Has the Synod Gone Rogue?

OCA Bishops check Monomakhos for news

Has the Synod-Syosset nexus split the Church? The ham-fisted removal of Metropolitan Jonah has got the Church up in arms. Even Synod-Syosset supporters can’t defend it. They cringe at the revelation of the Stokoe-Reeves-Solodow-Benjamin conspiracy of Santa Fe that attempted to brand Met. Jonah as mentally unstable in order to remove him from public ministry entirely. Ask them about it. They always switch the subject.

So why continue it? Why the ever increasing malevolence towards Met. Jonah? Even after the conspiracy was exposed the malefactors did not repent. In the absence of repentance you would expect them to sharpen their tactics, to apply at least a little sophistication to their schemes. To their credit they dumped Stokoe (he became a liability after the stolen email scam was exposed) but not much more.

Instead they released the STINKBOMB LETTER, perhaps the most seriously flawed document ever to emerge from the fevered halls of the Chancery. The malevolent tone and narrative of the letter revealed their intent: reverse the failure of Santa Fe. It was discredited in short order but not before Met. Jonah was castigated as a facilitator of injustice in the world-wide media. We have yet to hear an apology and correction of the record from those responsible for it. (The lawyers who approved the screed should be fired and reported to the legal ethics board.)

The letter was crafted to justify the forced resignation of Met. Jonah that caused considerable outcry and created a canonical and legal quagmire for the Church. No proper canonical procedure was followed and lawsuits for libel remain a distinct possibility.

Canonically Jonah remains First Hierarch. That’s why the other jurisdictions commemorate him as Metropolitan. You would think that the Synod and Syosset would take pause to consider whether electing a new First Hierarch might compound the canonical and legal problems they have already created. Apparently not.

So the charade continues. The All American Council (AAC) in Parma is window dressing for a seriously flawed project that began long before Sante Fe, even though at Sante Fe we first caught the ugly stench of the ill wind blowing out of Synod-Syosset nexus. Not only has there been no repentance, there have been no words of explanation, no attempt to justify why the criticism even exists.

Parma is doomed to fail, even if technically it succeeds. Word on the street is the Bishop Tikon will be the next Metropolitan but everyone already knows that the only reason he is favored is that the other candidates are so morally compromised that the charade cannot be maintained under their leadership. If the only qualification for First Hierarch is that no dead gay men were found in his basement, that he didn’t try to arrange sleep-overs with 22 year old catechumens, or that he didn’t stop homosexual clerics from preying on vulnerable young men at seminary, then all that remains is the non-entity candidate.

The Synod and Syosset have split the Church. Moral credibility is lost.

They have forced the faithful into an irreconcilable divide: support the Church by treating Met. Jonah with the same degree of malevolence they have displayed or have your faithfulness to Christ and the Church impugned.

With no qualifying explanations for Sante Fe, the STINKBOMB LETTER and the other amateur schemes along the way, the faithful face the untenable choice of having to take the leadership at their word when it is obvious that their words are flawed and sometimes an outright lie, or leave the Church.

Serious and mature people cannot and will not do either.

The question no longer is “Are the allegations true or not?” Sante Fe and the STINKBOMB LETTER revealed that the allegations are contrived.

That leaves us with two new questions.

What do we do with leadership that insists we believe a lie?

What do we do with leadership that has split the Church?


  1. Defend the Faith says


    I am afraid that you have sadly hit the nail on the head once more. The lengths this Synod and the current occupiers of Syosset are going to continue to punish His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah is shameful.

    Another example of their hatred of +Jonah is that they have BARRED HIM from attending the Parma Council. They have told him he is not invited and not to show up. Can you imagine? What a shameful display of utter contempt and downright mean spirit. My heart is grieving for what the OCA has become.

    Those who are now running the OCA have done a masterful job of tearing down what could have been the OCA but even worse they show not one modicum of ability to build up what is left of the OCA.

    But, if they think that all will be well after they dispose of +Jonah and elect a mouthpiece Metropolitan, they are only fooling themselves. This will not be over after Parma. The preaching of the Gospel and the spreading of Orthodoxy in this land is too important to be left in the hands of this band of uncharitable and mean-spirited “leaders.” I respect and always will respect the office of bishop, but I cannot respect men who pose as bishops but act like bullies in vestments.

    NOTE TO THE SYNOD AND SYOSSET – You may silence +Jonah but you will not silence the laity and clergy who have been wounded. Know this, the fight for the Faith and a healthy Church continues. We will not be discouraged or deterred. We take strength from the witness of St. Mark of Ephesus. We take strength from those who suffered under the yoke of Communism. We look to Christ and the Cross. We look to those, like Metropolitan Jonah who inspire us.

    • If Met. Jonah were to come to Parma and stand on the sidewalk on Broadview Road in front of the church, he would have company there.

      Fun company, too!

    • Gregg Gerasimon says

      How can they bar Met. Jonah from attending the AAC — is he not an OCA bishop? I just checked the OCA website and he is not listed as part of the Holy Synod anymore. When did that happen? I hadn’t realized that he has formally been released from the OCA. Was there a formal release? When?

      I had thought that he resigned from the office of Metropolitan, but (all political intrigue aside) does he not remain an OCA bishop without a diocese? How can they “not invite him”? I thought all OCA bishops were simply supposed to show up — I didn’t know that they required a formal invitation to go to the AAC.

      This seems to get more ridiculous by the day.

      • Gregg,

        Since he is no longer a diocesan bishop, he is not part of the OCA synod. However he still is a member of the OCA Episcopate and thus there is no good reason to exclude him. In the past, if a member of the OCA Episcopate wished to attend a Council, he was always allowed.

        But, this is the new OCA and things are now better! Right?

      • IWannaBeYourMan says

        Metropolitan JONAH is listed under “Former and Retired Bishops,” of which he is neither.

        “…The All American Council (AAC) in Parma is window dressing for a seriously flawed project…”

        “…There been no repentance…”

        “…Parma is doomed to fail, even if technically it succeeds…”

        “…Candidates are so morally compromised that the charade cannot be maintained under their leadership…”

        “…Moral credibility is lost…”

        I’m going to Parma and speaking out and voting for Metropolitan JONAH.

      • Denis Rukobludov says

        +Jonah can get in, however, since he’s “retired”, he’ll have to present 50 babki at the door to gain entry. I’m sure the moderator will spot him the cash!

      • It would be pointless to “canonically remove” someone who resigned.

        • But there is a valid point that he resigned as primate, not as Bishop of Washington, DC, and that the role of primate is not tied to the cathedral in Washington in any way by OCA statute. He requested another episcopal assignment (presummably so that the next primate could move to the Wahington see, should he and the synod so choose) but has not been given one. These are all reasonable points created by the unusual request for him to resign as primate (as opposed to retire early as bishop).

          Another thing that has not been discussed here but deserves to be: The nomination of a candidate for bishop in the DOS was put on hold just before the synod “unanimously” requested Jonah’s resignation as primate. This could be coincidence, but it seems extremely unlikely given how long that nomination process had gone on. Something changed suddenly. It certainly gives the appearance that the synod promised Jonah he could return to the position he was in before becoming primate. Did they mean it? Or was it a lie, was it all just part of the game to get his signature on a letter? As Stokoe explained, getting rid of Jonah was the most important priority for gay activists in the OCA. But this sort of purposeful deceit would probably make Jonah even less likely to want to continue working with this synod in any capacity. As abuses and betrayals go, this one will make you cry even if you don’t know any of the actors.

  2. Heracleides says

    Food for thought as the Parma Council swiftly approaches – “Cheesy” – may be viewed with my other images here.

    P.S. Hat-tip Arthur Rackham.

  3. Thomas Paine says

    Full of malarkey! Always looking for some conspiracy where none exists. There was no conspiracy; everything was brought on by + Jonah himself. Are there mental issues? Maybe. Bottom line is, those who were closest to + Jonah recognized there were serious issues and he had to be relieved. Brainwashed in Russia? Too much wacky weed? Psych. issues left over from his youth? It doesn’t matter. The Synod of the OCA recognized serious issues. Get over it. Now, about Parma. It will go fine for an emergency gathering. You can rant all you want here and try and misguide people, but it won’t matter.

  4. One characteristic of God that I have often noted is that He is the God of the last minute. Keeping the pressure on the miscreants in every way possible must be the standard MO. I think He likes to see if we are really serious.


      Greg Sulich, Administrative Assistant at the Chancery, is responsible for processing delegate and observer registrations for the approaching All-American Council. Yesterday he informed us that we passed the 500 mark. So, despite some early worries it looks like the church will be full for the election a new metropolitan.

      Personally, I am overjoyed that more people are determined to gather in Parma. Why? Because it will be much more difficult for those who wish to control this gathering to do so. I also know that many who are now attending are doing so not to be quiet, not to be passive bystanders, but are ready to stand up and ask questions.

      I only hope that those who have serious questions will be able to ask them and not be treated like bratty children and sent to a timeout corner by members of the synod. The faithful have every right to ask questions and they deserve real answers and not a retread of the STINKBOMB.

      Fr Jillions also says:

      We need perseverance to keep going, not just surviving and going through the motions, “white-knuckling it,” but even flourishing as we “strain forward.”

      Fr. Jillions, you got that one right. We will persevere in our attempts to rid the Church of any leaders who compromise the Faith and wish to whitewash the cruel means employed to throw +Jonah aside.

      • M. Stankovich says

        Well, Nikos, pal,

        It would appear that even the righteous have their “price,” and your Big Fish is asking the OCA for a $1.8 million to “make it right.” Your monastic former Metropolitan who signed it all away with his own right hand. Good lord, Nikos! What would a monk do with all that money? One would have presumed that a loud, aggressive litigator would have been preferred over a “canonist” canon – Fr. Garretson, after all, was a headbanger against the Broadway unions machine – but time will tell. But why “negotiate” in the first place? Go to court, for heaven’s sake; it’s all the rage. But, that would make the discharge record with evaluation and treatment recommendations from St. Luke’s discoverable and available. And their conclusions had absolutely nothing to do with the Synod of Bishops; no conspiracy, no STINKBOMB. Just licensed professionals who reached credible conclusions based on credible methods.

        I am “the faithful” and I would like to know why the former Metropolitan chose to ignore recommendations made to him, and why he ignored his promise to do whatever was necessary to heal and to change what, in his own words, was “broken,” and for which he took full responsibility. He said he would do so because of his love for the Church, the faithful, and his brother bishops. Did he change his mind? Is he too afraid to face himself?

        I have paid back more than a quarter million dollars in student loans, and I will never earn in my lifetime what he is expecting as compensation for four years of what he himself described before the assembled Church at the 16th AAC as a “disaster?” Am I a bratty child, Nikos, for inquiring by what right this failure of a leader believes he should be compensated as if he will be remembered for anything more than conflict, disappointment, and resignation? “Cruel means employed to throw +Jonah aside?” This man was offered the best help available three separate times – and read this carefully, Nikos: Because he needs it – and he refused their offer three separate times. And his final refusal was the harshest choice of all; he voluntarily resigned as Metropolitan rather than accept help. Seriously, Nikos, look at him. Is this a healthy man? He refused the help they offered him and he chose to stand aside and alone. And there are no canons that speak to foolish choices.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Dr S, when the time comes for you to retire (willingly or not), I hope you will say “pish-posh, I don’t need my pension!” It’s clear that Jonah’s antagonists don’t understand simple justice, do you not understand mercy as well?

          • M. Stankovich says

            Mr. Michalopulos,

            You led the outrage of the “extravagance” of a director of an office of sexual misconduct, inciting the cries of the salary being exorbitant beyond the “typical parish priest,” even for Long Island. Likewise, entire discussions have focused on the greed-driven “increased national assessments” that we will neither tolerate entertain. My point is that this is but another example challenging the myth of the “normal, humble and obedient” former Metropolitan who “lawyered up” and would all but bankrupt the OCA.

            As for matters of “justice” and “mercy,” Mr. Michalopulos, I would suggest that you familiarize yourself with both the Orthodox Service for the Tonsure of a Monk and the Election of a Bishop. If you actually would do so, you would be significantly more familiar with the questions affirmed and oaths proclaimed than the former Metropolitan seems to recollect, and to which he remains accountable. While it is true that St. John Maximovitch had the great misfortune of spending years entangled in the American civil courts, it was certainly not for personal gain, and was especially troubling for him. This former Metropolitan, however – even after forming a monastery in the name of the Saint – seems to relish the “tango.”

            As for myself, when I day arrives, I will gladly accept every penny of my pension, knowing full well that I have rightfully earned it.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Cut the crap Mike. I suggest that you suggest to your Synodal overlords that they look at the books you cite. If their behavior is any indication of Christian brotherhood then we are truly living in the last days and our hierarchy is merely going through the form of religion. If that is the case then all we can say is Kyrie Eleison and Maranatha! and pray that the Lord’s judgment is not to severe.

          • George, Why do you keep using the tile of “Dr.” when addressing M. Stankovich? He is not a doctor, he has no Ph.D., no M.D., just a masters degree. Ask him.

        • Help for What?

