocate General’s office – phew, there’s one less group we have to worry about. What do you think would fill the space created by our departure; that’s right, chaplains from denominations which do not reflect in the least the moral tradition of the Orthodox Church. I encouraged His Beatitude rather to fully empower us to conduct ourselves as Orthodox priests and be our bishop; provide top cover. At the present time we still have the law on our side to faithfully discharge our ministry as clergy in the Orthodox Church; if the military deems it necessary to take action against us as Orthodox clergy because we remained faithful to our call, then the onus is on them. Flee if you must; I don’t see anything good coming from it, just affirmation to those who no longer teach the Truth of the Church that they must be doing the work of God otherwise if they weren’t all would speak well of them.

      • Fr. Peter,

        I do not disagree with some of what you say here. If I can make a suggestion however: The “language”, and the battle/conflicts that arise and the results of those conflicts, from the the “left” (those of us who came from the mainline) and the “right” (those of you who came from conservative, sola-scriptora backgrounds) are not analogous to each other. In other words, the lessons you have learned and the lessons we have learned from our respective backgrounds are not necessarily comparable. The “existential threat” that we are warning about is simply not on the same level as anything coming from some supposed “fundamentalist” movement within the Church. The Enemy we are pointing to is much more dangerous and is massing as we speak. Fr. Robert and his ilk are the forward scouts behind our lines….

      • Nonsense, Father,

        Once the rot has set in further, your own bishop might require you to do something against your conscience. If Orthodox priests want to remain as potential martyrs in the military, that is their affair. I applaud them to the extent that they hold fast to Tradition.

        As to a parishioner in Fr. Arida’s parish, yes, flee immediately. Your pastor is a wolf and no good will come from lingering. As to the OCA, it probably depends on the part of the country you find yourself in, as others have remarked. But, of course, this is already a telltale sign that the ship is sinking. The more pious quarters have no power to censure the more heterodox quarters.

        I leave you to your illusions, Father. Stay if you think it best. You will always be able to find excuses to remain despite even outright apostasy on the part of your superiors. Trust me, this road has been well trodden before.

    • anonymus per Scorilo says

      According to Misha:

      Fortunately for us Orthodox, if your OCA or GOA parish entertains this foolishness, there may be a ROCOR or Serbian or Old Calendar Greek parish close enough for comfort.

      I do not know about the ROCOR, but bringing forth the Old Calendar Greek schismatics and the Serbians as shining examples of moral purity is disingenuous:

      George has an entire section of his webpage entitled “predators in our midst” devoted to the shining morality and “comfort” of some Old Calendar Greek grupuscules

      Also you forgot about the child-rapist bishop that was protected by the Serbian holy synod for years and only defrocked after an extensive press scandal, you can remind yourself at

      • I’m not sure any jurisdiction should be pointing fingers at any other jurisdiction on issues of sexual misconduct, Old Calendar or SCOBA/EA approved. Mites and beams and all that.

      • Hmmm, do the Old Calendar Greeks and Serbs teach pedophilia as doctrine or were these isolated sins that could happen in any jurisdiction? Arida is teaching the normalization of sodomy as wholesome. When it comes to doctrine, yes, they shine more brightly than OCA.

  29. Before I leave the OCA, any other jurisdictions have this problem? I have family that are Episcopalian and I remember them go down this painful slippery slope.

    • Fr. Peter M. Dubinin says

      Sure they do; take your pick.

      • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

        Sure they do, but with the OCA pushing the envelope in one direction, other Orthodox jurisdictions will be forced to define themselves against it, just as conservative Anglicans have done in breaking with the Episcopal Church.

        The OCA will struggle to keep up appearances, but without strong leadership against the trend, instead of gutless efforts to straddle the divide, the problem will only worsen, as it did among Episcopalians.

        A break in communion with other Orthodox churches is inevitable. The only question is when.

      • Father, every single church has had immoral clergy, as well as clergy who quietly tolerate or cover up for the immorality of others — whether clergy or laity. I couldn’t agree more.

        We are talking about something very different, here, though. The OCA is faced with a situation where the dean of a cathedral wrote something that very clearly indicates that he thinks we should rethink the stated positions of the Orthodox Church on sexual morality.

        The OCA is faced with what appear to be credible reports that this dean has acted on those beliefs by communing active and unrepentant homosexuals, possibly with the knowledge and approval of his bishop.

        At precisely the time when a contemporaneous, clear statement was needed, the anxious faithful of the OCA have been given a “response” to this matter by their primate that is, at best, weak and hazy — and that at points leaves the door open to rethinking the current official stance of the OCA.

        I was talking to a friend of mine in the GOA on the phone the other night, and all of this has caused quite a stir there, as well. And the biggest topic of discussion, according to him, was the muddled and virtually incomprehensible (his words) response of Metropolitan Tikhon. Like me, he couldn’t understand why the Metropolitan would say anything at all if he couldn’t say something simple and clear. I was treated to a good laugh when I asked him if he could imagine Metr. Philip of blessed memory writing something like that.

        What you are faced with is not a matter of church leaders looking away from a sin because they don’t want to be bothered or don’t want to make a fuss or don’t want to draw attention to something shameful and embarrassing or controversial.

        What you are faced with is the very real and open question of whether members of the OCA’s leadership are looking away because they don’t believe homosexual acts should be treated as sinful. Until that question is clearly and publicly answered, I can’t say I would blame anyone for leaving who had another option. And the same will go for any Orthodox body that follows such an example.

    • All jurisdictions have problems with sin. Few have a problem with the open proclamation of sin as virtue. Fewer still have the problem of publicizing their revisionism on an official website of the jurisdiction.

  30. Alice Carter says

    OK I get it. Sorry to be so dense. You all agree that homosexuals will go to hell? I don;t know about that but I respect your polarized panic about this issue. I certainly will keep up my catechesis dear Irritated, and just to be clear, I know that no one in this group would send gay people to a concentration camp., The point is that the cultural acceptance of demonizing them made it possible for Hitler to do so. A reminder however to those holding a narrow view of homosexual behavior, gay people fall in love, make commitments to each other, care for each other. Sometimes the culture is ahead of the Church on issues. Slavery was justified for centuries by the Epistle of St. Paul. In the American south, there was no sense that slave holding was contrary to Christian faith. And when the wall began to crumble there was a lot of Bible and Tradition rhetoric dispensed in defense of that institution. The culture is ahead of the Church on this issue as well. But fear not, you will always be welcome in the Orthodox Church, you are our brothers and sisters. Just remember the Church is still in its infancy, trying to parse out what it means to be a lover of Christ.

    • Tim R Mortiss says

      Yes, slavery was often justified, in latter years especially, by the use of the letters of St. Paul, but he never himself justified it; he just recognized it as existing, and expected the Parousia soon, and urged everyone to maintain their present station. Yet Christianity doubtless led gradually to the end of slavery.

      If the “culture” is now “ahead of the Church” with regard to homosexual conduct, what was it in its first few centuries, when gentile culture also accepted this conduct? There is little doubt that Christianity ended the social acceptance of homosexual behavior by late antiquity. So the Faith had it wrong from the beginning?

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      God was ahead of this issue before the culture. You do not understand how we can love and yet condem.
      You truly do not get it. If you are the “main” in the OCA then the OCA is in open apostasy and has broken communion with the rest of Orthodoxy.

      Acceptance of sin is not love, but true hatred and evil. You are denying the Gospel to those most in need. You preach culture, while we Orthodox preach the Gospel. I strongly suggest you get into a strong and vibrant prayer life because the gospel is here to change people and call them to repentance, not to have the so-called culture change the Gospel.

      If no official rebuke occurs over this the OCA has officially broken communion and cannot be considered Orthodox. We cannot mince words on this. The OCA synod needs to act, and if it does not act then you will have your answer and the apostasy of the OCA will grow and will be seen by all.

      To the OCA the actions you take from here on forward will define wether you stay Orthodox or become heretical potentially facing excommunication by the rest of the Orthodox Church. Tread lightly.

      Peter A. Papoutsis

    • Ms Carter,

      Your priest is teaching heresy. It is that simple. He is letting his personal life influence his teaching. He has been doing this for decades and it has resulted in a community in which he felt safe and secure to now openly commune unrepentant homosexuals and “married” gays. It is that simple. He can’t do that. He has no authority to do that. He was not ordained to do that.

      You are now parroting what he has been teaching and with every word you write here in an attempt to defend him, condemns him.

      Please stop trying to defend the indefensible. We all know that there have always been gay people, who love each other, get married, etc. etc. etc. That is NOT the point. The point is that gays can be welcome in a parish, but they can’t participate in the Sacramental life of the Church if they are unrepentant. They can’t expect their civil marriages to be recognized and tacitly approved by a parish priest, no matter how “noble” and “compassionate” his motives, by giving them the Sacraments.

      That still remains the crux of the issue which you apparently do not agree with. Well, sorry. That isn’t up for your negotiation nor your Pastor’s.

    • I think the statement that everyone here things “homosexuals are going to hell” is a very polarized view in and of itself. I think that what people are trying to say is that unrepentant sinners are removing themselves from the presence of Christ. They are saying that homosexual acts are a sin and that in communing individuals who unrepentantly participate in these acts the priest is actually doing harm by removing these individuals still further from Christ. This would be true of heterosexual couples that participated in sexual acts outside of Christian marriage which is defined as between one man and one women. We are all sinners and if any of us partake in communion without repentance it is not good for our souls.

      Also the invention over the last 50 years or so of words like homosexuality and heteronormativity have really warped peoples ability to talk about these subjects. We need to separate homosexual acts from a persons identity. I don’t define my identity by who I am attracted to. I am first and foremost a child of God and a human being created in His image. My sexuality is not a significant part of my identity. Also even in the context of Christian marriage sexual activity is seen in a much different light than what is typically of modern society. “Sexual love in marriage is to be chaste and pure, devoid of lewdness, lechery, violence and self-gratification.” (from the Holy Synod) In our modern culture sexual love is almost only about self gratification. We need better education about what sexual love is in the Orthodox Church. I think this is something that is really hard for young people to understand sometimes.

      I think that people should talk about this in a respectful and Christian manner. However Alice I know this is true “A reminder however to those holding a narrow view of homosexual behavior, gay people fall in love, make commitments to each other, care for each other” I have some non-Christian fiends and even family members who have been in long standing committed relationships. I don’t diminish that these people do find comfort in these relationships but that doesn’t change the fact that homosexual acts are a sin. I also have many heterosexual friends that have fallen in love and lived together for many years without getting married. This is also a sin. There are a lot of things that make me happy that aren’t spiritually good for me. Celibacy is something that is celebrated in the Orthodox faith. It one can not enter in to marriage then celibacy is something that should be cherished by those individuals. Saying that people must submit to their passions and perhaps genetics is insulting because you are suggesting they don’t have any more control over their choices in sexual expression than a robot would by saying that these actions are okay and communing these individuals and not counseling them to try and remain celibate you are placing a barrier between these individuals and Christ.

      As a child I wanted to join a soccer tournament team that would cause me to miss Church every Sunday. It would have made me really very happy to play on that team it was a real honor. My father didn’t let me because if I did I wouldn’t have been able to go to Church and grow closer to Christ. Growing close to Christ isn’t about doing what we want or who we love it’s about growing in Christ and repentance.
      No one should love another human being more than they love Christ and that means striving to conquer our passions and repent. So Alice I know the emotional pull of wanting to say love and commitment makes it okay however it is a sin and it has been very clear that homosexual acts are a sin so I would never tell some one it’s okay because if there is no repentance then this keeps them from growing close to Christ.

      Also others need to remember that we are all sinners. The post beneath this talking about the lavender mafia is just offensive. We don’t want to alienate those who do live a Christian life and struggle with their passions what ever they are.

  31. Anonymous dude says

    Who is Andrew Boyd, the Editor of the Wonder blog? Can anyone verify if he is straight? When was the last time a background check was done on this youth worker? When will St Vlad’s quit producing graduates of the Lavendar Mafia?

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      All I can verify is that Mr. Andrew Boyd was a member of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington, DC for some time in the early 2000s, before he went to St. Vladimir’s Seminary.

      • He went to St. Nicholas, yes, but has had the occasional female friend. He is relatively young, so maybe he did not parse the convoluted verbiage.

        • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          His sister Alexis Boyd signed this infamous missive while attending George Washington University and St. Nicholas Cathedral at the height of the scandal.

          • Pdn Mitchell,

            I am sorry but I don’t consider what your post points to as being infamous. It is a balanced and carefully worded statement. It is not ambiguous and makes every attempt not to affirm homosexuality while at the same time affirm that homosexuals are real people. It is about sensitivity to people, who being or feeling marginalized, may be driven to think that their only option is suicide. No pastor worth his salt would ever want to lose a member of his flock under such a circumstance.

            I am very critical of Fr. Arida because I think he has blurred the lines between being pastoral and acceptance of homosexuality. I am critical of Met. Tikhon because I think his attempt to clarify the Wonder Blog debacle only made it worse due to his ambiguous remarks – but Ms. Boyd signing on to this document does not add one iota to what I think about Fr. Arida. Yes, the group who signed this MAY be more “left of center” than you or me, but I would hope they are no less compassionate AND Orthodox than you and me, meaning they can tell the difference between holding to what the Church teaches on this subject and selling out.

            • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

              One must discern the spirits, James, and the spirits behind this open letter are revealed in a number of ways:

              1. Timing: The letter was posted at the height of the scandal at St. Nicholas Cathedral in DC, where the issue was whether people openly and unrepentantly living the gay way should receive Holy Communion, yet the letter avoids that specific issue in taking the gay side of the argument.

              2. Language: The letter uses common leftist jargon like “marginal,” meaning people who are excluded from positions of power and are therefore “vulnerable.” But the issue at St. Nicholas was that gays weren’t excluded from anything and used their power to silence the very mention of sodomy and drive away those who objected to it.

              3. Logic: The letter never distinguishes between (a) penitents who do not identify as “gay” and struggle against their same-sex attraction, and (b) self-styled “gays” who are open, unrepentant, and militant in pushing for their full acceptance.

              4. Honesty: The letter repeats the unfounded, pro-gay claim of a supposed epidemic of gays committing suicide because of anti-gay persecution. It also falsely accuses Orthodox clergymen of repeating “disgusting and discredited theories about the etiology of same-sex attraction.”

              5. Bias: The letter complains only about the “overheated and destructive lanugage” of one side, as if the other side has been unfailingly loving and temperate in debate.

              6. Intent: The letter complains to hierarchs that people are speaking out too freely and “implore[s] you to help nurture a spirit of respectful, loving discourse,” suggesting that what they really want is for bishops to silence opposition to the gay agenda.

              I could say more, but it this isn’t enough I’d be wasting my time.

              • So happy am I to see that a deacon is discerning the spirits here. I thought that was an ability reserved to ‘higher powers’? but then, if deacons can do that, why not those ‘under them’ in the hierarchy, vis: sub-deacons, readers, and mere laity. Maybe even those who are outside the oikos?
                just speculating here, of course

  32. Lola J. Lee Beno says

    Does anyone know why the Episcopal Assembly of Orthodox Bishop, located at is down? Are there similar resources that has list and contact info of all bishops in canonical jurisdictions?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Funny you should mention this, Lola. I was just looking at their site. Found the following of interest:

      From the Assembly of Bishops

      To our Orthodox Faithful

      1. We, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, representing millions of Orthodox Christians in the United States of America, Canada and Central America, express our deep concern over recent actions on the part of our respective governments and certain societal trends concerning the status of marriage in our countries, in particular the legalization of same-sex unions.

      2. The Orthodox Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality, firmly grounded in Holy Scripture, two millennia of Church Tradition, and Canon Law, holds that the sacrament of marriage consists in the union of a man and a woman, and that authentic marriage reflects the sacred unity that exists between Christ and His Bride, the Church.

      3. Persons with homosexual orientation are to be cared for with the same mercy and love that is bestowed on all of humanity by our Lord Jesus Christ. Moreover, the Church is a spiritual hospital, where we all are called to find the healing of our fallen humanity through Jesus Christ, who assumed human nature in order to restore it. All of us struggle with various passions, and it is only within the Church that we find the means of overcoming these passions with the assistance of God’s grace. Acting upon any sexual attraction outside of sacramental marriage, whether the attraction is heterosexual or homosexual, alienates us from God.

      4. We exhort the clergy and faithful of the Orthodox Church to bear witness to the timeless teachings of Christ by striving for purity and holiness in their own lives, by instructing their families and communities in the precepts of the Holy Gospel, and by placing their trust in our Lord, who “has overcome the world.” (John 16.33)

      5. Finally, we encourage our faithful to approach their parish priest or spiritual father with any questions or concerns about this statement and its practical repercussions in their daily lives.

  33. Alethia Bringer says

    Sorry, Misha, but you shouldn’t be under the illusion that ROCOR lacks issues with homosexuality and other sexual sins. I personally know openly gay couples communed by their ROCOR priests. And I know celibate ROCOR priests who are sexually active. Half the ROCOR parishes are just OCA parishes that jumped ship to remain old calendar. But this is the limit of their conservatism.

    • 1. Name names of the clergy involved. It will give the ROCOR an opportunity to clean up its own house, and will help Fr. Arida not feel so isolated. I don’t disbelieve you, BTW.

      2. I would appreciate documentation that 50% of current ROCOR parishes left the OCA in the 1980’s (which is when the calendar change happened.) This is certainly news to me.

    • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

      Alethia, you may be partially right, but there is no way that half of ROCOR parishes here in the US are former OCA parishes which joined ROCOR over the calendar change. There are perhaps six such parishes in Pennsylvania, a few in other places. Two were here in Michigan, those two later left ROCOR for the Bulgarian Church. One, now a monastery, has since returned to ROCOR.
      If any priest is sexualy active outside of marriage or imparts the Mysteries to , thpeople in unlapwful relationships, that priest is doing such things to his own condemnation. It would be up to that priest’s bishop to discipline him. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m certain that if I crossed the line with a woman, my spiritual father would tell me to turn myself in to my bishop.

    • Michael Bauman says

      You don’t have to leave the OCA to be old calendar. I personally know of several OCA parishes that are Old Calendar.

      We do love to disparage each other.

      God forgive us.

      I wonder how many here offended by Fr. Arida’s comment talked to him.

      • I wonder how many here offended by Fr. Arida’s comment talked to him.

        A valid criticism for those who have been in his parish or who otherwise know him. But as I have noted elsewhere on this thread, Fr. Arida chose the playing field. He has simply been engaged on the field of his own choosing. It is not legitimate to fault people for responding on the internet to something that was deliberately placed on the internet — on an official or semi-official website of the OCA, no less.

        There are things to dismayed about in the responses — although not many. I have been impressed with the level of thoughtfulness, clarity, and direct, tempered conversation, both on the original blog and on this thread. But criticizing people for not directly talking to Fr. Arida — when he didn’t directly speak to them — is not one of the things that is valid to criticize.

      • Christopher says

        “I wonder how many here offended by Fr. Arida’s comment talked to him.”

        I suppose I would talk to him. I don’t think it would do much good. He is an idealist set on updating/replacing the “outdated ethics” of the normal moral tradition of the Church. If you read his essay’s going back several years, you can tell he has been working on this for a while. He is an activist, a true believer in his cause. He is also somewhat politically acute (though this last essay reveals he makes mistakes) in that he is fundamentally subversive, not usually pushing too far but saying just enough to speak to those who are being tempted in his direction.

        Here might be one of his ‘mistakes’ in that it reveals he is not even in basic dogmatic agreement with the Orthodox Church:

        “Given our Church’s biblical, patristic, liturgical and canonical sources one eventually detects that there is no universally consistent and accepted teaching on marriage as to its origin, purpose and goal”

        Michael, how would such a conversation go with a guy who holds such a philosophy and yet is an ordained priest of the Orthodox Church and has had more opportunities to be disabused of such incorrect notions than almost anyone else?

        No, if the synod are worth anything at all, they will realize that preaching such open error is way past a talking to. He needs public rebuke, censor, time away from the chalice, and full repentance…

    • Alethia Bringer (ironic name, more like Psema Bringer),

      Name names or quit lying. What you wrote about parishes was quite obviously just off the cuff fantasy, probably as were your other assertions.

  34. M. Stankovich says

    I believe that this discussion exemplifies and is evidence for several arguments I have been making over the years on this site and elsewhere. But first, since James can always be depended upon to identify my “friends,” with the express purpose of discrediting or providing a “prejudicial context” for my comments, let me repeat emphatically that I do not and will not support nor defend anyone who teaches that which is contrary to the Scripture, the Fathers, and our Holy Tradition. Period. I love Robert Arida as my brother – one of my first roommates at SVS – but I will not support heresy from anyone.

