OCA Snubbed at Ft Ross Celebration?

Please read the following press release from the Department of External Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church.

For some reason, the OCA was not invited to the upcoming bicentennial celebration at Ft Ross.

Surely the actions of our Synod couldn’t have resulted in such an oversight. After all, we are a canonical, autocephalous Church and our Synod only has to answer to itself for its actions.

Perhaps Bp. Alexander Golitsyn can contact his counterpart in Moscow and ask for an explanation?

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk will visit USA to take part in celebrations on the occasion of 200th anniversary of Fort Ross

Source: Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church
15.08.2012 · The Far Abroad, Предстоящие события

On 23–28 August 2012, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and at the invitation of Metropolitan Hilarion of New York and Eastern America, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, will visit the United States of America to take part in the celebrations on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the founding of Fort Ross, the first symbol of Russian presence in America.

On 24 August, Metropolitan Hilarion will take part in the opening of the round-table conference in San Francisco on Compatriots and the Russian Orthodox Church: An Experience of Cooperation in the North America and Oceania. The conference is organized by the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. That same day Metropolitan Hilarion will visit the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute in Berkeley.

On 25 August, within the framework of the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of Russian presence in America, Metropolitan Hilarion will celebrate the Divine Liturgy at the Trinity Church in Fort Ross.

On 26 August, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk will celebrate the Divine Liturgy at the second most important church among the Patriarchal parishes in the USA – the St Nicholas Cathedral in San Francisco.

On 28 August, the feast day of the Dormition of the Mother of God, Metropolitan Hilarion will officiate at the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, of the “Joy to All the Afflicted” Icon of the Mother of God.

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  1. Wow, first Kiev, now this? But seriously, at the risk of repeating for those who already know: the original plan was that His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah would be the main celebrant at Fort Ross… And on Sunday, the hierarchs were to celebrate the Liturgy at Holy Trinity Cathedral (OCA) in SF. Then they moved it to the MP’s St. Nicholas Cathedral. And when Met. Hilarion (of Volokolamsk) was in SF again recently for meetings about the Fort Ross celebration, Archbishop Benjamin was not mentioned, nor was he in any photos of the events. But some of the OCA parishes nearby are quite involved in the Fort Ross celebration.

  2. George,

    I believe that Bp. Benjamin will be part of the celebrations but not the main celebrant although Ft Ross is in his diocese and the OCA is an “autocephlous” church. Funny how the MP is not giving that reality a visible sign of respect. Benjamin may also serve with Met. Hilarion at the ROCOR Cathedral in SF, but again in a subordinate position.

    The fact that the MP made no mention of the OCA nor +Benjamin is not an oversight but another indication of the MP’s distancing itself from the OCA. It also shows that there is no communication between the MP and the OCA to coordinate stories related to the Ft. Ross event. The fact that Met. Hilarion changed his schedule so as not to serve in the OCA Holy Trinity Cathedral in SF (by order of Pat. Kirill) makes the non-mention in their report all the more pointed.

    But fear not, our Chancellor Jillions tells us the OCA is in “good hands.”

    • ROCOR mentions Archbishop Benjamin, but crammed him in at the bottom. Compare that to the top billing Metropolitan Jonah had when he was scheduled to be a concelebrant.

      • sub-deacon gregory varney says

        Helga I get the Russian Life Daily paper here. All the bishops including Archbishop Benjamin were invited. Now if something has happened since then I do not know. I do know all are being invited.

  3. Lil Ole Housewife says

    Anyone can attend the bicentenial celebration at Fort Ross:


    Also, I have pasted this from the Joy of All Who Sorrow website at http://sfsobor.com/

    Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

    Fort Ross 200th Anniversary Celebration

    Fort Ross will commemorate the original Colony Ross dedication. The Russian Orthodox churches in the United States and Russia will concelebrate a Divine Liturgy at the Fort Ross chapel on Saturday, August 25. The Churches will also host a dedication ceremony to honor those who lived and died at Ross Colony and dedicate new interpretive panels to be placed at the cemetery. 

    It is anticipated that First Hierarch of ROCOR, Metropolitan Hilarion, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk (MP) and others, including Archbishops Kyrill (ROCOR), Benjamin (OCA) and Justinian (MP) will concelebrate. Archbishop Kyrill has also invited Bishop Peter of Cleveland to attend. Liturgy on Saturday to begin at Fort Ross at 9:30am with procession around the fort and to the cemetery with blessing of the memorial panels, and VIP lunch. Food vendors will be available with a variety of food for sale or you can bring your own picnic lunch and lawn chair or blanket.

    On Tuesday, August 28, the feast of Dormition, the above mentioned bishops will concelebrate the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Virgin Cathedral “Joy of All Who Sorrow”. Liturgy to begin at 8:30am.

    The clergy and faithful are encouraged to attend these historic events.

    Y’all come. The Fort Ross website has info on where to stay

    • Will +Benjamin comport himself as he did at the AAC in Seattle? An embarrassment to see a bishop acting (out) as he did over and over again in a public, sacred situation. Lord, have mercy. And to think that Met. Jonah ought to have been there as our Bishop. Sad, sad..

    • Is this your own wording ?

      “It is anticipated that First Hierarch of ROCOR, Metropolitan Hilarion, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk (MP) and others, including Archbishops Kyrill (ROCOR), Benjamin (OCA) and Justinian (MP) will concelebrate. Archbishop Kyrill has also invited Bishop Peter of Cleveland”

      I just wondered because there is no “+” or “bishop” or titles in front of our man “Benjamin” . . . .

      • George Michalopulos says

        good catch Collette. I guess that in addition to our autocephaly, Moscow will studiously ignore the recent childish aggrandizement in titles.

        • Thomas Mathes says

          Collette and George, you’re both wrong. Notice that “Archbishops” is in the plural. What follows is a list of the archbishops. Pretty standard way of listing people with the same title. The author of this article is acknowledging Benjamin as an archbishop. Like it or not.

          • “good catch” Thomas.

            But it does mean we’ll have to forego George’s explanation of how Moscow is snubbing and ignoring Archbishop Justinian’s standing in the ROC as well as that of the OCA.

            When the world is viewed thouth a prism of scandal and offense, the entire world becomes scandalous and offensive.

            • I made an honest observation, you however made “sides”. Who is making the entire world scandalous and offensive CQ?

      • The text is written accurately. The phrase used is “. . . Archbishops Kyrill (ROCOR), Benjamin (OCA) and Justinian (MP). . .” The plural form of “Archbishop” encompasses the list of three names, as per established English usage. Compare, for example, the phrase “SS. Cyril and Methodius entered the country via . . .” One would not redundantly write “St.” in front of the name “Methodius”. No need to be worrying about this.

        • I agree, they did refer to Archbishop Benjamin properly. People, let us stick to the facts, and not get hung up on speculation. It costs us all in credibility when people get carried away like this.

        • Thanks Antonia!

  4. There’s no indication that Archbishop Benjamin and Archbishop Cyril are participating, but they probably are. If they felt like not putting Archbishop Benjamin or Archbishop Cyril in the press release,why assume they were not invited?

    • Lil Ole Housewife says

      Dear Vladika,’

      To which press release do you refer? You might be interested in the August choir notes which also includes the event to occur at Fort Ross:


      I am hoping that one day I will be blessed to visit San Francisco and see both cathedrals ROCOR and OCA and the relics of Saint John Maximovich.of Shanghai and America.

      Are you expecting to attend the wonderful event at Fort Ross? If so, would you please report back to the weblog on the bicentennial events?

      • Lil Ole Housewife; Thanks for the note and the link. No i won’t be attending any events at Fort Ross. Archbishop Benjamin made it very clear after I retired that he would prefer i not serve with him ever. I think the last time I served with him was here in L.A. when he ordained Deacon Yousuf Rassam to the Priesthood: after that, he sent me emails before visiting L.A. to inform me that he would prefer “as in previous years’ to serve by himself.” The worst thing a retired Bishop or pastor can do is to interfere, even if passively, in the governance of his successor. I often wish that I could somehow attend church services incognito. I have not lost my ear, my voic.e, or my ability to read music. How i’d love to join Vova Krassovsky’s choir sometimes for such events as the upcoming Dormition Feast!!!! But, well, even in my present position, which compares in a way to that of the Polish Government in Exile during wwII, especially here in “Occupied Los Angeles” (the occupation’s days are numbered, by the way), there’s no way I can escape “Eis polla eti,” and the rest of it. I never performed weddings after becoming a Bishop: Why should the bride on HER day (I’m speaking as an American Orthodox here) have to put up with 3×3 censings, and Eis Polla eti depota and eiscopal mantiyas and chotkis flying about? At least in not serving, I don’t have to worry about violating my conscience in commemorating this or that instance during the services! If you knew me personally, you’d understand how the joy of serving in Church is, due to my sinfulness, greatly lessened by the remembrance that Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick is, in what should b the absolutely peaking years of his priesthood, prevented from serving at all. Who am I to be serving, after all? I have my OCA pension and my health, and no one, no Chris Banescu, no Diogenes, no Wheelers or Stokoes posting here under pseudonyms, has been able to stick me with anything no matter how hotly they may desire it, while Father Rodion and, just as unfairly, Bishop Nikolai are subjected to spiritual assassination Christ’s sake!
        I used to dread hierarchical concelebrations at HTC in San Francisco: the Altar is barely large enough for ONE Hierarch with Priests and Deacons: When Bishop Anthony and I served together with Patriarch Alexi and Metropolitan Herman, it was very crowded. At Fort Ross, a concelebration is next to impossible unless done under the open sky!!! We don’t do that, ever.

        • Lil Ole Housewife says

          Dear Vladika,

          Is there anything preventing you from putting on an ordinary podrashnik , tying your hair back in a Greek knot and showing up as a pilgrim to sing in the choir? I have seen a couple of bishops do this in the past somewhere or another, some country or another

          I have seen Roman Catholics, not even catechumens, serve at the primatial cathedral, and I did so enjoy your little story about the choir director who invited a jewish friend to chant out west.

          Why shouldn’t our choirs be enhanced by those who know the music, know the rubrics and want to donate their skills to the church in retirement? Father Rodion has a good voice, for that matter.

          • Monk James says

            Lil Ole Housewife says (August 19, 2012 at 10:13 pm):

            ‘Why shouldn’t our choirs be enhanced by those who know the music, know the rubrics and want to donate their skills to the church in retirement? Father Rodion has a good voice, for that matter.’


            The singers, no more and no less than the acolytes, readers, deacons and priests, are sacred ministers and as such should be in full communion with the people they lead in prayer.

            We can’t hire non-christian or even heteroodox christian people to perform liturgical functions for us no matter how good they might be at it, or even if they’d serve gratis.

            Orthodox Christians can, of course, serve appropriately when invited.

            • Lil Ole Housewife says

              Dear Monk James,

              my 2st paragraph had to do with a suggestion. My second paragraph referred to a previous discussion by Bishop Tikhon concerning the scandal of non Orthodox singing in our choirs. I was letting him know that the situation is not unique. I think we should be vigilent. We shouldn’t have choir directors that are not Orthodox, nor should we have non-ordained readers, especially in vestments, from other faiths. Metropolitan Jonah actually cleaned up the primatial cathedral of such long term practices during his tenure.My third paragraph referred only to Orthodox CHristians with the requisite talents.

              Personally, I would rather hear an entire congregation sing somewhat on key the ordinary melodies, in harmony or not, than enjoy a concert choir in a nave and endure clapping for the same.

              Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Listen to the wonderful monks of Simonapetra Monastery on Athos:


              • LOH says, “Personally, I would rather hear an entire congregation sing somewhat on key the ordinary melodies, in harmony or not, than enjoy a concert choir in a nave and endure clapping for the same.”

                Congregational singing, IMO, should be strongly encouraged. My parish has used congregational singing since it was founded over 20 years ago. I’m certain it’s one of the reasons the parish has grown by leaps and bounds.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  I can assure you Anne, that that is very much the case.

                • Lil Ole Housewife says

                  Dear Anne,

                  Your parish sounds great. Near D.C?

                  The link for the music I gave was wrong

                  Here are two videos of Psalm 150, one in Slavonic, maybe Valaam chant, other in Greek:



                • I was blessed to be able to visit the MP Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Cross in Uzhgorod Ukraine a few years back. Being in the heart of “Carpatho-Rus” all of the hymns were unique to that area, and all the singing was congregational (though they may have had a main choir to get them all going). It was one of the most beautiful services I’ve ever been to, what with over 1,000 people singing in union, it was very powerful.

          • Archbishop Dmitri, of blessed memory, in his last years often sang in the choir at the OCA cathedral in Dallas when he wasn’t serving. He slipped in without fanfare, lending his baritone voice to the singing. Except for the censing and when he entered the altar to receive the Eucharist, you wouldn’t have known he was there. It brought him great joy to sing.

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          Invisible cloak, Your Grace?

        • Jane Rachel says

          Did anyone else catch Vladyka’s “by the way”?

          “…especially here in “Occupied Los Angeles” (the occupation’s days are numbered, by the way),”

          I’m not sure what he means, maybe he will tell us, but in any case, is there hope that at long last the light at the end of the long, dark tunnel is coming into view?

  5. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    Yes, and what is the proper canonical term for “snub”?

    • Ronda Wintheiser says

      Two weeks ago, after Divine Liturgy and from the amvon our priest addressed the question of why the OCA had not been commemorated in that Liturgy wherever it was, shortly after Metropolitan JONAH’s ouster…

      He said that the only reason for it was that the OCA does not have a Metropolitan and had nothing whatsoever to do with “snubbing” the OCA.

      I haven’t been able to keep up with everything here for the past couple of weeks, so maybe the answer is already here somewhere in this mountainous blog… But I’ve been wondering what all ya’ll would say to that…

      • Michael Bauman says

        Ronda, it has been suggested by knowledgable folk that even without a Metropolitan it is customary to comemorate the locum tenans.

      • Ronda, that’s what Archdeacon Kirill said, although His Grace, Bishop Tikhon seemed to think it was very unusual to exclude a church from the proclamation of the Diptychs simply because its primatial see has a locum tenens.

        I have considered that both might be right – that the Moscow Patriarchate does not intend to exclude the OCA permanently at this point, but thought the OCA bishops could use a kick in the pants to show them where they are headed if they don’t clean up their act.

        The original plan was to kill time until 2014 by setting up rotating locum tenentes for the Metropolitan See. But after that trip to Kiev – in which they assured us all was fine with Moscow – yet they suddenly had to have an emergency face-to-face meeting of all the OCA bishops. At which point, the bishops were of “one mind” that the special electoral AAC ought to be held as soon as possible. That tells me they are desperate to establish a new Metropolitan ASAP to try to rebuild the OCA’s reputation.

    • Lil Ole Housewife says

      Dear Patrick,

      The proper term is called “shunning”, which can get imposed by a Synod.under certain circumstances instead of or in addition to excommunication. I do not know the canonical mechanism for shunning a clergy member for a time. I read, however, that shunning by Orthodox Christian laity was discouraged, along with bride stealing and other uncanonical local usage, in the Code of Lek Dragutin, under Skenderbeg, but my memory may be faulty.

      Is the GOARCH still shunning the OCA? I had the feeling under Jonah that concelebrations and Pan Orthodox events increased widely, although the same did not begin in his metropolitanate. For example, the OCL used to have on their website a rather negative history of the OCA and yet was going to, until recent events, have Jonah as the keynote speaker for the important 25th year celebration in D.C.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Lil Ole, yet another unforeseen consequence of the illegal ouster of Jonah. Yes, under His Beatitude, the OCA was rapidly healing its estrangement within the Orthodox world. Indeed, His Holiness Bartholomew sent strong signals of cooperation and encouragement because of Jonah.

        Sigh. We can look forward to the remainder of our sad existence with a well-deserved contempt if now outright wood-sheddery.

        • There you go again, George, upsetting the wisdom of the day! You oppose the Authorized Doctrines about Autocephaly and stand them on their heads. Perhaps Patriarch Bartholomew actually appreciated hearing a high-ranking hierarch speaking the unvarnished truth. He must get sick of the regular conventionalities sometimes!

        • Bruce Wm. Trakas says

          Would you provide example(s) of Patriarch Barthomew’s “strong support signals of cooperation and encouragement because of +Jonah?” I never saw anything of such support. Didn’t the Ecumenical Patriarchate cancel Metropolitan Jonah’s scheduled visit to The Phanar after +Jonah’s infamous talk following Vespers in Texas, early in his primatial tenure? In fact, it was reported that His All Holiness did not favor seating the OCA hierarchs in the North & Central American Episcopal Assembly, insisting that the OCA renounce its autocephaly and submit to the Patriarchate of Moscow; however, Archbishop Demetrios of America took issue with the Patriarch’s position (a valiant action given the absolutist administrative understanding of his office this Patriarch demonstrates) and facilitated the seating of the OCA within the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North & Central America (ACOB).

          • George Michalopulos says

            Yes: during HB’s recent trip to Great Britain, he was feted by the Greek Archbishop (Gregory) and given a blessing by HH to visit the famous monastery of St John the Forerunner in Essex, England. In Orthodox diplo-speak, these are significant events. Oh, I forgot, he sent Metropolitan Kallistos Ware of England to serve liturgy with him at St Nicholas late last year.

      • Bruce Wm. Trakas says

        The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America does not and has not shunned the OCA. It maintains loving relations with the hierarchy, priests, and laity, and respects the spirituality of the OCA and the OCA’s historic contributions to Orthodox Christianity’s witness on this continent. While the GOAA does not accept the OCA’s status as autocephaphalos, as a sister among the Holy Orthodox Churches, it does consider it a canonical, self-governing church, just not a sister among the Holy Orthoox Church.

        There is a problem of several years duration in the area of the GOAA’s Metropolis of Boston because Metropolitan Methodios of Boston disputes the OCA’s ability to use its “of Boston,” for the bishop of the Albanian Archiocese, and His Eminance has asked his priests to “refarain from relations.” That shouldn’t be allowed by the Holy Eparchial (Provincial) Synod or the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops. I have not seen that his matter has been resloved, unfortunately.

        • George Michalopulos says

          “Loving”? You’re sure about that?

          • Bruce Wm. Trakas says

            Yes, George, the hierarchs and priests respect and love each other, and rise above the dispute over “autocephaly,” having spoken with bishops of the GOAA and the OCA about this topic. I also live in an area where there are 25 (or so) ACOB parishes, including several OCA parishes and several GOAA parishes, the relations among all the clergy within the Council of Orthodox Clergy, are exemplary, what they should be among Orthodox clergy. Our local IOCC Chapter is represented by all the parishes, deacons, priests and laity; its annual banquet is attended by all the parishes, it frequently occurs during Pascal tide and we chant “Christ is Risen” in the various tongs of our Eastern Orthodoxy. We also have a homeless shelter which most of the clergy and parishes support financially along with volunteer time by parish youth groups and adults. Many of the priests rotate celebration of the Divine Services at this shelter and at a local monastery. Year round, we sponsor several joint church services for various purposes, which could be much better attended by the laity, but are never-the-less supported by most of the clergy. Usually, when a guest spaeker, often a bishop, celebrates the joint commemoration of the Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers, a retreat is attended the next day by nearly all of the clergy. There are a few priests whose participation is limited, but that is a function of their individual personal commitments, rather than any dispute due to jurisdictional differences. There are also cross jurisdictional substitutions among neighboring parishes during clergy vacations. Often, neighboring priests will celebrate services honoring the patronal feast of another parish. Last year, an OCA priest who had visited the site of St. Demetrios’ relics in Thessalonica, brought holy oil that had exuded from the saint to the Vespers for the patronal feast of the St. Demetrios GOAA Parish. This past year one of our long time OCA priests retired and his retirement banquet had a small pan-Orthodox representation; the Council of Orthodox Clergy President of the GOAA was seated at the head table and spoke just before the OCA Bishop spoke. In my GOAA parish our Liturgical Assistant Priest is in the Antiochian Archdiocese, his predecessor was in ACROD, and a neighboring OCA deacon substitutes if one of our priests is absent for some reason. And it is not just the current group of priests; I’ve watched this type of activity over the past 45 years (+/-). Frankly, the clergy association was more active prior to this period, mostly due to the extraordinary efforts of a Romanian/Metropolia (later OCA) Priest, who edited a local newspaper. There was also a pan-Orthodox credit union in that era, but state bank regulation changes made that endeavor no longer feasible. There is an active Eastern Orthodox Womens Guild, too. I’ve heard the priests jest among themselves about disputes between their superior church authorities, like during a joint Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers, the GOAA priest who was hosting the service, kidded the OCA priests about their participation during the year in the mid-’90’s that Patriarch Alexei II had suspended Communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch, which brought laughs from all the priests; (I know, the OCA doesn’t have a superior church authority, but the joke was made and laughed about by all). And I’ve seen these priest relationships endure, a few years back, a local OCA priest flew out West with his matushka to co-celebrate the wedding of the daughter of a GOAA priest who had been transferred from the area 25 years earlier…

            • George Michalopulos says

              we’re talking about two different things here. You’re talking about relations between the people which you state are good. Good! I’m glad. I think so as well.