        • Michael,

          Where does your insider information come from? $1.8 million is a very specific number.

          It is also a very low figure. Hopefully that is only the pension part of the settlement. If you slander me in the national press, and label me as an enabler of sexual assaults and equate me with Sandusky of Penn State purely because you hate me and want to destroy my life and take over my church to promote a gay activist agenda, then $2 million doesn’t even get me to the table. You need to start thinking in the tens of millions and then you need to start drafting retractions of your accusations and implied accusations — because you will pay for full page ads in major newspapers throughout the country correcting your errors and apologizing for attempting to destroy the life and reputation of an innocent man.

          I hope Jonah has the good sense to hold out for something more reasonable than a $1.8 million settlement. $1.8 million is not even a deterrent to these wolves. It won’t even make them blink. I also hope he has the good sense to collect at least $2 million up front, because it is unlikely the OCA will be able to honor its debts 10 years from now.

          • George Michalopulos says

            I’m afraid that these absurd figures come from The Overcircumcised Troll. At least that’s my guess.

          • Lola J. Lee Beno says

            And pay for SEO to get the “rape” detached from “Metropolitan Jonah” in the search engines. That’s one of the steps towards cleaning up unsubstantiated references on the web.

        • ChristineFevronia says

          M. Stankovich,

          If what you say is true, then I am praising God that a small measure of Justice has been meted out to Metropolitan Jonah!

          Did you read the synod’s statement, in which they lied? In fact, they didn’t lie just once, but that synodal statement was filled with lies! Did you read the subsequent international media statements quoting the synod’s lies? The Washington Post, Huffington, etc., all called Metropolitan Jonah’s character into question for all the world to read. He “covered up the actions of a rapist priest.” His character was defamed. He has grounds for filing a killer of a lawsuit simply on defamation of character. Not only did the synod lie in July, but even after facts have been released that show the world that the synod lied, the synod has refused point-blank to retract their statement. If Metropolitan Jonah was my client, I would have encouraged him to sue the OCA for all it is worth. However, Metropolitan Jonah has been busy celebrating liturgies, attending services at a church in Maryland, and leading a small Bible Study class, and has been waiting–every single day for the past three months–to hear from the synod as to where he will next be assigned to fulfill his God-given vocation.

          Then we have the issue of the synod misrepresenting Met. Jonah’s resignation from his role as Primate of the OCA as “retirement”. He signed a statement–witnessed by the Chancellor–that stated that he remained an active Archbishop, and that he requested another reassignment. This reassignment would have paid him a yearly wage. It was evidently clear that he was only resigning from the Primate position–not from his position as leader of a diocese. However, the synod has actively and vociferously declared him “retired” and have refused to give him another position. They have wrongfully taken away his livelihood. A Metropolitan can be removed from his position for four specific reasons (death, retirement, medically-certified incapacity, or deposition/spiritual court), so it would be an easy case to prove they wrongfully terminated his employment.

          “Intentional infliction of emotional distress”… Have you ever heard of it? The way the synod has treated Metropolitan Jonah the past two years is a textbook definition of “intentional infliction of emotional distress”! If Metropolitan Jonah was actually suing the OCA, this would be a sure-fire claim for him to win millions and millions.

          Now let’s move on to a little bit of math. Let’s say you are a man in your early 50s. You are expecting to work until your early 70s, God willing. Let’s say you make around $70,000 per year. (I don’t know how much the Metropolitan actually makes, but the priest of my small parish makes over $55,000 per year, so it seems fair that the Metropolitan should earn at least $70,000 per year. If someone can help me out with providing the Metropolitan position’s salary, I’d be grateful. Funny how the utility bill for the Syosset Mansion on Long Island is $100,000 annually, and no one blinks an eye…) So, for your remaining working years (around 20 years), you expect to earn approximately $1.5 million as your salary. (This does not even include health care, insurance, or your pension that is supposed to take you from retirement till your death…)

          Now we come to your point that, goshdarnnit, he’s a “monastic”! He is supposed to take everything laying down in the middle of the road! Defame his character, call him a criminal, take away his livelihood, smear his reputation globally, and he is supposed to dance for the synod like a happy puppet! You are forgetting one thing. He is not allowed anywhere in the OCA. Where is he supposed to go?

          Metropolitan Jonah simply wanted another assignment. He has so much to offer the OCA, whether in a monastery as a monk or abbot, as a parish priest, or as a diocesan archbishop. And the synod has not released him to another jurisdiction, thereby again restricting his ability to earn his livelihood.

          We believe in something called mercy and compassion, M. Stankovich. $1.8 million may sound like a lot, but it is only what he would have received as Metropolitan until his retirement. In fact, it doesn’t even come close to what “mercy” would be in this situation!

          • George Michalopulos says

            Also, let’s not forget that when you Google the words “Metropolitan Jonah” you get the word “rape” at the very top.

            • There may be more than the Synod involved in the deposition of Metropolitan Jonah. Who emailed those newspapers immediately? Who leaked to Rod Dreyer? Who enabled and crafted this going viral on the internet? Who involved the Church of Greece and the sisters?

              Christina Fevronia mentioned some of the major points. I would add that the ability of a former Metropolitan and active bishop known for the quality of his sermons and retreats had the possibility of a healthy speaking tour participation and income. The value of his voice to numerous Christian groups has monetary value as well as spiritual and ethical value. Within a short period of time, he was robbed of leadership roles in a number of organizations within which he had great standing, the Orthodox Christian Laity being one example, and had value even beyond our borders as an Orthodox voice. This has been diminished and eclipsed by the rumor mongering and defamation to the point of libel.

              The OCA has devalued itself in the process of devaluing the voice of the Metropolitan, and has already actively hampered his ability to speak to Orthodox worldwide. It is impossible to value spiritual damage caused to others by the loss of Metropolitan Jonah.

          • Now we come to your point that, goshdarnnit, he’s a “monastic”! He is supposed to take everything laying down in the middle of the road! Defame his character, call him a criminal, take away his livelihood, smear his reputation globally, and he is supposed to dance for the synod like a happy puppet! You are forgetting one thing. He is not allowed anywhere in the OCA. Where is he supposed to go?

            Funny. I seem to remember Jesus being treated the same way.

            • Why is that funny?

              You’ll also note that those who rejected Jesus ended up not being part of His continuing Church unless they repented.

              It might be dark irony that a self-proclaimed church would abuse a man of God in order to promote immorality and allow hypocrisy, but it is not funny. It’s a terrible, sad tragedy.

            • ChristineFevronia says


              Funnier even still… 2,000 years after our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was “treated the same way”, the church that calls itself “Orthodox” (which means “right believing”/”correct acting”), treats the representative of Christ in “the same way”.

              • Which is my point, ChristineFevronia.


                I hate to be obvious, but I write as I do to point out that, as a monastic, much less a Christian, Metropolitan Jonah is exactly walking in the footsteps of Our Lord and Saviour when he is treated exactly as described. I use the word “funny” as an alternative to “ironic”; to point out the obvious.

                To reiterate the quote as I interpret it: He is exactly supposed to take everything laying down in the middle of the road! Defame his character, call him a criminal, take away his livelihood, smear his reputation globally, is precisely what is to be expected as a follower of Christ. Did He not say that those who hate Him will hate us as well? and he is supposed to dance for the synod like a happy puppet! You are forgetting one thing. He is not allowed anywhere in the OCA. Where is he supposed to go? And the Son of Man had no place to lay His head either, did He?

                In other words, we are ALL supposed to swallow ill treatment in this world. We are all called to be martyrs of some type or another. Metropolitan Jonah, by his humility in the face of all of this, is teaching me, at least, a great deal about humility and loving your enemies and preferring another to oneself. But, then, I tend to be rather naive about these things.

                As Jesus taught us, and as we pray in the Liturgy, every week, “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

                • Thank God St Mark of Ephesus didn’t do that, or the Iconodules . . . .

                  • colette, always right on the mark, says:

                    October 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm

                    Thank God St Mark of Ephesus didn’t do that, or the Iconodules . . . .

                    or your typical abused person

                • ChristineFevronia says

                  Sister(?)/Brother(?) AG, I, too, am grateful for Met. Jonah’s Christ-like example in handling this situation. I have no quarrel with you, and please forgive me for frustrating you so.

                • AG,

                  He has been defamed. He has been humiliated. He has been slandered and he has taken it lying down. And yet, he is a human being who gave his life to the call of the Lord and His Church to be its Metropolitan. He was nominated and elected by the Church to be its Primate. And yet, he was undercut and called mentally disturbed.

                  What we have is a contrast a conflict between the few who felt he was unfit to serve and the many who saw a man who was willing to tread out and the speak the truth in love, even if it upset the status quo, those who felt the OCA was more important than speaking the truth in love. He was willing to advance the Gospel in new fields which upset the status quo (the Manhattan Declaration being just one example.) Yet, that Declaration was signed by other Orthodox bishops, yet it was +Jonah who was castigated by his brothers for signing it. Their response was, “he should have signed it with their permission.” He signed it as one man without assuming anything else.

                  Is there anything in his sermons, his writings which expose heresy? Is there anything in his sermons or writings which reveal him to be against the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Is there anything in his sermons or writing which betray the teachings of the Holy Fathers and the Church?

                  Yes, he sometimes pushed the envelope of the status quo, but so did Christ, so did St. John Chrysostom, so did Fr. Alexander Schmemann. Yet, +Jonah became a focus of scorn by his brother bishops. Certainly not the first time and I doubt the last.

                  What are we to make of a man like Fr. Thomas Hopko who declared +Jonah mentally disturbed and stated with his usual style that the “Holy Spirit was absent in Pittsburgh.” Who is he speaking for, the delegates and bishops at that Council which under the guidance of the Holy Spirit elected him? This same man declared his unqualified support of Mark Stokoe. Shall we assume therefore that the Holy Spirit blesses the lifestyle of Mark Stokoe?

                  It seems to me and many others that a campaign to dethrone him started almost immediately after his election and culminated in his resignation as Primate but not as a ruling bishop, and yet, the letter by the synod revealed their deep dislike of +Jonah, using trumped up charges that he protected a rapist – and using as their cover fear, fear of lawsuits based on the RC Philadelphia misdeeds and their rational.

                  AG, there are still too many loose ends, too many half-truths at best, to justify the abandonment of the OCA synod. They simply gave up and gave in when they should have been reasonable.

                  Is it reasonable to demand that +Jonah spend six month in a facility to test his mental ability when bishops on the same synod have demonstrated far worse lapses in judgment? Who are they to try and convict a man when their sins are far greater?

                  And now, this same group of men expect +Jonah to spend the rest of his life in some sort of limbo, neither fish nor fowl, a life of internal exile with no visible means of support. They are the ones who display no sense of responsibility to one of their brothers. Why should not clergy and laity, Patriarchs as well as those outside the Orthodox Church have questions?

                  His Holiness Patriarch Kirill delivered a message to the OCA that they should treat +Jonah with respect. If what the OCA synod thinks what they are doing is respect, then why should not many of us simply reject their definition of respect?

                  Yes, those who go along and say that “we are an autocephalous church and we can do whatever we decide” forget that the OCA if it is autocephalous church is also a sister Church, a Church that is called to be part of a larger family of Churches and when one displays callous disregard to its Primate, the rest question, wonder, and react.

                  Why would these same bishops now wish to block his release from the OCA? Why are they so afraid of him that they would block such a respectful request? It seems to me and many that if the OCA will continue to show such subChristian behavior, there is little for us to do but lose respect for these same bishops.

                  Respect is earned, and at least Patriarch Kirill and the Russian Orthodox Church has stated that +Jonah has earned their respect. Why is it so hard for the OCA synod to do the same?

                  • M. Stankovich says


                    You do no one – including the former Metropolitan – any service by your continuous framing of “mental disturbance” and treatment for psychiatric disorders in general in such a pejorative, demeaning, and excoriating terms. He was never diagnosed by the Synod of Bishops and it is ridiculous to continuously ascribe “blame” to them. Mr. Michalopulos is under the ridiculous impression you can just admit someone into a psych hospital as “need be” and take your time at that; when you have to fight insurance companies for even 72-hour stays when someone is acutely suicidal. St. Luke’s had the “luxury” of conducting an extended evaluation, and whatever their diagnosis, it was their alone – not the Synod’s, not errant & disgruntled clergy’s, not from enemies known and unknown. And no one participates in treatment for “lapses of judgement” or “conviction of sin.” You are the master of melodrama, and so early in the week.

                    When I look at everything presented, it is quite apparent and rather a simple matter that at greater issue for the Synod of Bishops was not what the former Metropolitan did, but what he did not do. He was not elected to be an evangelist, or individual spokesperson for the Synod of Bishops, a policymaker, or one to “reach new fields” or to “push envelopes.” He was elected to bring leadership, direction, and primarily cohesion, solidarity, fraternity, and restore unity to the Synod. And what did he report to the the 16th AAC in his own words broadcast around the world: his four years were a disaster, and he accepted full responsibility. What did he say about his ability to unify the Synod? In his own words, the relationships were terribly broken, and he took full responsibility. What did he promise in his own words, whatever was necessary out of his love for the church. What did he actually do? Nothing. They should have asked for his resignation before the the 16th AAC, Nikos, and a man of true humility, aware that he lacked “the temperament and constitution,” would have stepped aside, sparring everyone this this shameful waste of a full year for nothing.