    The fact of the matter is this: Fr. Robert’s essay was not as essay regarding homosexuality, nor an invitation to examine his personal or pastoral life. It was an essay regarding the role of the Church in the world, and specifically in relation to matters of morality in our society. We seem especially comfortable bantering about the phrase, “we are in the world, not of the world” to the point where it has become so trite, so empty and void of significance as to be meaningless. And the proof of this observation is that the Orthodoxy in America – all of Orthodoxy – is voiceless, meaningless and insignificant. We are, in fact, “in the world,” but invisible, squandering the Treasure entrusted to us in defiance of the Scripture: “No man, when he has lighted a candle, covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed; but sets it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light,” (Lk. 8:16) and “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. ‘And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.'” (Matt. 25:26)

    I have asked so many times, where were you “champions of Orthodoxy” as California Prop 8 and its version of the DOMA wended its way through the courts – openly advocated by the gay community, transparent in their agenda as to how to influence our society to support gay marriage – and inevitably before the Supreme Court without opposition from our DOJ. I did not see furious demands for letter writing campaigns to our bishops to do something, anything, in the four years of appeals. And where were the leaders of world Orthodoxy the week arguments were heard before the SCOTUS? In Rome, courting the new Pope and fawning over tokenistic “trinkets” like stereotypical young women accepting engagement rings. Silence. Only later, post-decision, some jurisdictions issued “statements” regarding gay marriage and the sanctity of the family – to the cheering of “Axios” on this site – which I strongly suspect was met by an indifferent faithful, who may not have read it at all.

    A 29-year old woman – by virtue of the instantaneous media – made the issue of her choice to end her life in the final stages of a terminal illness “viral.” From what I read in the major media sources, the prominent responses were sympathy and support of yet another constitutionally protected “right” afford by our Constitution & Bill of Rights and the new “outrage” over most anything. She accomplished her suicide a week ago, “surrounded by family & friends,” in what was her “choice.” Parents fight to send their “gender dysphoric” children to elementary school dressed as the opposite gender; the Chicago Sun Times retracted a syndicated column that insists a transgender television star who asks us to accept “her” as a woman is a man (Imagine!); and a physician who wants to “fire” a morbidly obese patient for refusing to treat her under the new philosophy of “Healthy at Any Size” (despite barely controlled hypertension, Type II diabetes, hypercholesterolaemia) and lose weight is brought before his state medical board for “fat shaming.” Science has grossly outpaced our ethical & moral discussions (e.g. the one-time discussion on this site between myself and Dr. Brian Jackson regarding the fact that it is impossible to purchase the MMR vaccine – among many – in this country not derived from the gene-line of an aborted fetus, only because it is cost-effective to the manufacturers), yet to all these issues, silence. And to those who say, while not addressed specifically, we are able to “extrapolate” from our moral tradition, you grasp at fool’s gold. You can actually go from parish to parish, priest to priest, bishop to bishop, and jurisdiction to jurisdiction to find the answer you want.

    Like the example issue of the SVS grad priest who “came out” and left the priesthood brought calls to “terminate” the SVS faculty in a letter-writing campaign, this response is so predictable as to be tiresome. Welcome to the new “anonymous,” outraged Orthodox, easily recognized by their ability to read between the lines and the St, Mark of Ephesus t-shirts. Like 99% of the anonymous, you are “empowered” by the supposed secrecy of the internet, and put face-to-face with your “accused,” would wilt like the timid “lions” you are. You have “known” about the “situation” in the Boston Cathedral? You have been there? Why did you not confront it? Please don’t insult me with your rationalizations, like “It’s pointless because the bishop won’t do anything.” Moral courage is not dependent on the actions of others. And neither is cowardice. All aboard the Crazy Train of Hypocrisy! Hey, who’s driving this train? Couldn’t tell you. There is only silence from the engine.

    • Ronda Wintheiser says

      Mr. Stankovich, I apologize for being redundant, but I can’t help it since you ignored my question.

      You did write that “Fr. Robert’s essay was not as essay regarding homosexuality, nor an invitation to examine his personal or pastoral life. It was an essay regarding the role of the Church in the world, and specifically in relation to matters of morality in our society. ”

      So again, I ask you: Who are these folks he is referring to? Who are those who “misuse the never changing Christ to promote a particular political agenda and ideology as license to verbally and physically assault those they perceive as immoral and those who question the status quo” etc. etc. etc, ?

    • Anonymous by Necessity says

      Hmm. This comes from the man who can’t bring himself to criticize the STINKBOMB letter that Syosset wrote to destroy +Jonah’s reputation. Now he is moralizing to the rest of us.

      • Fr. Peter M. Dubinin says

        The least you can do is identify yourself; Anonymous by Necessity translates to I’m a coward.

        • Christopher says

          As a computer professional (well, I have been out of IT for a few years now) I am all too aware of the dangers of identity theft, retaliation by current and future employers for views expressed that they don’t agree with (I have seen this live and in action), etc. Not only will you not find me using my last name on the internet, you won’t find any “social media” activity (e.g. Face Book, etc.) for myself or (especially) my children. Fr. Peter, there are good, prudent reasons some choose to remain “anonymous”. Now, those of us in the know that we are not truly anonymous on any computer network – not least the public/private beast that is the internet. Still, you probably lock your door at night, even if you do not stand behind it all night with a shotgun. Not using your name on public forums like this is sort of like locking your door – a small and in the end a rather ineffective deterrent to be sure, but one that is often necessary and prudent…

          • Estonian Slovak says

            Right you are, Christopher. 1984 has caught up with us, albeit 30 years later. In my job, I’ve been flamed as a racist, on the grounds that anyone who believes in the traditional definition of marriage must therefore also be a racist.
            The thing is, I don’t preach to my co-workers, like many sectarians do. Aside from crossing myself before eating and refusing meat on fast days, I don’t make a public display of my faith.
            In the former Soviet Union, you had the “stukach” (stool pigeon), from the Russian verb “stukat’ ,”to knock”. As Fr. John Peck pointed out, we don’t have to have informers in this society because our electronic devices give out all the information about us.
            The gay activists and their allies have long used the slogan, “Keep the government out of our bedrooms.” That’s fine, most of us might wish that the world around us might live up to Orthodox norms, but are willing to co-exist with people who don’t share our views. But now it’s not enough to live and let live .My son, who has a best friend who is gay, used the argument, “Let them have their civil unions and the church can be free not to participate.” But now we hear of people forced to go against their religious beliefs or face hefty fines.
            I do fear we’re headed for a civil war, and I don’t want to see it coming. Our Lord warns us of “wars and rumours of wars”. It’s sad because in such cases, innocent people always get hurt and killed. I fear for my two little grandchildren who may never be baptized because my son has been brainwashed by an activist friend. Not the gay friend mentioned above, but a non-gay activist who is free to spout off his rhetoric, including anti-Semitism. I don’t enjoy commenting on this, but I would remind our opponents of a slogan used by the Left during the Vietnam war era, “You have not converted a man because you have silenced him.”
            I would suggest all of us pray, indeed Our Saviour commands us to pray for our enemies. I do not recall that He ever said that we need to go along with our enemy’s evils, however. Let us try to discuss this issue sensibly without resorting to name-calling or using inflammatory language, like that late pastor of the Westboro Baptist church.

            • Fr. Peter M. Dubinin says

              Estonian Slovak – So let me see if I understand. We use a pseudonym because we don’t want “Big Brother” or potential employers (for whom we really wouldn’t want to work for anyway) knowing who we are , but then recognize that by engaging electronic means of communication and media, “they” will find out who we are anyway? So….? I would hope each of us has enough integrity to be identified and equated with all we post here. Could what I’ve posted here and other places through the years put me in a precarious position (if not already) with the Church as well as the government – you know it. And judging by what I’m hearing on this site, we are all in that precarious position. So, will those who are “hammered” for their fidelity to the Church be an encouragement to others using a pseudonym or using their real name? My father and paternal grandparents paid a personal price for taking a stand against communism in Belarus; for my grandmother, communist was synonymous with anti-Christ. I grew up nourished and nurtured by the stories of those who in their own way stood against the enemy. This is my spiritual heritage and inheritance; the least I can do is identify myself.

              • “for whom we really wouldn’t want to work for anyway”

                Just to address this: I have worked for many corporations, some good places to work at some bad. I worked at one in particular that was quite good for a number of reasons. However, there was this HR person who liked to hunt down information about a candidate on Facebook, etc. It was clear she was making judgments about this person on levels she had no business doing (their politics, for example). She was a “bad apple” and I even discussed this with my supervisor (the CTO), who assured me he would take appropriate action. Nothing ever happened however and I know for a fact her behavior continued.

                I myself own my own small business now. In addition to a criminal background check, I do make use of Google, etc. I bracket off any “political”, “religious”, and other content I find. It is however difficult and I understand the temptation. I think a prudent course of action for most folks is to simply limit this sort of information as much as they can…

    • Most of the things you label as hypocrisy involve a failure of Orthodox Christians to be loud enough in opposing secular laws and trends. It is not wrong for the Church to speak out against such secular laws and trends by any means, but keep in mind that many on the morally relativist side of Orthodoxy in America have for years strongly advocated having Orthodox leaders stay out of such secular affairs. Their argument has been that the Orthodox Church should only take positions regarding its own internal affairs and not tell those outside the Church what to do.

      Well, a lot of Orthodox Christians took that advice and didn’t agitate for the Church to get deeply involved in secular political arguments over same sex marriage. They kept their powder dry until the homosexual agenda invaded into the Church itself, and are now making themselves heard. It is almost enough to make one think that those who urged the Orthodox Church to stay out of secular affairs were being disingenuous when they told Orthodox Christians that they should stick to Church affairs.

      It seems (surprise) that what they really meant to say was that those who oppose same-sex marriage and activity should just shut up. Period.

      BTW, I haven’t been on this site long enough to know — are you one of the people who strongly defended +Jonah for having signed the Manhattan Declaration? Did you praise those who strongly supported that action? It would seem the logical conclusion of the criticisms you are now leveling.

      • M. Stankovich says


        I believe if you go to Fr. Han’s site and read his account of the signing of the Manhattan Declaration – facilitated by the heterodox influence of Charles Colson – and the “last-minute,” hasty pre-selection and choice of who would be signers (as I recall he notes Colson wanted “some [tokenistic] Orthodox”), you will appreciate my opinion that there is nothing “heroic” nor admirable to praise. Five years (or probably less) from now, no one will remember it, nor who signed it. If you are able to point out any memorable influence or impact on society or the Church this “Declaration” made, please enlighten me.

        • Dr. Stankovich,

          You ignore my main point completely. Orthodox Christians are very frequently told (most often, but hardly exclusively, by folks on the “liberal” end of things) that they should stay out of secular political and social debates, and tend to what goes on in their own sphere — i.e. the Church.

          And yet, when people do respond to something that is unquestionably in their own sphere — an article published on an official Orthodox Church website that promotes a rethinking of internal traditional Orthodox views and practices regarding what constitutes marriages and families, all in light of a “changing culture” that is increasingly unambiguous and very loud in its opinion on those matters — you now disdainfully criticize them for their silence during earlier secular political and social debates and imply that their current protests are invalid because they long ago ceded their moral ground in the public square.

          I fail to see the validity or relevance of this particular criticism of yours. Perhaps you can, clearly and unambiguously, explain where and why I am wrong.

    • Christopher says

      Fr. Robert’s essay was not as essay regarding homosexuality

      This might be the most ridiculous aspect of Fr. Robert’s defenders – their willingness to believe or rationalize their way to this statement. Kudos to Alice and the other defenders to admit what this essay was really about…

    • Michael S.,

      You know that I read your posts carefully. You know me to have defended you against false accusations in the past. Now I must ask in all candor in light of your statement/question:

      “You have “known” about the “situation” in the Boston Cathedral? You have been there? Why did you not confront it?”

      Did you not vehemently criticize a deacon on this very blog for doing precisely that, saying that it was not his place to do so? And yes, I fully realize that your criticism was specifically of the deacon’s actions as they related to the communing of certain persons. Nevertheless, it is fair to ask: When such things are openly known (yet ignored by those responsible for the household of God), what sort of confrontation, precisely, would meet your definition of what is appropriate?

      And rather than leave it with that question, let us take it several steps further. Let us say that the instructions of our Lord, “If a brother sins against you…” are followed step by step. One has not only first gone privately but has subsequently brought along others of sound spiritual life to confront them, and still there is no repentance. They then appeal to their bishop without response. What sort of confrontation (if any) is appropriate under such circumstances?

      • M. Stankovich says


        You are absolutely incorrect in your interpretation of my criticism of the situation you describe. What I “vehemently criticized” was insubordination, deception, and pridefulness in defiance of the words of St. Paul: “Let all things be done decently and in order. (1 Cor. 14:40) For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” (1 Cor. 14:33) Covertly taking action knowing It would be thwarted if you revealed it, in open defiance of your obedience, is simply another manifestation of cowardice and self-will run riot. I would refer you to St. John Climacus regarding the distinction between the passion of vainglory and the virtue of disobedience.

        I can only tell you that I believe the high standards to which we are all called certainly begin with St. Paul’s instruction that there is an “order” for all things, and that the motivation for “confrontation & correction” presumes that we are “no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” (Eph. 4:15) The goal is not “punishment,” but correction. I am genuinely amused at the number of comments suggesting that Fr. Robert’s essay is “impenetrable,” dense, that what he is saying is not clear or understandable; yet with blood in the water, presumption – or worse, the presumption of someone else – makes it seems necessary he be punished somehow, by someone.

        Secondly, I reject the notion that we should “confront & correct” with the expectation that change will occur (i.e. the less likely it is that my words will affect change, the less inclined I should feel to speak my mind). I would note the irony in the fact that it was Fr. Hans Jacobse who brought to my attention the words and explanation of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn that “words have power”; all words and in every context. And thus it is without expectation that we attempt to “confront and correct,” out of concern for the salvation of another.

        As to the matter of courage versus cowardice, there is a consequence for everything we say or do. It is for this reason I find it so despicable that individuals – Orthodox Christians – who will not even use their own name, who would never consider speaking in such abusive, derelict, and offensive ways to anyone face-to-face, are empowered & emboldened by the “secrecy” of the internet to cast stones. I believe it is to the shame of this forum that Mr. Michalopulos has returned to allowing epithets and jokes referring to homosexuals – “the vestments are prettier” – and such scurrilous & childish references as to Fr. Arida’s hair. It is the way of cowards; divisive, ignorant, and hateful.

        For myself, I have left employment – to my career detriment – when I could not reconcile myself to unethical behaviour. It was simply intolerable, I spoke my mind, and I moved on. I very recently withdrew my services from ORSMA because I would not be compromised in my professional ethics and what I believe to be the standard of care to which I ascribe. It was simply intolerable, I spoke my mind, and I moved on.

        As I said from my original response to Fr. Robert’s essay, “Courage, courage, O people of God! For Christ will destroy our enemies as All-Powerful.” Without that minimal trust, faith, and empowerment, Brian, one has no business complaining anonymously on the internet or elsewhere.

        • Michael S.,

          Respectfully, I did not mention Fr. Arida or internet comments in my question. Neither did I reference any comments of others who may demand “punishment” nor the subject of anonymous internet comments in general. When I asked, “What sort of confrontation (if any) is appropriate under such circumstances?” the question wasn’t loaded with the context of this current thread about Fr. Arida specifically (although it is understandable that one might assume it was).

          I did, however, certainly have in mind confrontation with those who “with bared head” stubbornly contradict the clear and unambiguous “Tradition” of the Holy Spirit of God in His Church.

          I will add as an aside that this word “Tradition” is unfortunately loaded in the minds of many with connotations of references only to the past (to Liturgies, the writings of Church Fathers, Church history, etc.) rather than what it actually is: the dynamic, yet unchanging, abiding life of the Holy Spirit in and among us.

          Solomon seems to speak of Him when he writes of the source of his wisdom…

          For wisdom, which is the worker of all things, taught me: for in her is an understanding spirit holy, one only, manifold, subtle, lively, clear, undefiled, plain, not subject to hurt, loving the thing that is good, quick, which cannot be letted, ready to do good, Kind to man, steadfast, sure, free from care, having all power, overseeing all things, and going through all understanding, pure, and most subtle, spirit. For wisdom is more moving than any motion: she passeth and goeth through all things by reason of her pureness. For she is the breath of the power of God, and a pure efulgence flowing from the glory of the Almighty: therefore can no defiled thing fall into her. For she is the brightness of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of his goodness. And being but one, she can do all things: and remaining in herself, she maketh all things new: and in all ages entering into holy souls, she maketh them friends of God, and prophets. For God loveth none but him that dwelleth with wisdom. For she is more beautiful than the sun, and above all the order of stars: being compared with the light, she is found before it.”

          While living and dynamic, the Spirit of God does not change and therefore will always remain consistent with what He has revealed to the Church. There is no ‘new’ or ‘progressive’ revelation. There is but one revelation: Jesus Christ into whose life we have been baptized. “God is the LORD who has revealed Himself to us. Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD.” Thus our sharing in the divine life that is the gift of the Holy Spirit can neither be construed as mere ‘conservatism’ (holding only to, and imprisoned by, the past), nor can it be understood as being ‘progressive’ (as though some new understanding could be given to those in our generation that was not also given in all its fullness to our fathers in the Faith). It is the thoroughly false idea of ‘progressivism’ –the fantasy either that “God is doing something new in or midst” or that the Church is progressing (while supposedly building on the foundation of our fathers), toward something greater than the fullness she received in the beginning – that is anathema to faithful Orthodox Christians. And this is true whether homosexuality is involved in the “dialogue” or not.

          Returning now to the subject of confrontation. Your answer about what constitutes appropriate confrontation seems to be, “Do it when necessary, expecting nothing in terms of result (I concur thus far), and move on if all options have been exhausted and it is necessary to maintain one’s integrity.” This certainly seems appropriate in a work environment, but how does one rightly “move on” in the context of the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church? True, in our current jurisdictional morass we can indeed move on if we choose, but this hardly seems like the proper way forward for a Christian in the Church of God.

  35. I do not have much faith that Archbp Nikon, the OCA Bishop in New England, will do anything at all to censure or ask Fr Robert to write a retraction or clarification. Abp Nikon is infirm and ill, as far as I know, and he doesn’t get around much. He has been the “locum tenens” bishop in the OCA Diocese of the South now for years, but he never visits any parishes. The last time our local OCA parish here had a bishop visit was in early 2006 — Abp Dmitri of blessed memory, before he passed away. That’s nearly 9 years ago! I know because I used to go to that parish but since left the OCA.

    It’s ridiculous that in America, where travel is easy and cheap, with more than 50 Orthodox bishops in this country, that a parish goes 9 years without an episcopal visit! Fortunately the south remains fairly traditional and conservative, but from what I understand priests in the DoS have very little episcopal oversight. Some like it that way.

    I’m sorry that Fr Robert has difficulty dealing with a homosexual child as an Orthodox priest, but that’s no reason to jettison church teaching and say or imply that active homosexuality isn’t a sin anymore, or that the church has been wrong for 2000 years in calling it sinful. Sin distances one from God: active homosexuality either distances us from God, or it doesn’t.

    From what I understand, in the Episcopal Church, it was also senior Episcopal clergy/bishops who had homosexual children who were among those pushing to make homosexuality accepted and praised in Episcopal church society.

    I spent years in the OCA and am thankful for the wonderful priests and parishes that I had back then. I’m sorry for what the OCA has become. It’s clear that she can’t govern or even lead herself. The best option, in my humble opinion, is for the OCA to return to the Moscow Patriarchate, maybe under a reunion with ROCOR. (Those who know American Orthodox history know that ROCOR and the OCA were united several times before the “final split,” which was in 1946 I think.) Would ROCOR bishops tolerate Fr Robert’s silly missive? Ha, I think not!

  36. Romans 1:20-40

  37. pegleggreg says

    Indeed. I think the only reason more gays don’t migrate to the Episcopal Church is the Orthodox vestments are much prettier

    • Michael Bauman says

      The homosexual jihadists whether SSA or not don’t migrate because their agenda is to destroy all oppisition : political, moral and spiritual. Only “men without chests” allow them to succeed. Any parishoner at the Boston Cathedral is having acid dripped on their soul.

      In my home parish there are several SSA men. None are “closeted” but none proclaim homosexual behavior is not sinful. They are all accepted without reservation as fellow strugglers with sin as are their contributions to the parish and the Church(not just money)

      There are many fine priests in the OCA. Look for them and join their communities–even if you have to move.

  38. The thing for Orthodox to remember when referencing what went wrong with the Episcopalians, with Mainline Protestants, etc. is that they are not the Church. The promises of Christ regarding the Church do not apply to them.

    • Tim R Mortiss says

      No problem then, nothing to see here folks, keep moving please…..

      Truly the promises to the Church will never be broken. But you can maintain the trappings of Orthodoxy and be out of the Church. If you think the “Orthodox” cannot take themselves out of the Orthodox church, you are truly wrong.

      One great thing about becoming Orthodox seven months ago– I know that I am now immune to error! Right?

      Can’t happen here– we’re Orthodox!