              What I’m talking about is at the hierarchical –and most especially–at the primatial level. You’ve got to understand, now that the OCA has turned out yet another bishop on to the street for no good reason, suddenly, it’s a different game. The bishops of ACOB now have skin in the game. They are NOT going to subject themselves to such arbitrary action. Mark my words: the ouster of Jonah put so much sand in the gears of American unification that the ONLY way that it is going to happen now is when Moscow and C’pole cobble together something for us.

              And it ain’t gonna be pretty.

              More importantly, we in the OCA won’t have any room to argue with the outcome as we brought it on ourselves.

              • Bruce Wm. Trakas says

                Umm, ok, maybe, I can’t argue with this, but I wouldn’t say either way. Aren’t they just as vulnerable to arbitrary actions from abroad, though, too? Look at Archbishop Iakovos’ forced retirement. For that matter, look at Archbishop Spyridon’s “retirement” or “transfer,” whatever it was. And I think Patriarch Bartholomew attempted to set up a scenario to “retire” Archbishop Demetrios a while ago too, which Archdiocesan Council Vice Chairman Michael Jaharis was able to stymie, at least Kalmoukos wrote something about such a scenario. Not-with-standing canons, I don’t know that they’re anymore secure whether they’re within an American Church that is locally governed or an eparchy that is overseen from abroad.

                As to the OCA’s future, I suppose there will be a substantial dependence on the nature of relationships the next primate will be able to foster, within the Holy Synod; among the OCA’s leadership especially with members of the Metropolitan Council; and the parish clergy and laity; among the ACOB hierarchs; and abroad, especially with the Patriarchate of Moscow and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

  6. The OCA DOW calendar says Bishop Benjamin wlll be at Fort Ross on Saturday.

    George, you might want to review 1 Corinthians 13, this part seems apropos “4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

    Ensuring that we all understand as true something that is not demonstrably true, and as a snub something that need not be understood as a snub would appear contradictory to scripture.

    • George Michalopulos says

      CQ, I wonder if the episcopate of the OCA kept “no record of wrongs.”

      • I wonder what your point has to do with mine?

        Does the real or imagined behavior of “the episcopate of the OCA” justify your own? IF someone else is acting in bad faith does that justify our own acting in bad faith? IF someone else is lying, does that justify our own false witness?

        • George Michalopulos says

          No, of course not. What “false witness” or “bad faith” are you accusing me of?

          • The questions are for all of us. Does what we perceive as error on the part of another justify our own?

            But since you’ve asked for specifics: You continue to bear false witness in your uncorrected declaration that “the OCA was not invited” to Fort Ross. This is simply, flatly, incontrovertably untrue. It is also untrue that Archbishop Benjamin is not going to attend, also untrue that the ROC has declined to recognize Archbishop Benjamin’s proper title. Statements to these effects, some of which you’ve made, others of which you’ve agreed with, are all false witness. Every. One. Of. Them.

            Everyone errs. Those who care about the truth correct their errors when they are pointed out and repent of them, those who act with reckless disregard for the truth do not. You have not corrected one error of fact in any portion of this post, and in fact have amplified many.

            Bad faith starts with a disregard for the truth. Bad faith is evident when facts are twisted to support one’s thesis. In this case your thesis is that the ROC now actively disdains everything about the OCA. Indeed, you have declared every false statement listed above as proof of the truth of your theory.

            False witness and bad faith are both proper terms for the processes at work in this thread.

        • Mike Myers says

          CQ, I feel your pain. Welcome to Michalopulosworld, where love means never having to say you’re sorry. No matter how patently baseless and/or debunked the mischievous bloviations may be. Par for the course in this joint. Enjoy!

          • George Michalopulos says

            Welcome to my world! Where for the price of admission I only ask for evidence of things I actually said rather than things you accused me of saying. Come one, come all!

            • Mike Myers says

              George, your post above asserts in the passive declarative voice that “the OCA was not invited” to the Fort Ross bicentennial. But that’s flatly false. More than a few of your correspondents have demonstrated the falsity of this claim with irrefutable evidence from many sources that on the contrary, the OCA and AB Benjamin were not overlooked but specifically included in other announcements and descriptions.

              Until now you’ve ignored this completely. You don’t update your post to retract your deceitful implication that the wording in just one announcement adequately supports your assertion. The intention of your post appears to be to deceive, or at best to stir up suspicion and discontent. How can you not see this? What is your glitch with respect to the most elementary honesty and accountability? Who do you think you are?

              • George Michalopulos says

                Mike, I vividly remember the earlier invitation to the Ft Ross celebration. The OCA was front and center and Jonah was the first-named host/celebrant.

                • George, what you poased above is the schedule for a visit of Metropolitan Hilarion to the United States. The subject of the release is Metropolitan Hilarion’s schedule. The subject is not Fort Ross, the celebrations at Fort Ross, or an invitation to be at Fort Ross.

                  That Fort Ross is headlined as the big event that the Metropolitan will be attending is understandable, but the release of the Metropolitan’s schedule does not amount to any revisiting of the event itself.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Good point, CQ. Still, the noticable absence of the OCA from the ROC/External Affairs website is –how shall we put it?–curious.

                • Mike Myers says

                  The OCA is sans Met. now. Therefore it is hard to imagine how announcements about the celebration posted since his resignation could feature Jonah “front and center.” You’re just stirring up trouble as usual, affixing the worst possible interpretation upon the results of your arbitrary inspections of various internet entrails, with malice aforethought in respect to the Holy Synod. This is your MO. Everyone who sees straight is clear on that.

                  Another specific case in point: Colette carelessly misread this following text from another announcement, where the convention of beginning a list of hierarchs of the same rank with a plural title, in this case, “Archbishops,” is used merely to avoid redundant use of the title before each name, and not to send a signal of MP’s alleged displeasure with OCA episcopal “aggrandizement,” obviously. What is your glitch??

                  Collette wrote:

                  “It is anticipated that First Hierarch of ROCOR, Metropolitan Hilarion, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk (MP) and others, including Archbishops Kyrill (ROCOR), Benjamin (OCA) and Justinian (MP) will concelebrate. Archbishop Kyrill has also invited Bishop Peter of Cleveland”

                  I just wondered because there is no “+” or “bishop” or titles in front of our man “Benjamin” . . . .”

                  You replied:

                  “good catch Collette. I guess that in addition to our autocephaly, Moscow will studiously ignore the recent childish aggrandizement in titles.”

                  • I carelessly misread?? No I didn’t know that was how to read it? Again you use fighting words?
                    Perhaps George didn’t know either? Why are you making a mountain out of a molehill?? Relax.

        • Michael Bauman says

          And thus Uncle Wormwood shows his ugly head again intent on devouring another of his kindred in order to make the place more ‘pure’.

          CQ, find another way to express your beliefs and feelings, a way that is positive and uplifting rather than tearing down the house.

          George, you too. Don’t answer meaness with meaness.

          • The facts matter, Michael. Facts are not matters of “beliefs or feelings,” they exist regardless of our beliefs and feelings.

            The OCA has been invited to Fort Ross. Archbishop Benjamin will be rerpesenting the OCA there. The ROC is not treating Archbishop Benjamin any differently than its own Archbisohp Justinian in its press release. As these are the facts there is no “snub” and this entire thread is moot.

            We cannot defend the truth by bearing false witness and acting in bad faith, even if the enemies of the truth are doing those very same things and seem to be “winning.” This is the lesson of the Cross, is it not?

            • George Michalopulos says

              CQ, please note, this press release came from the Russian Orthodox Church’s Dept of External Relations. If there was an oversight, the OCA’s Dept of External Relations can take it up with them.

              • I “note” a standard press release about Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk’s schedule put out by his office.

                In this release we learn “at the invitation of Metropolitan Hilarion of New York and Eastern America, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia” and “with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia” “Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations,” will be at various and sundry events over a six day period.

                Those are the facts, George, and they do not support your narrative at all.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Who’s doing the inviting CQ? Would you please answer me that question? Then we’ll get to the next question.

                  • Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk was invited by Metropolitan Hilarion of New York and Eastern America. It’s right there in the press release.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Good! Now let’s go to the next question: by what right does ROCOR have to invite a foreign bishop to the canonical territory of another church?

                    • Mike Myers says

                      OK, then by what right did ROCOR invite a foreign bishop beforewhen Jonah was the Metropolitan? Were they trying to humiliate Jonah?

                      As usual, your logic is faulty. So what was your point, again? You appear once again to be ahoist by your own petard. What else is new.

                      You need a guide dog, George. To vet your own posts before you discredit yourself further, if that were even possible.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Mike, Ft Ross is a significant event. It’s not just a place, it’s a symbol. And it’s in the canonical territory of the DOW. If anybody should be doing the inviting it should be Bp (soon to be Metropolitan) Benjamin.

                    • Mike M seems to have a fantastic memory.
                      But can he “put 2 & 2 together”?

                    • …by what right does ROCOR have to invite a foreign bishop to the canonical territory of another church?

                      Which other church?

                      Fort Ross is within the canonical territory of Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco (of the GOA), Archbishop Joseph of Los Angeles and the West (of the AOC), Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America (of the ROCOR), The Right Reverend Bishop Maxim Bishop of the Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America, and Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West (of the OCA).

                      The State of California has not ceded canonical authority over Fort Ross State HIstoric Park to any Orthodox jurisdiction.

                      Now all those overlapping jurisdictions are un-canonical, but to single out the ROCOR as being in particular violation of “another church” because it dared to invite a “foreign bishop” to a State Park’s celebrations is as factually challenged as the rest of your post here.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      CQ, if the OCA is autocephalous, then those other episcopates exist by its sufference. That’s what Schmemann believed and if we accept the historiography of the Russian experience, then that is why he could posit such a bold statement.

                      All, you must understand what Ft Ross means. It is not merely a place, but the symbol (after Alaska) of the first, canonical Orthodox mission. This mission originated and was directed by Russia. The EP/Greek school of thought diverges from this. Matthew Namee and his SOCHA have taken to championing a “middle path” so to speak, one that is “more complex” than either Russians or Greeks.

                      The fact of Ft Ross preceded Holy Trinity in New Orleans by 52 years is a magnificent nail in the coffin of the Constantinopolitan claim, hence their hasty dusting off of Canon 28 (of Chalcedon). Things are so desperate for the Constantinopolitan primacists that they’re often driven to desperate measures such as claiming that the New Smyrna Colony was the origin of Greek Orthodoxy (it wasn’t, they were Uniates for the most part and they became extinct) and even claiming that an archaeological find in Connecticut (I believe) showed that Byzantine monks settled in that area in the 8th century (!). Others claim the New World because of the alleged voyage of St Brendan the Navigator (6th century) and the proven one of Leif Erickson in AD 1000.

                      Clearly such fanciful longings are signs of wanting to ignore at all costs the reality of the Sitka Mission and Ft Ross. The historiography matters only to the extent that it reflects reality (ideally) and its real-world repurcussions (pragmatically).

                      I’m gonna go on a limb here: if I’m reading the tea leaves right, Russia is not only pressing its claim as the originator of American Orthodoxy, it’s claiming that the successor of that legacy is ROCOR (something they’ve always believed anyway). Furthermore, the fact that ROCOR is now part of Moscow, means that Moscow is very seriously interested in directing traffic here in America (so to speak).

                      This is a slap in the face to the OCA, no doubt about it. Will Moscow then pull the plug? I doubt it, they’re in it for the long game. If the OCA straightens up its act, then Moscow has lost nothing with these diplomatic signals. If however it continues to implode, then it’s no loss as they’ve already got their agent-in-place. In other words, it’s a win-win for Moscow.

                    • Mike Myers says

                      “. . . it’s in the canonical territory of the DOW. If anybody should be doing the inviting it should be Bp (soon to be Metropolitan) Benjamin.”

                      I understand this. Honestly, I don’t want to intrude onto chatter about this particular tempest in a teapot. It isn’t any of my business, and I shouldn’t even have commented. My only dog in the hunt here is what I see as your often questionable tactics in discourse. Someone once spoke ironically of people who lie (and cheat) with a clear conscience, because it’s “for a ‘good’ cause.” That’s a very dangerous policy, and a slippery slope. Good causes don’t need propping up by lies and distortions or rhetorical sleight of hand.

                    • So see how far you’ve come to justify your theory that the OCA was snubbed.

                      First you claim the OCA was not invited to Fort Ross, a claim you allow to stand uncorrected: proven False
                      You also claim that this is due to the actions of the OCA’s Holy Synod: the OCA is invited, so this cannot be true..
                      You also claim that the routine publication of a heirarch’s travel schedule is proof of all this: a misreading of the press release by any standard.

                      Now you’ve entirely changed your tune. Now it’s all about the OCA’s autocephaly and the violation thereof by the uncannonical conditions here in America, which means we should declare the OCA to be “snubbed” every time any other jurisidiction does anything without OCA approval. Wow, talk about looking for offense to take!

                      And what you haven’t done? You haven’t corrected a single error of fact, nor acknowledged that pretty much every word you wrote at the inception of this thread is false.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      CQ, you are right to point out that the OCA wasn’t invited. I made a mistake there. Everything else though –based on the MP’s press release–speaks major snub. And let’s not ever forget, according to Schmemann, North America is the canonical territory of the OCA. Period. To believe otherwise one would have to engage in mental gymnastics that would exasperate a sophist.

                    • George, the OCA was invited. Archbishop Benjamin will be at Fort Ross. What does it mean that you persist in error even as you appear to acknowledge error?

                      Taking a standard press release of a Metropolitan’s schedule as a snub is to go out of one’s way to take offense. The plain reading of the release is that the Metropolitan was invited to a range of events over a series of days by the head of the ROCOR in America, of which the Fort Ross Celebration is most promiment but only one, and was blessed to attend that range of events by his Patriarch. This simply is not what you claim it to be, it’s not even a minor oversight, much less a “major snub.”

                      As for the rest: In the wake of the May 2010 Episcopal Assembly in North America for which the EP failed to prevent the OCAs attendance, but succeeded in preventing the OCA from taking any leadership role, Metropolitan Jonah both acknowledged the slights and declared that the OCA would not play according to the world’s rules on such things and act aggrieved, but rather would humbly and prayerfully accept every slight for Christ as we work together with our brothers and sisters in faith towards a solution to the uncanonical conditions here in North America.

                      You declare the Metropolitan’s position to be “mental gymnastics tthat would exasperate a sophist.”

                      This all make me very sad for you, George.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      CQ, please re-read your third paragraph carefully. I think you will find the answer to your question.

                      As for “feeling sad for me,” I’m rather a happy camper all things considered. I do need to exercize more.

                    • So let’s get this straight:

                      Because the EP really did snub the OCA, and because Metropolitan Jonah responded to that very real snub in a way you claim would “exasperate a sophist,” therefore the ROCOR and ROC must have intended offense via a routine press release about a travel schedule, and we should react worse than Metropolitan Jonah did when confronted with an intentional snub from the EP.

                      In essence, when real offense is given we should act like Christ on the Cross, but when no offense is given we should make our taking of offense clear.

                      I can’t find that in the Scriptures, in the Councils, in the Canons or the Fathers. Can you?

                    • fatherpep@gmail.com says

                      Who cares?
                      On a more important question, who is baking the prosforo for this Sunday?

                  • BTW: Fort Ross is a California State Park. It has been preserved and maintained by the State of California for many decades now. All of the 200th Anniversary celebrations are hosted by the State of California through the Fort Ross State Park’s offices. This is from the Park’s online calendar, located at http://www.fortrossstatepark.org/2012BigPicture120211.html:

                    August 25 Concelebrating of Russian Orthodoxy at Holy Trinity – St. Nicholas Fort Ross Chapel with the Patriarchal Church, Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, Orthodox Church in America. The Churches will also host a dedication ceremony to honor those who lived and died at Ross Colony and to dedicate the new interpretive panels to be placed at the cemetery.

  7. Kathy Erickson says

    This is so symptomatic of this website. It is full of innuendo and assertions based on prejudice and faulty or completely absent investigation. All you have to do is look at the Diocese of the West website at Archbishop Benjamin’s calendar to see he will be attending the celebration at Fort Ross on August 25. What is so sad about this website is that from all appearances you actually want the OCA to be snubbed because it will then justify the vicious and perhaps slanderous remarks that have been made against the Holy Synod of Bishops and the Metropolitan Council. You would have us believe that the entire synod and the Metropolitan Council conspired together against Metropolitan Jonah. Has the entire synod and the Council ever unanimously agreed to anything before? THERE WAS NO CONSPIRACY! A decision was made for the good of the church based on Metropolitan Jonah’s past behavior and failure to correct his mistakes. That is all that happened. It is sad and no one rejoices.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Actually, Kathy, there was a conspiracy. The Synod had met at least twice in the past year or so (possibly three times) without the knowledge and (it would stand to reason) of His Beatitude. That by definition is a conspiracy.

      And that’s just on the synodal level. Another conspiracy existed which was orchestrated by laymen, priests, and a deacon and four bishops were named. This was in the infamous email which was leaked on the Orthodox Forum. In it, the conspirators planned exactly how they were going to get rid of Jonah –the good old Rodzianko treatment.

      A wise man once said, “none is so ignorant as those who willfully will not believe.”

      • George M.

        Do you think it might be useful to put out a piece which outlines the events from the beginning with links to the supporting documents that are available to date? Something like a bullet list in the form of a time line? X sends Y email: focus -> derail +Jonah via slander (substance abuse) [as a possibility, let’s say] to help facilitate the discussions? As time goes on, and more people are joining the discussion, details are getting muddled and confused and that is working against a resolution of the issues, not helping them. It seems important to understand how events unfolded so people can discuss them in their appropriate context and perspective.

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          Yes, please! I’ve been trying to explain this to an Orthodox friend what’s going on. He’s appalled, but is very exasperated by the vagueness of some of the details. A timeline with solid facts is desperately needed.

      • Kathy,

        The OCA synod met in direct violation of the canons on at least three occasions, if not more, without the knowledge or blessing of Met. Jonah. This does not count the emails and phone conversations between individual members of the synod with the Syosset staff and MC members as they manuvered and plotted how to isolate and then eliminate +Jonah as Metropolitan.

        This has been in the offing since 2010. There were signs, as George reminds you, the emails of MC members to use the “crazy” card against +Jonah as they did with Bp. Basil Rodzianko. Can you explain that one away Kathy or do you just overlook it.

        And what are we say about the ugly behavior of +Benjamin? The synod blocked +Jonah’s rightful attempt to investigate +Benjamin over the accusations by +Nikolai. Remember dear Kathy that hard drive will all that evidence of +Benjamin’s internet activity still exists. It would have been part of the investigation of +Benjamin, but in the current OCA synod’s attempts to coverup each other’s sins, +Benjamin simply said that +Nikolai was a disgrunteled former bishop. Sounds familiar doesn’t it when Wheeler was called the same thing. But in the new OCA those who are “in” can define who is disgruntled and who is not.