                    • Then why is the same synod demanding he spend 6 months at SLI if they have not diagnosed him already? Are you aware of that, friend Michael? They are making that a demand as part of their charitable gesture for +Jonah to even have the possibility of ever getting another diocese. “Gravely troubled” wasn’t that what Hopko said and if you don’t know it he made sure that every bishop on the synod knew about it.

                      Let’s be clear, they laid down the “crazy” card and they now can’t run away from it and you do no service to anyone at this late hour to try and change the rationale for their actions.

                      When he became Metropolitan he did not stop being a bishop and a bishop is called to evangelize and reach every field that is ripe for the harvest. Good thing Archbishop Iakavos wasn’t an envelope pusher when he marched with Martin Luther King. Good thing Met. Philip wasn’t an envelope pusher when he took a chance on the EOC and the Western Rite. Too bad those original ROCOR bishops didn’t push the envelope when they set up outside of Russian. Shall I go on, or do you get the point!

                      This is one of the weakest but most transparent things you have ever written here. It is clear that you side with those who just want a Metropolitan to be like a dress up doll. Push him out, say nothing, make nice, and be a sock puppet for the synod.

                      Yes, +Jonah was not a unifier, but if unity is nothing more than never speaking up and going along to get along, you can have it. It appears that such qualities are exactly what the OCA synod is expecting in the next Metropolitan. In other words, a “nice guy, no cojones.”

                      Keep trying to put lipstick on this pig. Only the few, which appear to be you, are buying it.

                      PS. Don’t put too much credence in that “last for years a disaster” words of +Jonah. Those were not his words but delivered to him with the ultimatum by the synod, “you either put these words in your speech or you will be out.” He said them, in humility, and what did it get him, the same boot they wanted to deliver in Seattle.

                    • They were hoping for a diagnosis of mental illness, because that would have allowed them to retire the metropolitan in a manner that followed the letter of the OCA statute. That much is clear. I know you don’t want that to be true, but the evidence will convince a jury if it goes to a civil trial.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Nikos & Um,

                      Above I mentioned the phrase, “State the obvious.” You do not need a medical degree or board certification in cardiology or bariatric medicine to merely look at the morbid obesity, the shortness of breath, and the red & perspiring face of the former Metropolitan incited by simply vesting for the liturgy to state with authority, this is not a healthy man. Charity, astonishment, and sheer sadness prevents me from posting a recent picture I received, not of an image of monastic “humility” and all the other flowery window-dressing you scatter about, but in actuality slovenliness. And it is you who are hopelessly propping up a Miss Faversham of Great Expectations, feeding the delusion that time can reverse itself, and we can all act like this never happened. The Synod “saw the obvious,” referred him to St. Luke’s with a promise that he follow their recommendation; compromised their agreement about following St. Luke’s recommendation (in my estimation a grave and terminal error); waited an undefine, “open-ended” period for him to act (a second grave error); and finally, demand he follow the original recommendation or resign. It is as simple, Nikos, as that.

                      And, Um, only a fool would have attempted to “negotiate” millions of dollars from the empty pockets of the OCA if they had any other legitimate recourse. The civil courts have consistently refused to enter into matters of church statute. And should they manage to convince a court to entertain the issue, I’m thinking the first order of business would be discovery of the findings from St. Lukes and, as they say, let the games begin… As we’ve clearly seen, Orthodox Christians are models of respecting confidentiality. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) protects patients, until they foolishly make spectacles. Even a “seasoned canon lawyer” will know that.

                      In conclusion, brothers – because it certainly doesn’t bear repeating from me – I am unwilling to accept that it is acceptable for any bishop to resort to deception and lying. It is not a characteristic of humility or obedience, in fact, it is the antithesis and a mockery. A bishop who would knowingly feign humility and accept responsibility illegitimately; who would promise to commit himself to a “correction” he had no intention of attempting – ultimately because he either did not believe he was responsible, or it was necessary; and who would falsely instill in the clergy and the faithful a sense of hope and confidence based on a renewed “commitment” to restoring the inter-relationships he neither intended nor endorsed is gravely troubled and needs to quietly go away.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Mike, you have elided from a psychiatric complaint of His Beatitude to a physical complaint now. That’s classic bait-and-switch. As for the general health of men the Synod’s age, we should not be surprised at the health issues these men face, often through no fault of their own. As for a severance package, that’s the decent thing to do.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Mike–I agree with your post of October 25, 2012 at 1:47 pm. I should add that I admire your tenacity and consistency. In Christ, Carl

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Michalopulos,

                      Truly I do not intend to be rude, but I’m going to suggest that this is a path you do not want to head down with me. I would refer you to Kaplan and Sadock’s Synopsis of Psychiatry, the “resident’s bible,” in particular the detailed structure of clinical assessment. And how does it all begin? Appearance. Kempt or unkempt, groomed or not, odorous, nourished and fed, pallor and coloring, demeanor, attentiveness, eye-contact, etc., etc. etc. Bait-and-switch my butt. Please, you know to exactly to what I refer, and it is germane and pertinent to an overall state of health – physical, emotional. and spiritual – that is inseparable and most importantly – stating the obvious – symptomatic. He refused their help three separate times. This is ludicrous.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Mike, this is truly vile. As a health professional myself, one who has spent time doing drug reviews in nursing homes and actually delivering medications to half-way houses and psychiatric wards, I can assure you that I am quite familiar with the type of patients you describe: morbidly obese, unkempt, smelly, wearing ratty clothes, open pustules, etc. In the five or six times I have been in His Beatitude’s presence lo these last four years I have NEVER seen any such presentation from him. That goes as well for the videos I’ve seen. Moreover, I know people who are in frequent contact with His Beatitude both before his defenestration and after, and they would also say that the above litany of psychoses you present is phantasmagorical.

                    • Stankovich, I must register yet another objection to your insinuations about Metropolitan Jonah. I have seen him several times in the past year and a half, and many times before that, and he has always been neat and tidy in appearance.

                      I have never seen him red-faced or out of breath from vesting. The only time I’ve seen him out of breath was when he had just climbed a bunch of stairs, stairs that had left me, a person with a BMI of 19, a little winded, too.

                      Your accusations and insinuations, when you have obviously not even met the man in recent times, much less examined him clinically, are complete baloney. Please honor your professional ethics by withdrawing your insinuations and apologizing for overstepping your boundaries.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Michalopulos,

                      I was NOT referring to the former Metropolitan specifically. I was referring to a common list of general observations of appearance and presentation that contribute to an overall diagnostic impression. You cannot write a proper report without a statement of such impressions.

                      Knows the Score, good faith assertions are not unethical because they are asserted in good faith. If you are aware of a mechanism by which anyone is able to prevent their particular “superior intellect” for subject matter from leeching into their personal opinion, I would like to hear it. I will not, again, waste my time at the bait of “political position.”

                      And, PLEASE, Mr. Michaopulos, I was baptized at St. Lazarus (“Ravanica”) Serbian Orthodox Church in Detroit, MI, at the hand of Fr. Miodrag Mijatovich, of blessed memory, being entered into the Book of Life as Michael, commemorating the Leader of the Bodiless Hosts of Heaven. Not Mike, a bartender from Jersey City. Many thanks for your consideration.

            • Dear AG,

              Your message would not hav3e been so painful to read if yu had not chosen to use the GD expletive.

        • NotASecondTime says

          It’s quite simple: Knowing the Synod will not give him the South but will continue to ostracize him, Metropolitan JONAH wishes to return to monastic life, and the money will be used in large part for beginning a monastery.

          • As Christine has commented, I too hope he hold out for Whole Page Newspaper, retractions of the Synods Slandering of him. I ALSO hope he gets his money up front.!!

        • insinuations and innuendos says
          • Thanks Insinuations . . .

            “Political abuse of psychiatry is the purported misuse of psychiatric diagnosis, detention and treatment for the purposes of obstructing the fundamental human rights of certain groups and individuals in a society.[1][2]:491 In other words, abuse of psychiatry including one for political purposes is deliberate action of getting citizens certified, who, because of their mental condition, need neither psychiatric restraint nor psychiatric treatment.[3] Psychiatrists have been involved in human rights abuses in states across the world when the definitions of mental disease were expanded to include political disobedience.[4]:6 As scholars have long argued, governmental and medical institutions code menaces to authority as mental diseases during political disturbances.[5]:14 Nowadays, in many countries, political prisoners are sometimes confined and abused in mental institutions.[6]:3 Psychiatric confinement of sane people is uniformly considered[by whom?] a particularly pernicious form of repression.[7]

            Psychiatry possesses a built-in capacity for abuse that is greater than in other areas of medicine.[8]:65 The diagnosis of mental disease allows the state to hold persons against their will and insist upon therapy in their interest and in the broader interests of society.[8]:65 In addition, receiving a psychiatric diagnosis can in itself be regarded as oppressive.[9]:94 In a monolithic state, psychiatry can be used to bypass standard legal procedures for establishing guilt or innocence and allow political incarceration without the ordinary odium attaching to such political trials.[8]:65 The use of hospitals instead of jails prevents the victims from receiving legal aid before the courts, makes indefinite incarceration possible, discredits the individuals and their ideas.[10]:29 In that manner, whenever open trials are undesirable, they are avoided.[10]:29

            Examples of political abuse of the power, entrusted in physicians and particularly psychiatrists, are abundant in history and seen during the Nazi era and the Soviet rule when political dissenters were labeled as “mentally ill” and subjected to inhumane “treatments.”[11] In the period from the 1960s up to 1986, abuse of psychiatry for political purposes was reported to be systematic in the Soviet Union, and occasional in other Eastern European countries such as Romania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia.[8]:66 The practice of incarceration of political dissidents in mental hospitals in Eastern Europe and the former USSR damaged the credibility of psychiatric practice in these states and entailed strong condemnation from the international community.[12] Political abuse of psychiatry also takes place in the People’s Republic of China.[1] Psychiatric diagnoses such as the diagnosis of ‘sluggish schizophrenia’ in political dissidents in the USSR were used for political purposes.[13]:77

        • Stanky,

          Goodness gracious, let me ask you again, as others have, what OCA parish do you belong to?

          Tell you what, Stank, if a person got three professional evaluations and none of them said he was unfit to serve, would that be good enough for you? You see, Stank, when a board of directors is looking to remove the chairman, they will do what is necessary to get the job done.

          You Dr. Stank are so sure that +Jonah needs help? Of course you do when you circle of information are the same people who worked so hard to destroy +Jonah’s primacy.

          You say they offered the best possible help to +Jonah. Places offered by +Benjamin where he went to dry out after his DUI? Jonah isn’t a drunk like +Benjamin. St. Luke’s? Yes he went there and they never said he was unfit to serve. But after 4 years his loving brothers on the Synod forced him into resignation after shunning him first, totally isolating him, then finally conspiring to remove him. Those are the facts.

          What an outrage yo say! Hmmmm $1.8 million dollars that sounds about right considering the years of service to Christ’s Church as Metropolitan he would have expected to receive. $100K for 18 years. Yep. Of course, Stank, if you were fired unjustly, I am sure you would just quietly take it without saying a word. Give me a break!

          Try as you will in defending your old pals Stokoe, Wheeler, Jillions, Hopko, Benjamin, et. al., the fact remains they have buggered up things so badly the OCA is not a healthy operation. You know, it is one thing to tear down but quite another to build back up. They got the tear down part real good, but that build back up part, not close. Not close at all.

          But you keep on ranting about monk this and monastic that, Stanky, but Metropolitan Jonah is a human being who is being offered NOTHING by the OCA. No means of support, no ability to serve in any capacity whatsoever. What compassion, what love, what a mess of a church the OCA now is.

          • M. Stankovich says


            I will say again, you need to be respectful. You want me to “play” on your name? Don’t get doxed in public for nothing.

            Your need to connect me to some “cabal” in order to dismiss the content of my comments is childish. To the best of my recollection, the only words I have ever exchanged with Mark Stoke was to ask him to remove himself from my customary seat in the SVS refectory as I was a Senior. I have never spoken to ProtoDeacon Wheeler about matters related to “Syossett,” and the only direct contact I have had with him in years is a single email related to the death of his wife. I have seen Archbishop Benjamin & Fr. Chancellor Jillions exactly once in 2012; I have known them both for 40 years, and I love them like my own brother. Fr. Thomas Hopko is probably one of the four most influential persons in my life since age 18, but I have had no direct contact in years. Would you imagine I would be apologetic for having such friends, Nikos? But you are just plain stupid to imagine we are collaborators.

            Secondly, I very much resent the implication that I am incapable of drawing my own conclusions, based on my life experiences, and my professional training. Nikos, I am a highly trained, well taught by supervision, experienced clinician who was worked in every faze of assessment and treatment; if you were concerned about a loved one, Nikos, you would want my help. Therefore, I understand exactly the seriousness of the recommendation made by St. Luke’s, and I will leave it at that. Because of your ignorance, your options are to accept it, or craft it too into the “conspiracy narrative.” Again, childish and foolish.