    • Christopher says

      I am as much of a triumphalist as the next guy, but his is naive aka, naive…

    • aka,

      This is true, but there have been previously Orthodox bodies that have fallen away from the Church (the OO, the RCC, etc). There is no guarantee whatsoever that a part of the Church might not fall into heresy.

    • Protopappas says

      Why did aka’s post get so many thumb’s down? aka was not claiming that individuals or even parts of the Church could not err, but that the Lord keeps His Church as a whole. Who here does not believe this?

    • …they are not the Church. The promises of Christ regarding the Church do not apply to them.

      Agreed. But how did their forebears remove themselves from the promises of Christ regarding the Church? By embracing or tolerating beliefs that separated themselves from the Church. I fail to see how an organization like the OCA can comfortably lounge in the full embrace of such promises if it embraces or tolerates teachings that are in clear opposition to what the Church has unambiguously taught for 2000 years (and far, far longer, if you take the view that the Church began not on the day of Pentecost, but with the lamentations of Adam and Eve outside the gates of the Garden of Eden).

  39. Lola J. Lee Beno says

    Has anyone saved the text of Fr. Robert Arida’s article? It has now been replaced by Met. Tikhon’s statement.

    • Heracleides says

      Fr. Robert ‘We Are Their Legacy’ Arida’s drivel remains accessible via the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive: HERE. Unfortunately, the many excellent responses to Arida’s claptrap are most likely lost for all time.

      • Chris Banescu says

        Nope, we recovered all 71 Comments and will make them available for everyone to read and review. Truth is a powerful disinfectant.

  40. Well, Tikhon has responded.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Very good response. However, more action and clarification is needed by the clergy. Listen this was a trial balloon that fell flat and the OCA synod will now have to clean up. So good for Tikhon’s response, but that should be the beginning not the end. The GOAA does the same thing. It issues a statement condemning something then it goes back to business as usual. Don’t make the same mistakes the GOAA makes.


      • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

        Read it again, Peter. He’s trying to calm the waters without taking sides, but he actually seconds Arida’s plea for dialogue and change in the way we relate to the world, using the Synod’s formal statements on homosexuality as cover. That does seem to be all they are good for. If they meant much more, OCA priests would not be allowed to speak and act like Arida — communing the openly gay and attacking those who object.

        The issue is militant sodomy, and what does +Tikhon say? He says we can’t take the Tertullian approach of “resistance, rejection and enmity.”

        • Chris Banescu says

          The gist of Met. Tikhon’s message was summarized by this sentence: “But perhaps we need to begin by listening more and asking ourselves if we are truly able to hear the questions that are being asked by our college students, by our relatives, by the strangers we meet on the street, by our neighbors? ”

          See it’s not about truth vs. falsehood, right vs. wrong, sin vs. righteousness, Scriptures vs. worldly nonsense, corruption vs. godliness, light vs. darkness, morality vs. immorality, etc. etc.. It’s all about “listening” more and avoiding all that controversial stuff. Got it!

          It’s also about the “cognitive therapy” (whatever that means) and the approach he mentioned that “is implicitly asymmetric and hierarchal by virtue of the ontological value of salvation in Christ in contrast with the value of temporary psychological well-being.”

          Now go forth and apply that “cognitive therapy” in the asymmetric and hierarchal way that we’re called to do.

          On thing is abundantly clear, Met. Tikhon is more afraid of the opinion of worldly men than the opinion of GOD.

          “The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)

          “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” (John 12:42–43)

          “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Rom 12:1-2)

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          Oh agree with you that’s why you have to keep his feet to the fire. If he’s going to put out those statements the force him to live by those statements and deal with Fr. Arida.


        • Agreed. The response was tepid and vacillating — it seems that OCA seminaries must teach courses in (intentionally?) unclear and muddled communication, and that both Fr. Arida and +Tikhon made A’s in those courses. We’ve seen this sort of “leadership” before in heterodox bodies. It is tediously predictable, and one would hope for better from our successors to the apostles. But there is still time. Not much, given the lightning pace at which these changes are happening in the society that surrounds us, but there is still time…

          • Chris Banescu says

            I think SVS needs to add some classes for our bishops to take for a refresher on basic teaching and preaching:

            Basic Morality 101
            Plain Speaking 101
            Courageous Leadership 101
            Clear and Truthful Writing 101

      • Carl Kraeff says

        I agree with you Peter; Metropolitan Tikhon’s words were sufficient as the opening gambit. I am actually pleasantly surprised by the speed by which Fr. Arida’s post was replaced by +Tikhon’s, which shows his gentle pastoral approach. I think he is playing chess here and we will not know the outcome for a while longer. In this case, actions are definitely more important than words; don’t pay attention to the OCA-haters, bishop wannabees and bomb throwers who frequent this blog.

    • Odd response. Verbiage, little substance. All one can look at is the fact that he had Fr. Arida’s article removed and replaced. The rest seems to be lazy platitudes.

    • Compare the words of Metropolitan Tikhon with those of Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk:

      “Unfortunately, by the end of the 20th century, the relationship of the Moscow Patriarchate with many Christian communities in the USA had encountered a serious crisis. It was caused by the liberalization of the moral teaching in these communities, their deviation from the ethical norms laid down by Holy Scripture of the New Testament common for us all. Thus, in 2003 the Russian Orthodox Church had to suspend contacts with the Episcopal Church in the USA due to the fact that it consecrated an open homosexual as a bishop.

      “At the same time, the Russian Orthodox Church has remained open to contacts with the North American confessions which have stayed faithful to the traditions of our dialogue and which are firmly committed to biblical morality, in particular, with the Anglican Church of North America, as it has separated itself from the Episcopal Church because of the above-mentioned incident.

      “The theme of morality may become one of the most important in our cooperation. In today’s pluralistic world, the processes of liberalization have swept over some Christian communities. Many churches have diverted from biblical teaching too far in this respect, even if this attitude is not endorsed by the majority of these communities’ members.

      “The Russian Orthodox Church consistently states that for her any double standards with regard to Christian ethics or any experiments with the ethical component of our faith are unacceptable.

      “The so-called ‘liberal theology’ clearly conflicts with the apostolic heritage. First of all, it concerns the introduction of the practice of prayer for so-called ‘same-sex couples’, even if such a prayer is not formally equated with the celebration of marriage, which in the Church’s view can be concluded only between a man and a woman.

      “Liberal Christians have often maintained that society needs to preserve stability. However, what stability can be preserved by ‘blessing’ a sin? The Church has always been called to proclaim the truth of Christ and condemn sin, even in defiance of the demands of the society and ‘the powers that be’.

      “Did Christ try to adapt His message to the standards of this world? Did He promise the apostles stability and comfort? Did he promise them that their preaching would be a success? Let us listen to what He says to the apostles, when he sends them out to preach: ‘I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved’. (Mt. 10:16-22)

      “How little does this resemble the discourse of today’s liberal Christians who seek to adapt the Church to the standards of this world, to make it tolerant, not towards people, not towards sinners, but towards sin. Sin is elevated to the dignity of a norm and to this end even the words of Jesus and His apostles are rewritten and re-interpreted.

      “We do not at all insist that the Church should refuse to help sinners. Christians are obliged to pray for all sinners and to wish them salvation. The Church should treat any individual with pastoral responsibility regardless of his or her sexual orientation. But the Church cannot bless a vice. She cannot reform the norm of faith as sealed in the holy Gospel and the letters of the apostles….”


      • That whole piece is well worth reading. Thank you for the link. Clarity of expression is a wonderful thing.

  41. I’m against liberalism in the Church. It can destroy the Church and her teachings. At the end of the day, it will be believers whose spiritual life will be destroyed.

    The article has a good point “The Orthodox Church has always been tolerant of sinners because Christ is merciful, but it has never been tolerant of sin or redefined sin as righteousness.” Take Fr Seraphim Rose, he was a great thinker, devotee and ascetic. Prof. Osipov always admires him and says that Fr Seraphim was a rare man of our days, like a true saint of the past. And probably, he will even be canonized. Nobody cares that Fr Seraphim was gay before his conversion. He repented and started to live a new life. We all have our own sins. The Church is a hospital. We come here to be healed from our sickness. But if someone, playing a “good doctor”, tells us that our sickness is not sickness at all. Then he is not a good but bad doctor because his words contradict his medical manual, i.e. the Holy Scriptures.

  42. Friends,

    It is very disheartening to read the attempted response to Fr Arida’s heretical teaching on homosexuality by the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America. It is another weak attempt to throw lots of words on paper and say nothing to the central issue.

    It is true that Met. Tikhon is not Fr. Arida’s priest, Archbishop Nikon has that distinction. Yet, his non-response response only confuses and exposes a weak-willed leader who won’t do what needs to be done. It could be shared with less verbiage and obfuscation:

    I will meet with Archbishop Nikon to discuss the appropriate discipline for Archpriest Robert Arida.”

    This is what must take place, no long lectures on paper which say what we already know but does not deal with a priest teaching heresy.

    If the OCA will not discipline this cleric, then how can the faithful take its leadership seriously.

  43. Christopher says

    Unfortunately Met. Tikhon’s response is quite disheartening. He talks of the essay’s attempt to redefine the Church’s moral tradition as “presumed”. He wants us to take seriously the idea that the article had “positive contributions”. It’s almost as if we “converts” and “fundamentalists” have brought in an “alien spirit” into the Church…oh wait, that was the point of the article….

    Yep, Met. Tikhon largely agrees with Fr. Robert…

    • Christopher,

      I don’t think that Met. Tikhon largely agrees with Fr. Robert, but the fact that he can’t come right out in clear and unambiguous words and say that makes the whole thing that much more problematic.

      As others are now saying, this is not the end of the matter but only the beginning. This should be far from over.

      • Christopher says

        While we can not really know the mind of Met. Tikhon in the matter of active promotion of homosexualism, those of us who are (among other things) refuges from the wasteland of the protestant mainlines recognize a certain pattern here. We are quite familiar with the bishop, the pastor, the “leader” who during a push back against deconstruction of normative Christian morality, points to the “current teaching”. This puts him in a “safe place” and protects his position. Of course, he continues to obfuscate and defend innovation whenever possible, just as Met. Tikhon did here when he talks of the so called “positive contributions” of Fr. Roberts essay. Instead of a clear rebuke, we get more ambiguity. I have seen this movie before as have others, we know how it ends…

        • We are quite familiar with the bishop, the pastor, the “leader” who during a push back against deconstruction of normative Christian morality, points to the “current teaching”. This puts him in a “safe place” and protects his position. Of course, he continues to obfuscate and defend innovation whenever possible, just as Met. Tikhon did here when he talks of the so called “positive contributions” of Fr. Roberts essay. Instead of a clear rebuke, we get more ambiguity.


  44. Кентигерн Сиверс says

    Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory Forever!

    Dear all,

    Since M. Stankovich has been cross-posting between Monomakhos and the Wonder blog, I thought I would do the same. This is a link that I have offered there, from a response on Friday written before Metropolitan Tikhon thankfully intervened with his own statement in place of the earlier one. It was very briefly updated to reflect that. But it reflects on the original article and its contexts.

    As it is long, I will just quote the opening. Toward the end, however, it also quotes from another blog, by the Catholic writer Anthony Esolen, a piece that is well worth reading on the need for a fuller sense of compassion on the part of the Church to those struggling in the modern world:


    The late great scholar Jaroslav Pelikan once observed:“Tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. And, I suppose I should add, it is traditionalism that gives tradition such a bad name.”
    In Orthodox Christianity, to which the former Lutheran scholar Pelikan converted in his last years, Tradition lives because it is personally transfigurative and expressive of the noetic life of our Lord’s Church.
    By contrast, Traditionalism goes through the motions and forms of wearing robes and titles and observing rites, while bowing to the fleeting ideologies, social structures, and consumerism of a soul-destroying secularism. It loses the transfigurative and personal noetic life of our Lord’s Church. It offers in the end a warmed-over revival of the failed Living Church of the gulag yoke rather than the spirit of the Catacomb Church.
    Thus it was ironic to see this week an article featured on the Orthodox Church in America’s webpage indicating the road toward the same Traditionalism that Dr. Pelikan rightly condemned.
    It did so by looking to secularist culture as a reason to re-think our living Tradition, in exchange for allowing the forms of Orthodoxy to co-exist with the world more happily, a very American idea.

    • M. Stankovich says

      Professor Siewers,

      I’m not sure if you are thanking me for somehow providing you “license,” or calling me Ferris Buehler. In either case, I experienced a déjà vu giddiness at your use of my name.

      It seems to me that, as is always the bête noir of time and history, the Church must face issues and circumstances inconceivable to the “the living faith of the dead.” I recall a debate in the late 1980’s of the bioethics of heart transplantation – many of the Fathers (St. John of Damascus in particular) refer to the “heart” as the repository of the soul. Likewise, in this period, the renowned teaching hospitals that line 1st Avenue in lower Manhattan each opened IVF clinics; two of the world’s largest units to address HIV/AIDS opened at Beth Israel & St. Vincent’s Medical Centers respectively, along with the “grass roots” establishment of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis; and the beginning of the movement promoting the right to legally “control” the end of one’s life began. Who could have possibly imagined that we are capable of replacing the majority of internal organs in a new-born is a single surgical procedure! Who could have predicted gender re-assignment surgery – and more importantly – performed with absolutely no objective “pathological” data to support “dysphoria” (e.g. genetic derangement or disorder) other than the individual’s “feeling” they have been “misassigned” from birth? And who could have imagined that we are beginning to practice life-saving medicine by developing and using chemotherapeutic technologies based upon an individual’s specific genome? We are only beginning to understand the influence of genetics & epigenetics as determinants and influences of human disease & behaviour. The greatest astonishment, however, must be the inconceivable notion of same-sex marriage. I emphasize again that these and similar technologies & philosophies were inconceivable possibilities a century past, let alone in the time of the Councils. And to simply say we are able to “extrapolate” a moral & ethical framework is, at best, naive.

      I take great exception to any inference or insinuation that my use of the term “re-articulate” is in anyway similar to “looking to secularist culture as a reason to re-think our living Tradition.” I believe circumstances in our culture – and obviously my interest is in the medical & genetic/epigentic issues that face us – force us to instruct & guide the Church pursuant to an articulate and reasoned moral & ethical framework, but always consistent with the Scripture, the Patristic Fathers, the Canons, and the Holy Tradition. And is if I need to, again, repeat myself, where there is conflict between science, societal/secularist reasoning, and Tradition, we always default to the revealed Truth entrusted to us.

      I find it exceptionally unfortunate that Fr. Robert Arida’s essay has been reduced to the issue of homosexuality, and his greater point – regarding the manner by which the Church addresses new and inconceivable circumstances has been lost.

      • Кентигерн Сиверс says

        Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!
        Dear M. Stankovich,
        I was neither thanking you nor addressing your position, but merely observing that we were as two posts crossing in the night. But if you think I should have been addressing your views, if you identify with the line of thinking being addressed, please forgive me!
        As for technology marching on, yes, it does that.
        With love in Christ,

        • M. Stankovich says

          Prof. Siewers,

          I would appreciate if you would contact me by leaving your email in a comment on any post on my site. I would like to speak with you personally. No one will see your information but me.

      • Christopher says

        “….his greater point – regarding the manner by which the Church addresses new and inconceivable circumstances has been lost.”

        Well, at least now you admit that the subversion of the Church’s clear teaching on homosexualism was a point, even if you believe that Fr. Robert had a “greater” point. As to your turning things upside down so that some new “ethical framework” is needed because we allegedly live in times where sin is so much different than it was in the past, I suggest you have been listening to demons (who often plant such anxieties to lead us astray).

        • M. Stankovich says


          I do not know who you are, but I do know you are a pretentious, internet-enabled Tartuffe who has over-filled his britches. What I have on this site alone is years of extensive commentary – a “paper trail” – of my opinions & beliefs. I have written extensively in regard to homosexuality; genetics & epigenetics; the need to re-articulate the Faith given to us “joining with the Holy Fathers before us” in each generation; all of the issues as articulated in Fr. Alexander Schmemann’s The Problem of Orthodoxy in America; and have endured more personal scrutiny & insult than anyone posting on this site of who I am aware (including one moron’s comment about my hair). But never, not once, has anyone demonstrated that I have ever made a statement or expressed an opinion that is contrary to the Holy Scripture, the Patristic Fathers, the Canonical Fathers, or the Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church. Not once. And the fact of the matter is that I have openly & transparently invited correction as to matters of substance, science and theology, because it is infinitely more important to be accurate, rather than to appear “right.”

          I have been asked numerous times here, “To whom do you believe Fr. Arida is addressing in his essay?” I believe they need look no further than your running commentary: someone who came to the Church more prepared to speak than to listen; to teach rather than be taught; and to lead rather than be led. You are out of league, son, in addressing me in such a prideful, arrogant manner. I sat at the feet of the fathers and greatest theologians of our generation as a listener & a learner. And if you feel so confident as to suggest I “have been listening to demons (who often plant such anxieties to lead us astray),” correct me from the Scripture, the Fathers, and the Tradition. Otherwise, I respectfully suggest you shut up.

          • Christopher says

            You most certainly do listen to demons. Go back and read your own post – the passion of anger is it’s most distinguishing characteristic. As to any substance in it, you are projecting something into Fr. Roberts philosophy that if it is there, is drowned out by his rejection of the Church’s normative moral tradition. This is of course giving you the benefit of the doubt that your not in a similar vain obfuscating the Tradition (something I certainly don’t concede). Perhaps you should choose your partners in this “re-articulate” project of yours more wisely.

            No, I will no “shut up” and remain silent when Fr. Robert, yourself, or others get it so wrong…

      • Michael,

        What is “exceptionally unfortunate” is that Fr. Robert Arida’s article is not just a theoretical opinion piece but his action plan. He is communing active and unrepentant homosexuals. He is communing married gay couples. That is what is far more than just “exceptionally unfortunate” that is against Tradition and revealed Truth and for “science/societal secularist reasoning” as you juxtapose.

        Do you honestly think the OCA would now try and scrub the entire article and comments just based on a priest’s theologoumenon? That would really be a weak move. No, the outrage is in his actions over many years not just his wrong-headed opinion.

        Let’s keep that clear because that is the point that now the OCA Synod needs to address in unambiguous terms.

    • “Tradition lives because it is personally transfigurative and expressive of the noetic life of our Lord’s Church.
      By contrast, Traditionalism goes through the motions and forms of wearing robes and titles and observing rites, while bowing to the fleeting ideologies, social structures, and consumerism of a soul-destroying secularism.”

      I think you have it quite backward, this would read better:

      “Tradition(alism) lives because it is personally transfigurative and expressive of the noetic life of our Lord’s Church. By contrast, Modernism goes through the motions and forms of wearing robes and titles and observing rites, while bowing to the fleeting ideologies, social structures, and consumerism of a soul-destroying secularism. ”

      This would make your last paragraph much more rational:

      “Thus it was not at all ironic to see this week an article featured on the Orthodox Church in America’s webpage indicating the road toward the same Modernism that has been rightly condemned.
      It did so by looking to secularist culture as a reason to re-think our living Tradition, in exchange for allowing the forms of Orthodoxy to co-exist with the world more happily, a very American idea.”

      There, all better.

  45. Sydney Thompson says

    You people are nuts. What a bru ha ha over a priest expressing “a more pastoral” expression toward homosexuals rather than dogmatic. You right-wing nuts led by Fr. Hans, George and ROCOR types have crucified a very good priest, Fr. Robert. God’s judgment on all of you!

    • Christopher says

      Sydney, you are almost a complete cliche. Your utterly incorrect use of the word “dogmatic” gets you triple overtime bonus points. But, alas, you forgot to use the words “converts”, “fundamentalists”, and of course the new and oh so expressive “alien spirits”. Now go back and rewrite that verse and you will have the perfect country and western song…oops, I mean modernist, sentimentalist, left-wing-hate-filled-song….

      p.s. If you need help with the musical accompaniment, just let me know. I have in mind 3 chords that will be perfect…

  46. Father Walter Smith says

    So why not post (or keep posted) Fr. Roberts original article so that those of us who come late to the discussion can actually read it and not be dependent on hearsay and others’ analysis of said article ? I want to read it myself and decide what I think. This just makes me wonder whether any one is really interested in debate, only dogmatism at its worst.

    Fr. Walter Smith

  47. So much for “discussion and dialogue” on His Beatitude, Met. Tikhon’s response to Fr. Arida’s essay. Commenting has been disabled and all previous comments removed.

  48. The OCA Wonder Blog editor has removed the extensive comments section, which contained many good defenses of Orthodoxy. This is too important to silence the many priests and laity who responded to the article, so I have archived the replies here:

    Does anyone have a copy of the original blog post, before it was replaced with Met. Tikhon’s comments?