        +Benjamin’s DUI is not speculation nor is disgraceful behavior after he was arrested. The hard drive is not a fiction or is the death of Mr. Solak in Alaska when he was living in the same house with Benjamin. Yet, this is the man who now is calling many of the shots on the synod and who has the support of both Jillions and Tosi to be the next Metropolitan.

        You are free to have your opinions about +Benjamin, but so are others. It is not pretty and Met. Herman was correct in that he wanted +Benjamin deposed for his DUI arrest and behavior. One can only wonder where we would be today if his hand was not stayed by Bishop Tikhon or Nikolai or Fr. Kondratick, three men who later faced the wrath of the one they helped be given another chance, and then another. But for them and +Jonah, well, today’s Gospel might be a good reminder for you to consider. Even a not so careful reading can be applied to who +Benjamin is in that parable by our Lord.

        • +Benjamin’s definition of friends and enemies:

          “An enemy stabs you in the back,
          a friend will stab you in the chest.”

          +Jonah: “Heaven and hell start here and now, not after death.”

          We should not judge +Benjamin, we have to pray for him,
          but if we entrust the church into his hands,
          the entire church will be in hell. Here and now.

          • George Michalopulos says

            In reality, the election of Benjamin would be the best possible thing for American Orthodoxy in a perverse sort of way. It would make clear once and for all that the OCA is no longer a serious church and that our continued existence under the present corrupt Syosset/MC regime will make Orthodoxy unity in America impossible. Hence, his election would speed the day of the OCA’s impending implosion.

            • George M.

              I am hopeful that the OCA can be saved. I believe in miracles. I believe in the Resurrection.

              • Yes, I believe. We are called to believe, not only in God, but also in the Church. The Russian proverb says: “If the Church is not your Mother, God is not your Father.” This is why I hope that the OCA will not fall into the hands of +Benjamin. I disagree with George M., when he says, that “this is the best possible thing for American Orthodoxy”. This cannot be true!

                “You Didn’t Build That” We did not build the OCA.We inherited it from St. Innocent, St. Herman, St. Tikhon, and other Saints who put their labor and blood into this soil. Therefore, our fate is to protect this inheritance and preserve it for generations to come. Who are we to give it away to people like +BB? It will bring the OCA a speedy end, so we must protect it until the very last bullet. Both my grandparents were pilots during WWII. I know how vehemently the Russian people defended each meter of Russian land. Elder Kiril Pavlov was an example. He remained up until the very last moment, defending the town, even while the Germans were already occupying it. Pavlov’s House became a symbol of the incredibly stubborn and dogged resistance of the Russian forces during the Battle of Stalingrad. Here is a link to wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavlov%27s_House After the WWII Sgt. Pavlov became a monk, an elder, and the spiritual father of Patriarch Alexei II. We are still blessed to have many bullets in our armory. We have good lawyers, who won’t betray us. We need to file a case from laity against +Benjamin, and not only him. Time is a big issue here. The case should be ready before the next AAC. We have many supporters. It would be great to have a plan of action (picketing) during the AAC. If it’s God’s will, +Jonah will be restored as Metropolitan.

                One thing concerns me: people look at this problem with bias, due to their personal situation, and, if for some reason it’s not profitable for them to support Metropolitan Jonah, they create an allegation that proves their ignorance.

                When HB was an abbot of the Monastery of St. John, they worked on translations of various spiritual literature. This is how “The Divine Ascent” was created. One of their big translation projects was dedicated to the life of Archbishop Luke (Voino-Yasenetsky). http://orthodoxwiki.org/Luke_%28Voino-Yasenetsky%29_of_Simferopol_and_Crimea Archbishop Luke was both a medical doctor (sergeant) and a priest. When his wife died, he had to take care of four children. In a little while, he was taken to the concentration camp (for 16 years!) and his children were left alone with their nanny, one of Archbishop Luke’s medical nurses/assistants. His letter, which he wrote on his way to the concentration camp is an example of faith and trust in the Divine providence. He says: “If I betray Christ, and if I give up my faith, how can I possibly hope that my children will become good people?” So he put his trust into God, and God did not put his hope to shame. All saints put all their personal matters into God’s hands, and care about one thing, which is needful. “I am not a saint”– one will reply. Oh, yes, I know this expression! But nobody requests from us as much, as it was required from St. Luke or elder Kirill Pavlov. However, if we put our secular profit first and all religious, spiritual, and moral principals second, how can Orthodoxy survive? No doubt, at some point, the church will be betrayed and lost forever.

                At the critical point, we need to support the truth with our own voice.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Veronica, very inspirational. I of course will continue to fight and am intrigued by your comment of some type of legal action. Having said that, it might very well be God’s will that a corrupt man (not necessarily Benjamin) be elected Metropolitan in order to bring to a hasty end the OCA. I’d lilke to think I’m wrong here (and I hope I am) but the OCA as presently self-understood by the “we’re better than everybody else crowd” have no way to go but down. Short of repentance of course.

                  That’s the catch-22: real repentance would cause them to restore Jonah and prostrate before him wearing sackloth.

                  • If the majority of the OCA is “we’re better than everybody else crowd,” this doesn’t mean that the OCA deserves a hasty end. Not at all. This means that people have not discovered the most beautiful part of Orthodoxy yet. It will come to them through the Jesus Prayer, through fasting, and through inner silence. Once one person in a “crowd” feels the grace of the Holy Spirit, he changes the attitude of the whole crowd. This is the beginning of repentance. People won’t repent until their hear “a still small voice.” (3 Kings 19:11-12). As St. Silouan the Athonite said: “The grace of the Holy Spirit is very sweet and pleasant, and once you feel it, you will never forget it.” This is the Gospel teaching about a mustard seed. The smallest thing can change us all. This is the teaching of the Holy Fathers, and the teaching of Metropolitan Jonah, which the American land is still about to hear, since his mission was cut violently at the very beginning.

                    Metropolitan Jonah is is not an administrator, but a teacher, and a spiritual leader. As the highest level of hierarchy, he is visible and audible for the whole world. He needs this God provided position for his mission, so as we need him to have this high position, if we respect the Christ’s command:

                    “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. …and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28, 18-20) Look how thirsty the world is for true spirituality! HB speech at the ACNA proves that he was at the beginning of an outstanding missionary work for all Christians of all denominations, including Episcopalians. (This is in direct relation to your next article “Love It, or List It”).

                    About administration; do you know who was an absolute genius administrator? It was Stalin, but God forbid the OCA to have such administrator. Although, it would be very appropriate, if after +Jonah’s resignation, the regime of the next Metropolitan will be Stalin-like. This would be a perfect lesson in humility, as well as a clarification, of what is good and bad for the church.

                  • Good points Veronica, the treatment of Metropolitan Jonah is the kind of treatment that will turn him into a SAINT like many others in the church who were slandered and castigated.

                    A clip from the life of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco:
                    “IN SAN FRANCISCO, WHOSE Cathedral of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow” parish is the largest in the Russian Church Abroad, a life-long friend of Vladika, Archbishop Tikhon, retired because of ill-health, and in his absence the construction of a great new cathedral came to a halt as a bitter dispute paralyzed the Russian community. In response to the urgent request of thousands of Russians in San Francisco who had known him in Shanghai, Archbishop John was sent by the Synod in 1962 as the only hierarch likely to restore peace in the divided community. He arrived at his last assignment as bishop twenty-eight years to the day after his first arrival in Shanghai: on the feast of the Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple, November 21, 1962.

                    Under Vladika’s guidance a measure of peace was restored, the paralysis of the community was ended, and the cathedral finished. Yet even in the role of peacemaker Vladika was attacked, and accusations and slanders were heaped upon his head. He was forced to appear in public court – in flagrant violation of church canons – to answer to preposterous charges of concealing financial dishonesty by the Parish Council. All involved were completely exonerated; but thus Vladika’s last years were filled with the bitterness of slander and persecution, to which he unfailingly replied without complaint, without judging anyone, with undisturbed peacefulness.”

                    As far as the next regime being Stalin-like, the present actions of the synod fit that description quite well with perhaps, one of them fitting the Stalin part quite well. Time will tell, but the future for the OCA doesn’t look good. I don’t where the “poor adminstrator” castigation comes from, I know him quite well as my former/first priest and as a very good administrator when he was running the monastery. Some say, “he had a messy desk’ which makes him a poor adminstrator; Blah, many good administrators have messy desks, mine is messy and my wife complains about it all of the time. As Metropolitan, he was supposed to have an ‘Administrative Staff’ who would help him with the day-to-day business and keeping a clean desk with the proper help would have been quite easy. But, instead, he had a bunch of incompetent, back-stabbing, snake-in-the-grass characters who wanted to nothing more than get someone into his place who would kiss their hindmost parts it appears. Every bishop in the OCA picks a chancellor who can help him administer the diocese that they are responsible for except in this case, the Metropolitan, who has to try to work with a chancellor that is forced on him and with whom he cannot work. No one, ABSOLUTELY NO ONE, would be to administer anything under the conditions that Syosset and the Synod forced upon Metropolitan Jonah.

            • Lil Ole Housewife says

              Dear George Michalopoulos,

              To which Orthodox jurisdiction do you belong?

              second question: Which Orthodox jurisdictions do you attend?

        • Nikos,

          What would need to happen? Just talking about it doesn’t seem to be doing anything.

          Apparently there needs to be a plan of action. A way of calling the Synod and MP into account. How can the faithful of the OCA do this? How do the faithful do this within the laws of the USA and within the canons of the Church? Anybody got some useful ideas?

    • Kathy Erickson. When summing up like this– “A decision was made,” can’t you see that that passive construction was used to avoid assigning responsibility to any person(s) in particular? No one wants the OCA to be snubbed, of course, but neither does anyone want injustices to be swept under the rug or ignored in the interests of justice. Admittedly, the blurb at the head of this thread jumps to a wrong conclusion, and it should not have been put up, especially after the preceding one about another time out. But this blurb, Kathy Erickson, is NOT typical of the site nor of George Michalopolos, and you are making a very hasty generalization. One who thinks as you seem to do might opine that you’ve been waiting for someone to stumble in order to condemn the whole effort. You seem to have not noticed that the so-called Statement of the Holy Synod ( which i have more than once identified as a STINKBOMB of a statement) does EXACTLY what you accuse conributors to Monomakhos of doing. Rather, Kathy, the sum of all the posts here outweighs that statement, in terms of religious, spiritual, ethical and Scriptural content, entirely. Your remarks, in fact, actually characterize that Statement much, much more than they characterize this site! Think it over. Everything you wrongly claim about this site applies to the Holy Synod’s statement. The Holy Synod, and NO ONE ELSE, elected Bishop Jonah to be Metropolitan,and there was overwhelming precedence for NOT following the mass of the people in the actions of previous Holy Synods/Sobors of Bishops. THEIR accusation against Metropolitan Jonah that he astounded and ‘bewildered” them said much more about them than it did about Metropolitan Jonah. Did you write to them, Kathy, with the same moralizing tone you used here? if not, why not? Where was what i imagine you call your “discernment” in the era of ocanews.org?
      Oh, and, Kathy Erickson, in your exoneration of Archbishop Benjamin, contrasting his behavior with that of a Priest accused, but not convicted, of sinning, you somehow did not address the case of ever-memorable Gregory Solak. I don’t see where ARchbishop Benjamin had any alternatives whatsoever, after being arrested and thrown in the drunk tank, ***on the record*****. The Hieromonk, Kathy Erickson cannot be compared with Archbishop Benjamin’s case at all. Where is the legal basis for condemning him, for proving the allegations against him. Was HE arrested for rape and thrown into prison for it? In fact, Kathy Erickson, you have only participated in this site before in order to put the best ;possible construction on Archbishop Benjamin’s behavior by comparing it to that of another in a way that comes perilously close to bearing false witness against your neighbor, the former chaplain of a convent. Pardon me, but it seemed a little sleazy.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Thank you Your Grace for defending me. Also for pointing out from the start that the used the “passive construction,” towit: “a decision was made.”

        This reminds much of what I don’t like about politicians who are caught in embarassing situations. They always aay, “mistakes were made,” or “bad judgment was used,” thereby deflecting responsibility.

      • phil r. upp says


        Why do you insistently bring up an episode regarding + Benjamin that happened many years ago? Do you enjoy trying to demean your brother bishops and OTHERS? What is wrong with you? And you wonder why they got rid of you.

    • Subdeacon David says

      “Conspiracy”…You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Conspiracy comes from conspire of course which means to plot, to agree in unison to ‘breath together’

        Seems to fit.

        • Sub-Deacon David says

          Alas, it was difficult to discern to whom I was responding given the formatting of comments. It was to Kathy Erickson’s post above and that “conspiracy” did not mean what she thought it to mean. I agree with Micahel Bauman’s assertion.

      • Well, don’t just tease us like that David! You tell us what conspiracy is, and then we’ll show you how the word is properly used since Santa Fe in characterizing the destruction of Metropolitan Jonah’s election.
        And I remember how careful ever-memorable Archbishop Dmitri was about the use of the functional titles of ‘Reader” and “Subdeacon as honorific “titles.” He said that he only applied titles to those who were communed in the Altar at the Altar table, as required by the Arkhieratikon, and NOT to those communed at the Holy Doors.

        • Denis Rukobludov says

          Not to mention all the priest’s wives that introduce themselves or sign off as ‘matushka’…

          • Denis Rukobludov says

            This comment merits a negative rating… why? The term ‘matushka’ is a term of endearment, not some title attained at the time of their husband’s ordination. It is the female equivalent to ‘batushka’…

            • Dear Denis,

              Speaking about Russian terms and words. Would you please consider changing your moniker? Some of us know enough Russian to understand what the “last name” of your moniker actually means…

              • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                Um, what does it mean, for those of us who only know “da” and “nyet”?

              • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

                I second the motion!

              • Yes, “Denis” should make up a new one. Neither “Wastrel-armed/handed” or “Dirty” Armed” (loosely translated) is a very auspicious CHOICE. Plus it’s awfully show-offy.

                • Your Grace, with all due respect, this is not what the word means. This “Last name” is a derivative from “rukobludie,” a synonym of “masturbation” in Russian.

                  • Sorry if I used euphemism. I didn’t dream you’d want to be outed. But what do I know?
                    The word “Rukobludov” doesn’t mean anything, really,. Yes rukobludie is the modern Russian word for masturbation: IOW “adultery by hand.’
                    The conclusion of my post, though, stands. It’s even been reinforced by the second message.
                    ‘Plus, it’s awfully show-offy.”

        • Your Grace,

          Thank you for clarifying that. I was not aware that it is not proper for me to use my title on this forum. Please forgive me for my ignorance. From now on I will post as only Benjamin, instead of Rdr. Benjamin.

          You learn something new every day I suppose.

          Under your prayer,

          • Monk James says

            Perhaps the confusion arises from thinking that ‘reader’ is a title rather than a responsibility, a ‘job description’, if you will, sort of like ‘editor’ or ‘office manager’. Such people would be addressed as ‘mister’, ‘miss’, etc., and introduce themselves as ‘Firstname Lastname’ and sign their letters as such.

            Apart from the three orders of ordained clergy, the use of a ‘title’ is an undesirable affectation, and a rather recent one at that, mostly (I think) informed by the stiff, archaizing style of English which afflicts many of our liturgical translations.

            It’s a little different with ‘monk/father/brother’ and ‘nun/mother/sister’, but that’s another story.

      • Subdeacon David

        I do not think it means what you think it means.

        The Princess Bride? “In-con-ssi-va-ble!!”

        Funny movie.

      • I love that movie!

    • I’m surprised nobody has commented on the irony of an Erickson criticizing Metropolitan Jonah.

  8. Week 6 (I think)
    No apologies from the synod for conspiring against and slandering Metropolitan Jonah.
    No requests from the synod for forgiveness.
    No repentance by the synod.
    No resignations from the synod.
    No tithes to the OCA from me.

  9. phil r. upp says

    Fools! The MP can’t make it’s own rules in territory that isn’t theirs – Canon Law. Not only was the OCA well informed of the goings on, but sanctioned it. + Benjamin will participate. George, you love to twist and turn things, don’t you?

    • George Michalopulos says

      “Canon law”?!? Surely you jest. What canon did the Synod and the other departments of the OCA follow that allowed them to conspire secretly against their Metropolitan?

    • phil up urs,

      Do you really think that this territory is the OCA’s? Really? Tell that to the Greeks, Serbs, Romanians, Bulgarians, Albanians, Ukrainains, Russians, Antiochians, etc. etc. etc. You are living in a dream world if you think that any of them consider the USA as the OCA’s exclusive territory just because they say they are autocephlous. Come on, that train left the station years ago.

      Remember all the Orthodox Churches agreed that North America is abnormal, hence we have the ACOB, even Russia. Unless you believe that unity can only come through the OCA. Is that what you are saying?

      • George Michalopulos says

        Niko, strictly speaking, the USA is the territory of the OCA, otherwise our autocephaly means nothing. In fact, it means less than nothing –it’s actually a mockery. Schmemann was right: the OCA allows the other jurisdictions to survive on its territory as an economia.

        This was all true as long as we had some moral authority and we actually preached the Gospel. We did that at one time. For all our faults, we were committed to this land and celebrated the divine services in English (and French, Spanish, Aleutiq), for the benefit of its people. Unlike the Greeks, Serbs, Bulgarians, etc., the OCA was not an ethnic nostalgia cult.

        Unfortunately, we have now thrown all that out the window. What the ROC is doing is showing that it acknowledges the fact that the OCA is by its uncanonical actions, uncanonical. It no longer recognizes the territorial claims of the Syosset Regime.

        • Denis Rukobludov says

          That the “OCA allows the other jurisdictions to survive on its territory as an economia” is quite laughable.

          • George Michalopulos says

            It may very well be, Dennis. However this is not my understanding but the venerable Schmemann’s. Unfortunately, logic dictates that he was correct, if the premise is the fact that the OCA is autocephalous. If it is not, then that statement would be a nullity.

            Therefore if our bishops don’t believe it, then they should admit to their dwindling flocks that the OCA is not now, nor has it ever been autocephalous.

    • Kyle Hunter says

      man, you people just miss the point. Maybe because you are all so polarized. As Bp Tikhon has said, “no one wants to see the OCA snubbed”. No one is gloating over this tragedy. But the truth is that while indeed this Fort Ross event is on Abp Benjamin’s calendar, and while he and other OCA clergy very well may have sat on preparatory meetings, the fact is that the MP has made no mention of that. And why? The MP doesn’t -not- do things on accident. Anyone who knows anything about world Orthodoxy, the MP and public relations knows that the MP has a well oiled PR machine (save the watch incident – Ha). And fact of the matter is that the MP is the only Church that recongnizes our autocephaly (and don’t go talking about Poland and Czech / Slovak church – the later does what the MP says, and the former recognizes us when they are sitting fence side of MP, and doesn’t recognize us when they are sitting fence side of EP).

      The MP took pains to go to bat for us in Chambesy and other such venues, and they publicized such support. The Fort Ross event would be the perfect event for the MP to continue to support the OCA on the world stage. A statement like, “at the invitation of the Orthodox Church in America and her Locum Tenens…….” would have been an excellent show of support. That the press release read “at the invitation of ROCOR and Hilarion Kapral” is huge.

      People, please remember that it matters most what is publicized and not so much what the actual plans are.

      And please remember that when Metropoitan Hilarion Alfeyev was last serving in the United States he served second to the OCA, even in the MP Cathedral. He is not serving second to the OCA this time. Either this is our territory or it is not. Two years ago it appeared to be our territory

      I don’t think we will see this sort of picture in Fort Ross with Archbishop Nathaniel being honored.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Kyle, thank you for “getting it” and putting it out in good ole’ American English. An OCA priest who is a friend of mine put it this way: “imagine having a 50 year anniversary party for your parents at your house. A guest named Bob comes and barely acknowledges you. Then to add insult to injury, the parents go on and on about Bob, saying what a wonderful person he is and he was the son they wished they had.”