            Unfortunately, there are many facts remaining that you are totally unaware of, and that too is the responsibility of the former Metropolitan. You might well consider who is constraining whom., and you, Nikos, certainly have not. Three separate times they offered him an opportunity to help himself, his brother bishops, and the Church and still remain Metropolitan, but he refused. That is not being cast off or “fired,” Nikos. That is a dumb choice. And last week, someone who knows the situation said to me, “In a way, I personally wish he would show up in Parma and make a show of it. It least it would show he has some character.”

            • Mr. Stankovich,

              You ask for respect but then call me stupid. You defend your good name ad nasueum on this website but your words judge you.

              It is clear to all who read your words that you don’t know Metropolitan Jonah and have only reached your conclusions based on what others have been feeding you. So let’s not insult the intelligence of everyone who reads this blog. You attack the character of Metropolitan Jonah at every opportunity in your quest to legitmate your point of view. That certainly is in keeping with how the leaders of the OCA have acted in their very public attempt to discredit +Jonah.

              You also try and substanitate your claims by dropping little tidits like:

              Therefore, I understand exactly the seriousness of the recommendation made by St. Luke’s, and I will leave it at that.

              So, on the one hand you say you don’t speak to people in the know at Syosset, yet on the other hand you have been privy to confidential information about +Jonah. So which is it going to be? You seem to try and have it both ways. You try and leave the impression that the St. Luke’s evaluation concluded he was not fit to serve. Since you are privy to their recommendations you know that they never came to that conclusion.

              You have every right to call friends who you wish. All I can say at this point is that those same people have led the OCA to its present embarrassing condition. Call me stupid or whatever you wish, it does not mean a thing to me. But by calling me stupid you only diminish your case and shed more light on how sub-Christian the leaders of the OCA treated the Metropolitan. You have made your personal judgements about +Jonah, but in all of this public humiliation +Jonah has never stopped praying for his brothers nor wished them any ill will. You speak about his character as somehow not measuring up to your expectations? Again, the actions of those you defend speak for themselves. Get rid of +Jonah, brand him a wacko, offer him nothing and at all costs consign him to a life of exile.

              I may be stupid but I believe that trying to speak truth to power in the end will vindicate whatever stupid words you ascribe to me.

              Sorry about the Stanky nickname. I wasn’t the first to say it but I will try not to call you that again.

              • M. Stankovich says

                Nikos, friend, slow down,

                I did not call you stupid. I said if you believe I am a “collaborator,” or “conspirator,” or agent for some cause, then most assuredly I would call you stupid. Quite contrary to your statement, I am unique here in that I actually knew the former Metropolitan from SVS, before he was anything but a student – and I have shared my impression of him on this site several times – and my “conclusions” are precisely in character with my direct experience with him. Nikos, how many times have I written here that I have no personal conflict with the man? View my previous comments. But I have yet to hear anyone on this site, or any other site, say my impression was incorrect; no one has come forward to say, “I was a classmate and I knew he was destined to lead the OCA.” No one. “Feeding me information?” “I diminish my case?” Nikos, I was there then, and I am here now. Quelle difference?

                As for clinical matters, there is something called “evidence-based medicine,” and that means that by an accumulation of research and patient outcomes, there is a reasonable presumption of the course of treatment based on the diagnosis. I have not seen any confidential materials related to the former Metropolitan’s evaluation. What I know of St. Luke’s recommendation is freely available on this site and many others. The doctors of the Google School of Medicine have already weighed in and categorically dismissed it outright, and the former Metropolitan refused to accept their recommendation. Nevertheless, my training and experience tells me that five full days of structured assessment is an unheard of luxury – as a rule, I am limited to approximately 90 minutes in total – with the benefit of standardized testing and a clinical team approach. Based solely on the extent of their recommendations alone, there is a major concern. And I will not speculate, Nikos. You will not, however, convince me that these “major concerns” had no impact on the events leading to this point in time. It is impossible. The former Metroploitan said in his own words, the past four years were a disaster, and he accepted responsibility.

                The Synod of Bishops has made one statement regarding this entire matter, and they were very clear that the former Metropolitan was offered a choice: honor the recommendation for help as he had already promised at the AAC, out of his love for the faithful, his brother bishops, and the welfare of the Church – and by which he would remain Metropolitan – OR resign. He chose to resign. Had he humbled himself, motivated by love of the other, he would still be Metropolitan and there would be no Parma.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  MS, you’ve outdone yourself this time –both positively as well as negatively I’m afraid.

                  Your first paragraph is well written and reasoned. However you engage in subtle character assassination in the second. Frankly, I’m confused. You say you don’t know what the diagnosis from SLI was but then you castigate Jonah for not abiding by it? Which is it?

                  As for the “five days” being “an unheard of luxury” (in a mental institution! Really?), I’m at a complete loss for words. Why is it a “major concern” to you? Based on whose recommendations? A synod which is comprised of morally compromised men themselves? Are you joking?

                  As to asserting that these “major concerns” must have had “an impact” leading the Synod to force Jonah to enter into a psychiatric facility or else, I am again shocked. Leaving aside the galloping dysfunction that exists in the OCA, I repair to recent history in which the Soviets forced their political critics into psychiatric wards “for their own good.”

                  You lose all credibility however with your last sentence, towit, “had he humbled himself, motivated by love of the other, he would still be Metropolitan…” I don’t believe you to be a stupid man but if you really believe this –that the Synod really wanted what was best for Jonah (against all evidence to the contrary)–then you leave me no choice but to question your own sanity. You force me into this corner because I am positively certain that you are not a stupid man. Thus I am lead to C S Lewis’ famous “trilemma” which the confronts the honest atheist regarding the figure of Jesus Christ.

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Mr. Michalopulos,

                    Your comment as to the state of my sanity, by comparison to many comments directed at me on this site, is somehow charitable! My father used an expression that seemed to “cut” to heart of matters like Occam’s Razor: “Let’s put two and two together…” And my training relies on the maxim, “First, state the obvious.” You have an agenda; I do not. I have nothing to win, and I stand to gain nothing. Literally, do I care who is Metropolitan of the OCA? Not in the least. I have written here many times that I have longed for a truly American Orthodox Church from the day I stood and listened to the reading of the Tomos of Autocephaly. Likewise, I have resigned myself to the fact that I will not live to see it.

                    Secondly, in my personal life, I am dedicated to making reasoned, measured, evidence-based decisions in the best interest of patients, balanced against community safety and interests. As best I am able, I avoid undo influence and opinion – innuendo, gossip, and personal “opinion” I am unable to independently corroborate – and formulate an assessment. For this reason, I particularly resent and am offended at the suggestion I am a “collaborator,” or a “shill,” or a promoter of a manner of thinking for “handlers,” particularly the unscrupulous or the underhanded. I am not a stupid man, Mr. Michalopulos, and the only ones to “sway” or change my mind are those who do so rightfully and with evidence.

                    I would note that I had the same opinion of you and this site, Mr. Michalopulos, but in the need to maintain the “story” the erosion of the threshold of truth is the consequence:

                    “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

                    (Job 1″9-11)

                    Plenty of people have disagreed with a position I have taken, questioned my logic, or my reasoning; colleagues, collateral-professionals, lawyers, judges, family, friends, and so on. This is the only place in this big ol’ world, Mr. Michalopulos, anyone, professionally or privately, has questioned my sanity. It has to start somewhere, I suppose…

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Your insinuation that Jonah is insane is based on nothing but gossip. Whether you have a dog in this hunt is immaterial to me. By your arguments you are carrying water for the Jonah-haters whether you choose to believe it or not.

                      And no, Occam’s Razor rarely applies to human beings and institutions. Instead, the concept of Cui Bono? (who benefits?) is the more correct one. Occam’s Razor applies almost exclusively to inanimate entities or those beings which are not sentient (i.e. animals).

                    • M. Stankovich, you are being melodramatic when you write, “This is the only place in this big ol’ world, Mr. Michalopulos, anyone, professionally or privately, has questioned my sanity.”

                      I do not believe that! If you grew up in America, you surely were told at least ten times “If you think that, you’re CRAZY,”That’s, in fact, what George Michalopolos told you. Your reaction is out of proportion and inappropriate. However, if you really think that George Michalopolos diagnosed you as insane…..

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      …that’s above my paygrade!

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Occam’s Razor is the sine qua non of differential diagnosis in human medicine!

                      Problem: Homeless adult presents with fever of unknown origin. Holy Cow, Mr. Michalopulos! What to do, what to do? Occam’s Razor makes it possible to reduce an inordinate amount of data to mere “probabilities,” quickly. Season? Flu! Rapid-onset fever? YES! But wait? What did you say? Your shins hurt? Shins? AHA! Occam says, “get his shirt off.” Red spots, look like bites, insect bites… Occam’s Differential: Hmm. Lyme Disease, typhus… but the shins… LICE! We have “razored” through databases of fever differentials to arrive at (drumr-o-o-o-l-l-l) bartonella quintana carried by lice. Trench Fever. Who would have thought? Confirm with labs, doxy- or tetra- and he’s good to go. When you think Occam, Mr. Michalopulos, think “ballpark”; put me in the “most probable, let’s get down to business” ballpark. Precision follows.

                      I didn’t learn Occam’s Razor from Google, Mr. Michalopulos.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Nor did I Mr S. I was merely pointing out that Occam’s Razor didn’t apply to the character assassination of Met Jonah which your beaus ideal on the Synod seem to relish in. Hence, their slanderous latter which justified their false witness.

                  • Michael S.

                    Did the SLI evaluation of +Jonah, the basis for the synod’s final take down of +Jonah conclude that he was unfit to serve? Yes or No.

                    • Are they empowered to pronounce anyone unfit to serve?

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Sorry, Nikos, I didn’t see this…

                      As I have not seen the confidential medical record, I cannot comment on its content. I would answer Vladyka Tikhon by saying, “no,” they are most certainly not empowered, nor would they presume to be.

                • And anyone who forgets to take his bi-polar medication as often as M.S. should council no one!

                  • M. Stankovich says


                    You are sneaky, or perhaps as Mr. Coin is fond of saying, “snarky.” Current firstline medications for the treatment of Bipolar Disorder – and Mr. Michalopulos, correct me if I’m wrong (I’m not wrong) – are anti-seizure (anti-epileptic) medications (e.g. VPA, carbamazepine, gabapentin), including topiramate (Topamax). They likewise have the added benefit of reducing… What did you say, colette? Exactly! Essential tremor and migraines! I take 100 mg of topiramate – a “broadspectrum” anti-seizure medication to prevent seizures (duh) and reduce hand tremor & migraines from a head injury. Could it likewise protect me from Bipolar Disorder? Unlikely, but you never know… But I never miss a dose. You knew this all along, didn’t you, colette? You weren’t mocking. You were just messing with me! Right?

              • Not fair!
                “Stupid” is derogatory.
                “Stanky” is just a nickname derived from the name he uses here.
                Dictionary definition:
                nickname |ˈnikˌnām|
                a familiar or humorous name given to a person or thing instead of or as well as the real name.

                • M. Stankovich says


                  In the interest of fairness, why not post up your real name and I’ll pitch you a few “nicknames” – all in good fun, of course – and you tell me how much you enjoy it.

                  • MS must live a very sheltered life to be offended by a nickname.
                    I’ve had many “nicknames” given to me in my life,
                    some funny/friendly and some not so funny/friendly.
                    No need to remember them now though, especially ones given me while in high school and on active duty in the US Army in the early 1950s when something as mild as “Stanky” wouldn’t even attract attention or comment.

                    • Dear Otec Diakon,

                      I , too protest the nicknaming and nicking of the surname Stankovic. I happen to be fond of Kornilije Stankovic, the composer, in addition to finding pejorative nicknames unnecessary in general.

                      Tropar of the Cross


                    • Dear loh:
                      If it is I that you are addressing in your comment above, please translate “Otec Diakon” for me.
                      Also, the definition for nickname I gave above says nothing about them being pejorative but rather as being “familiar or humorous.”

                    • Dear PJ PDn,

                      popular, friendly name for protodeacon is Father Deacon

        • Speaking My Mind says

          M. Stankovich: Did you find anything else back there when you pulled that fictitious number out? The outrage is your putting in print your own fears (or requests?) as belonging to others. His Beatitude, the Metropolitan of the OCA, +JONAH, did not ask for any such, or any other, figure of funds. He is truly humble – not, as I see you in your posts. I feel very sorry for you as I see by your continuously viperous posts that the name you were stuck with must have been fodder for the bullies in school who formed this obvious and immense anger in you. May God rid you of it.

          Others: Don’t believe anything that this man puts in print. He is too full of himself to see out.

        • Stankovich writes,

          It would appear that even the righteous have their “price,” and your Big Fish is asking the OCA for a $1.8 million to “make it right.” Your monastic former Metropolitan who signed it all away with his own right hand.

          A right hand which was only moved by having been grievously misled and abused. That’s kind of the point of suing.