    • Chris Banescu says

      Here t’is

      Never Changing Gospel; Ever Changing Culture
      Fr. Robert M. Arida – 11/1/2014

      “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)


      The title of this essay can be misleading for a few reasons. First, there is among Orthodox Christians the idea that nothing changes in the Church. In fact, we know that many adult converts have been lured to Orthodoxy by this misconception. Second, there is the idea that the gospel is a text. As will be stressed in what follows, the Gospel is first and foremost Jesus Christ – the pre eternal Word and incarnate Son of God. By no means does this presuppose disregarding the written text of the bible. It does, however, challenge the Orthodox Christian to be engaged with the text i.e. to wrestle with it by being in dialog with it. The biblical text is alive and inexhaustible. Its content demands ongoing interpretation. Third, the title might suggest to some readers that a clear i.e. black and white answer can be given to the interaction of Gospel and culture. The relationship of Gospel vis-à-vis the culture is the relationship of Christ and every person. To diminish this most fundamental aspect of Orthodox thought and life is nothing less than a distortion of the Gospel. Yet, as will be pointed out, this is precisely what is occurring in the Orthodox Church here and abroad. A “new and alien spirit” is displacing the authentic voice of the Gospel. The voice of Christ is being weakened by the voice of philosophical and ethical systems. The human person is being superseded by ideologies. Lastly, I want to stress that this essay has one goal – to encourage the reader to raise questions and not to fall prey to the fiction that all questions pertaining to God, human life and culture have been already raised and answered in the past.

      While the past cannot be ignored it also cannot be the only point of reference for the Orthodox Christian. We are to focus also on the present and the future. The Eucharistic liturgy makes this abundantly clear. Before the elevation of the gifts we hear the presiding celebrant say; “Remembering this saving commandment and all those things which have come to pass for us: the Cross, the Tomb, the Resurrection on the third day, the Ascension into heaven, the sitting at the right hand, and the second and glorious coming…” Joined in the present to the saving events of the past, the Liturgy binds us to the future. Here and now we are not only oriented to but also participants of the inaugurated eschaton i.e. to what is beyond time.

      All of history is destined for the future. If the past is the Church’s only point of reference then it cannot be the Church of the Kingdom that is to come. “It was not until after the coming of Christ that time and man could breathe freely. It was not until after Him that men began to live toward the future.” (from Boris Pasternak’s, Doctor Zhivago).

      The past must always be a guide. But without acknowledging that the Holy Spirit continues to work here, now and in the future the past will easily be transformed into an oppressive tyrant. And without recognizing that Christ has come and will come again history will not allow us to share the new life he has given us with all of creation.


      The Church lives and grows in history. Since the time of Pentecost, the Church has existed in a plurality of cultures in which it has proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Over the course of history the Church has used culture so as to articulate and manifest as clearly as possible the coming of God’s kingdom which has begun in time and space. Virtually every aspect of culture i.e. language, philosophy, art, science, law, music and architecture have been synthesized by the Church to offer the world the unchanging Gospel who is Jesus Christ. So long as the Church lives in the world for the life of the world and its salvation this creative synthesis rooted in Christ and nurtured by the Holy Spirit will accompany the Church into the future – into the eschaton.

      It must be kept in mind that over the course of history the creative synthesis relative to Church and culture has not always been smooth or consistent. To a large extent this is due to the Church having to focus its attention on surviving in cultures that either intentionally curtailed and minimized its involvement in society or sought to systematically erase it from existence. This struggle for survival has a protracted history. Beginning in the East the birth and spread of Islam, the collapse of Byzantium, the rise of the Ottoman Empire and the victory of communism isolated the Church from its surrounding cultures. In addition to these events in the East, the Orthodox Church was eventually cut off from the Church in the West. Culminating with the fourth crusade (1204) the wedge of schism separating “Greek East and Latin West” was driven deeper even though there continued a cross pollination of ideas.[1] Yet, over time, cross pollination would give way to Western dominance leaving the Orthodox Church intellectually weakened and ultimately unable to fully engage in and critically respond to the scientific, political, philosophical and theological movements coming from Western Europe. To a great extent this was due to Orthodox thought and life being unable to develop organically. In the East, in Greece and in Russia the Orthodox Church became a passive recipient of theological movements originating within Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. This ushered into the Orthodox Church what Father Georges Florovsky described as “a new and alien spirit.”[2] Consequently, virtually every aspect of Orthodox thought and life would undergo a “pseudomorphosis” i.e. an intellectual, psychological and spiritual change no longer capable of natural growth and development.[3] This “new and alien spirit” continues to this day and plays a significant role relative to understanding the relationship between the never changing Christ and the ever-changing culture.


      Only recently has the Orthodox Church had to come to terms with postmodern culture. To a large extent this is due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, globalization and the emergence of the culture wars waged throughout the world. As Orthodox Christians we can only be thankful that our Church is again coming to terms with all aspects of social life as it strives to preach Jesus Christ. This awareness – or reawakening – of the Church’s responsibility to and for the life of the world is forcing the Church to live and function in the 21st. century. For the Orthodox in America the advances of science and technology, an ever-expanding social and religious pluralism with respective ideologies and theologies are challenging the Church to navigate in uncharted waters.

      For the Church to proclaim the never changing Christ as it meets the many and complex challenges of our time there must be a desire on the part of all the faithful – bishops, priests and laity – to allow the mind and heart to change and expand. This is nothing less than the ongoing process of repentance so as to encounter and engage ever more deeply the unchanging Christ. To preach the never changing Christ requires us to be ever changing. Our relationship with Christ, our relationship with each other and with our surroundings is a dynamic process that never ceases. This dynamism characterizes holiness given that our relationship with God and one another is always changing – always expanding. “And we all, with unveiled face, reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from glory to glory, for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor.3: 18) Without this “ascent,” without repentance (the changing of the mind) that expands the heart our faith, our Church and our Lord become dead idols bound only to the past.

      To preach the unchanging Christ compels us to see that the orientation of our faith is not only the past but also the future. Proclaiming the never changing Gospel who is Jesus Christ in an ever-changing culture demands that we personally and corporately as the Church enter more deeply into the reality of the inexhaustible mystery of Christ the living and eternal Word of God.

      The deepening of our relationship with God is simultaneously our Golgotha and Resurrection. It is Golgotha because, like our Lord, the dynamism of faith brings the Church and therefore us into the realm of loneliness and vulnerability. Like the Apostle Peter, we are called to walk upon the rough waters of culture ever keeping our focus on Christ. Our loneliness and vulnerability take us from the comfort and even smugness of familiarity which is dependent on the past. Golgotha leads us into the unknown – towards the eschaton – where we, here and now, begin to experience our Resurrection. Golgotha reminds us that we as the Church i.e. as the living body of Christ are responsible for taking upon ourselves the sins and burdens of the world. By moving into the unknown we have the possibility to deepen our relationship with God and those around us. As the Church living in time and space, we are called into the never ending mystery of Christ “who is all and in all.” (Col.3: 11)


      If the never changing Gospel who is Jesus Christ is to have a credible presence and role in our culture then the Church can no longer ignore or condemn questions and issues that are presumed to contradict or challenge its living Tradition. Among the most controversial of these issues are those related to human sexuality, the configuration of the family, the beginning and ending of human life, the economy and the care and utilization of the environment including the care, dignity and quality of all human life. If the unchanging Gospel is to be offered to the culture then the Church, in and through the Holy Spirit will have to expand the understanding of itself and the world it is called to save. That there are Orthodox Christians who misuse the never changing Christ to promote a particular political agenda and ideology or as license to verbally and physically assault those they perceive as immoral along with those who would question the status quo of the Church impose on the Church a “new and alien spirit.”

      If the Church is to engage culture, if it is to contribute to the culture and if it is to synthesize what is good, true and beautiful coming from the culture to further the Gospel then it will have to expose and ultimately expel the “new and alien spirits” that have weakened its authentic voice. Among these spirits are Biblical fundamentalism and the inability to critique and build upon the writings and vision of the Fathers. A tragic consequence of these spirits is a Christianity of ethical systems that usurp the voice of Christ and distort the beauty of his face. It is the saving and transfiguring voice and presence of Christ that we are expected to offer the ever- changing culture.

      [1] See Deno John Geanakoplos, Interaction of the “Sibling” Byzantine and Western Cultures in the Middle Ages and Italian Renaissance (330 – 1600), Yale University Press, 1976,especially chapters 3 and 4.

      [2] The Ways Of Russian Theology, Part 1, trans. by Robert L. Nicols, Nordland Publishing Company, 1979, p.72

      [3] Ibid. p.72

      This entry was posted in Articles on November 1, 2014 by Andrew Boyd.

      • M. Stankovich says

        And for those who did not actually read this to begin with – and I suspect the number is considerable – do note two sentence

        If the never changing Gospel who is Jesus Christ is to have a credible presence and role in our culture then the Church can no longer ignore or condemn questions and issues that are presumed to contradict or challenge its living Tradition. Among the most controversial of these issues are those related to human sexuality, the configuration of the family, the beginning and ending of human life, the economy and the care and utilization of the environment including the care, dignity and quality of all human life.

        because they have have given license to accuse him of the heinous act of “renovation” & outright heresy.

        Fr. Hans – and now Fr. Patrick in the pas-de-deux – are “offended” at reliance upon the words of the Patristic Fathers and the greatest theologians of our generation despite, to a person, they express fidelity to “those Fathers before us.” Apparently such fidelity is perceived as a “gimmick” to cloak an “all-too-familiar” anxiety they would wish to project onto everyone. As Fr. Patrick once commented to me when I asked for a citation of Scriptural, Patristic, or Traditional authority if I was incorrect in my comment, “When I hear such statements—in the context under discussion—I smell brimstone and look for the cloven hoof. Don’t be coy. We know where this line leads.” Better I rely upon your “intuition” than the Holy Tradition?

        And now, nearly four years later, I stand by my response that “I resolutely refuse to participate in this demagog you attempt to hold over my head,” this presumption that we are incapable of conducting re-examination – as was the custom & rule of the Fathers of the Councils – and re-articulation of the Eternal Truths with which we have been entrusted, without the loss of fidelity to “those Holy Fathers before us” or being over-run like the examples of the heterodox so frequently thrown in our faces. In my estimation, this is the fear and fundamental lack of trust of which St. John Climacus warns, that constitutes the “new and alien spirit”[that] continues to this day and plays a significant role relative to understanding the relationship between the never changing Christ and the ever-changing culture.”

        Fr. Robert is accused of “chauvinism” in regard to the heterodox, yet he merely mirrors the sentiment of Met. Anthony (Khrapovitsky) and Archbisop Averky of Jordanville respectively:

        Orthodoxy looks upon Christianity as the eternal foundation of true life and demands of everyone to force himself and life until they attain this standard; whereas heterodoxy looks upon the foundations of contemporary cultural life as an unshakable fact. Orthodoxy demands moral heroism-podvig; heterodoxy searches for what in Christianity would be useful to us in our present conditions of life. For Orthodox man, called to eternity beyond the grave, where true life begins, the historically-formed mechanism of contemporary life is an insubstantial phantom; whereas for the heterodox the teaching concerning the future life is a lofty, ennobling idea, an idea which helps one ever better to construct real life here.

        The Christian world nowadays presents a terrifying and cheerless picture of profound religious and moral decay. Thus the entire structure of contemporary life in the so-called “free” world, where there is no open and bloody persecution of faith, where everyone has the right to believe as he wishes, represents a far greater danger to a Christian’s soul by drawing the Christian wholly down to earth and making him forget heaven. We must remain true Christians, not succumbing to the spirit of the times, and making the Church the center of our lives. We must be true and faithful children of our Orthodox Church, and at the same time we must be its missionaries, fighters for the true faith of Christ, both within the non-Orthodox environment which surrounds us and among those who have fallen away or are falling away from the Church.

        and I have heard or read the identical sentiment that we are the voice of wisdom, sanity, and hope for the world – not in the confusion of Job (“And where is now my hope? as for my hope, who shall see it?”) (job 17:15), but rather in the joy expressed by St. Paul (“For in hope we have been saved.”) (Rom. 8:24) – from Met. Kallistos (Ware), Met. Anthony (Bloom), Blessed Bishop Basil (Rodzianko), and priests Michael Pomazansky, Georges Florovsky, Alexander Schmemann, and John Meyendorff. To suggest there is something “modern,” “inovationist/renovationist,” subversive, or undermining in Fr. Arida’s call to re-articulate Eternal Truth in order to missionize a devastatingly perverse & corrupted society is foolishness. As I heard a Greek priest say when I was an adolescent – such was the profundity of the statement – that we Orthodox need to “open the entrances and the exits,” to allow the “dead” to make way for the those who wish to, in the words of Archbishop Averky, commence “the path which lies before us [which is] the path of suffering. The Lord has clearly said that it is not “progress” which awaits us but ever increasing trials and tribulations, resulting from “increasing iniquity” and the “scarcity of love,” and that when He comes, He shall hardly find faith on earth (Luke 18:8).” For we alone have “the spirit of constant waiting for the second coming of Christ,” but are silent. “Look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near.” (Lk. 21:28)

        • Michael,

          The more you write, the more you dig yourself into a spiritual hole.

          Fr. Arida is not just thinking these things or just sharing his spiritual opinions. he is incarnating them by giving them the Eucharist.

          For that, you have no simple answer, just lots of words.

          May I suggest you just sit this one out because you are not going to win this one.

          Fr. Arida is wrong. Period. Not with all he has written, which you are re-presenting is off base, but the one central area that has caused the Orthodox in this country and others to say NO to him.

          • M. Stankovich says


            As I noted, I have concluded commenting as to substance of this issue, but I will not allow you to conclude what is your typical “refutation” of my credibility by your cheap suggestion that I am incapable of separating “issue” from “person,” particularly my friends among the clergy & hierarchy of the Church. You do this because you cannot debate on any other level than a deprecating, cynical polemic that you seem to relish; the dirtier and more unwholesome you can make a situation, all the better. How many times have I made this point to you?

            Somehow, you imagine that associating my comments with my relationship with friends immediately make them “suspect,” skewed, perhaps even a reaction formation for my own denial and naiveté. But let me make this as unambiguous, direct, and as emphatic as possible: if Priest Robert Arida is, in fact, promoting homosexuality as other than a disorder and woeful consequence of our fallen nature & broken world; if he “covertly” teaches that same-sex expressions of sexual behaviour, or the “semblance” of marriage among homosexuals, is condemned by the Church simply because it is misunderstood, mischaracterized, or still “evolving” in the sacred Orthodox anthropology; or if he covertly & purposely Communes unrepentant homosexuals, condoning their “place in the Church” as an alternate path of sanctity to which the Church will ultimately progress, I condemn him to his face. I condemn him to his face with tears and a broken heart – one of my trusted friends & mentors from such an early age – and call upon him to repent. And I would do so unhesitatingly and with all my determination to save him. And the difference between me and you, James – as I’ve noted to you a number of times – is that I am forthright, stand by my integrity, have no fear, and with no hesitation believe “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13). You are a coward, and you have demonstrated as much on this very site. You are an internet-empowered prophet among rodents.

            I cannot and I will not make a determination based upon conjecture, innuendo, “appearance,” the “dependability” of some Greek grandmother,’s intuition, nor the beating of hooves. This was my entire point in posting the comments of St. John Climacus, that only a fool would jeopardize himself by his frequently “smoke-obscured” observations leading to judgement [and a side-note to Christopher – too busy stroking his own ego as to miss my point entirely: I did not not use St. Climacus to defend Fr. Arida, but rather to emphasize the judgment that will be incurred for conclusions reached about his spiritual children as “unrepenant, a fact you do not know].

            You insult me to my face from the safety of your hiding place with cheap psychology you cannot even grasp. You believe that “the more [I] write, the more [I] dig [myself] into a spiritual hole,” that I should “sit this one out” because I couldn’t possibly “win?” I have faced down aggressive felons – murderers and those that tortured other human beings for pleasure for years. Correct me with truth & fact as you will, and I take no offense, but you have no standing whatsoever to speak to me as if I am your child or colleague. You are a blustering scarecrow who needs to get out of my face.

            • Christopher says

              “if Priest Robert Arida is, in fact, promoting homosexuality as other than a disorder and woeful consequence of our fallen nature & broken world; if he “covertly” teaches that same-sex expressions of sexual behaviour, or the “semblance” of marriage among homosexuals, is condemned by the Church simply because it is misunderstood, mischaracterized, or still “evolving” in the sacred Orthodox anthropology; or if he covertly & purposely Communes unrepentant homosexuals, condoning their “place in the Church” as an alternate path of sanctity to which the Church will ultimately progress, I condemn him to his face. I condemn him to his face with tears and a broken heart – one of my trusted friends & mentors from such an early age – and call upon him to repent.”

              M. Stankovich,

              Thank you for this clear statement. It would be difficult to do as you say given your friendship.

    • Heracleides says

      See my previous post above with link (Arida’s article is archived on the Wayback Machine).

    • Christopher says

      Yes, it is still posted to Fr. Robert’s web page here:

      In wonder if this is an oversight or if Met. Tikhon has explicitly allowed him to retain this essay. Since Met. Tikhon himself ” recognized its positive contributions to the complex and difficult theme of the relationship between Gospel and culture.”…

  49. If the OCA could not mess things up even more, they have now removed the comments from their Wonder Blog related to the Arida article after their Primate said they would remain.

    If anyone didn’t think that the OCA was run by lawyers and not the Bishops, this latest incident should remove any doubt.

    The first rule of leadership is that if you make a mistake, you admit it, takes your licks and try and do better. This is another feeble attempt at coverup. So much for accountability and transparency.

    If this situation wasn’t so serious it would be laughable.

    Lord, truly, have mercy!

  50. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    No one seems to appreciate that Metropolitan Tikhon had the offensive essay by Father Arida TAKEN DOWN.
    I’m sorry though that His Beatitude felt he had to slip in something shallow andwrong, like this:
    “In our Orthodox circles, we like to debate issues such as the proper English translation for exclamations
    at the Gospel: are we to “listen” to the Holy Gospel or are we to “hear” it? Rather than endlessly
    debating the semantics of the matter, I would suggest that, whether we are assisting a relative who has
    undergone surgery or responding to the pointed questions raised by our youth, we ought to pick one
    translation or the other and simply do it (James 1:22).”

    Any jackass can listen to the Gospel without assistance from God:however, to HEAR it requires Grace, That is why we ak to be allowed to HEAR THE HOLY GOSPEL The Mother of God is not she who just listened to the Word of GodL she is thi one who HEARD it. This is not rocket science!

    • Vladyka, I absolutely appreciate the fact that Metropolitan Tikhon had the article taken down. He had multiple good options available to him, and he chose one of those good options. That is his responsibility, and members of the OCA must respect his decision, even though a good case could be made for leaving it up and letting the “dialogue” continue.

      In my opinion, however, he undid much of the positive effect of that bold action through what was (for me, at least) a meandering and tepid essay that upheld church teaching primarily through hyperlinks to Synodal declarations that were issued more than a decade before he even became a bishop — and long before the current rapid transformation of secular attitudes towards same-sex marriage.

      Most of those Synodal declarations took place during a time period that produced the Defense of Marriage Act — passed overwhelmingly by bipartisan consensus in a Republican controlled Congress and signed into law by a Democratic President. During that period of time, every single state in which a referendum was on the ballot or a bill was in a state legislature resulted in bans on same sex marriage — usually by commanding bipartisan margins. Coming up with clear statements of traditional Orthodox teaching on marriage was perhaps bold and decisive, but it was hardly countercultural.

      Times have changed since then — dramatically. And thus it is not unreasonable for concerned members of the OCA to be anxious about what their Synod of Bishops teaches and upholds now — today — in November 2014, when the public climate on this issue couldn’t be more different from what it was in the early 1990’s. Whatever the merits of +Tikhon’s response, he most certainly did not give the faithful an simple, clear, and unambiguous contemporary articulation that would give them assurance that the ground hasn’t moved under their feet without their knowing it. What he wrote had nearly the soulless reassurance of the husband, who when responding to his wife who complained “you never tell me you love me,” said, “I told you I loved you on the day of our wedding — and I never took it back, did I?”

      This controversy raises the very reasonable question of whether Fr. Arida has had the approval of his bishop for his apparent views and reported practices. In the absence of a clear statement from Fr. Arida clarifying that he fully believes, teaches, and upholds in practice the traditional teachings of the Church on same-sex marriage and activity — in the absence of a statement from Fr. Arida saying that he emphatically does not commune individuals who have no intention of trying not to act on their same-sex attractions — the need for a response from the OCA’s hierarchs (of which he is the titular leader) is my opinion an acute one. It is acute precisely for the reasons that are so often thrown around by moral relativists — our shepherds really do need to be sensitive and responsive to the cultural climate in which we the faithful live. And the climate in which we live is one of a rapid tectonic shift on this issue.

      I readily acknowledge that Metropolitan Tikhon has, as a bishop, grace that I do not. I will perhaps, with time, see the wisdom of his response. I do not have the responsibilities that he has, and I do not know all of the ramifications that he is having to work through. But the Orthodox tradition has never been one where laymen are told to “pay, pray, and obey.” That’s the other guys.