        That’s how bad of a snub this is. San Francisco is a legal polity in the United States. The OCA was long considered to be the official church of the United States. Hence, SF is in the territory of the OCA. Unfortunately for us, the “host” of this event is Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America. No mention is made of us at all.

        Folks, hate to break it to you, but this is another nail in the coffin of our legitimacy. The Ft Ross celebration was always about the historiography of American Orthodoxy, whether Russia is the progenitor or the Greek-speaking world (open question whether it’s the Church of Greece or C’pole). The Russians are pressing their claims, that hasn’t changed.

        What has changed is which daughter of Russia is the legatee of the original missionary event. Moscow just came down on the side of ROCOR. It was all so unnecessary but because we beclowned ourselves, we unwittingly gave Moscow yet another hammer to hit us over the head with: and that is that because ROCOR is directly under Moscow, the reality of American Orthodoxy has now reverted back to Moscow. This increases Moscow’s claim vis-a-vis C’pole.

        Prediction: be looking for the openning of more ROCOR parishes and even MP parishes. The latter will be a direct rebuke against the OCA since according to the original tomos, Moscow is forbidden from openning up any more MP parishes.

        The tomos is a dead letter.

        • Do you think it is possible what Stan says that the London conference will bring the jurisdictional union of ROCOR with the MP Parishes outside of Russia? Though I don’t often listen to what he has to say, this does seem plausible, especially seeing as all the ROCOR and MP bishops abroad are supposed to be in attendance.

        • George,

          The “host” of the entire weekend’s events (and there are many events beyond the concelebration of the Liturgy) is the State of California through its Fort Ross State Historical Park.

          Fort Ross HIstorical State Park thought it a good idea to have an actual Russian Orthodox Concelebration consisting of members of the ROC, the ROCOR and the OCA during the weekend of the celebrations. They could not care less that the ROCOR is autonomous under the ROC, or that the OCA is autocephalous. They are a secular government, hosting an authentic Russian weekend.

          Those are the facts. The weekend is being paid for by the People of the State of California. The OCA is not paying for it, the ROCOR is not paying for it, the ROC is not paying for it. If they’re not paying the bill, in what manner or shape are they the “host?”

          • George Michalopulos says

            All I did CQ was put up, unedited, the press release from the Moacow patriarchate. The words therein speak for themselves.

            • ROFLMAO!

              All you did, George, was make a series of false statements designed to color the reading of a standard scheduling press release to make it look like it was some huge snub, when in fact it was nothing of the sort.

              And even now you twist and turn to insist this is a “snub,” but the reason it is a snub changes from one false assertion to the next. Biggest hooey today is “The OCA was long considered to be the official church of the United States.” By whom? Surely not by most Americans, surely not by most Orthodox Christians, the Greek Orthodox Church being the largest in the United States. But you turn facts on their heads in order to make your case because you are desperate to justify your false narrative by any means necessary.

              Had you allowed the press release to speak for itself, no-one would have raised an eyebrow because it is entirely unremarkable.

      • A statement like, “at the invitation of the Orthodox Church in America and her Locum Tenens…….” would have been an excellent show of support.

        But only if it were true.

        Do you have any evidence whatsoever that the OCA invited Metropolitan Hilarion to this event?

    • “phil r. upp” addresses us as ‘Fools!” Makes me think I might have been unjust in thinking that “Diogenes” was Deacon Eric Wheeler.” But there’s something about the content of this note and some others that makes me feel that “phil r. upp” may be the REAL Deacon Wheeler!! It’s so much the style of an aging boy. Would not “Puerile!” be the retort in kind to him? I’m surprised he didn’t come up with his armchair verdict of “deluded.”

      • He probably has several “pen names”.

        • Side note;
          From Wikipedia:

          Pen name
          A pen name, nom de plume, or literary double, is a pseudonym adopted by an author. The author’s name may be known only to the publisher, or may come to be common knowledge.
          Western literature
          An author may use a pen name if his or her real name is likely to be confused with that of another author or notable individual.

          So, the use of a pen name is legitimate.

          • “Legitimate?” Was legitimacy the topic? And did you, PdnNJ understand the “IF his or her real name is likely to be confused with that of another author or notable individual?” If Protodeacon Eric Wheeler were to sign his messages as “Protodeacon Eric Wheeler” that would confuse him with what other author or notable individual?
            If you used your real name, we’d get it confused with another author or notable individual? I don’t think so. In fact, I think most would interpret your pseudonymous initials as “Protodeacon of New Jersey”, and this WOULD confuse you with other New Jersey Protodeacons, no? By your way of fhinking, then, your pseudonym is most certainly NOT legitimate?.

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says:
              August 23, 2012 at 7:17 pm

              “Legitimate?” Was legitimacy the topic?

              I made it so.

              And did you, PdnNJ understand the “IF his or her real name is likely to be confused with that of another author or notable individual”?

              I believe I understood it perfectly.

              If you used your real name, we’d get it confused with another author or notable individual?

              Yes, there is a high possibility of that, and I want to protect that individual from getting accused of whatever I may post here.

              I think most would interpret your pseudonymous initials as “Protodeacon of New Jersey”, and this WOULD confuse you with other New Jersey Protodeacons, no?

              No, because I’m not a Protodeacon in, of, or from New Jersey.

              By your way of fhinking, then, your pseudonym is most certainly NOT legitimate?.

              By my way of thinking from Wikipedia’s definition of pen name including the fact that I am know by my publisher (George M.), I believe that it is.

    • phil r. upp says:
      August 19, 2012 at 4:19 pm


      p r. u, that makes me afraid that you are in danger of the hell-fire. (Matthew 5:22, NKJV)

  10. Philadelphia says

    Often times on this site people make reference to Bishop Basil Rodzianko of blessed memory. Can someone explain what were the issues surrounding his retirement in 1984? What happened? That was before my time being active in Orthodoxy (I was just a wee lad then), and I don’t understand the references.

    All I know about Bishop Basil I have read on-line (from orthodoxwiki.org/Basil_(Rodzianko)_of_San_Francisco and from http://www.rodzianko.org). From what I’ve read, it seems like he was an amazing and inspiring person, priest, and bishop. I would love to learn more about him.

    But I don’t understand these references paralleling his retirement in 1984 from the OCA See of San Francisco to Met. Jonah’s situation. If anyone can explain, it would be much appreciated.

    And a blessed Old Calendar Feast of the Transfiguration to all of you Old Calendarists out there (which is most of the Orthodox world)!

    • George Michalopulos says

      The short story Philly is that despite the fact that he was a saintly man who suffered for Christ, he made enemies in San Francisco because he opposed the nascent gay agenda. For this he was brandished as insane and the Apparat tried to get him committed. In the meantime, the cause of his sainthood is actively being discussed in Russia as we speak.

      • Lil Ole Housewife says


        has a couple of videos. Email some of those individuals who were at the 10 year celebration of his repose in the Lord. I was not in Washington during his time as bishop. People say he lived a very frugal existence but was still generous with whatever he had, including his time. And however holy he was, he engaged the ordinary people with commonsense ordinary Orthodoxy. He smiled and showed a lot of love even though he had lost bis wife and child and suffered privation his whole life after being born rich. He thus fell from great heights through no fault of his own three times

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          I was there for the funeral service. I believe that was 2 or 3 weeks after his death (which happened in August). Why so long? There was a dispute as to where he was to be buried, in England beside his wife, or here at the Rock Creek Cemetery. There was no sign of decay that I could see.

      • Fr. Michael Regan says

        As posted on the Orthodox Forum on Monday, August 20–

        For those who follow the Monomakhos blog run by George Michalopulos may find this interesting.

        On Sunday, responding to an anonymous poster named ‘Philadelphia,’ who asked about the relevance of Bp. Basil (Rodzianko) to the current discussion on the blog,

        //George Michalopulos says:
        August 19, 2012 at 9:27 pm
        The short story Philly is that despite the fact that he was a saintly man who suffered for Christ, he made enemies in San Francisco because he opposed the nascent gay agenda. For this he was brandished as insane and the Apparat tried to get him committed. In the meantime, the cause of his sainthood is actively being discussed in Russia as we speak.//

        This just shows why the site is replete with errors of fact and interpretation. First, Michalopulos was never in San Francisco — his biography says he has always lived in Tulsa, OK — so how can he be so sure of events when he wasn’t there? Having lived through that period, 1980-1984, both as rector of St. Herman’s in Oxnard, CA, and as treasurer of the Diocese, I can say with assurance that Mr. Michalopulos has simply made up (another?) fantasy. Bp. Basil started out well, but for whatever reason (a medical one was suspected at the time) he became increasingly erratic in his episcopal actions. He issued a series of decrees, the final one of which included the transfer of one priest’s dog to a parish’s dog house.

        Bp. Basil’s retirement had nothing to do with any “nascent gay agenda” — here Mr. Michalopulos simply projects his own concerns retroactively — but with his demonstrated loss of focus. As for “the Apparat,” this is another of Mr. Michalopulos’ bizarre readings, as none — that’s right, ABSOLUTELY NONE — of the current members of ‘The Apparat’ as he views it were around or even ordained in the 1980s, excepting Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky. So unless ‘the Apparat’ has secret access to some time machine to manipulate events 30 years ago, it is just another phantasm of Mr. Michalopulos’ imagination.

        Fr. Michael Regan

        • George Michalopulos says

          Fr Michael, thank you for responding. No, I never said I was in SF when he was there. Yes, some of his pronouncements were “erratic” but you failed to fill in some of the context.

          Bishop Basil Rodzianko was a man who was born into wealth in Czarist Russia and lost everything. Because he spoke against the Soviet state, the KGB tried to assassinate him. Instead, they accidentally killed one of his grandsons. Shortly thereafter, his beloved wife died.

          Years earlier, while in Yugoslavia, he was imprisoned for eight years at a gulag, stripped of his cassock, and was in forced labor for that period of time.

          Kindly find a place in your heart to forgive this saintly man who suffered much throughout his life because of certain “erratic” behaviors. I had heard that some of his behaviors were the willy-nilly transfer of priests. Though this was a hardship to a priest, I hardly think it is comparable to doing hard time in a gulag or having a hit team assigned to kill you.

          I wonder how much trauma our hierarchy could endure had they had to undergo the tribulation that was visited upon the Church during the Bolshevist tyranny. As it is now, most of our bishops travel in comfort and stay at the nicest hotels.

          May you ask forgiveness of this man on the Day of Judgment.

          • George Michalopulos says

            As for the “apparat,” I never mentioned once that this organism is made up of the same men year in, year out. Any more than the Congress of the United States is or the Supreme Court or the Administration, or the Federal Bureaucracy. My brief against the Apparat (or Nomenklatura) is that it is the manifestation of an insidious clericalism that is accountable to no one and unable to critique its actions.

            Given the frequency of mistakes made by this Apparat over the years, I stand by this statement. The illegal ouster of Jonah is simply the culmination of such a sorry record.

            • Harry Coin says

              Insidious clericalism? Except overseas where it’s all good so let’s give it over to them?

              We have to bloom where we’re planted and choose from among the actual alternatives.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Harry, is “insidious clericalism” bad if it’s from overseas but somehow better if it’s homegrown?

                • Harry Coin says

                  George: Yes. Because insidious ‘fill in the blank of your choice’ overseas will lead to a quicker demise than similar locally since those overseas don’t care about local survival as much.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    I dunno Harry. Our Synod is doing a pretty good job right now of hastening the demise of the OCA. Time will tell though.

                    Look, I don’t like the fact that the GOA is a colony of the Phanar, but that’s not my problem. My problem is that I belong to a church that thinks administrative rivalries have to be settled as viciously as possible, with the loser going to the funny farm.

                    It’s a damn shame but there’s more freedom in the Russian Orthodox Church than there is in the OCA. (And a lot less Stalinism.)

          • Lola J. Lee Beno says

            Bishop Basil Rodzianko’s grandfather was the leader of the Duma that forced Tsar Nicholas II to resign. See this wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodzianko

          • M. Stankovich says

            Mr. Michalopulos,

            I have written extensively, here and elsewhere, of my relationship with Vladyka Basil – the countless hours I spent doing nothing more than simply listening to his astonishing story, and likewise the details as told to me by his twin sister and his extended family. You simply have no business assuming an “authority of intuition” as to the motivation and determinates of his thoughts and motivations. Must even the righteous be somehow subject to your “story?”

            I previously wrote on this very site that it takes nothing away from the appreciation for Vladyka Basil’s piety, spirituality, theology, and fraternity (good heavens, his friends were the saints: John Maximovitch, Nicholai Velimirovich, and Justin Popovich!) to say he was a poor and ineffectual administrator. Fr. Michael was being exceptionally charitable in his description, and you quite deceptive, Mr. Michalopulos, in stating “some of his pronouncements were “erratic,” and we will leave it at that. His historical imprisonment and life experiences made him a saint, Mr. Michalopulos, not a buffoon.

            I will never, ever forget Vladyka Basil; I still listen to recordings of his talks in his distinct and saintly voice. I pray for him, and I pray to him. He is a saint and God’s chosen in my mind. Leave him out of your politics.

            • George Michalopulos says

              So all things being equal, you have a pretty high opinion of him, I’d say?

          • To know Vladyka Vasiliy (Basil) is to know The St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians…
            “Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude.
            Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoice in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
            Love never ends…”
            This is how he is remembered by his faithful flock, by his spiritual children…
            Tall, big men with a big permanent smile…
            In his small Chapel in DC he prayed for many people, took many confessions, married many couples and baptized many faithful…
            He is well known in Russia and Ukraine, his books are read and studied there…
            Hopefully more of them will be translated into English.
            His book “Salvation by love” is an ispiration for me.
            I highly recommend his book ” The theory of the Big Bang and the Faith of The Holy Fathers”
            His Earthly life was a gospel and my love for him will never end.

            Lord, have mercy!

        • “Bp. Basil’s retirement had nothing to do with any “nascent gay agenda” — here Mr. Michalopulos simply projects his own concerns retroactively ”

          That is not a rumor from George. This is known to those who knew BB. well.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Thank you Collette. More and more are coming to the fore to defend my statement that Bp Basil’s advocacy of Christian morality helped seal his fate. (Again all you nit-pickers” “helped seal his fate.”)

        • Well, it is most certainly true, as Archpriest Michael Regan wrote, that there was no hint of anything like a gay agenda in the diocese during the incumbency of Bishop Basil Rodzianko, although a group of homosexuals joined up with some homosexual uniates in southern California, to found a group called ‘Axios’, which advertised itself as for all gays of Eastern Rite, whether Orthodox or Catholic (!). a man called Daniel Gorham, a convert was the first president. He was received into the Church when i was Rector, by the Assistant Rector, Fr. Alexander Lisenko. When a copy of the organization’s periodical fell into Father alexander’s hands he was mortified, and told Daniel and his friend (they weren’t like David and Jonathan or Saul and David, but more like Lazar and Varlaam, age-wise) to cease and desist. Bishop Basil was informed of everything and the Axios people were, in fact, excommunicated. I believe Gorham ended up a Priest in a flakey group claiming to be under the Patriarch of Alexandria and settling in Arizona or Colorado or New Mexico.
          However Archpriest Michael Regan has apparently forgotten that the diocesan administrative assistant during the Rodzianko period was Mark Stokoe. In fact, Mark Stokoe contacted clergy in the Serbian Church in England, trying to build a case of financial irregularities against Bishop Basil during the period when he served in England and while his wife was still alive.
          Yes, the dog=house debacle was known throughout the diocese at the time, because Bishop Basil insisted that his decisions on the dog-house, like ALL his decisions, be printed and published as Decrees, with numbers.
          During Bishop Basil’s time, a Serbian Priest, Fr. Dragoljub Krapcevic came into the OCA and our Diocese from the Serbian Church. He was a graduate of the St. Sergius Institute in Parish. His former Bishop, Gregory of Western America Diocese, told him that he was “too spiritual” and ‘we need pastors more than we need spiritual men.” Fr. Dragoljub was appointed to the Russian parish in Bryte, California (its now called West Sacramento). Soon conflicts broke out between parishioners who, apparently agreed with the Serbian Bishop that they didn’t want any truck with ‘spiritual” clergy. Once, they actually attacked the Priest’s wife, knocking her down and giving her a black eye. Bishop Basil told FathersThaddeus Wojcik and Michael Prokurat and I and other members of the Diocesan Council about it, exclaiming how barbaric it was. Then, in the very next breath, he said ‘”But, you know, she had it coming! She had a very bad mouth!”
          Finally, this is how he “solved” the problem of Bryte; He announced that he would come for a visit and he wanted every parishioner to go to Confession and Communion. Most of them went to Confession and Communed at tthe Liturgy. THEN (this is where it really got weird!) he announced that he was going to exorcize the parish!!!! He had everyone go into the parish hall and he proceeded to perform the same kind of exorcism that precedes Baptism, and it involved breathing and SPITTING on the devil. This was too much. In a Greek parish, I think they might have beat him up. In some Greek parishes one doesn’t even kiss anything until sundown after communing, let alone SPITTING. It was too much for many Russians as well. Father Dragoljub did not live much longer after that, although I think he lasted until Bishop Basil retired and moved to DC to become saintly, away from administrative “stuff.’ Almost everyone who came into contact with Bishop Basil (except perhaps the clergy at St. Nicholas Cathedral) found him to be holy, look like an icon and be full of that “Orthodox Lore” with which nineteenth century old Russian Bishops were supposed to be good for. By “Orthodox Lore”, I mean things like Saint Nicholas (or the Tsarevich) as infants never partaking of milk from their mothers’ breasts on Wednesdays and Fridays.
          So thanks to Archpriest Michael Regan for being 50% right. No gays or nascent gays (as such) involved in the ending of Bishop Basil’s incumbency in the Diocese of the West; but definite involvement of Mark Stokoe during that time and much later on, in Santa Fe and so forth.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Thank you Your Grace for filling in a lot of the details. BTW, I never said that there was a Gay Cabal back then and that they were the ones who actively tried to remove Bp Basil. I said that he spoke up against the gay agenda and it angered several people, or words to that effect. I’ve interviewed people who knew Bp Basil and it was they who told me that his staunch advocacy of Christian morality had a lot to do (not “everything”) with his removal.

            • There was no noticeable or particular advocacy of Christian morality by Bishop Basil in the Diocese of the West during his incumbency, I assure you; however, I know that Father Victor Potapov, a relative of Bishop Basil’s, and others have discerned a great deal of sanctity in Bishop Basil after he moved to Washington DC and that he also made a tremendous impression in Russia during the period when everybody was so positive about the renascence of the Church and the return fo exotic and aristocratic remnants of the past. Bishop Basil, in Yugoslavia, avoided or was shunned by ROCOR, and became a Priest in the Serbian Church in England, eventually. Many blamed his grandfather for having been the one who finally persuaded the Tsar to abdicate. The politicians in Yugoslavia, like Markov IV and Count Grabbe held that against the whole family. Bishop Basil shot himself in the foot several times before he retired. Retirement was really his salvation. He once confided in me, “The OCA Bishops don’t really know how to be bishops: Serbian Bishops, however, are the REAL THING: they knew how to be real “Princes of the Church” and one never forgot it!”

          • Dear Bishop Tikhon,

            I ask for your blessings and forgiveness!

            This is very common in Russian monasteries. I witnessed it last time at Kievo – Pecherskaya Lavra 2 years ago. This is what Elder (Starets ) would do for a sick person. It is practically just reading certain chapters from the Scripture many many times.

            Lord, have mercy on me sinner

          • Lil Ole Housewife says

            I missed this post by you, Bishop Tikhon,

            You said

            Well, it is most certainly true, as Archpriest Michael Regan wrote, that there was no hint of anything like a gay agenda in the diocese during the incumbency of Bishop Basil Rodzianko, although a group of homosexuals joined up with some homosexual uniates in southern California, to found a group called ‘Axios’, which advertised itself as for all gays of Eastern Rite, whether Orthodox or Catholic (!). a man called Daniel Gorham, a convert was the first president. He was received into the Church when i was Rector, by the Assistant Rector, Fr. Alexander Lisenko. When a copy of the organization’s periodical fell into Father alexander’s hands he was mortified, and told Daniel and his friend (they weren’t like David and Jonathan or Saul and David, but more like Lazar and Varlaam, age-wise) to cease and desist.