          Why should the OCA pay Metropolitan Jonah a settlement? Gee, I don’t know. Maybe the self-serving functionaries of Syosset aren’t the most objective source of information about this. If the OCA needs to learn yet another expensive lesson through litigation, so be it.

          What would a monk do with all that money?

          We can assume that this monk would use it to take care of his family. He’s not the kind of man who would spend it on bourbon and blackjack, not that it’s any of your business. The point is that the OCA did him a terrible wrong, and he deserves compensation.

          But why “negotiate” in the first place? Go to court, for heaven’s sake; it’s all the rage. But, that would make the discharge record with evaluation and treatment recommendations from St. Luke’s discoverable and available. And their conclusions had absolutely nothing to do with the Synod of Bishops; no conspiracy, no STINKBOMB. Just licensed professionals who reached credible conclusions based on credible methods.

          I really doubt things would have gotten this far if Metropolitan Jonah had anything to fear from such a discovery. That’s what a clean life will get you. It’s a lesson for us all.

          I am “the faithful” and I would like to know why the former Metropolitan chose to ignore recommendations made to him, and why he ignored his promise to do whatever was necessary to heal and to change what, in his own words, was “broken,” and for which he took full responsibility. He said he would do so because of his love for the Church, the faithful, and his brother bishops. Did he change his mind? Is he too afraid to face himself?

          Metropolitan Jonah “ignored his promise”? More like, Charlie Brown finally gave up on kicking Lucy’s football.

          I have paid back more than a quarter million dollars in student loans, and I will never earn in my lifetime what he is expecting as compensation for four years of what he himself described before the assembled Church at the 16th AAC as a “disaster?”

          Your student loans and other personal choices are not Metropolitan Jonah’s fault. He worked his own way through school, by the way. Please pick another target for your angst.

          Am I a bratty child, Nikos, for inquiring by what right this failure of a leader believes he should be compensated as if he will be remembered for anything more than conflict, disappointment, and resignation?

          I’ll remember Metropolitan Jonah’s tenure fondly, if only because for once, the OCA had someone in charge who wasn’t a drunk, a crook, or a pervert. But he has many other good qualities, too. I think he made a good Primate, and I would love to have him return to that position.

          “Cruel means employed to throw +Jonah aside?” This man was offered the best help available three separate times – and read this carefully, Nikos: Because he needs it – and he refused their offer three separate times. And his final refusal was the harshest choice of all; he voluntarily resigned as Metropolitan rather than accept help. Seriously, Nikos, look at him. Is this a healthy man? He refused the help they offered him and he chose to stand aside and alone. And there are no canons that speak to foolish choices.

          It is interesting that you think you know so well what Metropolitan Jonah needs, even though he is not your patient. When was the last time you even saw the man in person?

          As for foolish choices, I can only think that perhaps he ought to have never trusted his so-called brother bishops. I applaud him for continuing to love and pray for them, but I so wish he had not assumed the best of them for so long.

          Metropolitan Jonah deserves a decent settlement, whatever he requires to take care of himself and his family, and a chance to rebuild his reputation and continue his episcopal ministry. May God prosper him!

          • Mark from the DOS says

            The HS statement contains demonstrably false statements regarding the circumstances surrounding Met. Jonah’s resignation. The release of the statement was followed by newspaper articles accusing the Metropolitan of covering up a rape. The second was the logical consequence of the first. Slander does not have to be direct. The release of false statements that lead to defamatory conclusions can also be actionable.

            I’d be pretty mad if my google search results looked like Met. Jonah’s right now.

  5. Disgusted With It says

    So it seems true about +Tikhon already being chosen to be Metropolitan. I’ve heard it for over a month now from multiple friends “in the know” and seeing that other credible sources on here are saying the same thing I’m 99% convinced the fix is in. How pathetic. So much for the synod’s faith in the Holy Spirit at an election. All the materials they sent out telling everybody else how to pray before considering their choice, etc., is all just a bunch of b*** sh**. Hypocrites! Hypocrites! Hypocrites!

    But should we be surprised? Look at the photos from the last couple of synod meetings. Did anyone else notice that instead of having the Book of Gospels placed in the middle of them they now sit with their backs to it? How appropriate, they’ve turned their backs to the Gospel both spiritually AND physically!

    In my opinion, His Beatitude Jonah should go to Parma regardless of what he’s told. It’s a free country. He doesn’t even have to say anything; just be there. (And let them have the police escort him out for all to see if that’s what they want to do.) What more can they do to him after all they’ve done to destroy him? But clergy and delegates need to be there to support him and let the synod know their un-holy recklessness and shenanigans will no longer be tolerated. Otherwise, we will all just keep being used.

    • I have not heard His Eminence Tikhon mentioned for a while now. The favored candidate seems to be His Grace Melchezidek – who has represented the OCA on numerous occasions over the past few years, and is well received in both Greek and Russian circles.

      At the heart of the issue is just what the role of the Metropolitan is – is he the chair of the Synod, or the ruler of the Synod? Do diocesan bishops report/accountable to him, or to the Synod?

      It isn’t as exciting as the drama and intrigue that is seemingly overwhelming us. Yet, we have to recognize, as Orthodox Christians, that we are not in a position to hold the seven active synod members are all wrong and one individual is right. The Holy Spirit works in consensus. And, we should further recognize that certain facts are not in dispute:

      His Beatitude Jonah was elected Metropolitan after a speech in which he promised, on behalf of the synod, that the activity of the OCA should be transparent and accountable to the laity.

      His Beatitude Jonah was not able or willing, I don’t know which, to provide that transparency and accountability, as he made decisions in isolation, without consultation with the other hierarchs and staff. These decisions included accepting a monastic presence without counsel, something for which the OCA has done before to it’s detriment, attempting to unilaterally terminate staff that were elected by the Synod, the attempt to relocate the Chancery and “HQ” to Washington against the advice of the Metropolitan Council and Synod of Bishops, and (in general) choosing to be disobedient to the Synod.

      While none of these faults are beyond redemption, the unwillingness to acknowledge, repent, and forgive (I would add mutually on the part of the Synod as well) undermined the relationship between the hierarchs and rendered it irreparable.

      I personally believe had Metropolitan Jonah set forth a public agenda, and developed the support of the people prior to his decisions, the Synod would have more than happily accommodated him. Particularly if he had been successful in garnering financial support and commitments for the decisions (like the move to DC).

      The fact is that life in the South (where I am from) and the West, Midwest, and Northeast (where I have lived) are all quite different from one another, and require different administrative and pastoral responses. What works in Dallas will not necessarily work in Albany or Spokane or Indianapolis.

      I am not suggesting that Metropolitan Jonah was wrong in any of his objectives. But the Metropolitan does not have the ability to operate without the support of the Synod. That is the primary “authority” of a Metropolitan – to put forth an agenda and find support in his brother hierarchs. We are not Catholics where all authority is vested in the Pope and the diocesan Bishop is simply the vicar of the Bishop of Rome. Each Bishop has the fullness of the faith. They are accountable to each other, including the Metropolitan. He should (having been in monastic obedience and as an abbot) have understood the nature of that relationship.

      In the final analysis, I cannot say whether or not His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah should be reinstated. My personal opinion is no – not because he is a bad person, or for any reason other than his skills and talents are focused on leading monastics to holiness, not being the head of administration for a Church. Personally, as long as we can ensure his support, I believe he can be of greater benefit (and influence) on the “outside” of the administration, leading spiritually those who desire to follow him to their salvation.

      But that’s just my opinion. Forgive me, a sinner.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Jonah not “transparent”? Mark, go back to plagiarizing Marianne Williamson.

      • Where do you get the idea that the canonical “head” and the only one with any canonical authority beyond his diocese has less authority than the others?

        In your system, which is not in the canons, the head would literally be a figurehead and nothing more. You need to acknowledge that fact and then try again.

      • setting the record straight says

        We are not Catholics where all authority is vested in the Pope and the diocesan Bishop is simply the vicar of the Bishop of Rome.

        That is not Catholic ecclesiology. Not even close. The local ordinary (bishop) runs his diocese. Rome interferes only when there is a big, huge, messy, stinkin’ problem. (Indeed, some of us lay Catholics wish he would interfere a bit more in certain cases!)

        When lay Catholics have an issue with a local priest or parish, they don’t appeal to the Vatican. They write to their bishop. Trust me. Ask any Catholic bishop. We do things just the way y’all do: First, appeal to the pastor, and, if that gets you nowhere, appeal to the bishop. Very rarely does anyone appeal to the papal nuncio. I wouldn’t even know how.

        How could it be otherwise? There are 1.31 billion of us Catholics worldwide. Do you really think the pope could micromanage 1.31 billion people, even if he wanted to? It would be harder than herding cats. In fact, it would be flat impossible.

        You can disagree with Catholic ecclesiology all you want, but please at least get it right. Please at least understand and respect what Catholicism actually is and what Catholics actually believe. Don’t keep attacking a strawman or a caricature. Thank you!

        Clueless Catholic

        P.S. The chief documents of Vatican II do a good job of delineating the relationship between the Pope and the College of Bishops. If you are interested in learning the truth about Catholic ecclesiology, you may want to start there.

        • Catherine 9 says

          Well written.

          I would only disagree with the suggestion to consult Vatican II documents.
          Better to go back to previous Councils.

  6. “The Synod and Syosset have split the Church.”

    And you, George, and the rest of your cronies are the force behind the division and seem to be having a fine time dancing around the flames. Blame can be laid no where but at your feet.

    Lord have mercy on us all.

    • All in the Family says

      Oh Philippa,

      That same rant was used by those who posted on OCAnews. Easy to shoot the messenger, much harder to deal with the truth. Stop looking for the scapegoat, although that is the OCA way.

    • Clare Voyant says

      Milady protesteth too much. An internet website split the church? Thats hilarious…..if not so sad…..

      BTW George, how do I become one of yoru cronies? Is all that is required to “speak the truth in love,” or is there a membership fee?

    • Disgusted With It says


      It wasn’t George and his “cronies” who’ve been hiding and protecting clergy guilty of homosexual acts, drunkenness and other immoral behaviours while putting up a phoney “holy” image. At this point, the synod doesn’t look much better than the past leaders of the boy scouts as was just revealed. Really, it’s amazing how when some priests are removed it’s officially reported, and yet when others are finally reluctantly removed they simply disappear quietly. Wake up!

    • Gailina Sheppard says

      No one can “split the Church” unless God allows it. What *I* see is God UNITING the Church against hypocricy. He is turning over the tables of those who have defiled His temple. Where do you stand?

  7. What if the our Mother Church Patriarchates and their bishops in North America were to declare the upcoming OCA Special Electoral AAC as “null and void” because of the reasons and circumstances under which it is held and so refused to recognize its’ decisions and election of a new Metropolitan?

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      Whatever happens in Parma, you will probably have to live with it, because I really doubt that the rest of Orthodoxy wants to get involved in the internal affairs of the OCA or receive former OCA parishes without a proper canonical release from the OCA because it would lead to a law suite. I doubt that any other jurisdiction wants to get involved in a law suite with the OCA. Because the OCA considers itself autocephalous, the OCA will have to solve its own problems unless Moscow wants to get involved because it is Moscow who gave the OCA its autocephaly. I am not writing this because I do not care about the OCA. I am writing this because I am realistic. I hope and pray that you resolve your problems, and that the OCA grows and prospers. However, I also hope and pray that some extremists in the OCA recognize that they are not the only Orthodox in this country and that one does not have to follow Russian liturgical customs to be Orthodox. I also hope and pray that these extremists recognize that the rest of us have a right to participate in the resolution of the problem of Orthodox disunity on an equal basis with the OCA.

      • Fr.

        You know it’s funny but often times someone will point at what they consider a “Russian Custom” and be completely oblivious to the fact that it was the NORM across all Orthodox Churches until the modernists had their way with the Greek Churches. Real and actual differences come down to minor variations of the Typicon. If the Greek Churches would only be faithful to their tradition I would have no quarrel with them, but instead. Bad habits should not be glossed over as “regional variations”.

        • Basil Takach says

          I would ask Andreas his opinion about the Nikonian reforms and how they relate to current OCA liturgical practice and how they apply to his theory about Orthodox NORMS. The rest of us who are not Russophiles have suffered under such arrogance for centuries. I am not a Russophobe – to the contrary there is much about the ‘duch’ of Russian Orthodoxy which touches the hearts of all Slavs of the eastern tradition – but NORMS? Try using that line in a Ukrainian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, Romanian Orthodox, Bulgarian Orthodox or the non-Slavs of the Georgian Orthodox church and see how it plays. I will line up with Fr. Morris here.

          • What is at issue is not whether something is a “Russian” or “Greek” practice but what is faithful to the tradition of the Church. So for that matter your list of various cultures as evidence that I am advocating some sort of Russophilia is misplaced. So we could talk about the merits of Romanian glass iconography, vs. wood or wall, or try to compare ancient Georgian polyphonic chant to Byzantine chant, or perhaps whether a Slava is strange to non-Serbs but I really don’t care.