      But none of that is why I really am responding to your comment. I wanted to say that I, too, was dismayed by the gratuitous, offhand (and off-point) comment on “listen” vs. “hear.” Words matter, especially in our liturgical life. I happen to strongly agree with your position on this, as on most translational and liturgical issues, having read many times every directive you ever wrote to your diocese. But even if I didn’t, it would be dismaying to have a hierarch say that the specific words of our liturgical services are of little consequence.

      • I dont think that Arida had his bishop’s approval. The truth is that the Bishop’s that have hovered in and out of Boston are and were all frightened by Arida. His pastoral – confrontational style with the local bishops treats them more as errand boys or theologically inept students being corrected by their superior. This is what happened to Archbishop Job, and although Archbishop Nikon is not the same boob Job was theologically or mentally, Arida is a frightening and dangerous man.

        The whole story has yet to be told.

        • Why would you refer to the deceased Abp Job in such a fashion.

          Is that how you rise in the attaboys?

          • A Boston Cathedral Survivor says

            Dan Fall,

            If the truth were told about +Job, there would be little fawning over his memory. He was a severely troubled man and his quick departure from New England to the Midwest was not without reason nor was it a great source of sorry to many in New England. In time the Midwest too had to deal with his issues. He was not a happy man.

          • OOOOOO Danny Boy! The truth always hurts!

          • Estonian Slovak says

            Mr. Fall: Why was it ok to refer to the former primate of the OCA as a “doughboy”? Or for you to refer to your former bishop by his family name? Where do you get off rebuking the Lemko, when you have shown your disrespect for bishops and priests several times?

            • The funny thing about my response is that it was a question, a real question. The responses here were quite fanciful.

              I honestly know zip about the history.

              I did refer to fmr Metropolitan Herman by his given name in the past. It seems that it was appropriate as a small rebuke. I did so because of his reluctance to cooperate with any righting of the ship at the beginning.

              As to the references to fmr Metropolitan Jonah, that was an indirect comment and totally unnecessary. I was only reemphasizing my point that gays get a lot more pen than gluttons in the Orthodox church, but the amount of fasting is strange to others. I know this fat thing bugs you. It is really only to make a point-other sins get little mention here.

  51. Despite assurances otherwise, it seems comments are now SUSPENDED at the ‘wonder’ site…

  52. Alice Carter says

    Dear Ronald, as an Episcopalian I ran a mission called St. Augustine’s House in 1959 which welcomed gay people and even invited them to attend church services. Father Robert, many years later, has finally caught up with me. We are also free to disagree with him which I do on some issues but not this one. And my decision to become Orthodox was not based on discontent with other churches. I look forward to continuing this discussion at the feet of Our Savior. God bless you all.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Episcopalian? We’ll that explains everything. That you for revealing your heresy. Having compassion and a proper pastoral response cannot be used as Trojan horses to bring in heresy Alice.


    • Michael Bauman says

      Alice, we are not free to disagree with the Church on dogma. None of us.
      The sexual identity ideology is directly opposed to the dogmatic teachings of the Church on what it means to be human.

      Understanding the profound disorder of our culture on all things sexual is essential to a proper pastoral approach. The Church must be counter-cultural in these matters to maintain a faithful witness.

      Homosexual behavior is sinful: a symptom of loving the created thing more than the creator.
      Condemning your brothers caught up in sin is also sinful.
      Aquiescing in a brother’s sin compounds that sin and is the opposite if compassion.

      I have known and worked with many homosexuals in my life. Most before I was consciously Christian. Some were even my friends. I neither hate nor fear those entrapped in this deep and vexing spiritual disorder.

      I noted long ago that all of the homosexuals I knew suffered a deep pain. That pain had nothing to do with the lack of societal acceptance as their behavior suffered no condemnation in the theater and dance world in which I knew them.

      Seeing that pain broke my heart as they were people I liked.

      Jesus Christ is the only antidote for that pain but the fallen source of that pain must be acknowledged.

      I recommend the book “Washed and Waiting” for a different perspective.

      The Church knows the truth about our condition. That truth calls all to repentance not to excuses for sin.

      God forgive me, a sinner.

    • Alice, could you please comment about your understanding of this subject. Jesus said that we can not serve two masters. Matthew 6:24. Is the soul or is our sexuality the center of our being?

    • Fr. Robert has caught up with you, i see……..

      More like you’ve both entered the HeresyZone.

      Arida and his Lavender Army have trashed the OCA presence in Boston. Only a deeply spiritual or strong pastoral priest and the reintroduction of holy tradition, music and language will bring about change.

      Lets just say that the Lavender Synod WANTED to clean up Cathedral, how would it be done, could it be done?

      1.) Remove all clergy.
      2.) Defrock Rector.
      3.) Now what? What does one do with the poisoned laity? Throw them out? Educate them?
      See, what Arida has done is interesting….
      If memory serves, he signs the checks there, so having eliminated all detractors the support for the Cathedral is in his hands and he controls the minds of those that he relys on for the funds. If you look at the Cathedral website, one of the revelations in the photo gallery is the near total absence of Archbishop Nikon, Arida wants it that way. Arida demands obedience, but offers none. Commemorates the hierarcy but respects none. He thrives where there is no oppostion, no supervision.
      4.) Arida had the Cathedral rectory in Milton, MA sold to him privately by his committee, so a major asset is gone and where will a new priest and family live in costly Boston. My last apartment in Brookline (next town over) cost me 2950.00 per month, and that was for an apartment with one bedroom. Google the cost of property on Cabot St in Milton, MA.
      So, can we expect righteous change?

      • M. Stankovich says


        I believe that you have more than adequately made your point regarding Fr. Arida and the cathedral in Boston many posts ago, and have turned the topic into a “Celebrity Roast” where you seem to be competing with Ms. Simpson & A Boston Cathedral Survivor for laughs & applause. ROFLOL! I, for one, have no knowledge or information to challenge or dispute the accuracy of your running commentary, and that is not my intention in commenting..

        The charges of heresy and immorality within the Church are monumental and cry out to heaven. To make such an accusation is to claim that a person(s) has removed themselves – by error that, though the intention may be sincere, is misguided, or in complete defiance of the eternal & revealed Truth with which we have bee entrusted – from the saving Grace of the Church, jeopardizing their own salvation and the salvation of their flock. In reading the history of the proceedings of the Councils of the Church or the writings of the Holy Fathers, such accusations – though necessarily precise & direct – are reached with grief and great spiritual and emotional suffering. And having made such accusation, they then feel compelled to guide this individual(s) back to the flock of the Lord by repentance in the manner of the Good Shepard, and rejoicing in their return as the father of the prodigal son.

        Instead, you and A Boston Cathedral Survivor have chosen to anonymously “scoop the honey from the carcass” (Judges 14:9) and share the unclean feast with as many as possible. You have made this into a parody worthy of Wood Allen’s Deconstruct Harry, including the justification for throwing stones over the wall as protecting someone who “would be toast” if your were “revealed,” and the piety of referring to the priest you accuse as an “asshole.” (Nice touch, by the way). Not only are you missing the grief the Fathers felt at the perceived error or impiety, but you seem to lust to provide more “details” – and even the dead are unsafe from A Boston Cathedral Survivor’s off-hand comment, “If you only knew…” fully prepared to open yet another sordid story for those who missed the 10th time it was presented.

        I believe the two of you are done. You have more than adequately made your point for even the most dense of readership, and to continue to offer up every further detail – “If memory serves” – is likened to the expression of the Fathers, “dogs returning to their own vomit.” You seem to have no interest in the “rehabilitative” spirit of the Holy Fathers, but are now simply spreading additional character filth. I politely ask you stop.

        • Be serious Michael dear! Vomit? The Boston Cathedral vomits forth death and destruction, sad that for as old as that community must be, it was murdered by an amateur theologian and a spiritually violent priest.
          As for my posting, why should I or any victim of Arida’s Reverend or otherwise remain silent, here or elsewhere? We have all been treated to many of your Castro length postings, and good for you! As for me, when i step into dung or HTOC, i wipe the filthy remains from my shoe until it is gone, amen! Peace be with you.

          • M. Stankovich says

            So let me see if I understand you correctly, as I sit here in the psych crisis center (where I have been all night) with a unit full of “victims” (just ask them): You would have me assume the role of the gatekeeper of OZ, who feels so badly after turning Dorothy et al. away that he cries out, “Why didn’t you say so!” You and the A Boston Cathedral Survivor are victims! And wouldn’t you just know it, Mr. Fall and Fr. George caught a whiff of your $1-store cologne & cheap suits and pegged you for what you are: anonymous-by-cowardice, “righteous” rodents,” and Tartuffes of the school of the Sons of Job. Holy Cow! And I’m the mental health professional! My hat is off to Mr. Fall & Fr. George, astute observers of the human condition.

            Let me offer you some advice from our Father St. Chrysostom: Two letters to Theodore After His Fall, If your enemy hunger, feed him, and Homily Against Publishing the Errors of the Brethren. And if you have a chance, you might read the citation from our Father John Climacus regarding murderous gossip & judgment I have posted here three times. Then, as you are cleaning your sullied shoes – in which you have managed to lustily trample in three threads – and licking your “victim’s wounds,” consider this: those in heresy and in defiance of the Tradition of the Church must be confronted, and in no uncertain terms. But demonstrate to me one Father who confronted heresy and ridiculed a man’s spouse and child, spoke of his finances & his home, and the litany of unknowable and judgmental accusations you make against the man as Fr. George accuses you. Not a single one. I. more than anyone, defend your right & obligation to confront heresy, but you do not have the right to “compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” (Matt. 23:15)

            This forum belongs to Mr. Michalopulos, an always gracious host, and he has never consulted me as to who may or may not speak here. I asked you personally to stop. Anyone with an ounce of sense understood your point after five comments. The rest is cowardly filth. And unless you haven’t figured it out yet, son – “I will stop when Fr. Arida is censured and not before. He does not deserve to be offering the Eucharist until he repents and is punished.” – there is no justice in this world, and it certainly does not belong to you. “Save yourself, and hundreds around you will be saved.”

            • A Boston Cathedral Survivor says

              Let me keep this simple, we are all victims when a priest rejects the teachings of the Church by practicing his personal sacramental theology when communing “married” gay couples. You reject this, you have said so. And I would repeat your words in quoting St. Seraphim of Sarov to Fr. Arida, “Save yourself and hundreds around you will be saved.”

              One man, St. Mark of Ephesus stood up against the entire Church of his time, and although I am no Mark of Ephesus, I think that every Orthodox has the right to speak out against heresy.

              I agree, murderous gossip is not of God, but what is going on in Boston is not gossip.

              In previous posts you have stated that same-sex marriage and abortion are laws of the land largely because of the people’s indifference. My voice on what is going on in Boston can be accused of many things but indifference is not one of them.

              Respectfully posted.

            • Fr. John Whiteford says

              When the OCA web site has already published the scandal, which was Fr. Robert’s article, posting criticisms of that scandalous article is not publishing anything new. it is addressing an already published scandal.

            • …as I sit here in the psych crisis center (where I have been all night)…

              Good Lord, Stankovich, do you really think you are the only one on this forum with a tough job, helping people in crisis in the middle if the night? Spare us the prelims… and get to your points, which do have some validity.

              I will repeat what I said before. All of this is unseemly. None would be necessary if the bishops did their job with even the diligence of a Walmart graveyard shift assistant manager. I am asuming that these survivors have penned letters to the appropriate authorities and have received no reponse

              • M. Stankovich says


                I love my job. Most of the time, I enjoy the people I serve and the high calling it is to serve them. You missed the point of the reference entirely. It was about “victims” (ask them!). People come in cuffed up by the cops, yelling, carrying on, because they claim they are “victims.” It is free license to engage in inappropriate behaviour and activity (e.g. spitting in my face). That was my point.

                There is a reason that St. Paul insisted, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” (1 Cor. 14:40), “for God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” (v.33) The Church has always faced incidents and individuals accused of many things – from the simply improper to the heretical – and we have the model of the Holy Fathers to guide us. I continue to await A Boston Cathedral Survivor & Salemlemko to demonstrate to me one Father who confronted heresy and ridiculed a man’s spouse and child, spoke of his finances & his home, and the litany of unknowable and judgmental accusations they make against the man, not accusations of “heresy.” There is no justification for such behaviour, and being a “victim” certainly is no license or exception to the instruction of St. Paul.

              • Dr. Stankovich, my apologies. I look back and see that the point to your saying that you were in the crisis center was the topic of your ability to identify whether someone is or isn’t actually a victim. The initial part of my comment was therefore quite inappropriate, since that fact was indeed relevant to your point.

                I stand by my second point, which is that they are indeed victims if they have (I assume) made formal complaints which went unheeded. If they haven’t, then I am no less sympathetic regarding the apparent situation at HTC, but less sympathetic if they haven’t written a formal complaint. It is no fun to do it, but it is the only right thing to do. The truth of the matter is that things (in any realm of life) tend to get investigated mainly if there is a pattern of abuses, and there is no pattern if there is no reporting.

            • Homily Against Publishing the Errors of the Brethren

              Oh please.

              Do not twist St. John’s words to say we should not call out a priest who practices public heresy. He was quite fond of ruffling the feathers of people who fancy themselves to be above criticism. I have little doubt that if a priest in the Archdiocese of Constantinople had communed two “married” men, St. John would have given a 90-minute sermon on the topic.

              • M. Stankovich says


                Seriously, pal? Is that what St. Chrysostom actually says in this homily, “we should not call out a priest who practices public heresy?” What? You didn’t actually read the homily, you are simply reacting to the title? And then you accuse me of “twisting” his words which you didn’t bother reading? I ain’t mad, bro’. Save your indignation. You’ve only been allotted so much…

            • Sounds like a control issue to me. Acceptance is a virtue.

        • “I believe… you are done. I politely ask you stop.”

          Doctor Stankovich – physician, heal thyself.

        • A Boston Cathedral Survivor says

          Michael Stankovich,

          I believe the two of you are done. You have more than adequately made your point for even the most dense of readership, and to continue to offer up every further detail – “If memory serves” – is likened to the expression of the Fathers, “dogs returning to their own vomit.” You seem to have no interest in the “rehabilitative” spirit of the Holy Fathers, but are now simply spreading additional character filth. I politely ask you stop.

          I will stop when Fr. Arida is censured and not before. He does not deserve to be offering the Eucharist until he repents and is punished. Clergy in the OCA have been punished for much less.

          So, I will not stop.

          And let me add that as long as the OCA does nothing to censure Fr. Arida, it becomes a jurisdictional mockery. This issue will not go away, as much as you would like it to disappear.

          • In the OCA, there is no “rehabilitative spirit”

            • In the OCA, there is no “rehabilitative spirit”

              Salemlemko intones ex cathedra.

              • OOM,

                Salemlemko is right, there is no “rehabilitative spirit” in the OCA. But what is worse is that when there is a priest openly and boldly making a political statement by communing same sex married couples a misguided compromising spirit is accepted as compassionate, loving and understanding. This entire Fr. Arida missiological spirit exposes a fundamental weakness in the OCA on this point. Couple this with the invisibility of Archbishop Nikon and you have a diocese adrift and rudderless. Is there any wonder why the OCA becomes more irrelevant with each passing day? What a tragedy taking place before our very eyes.

                Now, in an attempt to look important, Syosset is sending a small army of folks to Russia, on the OCA assessment dime. Totally misplaced priorities again but I can understand their need to look bigger because without Russia, the OCA becomes a verifiable Orthodox sect. If they don’t shore up their relations with Moscow, a sinking ship will go under the waves. Good luck.

                And can any of us wait to hear the glowing accounts of Chancellor Jillions on the trip? His keen insights and party line propaganda? Or maybe it will be just his usual attempt to convince everyone that he is so important and so busy. Stay tuned!!! 😉

                • After having read the names, I imagine that the Russians will be struck with awe by the OCA delegation.

                  What I really mean is — Metr. Hilarion alone could have the whole lot of them for lunch and still have plenty of room left over for dessert…

                  • Salemlemko says

                    Remember the bitching and complaints about the trips and costs during the RSK tenure and others at Syosset?

                    WHERE IS THE CHANGE?

                    WHERE IS THE CHANGE?

                    WHERE IS THE CHANGE?

                    WHERE IS THE CHANGE?

                    WHERE IS THE CHANGE?

                    • no more 600 dollar sock bills
                      no more 9999 dollar cash drafts

                      and u can’t see that?

                      remain anonymous; that way you can remain silly
                      lemko? where exactly did your people come from?

                  • Looks like Kishkovsky and Jillions are on the list. I hope that everyone gets a nice full dose of each other. Sunlight, after all, is the best disinfectant.

                • Salemlemko says

                  Ringa? Tosi? What in the Boston are they doing there?

                  I get the Met and Fr. Kishkovsky and maybe Fr.Jello, but the others? Ok, so spurge, take a deacon…..

                  But the rest?


  53. Some here may be interested in reading another of Fr. Arida’s articles “Rector’s Reflections 2013” posted on his parish website: The theme found in his recent article “Never Changing Gospel; Ever Changing Culture” is also found in the 2013 reflections.

    Because of the very nature of pluralism we, as a parish sojourning in Boston , are also confronted with the issue of secularism. Broadly speaking secularism is associated with the absence of God or the absence of the transcendent. This multi – faceted worldview with it corresponding mores, while prevalent, is not, I would suggest, our greatest challenge. Secularism is but another strand of pluralisms tapestry. The greatest challenge and blessing to accompany social and religious pluralism is that of choice.

    Yet, choice is an abhorrent and antithetical concept within any expression of orthodoxy. In Greek the word for heresy, αιρεσις, means choice. Like it or not, we are part of a culture and therefore contributors to a culture that offers an almost endless range of choices including what faith and god one wishes to follow. We are, as the renowned sociologist Peter Berger cleverly and accurately described, confronted with the heretical imperative.

    Those who follow current events are aware that Orthodox Churches, particularly in Eastern Europe, are rabidly opposed to the heretical imperative. Consequently, there are some autocephalous Orthodox Churches in collaboration with their respective governments that seek to create , under the guise of maintaining and promoting Orthodox values, a monolithic culture devoid of choice that opposes anything that could be construed as being influenced by the liberal and secular West. We should keep in mind that within this anti-Western perspective there is also a geo-political agenda fostered by the State/Church alliance and driven more by the engine of politics than by the Gospel. Let us bear in mind that since the fall of communism in Eastern Europe we have witnessed the Orthodox Church aiding and abetting governments in the creation of polarized cultures maintained by fear, repression, intolerance and hatred

    A key paragraph:

    The weakness of the cross frees us from a formalized Christianity bound only to the past. Through the Holy Spirit, the weakness of the cross allows for a creativity that is not afraid to glean from our culture ways to clarify the Gospel and even correct what was wrongly presumed to be the immutable living Tradition of the Church.

    (emphasis mine)

    In another article titled “A Response to Myself” he concludes with the following:

    Given our Church’s biblical, patristic, liturgical and canonical sources one eventually detects that there is no universally consistent and accepted teaching on marriage as to its origin, purpose and goal. Is it prelapsarian or postlapsarian? Is it eternal or temporal? Is it dissoluble or indissoluble? Is it a legal contract between free persons? Is it an accommodation to human passion –a form of legalized fornication -and therefore subordinate to monastic puritanism or is it a sacrament of the Kingdom which leads to the salvation of spouses? Each question has been answered in two ways, yes and no.

    If the Church is going to respond to the legalization of same sex marriage/union it seems that it should begin by considering how to minister to those same sex couples who being legally married come with their children and knock on the doors of our parishes seeking Christ. Do we ignore them? Do we, prima facie, turn them away? Do we, under the rubric of repentance, encourage them to divorce and dismantle their family? Or, do we offer them, as we offer anyone desiring Christ, pastoral care, love and a spiritual home?

    Indeed, the Church has never sailed these uncharted waters. But our history teaches us that what is new need not compromise Christ who is the “same yesterday, today and forever.”

    I will say he makes a few good points; that we must listen to one another and remember that we all are created in the image and likeness of God thus must treat each other with dignity and respect. And that the Church must address the issue of those homosexual couples with children who come to the Church seeking the True Faith and One Church.

    In these I agree with him.

    • Christopher says

      “Given our Church’s biblical, patristic, liturgical and canonical sources one eventually detects that there is no universally consistent and accepted teaching on marriage as to its origin, purpose and goal.”

      This is completely and utterly false. Ancient Faith radio re-posted a talk given by Fr. John Parker in 2012 who is (or was at the time) head of the evangelization dept. for the OCA. He disabuses anyone of this false and frankly blasphemous teaching. Fr. John Oliver also has a very recent 3 part talk where he outlines the quite consistent and clear teaching of the Church as to marriage and God’s purpose for it.

      Fr. Robert is not only off the reservation with such ideas, he is on another continent. That continent is of course named “modernity” and it’s primary public religion is “if it feels right, it must be right”.