            Unfortunately, the group still persists, and some members are in the OCA:


            They meet on the third Friday of every month at an Episcopal Church in D.C. near Dupont Circle.


            See especially


            Near that church:



        • Michael Ryan says

          Father, There is one other potential “apparat” that was present back then. Who was Bp Basil’s secretary? Oh, right, Mark Stokoe. And Fr Leonid’s presence is more than a passing curiosity.

          • No, Mark Stokoe was NOT Bishop Basil’s secretary. He was the DIOCESAN administrative assistant. Bishop Basil had a couple monastics with him and one of them was his secretary; later Marilyn Sweze (sp?) became his secretary.

          • M. Stankovich says

            And the day is coming, friend, when you will look into the face in the icon and regret the day you dragged the blessed memory of the righteous into your moronic and empty argument.

            • I don’t know what that means! Anybody? I thought M. Stankovich was a professional.
              When he refers to “your moronic and empty argument”, does he mean to say his post is intelligent and complete by contrast? Or did he just lose it.

  11. Heracleides says

    Found another souvenir that will be available at the celebratory AAC in Parma this fall. It is entitled “Mugging” and is the latest of my images, all of which may be viewed here.

    • Heracleides,

      I think you can help a lot with signs for picketing in Parma.
      I never did it before, and I feel little nervous about it.
      I wish someone help to organize “a half-day in Parma” outside the church doors.

  12. http://orthodoxnet.com/blog/2012/06/metropolitan-jonah-our-battle-is-against-secularism/ It is hard to believe that this manificent public speech surfaced in June 2012. It seems like a year has gone by, or even longer. We have suffered so much. When I read “Our Battle is Against Secularism” as well as other public sermons and speeches by +Jonah, one though couldn’t leave me: “How could the Holy Synod cut the fruitful branch on the Living Tree of Christ, one which the world needed most?!” It is such a loss for all Christianity.

    Crazy, crazy bishops! Such narrow-mindedness. The believe they understand what is better for the Syosett, apart from the world, but they don’t understand the role Metropolitan Jonah for all Christians. Our post-modernism era is facing “death of poetry”, “death of novel”, “death of author”, “death of style”. All because of secularism, which makes the contemporary culture bare. The world suffers of spiritual hunger, it needs energy. Metropolitan Jonah, by his leadership, can help people find a new identity in Christ. He can, therefore, make fruitful our lives, our art, our culture.

    I lived in Soviet Russia for 25 years. Neither my parents, nor I believed in the Communist Party. We did not expect anything good from our government. In accord with the corruption of the leaders and the foolishness of the ideology, all persecutions were logical consequences. However, the church was synonymous to conscience, a source of meaning and life. It was our compass, giving the right direction to all thoughts and intentions. Whatever difficulties I met in life; the church, prayers, and services always gave me strength for battle. Even in the death of my beloved ones, I felt a connection, that we are not separated from one another. So it has been until recently. July 6th was the date of Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation; it was also when an understanding of death came to my personhood. It was a spiritual shock, a trauma, a catastrophe of consciousnes, when something essential was cut completely– not from me (who am I, afterall?)– from all.

    Everybody has his/her right for happiness. After all, it’s all about Archbishop Benjamin, and maybe a couple more bishops. After all, +Benjamin is not Stalin, and we are not going to be imprisoned in a concentration camp right after the AAC. I don’t understand why all of us are so depressed, so passive, why we don’t want even to try to fight against the enemy. I understand that priests afraid to lose their jobs, but how about the laity? All we have to do is to file a case against +Benjamin and to reelect Metropolitan Jonah. All accusations were proved wrong. Why do all the members of the OCA not feel, that they can defend, what is right? God is with us. He gave us Metropolitan Jonah, through the grace of the Holy Spirit. He expects us to fight, to defend and to understand who we are.

    • Everybody has his/her right for happiness. Nope, they have not. They have a right to pursue happiness but not the “right” to find it…. Isn’t that somewhere in one of your founding documents?

      • another one says


        Might you cut a little slack for someone who lived 25 years in Soviet Russia? She says so at the beginning of the third paragraph. I know her English is a sight better than my Russian! I think her point stands, the Declaration of Independence notwithstanding.

        While you are indeed correct, you might be picking the fly scat out of the pepper in this case……..

        • Joseph I.
          1) I only want to be with Christ in His church, where the Holy Synod is not an obstacle for the grace of God. This is the definition of “happiness” for me, and I am not asking for much. In my opinion, bishops, who seek not the will of God, but money and power, are simply in the wrong business.
          2) + Jonah is such a gifted leader, that, through his mission, he can work miracles for all Christians in America. I think to cut him out in the beginning of his mission is a crime.

          • Veronica,

            I mean no ill to you and apologize if I have offended. I see you have a gallant knight already coming to your rescue 😉

            For my feeble defence, let me say that, as a Canadian member of the OCA, I am exasperated at what our friends to the South have done to my church and I need to pick on something rather than another. We here in the great white North have no voice in all of this, in fact do not really count or even appear on the horizon of most Americans, but have to suffer the fall-out of their foolishness.

            Since I have not actively participated in these “debates,” but have literally read all of it, I have come to the conclusion that we Canadians probably would be better of to go it alone. To try and get together with the Ukrainians and the Greeks of Canada and have our own church (I have no idea or connection to anything related to the Canadian Antiochians and don’t think they have even a bishop here).

            Yes, we probably would have to be under Constantinople (and I am not really fond of Istanbul. But the other two churches are already), but how much more could Constantinople harm our church than our constantly politicking neighbours to the South? It seems the Ukrainians and the Greeks in Canada are pretty much left to their own devises. I would not mind to financially support the Throne of Constantinople, because it would support one of the foremost sees of the OC and it would instantly squelch all questions about our canonicity and standing in the Orthodox world.

            In the meantime, I keep reading here, pulling out the last of my hair and hope this nightmare will end soon while hoping the old German saying might come true: “Lieber ein Ende mit Schrecken, als ein Schrecken ohne Ende” (Better an end in horror than a horror without end).

            Again Veronica, please accept my apologies if I have offended you. That was not my intend…

            Joseph I.

      • Joseph I–
        Yes, it is in “one of your founding documents”–the Declaration of Independence as a matter of fact–look it up. It says “We hold these truths to be self-evident. That all men (and, as you note, women as well!) are created equal, that they are endowed by the creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness…” If you are an American citizen–or even if you are not since Americans claim this is a universal principle of human rights–you have this right to. So does Veronica.

        Veronica is only saying that her happiness has been destroyed by these unfounded attacks on Metropolitan Jonah. I only hope and pray that those who have pursued these attacks understand that whether they hit their mark or not–and Metropolitan Jonah is more than strong enough to deflect them–they are causing a lot of “collateral damage” among those of us who love him and believe in him. It seems that these attackers don’t really care who they hurt–and with no evidence or justification.

        Lord, have mercy on me sinner.

        • Dear Joseph I.,

          I would like to begin with a bow: all of you, Joseph I, “Another One,” and IB, are gallant knights, of whose kind attention I am unworthy. I admitted that my English is a bit foggy, and my point was not clear at the beginning. This is why I added my second comment.

          I understand your idea about Constantinople, Joseph, and this could work just fine for Canada. I have never been there, and it’s hard for me to discern. The American members of the OCA, at this point, are facing most bitter schism ever. We were hurt, when the Metropolitan was forced to resign, because of the conspiracy against him, but now the situation could be a hundred times worse. If Metropolitan Jonah will join ROCOR or MP, a great number of us will follow his example. However, for some people it would be unacceptable, and they will remain in the OCA. It will cause a tremendous lack of funds for the OCA, and it’s not clear, if it will survive. Even if it does, the bitterness of separation would be unbearable. Think of how much Metropolitan Jonah did for the sake of unity! MP, ROCOR, and the OCA leaders served together. HB personally asked forgiveness from all Orthodox Christians in America for the years of jurisdictional separation, and now we are back to even worse separation. In addition to this problem, I expect that HS will go ahead to further democratization of Orthodoxy towards homosexuality and uncanonicity. It will go with an acceleration. What you read about Manton, can happen to all OCA, and many people could be spiritually hurt or destroyed. This is why I see no better way of healing, at this present moment, than Metropolitan Jonah’s reelection. After appropriate independent investigation, Archbishop Benjamin and a few other bishops have to resign. The rest of us have to repent, and exercise the rules of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church with great piety and obedience.


          • Veronica, I fully support what you said…. let’s re-elect Metropolitan +Jonah and see what happens…. When then time comes to head for the exit-doors, we will know.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Wouldn’t that be a hoot?

              • Veronica and all: It’s important in this context to remember, WE don’t get to elect anyone.
                The Synod does. They have this AAC set up for one day, so they can do the dirty deed and move on. They will have it structured so that no motions are “heard” from the floor and very little else.
                EVEN if that miracle happened, they WILL NOT work with +MET Jonah and will be right back to business in an attempt to send him into lock down. IS that what you want for him or the OCA.? These relationships are irretrievably broken. I even heard they have given the apartment at Syocett to Bishop Mark! The fix is done.
                Last time I looked, in America, it was illegal to frame someone in order to get him fired and then try to eliminate the possibility of him working for someone else.
                What this situation needs is an injunction of some type to stop the whole election process, until the bad guys are the ones out of work and in jail. Then move on.
                This business of Garclav’s being host strikes me as a real symbolic “WE DID IT “, blank you JONAH! Please don’t call for an investigation- they don’t happen in the OCA. This situation needs a Legal move fast . Then the Church absolutely needs to repent for all the years of allowing nonconical removals and all that comes from that sin.

                • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                  Okay, fine, you say this needs a legal move. So . . . who’s going to get the ball rolling? And how do we know that this is in the process (or not)? I don’t associate with lawyers regularly so I wouldn’t know what would go into this. And I don’t know that there’s anybody with the deep pockets to do this (lawyers do cost money, that I know from being an entrepreneur).

                  Having said that, there’s still that issue with that Supreme Court case over that Serbian Orthodox Church lawsuit that set a precedent . . .

                  • Lola, I too want to do more than just show up in Parma with an angry sign!

                    Having given this a lot of thought, I believe the best thing to do would be to confer privately with someone with a lot of skin in the game. It could be that there’s a way to make common cause. At the very least, we would not want to interfere.

                    • Regarding the AAC in Parma “face-it” is spot on. This entire one-day event is so the synod can elect who they want as Metropolitan. All the clergy and laity driving or flying to beautiful downtown Parma, spending money local parishes are hard-pressed to collect is like Florida League baseball, you draft all the position players so the pitcher can throw to someone. We the position players are just the fodder for the guy on the mound.

                      The bishops can’t elect someone by themselves (because the Statute says so-not that they wouldn’t like to throw that section of the Statute out and do it themselves) but since they can’t, yet, we have to give them cover under the guise that the OCA is a conciliar church.

                      The OCA synod believes that conciliarity resides in the synod. It is the synod that runs the Church. All of this other 1917 Russian Sobor stuff is just window-dressing and the machinations of the Parisian guard in the old days of the Metropolia/OCA. Of course Jillions is a diehard Parisian who sadly believes like Stokoe that the OCA is conciliar. Well the fact that the “conciliar” nature of the OCA reared it head in Pittsburgh and elected Jonah should tell you that both the synod and Stokoe not to mention Hopko and Jillions the henchman, didn’t think much of the clergy and laity voting for Jonah. So much for that conciliar thing!

                      So it’s time to hitch the wagons and make another trek to another city to go through the charade of “electing” a new Metropolitan. What I can’t figure out is that this synod got rid of Jonah by conference calls, why can’t we just have a big conference call and tell the bishops to elect who they already know they want to elect and let us poor folk alone?

                    • Monk James says

                      Nikos says (August 26, 2012 at 7:10 am):

                      ‘….So it’s time to hitch the wagons and make another trek to another city to go through the charade of “electing” a new Metropolitan. What I can’t figure out is that this synod got rid of Jonah by conference calls, why can’t we just have a big conference call and tell the bishops to elect who they already know they want to elect and let us poor folk alone?’


                      Somewhat less cynically, I suggested that the great expense — unanticipated and unbudgeted by the parishes — of a one-day, single-purpose AAC would discourage participation except by the wealthiest and most highly motivated delegations.

                      So, in order to encourage wider participation, I proposed that we should conduct this meeting by SKYPE or ‘Go to Meeting’ technology, gathering by deaneries or other convenient groupings, all credentials and votes to be verified locally and overnighted to the bishops and tellers. These local meerings would be held on a Thursday evening, Friday evening, and Saturday morning, since it’s unlikely that the election of the next metropolitan could be completed on the first ballot.

                      But all this assumes that everyone would participate in real time, which is a problem given our several time zones. If the real-time consideration can be set aside, though, there would indeed be no reason why the whole process could not be completed by telephone, conference-style or not, after credentials and votes are verified locally and then overnighted to the tellers (probably the OCA’s secretary and chancellor) and presented to the bishops on Saturday. Obviously, the bishops would all be in the same room at that time. They could then attend the Evening Service togather, and install the new primate at the Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning.

                      But the bishops wouldn’t go for it, so everybody who’s financially able and well enough motivated will just have to travel to Parma.

                      What a victory for the Luddites! What shortsightedness! What a colossal waste of resources!

                    • I think I misspoke in my reply to Lola. What I meant is that there are multiple things working here, and we need to prioritize the needs of those who have more to lose. By all means, we should interfere with Syosset’s plans, but we shouldn’t do anything that might accidentally interfere with anyone else’s efforts to fight them.

                    • Nikos, I must ask you again, what on earth can we do to help Met. Jonah?

                      I agree, the council is completely pointless. The only real reason to go as a delegate is to make a vote for Metropolitan Jonah. Yet it is unlikely they will actually be counted. There will probably just be a curious number of “invalid votes”.

                      Hey, in the spirit of Matthew 27:35, why don’t they just draw lots for the white klobuk, and call it a day?

                      With Saint Garklavs of the Standing Ovation there, he’s in a prime position to play Martyr to Evil Jonah. Maybe he’ll get another standing ovation as he tells us all how he tried sooooo haaaaard to work with Met. Jonah, neglecting to mention the truth. Also, he too was fired by the entire Synod, but he’ll neglect to mention that!

                      I already know Met. Jonah wants us to pray. I don’t know whether we should just take the money it would cost to go to Parma and send it to Metropolitan Jonah, since the Synod’s oh-so-generous severance will have run out by then.

                      God only knows where they will have put him by then. Maybe they will send Met. Jonah to California so they can shove the desecration of his beautiful monastery in his face, putting him in obedience to the men who have savaged it.

                    • If we picket- it won’t change the result of the election,
                      but if we don’t – we conciliate with the Holy Synod.
                      If we picket- we will draw attention, that Synod is ignoring motions from the floor, and therefore this election is illegal,
                      but if we don’t – everything looks fine.
                      If we picket, we reveal the truth to a larger community through media, especially after false allegations, which still pop up, if you google +Jonah’s name,
                      but if we don’t – the OCA.org tells the truth, and “Statement from the Holy Synod” is true, and “IN SYNOD WE TRUST” is our motto.
                      There is no doubt face-it is spot-on,
                      but it doesn’t mean we have to stop acting.

                      You know how long it took to break the Communist regime, or the Berlin Wall,
                      and you don’t want to move your finger, lazy defenders, wake up!
                      Your church has been stolen by pirates, your captain is in captivity
                      (literally, because he didn’t get a canonical release, and, therefore, is unable to work for someone else), and you dare to say:

                      “elect who they already know they want to elect and let us poor folk alone”

                      Are you serious?

                      The FB’s blog “We want Metropolitan Jonah back” includes 190 people or more.
                      I wonder, if they show up on November 13,
                      it would be harder for bishops of the Holy Synod
                      to go through the crowd of people with signs to their working place:
                      Garklav’s nest.

                    • Heracleides says

                      Well said Veronica. If you think one of the original images (or a modified version of one) that I’ve already done (found here) would be suitable for a picket, or have a new idea for an image, just let me know via my email included in this posting. I’ll do whatever I can to help.

  13. Tom Jeffrey says

    So, has any interesting news started to come out of the events surrounding the Ft. Ross celebrations?

    • Heard from an OCA eyewitness and confirmed in photos that Archbishop Benjamin was given his place of honor directly next to the two Metropolitans at the service. Heard further that Archbishop Benjamin was very happy with the entire affair.

      No snub was given or received.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Obviously, you heard wrong. Please refer to the comments from other eyewitnesses.

        • Point me to them. I haven’t seen an eyewitness account that differs from what I’ve written.

          By the way, is it your contention that Metropolitan Gerasimos and GOARCH were equally snubbed? He was also there and isn’t mentioned in a single word of the Metropolitan’s schedule.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Not all, GOA wasn’t snubbed. The OCA cathedral in SF was taken off the itinerary. Explain to me how that’s not a snub.

            • I asked you to provide links to “the comments of other eyewitnesses” whose accounts proved that “Obviously, you heard wrong” with regards to my post.

              Instead of providing so little as a single link, citation or quote, you opted instead to change the topic not just to a different justification for your “snub” narrative, but also an entirely different venue.

              You set a bar, George, and then failed to even approach it.

              What could be easier than to prove what you claim was “obvious” if I only read “other eyewitnesses.” If you had found a single eyewitness who disputed what I posted it should not have been a problem to provide something from that eyewitness. I cannot find such an account anywhere from anyone who was actually there at Fort Ross, but have found several others whose posts fail to mention any snub or tension at all.

              To quote your political hero: Where’s the beef?

        • George, CQ is quite correct in what he wrote. I learned this myself yesterday in a phone call from a leading ROCOR mitred Archpriest who was THERE. i have no explanation for the content of the photos that appeared on the mospat site, since only one of them even includes Archbishop Benjamin. Of course, I don’t KNOW that Archbshop Benjamin was “very happy” or not, but I think he’d be more stupid than anyone can imagine if he was NOT happy. He was accorded every honor due him as the ruling hierarch of the local authocephalous Church’s diocese in which Fort Ross is located. The ranking hierarch there was NOT Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeev). It was NOT Archbishop Justinian. The rankiing Hierarch, the one in first place at this concelebration whose blessing determined ALL matters of ecclesiatical protocol was Metropolitan Hilarion of ROCOR, the ranking hierarch by title and seniority. Q.E.D. Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) is not one to insult or snub ANYONE. Why do people want to paint ALL hierarchs with the OCA Holy Synod paint-brush? Most Orthodox hierarchs are serious men and serious hierarchs. They don’t go for dramatic “snubs” or publicity-creating gestures.
          Recently, Metropolitan Jonah got a letter from Bishop Alexander (Golitzin) informing him that he is only to be present and/or serve at St. Mark’s Church, Bethesda, and he is not to serve with elevated accoutrements, such as eagle rugs, etc. Now NO OTHER Orthodox Church in the world, no Holy Synod, would ever appoint their most junior hierarch to inform a hierarch of Metropolitan Jonah’s rank of ANYTHING, unless that junior hierarch occupied the position of Secretary of the Holy Synod, usually NOT given to junior hierarchs. Bishop Alexander is Bishop of the Bulgarians and “in charge” (with Archpriest L.Kishkovsky) of External Affairs.
          That letter, like the STINKBOMB of a statement of the Holy Synod is typical of the OCA hierarchy today, and totally FOREIGN to any of the non-OCA hierarchs that participated in the Fort Ross events. It’s just SO disgusting. Who’s the Stage Manager of all this crap? Is it the Dalai Lama of Protopresbyters? An Archpriest’s spouse? How Petty Can WE Get would be a good poster for the Council.

          • Bishop Tikhon,

            Master Bless.

            no Holy Synod, would ever appoint their most junior hierarch to inform a hierarch of Metropolitan Jonah’s rank of ANYTHING, unless that junior hierarch occupied the position of Secretary of the Holy Synod, usually NOT given to junior hierarchs. Bishop Alexander is Bishop of the Bulgarians and “in charge” (with Archpriest L.Kishkovsky) of External Affairs.