            On the other hand “choose your own liturgics” is not “quaint practice” but disruptive and potentially destructive. Then there are the architectural innovations, such as reducing the iconostasis to an RC communion rail (which they no longer have) and the infection of pews (for which wealthy Protestantized Americans seem all to eager to introduce to their “backward” relatives in the old country) as well as the propensity for Congregationalism

            So while you can point to various unfortunate events 500 or more years ago, the problem really is today and within the last century as the degree and variance of self willed innovations have increased especially in the West. In fact I would go so far as to say that the difference between the Churches in this country (even within a jurisdiction) is not our traditions, but our innovations. You need to give credit where credit is due. The Russians (non OCA) have done a much better job of holding to the traditions of the Church. I am sorry if you don’t like that but I would give the same credit to the Greeks if they had done the same.

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              I know of no Orthodox Church which has reduced the iconostasis to a Roman Catholic style communion rail, certainly not an Antiochian Church. The only place where I have seen an iconostasis that resembles a Roman Catholic communion rail is the new chapel at St. Vladimir’s Seminary. Antiochians do not chose our own liturgics. If Metropolitan Philip is insistent on one thing, he is insistent on liturgical uniformity to correct Antiochian liturgical practice. I know of no more complete priest’s service book than our Liturgikon.
              I hate to disillusion you, but I have seen pews in OCA Temples including your Cathedral in Cleveland. There are pews in the chapel at Holy Cross School of Theology as well as in St. Mary’s Patriarchial Cathedral in Damascus. I do not think that either Holy Cross of the Patriarchate would allow pews if it were a violation of the doctrine of the Orthodox Church. There are also seats in the Monastery of the Holy Archangels in Texas. They are along the side, but they serve the exact same function as pews. It is silly and petty to make the absence of pews the measure of Orthodoxy. If you do not want pews in your Temple do not have them, but you have no place telling me that I am not Orthodox because I have not made the people of my parish remove the pews.

              • It has been observed that the manner in which the Tradition was received by a people has a great deal to do with how the relative importance of traditional practices is perceived.

                The traditions of the Churches of Jerusalem, Antioch, Greece, Rome, Alexandria, and Constantinople developed over time and were never quite as “fixed,” nor were they understood to be as fixed, as many perceive our traditional practices today – although the structure and integrity were always there.

                Russia, however, received the Tradition at a time when the traditions (of Constantinople particularly) were already well established. One might say that they received the well-developed traditions ‘as a whole,’ so to speak, with the Tradition. Thus, in general traditional Russians tend to associate the observance of the traditional practices they received more closely with the Tradition itself.

                This doesn’t make one more “correct” than another as long as they all hold fast to THE TRADITION and maintain mutual respect and recognition. Rather, in my opinion this respect should manifest itself in a mutual understanding that avoids the pitfalls of the potential extremes to which either is prone. On the one hand, the traditional practices were, in fact, developed by the Churches and are therefore subject to the Churches. On the other, there are good reasons that these traditional practices came to be accepted. For, though developed over time, they were not without practical edifying and safeguarding purpose. They do, in fact, represent the accumulated wisdom of a millennium of Christian experience, and it is rarely a sign of wisdom to assume we know better.

                • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                  That is a very astute observation. I never thought of that aspect. Because the Russian Church was centralized under the control of the Tsar it developed a more uniform practice than the rest of Orthodoxy that was not quite as centralized. Actually, Orthodox liturgical practice did not really begin to reach complete uniformity until the first texts were printed in Venice. We did not have a universal version of the Typikon until 1543. Although the Arabic Typikon is based on the Violakis Typikon of 1888, there are all kinds of footnotes that note the differences between Antiochian practice and the Violakis Typikon.
                  I do not mean to disrespect Russian traditions, My argument is not that Antiochian traditions are superior to Russian traditions. My point is that there is room within the Orthodox for different liturgical practices as long as we all follow the Holy Tradition, that is doctrine of the Church. For example, I like the way that we do the Great Entrance, but do not think that the Russians are not Orthodox because they do not go all the way around the Temple I do not own a Russian high back philonion. I wore one once and did not like it. It shifted too much, but I do not think that those who wear Russian high backs are not as Orthodox as I am because I wear Greek style vestments. As long as we are faithful to the doctrine of the Church, there is room for minor ceremonial differences between various Orthodox traditions. No one wants to make any radical changes in Orthodox worship. We will never undergo the liturgical destruction that took place in the Roman Church after Vatican II, because if anyone tried to make radical changes in the worship of the Church, the Bishop would not have time to throw the priest out, the people would do it first.
                  I am offended by all the talk of the OCA as the American Church because we too are Americans in the Antiochian Archdiocese as are Orthodox in the Greek, Ukranian, Carpatho Russian, ROCOR, and every other Orthodox jurisdiction. My parish is an all English parish and is made up of Greeks, Lebanese, Converts, and Russians. If it is an ethnic parish, it is Mississippi ethnic. There will not be a truly American Orthodox Church until we are all united into one jurisdiction. I believe that will take some time. Regardless of who was here first, one jurisdiction cannot proclaim itself the American Orthodox Church because the other Orthodox jurisdictions are also made up of American Orthodox Christians. The OCA cannot ignore the Greeks, Serbs, Antiochians and the other canonical Orthodox jurisdictions in this country. Unity will come in God’s time. In the meantime, we must learn to appreciate each other and recognize that in what is really important we are one body in Christ because despite our relatively minor liturgical differences we all believe the same thing.

              • mike novak says

                for anyone who believes this looks like a communion rail please vote this post “thumb’s up”.

                • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                  It that is a picture of St. Vladimir’s Chapel, they have changed it since I was last there. When I was there about 15 years ago, they had nothing between the icons so that it looked like a RC communion rail with a few icons on top. I am glad that they changed it to a more traditional form. I strongly believe in having a full iconostasis. The iconstasis focuses the worship where it should be on the Holy Table which represents the throne of God and not on the Priest. Besides, if I have to blow my nose or retie a cord on my cuffs of sticharion that has come undone, I can step away from the Holy Table and be hidden by the iconostasis and deal with the problem. If I have to give special instructions to the Altar servers for a procession, I can do so without disturbing the flow of the Divine Liturgy. We know from archeology that the most ancient Temples always had some sort of barrier between the nave and the Altar to emphasize that the Altar is a sacred space.

                  • re: Syosset chapel

                    What do you all expect for a tiny suburban house chapel? Antonio Gaudi?

                    At any rate, the high iconostasis is an innovation in Orthodoxy. Take a look at the panel illustration in this paper


                    a long paper is here


                    Ouspensky, Lossky and others have well discussed how the addition of panel icons to the chancel screens developed into an ever taller element in Church architecture, especially in those locales where there were not so developed fresco and mosaic traditions. Gary Vikan of the Walters Art Gallery developed an exhibit on the kinds and sorts of chancel screens. Consider that some of the first foundations in Russia had such frescoes as in early Christian and Byzantine / Balkan traditions and mimicked their iconographic programs. The fresco painting was Byzantine.

                    I don’t want to do a huge search on the internet. Suffice it to say that in some churches which have been used from early Christian times, the iconostasis incorporates the stone chancel screen as a sort of hybrid. St. Panteleimon in Nerezi is once such. Can’t find a quick pic, but the tall iconostasis was chucked into this jewel of a church in the 19th century, obscuring the incredible frescoes of its nave.


          • anonymus per Scorilo says

            Romanians are not Slavs 🙂
            (they have in fact a Typikon that mixes up Russian and Greek elements)

          • Lola J. Lee Beno says

            I’ve seen videos of services in Old Believers’ churches and what they do is VERY different.

            Here’s an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gW_ITFh7yDk

            I love the way things are done in Russian liturgical practice, but I appreciate the liturgical practices in the other churches that you named.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          Modernists had their way in the Greek Churches? What are you talking about? Who are you or anyone else in the OCA to have a quarrel with us or to judge our liturgical practices? It is not your place to judge the liturgical customs of any other canonical Orthodox Church. There is nothing done in Greek or Antiochian Orthodox Churches that is not faithful to the Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church. It is silly and nitpicking to make an issue over the relatively minor differences between Greek and Russian practice. None of these differences have any doctrinal significance. The differences are really only ceremonial, because we can all use the same liturgical books. The Liturgikon and Horologion are the same in all Orthodox traditions. There are some differences in the Menaion because the commemoration of local saints differs according to local tradition and always have. All Orthodox use the same Lenten Triodion and Pentecostarion and the same texts for the major feasts, although I once used an OCA book for Theophany and found that it left out a large section of the prayer for the blessing of water.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Fr John, I must agree here. Modernism is rampant in the Greek-speaking churches (I can’t speak for Antioch). That’s one reason that the Athonite monasteries have flourished here (for better or worse), because pious Greek-Americans can’t take the thin gruel that is served in many of the secular parishes.

            P.S. I use the word “secular” in the Catholic sense, that is as opposed to “regular” –those living under a rule. Secular would be parochial communities (i.e. parishes), regular would be monastic communities.

            • LOVE those electronic organs undergirding the choirs! [cough]

              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                There was a time when Antiochian Churches used organs. However, thanks be to God, those days are long past. Organs have been discouraged for a long time in our Archdiocese. Now we only use the organ to set the key much like one uses a pitch pipe.

                • I really don’t understand the -5 rating to Fr. John’s post. Having been to several Antiochian parishes, including a cathedral, I can say it’s mostly true. The Antiochian church near me has an organ that’s a holdover from decades in the past, but the choir only uses it for the pitch whenever I go there. Again, the negative rating puzzles me greatly.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    me too. Although to be on the safe side, the organs should be chopped up into kindling and used for an auto-de-fe should one be necessary.

                    • LOL!
                      Who’s to be first, George?

                    • Dear George,

                      I like the way the organ is used in a lot of Greek Churches to keep the choir on pitch, for processional and recessionals using byzantine music as a a basis for the music or, like at one church near me, to give the melodies of the stases before congregation sings them. It is really useful in learning the material at choir practices.

                      I like the sound of organs…I even have recordings of organ music. The first organ in a Greek church was in Washington, D.C. according to one source, the choirmaster who had it put in.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      They are an abomination.

                    • Dear LOH,

                      Although an organ (piano is better for the purpose) can be helpful during choir rehearsals for individuals who do not read music, it does not belong inside the church. (Keep the piano in the parish hall.) If playing a musical instrument is needed to hold a choir on pitch, it is but a crutch. In addition, Orthodox church services do not have either a processional or a recessional. The Hours are read prior to the start of the Liturgy. In many parishes, the Prayers After Holy Communion are read at the end of the Liturgy. (Parish announcements also follow the end of the Liturgy.)

                      Other than mentioning those basics, I share your enjoyment of classical pipe organ music. On the lighter end of the musical spectrum, I enjoy a rousing calliope performance as well!

          • To George’s comment, you obviously have not been to many Greek Churches.

            I will give you a couple of examples of “choose your own liturgics”:
            1) The proliferation of Vesperal Divine Liturgies.
            2) Mixing and matching parts of Vespers and Matins outside of their prescribed order. Matins Gospel readings during Vespers or Litia’s during Matins for example.
            These are big things and have a profound impact on the Church.

            Now everyone always hwas a “good reason” but it always comes down to self will. The Church has a trove of services and material that it is unnessesary to mess with it. This problem persists in OCA and Antiochian parishes. If parishoners will only show up to an evening service for a Great Feast because there is Communion then that parish has a serious problem.

            Pews are often called a “concession” and it’s easy for hierarchs to allow them as they have the alter and don’t have to deal with them. Unfortunately the rest of us do and they change the character and feel of the service. Try prostrations, which are the norm in Orthodox worship. Pews remove the natural movement and place everyone in neat rows. Just like an auditorium. How very Protestant.

            To your comments about the Americanness of the AOA,in some ways you are right but in other ways mistaken. The AOA has two groups: Arab and non-Arab. Until it is dealt with the AOA will remain with an identity crisis just beneath the surface. This is the fundamental difference with the OCA. The OCA’s ethnicism died out about thirty years ago. This is why you can’t call it a “Russian” Church (btw my family is part of the now dead ethnic group) nevermind the fact that the real Real Russians joined ROCOR. The people you are labeling as Russians were southwestern Slavs.

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              I know that the OCA Cathedral in Washington D.C. has two Liturgies, one in Slavonic and one in English. So the OCA has its Slavonic parishes. So, the OCA has at least some places that use Slavonic. There is really no conflict between the Arabic immigrant parishes and the English speaking parishes. We do not have an identity crisis because the immigrants tend to settle in areas that already have parishes that use some Arabic. In some places we have parishes that use some Arabic, and other parishes that use only English. Even in a parish with many immigrants, they use mostly English. Arabs almost never teach their children Arabic. Since they want their children to understand the Liturgy, they want the Liturgy in English. The chanters may repeat something like the Epistle or a troparion in Arabic, someone may sing the communion hymn in Arabic after it is sung in English, and the choir may sing “Lord, have mercy in Arabic,” but in most places that is about all the Arabic that is used. Everything else is in English. I have been in the Antiochian Archdiocese for almost 40 years and have never attended a service that was mostly much less all in Arabic. I remember once attending a service in another parish where the Bishop was visiting that used more Arabic than usual. I could tell that something was bothering him. After the Liturgy, he told the congregation that they are using far too much Arabic. Our Bishops serve out of the English service book. Even the Patriarch of Antioch told us that we must use English in America. He sad, “We are not here to preach Arabism.” I have seen two Patriarchs of Antioch serve the Divine Liturgy in English. I wonder if any other Orthodox Patriarchs in the world would come here and serve in our language. The Arabic priests all treat me as a brother priest, not as an outsider. American priests who visit the Middle East serve in English no one expects them to serve in Arabic. Besides, the convert clergy out number the Arabic clergy. Despite what you may have heard, there is no group of elite Arabic clergy who are the only ones with access to our Bishops.