      The OCA bishops if they are worth anything at all will publicly repudiate this blasphemy and it’s author sooner rather than later. Anyone, ANYONE who holds to such a view – let alone publicly teaches it should spend significant time away from the chalice and doing penance. It’s the only path of Love left for such a person…

      • Chris Banescu says

        Actually, I think that continent is called Heresy!

      • Given our Church’s biblical, patristic, liturgical and canonical sources one eventually detects that there is no universally consistent and accepted teaching on marriage as to its origin, purpose and goal.

        What utter nonsense. If the church can’t be sure about marriage being between a man and a woman, it can’t be sure about anything. The well being of the church surely requires that Fr Arida should be removed from active ministry, at least temporarily, until he can be counselled over this and repent of his errors.

    • What Fr. Robert seems to be asking is, how much perfection do we require before a person is baptized, chrismated, communed? Is there a significant difference between how we handle gay and straight sins of the flesh, sins of the flesh by oneself, so to speak, and all other sins? When it comes to various kinds of mixed marriages, including gay marriages with and without children, how much change do we expect before one or more members of that family are received or communed? Is gay marriage so beyond the pale that we couldn’t use the analogy of a wife converting who is married to an avowed enemy of Christ? Do we break that family up, or is there some pastoral gray area that is most wise to utilize? I’m not arguing for/against Fr. Robert, but I think it a disservice to ignore the actual pastoral issue he is raising – just as others are missing his theological argument around the development of doctrine in favor of a result they just don’t like. Take issue with the root of the argument, not the fruit of the argument. (Pun intended.) It’s possible this isn’t primarily about the culture war and politics, it’s possible this cuts to the core of the tradition, a core too often ignored. Of course, it could also be he’s a crypto-Episcopalian modernist who swings both ways and has a poster of a shirtless Obama on the ceiling over his bed and has al-Qaeda members as pen pals, but first things first.

      • Tim R Mortiss says

        Well, aka, why does he not answer these questions, instead of just pose them, as you interpret it?

        He should state his position, defend it with arguments, anticipate and address the counter-arguments. But….that would be too straightforward and honest!

      • “What Fr. Robert seems to be asking is…{followed by a whole series of supposedly unanswered questions that have in fact already been answered by the normative moral tradition of the Church}”

        Since all of your hypotheticals are actually already answered, let’s see what Fr. Robert actually thinks of those answers:

        “Given our Church’s biblical, patristic, liturgical and canonical sources one eventually detects that there is no universally consistent and accepted teaching on marriage as to its origin, purpose and goal” {this is from another essay of his from 2011}”

        You see what he did there? He does not agree with them, because anyone who had read a basic catechism – let alone an experienced priest who had been to seminary – knows that this statement is false. That makes Fr. Robert a subversive, someone who as Fr. Jacobse says is actually using the language of the Tradition to subvert and deconstruct that same Tradition…

        • I think point is that a basic catechism is just that basic, and not the full picture of what the Church as a whole has taught and believes about what marriage is. The push back is not “read a basic cathechism, Father, you are wrong”. The push back is that while there was a great deal of diversity in how marriage was understood in the early church and for quite some time, the tradition has coalesced into a clearly understood teaching ove rthe past millenium, and trying to reopen questions that the tradition has settled is really only an excuse to rethink what you prefer would have been decided differently. Then again, it’s possible the inconsistency he is referring to lasted much longer, more recently, and may even still be with us today, which wouldn’t be clear from a popular, basic catechism representing but one stream of the tradition on a topic that is part of the tradition that developed ‘late’ and was never ruled on by an EC, etc. Though, to be fair, that’s because there was never really a controversy about gay marriage before – and no such flood of divorce as we see in the West, even among Orthodox Christians.)

          • Christopher says

            “The push back is that while there was a great deal of diversity in how marriage was understood in the early church and for quite some time”

            No offence intended 123, but this is simply not true. From our Lord’s utterances on the matter and shortly thereafter in “Apostolic” time, the Church’s clear teaching (i.e. One man and women, no polygamy, no homosexualism, no pedophilia, etc.) was a source of a scandal to the surrounding gentile culture. For a more in depth analysis and history, see Fr. John Parker who is the head of the evangelization dept. for the OCA itself. You can listen to a talk he gave on the subject on ancient faith radio (in 2012) to start with, or you could seek out his thesis…

            • No one is arguing that gay marriage was a reality in the early Church, but there was a great diversity of thinking about what marriage was. It was not considered a sacrament until late, and its form started as nothing and took on various shapes and understandings re what it was for, who could and could not get married (slaves? with non-Orthodox? non-Christians?) before solidifying. Not realizing that some approach the question not as “how have we understood marriage recently?” but as “how did the Fathers come to an understanding of marriage as a sacrament, and how does this apply to how we might be rethinking marriage in light of modern science, new trends in society, etc.?” is tilting at windmills. Address the question being asked by those you are disagreeing with rather than the question you prefer to ask with your pre-packaged answer. That’s all I am saying.

              • Christopher says

                but there was a great diversity of thinking about what marriage was. It was not considered a sacrament until late,

                Again, not true. You seem to think there is a diversity of principle, or anthropology, or understanding, when there was and is none. Marriage was not a “sacrament until late” unless you count our Lords first miracle as “late”. The anthropology informing it’s character is understood and argued by St. Paul himself in the earliest documents (his letters) that we have.

                What is “late”, and new, is you and your like minded fellow travelers (Fr. Robert, the “gay” movement, etc.). For example, you are interested in creating a doubt (in this case about the anthropology and theology behind the Tradition concerning marriage), and then asking dubious questions such in light of “modern science” and “new trends in society”. Again, ask the Episcopalians what the answers are…

                • The miracle of Cana says nothing about whether the Sacrament of Marriage is a Sacrament or not. It was not considered so for some time within the early Church, and they knew of Cana from the Gospels, as well.

                  I am not arguing for anything, and not asking questions merely to set up the answer I want to hear. I am pointing out that Fr. Robert is asking the difficult question lying behind many issues in the Church, only one of which is homosexuality. Focusing on the fruits rather than the roots is simply setting the Church up for problems elsewhere.

                  The real question is one of authority in the Church and how we address changes in science and culture that contradict the received tradition. For most in the West, the crack in the dam was evolution and the way it changed their reading of not only Genesis but also of Paul when he quotes and refers to Genesis. For RCs and Orthodox, we must also contend with the statements in the Fathers that accept a literal understanding of Genesis in addition to typological and allegorical readings. Today, science for better or worse questions whether homosexuality is as unnatural as cultures have often but not always assumed. How do we take a new look at the Tradition through the lens of science? Is science biased or wrong or speaking beyond its bounds here? Should the tradition be questioned? Raisin the question about the sacramentality of marriage is simply noting that the Fathers who first developed a theology of marriage as sacrament didn’t have the luxury of relying on those who went before. Could we be in a similar situation today? Simply repeating an old answer to a new question is begging that very question.

                  The same is true of the other thorny issues Fr. Robert raised, and which we are not seriously giving thought to. “The configuration of the family”, which goes far beyond gay marriage to include the pervasiveness of divorce, remarriage, mixed families of stepchildren, cohabitation with children, etc. even among self-professed “traditionalists” and “conservatives’ who love to point out how big others’ sins are, comparatively. “The beginning and ending of human life” raise foundational questions about our understanding of death, life, the afterlife, and how we should act, all based on advances in science and technology. Suicide and our increased understanding of mental illness is an area where even traditionalists question the received tradition – is suicide ever committed apart from mental illness? “The economy and the care and utilization of the environment including the care, dignity and quality of all human life” are other areas where a Republican might see the received Tradition as erring given the vast precedent for monarchy, tyranny, and varying degrees of a welfare state; a Democrat might see the received tradition as favoring too close a symphony of Church and State, support for state-sponsored persecution of religious minorities, etc. These are questions that are all really about how we receive the heritage of Orthodoxy and the various cultures it has formed. That is the real question. Arguing about homosexuality alone is like arguing about pews. It makes no sense outside of the deeper questions that lead the faithful to be fervently for or against, both based on different aspects of the tradition and different understands about how it is to be received.

                  We see a similar thing happening in the RCC church over an issue Orthodoxy is much more ‘liberal’ on: divorce, remarriage. and communion. Where does pastoral changes end and change in doctrine begin? In Orthodox parlance, when must akriveia be the only way economia is practiced? When is akriveia the antithesis of true, wise economia? Was the Orthodox Church wrong to be merciful to the divorced? How did this acceptance of sin become acceptable in the Orthodox Church? What were the arguments underlying that acceptance, that mercy, and are their precedents in how that decision was made that can be applied to the thorny issues we face today as the Church faces new cultures, new sins? Divorce was beyond the pale not just anthropologically but theologically, by the very word of the God-man Himself. If we allow for pastoral guidance in others types of sin whereby the priest slowly brings a sinner toward a more perfect understanding of A) their sin, B) repentance, and C) chage in life, why should certain sins be allowed economia and others not? What is the basis for that determination other than personal and cultural preference? Why turn a relatively blind eye to boys being boys when they are heterosexual and allow them to the chalice on a Sunday morning (assuming they even confess it, if all that is expected is that we confess what is “on our hearts” when this may not be) while we hold others to higher standards? There is a difference in whether many of these sins are “manifest” and made “official”, but it is exactly those standards that need to be discussed – and applied to all sins rather than to only those we don’t personally like.

          • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

            “The push back is that while there was a great deal of diversity in how marriage was understood in the early church and for quite some time”

            This is not true. Never, ever, did the Church hold that men could marry. Men don’t marry men.

            Here is Fr. John Parker’s podcast that Christopher referenced above:


      • how much perfection do we require before a person is baptized, chrismated, communed?

        None. But if a candidate is not prepared to submit himself to the teachings of the Church with perfection as the goal, he is not prepared to be baptized, chrismated, and communed.

        Is there a significant difference between how we handle gay and straight sins of the flesh, sins of the flesh by oneself, so to speak, and all other sins?

        No, but there is a significant difference between how the Church correlates such sins and how you have.

        Is gay marriage so beyond the pale that we couldn’t use the analogy of a wife converting who is married to an avowed enemy of Christ?

        Your premise is wrong. There is no such thing as a marriage between two people of the same sex.

        In your example, the husband may be an avowed enemy of Christ, and their marriage may well not survive because of it. I know people whose conversion to Orthodoxy has led to divorce. But such a marriage is nonetheless in line with the natural aim of marriage and it is not inherently sinful.

        A better analogy would be a man and woman who are cohabiting but are not married. Any priest worth his salt would require them to either marry or split up if one of them were to convert to Orthodoxy. As marriage is impossible for two people of the same sex, the only option is to split up. This is not difficult to understand.

        Do we break that family up, or is there some pastoral gray area that is most wise to utilize?

        There is no such thing as a family which has two parents of the same sex. It is a biological and logical impossibility.

        I think it a disservice to ignore the actual pastoral issue he is raising

        “Pastoral issue” is frequently the dog whistle of every sort of degeneracy which seeks to enter the Church.

        If someone wants to be Orthodox, they must embrace Orthodoxy. We are not telling homosexuals that they are excluded if they struggle with sexual feelings for members of their own sex. We are telling homosexuals that we are a hospital for those who want to be treated. I understand that most homosexuals are never freed of the base temptation, but if a person thinks he can enter the Church while still committing sinful actions, he is dead wrong.

        If a person is not interested in being transformed, he should not become Orthodox.

  54. Alice Carter says

    I mean no disrespect of Father Robert who is, as I have said before, the most compassionate and thoughtful theologian of Orthodoxy I have ever met . I am much older than he is, so I was addressing these issues long ago. Therefore when I say he finally caught up with me, that is only in reference to our difference in age not in his welcoming everyone to the Cathedral which he has done from the beginning of his ministry. In every way, I am, as well as you, far behind him in understanding Orthodoxy and he is as well a living icon of the faith. Of course this whole discussion has had nothing to do with his article, but only assumptions about the article.

    • Galatians 1:8.

    • Alice,

      There are no assumptions being made about Fr. Robert. He is communing active homosexuals. He is communing married homosexual couples. He is pursuing an agenda to change the Church’s teaching on how homosexuals are sacramentally treated. He is preaching and engaging in heresy by defying Church teaching. He is actively disobedient to his bishop and the Synod of his Church.

      There are no assumptions. You to either say that Fr. Robert opinions and actions with homosexuals is ok with you, which doesn’t change a thing as far as his actions are concerned or that he is all the things you say he is, compassionate, etc. but he is wrong and must repent.

      Saying that all this uproar is based on assumptions is insulting and frankly absurd because the OCA would not have now tried to bury this whole affair based on assumptions.

  55. Woah, what is that on his head? Toupee? Shoe polish?

    • I wanted to ask the same thing about his hair…
      didn’t want to be rude but is he afraid to turn grey??

  56. The whole world has gone astray and it appears many are following after.

  57. At this point, I think the only feasible action for the OCA…….is the censuring of Fr. Robert Arida!

    • Mikail,

      IF, and that is a big IF, the OCA were to censure Fr. Arida, it would be a censure as tepid as Metropolitan Tikhon’s attempted reply to Arida’s article.

      And Arida is not the only one in the OCA with these approaches in thought and/or action. Bobosh, Vinogradov, Jillions are three who ascribe full allegiance to these modernist views on homosexualism.

  58. “That there are Orthodox Christians who misuse the never changing Christ to promote a particular political agenda and ideology or as license to verbally and physically assault those they perceive as immoral along with those who would question the status quo of the Church impose on the Church a ‘new and alien spirit.’

    If the Church is to engage culture, if it is to contribute to the culture and if it is to synthesize what is good, true and beautiful coming from the culture to further the Gospel then it will have to expose and ultimately expel the “new and alien spirits” that have weakened its authentic voice.”

    I was just rereading Fr. Arida’s little missive and it is actually more radical than I had first thought it. What he really proposed was a war against the Orthodox wing of the Orthodox Church. Truly sad.

    • Chris Banescu says

      An accurate evaluation of Fr. Arida’s comments would be “heretical teaching.”

      • Yes, Chris, but it is deeper than that too.

        A metropolitan of the OCA has acknowledged the value of his comments, failed to condemn them, and urged civility in conversation and not disputing over triffles. That is what I took Met. Tikhon’s response to be.

        Now, what would Met. Jonah have done? Met. Hilarion of the ROCOR? How about Pat. Kirill of the ROC? I think we know what the late Met. Phillip of AOCNA would have said. I dare not speculate about the new calendar Greeks.

        The real problem is not Fr. Arida. The real problem is that he feels comfortable sharing his views publicly with the laity within his jurisdiction. That says something dark and foreboding about the pond in which he swims.

        • Paying attention says

          Now, what would Met. Jonah have done?

          He noted that pornography was a far greater problem among the people he served.

          That’s what Metropolitan Jonah really did in DC.

          Next question?

          • Next question:

            What does that have to do with the original question?

            Here’s the answer, incidentally:

            “So often, people think that if we name sin for what it is, that we’re judging people. No, we’re just pointing out reality. It is not a matter of judgment to say abortion is a sin. It is not a matter of judgment to say that homosexual activity is a sin. It is a matter of simply stating the truth of the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ.” –

            And we all know the thanks he got for such utterances from the lavender mafia:

            “But Jonah sees American Orthodoxy at a crossroads where the choice is either to remain in ethnic enclaves and be irrelevant or jump into the stream of culture and politics and make a difference. He dreams of Orthodox Americans speaking out “as a conscience for the culture.” They would have clout in Congress, advocating for persecuted Orthodox around the world, such as the Egyptian Copts. They would stand equal with evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics in opposing abortion, same-sex marriage, cloning and euthanasia. St. Nicholas would be a hive of missionary work and outreach.

            Jonah’s insistence that his church address the pressing issues of the day is a gauntlet thrown down before the feet of his fellow Orthodox leaders, and it has not sat well with the OCA’s governing bodies. In the last week of February, Jonah faced a revolt among his own bishops at a conclave in Santa Fe, N.M. According to an OCA news release, Jonah kept his job but was relieved of several duties and sent on a two-month retreat during Lent.” – ibid

            Of course then he faced a coup d’etat.

      • Chris Banescu:

        An accurate evaluation of Fr. Arida’s comments would be “heretical teaching.”

        Can anyone show, specifically, the teaching in Fr. Arida’s post that has been condemned by a synod of Orthodox bishops as heresy? Or in this new, make-believe church, do Orthodox bishops condemn offending STYLE and VERBIAGE as heresy?

        • Chris Banescu says

          “So how do we think about the Orthodox Episcopalian problem? Consider what St. Paul said:

          “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1 Corinthians 11:19).

          Is this a heresy? Communing civilly married homosexual couples in an Orthodox Church proclaims that God instituted marriage between the same sex; that same-sex marriage exists within the order of creation. So yes, this is a bona-fide heresy.

          Thus, in the context of St. Paul’s instruction, one purpose of this conflict is to separate the wheat from the chaff, the Orthodox from the Episcopalians.

          As distressing as this conflict is for some, it actually clarifies a great deal. It provides us with a way to determine who is approved and who is not.”
          ~ Fr. Johannes Jacobse

          • Chris Banescu, apparently quoting Fr. Jacobse

            Is this a heresy? Communing civilly married homosexual couples in an Orthodox Church proclaims that God instituted marriage between the same sex; that same-sex marriage exists within the order of creation. So yes, this is a bona-fide heresy.

            The church has never labeled as heretical the communing of any particular person or group of people. The church proclaims errant doctrine as heresy in a synod of bishops.

            If Chris Banescu and Fr. Johannes are right, and it’s heresy to commune anyone in a sham (by Orthodox standards) marriage, how is it that no hue and cry is raised against the practice of communing Orthodox Christians who happen to be married in civil or other ceremonies to Jews and Muslims? That has been going on far longer than the communing of those involved in gay marriage.

            • “how is it that no hue and cry is raised against the practice of communing Orthodox Christians who happen to be married in civil or other ceremonies to Jews and Muslims?”

              These sort of non sequitur’s get so old…I used to think they were based on genuine ignorance or the lack of the ability to think logically. The truth is that is more often they are part and parcel of the subversive tactics of liberal theology…

            • First of all, comparing civil marriages of a man and woman to a “marriage” between two men, or two women, is apples and oranges. The first type of union can be valid if blessed in the Orthodox Church. the second type of union cannot be valid regardless of who might bless it. It is, in itself, evil.

              But, beyond that, laxity in one area is no excuse for more laxity in another area.

              The question is what is pastorally appropriate. On the one hand, Christ came to save sinners (from sin). On the other hand, He does not direct them to persist in their sins. He has identified and distinguished sin from virtue in our Holy Tradition. This is unchanging. There is no “glacial movement”, no movement at all, in fact. If some part of the Church were to affirm same sex unions, it would by that very fact no longer be part of the Church.

              It should be understood by inquirers in the Orthodox Church who are plagued by same sex attraction that while the Church certainly invites them to “come and see” and to worship with us, it also cannot change the Law of God – ever. Thus, at some point, sooner or later, if an inquirer who suffers same sex attraction wishes to come into communion with the Church, he must accept that this attraction he feels does not come from God and that it must be treated as a perversion to be overcome, much like pedophilia or incest. He should, as quickly as he can, abandon his identity as a “gay man” and simply conduct himself as a bachelor, perhaps destined for chastity in abstinence if he cannot overcome his feelings.

              That is the Way. No need to be harsh and condemnatory of the person so long as he does not attempt to justify the normalization of homosexuality in the culture. But no need to sugarcoat the truth either. We are not salesmen. The Church is not a business in dire need of customers. We don’t change our product to suit the appetites of the clientele. Now, as far as those who seek to justify their perversions as acceptable – – condemnation is warranted since the stakes for the person involve his eternal destiny. If we do not have holiness to convey, our conveyance is worthless.

              It is likely that a significant portion of the “clientele” will revile our message, in fact. The Beatitudes address this beautifully:

              Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

              Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

              Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

              We can sympathize with those who suffer from same sex attraction, but we can never recognize same sex attraction itself as anything other than a snare of the devil – certainly nothing to recognize as a basis for social status or services.

  59. “…to retain the subsequent comments, and to allow further discussion to continue,” writes Met Tikhon.

    How come comments are deleted and discussion made impossible through the OCA site? Who will stand?

  60. Alice Carter says

    Uganda and Westboro Baptist Church

    Last month, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed a measure similar to Uganda’s into law; a few weeks later, a mob pulled 14 young men from their beds and assaulted them, screaming about cleansing their neighborhood of gay people.

    From the WBC site: For catholics, the evidence is painfully clear that the monstrous
    beast of catholicism is based on dangerous idolatry and rebellion –
    such that your “leader” sounds just like his papa Satan when
    introduced at Genesis 3:4. There, he lied on God and said “Ye
    shall not surely die”. Five words of stark disobedience, rivaled by
    five words Francis uttered on 7.29.13, regarding that which God
    has judged an abomination: “Who am I to judge?” That son of
    perdition knows “he that is spiritual judgeth all things” (1Cor 2:15).