            Good catch, and something that most laity would not be aware of unless someone with Your knowledge and experience informed them….I praise God for Your presence on this forum.


          • Your Grace, is Met. Jonah now not supposed to go to any other Orthodox church? Or does that only apply to OCA churches? What if ROCOR invites him to concelebrate? Is that okay?

            • Helga, I’m sorry I can’t answer your questions. Restrictions on Metropolitan Jonah’s conduct were told him in a letter from Bishop Alexander. “Anna” posted here today that Metropolitan Jonah concelebrated the Divine Liturgy at the SAn Francisco Cathedral of the Theotokos, Joy of all the Sorrowing (“Holy Virgin Cathedral” today, along with ROCor Metropolitan Hilarion, MP Metropolitan Hilarion, ARchbishop Justinian and Archbishop Benjamin (!!!!). Perhaps Anna thought some other Bishop who looks like Benjamin WAS Benjamin. Or perhaps Archbishop Benjamin didn’t want to tell either Metropollitan Hilarion, “Sorry, but we cannot allow that!.” Or maybe Metropolitan Jonah is already in ROCOR? Someone should ask the OCA Chancery that. Poor Archpriest Eric Tosi has to field all these questions. The Chancellor is so busy recording his thoughts in his Chancellor’s Diary: spiritual reading for all the Faithful on the OCA web site. Such an improvement on previous Chancellors.

              • Your Grace, thank you. I have seen the photo and it does look like Archbishop Benjamin, but unfortunately it is too far away to be certain. I sure hope Met. Jonah is already in ROCOR.

                I don’t know about you, Your Grace, but I like the Chancellor’s Diary. It is fascinating to get a glimpse inside the minds of him and our bishops. I particularly enjoy today’s recounting of Bishop Michael’s take on the Decollation of St. John. Apparently, St. John’s message in his preaching can be boiled down to “He must increase, I must decrease.” I guess the more memorable “REPENT, FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND” might have scared people. And that would have sounded very strange indeed coming out of the mouth of an OCA bishop.

                Still, making mention of it might have been helpful for those preparing to attend the PENITENTIAL COUNCIL. Perhaps tomorrow, Fr. Jillions will tell us what he thinks we need to repent for so we can start repenting for it.

      • Just Guessing says

        Here are the pictures published by the ROC External Relations. Note the absence of the face of Abp Benjamin. Even with the picture of all bishops lined up, he’s missing. Message being sent? You bet’cha.


        • Not missing at all, JG, his red hat is the one at the right hand (camera left) of the two Metropolitans. He’s upstaged by the bishops standing between him and the camera. Was every bishop who was upstaged in that photo (1031 for reference) snubbed on purpose?

          A Metropolitan does not “snub” by placing an Archbishop at his right hand.

          Also, Archdeacon Kyrill Sokolov is shown with the Gospel book, and again at communion. Surely the intent was to snub the OCA.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Ultimately though, one must ask: why did Met Hilarion Alfeyev cancel his trip to the OCA Cathedral? That was on tap for this who trip up until His Beatitude’s unjust ouster. Since then, there have only been a series of slights to the OCA both public and private.

            • I think Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeev) was not even in California on Sunday, but summoned elsewhere. Not only was Archdeacon Kyrill Sokolov r photographed, so was the OCA’ssHoly Trinity Cathedral Dean, Father John Takahashi.

            • George,

              The OCA was invited to Fort Ross and Bishop Benjamin was treated with all the respect due his position, as were all the clergy of the OCA who attended. There’s not a shred of evidence that anyone in the ROC or ROCOR “snubbed” anyone in the OCA at this event. Not. A. Shred.

              And yet that is the total substance of your initial and repeated claim, that the ROCOR and ROC are snubbing the OCA at Fort Ross because of the actions of the Holy Synod vis. Metropolitan Jonah.

              As Bishop Tikhon points out, the Hierarchs of the ROC and ROCOR are not as petty as you would have them be. They do not act as cliques of 13-year-old-girls and drag queens do, snubbing here and clucking there to make their displeasure known.

              They also, however, are not bound by the pettiness that currently infects the OCA, this site included. Thus they clearly feel they have no problem treating Metropolitan Jonah with a grace and dignity that he does not receive within the OCA.

              Taking an expression of grace towards one party as a necessary snub against another party is to misapprehend the nature of grace itself.

              • George Michalopulos says

                CQ, I was wrong to state that the OCA was “not invited” to Ft Ross. However the non-mention of the OCA in the MosPat’s press release led one to notice this glaring oversight.

                In the interim, there has been nothing but several repeated snubs of the OCA over the past 4 weeks.

                • Oh. My. Goodness.

                  Once again you’re changing your story, this time you’re changing the entire timeline!

                  Why not just link to one eyewitness you were thinking of when you wrote…

                  Obviously, you heard wrong. Please refer to the comments from other eyewitnesses.

                  …and thus prove that you weren’t just making things up and hoping no-one would notice?

                  It’s really not that hard.

          • Just Guessing says

            Note closely what I originally wrote: “Note the absence of the face of Abp Benjamin.” Yes, I concede, I see half his mitre in the picture you noted. I also think I see his belly in a few pics also.

            • Just Guessing, what you wrote is not true!
              Just tying up a loose end. In the picture I noted at the Fort Ross cemetery on the mospat web page of the Patriarchate, Archbishop Benjamin appears full frontal, top to bottom: face, black klobuk with cross, small omophorion, cuffs, epitrakhelion. In Fr. Sergei Sveshnikoff’s series of photos on Facebook, Archbishop Benjamin appears more often.

        • But the GOA Metropolitan of SF was included in the third photo from the end!

          • Sure he was included. So was that Bulgarian bishop from who-knows-where that also concelebrated.
            The only noticeable absentee was the ROCOR Archbishop of San Francisco, who was down with an attack of intestinal flu. Metropolitan Jonah, however, did appear the next day at the St. Nicholas (MP) Cathedral, where heprayed, communed, and was commemorated in the Liturgy where appropriate, as usual.

        • At the Altar, Archbishop Benjamin stood directly next to Metropolitan Hlarion. As for the posed pictures that are linked, Archbishop Benjamin appears in only one of them. In the last before the portrait of Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeev), Archbishop Benjamin may be seen walking just to the right (from our viewpoint) of the Bishop’s crozier which has a sulok (handkerchief) on it. We see ROCOR Metropolitan Hilarion walking with walking stick, next to him Justinian with liturgical staff with handkerchief, and following behind, wearing white w/gold small Omophorion and cross on his klobuk, is Archbishop Benjamin. During the Divine Li\turgy, Archbishop Benjamin always stood where the local ruling Bishop should stand, and did the parts of the Liturgy customarily done by the local ruling Bishop. In other words, he stood and did exactly where and how I stood at Holy Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco when Patriarch Alexiii, Metropolitan Theodosius, Greek Bishop Antony, and i served the Divine Liturgy together. No slighting at all. I have no idea who selected/edited the photos on the mospat site. You may see the photos posted by ROCOR’s Father Sergi Sveshnikov on Facebook which clearly show that Archbishop Benjamin was not snubbed at all.
          Now, I make no comment on the feelings and words exchanged and expressed outside the Divine Liturgy….
          Archbishop Kyril (Dmitriev) was felled by intestinal flu and was unable to participate on Saturday OR Sunday.

          • George Michalopulos says

            For what it’s worth Your Grace, I heard from reliable sources that neither ROCOR nor MP bishops wanted Benjamin to serve. It was only because Alfeyev intervened that their concerns were overriden. This may explain the sudden onset of Arb Kirill’s intestinal “flu.”

            • sub-deacon gregory varney says

              not true george. Archbishop Kyril has suffered from intestinal problems for years and when they strike him. Hes down…for a long time.

              • George Michalopulos says

                I stand corrected.

              • Gregory–greetings from your old stomping grounds!
                Thanks be to God, Archbishop Kyrill was well enough to celebrate today! It was a wonderful Liturgy! His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah was one of the three Metropolitans concelebrating. (He was commemorated in both Slavonic and English as HIS BEATITUDE.) The other hierarchs were Archbishops Kyrill, Justinian, Benjamin and Bishop Theodosy.
                We had a chance to receive His Beatitude’s blessing and to speak with him briefly. He looks well and said that he is “all right”. And asked us to continue to pray for him.

                • The unity and love shown by the three Metropolitans was tangible and uplifting. The Feast was simply…. JOYFUL.

                  Metropolitan Jonah offered much in bringing unity and understanding between ROCOR and the OCA. It is an utter tragedy to see good will and unity potentially harmed by the discord and upheaval within the OCA.

                • Glory to God!

                  Thank you for the good news, Anna. It is nice to hear Met. Jonah is doing all right. I hope his family is also doing okay.

      • CQ–about Abp. Benjamin’s “place of honor” and “being very happy” with the entire affair…
        Please take a look at the Fort Ross photos available on the MP-NY site:


  14. Lola,

    There are other legal precedents, as well.

  15. Pictures from the Fort Ross event are available on Facebook to anyone who is ‘friends’ with Serge Sveshnikoff. He posted about 150 of them today. Both Metropolitans Hilarion served with Archbishops Justinian and Benjamin, as well as Bishop Peter (ROCOR) and a couple others I don’t know. The erected a big white pavilion within the Fort grounds. Many Priests served and, I suspect, some of them may have been unknown to any of the hierarchs, but were a sort of opportunist that often tried to work their way into such events, but were absolutely prohibited from doing so when the Liturges were served in the Fort Chapel itself. One of them yesterday, typically, was vested in white and blue Greek style phelonion (fitted shoulders and shirt collar opening), but wore a traditional Russian Old Ritualist miter, with an extra fat fur-like border on the rim! I’m sure it kept his head warm, as they used to sing, “In that warm California sun!”

    • Your Grace,
      The two other bishops were ROCOR’s Archbishop Gabriel (of Montreal and Canada) and Bishop Theodosy (of Seattle, Vicar of the WAD).

      • Where was Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco (ROCOR) in all this? Did he change his mind about serving with +Benjamin?


    • His Grace Bishop Tikhon has identified Met Hilarion (Kapral)’s ANZ Diocese Vicar General, the highly respected Mitred Archpriest Michael Protopopov OAM PhD as the “opportunist” in the pre-Nikonian mitre. Fr Michael is the son of a White Army officer, a noted historian and author, and as the senior-most cleric of the ANZ Diocese was an invited guest.

      • For American readers OAM = Medal of the Order of Australia, awarded by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia. The Australian equivalent of the MBE in Great Britain.

      • Nothing “pre-Nikonian” about that Greek-style phelonion with its fitted shoulders and shirt-like front opening. In fact, I was quite surprised to learn that a ROCOR Priest, moreover one of high dignities, would be vested in such a bizarre manner! I actually suspected it was a Jesuit Infiltrator from their center in San Francisco (much like the one at Fordham where they pass out degrees to grateful Orthodox grad students). There’s also an RC Abbey near Portland where a famous RC afficionado of everything Old Believer had his cell. He had all kinds of accoutrements in it and liked to dress up. But he would NEVER have dishonored the fierce love of Russia and the Russian Church always shown by Old Believers by wearing a modern Greek-style Phelonion.
        Thanks Antipodes. You aren’t Hieromonk Ambrose, are you? I do apologize for identifying Mitred Archpriest Michael Protopopov as an opportunist. How was I to tell? Only someone who knows Father Michael could possibly have been able to identify him as anything ROCOR. And why, I wonder, does any Priest or Bishop want to stand out so from the rest? I remember an Antiochian priest whose parish hosted the big annual Orthodoxy Sunday Vespers. In the letter that went out to all the Southern California Orthodox Clergy Association members, he said that Gold or Gold and white vestments would be worn. We all, 20 or so, assembled in the parish hall before the Vespers, vested, and awaited the host priest. He came in at the very last minute, clothed in solid green Velvet phelonion! I guess that wanting to be the “cynosure of all eyes” is not an uncommon temptation.

        • Disgusted With It says

          Maybe the Greek-style phelonion is easier to travel with on an airplane than a Russian-style one?

          • Too much for a down-under Mitred Archpriest, but not too much for the other mitred clergy who flew in from other places? I guess comfort is more important to some than to others. So what if the ensemble thus produced is incongruous and sticks out like a sore thumb, right? “I contrasted my connoisseur’s “Old Believer’s Mitra, with my modern Greek Phelonion because it was easier to fly that way.”
            I guess Americans and Russians, who fly all over the place with their phelonia, are hardier or more conscientious than the “down under” types?
            I guess those Anglican/Episcopalian vicars, etc., that like to flaunt an eight-point pectoral cross now and then, or those Anglican/Episcopalian Bishops that like to get hold of a panagia for big events aren’t that much different in their esthetic from some of our higher ranking sorts?
            After all, if there’s one thing that “the West” is generous with, it’s individualism.
            Jedem das Seine!
            And the mitra with fur/woolen trimming is pre-Nikonian, Nikonian, and post-Nikonian. I know of some contemporary Russian bishops who have worn them; Archbishop Sylvester of Montreal, for example, among others. However, the non-Old-Believer hierarchs have the trimmin applied to a regular, conventional mitra, while the down-under Mitred Archpriest has selected one that conforms most iconically with the shape of Old Believers’ mitras with or without the trimming.
            But, hey! Why be against fun? I’m not!
            And he’s probably in more photos than any of the hierarchs, priests, or deacons. I mean, what a success!!

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            There is nothing bizarre about a Greek style phelonion. With the exception of the Russians, all other Orthodox wear the Greek style phelonion. I have seen many OCA priests wearing a Greek style phelonion. I suspect that the high back style is meant to help keep the priest warmer in the Russian cold weather.

            Fr. John W. Morris

            • What old wives’ tales about the Russian Orthodox Phelonion. If you take up a piece of seamless material, cotton, linen, whatever, grasping it in the center between two fingers until you have a cone, and then lop off the top to allow for the cloth to be worn without completely covering the head of its wearer, and then cut out one side of that hole a little deeper so the face may be seen, you have the classic Orthodox phelonion. The only thing left to do to that cloth is to lift it up in front so the person’s arms can operate. The Russians and Greeks cut out that extra material (although some Russians do not, but sew on buttons with which to hitch up the front and fasten it) from the front. The Romans cut out the sides and tailor the shoulders. The Greeks followed the Latins in fitting the shoulders after having so many latins around before, during and after the Muslim conquest of Constantinople and Greece and the Balkans. The Russian keep the oldest form of the Phelonion.
              In remoter dioceses in northern Greece, as well as in some of the Greek monasteries on Mt. Athos, the old, Russian-style phelonia are used even today.
              Don’t feel bad, Today you’ll even find some Russians repeating that old tale about keeping their necks warm!
              And it is the combination of a modern Greek-style white with blue embroidery phelonion with an IMITATION and even exaggeration of an”Old Beiiever’s Mitra” that is totally bizarre self-advertising. The whole concept of monastic and clerical vestment is to erase the individual in favor of the function. Such displays as that of the down-under Mitred Archpriest are intended to ACCENT the individual displaying them

              • George Michalopulos says

                I believe you’re correct, Your Grace. At the Athonite monastery I attend, the priest-monks use the “Russian style” phelonion.

                • Disgusted With It says

                  I always thought there was a difference between the Russian-style and Athonite-style phelonion, which look similar but have noticeable design differences.

              • John Christopher says

                Your Grace:

                I wonder if you could refer me to some sources regarding the claim that the Russian version of the phelonion is older than the Greek. It is not the impression I have gathered from J Braun’s Die Liturgische Gewandung or, more recently, from E Trenkle’s Liturgische Geräte und Gewänder der Ostkirche. Of course, the whole question is a little obscure, given the lack of evidence, and I am no tailor, but it would seem to me that (1) both versions come from the West, as the original source of the garment is the Roman paenula; (2) the paenula is a circular garment, not bell-shaped, although it had a hood; and (3) early depictions of vested clergy in illuminated manuscripts do not show a Russian-style phelonion, as far as I have seen. Neither do 10th-century icons, for that matter, which are about the earliest relevant ones extant.

            • Seraphim98 says

              Our parish priest said the high backed Russian style has roots on Mt. Athos. He said he suspected that it’s design permitted its use by men of varying builds since the “cone” would slip down till it “fit”. It was an economical solution for visiting bishops who might be in need of loaner vestments.

        • Lil Ole Housewife says

          I personally like the look of the linen ones with hand embroidery in the Greek style. A local priest who had worn his own vestments either too much (his ordinary set) or not at all (saved for feast days, sometimes) was given a couple sets of the Greek style in linen and they became his favorites. “So comfortable” and “so wonderful”, he said

          Speaking of the Greek tradition, hat is your opinion of choir vestments? I think it enhances unity of purpose, personally, but they could be hot in the summer. Especially with stoles

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            Although it is normal for an ordained reader to wear a rasso when chanting, choir robes are a completely Protestant innovation. The purpose of the choir is not to put on a concert, but to lead the people during the Divine Liturgy. I was in a parish that bought choir robes although the choir sang from the choir loft and no one could see them in their robes. They even spent money building a closet for the choir robes. The first time that they wore them, I turned to bless the people and saw them taking them off and handing them to someone to put them in the new closet because they were too hot. They never wore them again.

            Fr. John W. Morris

        • Your Grace, no I am not Hieromonk Ambrose. If it’s all the same with you, I’d rather not identify myself so as not to tempt anyone (I do not generally participate in public fora that do not directly relate to my patch of the world and will revert to silence after this response).

          In relation to the specific reasons for wearing the non-Muscovite style vestments I cannot speak for Fr Michael – it would be best to ask him directly and I am sure he would be very glad to discuss it with you via email (his address is available via the http://www.rocor.org website). However, I postulate that (as per the other poster) the Byzantine style vestments are far easier to travel with – they are far lighter and take up less luggage space and aren’t as prone to being ruined when folded (a significant consideration given the distances involved and the weight limits on international economy flights.) In the ANZ DIocese, it is not uncommon to see priests using the non-Muscovite style vestments, particularly in summer and when travelling. From the pictures on Facebook, he was not the only one either.. I count at least three from those photographs.

          • Antipodes! You seem determined to defend the Greek-style phelonion, as if I had attacked the wearing of SUCH. I did NOT. Nor did I reproach anyone for wearing “Byzantine (sic)” style vestments or for wearing “Muscovite” (sic) style vestments. I found the combination of them both in this case to be bizarre and, frankly, offensively so.
            The purpose of our vestments is two-fold: to erase the individual and to glorify God.
            NO, Antipodes, Nor am I against the wearing of a mitra with a Greek-Style phelonion.
            I think he could have left his imitation Old-Believer mitra back home and worn a standard one.
            Further, I’m sure he could have made an arrangement with the staff of the Holy Virgin Cathedral or another ROCOR Church, perhaps the one in Santa Rosa, whereby he wouldn’t have had to pack ANY vestments, but borrowed such from their sacristy.

            The combination, Antipodes, of the only Blue and White Greek Style Summer-Weight Phelonion at Fort Ross with an imitation Old Believer Mitra with exaggerated woolen trim was bizarre, indeed, and, above all, attention-seeking. I impute no excess vanity to the presbyter so costumed. I have never married, and it is too easy for me to overlook the important role clergymen’s wives play in their style.
            i remember being told by a Priest’s wife how, when (then) Father Adrian Rymarenko’s wife came to her shortly after her husband (who had been mentored by Father Adrian) was ordained with advice on how to arrange her husband’s hair, especially at bedtime, so it would always be in good order. [After Father Adrian’s wife eventually fell asleep, he became a ROCOR (vicar) bishop and ended his days as Bishop Andrey of Rockland.] Maybe that down-under cleric’s wife (if she’s living) had something to do with his spectacular appearance at Fort Ross.
            Repeating for, I hope, the last time. I do not object to the sort of phelonion worn by Greek, Arabic, Coptic, Assyrian, Maronite, Melkite, Romanian, Albanian, Western (Uniate) Ukrainian/Ruthenian, etc., Serbian, which Antipodes revealingly describes as “non-Muscovite” AT ALL. I do not object to Russian Old Believers’ (or Romanian Old Believers’), or northern Greek and some Athonites’ miters AT ALL.
            I realize, too, that one cannot be surprised to see one or more ecclesiastical peacocks in a large gathering of Orthodox clergy. However, there are limits, and INCONGRUITY is one such.