      • Fr. John, do you think that the reputations of the hierarchies of our Mother Churches will not be negatively affected by the unchristian actions of our OCA leadership? In this day and age of mass internet communications, will they totally ignore the public opinion and perception of Orthodox Church leadership that would emanate from it by apparently “sitting on their hands” and accepting it? I think that it would then take more than one generation to die off and a more exemplary one to come along before its’ effects can begin to be reversed and the missionary imperative of our Church restored.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          I agree that the problems of the OCA are an embarrassment for all Orthodox. However, I am not sure who has the authority outside of the OCA to do anything about them. Perhaps Moscow can intervene, but the rest of Orthodoxy really has no authority to become involved in the internal affairs of the OCA. Depending on your point of view the OCA is either an autocephalous Church or is an autonomous Church under Moscow. In either case, unless heresy is openly being proclaimed by the Bishops of the OCA the rest of Orthodoxy cannot get involved in the internal administrative disputes of the OCA.

          • Fr. John, “what if” the Mother Churches who do not and have never recognized the OCAs autocephaly insisted that the MP do something about its “wayward daughter” because of the embarrassment and negative public opinion and perception that could be “rubbing off” on them?”

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              I am only an Archpriest. I am not privy to the conversations of Bishops among themselves or between jurisdictions. I suppose that the Bishops of the other jurisdictions could let the OCA Bishops know that they are not pleased with the bad publicity they are getting. I also suppose that our mother Churches could ask Moscow to do something, but I am in no position to know anything about it or to make any suggestions on what our Bishops should do about the OCA. I suspect that they are just as confused as I am. I do not know who is right, or how many of the rumors are true. It is not really my place as an outsider to make a judgment. I have always been very careful to write something like “if this is true….” or “if one reads this blog, one is led to believe that…” The only time that I have deliberately violated neutrality is the case of Fr. Alexander Atty because like most people, I do not like it when one of my friends is treated unfairly.

      • Pere LaChaise says

        I agree with Fr John about the rest of the Autocephalies not getting involved in OCA matters this side of heresy. We are on our own, for better or for worse. I do disagree with his charge that OCA culture ignores the contributions, or even presence of other, ethnic, jurisdictions. I see it as a two-way street, where large and wealthy parishes act as though they were the obvious choice in any given town, and no smaller parish had any right or reason to exist.

        The problem is that among adherents to ethnic churches, ideas about the OCA are confined to the merely ethnic – for instance the Greeks call the OCA the “Russian Church” – an absurd appelation lumping old majority Carpathos with old minority (mostly among hierarchs) Great Russians. The prevalence of ethnic approaches to church life set precedent readily adopted by media and the public, that Orthodoxy is captive of nationality.

        The OCA was promulgated to be the route out of that dead end of phyletism, a church embracing a historical diversity of peoples and their ritual peculiarities (though somewhat ironed out by a Russian episcopacy). It has stood for a vision of church which is inclusive and nativizing. The pernicious language of ‘diaspora’ and ‘omogeneia’ are inimical to the OCA concept of a national church, and the whole edifice is construed to become a vehicle for a broad-based multi- or not-particularly- ethnic Orthodox Church for any American interested.
        I think charges of chauvinism are out of place generally. I suppose you may encounter OCA triumphalism somewhere, but I’ve never seen much of it in any place in the contemporary North American scene.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Very well said. That is one of the tragedies of our internal, flamboyant self-destruction. We forget the genuine gifts that the OCA brought to the table of American Orthodoxy. Your terminology is especially touching: “a church which is inclusive and nativizing.”

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          OCA triumphalism is quite common. I first encountered it when I was in seminary. Posts on this blog constantly show its influence. When the OCA opens a mission in competition to one of our missions it rears it ugly head. I have been told by people in the OCA including clergy that our place is to take care of Arab Orthodox, not to do evangelism and convert Americans to Orthodoxy, because that is the right of the OCA. I think the most harmful aspect of OCA triumphalism is that most OCA people do not even realize how they treat other Orthodox in this country. It is offensive when members of the OCA refer to us as “ethnic jurisdictions.” We Antiochians do not see ourselves as an ethnic jurisdiction. We see ourselves as just as American as anyone in the OCA. Despite its claims the OCA is Russian Orthodox. The liturgical practice, chant and whole ethos of the OCA is Russian. Why do you think that despite the vote of the sobor, Bishop Demetri was not chosen by the Bishops to be Metropolitan? It was because he was not Russian. You can use all English and still have your heart in 19th century Russia. Some people on this site show this when they belittle the liturgical customs of other Orthodox. When you refer to the OCA as the American Orthodox Church you imply that the rest of us are not Americans also.

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            I have been thinking about my post above. It was rather blunt. However, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ because we are all Orthodox despite our divisions into different jurisdictions. As brothers and sisters, we ought to be able to be honest with each other when one of us does something that offends the other. If we cannot have an honest and open discussion with each other, we are not acting like we really are united in Christ through the Orthodox Church. We need to work on resolving the hurt feelings that divide us. We are not divided by doctrine or really even forms of worship. We are divided by church politics and the failure to treat each other with mutual respect and a sensibility for the other person’s feelings.

          • Fr. John, I agree with you, although I would say the OCA’s ethnic ethos is not so much purely Russian as it is a sort of pan-Slavic stew.

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              I am not criticizing OCA liturgical practice. I am simply arguing that some people in the OCA do not show proper respect for other Orthodox traditions. Because we have so much beauty and so many complex liturgical usages it is very easy to get so caught up in “correctness” that we forget the reason why we do what we do and that others can be just as Orthodox as we are but do something that differs slightly from the way that we would do it. We can be so concerned with externals that we forget the essence of our Holy Orthodox Faith.
              Then there is the whole issue of autocephaly. The OCA is only one of several Orthodox jurisdictions in this country. It is presumptuous of them to proclaim themselves the American Church and to treat the rest of us as if we were not also American Orthodox by calling us “ethnic” jurisdictions. The OCA is just as ethnic as any other Orthodox jurisdiction in this country. They are no more American than we, ROCOR or the Greeks are. Here in the south the OCA has a very irritating custom of establishing missions to compete with the missions or small struggling parishes of other Orthodox jurisdictions. If there is an English speaking mission or small parish in a town, the OCA should not compete, but should tell their people to support the mission or parish already there.

              • Basil Takach says

                California and the DOS are not the entirety of the OCA. In almost all of the OCA parishes with which I am most familiar over my sixty some years scattered across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and upstate New York, the typical parish ambiance is as ‘ethnic’ as any ordinary old Greek, Carpatho-Russian, Antiochian or Ukrainian Orthodox parish. “Russian Bazaars”, Slavic Food Fairs, even Rusyn Days with polka music. So what? Like most of the ‘rest’ of us, they are Orthodox first and they are proud of their ‘Slavic Stew’ roots and of being American. Phyletism, a most overused term IMHO, can be a noxious Church divider – but Americanism can be just as phyletistic (if that’s even a word!) Just ask my old friend Archbishop Ireland how that Americanization movement thingee worked out for them a century later….. (Irony alert here – actually, it worked out for us as had St. Alexis Toth not run into Archbishop Ireland at the time Ireland was at the peak of his influence regarding ‘Americanism’ in the RCC perhaps there would not be an OCA as we know it today…just sayin….)

                Lectures about how ‘quaint’ and ‘wrong’ the rest of us are fall on deaf ears – as the good book says, if I recall, there was something about a splinter in your brother’s eye being obscured by the plank in your own.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          Do you not realize that dismissing non OCA jurisdictions and parishes as ethnic is already offensive to the rest of us? We do not see ourselves as ethnic parishes or jurisdictions. We see ourselves as Orthodox. The study with the title like 5 Interesting Facts About American Orthodox shows that every jurisdiction understands that we are in America and that our first commitment is Orthodoxy not the preservation of any ethnic heritage. Call us non-OCA, but do not call us ethnic parishes or jurisdictions.

    • That would never happen. Moscow is determined to honor the Tomos and let us stew in our own juices, and nobody else could care any less. We’re on our own, folks.

    • Thomas Paine says

      Why would other churches do that? The Synod of the OCA had good reasons for acting as they did. There was no conspiracy. You folks should just understand, the man is gone; it’s over. Next case.

      • George Michalopulos says

        And what, pray tell, are those reasons Mr Pain? We’re still waiting.

        • Thomas Paine says


          “And what, pray tell, are those reasons Mr Pain? We’re still waiting.”

          You have been told over & over again, but it doesn’t sink in. 1) + Jonah acted unilaterally without the consent of his brother bishops where he should have. 2) Some of + Jonah’s actions were considered out of line and even questioned his mental stability. 3) Although + Jonah was warned and given chances to correct past actions, he continued. 4) The Synod of Bishops of the OCA was compelled to act. Now, if you want minutiae, obtain a private meeting with your local OCA bishop, in CONFIDENCE. I don’t know if “IN CONFIDENCE” means anything to you.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Regarding point #1: which time did he act “unilaterally”? Please be specific. While you’re at it, please inform me whether Bishop Benjamin “acted unilaterally” when he immeersed himself in the Pebble Mining Project in Alaska. Inquiring minds want to know.

            Regarding point #2: “some of Jonah’s actions were considered out of line and even questioned his mental stability.” Please be more specific.

            Regarding point #3: How can bishops on the Synod tell their Primate that he “was out of line”? Can they do so for each other? Please tell me when and if they’ve ever done so.

            Regarding point #4: The Synod “was compelled to act.” Since my bishop lives in Boston I doubt I’ll ever have the chance to meet with him personally to find out exactly what egregious action His Beatitude performed. However since the Synod saw fit to put out a slanderous letter filled with lies and publish it for all the world to see, I don’t see what difference it makes if I ever get the chance to have a “confidential” meeting with Arb Nikon. For what it’s worth, a bishop I did speak with in March of 2011 told me that “maybe Jonah had ADHD.” I guess that wasn’t good enough though so better to make up something about him shielding a rapist. I guess the ends justify the means, eh Diogenes?

            • Thomas Paine says

              It’s clear you have your mind made up, George. When you have a Synod of Bishops that acts in unison in a matter, it’s not without merit. What is quite delusional is that the Synod of the OCA were conspirators against + Jonah. What also is quite delusional are the postings here trying to make + Jonah’s removal a big deal in the OCA; it isn’t. There is no division in the OCA as you paint here. There is no impending schism. What there is are a small group of followers from OCATruth who are trying to revive far-fetched conspiracy ideas. Why? To cause doubt and division; just like satan himself. One of the things that certainly hurt + Jonah was his active participation in OCATruth. So George, be a real, responsible Orthodox Christian and talk a lot more with Harry Coin. Get a good dose of reality regarding Orthodoxy in America. You certainly won’t find it coming out of LA.

              • George Michalopulos says

                You assume I “made up my mind.” In reality, I began the investigation into this sordid affair a year and a half ago after Santa Fe. Something didn’t seem “right.” I felt that Jonah may have been at fault, that he had done something to merit the slanders and backbiting. Unfortunately, as events have played themselves out and more evidence came forward, I’ve come to the regrettable conclusion that factions within the OCA Apparat –Synod, Syosset, MC who are largely liberal, secular, and modernist–and who represent a corporate culture well over a generation old, simply couldn’t abide a monastic traditionalist like Jonah.

                It’s almost as if there’s no freewill involved here. An analogy would be a CEO being hired by a soft drink company but all he knows is the oil business. Heads will butt against each other inevitably. The culture will win in the end even if it is decrepit and/or corrupt.

          • If you are going to argue that +Jonah acted unilaterally so did the other Bishops-

            Bishop Mark (Maymon) signed the Manhattan Declaration when he was in the Antiochian Archdiocese, as did Bishop Basil (Essey). Fr. Chad Hatfield signed it and he is chancellor of St. Vladimir’s. None of these other signers attracted the least amount of controversy for signing. There is an explicit part of the MD where it says each person signs as an individual, not on behalf of their institutions. He could sign as his conscience dictated, but did he sign for the OCA? No, he did not. He signed individually.

            Archbishop Nikon unilaterally invited Madame Jahjaga, President of “Kosovo” (breakaway region of Serbia), to his Albanian cathedral, which caused much havoc for the Church of Serbia. She is also a Muslim, not Orthodox.

            Archbishop Benjamin has been “unilaterally” involved in a protest against a mining project in AK that threatens Native Alaskans’ sustenance fishing livelihood. And i don’t know did he act unilaterally with taking in a transgenderd couple??

            I’d like to know why there is a double standard?