    • Michael Bauman says

      Alice your post has nothing to do with anything just another fake reason for attempting to force your will on the Church. There are plenty of places you can go if homosexual normality is so important to you that you are willing to give up your salvation for it.

    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

      So the argument is what? — That civil strife in Uganda or Westboro polemics negates the moral tradition?

      But then what do we do with this?

      Gay Connecticut couple accused of raping adopted children will face trial

      The problem with the thinking of the Orthodox Episcopalians is that it never rises above the sentimental.

  61. Tom Jeffrey says

    Ben, can you say: censorship

    A.K.A. sweep in under the rug quickly and hope not too many folks notice…

    The “…to retain the subsequent comments, and to allow further discussion to continue,” verbiage has been removed from the current draft on the OCA web site. More censorship… or editorial license at the very least. Which is another way of say that the powers that be are tired of dealing with the “lively and informative discussion,”

  62. The root question Orthodox need to deal with – rather than whether we like what’s harvested – has to do with change in the Church and the authority of the tradition (heritage) we have received and take forward. Anthony Ugolnik touched on this question in “Is Development of Doctrine a Valid Category for Orthodox Theology?” in ‘Orthodoxy & Western Culture: a collection of essays honoring Jaroslav Pelikan on his eightieth birthday’ (SVS Press, 2005) and in “Remember the Days of Old: Orthodox Thinking on the Patristic Heritage” by Augustine Casiday. Specifically, how did the Fathers receive and interpret early Fathers? How did they address issues earlier Fathers might have seen differently in light of the science or information they had then? It’s easy to assume there are easy answers to these sorts of questions, to assume that everything was figured out some time in the late first millenium and all we need to do is hold on – but that was something more in tune with how the Orthodox hunkered down only after the fall of Constantinople, when mere survival of the faith was key (Russians are also more focused on simple reception without alteration or development, advancement, because they received an already fully formed religious world – of far greater learning.) But, is that the tradition, really? If not, how come? Or, is the real tradition somewhere between with a key we seemed to have lost in the binary world of fundamentalism and modernism, wrongly mapped too often on to political ideologies of Left and Right, Conservative and Liberal by partisans of both sides less interested in Christ than they might sometimes have us (or themselves) believe. Simply assuming what he is “really talking about” is homosexuality alone and dismissing it misses the deeper point. You can’t fight an argument based on the advancement/development of Christian teaching without addressing whether, how, and when the advancement/development of Christian teaching is permissible or, in fact, the tradition itself.

  63. Isiah 5:20 “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”

  64. Crickets from Syosset.

    Not a sound after Met. Tikhon said he would keep the Arida comments posted, then removed them.
    Not a sound after their meeting with Metropolitan Hilarion.

    If the crickets continue does that mean they agree with Fr. Arida and will do nothing?

    Let’s hope that they are taking this situation seriously and respond with a strong message of support for Orthodox teaching and practice and leave no doubt that Fr. Arida’s teaching and practice is morally bankrupt and against the Orthodox Faith.

    OCA clergy have been censured and deposed for much less. Can the OCA censure one of its “stars?” The world is watching. Oh yes, it is certainly watching.

    • It’s not Syosset’s problem. The metropolitan removed the offending comments from the national webpage and reiterated church teaching. What more can he do? Any discipline / censorship / spiritual court would take place in diocese. Chancellor Fr. Kreta and + Nikon are responsible parties.

  65. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    November 9, 2014 – Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, who is on a visit to the USA with a blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, met with the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, His Beatitude Tikhon, Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada, at St. Vladimir’s Seminary in New York.

    They were joined in their talk by Bishop John of Naro-Fominsk, administrator of the ROC parishes in the USA, and Protopresbyter John Jillions, chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America.

    They discussed problems involved in the inter-Orthodox relations and bilateral cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church in America.

    DECR Communication Service

    What are the “problems” that were discussed? I didn’t know that there are problems between the ROC and OCA, at least not officially. Does anybody know anything about this?



      I believe this may be relevant. It is a beautiful little paper touching on autocephaly and the status of the OCA, primacy at all levels in the Church, Ravenna, Fr. Schmemann, and Met. Elpidophoros.

      All oxes receive a thorough goring.

      • Also, this picture is touching. The article conveys the MP’s view on the subject of homosexuality.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Misha, a relevant excerpt:

          Liberal Christians have often maintained that society needs to preserve stability. However, what stability can be preserved by ‘blessing’ a sin? The Church has always been called to proclaim the truth of Christ and condemn sin, even in defiance of the demands of the society and ‘the powers that be’.

          Alice, et. al read and contemplate

          • You are wasting your time. Once they have been admitted into the cult and swallowed enough cool-aid, Arida ownssss theirrrr soul! These people are all ruined for life. They are now unable to function outside the Arida oxygen tent, or in a normal traditional parish with normal moral people. Call the CDC, stop the infection.

      • Some grownups are back in town, and not a minute too soon, IMHO. Very clear. No ambiguity except where absolutely necessary. No mush. A fine example of clear speaking.

    • “What are the “problems” that were discussed? I didn’t know that there are problems between the ROC and OCA, at least not officially. Does anybody know anything about this?”

      Yes; one issue was how to get rid of ROCOR. Too many right-wing, uneducated dufus converts trying to be “Super-Orthodox.” It was suggested all the ROCOR clerics attend mandatory study in Russia for at least one year at Gulag 69.

  66. Christopher says

    If Fr. Hans will allow me to refer to some clarification on that he himself made on these matters:

    • M. Stankovich says

      Now, please, Christopher, ask Fr. Hans to detail from where he has derived these “clarifications.” He mocks those who follow the Apostolic Tradition of fidelity to those fathers & teachers before us – even as to those who sat at the feet of the Lord Himself – and derides citation of those who articulated, and later in each generation, re-articulated the Eternal Truth delivered and bestowed on us.

      He purposely confuses in his argument what is according to the “Creation,” (as the Fathers refer to, “as it was in the beginning”) and what is according to our fallen nature and corrupted world. Certainly God did not create humans to be homosexual, but neither did He create mutations at the APC and MUTYH genes that result in Familial Adenomatous Polyposis, which guarantee colon cancer in 90% of the mutation carriers by age 45. Likewise, he purposely confuses and misuses the terms gender and orientation, and in the statement, “Defining personhood solely in terms of desires or sins is reductionist,” does what no legitimate behavioural scientist or genetic researcher would do, define personhood by a behavioural characteristic (and you can read my series, The Orient Express for a thorough & fair examination). Follow his “evolutional” process of defining & describing homosexuality over the years on his AOI site, and you will find that whatever he knows about genetics, epigenetics, embryology, endocrinology, psychological developmental stages, and psychiatry & psychopathology – including support from the Patristical Fathers & the “big guns” – he learned from me. And he frequently quotes me, without attribution or gratitude.

      And finally, when he says, “Passions brought to Christ can be healed,” he rarely clarifies that, when discussing homosexuality, this rarely means that same-sex attraction is “removed” or transformed into a “heterosexuality” as we understand it. And you may read my discussion of this matter, Taking Sexuality in for Repairs for a realistic examination.

      The Church does not need to “re-evaluate” its sacred and eternal Anthropology, “as it was in the beginning,” but neither can we stand by and believe that a “statement” of a Synod of Bishops on a website or read to Orthodox congregations is sufficient “witness.” While acknowledging the need to be fully present and vocal in the public square, we have not addressed or seemingly possess a “plan” to address the mass indifference among our own faithful (I, for one, made the suggestion that each Orthodox priest, at each wedding they serve, read a short, prepared statement on the sanctity of Christian Marriage and the Orthodox definition of marriage as between one man and one woman; and even offered to draft a sample statement. Silence).

      The Church, as the Fountain of Healing and dwelling of Christ the Physician, must be a welcoming receiver who celebrates, like the father of the prodigal son, the return of those who suffer from same-sex attraction and are seeking repentance, reconciliation, and a return to the path of chastity, purity, “singlemindedness,” and obedience to which we are all called, without exception. It is only the Church – the “whole” Church – that can bear this individual and their burden, and we will not do so without a clear, articulated, profound message to our society. In my estimation, the fear that such discussion will degrade or undermine the Church is easily refuted by the words of the Lord expressed in the Kontakion of Pentecost, “I am with you and no one can be against you!”

      • “The Church, as the Fountain of Healing and dwelling of Christ the Physician, must be a welcoming receiver who celebrates, like the father of the prodigal son, the return of those who suffer from same-sex attraction and are seeking repentance, reconciliation, and a return to the path of chastity, purity, “singlemindedness,” and obedience to which we are all called, without exception.”

        I agree. So does Fr. Jacobse. Your past with him is what it is (no offence intended but I am not going to try to work it out in detail), so you clearly misinterpret what he is clearly saying.

  67. I think the following from Father Thomas Hopko a few months ago is appropriate:

    • You may not realize that Fr. Thomas Hopko has come out advocating civil unions:

      One of the really nice things about being Orthodox is that the Church is centered outside of America and Western Europe, the hometowns of progressive liberalism. Thus, whatever some jurisdiction in America might decide, this decision would represent no more than a fraction of 1% of the Orthodox world – essentially inconsequential for the Church as a whole. Neither the Slavic Orthodox nor the Arab Orthodox will entertain such ideas. So, if there are Orthodox in America who wish to isolate themselves by accepting such views, I do not see that they are a great danger to the Church as a whole. However, such priests or bishops may certainly pose a spiritual danger to their own flocks. It appears that this is already the reality in Fr. Arida’s parish.

      • M. Stankovich says

        Please, are we again backtracking to this self-serving “sandbagging” of Fr. Hopko? Fr. Thomas Hopko most certainly did not “come out advocating civil unions” in the spirit you are attempting to insinuate. We have been through this fabrication, purposely taken out of the context of societal attitudes nearly a decade ago at the time he wrote his seminal exploration of same-sex attraction. His point was that children and families were left without essential services such as medical insurance, housing assistance, entitlements such as General Relief, food stamps, and WIC. Very few corporations offered “domestic partners” (homosexual or otherwise) parity in benefits, and it was viewed as extraordinary.

        As I noted more than a year ago when this fabrication surfaced, the author has neither the experience nor the essential empathy necessary to serve the needs of the poor & impoverished, where a mother cannot afford to take an entire day from work to bring a sick child to wait in a “public medical clinic” because she happens to barely make enough wages to disqualify her from Medicaid & other wage-based entitlements. And it is absolutely no different than the elderly I see now who receive Social Security in an amount upon which they can barely survive, forced to choose food over essential medication, but receive too much to qualify for SSI & Medicaid. That was the context in which Fr. Hopko “advocated” using domestic partnerships, to circumvent the regulations adversely affecting & discriminating against minorities, the poor, and at the time, families of same-sex partnerships. This is another explicit example of cowardice, that the poser of this fabrication did not possess either the courage or the respect to ask Fr. Hopko to clarify his position. Any suggestion or insinuation that he made these comments in support of domestic partnerships or civil unions as a legitimate “alternative” to Christian Marriage for same-sex couples is an absolute lie.

        I have sadly been in the position as a practitioner for and advocate of the chronically impoverished, the homeless, the persistently mentally ill, minorities, and the elderly who bear the burden of these policies. If it is somehow “immoral” to recommend they utilize any legal means at their disposal to improve their health, security, and general welfare, I confess to working every legal loophole and trick in the book to accomplish just that goal. My conscience is clean, and so should that of Fr. Thomas Hopko.

        • “That was the context in which Fr. Hopko “advocated” using domestic partnerships, to circumvent the regulations adversely affecting & discriminating against minorities, the poor, and at the time, families of same-sex partnerships.”

          All of that needless verbiage to get around to the above confirmation of my point about Fr. Hopko. Advocating rights based on evil relationships (abominations) is in and of itself evil. And my conscience is clear as well.

          • M. Stankovich says

            It should be obvious that I would not waste verbiage on the smartest man in the room, or provide you with yet another opportunity for you to demonstrate your character-defining sarcasm & insult in the security of your anonymity. It was rather for the benefit for those who would assume that your “announcement” – in the present tense – that “Fr. Thomas Hopko has come out advocating civil unions,” were posted two years ago, in regard to a book written nearly a decade past, and within a context which you purposely attempted to manipulate.

            Likewise, you emphasize the fundamental difference between us: it is a fundamental principle of our society that innocent children are entitled to rights regardless of the “evil relationship” (abomination) in which their parents are engaged. Yours is simply a foolish logic. I have spent years dealing with the most loathsome and evil-doing members of our society who, thankfully, are forcefully separated from us. Should we be committing their children to the desert because of the evil perpetrated by their parent(s)? I suggest you brush up on your classic logic & ethics. You obviously missed something.

            • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

              “Has come out” is not just present tense; it is present perfect tense, which can refer to past action, and as every honest man will admit, a man’s past pronouncements stand until he recants them.

              Can anyone here quote Hopko recanting his support for gay rights and civil unions?

            • “Likewise, you emphasize the fundamental difference between us: it is a fundamental principle of our society that innocent children are entitled to rights regardless of the “evil relationship” (abomination) in which their parents are engaged. Yours is simply a foolish logic.”

              And yours is a non-existent logic. Which biological or adopted children are deprived of anything because of a lack of recognition of civil unions? If a child has a biological or adoptive parent, then that parent, regardless of the perversity, has a legal responsibility to provide for the child.

              If a single man marries a woman who already has children by another man, in contrast, the woman’s new husband has no duty to support someone else’s children, though he might choose to.. Duty of support follows biological or adoptive parenthood and has nothing to do with same sex unions.

              • M. Stankovich says

                Again, I regret providing you the opportunity to demonstrate how truly unattractive unearned “authority” and anonymity-empowered arrogance can be. I conclude my participation by simply stating this: Archpriest Thomas Hopko was the only full-time faculty member at SVS who was, at the same time, the full-time rector of a parish. He is, at heart, a pastoral minister who understands that if one looks for the Lord, He is always found among sinners, the loathsome, the rejected, and those most in need of the Physician. At the same time, as his numerous books and countless lectures & podcasts demonstrate, he has brought untold numbers to the Church by his steadfastness to the unchanging Faith we hold. Suffice it to say that your comments serve your own bitterness and are transparent to anyone who has actually read his book or have listened to his podcasts on the issue of same-sex attraction. Like all priests, “made a min­is­ter, accord­ing to the management of God which is given to me for you, to ful­fill the word of God,” (Col.1:25) he bears the great burden to answer to the Lord for each of his pastoral decisions made in the interest of an individual’s salvation. Ultimately, in the end, your comments about him will neither be a help nor a hindrance, but I guarantee he will be remembered as a great teacher & theologian of our generation. And it is a title he has rightfully earned.

                • It’s really funny, Stankovich. Some of what you said above I agree with, yet you never really address the substance of the issue at all. As to my anonymity, that is my own affair. And, as I have pointed out to you before, I have no “authority”, nor should ideas be judged by the number of letters after the name of the one who offers them. That would be true arrogance.

                  I agree Fr. Thomas has offered much in his time as a priest. It is thus sad to see this blight on his record. Yet I’m sure it will be outweighed by the good he has done. Nonetheless, he is obviously not a responsible source of Church teaching on the subject.

                  Anyway, good day.

        • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          I’ve posted this here before, but since people keep denying it, I’ll post it again. Hopko in his own words:

          “Whether or not men and women with same-sex attractions are struggling to resist engaging in erotic sexual activity, their civil rights, and the rights of the children in their care, must be guaranteed and safeguarded. Homosexual people must have the same access to housing, employment, police protection, legal justice, tax benefits, and visitation privileges at institutions that all members of society possess and enjoy. Those desiring to be joined in ‘civil unions’ or ‘domestic partnerships’ for such purposes should be allowed to do so, with the social and legal benefits that are guaranteed by such arrangements. This is especially important today, when the safety of homosexual people and their children largely depends on legal and social recognition and protection. It is also important because those in same-sex relationships, whether or not they are sexually active, almost always understand a denial of such public recognition and protection as an expression of hatred and contempt toward themselves and their families.”

          He goes on to argue that though Christians can’t consider same-sex unions “marriages,” resisting the same-sex use of the word marriage is “unreasonable and counterproductive.”

          • Yes, I can’t believe people are still in denial about this. It is old news. He came out explicitly and emphatically in favor of same sex civil unions. To my knowledge, he has not recanted. Perhaps it is disinformation coming out of some quarters of the OCA or from people like Stankovich that prevents some from seeing the obvious.

            The quote makes it undeniably clear though.

            Get over it.

      • Misha, check the dates on the two links. Fr. Hopko’s straight-forward talk was in February of this year, at a time when the potential internal battle-lines within the Church were quite clear (and as connected as Hopko is, you can be certain he did not choose that topic at random — he knew what was coming and was going to get out ahead of it, and was going to be on the side of Church teaching).

        Take a look at the reviews of Fr. Hopko’s book on Amazon. The positive comments are from those who appreciate his being clear on the teachings of the Church, while the only negatives come from those who are angry with him for saying that homosexual activity is wrong.

        I think you are off-base here. Again, going from the reviews of the book, it sounds like Fr. Hopko advocates taking a sensitive pastoral approach to homosexuals while being firm about the teachings of the Church on what is sinful and incompatible with Chrisitianty. I find nothing in that approach to be faulted whatsoever. Thank God that my father confessors have generally been sensitive and pastoral with me. If someone I loved suffered from this problem, I wouldn’t want him to be harmed by a priest who gave him communion while unrepentant and making no effort to refrain from sin — but neither would I want him to be harmed by a harsh, unloving, and judgmental priest that would drive him away from the Church for good.

        If all that Fr. Arida had been advocating was for priests to have some tact and compassion while breaking the news to someone in a homosexual relationship that celibacy was a requirement for approaching the chalice, this thread wouldn’t exist, let alone have 300 comments. And if that were what Arida meant, he would have said so, since he would only be agreeing with Hopko and exercising common sense that anyone alive in 2014 should have.

        • Oh, if we could only get Justin’s opinion here on Fr Hopko; that would be vital.

        • So the Orthodox should tell the state, “Dear legislators (or justices), please grant rights of visitation, support, etc., to unrelated adults on the basis of the fact that they sodomize one another.”?

          Hmmmm . . . maybe not. Maybe the evil which they do to one another should not be the wellspring from which any benefit emerges. Maybe that sort of relationship should not convey any beneficial status at all to those engaged in it.

          Regardless, Hopko is a distraction. Fr. Arida is the subject here. There is a lot of what I call “flowers and fertilizer” in his essay – a kind of benevolent blathering. “Engage with the culture.” “Never Changing Christ, Ever Changing Church”, etc. Dime a dozen semantic art.

          He does get down to business though toward the end advocating the expulsion from the Church of those who condemn homosexual sexual relations. At least that is the impression his words convey to me. The problem is that the Church itself condemns homosexual sexual relations.

          I wonder if St. Paul or Moses qualify as those who commit verbal abuse against those whom they perceive as being immoral or challenging the status quo of the Church. They each condemned homosexual behavior in the starkest possible terms.

          • Misha, if you have read Fr. Hopko’s book, please quote directly from it. We have a post in Fr. Hopko’s own words that directly and correctly addresses same-sex marriage. If you are going to accuse Fr. Hopko of advocating for civil unions as a sort of surrogate for gay marriage, I think it is only fair to have a direct quotation, in full context, from his book. Otherwise, I think it would indeed be wise to treat the Hopko issue as a distraction, retract your claim about him, and stick to Arida — whose essay we have in front of us.

            • Edward,

              See Fr. Brian’s quote from Hopko above. I thought this was common knowledge in the Orthosphere. Nonetheless, As you stated, Arida should be the focus here and we should get back to him. I only brought it up because of your earlier post.

            • Edward,

              I don’t know which book of Fr. Hopko’s you and Misha are referring. It was recently pointed out to me the differences between Fr. Hopko’s essay on women’s ordination in the 1983 version verses the 1999 version in his book “Women and the Priesthood”. His earlier theologically rigorous and confident essay was replaced with a “hand wringing” essay (though he still opposed WO, almost reluctantly). Similarly, Bishop Kallistos views had “evolved”. I say this not to support or dispute anything in particular, but just to say perhaps you and Misha are looking at what ostensibly is the same book but different printings!!

        • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          Edward, Hopko often says very good things on this issue, which gays object to, but he also often says some very troubling things that Orthodox Christians may object to, and he also often leaves unsaid some things that very much need to be said. He frequently warns that those defending the Church’s teaching must do so lovingly, but when has he ever warned of the dangers of false love, prideful tolerance, and liberal bigotry? He could do the Church a great service by speaking out publicly against Arida. Alas, he has not done so.

          • I have heard that Fr. Hopko is not well these days- I wouldn’t take his silence on this as a statement in either direction.