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            Somehow I find it rather petty that anyone could care whether a Priest wore Russian style high backs or Greek style vestments. Serving in the South as I do, I wear the lightest vestments that I can afford to buy. The origin of the Russian style may not be the cold, but I have no doubt that one reason Russia did not go to the lighter vestments of the Greeks was the cold. One thing that always amazes me when I see pictures of Russian priests concelebrating. They not only wear the same color, their vestments are made from the same fabric. The best we Antiocians can do is ask everyone to wear the same color.

            Fr. John W. Morris

            • Jane Rachel says

              Did you see the photo? The furry hat with the Greek robe does look really, really odd. And I had thought what the bishops wear is important in the sense of what it represents. It’s like, with this bishop’s attire, he just cobbled it together. I hope he couldn’t help it, that he had no choice because his other hat fell in the mud or a car ran over it, and he had to wear something. I’m not being disrespectful here. So was he thinking, “I’ll just take my furry hat on the plane with me, and borrow some Greek vestments?” Well, I hope he didn’t plan it. That would really be, well, odd, especially as has been said, for such a well- and highly respected person of such high reputation…

              …but what else is new?

              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                I must confess that I would not know an Old Believer Mitre from a modern Russian Mitre. I did not know that there were different kinds of mitres, since I am not a Bishop. I do not have to worry about such matters. I believe that it is only in the Russian tradition that anyone but a Bishop wears a mitre. We do not have all the ranks that the Russian Church does. These ranks, by the way, come from the table of ranks of Peter II. He divided up state officials into a table of ranks from the lowest to the highest. He did the same for the Church introducing different ranks, apparently designated by what kind of cross a priest wears, silver, gold, and jeweled. I believe that ordinary priests began to wear the silver cross after the Tsarina Alexandra kissed the hand of a deacon. So that she would know whose hand to kiss, the Tsar ordered priess to wear silver crosses. In our tradition if a priest wears any kind of cross he is either an archpriest or an archimandrite.

                Fr. John W. Morris

                • Which ranks, Archpriest John W. Morris, originated or came from the Table of Ranks established by Emperor Peter the Great? Generals, for example, are found in the Table, but generals were around long before the Emperor Peter. Emperor Peter simply classified and arranged the existing ranks,but did not create them for the Church.
                  Archimandrites in the Russian Church customarily have always worn mitres when fully vested. It was Empress Catherine, I believe, who noticed that her personal Chaplain/Spiritual Father, did not stand in the first place at Divine Liturgy, and that the Priest who did serve in first place, an Archimandrite, wore a Mitre. She commanded that her Chaplain be *awarded” the Mitre. And so, like the Saccos and White Klobuk originally worn by only one Hierarch, the “Award’ spread.
                  It’s interesting how OCA hierarchs “improved” the Church by no longer awarding the mitre to ARchpriests and no longer allowing Archimandrites to wear them at all, but found a way to “promote” or “award” themselves with the rank of Archbishop and a Cross of brilliants on their klobuks!
                  By the way, there’s no need for Archpriest John W. Morris to CONFESS that he could not tell a Russian Old Believers’ mitre from that of an Archimandrite’s or Bishop’s mitre in the Russian Church. It’s interesting that after confessing, he blamed his ignorance on not being a bishop!!! It’s a strange idea, after he goes on to claim some expertise in the ranks of the Russian Church and their origin, although here, too, he is not a bishop. I’d heard that it was Emperor Nicholas, rather than Empress Alexandra, who mistakenly asked for a blessing from a Deacon. Neither of them kissed the Deacon’s hand, since he did not give it to them to kiss, and one does not GRAB a Priest’s or Bishop’s hand to kiss it in the Russian Church, but, rather, bows respectfully and extends crossed hands, palms up, so that the Priest or Bishop may, AFTER blessing with the sign of Cross (and NOT without blessing,as Greeks, ETC. do) place their blessing hand there.
                  Peter the Great did not introduce the award of the pectoral (i.e., gold, four-pointed) cross. He did not introduce the award of the two kinds of epigonation: palitza and nebedrennik. He did not introduce the ranks of Archpriest, Archdeacon, Archbishop, Metropolitan, Hegumen, Archimandrite, nor the office of Chancellor, or Dean, although all those appeared in the Table of Ranks.
                  The Balkan Churches award different color sashes, while in other Churches only monastics wear them.
                  What could Archpriest John W. Morris have meant by saying that ranks were introduced into the Church by Emperor Peter the Great’s Table of Ranks?
                  By the way, whre may one find information about the relative ranks of all those arcane Byzantine titles protosyngellos that and chartophylax there and economos there, and so on and so on! I believer even chanters/cantors/psalmists have various grades in the Grecian system. Are there any specifically Antiochian, i.e., NON-Byzantine/Grecian, customs in the Patriarchate of Antioch? Had Arabs migrated into Antioch already in New Testament times or was it Syrians who were the first to be called Christians there? And what does it mean when
                  Christians who were born and baptized here in America proclaim, ‘WE were first called Christians in Antioch,” never having been there to be called anything at all?
                  I suppose its because i’m a bishop that I’m concerned to know that;

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    I confess that I do not know a whole lot about mitres. I did not know that there were different styles of mitres. I have never worn a mitre and never will.
                    I not mean to imply that Peter the Great introduced different ranks of clergy. I meant to imply that he reorganized them to match the table of ranks that he introduced into the civil service after he abolished the Patriarchate and made the Russian Orthodox Church a department of state under the authority of a lay man with the imposing title Ober-Procurator.
                    It was my studies of Russian history that led me to Orthodoxy. I was teaching a course on modern Russia at Southwestern University. One does not discuss Russian history without mentioning the Orthodox Church. Since my students knew nothing about Orthodoxy, I took them to the Divine Liturgy at the nearest Orthodox Church, which happened to be St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church. When I moved to Austin two years later, my wife and I joined St. Elias and became Antiochian Orthodox.
                    If I am still alive when the day comes when all American Orthodox are united, I will be a priest of the newly organized American Orthodox Church. Until then, I am proud to be a priest of the Church where Christians were first called Christian. To me being Antiochian transcends ethnicism because the Church of Antioch is a New Testament Church. It was the first Church to accept Gentiles, just as the North American Antiochians have risen above ethnocentrism and have become one of the most convert friendly Orthodox jurisdictions in the U.S.
                    I know that Antioch was originally a Greek city. Most Christians in Syria and Lebanon originally spoke Greek or Syriac, but started speaking Arabic as a result of the Arab conquest in the 7th century. Gradually, the Orthodox Church in the Middle East adopted Arabic as its liturgical language, although I understand that they still use a lot of Greek in Syria and Lebanon.
                    All Orthodox, including the Russians received their liturgical traditions from Constantinople. The greatest authority on Orthodox canon law, Theodore Balsamon, who became Patriarch of Antioch in 1193, ruled that all Orthodox must follow the practice of the imperial city. However, liturgical scholars consider the Byzantine Liturgy a variation of the West Syrian Liturgy which originated in Antioch. At least some modern liturgical scholars consider the source of the Anaphora of St. John Chrysostom the Apostolic Liturgy of the Church of Antioch. See Eucharist: Theology and Spirituality of the Eucharistic Prayer by Louis Bouyer.

                    Fr. John W. Morris

                    • Your Grace,

                      I was looking through some pictures of His Holiness, Patriarch Daniel last week and was wondering if you knew anything about the origin of the red sash (which he awarded to several priests on this particular occasion) that is worn around the waist. It looks a lot like the one that Roman Catholic cardinals wear. I also saw that the Rt. Rev Fr. Michael Trigg (of Blessed Memory) of the Antiochian Archdiocese- Western Rite in Whittier, CA wore this on occasion as an Archimandrite. I assume that the Red represents martyrdom, but I could be wrong.

                  • More stupid title … and stupid regalia … stupidity.

                    Bishop Tikhon’s statement, “the purpose of our vestments is two-fold: to erase the individual and to glorify God,” ties me up.

                    At first blush, one could easily agree that splendor indeed glorifies God. But, hasn’t some, um, much, of this stuff gone too far to the point where it winds up doing the exact opposite? Too imperial, to flashy, too much, too “me”?

                    It strikes me the splendor of most contemporary regalia does next to nothing to erase the individual. It seems to draw inordinate attention to the wearer. The individual is the last thing erased. Some of those episcopal mantles are so far out of control loud and obnoxiously gaudy — no matter how many finely embroidered icons are swen into them.

                    Maybe its a military background, but it seems so much more appropriate when all bishops vestments nearly perfectly match each other, priests match one another, and likewise for deacons. When “uniform”, it would seem, the individual is indeed erased. (And the “uniformity” goes beyond simply color.)

                    Don’t get me wrong, I understand the theological significance of the basic vestments. And I don’t want to sound like a minimilast, sola scriputura protestant, but I can’t help but wonder what Christ would think about how His Bishops dress.

                    Deacons. Priests. Bishops. That’s it.

                    • Well, Alexander, that’s pretty standard stuff. Who’s going to disagree with you? Of course the desire to stand out is extremely ordinary, and, just as often, it can be manifested by the Priest who has someone make up a cotton or linen phelonion for his ordination that is a big, billowing imagined re-creation of “the original paenula”. Or there’s the one who follows the traditional pattern, but instead of the standard Normandy pattern brocade with some bullion thread, which is amazingly cheap, he goes for some “authentic’ monk’s cloth of “real Evangelical simplicity.” AT Fort Ross a prosperous ROCOR Archpriest from Australia showed up in an exquisite white linen Greek-style phelonion with pretty blue applique designs sewn or tacked on it or into it, and then topped it off with an miter styled after those of the mediaevel Russia and worn today mostly by ‘Old Believers.”
                      I’ve always agreed, as have most tradition-minded Russian clergy as well, with Alexander’s summary of the common rule, restated by him,:when all bishops vestments nearly perfectly match each other, priests match one another, and likewise for deacons. When “uniform”, it would seem, the individual is indeed erased. (And the “uniformity” goes beyond simply color.).” I said nothing that does not agree with that.
                      How could anyone “get him wrong.” You have to admit, Alexander, that bishops have no control over the patterns and architecture of their vestments and maniyas. That is as great limitation. To expect more—all in the same color or shade, is to require an almost inhuman mechanical and lifeless rule. Mantiaya: green for Russian Patriarchs, blue for Russian Metropolitans, and porphyry or purple for everybody else.
                      I remember when Metropolitan Philip gave me a new Panagia at a banquet. As soon as Metropolitan Phlip was through with the accompanying encomium, and before I could even sit down, the GOA Bishop Anthony rushed over to me and said “Take it off! only heads of Local Churches can wear two of them!” (Duh, right?) The Russian Church,too, unlike Grecian style churches, usually requires all to wear at least the same color. The Grecian Churches observing the Typikon, however, do not distinguish between colors but only between white, bright, and dark, so Alexander would be upset to see a whole rainbow-like assortment of vestments at a Grecian concelebration.

                      As for “military background,” the times have changed. Look at the monstrously decorated “uniform” of the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, General Odierno! American officers in their dress uniforms nowadays are more peacocks than the officers of the old “banana republics!” There are different colors of berets, specialty badges,longevity stripes and so on and so on. Just compared to Korean Conflict days, the uniforms are incredibly elaborate! Yet, the idea of uniform remains, Alexander, there’s no way out of it,to erase the individual. And human beings still, like it or not, imagine that the glories of the heavenly kingdom will be visual, splendid, and maybe too imperial or too flashy. I mean, our modern taste would think pearly gates and streets of gold would be “too flashy, too much, no? But, Alexander, NOT “too me.”

                    • Your Grace,

                      I’m not exactly sure that I understand most of your post — and I don’t mean that as a criticism or disrespectful effort to pick a fight.

                      I started with your premise that one of the purposes of vestments is to erase the individual and then made the sweeping — and the not so penetrating — observation that the current regalia seems to do the exact opposite. To me there is an abject absence of humility.

                      You know far better than most the limitation that bishops have no control over the patterns and architecture of their vestments and maniyas. No issue there and no intent to suggest that lifeless, mechanical uniformity should rule either. And I’m not “upset” with “a whole rainbow-like assortment of vestments at a Grecian concelebration.” It seems like the individual could get just as “erased” in a rainbow assortment as Cardinals do marching to conclave in what appear to be Xerox copied red dresses.

                      Patriarch Paul of the Serbian Church had a set of vestments that he seemed to wear all the time regardless of the day of the week, the holiday, the place, or other attendant circumstances. It was an alternating pattern of what looked much like interlocked blue and silver Latin crosses. (I’ve seen some icons of Sts. Sava and John Chrysostom vested similarly.) He wore it on an “ordinary” Sunday; he wore it on a Feast Day. He wore it concelebrating with other Patriarchs; he wore it when serving with a single deacon and priest in the Patriarchal Chapel of St. Simeon early on a Tuesday morning in the middle of winter.

                      New into his position as Patriarch we presented him with a fine set of green vestments, thinking green was appropos of a Patriarch. We thought the more expensive and detailed the better. He ever so graciously accepted them and in short order gave them to one of the newest and youngest bishops. Maybe they were too big for him; maybe (as was rumoured) he refused to wear green because it is the color of Islam; maybe he had no use for them and had an existing set in his closet. But, the blue and silver worked just fine.

                      That, of course, contrasts to clerics serving with him who pranced around in outrageously patterned vestments. One set of Serbian priests had specially made phelonions that looked like the Serbian flag — red, blue white — draped over their shoulders.

                      And yeah, I’ve noticed that the American military uniform has gotten out of control.

                      As to the proverbial Pearly Gates, I’ve always wondered what God would make them look like to and for us. I keep thinking like Indiana Jones who looks for the cup of a carpenter.

                      My fear is that I’ll never know.

  16. Helga says:
    August 26, 2012 at 3:35 pm
    Nikos, I must ask you again, what on earth can we do to help Met. Jonah?

    Helga, I would suggest that Jonah not be forgotten by the OCA and especially the synod. They are trying very hard to put Jonah in their rear-view mirror as soon as they can, hence the quick AAC in Parma.

    The Russian Orthodox Church has not forgotten Jonah. Today in San Francisco at the MP St. Nicholas Cathedral, Jonah was present. He did not serve however he was commemorated after Patriarch Kirill as “His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah.” Note that the ROC did not relegate him to the status of “His Eminence” like the OCA bishops did. They also commemorated him before the serving bishops that were present. This was a deliberate signal on the part of Moscow.

    The message that was delivered by Metropolitan Hilarion of the MP to +Benjamin was that Jonah must be treated with respect and honor and given an opportunity to serve the Orthodox Church in a diocese and or in some other capacity. Thus Moscow is telling the OCA and us that Jonah must not be thrown under the bus and forgotten. It is also being reported that the OCA synod will now pay Jonah until the end of 2012, but nothing after that, nor any assignment or release. But pressure on the synod to not ignore Jonah is important.

    Moscow does not care who the next OCA Metropolitan will be. It makes little difference to them because the viability of the OCA is so tenuous. However it is also clear now that the brass at SVS and in Syosset want +Benjamin as the next Metropolitan. Why? Because they believe he can be controlled. Yep, here we go again, another Metropolitan that must be controlled. This is serious sign of how far gone is the OCA.

    So what can one do to support Jonah? Insist that he is not forgotten, ignored nor given no place in the future Church. If that means insisting that he is released to ROCOR or the MP, then that is what should happen. If it means that the DOS or other OCA dioceses without a bishop should nominate Jonah, then they should do that.If that means that his name is put into nomination at the Parma AAC, then it should be done to send a clear message that what the synod did was not right. It is up to the synod to then reject him, however each time they do so, it will further isolate them, just like their actions against Jonah have further isolated the OCA from the rest of Orthodox world. Call Jonah by his proper honorific, His Beatitude not “His Eminence.” Don’t let the synod get away with that disrespect.

    Finally, I would not attend the Parma AAC unless you can vote and if you can vote then put Jonah’s name into nomination on the first ballot. Those votes will be counted and they may be thrown out but at least a statement will be made. Then don’t vote on any subsequent ballots and simply let the synod choose who they already have chosen in the back room exchanging deals and favors. Remember, the synod elects the Metropolitan. The dog and pony show of clergy and laity “nominating” the Metropolitan at an AAC is window-dressing.

    Sorry if this sounds cynical but what has been done to the OCA by this synod and syosset gang is even more cynical.

    • Clare Voyant says

      When you say “Brass at SVS,” whom exactly do you mean? Fr. Hatfield? Fr. Behr?

    • Ken Miller says

      Regarding your suggestion that if you are not voting, don’t attend the Parma AAC, there was a suggestion on the “We Want Metropolitan Jonah Back” facebook page to have a demonstration outside the AAC to show that the faithful are not happy with the corrupt politics that ousted Jonah, we will not forget, and we are watching.

    • phil r. upp says

      Let + Jonah go to ROCOR where he belongs. The Synod of the OCA acted accordingly and in complete unison in demoting him from Metropolitan. It matters not what ROCOR or Moscow thinks; canonically they have no authority in North America. As + Jonah said publicly in 2011, “ROCOR has nothing!” The Synod of the OCA worked properly in cleansing themselves with RSK, Theodosius and Herman. + Jonah apparently could not meet up to the requirements of Metropolitan of the OCA and again, the OCA Synod acted. Now, more careful consideration will be made for the next Met. + Nathaniel isn’t doing a bad job and understands the vision and mission of the OCA.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Phil, you obviously don’t understand that entire principles were ripped to shreds and canons violated to effect the “cleansing” you describe as being effected by the OCA. A lynch mob is not justice, it’s revenge.

      • lexcaritas says

        PRU <>

        Really? What’s he doing? Nothing noticeable out our way. But then, maybe doing nothing fits the OCA now. With ++JONAH gone we’re off the radar of the wider culture.


    • Michael Ryan says

      OMG, the SVS statement is ridiculous. If anything SVS wants to distance itself as much as possible from the OCA. Please!!!

    • Lil Ole Housewife says

      Dear Ken,

      Facebook is the wrong place to HIDE a petition to have the Holy Synod apologize for its mistakes and have Metropolitan Jonah come back. One must be a member of Facebook, which many families have eschewed unless literally made a work provision, and even then do not use it for “social” purposes, Support should not be hidden in a place under secular control, especially under control of a person who is not Orthodox and not a member of the OCA. Any petition should have a normal Url and website for collecting signatures and signatures on a petition does not the Holy Spirit make in any case, especially with the problems of anonymity on the web.

      And, if Nikos is correct and certain special unnamed people at Saint Vladimir Seminary are in favor of one candidate or another, please let those names be known.

      And if returning the care of our Metropolitan to us is of concern, then it would be nice not to mix politics and the Church.

      If there is another place on the web to communicate support for the Metropolitan and provide rationale for that support, please provide the Url. I am tired of politics. Many of us have families and have to be concerned with family life in the Church.

      If the service in the Cathedral of the MP or the ROCOR in San Francisco was recorded, it would be nice to provide a link.

      People will recall that Metropolitan Jonah was given permission to serve at St. John the Baptist cathedral in Washington, D.C. any time he wants by Metropolitan Hilarion, and this is not permission under the control of Father Jillions or any of the bishops of the OCA. Synod. In fact, to interfere with that permission would harm relations with the Russian Orthodox Church, the mother church that gave us autocephally, and the ROCOR, and indeed with the unity that has been achieved between our jurisdictions.

      I am personally tired of rumors. Rumors and innuendo started the loss of our Metropolitan from active service and led to the loss of an entire monastery that was being nurtured by the OCA and the ROCOR, the Greek Orthodox and the Antiochians, We have also failed our Metropolitan by not providing him with whatever support he needed to achieve his goals. This is our salvation that people are playing with. OCA is our spiritual home for many writing here. Our priests and monks and bishops are silent with apparently the exception of one retired bishop writing on this forum. It is not enough to hear some priest in private say that they love the Metropolitan. It is definitely harmful when some priest or another suggests that there are only special people capable of understanding the complexities of why we are losing a great Metropolitan.

      Finally, I am tired of other agendas besides the Church and Church unity. I really believe in unity and the necessity for an American Patriarchate. To achieve that, we need leadership that has delighted all the jurisdictions with his piety. During the four years he was our Metropolitan, however, he has been hamstrung by a Holy Synod seemingly hell bent on preventing him working toward unity or even being able to do his job.

      Delegates are being provided with no information, no guidance and no leadership. When a false council is held, how can the Holy Spirit act?

      • AMEN!!! LOH!

        Ok. So you are saying this will be a false council-correct? How have the people in Orthodox Church History showed there disdain for false councils??

      • Mark from the DOS says

        Respectfully, there is one priest who bravely participate here, even though he has already been punished for speaking out on other matters in the past. I wish more priests who privately support Metropolitan Jonah would have to courage to do the same. I understand, though, how the example has been made that they should shut up and keep quiet if they don’t want to get in trouble.

    • Nikos, thank you so much for the advice. It is true that the Synod and the Central Administration have been trying very hard to bury this. Show’s over, case closed. Except they destroyed Metropolitan Jonah under false pretenses, committed offenses worthy of being deposed from office, took our money to do all this, and now expect us to just shut up and be quiet.

      I think you and I both know that there’s a dead giveaway about this coup against Met. Jonah. They would definitely try to cover their tracks if they knew what it is, but it appears more and more people are catching on. And it just shows you how far the Syosset people are from reality. They really think they can just present their argument, and everyone will just go along with it. And how dare we not agree with them! They are THE CHURCH, after all! This is why it is absolutely necessary for there to be a protest at the Parma council. I can understand why people were too numb and afraid to protest at the DOS assembly, but we cannot afford that luxury any longer.

      God bless everyone who has been writing to Fr. Jillions, especially the lady who was published last Thursday. She is right: Fr. Jillions and the bishops are completely untrustworthy. Even if they do promise anything to Met. Jonah in terms of compensation, we have to make sure they follow it.

      Regarding the want for Archbishop Benjamin to be the next Metropolitan, that’s the whole reason they let Met. Jonah be elected, they thought he could be controlled. I don’t know how easy Archbishop Benjamin is to control, but he is definitely the most compromised, so there’s that. I don’t know about SVS wanting Archbishop Benjamin. They may share a few staff with the headquarters, but Crestwood and Syosset can be pretty far apart.

      The source is what it is, of course, but the Drezhlo reported a few days ago that Moscow sent an emissary to meet with the Synod in Detroit, and they refused to meet with the emissary on the grounds that “we’re autocephalous.” LOL. I’d believe it: being “Autocephalous” is no excuse for “Autoselfishness”, but they sure tend to act like it is.

      You know, considering how Drezhlo is always hankering for the OCA to return to Moscow, and Met. Jonah actually suggested doing that with “maximal autonomy”, I for one am puzzled she hasn’t learned to like Met. Jonah at least a tiny bit. 🙂

      • George Michalopulos says

        Lots of good stuff here, Helga. For one, I didn’t know that Moscow sent an emissary to Detroit and that he was rebuffed. I’m not saying it’s not true but it is in Drezhlo so I don’t know how to take that. That being said, if it is true and he was rebuffed, then it’s going to be “game over” for the OCA if they don’t walk that one back real quick.

        As for the DOS being “too numb” to speak out en masse in Miami. Guilty as charged. We should have raised a ruckus. Hopefully all of us learned our lesson and we’ll be more courageous in Parma.

      • Helga, where you refer to a letter to Fr. John Jillions from a lady, “who was published last Thursday,” can you provide a link to that letter, or was it in one of the comments threads here? I would like to read it. Thanks.

      • Jane Rachel says

        Helga, where was the letter to Father Jillions published? Is there a link? I’d like to read it.

      • Karen and JR, sorry about the omission. The letter was published on Fr. Jillions’ OCA blog last Thursday. I wonder what was in the part he cut out.

        He is right about one thing, prayer will heal the church. It will heal Metropolitan Jonah, too, God willing.

  17. Heracleides says

    Following on the suggestions of Veronica and other individuals, I’ve created a sample of one potential picket sign that could be carried at the sham AAC in Parma this fall. It is titled “No!” and may be viewed with my other images here.

    • Heracleides says

      Another one, this time titled “…the Best!” Constructive suggestions welcomed at: heracleides@gmail.com

      Edit: Interesting… forty-six views between my uploading the image and posting this message with link (which is not viewable and awaiting approval) – wanna bet how many of the subscribers to my Photobucket page are Syosset floaters?

      • Dear Heracleides,

        I think just plain “WE WANT METROPOLITAN JONAH BACK” would be nice.
        This is my preference, but I am sure other people will pick up the rest of your signs, because they are all good.
        Some of them require more knowledge about the situation, which most people don’t have.
        Usually people make their own posters, but yours a lot nicer!

        Other suggestions for the signs:

        “Head and Body of the Church are in Schism. Who can survive?”
        (or) “Head Splits from the Body. No Way for the Church to Survive!”
        “No Conciliate with the Synod”
        “This Election is Illegal”
        “We don’t have Voice in Our Church”
        “Vox Populi – Vox Dei”
        “False Statement (July 16) from the Holy Synod”
        “All Accusations Proved Wrong”
        “False Accusations Around the World”
        “World is Covered with LIES. +Jonah is INNOCENT”
        “No Money for Syosset”
        “No Trust to Unholy Synod”

        Please, feel free to edit my raw ideas…

        • Veronica, they all sound good except for this one:

          “Vox Populi – Vox Dei”

          It is simply not true.

          • It is not true at the present moment,
            but it was true, when we had +MJ,
            and will be true, IF they give him back!

  18. This morning Metropolitan Jonah prayed and communed at the St. Nicholas Cathedral in San Francisco.. Metropolitan. Archbishop Justinian, and Metropolitan Hilarion (ROCOR) served the Divine Liturgy in the Litanies and at the Entrance, the following were commemorated IN ORDER: His Holiness, Most Holy Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; His BEATITUDE Most Blessed Metropolitan Jonah, His Eminence Very Most Reverend Hilarion Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, His Eminence, Most Reverend ARchbshop Justinian, etc., etc.
    After the Liturgy during a formal program, there were three chairs, side by side. In the middle sat Metropolitan Jonah, on his right, Metropolitan Hilarion (ROCOR), and on his left Archbishop Justinian.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Thank you, Your Grace for filling out the picture more completely.

    • Monk James says

      It seems, then, that, the Russian Orthodox Church doesn’t recognize Met. Jonah’s forced resignation as authentic and effective. It would have been clearer had MetJ served as protos.

      Perhaps the Parma meeting can be scuttled and we can get back to building bridges instead of burning them.

      • But he did not SERVE, Monk James. Didn’t I make that clear? He was instructed by means of a letter sent by Bishop Alexander (Golitzin) informing him he was not to serve any place but St. Mark’s Bethesda.
        You know, another one of those totally uncanonical firmans or fatwas of the Holy Synod with no basis in the Canons or Holy Tradition AT ALL. After all, what need have loose cannons for canons?

        • Master, bless!

          Do you know whether this “ecclesiastical house arrest” was a Synodal decision, or solely Bp. Alexander’s? Thank you!

          But it also seems to me that had Met.Jonah served – given that MP via Met. Hilarion (Alfeyev) still recognizes him as a “Beatitude” – he would have had a primacy of honor over the “Eminences”, as both Met. Hilarions and Archbp. Justinian. Even a Primate who has abdicated his throne is still in some sense a Primate – just as St. Nicholas II was still in some sense a Tsar when he was killed. Also, the notion of Metropolitan’s resignation/abdication does not exist in the current OCA Statutes (and whether it exist in the canons, is also a question), which makes His Beatitude’s current status all the more interesting.

        • I’ve been wondering about this (his serving only at St. Mark’s) since he has been serving at St. John the Baptist in DC-more than once.

          • The restriction might not apply outside the OCA. I don’t think Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) and Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) would defy such a directive overtly and have Met. Jonah concelebrate with them. The simple explanation would be that Met. Jonah is free to serve in non-OCA churches when invited, much like Bishop Nikolai may serve when invited to ROCOR churches, but is barred from OCA-DOW parishes.

            • Of course it doesn’t apply outside the OCA. Yesterday while Bishop Nikolai served the Divine Liturgy at the ROCOR Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Los Angeles, Metropolitan Jonah was serving the Divine Liturgy at ROCOR Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco, with the two other Metropolitans: Hlarion and Hilarion AND with Archbishop Benjamin, who would allow neither Metropolitan Jonah nor Bishop Nikolai to ENTER and PRAY at any of his parishes.

              • In essence, Vladkya, Archbishop Benjamin celebrated Divine Liturgy with Metropolitan Jonah, Metropolitan Hilarion and Metropolitan Hilarion.

                Is that correct?

                • sub-deacon gregory varney says


                • Archbishop Benjamn’s serving at the ROCOR Cathedral in last place is hardly of the “essence” except to Archbishop Benjamin! The big deal was the concelebration of Metropolitan Jonah and the Cathedral where it took place. The OCA has no temple that can approach that Cathedral and the splendor of the services there, as well as V. Krassovsky’s choirs. Archbishop Benjamin must have felt like St. Vladimir’s emissaries to Constantinople: he thought he was in heaven, no? Beyond all that, there is the Presence of St. John’s Holy Relics!!!

                  • The Cathedral on Geary Street is impressive in its grandeur, to be sure, and its services are splendid, without question. The services are not always as prayerful as one might wish, but always impressive.

                    This concelebration appears as an act of grace and compassion, not of judgement and condemnation, and thus the factually challenged assertions of “snubs” are gently yet quite firmly laid to rest as Christ would have them laid to rest, in an act of peace and love.

                  • Sourced from here, open the link for photos: http://www.mospat.ru/ru/2012/08/30/news69586/

                    Митрополит Волоколамский Иларион возглавил Божественную литургию в Скорбященском кафедральном соборе в Сан-Франциско,

                    28 августа 2012 года, в праздник Успения Пресвятой Богородицы, председатель Отдела внешних церковных связей Московского Патриархата митрополит Волоколамский Иларион, совершавший по благословению Святейшего Патриарха Московского и всея Руси Кирилла поездку в США, возглавил Божественную литургию в кафедральном соборе Русской Зарубежной Церкви в честь иконы Божией Матери «Всех скорбящих Радость» в Сан-Франциско.

                    Владыке сослужили Первоиерарх Русской Зарубежной Церкви митрополит Восточно-Американский и Нью-Йоркский Иларион, бывший предстоятель Православной Церкви в Америке митрополит Иона, архиепископ Сан-Францисский Кирилл (РПЦЗ), управляющий Патриаршими приходами в США архиепископ Наро-Фоминский Юстиниан, архиепископ Сан-Францисский и Западно-Американский Вениамин (Православная Церковь в Америке), викарий Сан-Францисской епархии епископ Сиэтлийский Феодосий (РПЦЗ), клирики Русской Православной Церкви и Православной Церкви в Америке. …

                    My rough translation:

                    Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Surety of Sinners diocesan cathedral in San Francisco

                    On 28 August 2012, the feast of the Falling Asleep of the Mother of God, the chairman of the MP DECR Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, undertaking a trip to the USA with the blessing of His Holiness Kyrill the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the ROCOR San Francisco diocesan cathedral of the icon of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow”.

                    Concelebrating with Vladika were the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, the previous primate of the Orthodox Church in America Metropolitan Jonah, Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco (ROCOR), Archbishop Justinian of Naro-Fominsk administrator of the Patriarchal parishes in the USA, Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco and Western America (OCA), Bishop Theodossy of Seattle, vicar of the San Francisco diocese (ROCOR) and clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church in America. …

    • Moscow has spoken.

      • AMEN Basil!! Now if they would just say something concerning the rest of the synod!!

        • I was looking on the Ecumenical Patriarch’s website the other day and was utterly shocked as to how many times their Patriarchs were listed numerous times. They were deposed or removed for whatever reason (obviously unjust in most cases) and then returned to rule later. Perhaps this could be that sort of situation. After all, His Beatitude is quite young when it comes to a bishop and, God willing, could still live to see his name vindicated and his rule re-instated.

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            That is because the Turks were constantly interfering in the selection of the Patriarch. Every new Patriarch had to pay a fee to the Turks to assume office, so it was in their financial interests to remove Patriarchs as often as possible.

            Fr. John W. Morris

            • Fr. Bless,

              There were also quite a few going back before the Ottoman and Turkish yokes.

        • The other bishops of the synod, George, should draw the necessary conclusions and act accordingly!

          • The other bishops of the synod, George, should draw the necessary conclusions and act accordingly!

            Yes Basil, quite right.

            If they acted correctly in the first place, then +Jonah never would have been forcibly and uncanonically removed. The events that transpired never should have happened and tragically the chancellor continues to pretend that the church is in “good hands” and expects the faithful to believe it.

            Let us all pray that the synod does not continue to obstinately bury it’s head in the sand.

    • There are photos posted of the Aug. 26 celebration at SF’s St. Nicholas Cathedral on the MP-NY site:


      His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah is in one of the photos.

    • To complete the picture, what title (if any) was Metropolitan Jonah commemorated with during this Liturgy?

      • Denis Rukobludov says

        At the St. Nicholas Patriarchal cathedral in SF, Met. Johah was commemmorated as ‘His Beatitude’, but without any territorial distinction.

    • Lil Ole Housewife says

      This is great news, Vladika, Thank you so much!

      It occurs to me that I have never taken communion in the MP even though off and on I have attended services in it from time to time since the 60s, depending on hwere and with whom I attended church, because my then confessor said that we should not. Now we are in full communion. There is a time for every purpose under Heaven


      Loving the fact that we are one church today and becoming closer to that in practice!

  19. Defend the Faith says


    Unconfirmed but consistent sources inside the Diocese of the Midwest are reporting that her bishop has been put on Administrative Leave by the OCA for misconduct. The nature of the alleged misconduct won’t be reported here since that would be up to the OCA and the Diocese of the Midwest to share.

    It is clear that the removal of Mark Stokoe from the Midwest as one of their representative to the Metropolitan Council and recent attempts by the bishop to insist on more uniform diocesan liturgical practices received lukewarm responses in some regions of the diocese; thus one should be careful to leave room that the misconduct allegation could be an attempt to discredit the bishop’s leadership and sully his reputation as unfounded allegations forced another Chicago prelate, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, to defend himself in the 1990’s.

    However if, and I stress if, the allegation is true it will be another severe blow to the credibility of the OCA. One bishop is under indictment in Canada and facing a trial for sexual misconduct with minors, a Metropolitan recently removed from office and now this.

    The question now becomes how long will Syosset try to keep a lid on this when they were so quick to publish every misstep of Metropolitan Jonah, the major of which has been proven false? One can only hope that the current Midwest allegation is also proven false and that OCA transparency will be forthcoming.

    • I heard the same thing. That Bp +Matthias took a “leave of absence”.

    • What is considered misconduct in the OCA these days? Possession of a conscience?

      Seriously, I hope His Grace is innocent, whatever it is. God help us.

    • Where are you getting this? I have been unable to find anything anywhere else than here. I would like to speak to my priest about this but I want it to at least be credible first.

      • George Michalopulos says

        From what I hear, Syosset is not going to release anything (like they did with Jonah). You have to give them a call.

      • Defend the Faith says


        You may wish to call Syosset and talk to Fr. Tosi about this sad situation.

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      This is beyond ridiculous. At the rate things are going, there will be no bishops left.

    • Veronica, this link doesn’t work. Could you please tell us what it is?

      • It’s a photo of Metropolitan Jonah serving Dormition Vigil (08.27) with Met. Hilarion of ROCOR at Holy Virgin Cathedral – Joy of all Who Sorrow – San Francisco, CA. He served today with both +Hilarions of MP and ROCOR.

        I created a blog on Google to share with Monomakhos’ readers, and it works from my computer, but Helga said it doesn’t work. Try this new link http://i.imgur.com/7DsbR.jpg

        • ChristineFevronia says

          Oh Veronica, thank you!!! This picture makes me cry! I am so happy to see our Metropolitan Jonah with Metropolitan Hilarion, in his rightful place. Bless you for sharing this!

        • A very good picture, Veronica. Where did you get it? There are Metropolitans Jonah and Hilarion (Kapral) standing side by side on the runduk, while beyond them to their right one sees Archbishop Kyril and beyond him Archbishop Benjamin, while to their left is Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeev) and Archbishop Justinian.

          • Master, bless.

            My friend sent this photo to me via email, and asked me to share. At first, I didn’t know with whom should I share this picture, and then decided to put on monomakhos.com and on our Facebook place for +MJ supporters.

            With love in Christ, Veronica.

  20. To all: Since I have not seen others mention it and I don’t know where else to put it, August 28th is the one-year anniversary of the ever-memorable Archbishop Dmitri’s falling asleep in the Lord. May his memory be eternal.

  21. Rdr Seraphim says

    I was at Fort Ross for the pilgrimage and Liturgy. It was very nice. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated primarily by Met. Hilarion Alfeyev (MP) with Met. Hilarion of ROCOR as pretty much his parallel. Archbishop Justinian was there, as were ArchBishop Benjamin, Bishop Nikon, Bishop Peter, Bishop Gerasimos (I believe), and Bishop Theodosius. So, there was OCA Hierarchical presence in the person of two bishops, but it also had three ROCOR bishops, two MP bishops, and a Greek bishop… and a partridge in a pear tree.

    Also, there were two choirs – one singing in Church Slavonic and the inimitable St Seraphim’s parish choir. Both were excellent. The Russian choir did somewhat greater number of parts, but the Americans were right there, and they also traded off beautifully at times.

    Folks, the liturgy felt GOOD – no bitterness, lots of OCA clergy, Antiochian Clergy, ROCOR – it was pretty largely pan-Orthodox. I saw friends from as many jurisdictions. I think Met Hilarion Alfeyev lived up to his position – in conveying Patriarchal awards to people and groups like the California State Park services – whose representative accepted the award in joyful tears – it was good.

    So, was there a message directed at the OCA? Perhaps – and I think everyone there thought about Met. Jonah – I know I sure did – he’s been out of sight for some time.

    But that night he showed up at the New Cathedral, I believe, and the next morning – Sunday – he was in the altar at the Moscow Patriarchal Cathedral of St Nicholas in San Francisco. Word got out to me and others and we were all delighted to know he was around and hopeful that he would be heard from. We know he had a meeting after the Liturgy with the two Hilarions, who were both at St Nicholas, but of course, the content of this meeting is not yet known.

    Taking as truth what George M has noted here- that the allegations againt Met. Jonah were fabricated and easily disproved, I have to say that the OCA has got itself into a mess. I don’t think there’s anyone that the AAC can really show anyone getting behind – and the only real unsullied candidate I am aware of is probably Bishop Michael, who will probably categorically refuse such a nomination – he’s all about his own diocese, and I don’t think he wants anything else. So, and with all respect to the Holy Synod – but really, what is to be done? It doesn’t look like there is anyone of MJ’s calibre to lead- and Jonah himself was – and is – profoundly and deeply a man of God, who has been driven out by his own. This is an unenviable position at best, and tragic at its worst.

    My silly opinion and hope is that the OCA is stripped – even if temporarily – of its administrative autocephaly and that it goes under Moscow or ROCOR as perhaps an autonomous church, or even better, that it goes completely under say, ROCOR, and gets a massive housecleaning with the combined forces of the Moscow Patriarchate itself and ROCOR’s own strength. I don’t see any other real way to rid the OCA of its ailments or woes, and a lot of its members would now actually be very comfortable being in the care of either ROCOR or the MP – probably ROCOR a bit more, since they have a more visible English-speaking contingent.

    But that’s just my opinion, way down here at the bottom of a very long list of other ones.