  68. @Alice, we are neigher Uganda nor Westbororo Baptist Church, please, I’ve asked you this before and will ask you this one more, stop throwing around red herrings and say something of substance and truth. Otherwise, once again, there are other religious bodies that I thinik will be more fitting for you and for your beliefs.

  69. Arida is himself a convert, coming from the unia

  70. George Osborne says

    I pose this question to you all. I am of the opinion that this whole issue smells like a “trial balloon” floated up by some administrative elements in the OCA to test the waters, It seems very simplistic to me at least that a national publication of the OCA would have gone to press without someone in a senior administrative position vetting the articles or at least checking the overall content to some degree. Take for example the manner in which the arguments were advanced, i.e. in terms of acculturation and relevance, etc. The reason, IMHO, the article was “mushy” is that it was not supposed to have real content but seek a response as to the general openness of the Church to enter into a discussion about the obvious “real” subject matter. Very clever, actually. Instead of calling for the communion of unrepentant homosexuals, the question was posed on the premise of the cultural relevance of Tradition and praxis to modern society. if the Church is open to such a dialogue, then everything is on the table and the proverbial Pandora’s box is open. Fortunately, the lid was slammed shut on that particular issue it seems (at least for now) and I have to believe some of the perpetrators certainly got a pretty severe reprimand. Fr. Arida was merely a willing sacrificial goat. The real question is “Who knew about this article before its publication and who approved it?” Now that would be something worth knowing!

  71. Sean from Islington says

    What has happened to common sense and reason? AFr. Robert’s essay which I have read over several times could be more direct, no doubt. This academic prose is common in official verbiage. So set that aside for now.

    One thing he is clearly stating is that Protestant influences are impacting American Orthodoxy negatively. Agree or disagree? I’ve seen many posts on Orthodox sites complain about this fairly regularly. Fr. Robert is clearer about this. But this blog is not talking seriously about this because you are looking for revenge for what happened to Met. Jonah. Yes, he was publicly retired, but only because he wanted to be. Let’s not fight that all over, but…for someone who reads this site regularly, there is not the slightest bit on action taken or not taken by the Synod concerning Met Jonah that hasn’t caused you all to fly about like a pack of pigeons when there’s a load noise.

    Oh, it was those horrible liberals that did these awful things to your beloved culture warrior. Fr. Arida might have expected lots of responses from his post, but this idea that he MUST be publicly humiliated for putting out an essay I don’t think was one of them.

    The discussion needs to go back to the definition of this “alien spirit” Fr, Robert states has crept into the American EOC. Why, of course, its you, or most of you and people like you. You demonstrate time and again the fact that you have brought foreign protestant beliefs into the Eastern Orthodox Church. Your Calvinism is showing like a ladies slip. Do what you might, you can’t hitch it up high enough. The Fundamentalism of the Scripture that you have dragged along with you has led you to look at the Scripture as you did when you were protestants. That is obvious also. You then have directed this fundamentalism to the Tradition of the Church,. which I have yet to see a written version of but you all seem to have one. This situation is dangerous to the Orthodox Church. The church is Traditional, it is not settled into a plaster of Paris lifelessness yet.

    You also have brought with you hatred and anger. This hatred and anger is misdirected totally on to Fr, Robert. You’re angry that this idyllic little island of changeless cover for homophobia and anti feminist habitat is not safe. Something is tickling at your toes. It is a hatred that really is directed at the fantasy church you came to Orthodox thinking it was. No change. Traditional values. Changeless. The fact that your phantasm has been exposed to you, is not Fr. Robert’s fault.

    There is a challenge that Fr. Robert has placed before you. What effect is Orthodoxy having in the communities you live in, the diocese and the world. Why is the EOC in such a dismal state here. There are clear reasons, and some of them might be the way you are presenting the church to the world. How do you deal with the aforementioned gay married couple who comes to the church exploring and seeking the truth. The first thing from your mouths will be: You must divorce, you must live separately. You musty put your child up for adoption. You must never touch another same sex person for the rest of your lives. Reading this site it ids clear that you want to do this but you really can’t. Your bishop won’t let you. In fact, your conscience wont let you.

    In closing: Your Puritan roots are also showing. You want this horrible liberal man, part of that anti Jonah campaign to be destroyed emotionally, professionally and as a priest. The scarlet letter. Let him wear it. We want retribution. That has nothing to do with the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Orthodox Church.

    • Tim R Mortiss says

      Amazing, Sean.

      The spirit of Protestantism is change. If you are a Protestant, all you know is change. And you know where it leads.

      The “new and alien spirit” is post-Christianity, not Western/Protestant Christianity.

      And I don’t think any Orthodox church will be turning Protestant converts away!

      If American Orthodoxy accepts these “married” same-sex couples, what will be the point of view about that of, say, the Russian church? A church that knows no “protestant influence”…..

      • And I don’t think any Orthodox church will be turning Protestant converts away!

        Without Protestant converts (who bring odd habits with them like tithing), the OCA would be broke, new missions and parishes would be a rarity, and older parishes would be dying off and closing their doors. Their seminaries would have to close down for lack of students and their teachers have to find other work — an astronomical percentage of OCA seminarians are converts. In 16 years in the OCA, I never once had a priest who wasn’t a convert. More than half of the Synod of bishops are converts as are the last two Metroopolitans.

        No, I think it safe to say that they won’t be turning away Protestant converts. The question is whether they will still keep coming if this kind of nonsense goes unchecked — and whether any influx can match the exodus…

    • “Fundamentalism.” “Puritanism.” So many buzzwords. Again we see that radicals push their agenda under the guise of “being pastoral” and “economy.”

      Please share one—just one—example from the deposit of Holy Tradition wherein the Church is made to accept homosexuality. Because the thing about Holy Tradition is that it forms an arch: every element supports every other element.

      I’ll save you the time. You can’t.

    • Sean,

      I am sorry that you missed the real point of outrage about Fr. Arida’s article and your less than charitable comments don’t about Fr. Arida critics very credible.

      However, again, so you can understand the outrage, it is not only what he wrote, it is what he is doing and what he is doing is an against the Teachings and good order of the Church which is swore to be faithful to. His actions are accountable, his words, like straw, will burn up and turn to ashes.

      I hope you can now understand the real issue, and it is a very important one.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Sean, I am not now, nor have I ever been a Protestant let alone a Calvinist. How long does one remain “a Protestant” once Chrismated, catechized and part of the worshiping body of Christ? If there is a problem with converts it is not the converts fault, it is the fault of the catechesis and the effort the parish makes in really making new Orthodox feel welcome and continue their instruction. Do you realize how many stories there are of the just plain meanness of Orthodox people and parishes to those inquiring of the faith and are new to it? You demonstrate the same spirit of meanness IMO.

      Actually we should all be converts or people being converted. There is no magic place where time and effort will stop and we can say with utter confidence: “I am now Orthodox” That is a Faustian delusion.

      In case you missed the cultural reference in my opening sentance Joseph McCarthy used similar phrases when questioning those suspect of Communism, i.e., “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party.” Should our greeters be instructed to ask of each new person: “Are you now or have you ever been a Protestant.

      This is just another instance of scape-goating in the OCA a deep problem that has been running rampant since Stokoe launched his web-site for ‘accountability’ .

      Fr. Arida needs to be held accountable for sure for his words and actions that are against Holy Tradition, but going on a witch hunt is counter productive.

      BTW: Calvinism is an official heresy (1638) so you are actually calling all converts heretics.

      God give me the strength to guard my heart against the heresies and evil of this world and have mercy on me.

    • There is one tiny, little problem with your thinking, Sean. Both the Church of Russia and the Arab Orthodox openly condemn homosexual behavior in the strongest possible terms. Neither would entertain the thoughts or practices of Fr. Arida. Neither are Protestant in any way in their theological or moral thinking.

      A better thesis about what has happened is that Northeastern OCA’ers have gradually become progressive liberals and lost their Orthodoxy when it comes to morality. The odd man out is modern liberalism, not Protestantism. Old-fashioned (for lack of a better term) Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants all share the same or similar moral code. Look at what the late Met. Phillip said on the subject and what Met. Hilarion of Volokolamsk has recently said. Neither has the stomach for Fr. Arida’s changing Gospel.

      Your whole argument is nonsense.

    • “That has nothing to do with the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Orthodox Church.” .Thank you, your holiness, Pope Sean. It is good to have such magisterial pontifications. Long as it is, most of your post is in error and makes no sense. One zinger that is most puzzling regarding this same sex couple: you say they would have to put their child up for adoption? Now, how do two persons of the same sex end up with a child in a well-ordered world?

      Modernism, I fear, has brought with it delusion and a form of mental disorder where we have come to ignore the facts of life . . .


  72. “Why Don’t you become Episcopalian?”
    Did an actual ordained adult decide that cheap taunting is a good idea?
    It is always comes as a disappointing surprise to see how often comments like many posted here appear to not engage the ideas expressed but are rather written for the other commenters to affirm their “side”.

    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

      You misunderstand Max Percy. The question is not cheap taunting. It is dead serious.

      As for the ideas expressed by Fr. Arida, many have been covered well in the critiques (some also by an “ordained adult” or two) found here.

      • Thank you for taking the time to reply Fr. Hans

        I disagree that it is a serious suggestion.
        Your own evaluation of the deficiencies and dangers of Episcopalianism reveal the suggestion to a brother priest to go join them as a taunt.

        We owe each other better.

        Thank you for the link

        My clearly inarticulate point was that in fora such as these, the comment sections are written primarily to excite people who already agree with us to agree with us more

        • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          Max Percy, your objection to Fr. Hans’s “cheap taunt” is itself a cheap taunt, expressing nothing more than your personal animosity toward those critical of Arida. If you really believed in reasoned discourse, you would have something of greater substance to say.

          • Excellent interweb comment section judo Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell!
            The ol’ reversal–loaded with assumptions/assertions about my animosities that I have to dignify by taking the time and effort to deny
            Well Played

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            This article, brought to my attention by Rod Dreher, is IMHO pivotal to our discussion:

            Now I want to ask a question: What IS the Pastoral Approach everybody keeps talking about? Fr. Arida never talked about it, Met. Tikhon never talked about it In Fact, not even Pope Francis has talked about it. So what is it? How has the Church NOT been pastoral for the last 2000 years?

            What do we mean by pastoral? Accepting the person? Well, the Church does that already. So what does the Church need to do that it has not done in the last 2000? This is what I would like to know. Some hard concrete facts. Is that so much to ask as what would this pastoral care look like that does not already exist?

            I think what it will look like is exactly what is going on at Fr. Arida’s Boston Cathedral. If I am wrong, and I truly hope that I am, then please someone in the “Pastoral” party give us some concrete examples.



            • I have no idea what Fr. Robert Arida or anyone else intends by the phrase “pastoral approach”

              What I do not understand about the reactions or speculations about what happens in the Cathedral in Boston is that none of us have any idea what goes on between the parishoners and Fr. Arida in confession and how he counsels them or leads them in repentance. We have very little idea about the sincerity, effort and struggle of the Orthodox Christians that many are speculating about.

              That seems like a dubious and harmful exercise.

        • Regardless, if Arida left the OCA and joined the Episcopal Church, it might marginally improve the moral status of each. If he were honest, that is what he would do.

  73. I have an exceedingly simple question for the defenders of Fr. Arida:

    If all that Fr. Arida is doing is advocating for a change in tone in the way Orthodox engage people who suffer from same sex attraction, why does he end his little missive by also advocating the expulsion of some “new and alien spirit”, presumably the spirit which is engaging with the same sex attraction suffering community in an unacceptable way? Is this not a bit harsh? Expulsion is reserved for those at odds with Holy Tradition. What does Holy Tradition say about same sex attraction?

    If you want a different tone, same substance, then say that. If you want a different substance, state what the difference is and why the current dominant interpretation of Holy Tradition is somehow wrong and at odds with Tradition as it was expressed 100, 500, 1000 or 1500 years ago.

    Fr. Arida speaks in a language familiar to all who have observed the culture wars – the language of a progressive advocate in a conservative religious community. “New”, “fresh”, “living”, etc. are the buzzwords of these activists. However, an honest Orthodox person would simply state what he means plainly rather than leave us in the position where we either have to guess at the meaning of murky language which never actually takes a stand on the moral issue, or assume that the language used is part of a strategy of soft subterfuge.

    I humbly suggest the following: If Fr. Arida’s bishop would obtain Fr. Arida’s signature on a statement affirming the Church’s teaching regarding same sex attraction and sexual relations, then perhaps some of the controversy would go away. Of course if he could not in good conscience sign such a statement, then we would be in a different position.

    • Expulsion, is a pastoral tool employed by Arida at his own cathedral. His Soviet tactics exile people with opposing opinions from the community, from where there is no salvation from outside its defiled and desecrated walls. Since there is no gulag, most find their way to St. Mary’s in Cambridge, MA (Antiochian) or a number of other non OCA churches.

      • A Boston Cathedral Survivor says


        You are spot on in your assessment of how dissenters are treated in the “open and free dialogue” that Fr Arida expects of others but does not practice himself at Holy Trinity in Boston. It is one of the most unwelcoming places if you dare differ with his POV or those of his minions. Those who have raised their voices in opposition have been shown the door by his dismissive attitude or the outright hostility of his gay supporting parishioners.

        If you object you are branded a hater, or worse a “Traditionalist” meaning an Orthodox neanderthal who can’t see how the Holy Spirit is bringing a new understanding of Scripture to the Church. If I have to see Fr Arida roll his eyes and walk away one more time when asked about his sermons or classes, well, I did walk away and for good from that den of prelest.

        Archbishop Nikon, where are you? Why do you let this happen in your own Cathedral? Your silence is becoming a hard judgement against you.

  74. Caryn Jeffrey says

    Response From a Lay Person About The Wonder Blog Post

    Please pray for our newly chrismated Orthodox and for the Youth who read where this post was first placed on the Wonder Blog.. A question i have is what other doctrinally incorrect material has been presented by the editor and staff of the Wonder Blog we are unaware of? Our priest says the prayers in the services in the Church sanctify the world. We must each also pray individually for the world… Every person in the church has a sponsor (Godparent). As such, you must pray for your Godchildren as well.

    It is ironic that the evil one chose to begin the attack with our children and used the Wonder Blog and a priest in the church to do it.

    According to Bishop John of Naro-Fominsk, administrator of the ROC parishes in the USA, he reported to the Pan Orthodox laity meeting of the Assembly of Bishops in September, which starting with the 40th day when the child is presented to the Lord, until college graduation, our present youth is in serious danger. Consultants on youth studies have revealed some frightening stats you may not be aware of.

    Our children are bombarded day in and day out with everything unholy. When Bishop John told us statistics which state that over 60% of all youth who go to college never return to their faith, Any faith, including Orthodoxy, after college i had tears. These babies see all this and of course are confused. The youth who participate in programs need support not another type of paralyzing body blows. Not yet grounded in the Holy Faith these blessed children are our responsibility. What is your first thought? Will you embrace this secularism and heresy and say oh well, it isn’t so bad is it really? And when presented as ambiguous wishey washey, from a priest who has oversight, what are they to think? Should they defend those in it as good and well meaning Christians? or what? The word pernicious comes to mind here.

    This is some food for prayer and thought from our Holy Fathers:

    We know and are convinced that falling away from the Church, whether into schism, heresy, or sectarianism, is complete perdition and spiritual death. For us there is no Christianity outside of the Church. If Christ established the Church, and the Church is His Body, then to be cut of from His Body is to die. (St. Hilarion Troitsky, On Life in the Church)

    One should not seek among others the truth that can be easily gotten from the Church. For in her, as in a rich treasury, the apostles have placed all that pertains to truth, so that everyone can drink this beverage of life. She is the door of life. (St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies, III.4)

    The Church is holy, although there are sinners within her. Those who sin, but who cleanse themselves with true repentance, do not keep the Church from being holy. But unrepentant sinners are cut off, whether visibly by Church authority or invisible by the judgement of God, from the body of the Church. And so in this regard the Church
    remains holy. (St. Philaret of Moscow, Catechesis)

    When are we living in Christ? When we live according to His Gospel and His Church. For He Himself, and not only His Gospel, is in the Church with all of His perfections and virtues. The Church is the eternally living Body of the God-man Christ. In her we find the medium of the holy mysteries. In her we find the means of holy good deeds. Our Lord Jesus Christ abides inseparable from the Church in this world. He abides with each member of the Church throughout all ages. He has His entire self for us in the Church, and continually gives Himself to us entirely, so that we might be enabled to live in this world as He lived. (St. Justin Popovich, Explanation of I John, 4:9, 17)

    So, i believe that prayer is required day and night, that’s what we can do best. Little did families expect that we would see this presented on the Wonder Blog that the attack would begin targeting our children from within. But the devil is always busy. Attacking the youth first is a wile of the enemy, used by a new generation of those who want to undermine Orthodoxy before our youth can be rooted and grounded in Love.

    Let us call on St. Marina (Margaret), Great Martyr, of Antioch in Pisidia for the vanquishing of demons to begin the Charge for the Glory of God. As a true heroine and Saint, we honor her Feast Day on July 17. Up until the invasion of Constantinople by Western crusaders in 1204, St. Marina’s relics were located in the Panteponteia Monastery. And hey are now in Athens, Greece, in a church dedicated to her. St. Marina’s venerable hand was transferred to Mount Athos and is located in the Vatopedi Monastery. Take a look at that Icon below, with that hammer in her hand, does it look like she is wishey washy about demonic activity of any kind!

    I challenge every Christian person, especially the Orthodox:

    Stand up and Take the fight to the heavenly realm where Christ rules and reigns. Stand up Church!!!! We are called and chosen to take up the banner of Love in Christ…Where the Holy Spirit Always wins….Take it to the Holy Theotokos and all the Saints on behalf of our precious little ones who can’t defend themselves. Their Spiritual lives depend on it.

    • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

      Looking on the bright side, the 60% figure of Orthodox young people supposedly lost to the world after high school includes a lot of children of nominally Orthodox parents who are Orthodox for mostly ethnic reasons and who are otherwise just modern Americans. (This includes the third- or fourth-generation ethnics who run the OCA.)

      That’s not really much to worry about, because — as a matter of sociological fact — it is always a hard conservative core believers who see to the survival of religious traditions, whether Jews, Muslims, Mormons, or Christians.

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        Protodeacon! Do you REALLY think that converts’ children are more likely to remain Orthodox than the children of “Cradle Orthodox? How many parishes have you personally experienced outside of the DC Cathedral, located in Washington AC/DC? I think you are projecting, kind of.

        And please refer us to the place where the so-called SOCIOLOGICAL FACT may be found—or did you just surmise such a problematic bit of quasi learned silliness, based on “common sense?”— “it is always (SIC) a hard conservative core believers who see to the survival of religious traditions, whether Jews, Muslims, Mormons, or Christians?” Oh, and is there not also a”hard” liberal CORE?” tee hee.

        Who in the world keeps track statistically of “those lost to the world after high school?” Sounds like a kind of generic rant to me.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          “Lost to the world after high school”…only to return from it in the 30s after marriage and children, is the trajectory of millions, in all Christian groups. It surely was mine.

  75. @Jim of Olym, no, it doesn’t take any special powers, just simply getting your head out of the sand will help alot!

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      Jim of Olymp never sticks his head in the sand, “annoyed!” Don’t worry! You still have it all to yourself. You didn’t have to emerge!

  76. “The society and our moral presence crumbles around us, and our “champions” have become internet-empowered cowards who use rhetoric and empty bluster to attempt to battle the powers of darkness that surround us.”Amen! Also, George has the gall to come here and accuse two (I think, I’d try to find the original comment, but the way this site is set up, it’s so #@%#@ confusing!) OCA priest of marrying each other and buying homes, yet, after being asked 3 times by two different people to provide the names of the accused, he says nothing!

    In my eyes George, you have lost credibility.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I didn’t say two priests were married to each other. I know of a case in the Diocese of NY/NJ in which one priest has civilly contracted a “marriage” to a man and both have a house together. (If I wrote that both were priests then I was in error and mis-spoke.) I know their names but won’t name them. Why? Because it won’t do any good regardless. It’s obvious from the Sex Czar regime that we don’t have “zero tolerance” but “selective tolerance.” If you’re part of the smart set then you’re in like Flynn.

      It’s kind of like the scandal with Lena Dunham, that actress on Girls who wrote in her own autobiography that she molested her younger sister. Because she’s a liberal and the star of a show that all the “right” people watch it’s a big ho-hum. On the other hand, if Bristol Palin bears a child out of wedlock it’s Katy bar the door!

      It’s not what, it’s whom.

    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

      At the beginning of this year, Kilian Sprecher, an OCA hieromonk and a chaplain in the U.S. Naval Reserve in the rank of lieutenant junior grade (0-2), announced that he had “married” a man. He eventually resigned from the Navy and was deposed by the OCA’s Synod of Bishops, but not before he disgraced his military oath of office and the uniform he wore, as well as dishonoring his ordination to the Orthodox priesthood.