            Then you are going to accuse +Jonah of being unstable?? I ‘ll tell you who I think is unstable. . . .

        • You have been told over & over again, but it doesn’t sink in.

          Telling something over and over again does not make it any more true. A thing called proof is usually required.

    • Dream on. We have been claiming for years that we are an independent church. The rest of the Orthodox Patriarchates are now happy to let us fill that roll. No, this is our internal problem. If we don’t have the strength to pull together and rot out these problems, then there are plenty of jurisdictions that will be happy to pick up the pieces. It is especially critical that people not leave. By doing so you make this harder on the rest of us. The OCA is not in schism. Stop acting like it.

  8. I’d like to point out that every time some of us call Metropolitan Jonah a FIRST HIERARCH, we are incorrect. First Hierarch is just another rocorism, like Protopriest. This is just another lame attempt to be Odox or odd or different or special. In the West it is Archpriest, not Protopriest, it is not a matter of translation, after all this is not scripture, it is a matter of what is the accepted term. First Hierarch my be technically applicable to Metropolitan Hilarion, since he is not the head of a national or autocephalous Church, but not for His Beatitude. Metropolitan Jonah as the rightful head of this Church, he should be referred to as His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah, and never as First Hierarch.

    • Denis Rukobludov says

      There is nothing wrong with calling a bishop “First Hierarch” if he is first amongst his equals/peers. “Pervoierarch” is not a term invented by ROCOR.

      • After all, what is “First Hierarch” except another term for Primate, which to my knowledge the OCA has always used in reference to its Metropolitan. Is ROCOR so odious to the OCA “intelligentsia” that you can’t even use the same terms? How childish!
        Meanwhile, I note that Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk in the MP is in London with Metropolitan Hilarion of New York leading a conference of bishops of the MP diaspora which includes a majority of ROCOR bishops. I’m sure they’re taking sorrowful note of the meltdown of the OCA and planning accordingly. Back in 1970, whoever would have thought it would come to this? “Man proposes, God disposes”.

      • Doesn’t matter where it was invented, though no one heard of it here until rocor vomited its schism all over everyone. The point is, His Beatitude is He Beatitude, the unjustly toppled head of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America. The SOB’s tried to reduce his title to Eminence. By labeling him First Hierarch, you demote him. And, does anyone here believe that he is “first amongst his equals/peers”
        Now who would that be? Tikhon, Mel, Nikon, or Benny? PLEASEEEE!

        • Denis Rukobludov says

          “Vomited its schism”… Photius, are you ill? And, how is a ‘first hierarch’ label demoting – on the contrary. I don’t think you know much about titles, orders, rank, etc. in the Orthodox Church.

    • Photios, if Patriarch Kirill is usually called the “Pervoierarkh” (First Hierarch) and NEVER called “Primas” or “Primate,” and if the Serbian and Bulgarian Patriarchs are likewise so called, why do you say it is a “ROCOR”ism? If in the Greek and Slavic Churches Bishops are called Archpriests, while the ranking presbyters are called prothierevs or protopappas or proto-hiereos, etc.,, When I co-celebrated with Greek hierarchs, they would turn to me at the appropriate moments and say, in English, “Your Archpriesthood, may the Lord God remember…etc.” that is correct usage. To be American does NOT mean to Americanize everything or nationalize our services, yet many luminaries in our OCA do not agree. If every Local Church refers to the periods before Pascha and the Nativity and the Dormition as Fasts, why can not WE, too, call those periods “fasts”? Why call them “Lents”? They are NOT Lents. Lent means Springtime IN ENGLISH. Then there is the urge to replace the Nativity Fast with ‘Advent.” What’s wrong or not-so-American about “the Nativity Fast? Advent is a division of the Roman calendar (and its offspring) that is measured in weeks beginning of the first day of the week; the Nativity Fast is not measured in weeks beginning on a Sunday.
      Why SHOULDN”T Metropolitan be called First Hierarch, as is the Patriarch of Moscow and OTHERS? “Primate’ is, indeed, a Roman office. i believe the Archbishop of Detroit is the Primate of Michigan, is he not?
      Is not the Archbishop of Los Angeles the Primate to his suffragans and adjuncts and vicars?
      The Metropolitan of All America and Canada should be addressed as His Beatitude, the Most Blessed N. Archbishop of Washington and Metropolitan of All-America and Canada. His functional title is, properly,
      “First Hierarch of the Holy Synod of The Orthodox Church in America.”
      So, Photios, what you “pointed out” turns out to be incorrect. But I know where you’re coming from, that little special group whose motto is usually, “Oh, forget it: this is close enough for the OCA.” .

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        In the Liturgikon of the Antiochian Archdiocese, rubrics direct the Priest to say to the Bishop “Thine Archpriesthood, may the Lord God remember in His heavenly Kingdom, always now and ever and unto ages of ages.” However, my experience has been that most or our Bishops prefer that we say, “Thine episcopate… or Thine Metropolinate….”

  9. Mark from the DOS says

    Like others, I assume, I am very curious about this reported “visit” to Met. Jonah from Abp. Tikhon and Fr. Garretson. Is this where the “barred from Parma” edict was delivered? Was there a carrot? What is the stick? Met. Jonah has, by all accounts, been his normal, humble and obedient self since his shotgun resignation. It s time for the Synod to try just one of those qualities. I think humility and obedience are beyond them, so I will settle for normalcy.

    Let’s treat our former Metropolitan with the dignity and respect he is due. If this Synod is so petty and mean spirited that they have no vision for using Met. Jonah’s substantial gifts, release him to a jurisdiction that will let him continue his mission. If they have a plan, let’s hear it.

    Their continued silence, pettiness and childishness only furthers the discontent in the laity.

  10. What is the primary value of a life – living publicly in celebrity or privately as a Christian?

    If you look carefully at the long process of scandals culminating in the deposition of our Metropolitan (the OCA’s third primate-removal in a row), it’s almost biblical. Like the Israelites of old, the worship of false gods finally overtook our synod. Churchianity and secular pluralism have triumphed over Christianity, and now situational ethics reigns supreme.

    It reminds me of the pharisees in our Lord’s day. They had their rules and regs too, they were ‘conciliar’ too, but they missed the Real thing standing right in front of them. Not only that, they hated Him for being Real and killed Him. They couldn’t reproduce what He could do spiritually and it infuriated them.

    Our 21st century version collectively appears to live in a parallel universe: “One face for the world to see; another that I know is me”. They treat the moral character – the life as it’s lived – as a separate issue from the profession of episcopacy. Their bishop is a career, a part to play, a stage to stand upon. It is also an administrative job. They pretend to be important in our lives and we pretend too. It is life as a charade, not an expression of the Christian heart, a model for laymen and presbyters.

    There is no other explanation for their well-documented treatment of the Metropolitan, the plotting and back-stabbing; their several secret lives of addiction and perversity. In the main, this kind of episcopacy is a counterfeit. Over the last decade they have regularly produced – and continue to produce – all the things that Jesus predicted in Matthew 15, “evil thoughts, …sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander.”

    And does the fact that they can sing, conduct services, and sermonize make up for all that? I’m sure the pharisees in Jesus’ day put on a good show too.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Our Metropolitan is now gone and it’s over with. What remains at Parma is just a formality.

    I think Bishop Jonah (Is he still Bishop Jonah?) should leave the OCA; transfer to ROCOR; return to Manton, CA and reclaim his monastery. And I think he should refrain from what has happened, nor seek justice, but let Mother Nature in her own inexorable way allow “wisdom to be justified of her children“.

    There is much to be said for living a life of peace, for having a place where pilgrims can come. Maybe he should try it.

    “Look at the world today. Is there anything more pitiful? What madness there is. What blindness. What unintelligent leadership. A furiously racing mass of bewildered humanity, strengthening, not in wisdom but in vulgar passions, crashing headlong into each other, motivated by greed and propelled into brutality. The time must come when evil will destroy itself.

    “When the day comes that the world begins to look for a new life, it is our hope they may find it here in Shangri-La. Here we shall be with our way of life based on one simple rule–love. And it is our hope that Shangri-La’s brotherly love will then spread throughout the world. And when the strong have devoured each other, then at last the meek shall inherit the Earth.”

    Fr. Perrault, from Lost Horizon, by James Hilton, 1933

    • Basil Takach says

      There are rules to follow – like them or not. Metropolitan Jonah can not just ‘leave the OCA; transfer to ROCOR etc….’ unless he asks for his canonical release from the OCA and ROCOR or some other canonical Orthodox body requests permission from the OCA to receive him and they then accept him.

      • You also can’t have overlapping Orthodox dioceses or more than one bishop in the same city.

        Oh wait …


        • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

          WONDERFUL “Um” ! Thank you for that MUCH NEEDED chuckle. Two thumbs up!


  11. Perplexed Stepan says

    “With no qualifying explanations for Sante Fe, the STINKBOMB LETTER and the other amateur schemes along the way, the faithful face the untenable choice of having to take the leadership at their word when it is obvious that their words are flawed and sometimes an outright lie, or leave the Church. Serious and mature people cannot and will not do either.”

    Sorry, I have to disagree with the conclusion here. The reason I’ve left the Orthodox Church was because I take my religion so seriously. I don’t see how I can call myself a member of the Orthodox Church while at the same time refusing to cater to any bishop or priest. As a result, I consider myself to have left Orthodoxy in many ways since the priesthood is a foundational part of it. In fact, I don’t mean to offend any readers here, but I think I would have to be stupid in order to stay involved in the Church since it usually means that I have to cater to the requests of my priest (confession, communion, etc). Seems a bit silly, actually. I mean… how else can you change a leadership when you’re a nothing and they claim to speak for God (or successors of those who did), are subject to no one but themselves, and obviously don’t give a rat’s behind about what you think? No, I’m sorry, but I think there comes a point when, if you can’t change the leadership, then you have to change yourself and it either means compromising with the devil or leaving everything behind.

    • Stepan,

      As I’ve read over your post several times, I am struck by what has been done against you (and, likely, others): are you leaving the Church? surely not the one, true, faith with which we must contend earnestly, its having been delivered, once and for all, to us? Oh my. Lord have mercy.

      In a way, I can agree with you; I can see your point. We, the laity, cannot change the leadership in the OCA, or any jurisdiction, for that matter. The idea of “pay, pray, obey” rankles the independent American soul. Submission, humility, these things are foreign concepts to us here. But as any small cursory reading of Church History will tell you, our times, while difficult indeed, are not unique. Persecution, whether corporate or individual, from within or without the Church, has riddled us from the very beginning; St Paul having once been one of our first persecutors only to have, by grace and mercy, become one of our greatest saints and apostles. Praise God!

      All this to say, pray, Stepan. Seek God’s mercy and grace for yourself and those who try your patience. Pray for your enemies who have caused you to question your place in God’s Church. Bear the burden, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Partake of the prayers and mysteries of the Church, for life and healing is there. And, most of all, seek the Holy Spirit. St Seraphim of Sarov did: “Cheerfulness is not a sin. It drives away weariness, for from weariness there is sometimes dejection, and there is nothing worse than that.”

      May God go with you. Lord have mercy on us all.
      Forgive me, a sinner.

  12. You should all probably be reading “After the Ball” if you haven’t already. After that, read “A Queer Thing Happened in America.” Then prepare to fight.

    The sex-addicted homosexuals are out to pervert everything, and the Church is not off limits to their attacks. (I do not include struggling, fighting, brave, celibate and repentant homosexuals. They are worthy!)

    The growing fashion of sex addiction, self-gratification, and self-pleasure, which has become increasingly pernicious as well as socially acceptable, has been infiltrating the Orthodox Church for decades, and now is showing its ugly face quite openly. It is just about impossible now to ignore this.

    The same-sex-attracted addicts we have in the OCA, …[ANAXIOS!]… have reached a critical mass in the OCA. Add in their gushing “friends” such as Bobosh, Leonova, et cetera, and they feel emboldened to publicly hate and attack Metropolitan JONAH because he publicly took a stand against their delusion by signing the Manhattan Declaration. When Bishop DMITRI (of blessed memory) signed it, they were not afraid. Why such a different response when +JONAH signed it?

    Sadly, there are just enough deluded people to perpetuate the prelest. And behold their fruit.

    What makes this worse is that there are other sorts problems in Syosset and the seminaries that confuse the issue, but these are just smoke and mirrors. Such amazing “Closets” these people had been hiding in!!! And who is the author of confusion?

    This all comes down to false teachers who defile the image and design bestowed upon them by the Unoriginate Father and His Only Begotten Son, and the All Holy, Good and Life-Creating Spirit.

    That’s it folks. If you haven’t wanted to see this until now, I am rubbing your face in it. This is about sex, vain pleasure and idolatry. Rather than have the courage to grieve over their brokenness, they want to poison everyone else by wishing, fantasizing, hoping, that others will say “it’s ok to be gay.”

    Sorry, it is not ok to be gay. It is a cross, but you’re too afraid to deal with it, so you put on charades and call evil good and good evil. No one should be shocked at all that this is happening, but rather should weep at how readily even clergy can be deceived because they are afraid to confront sin. They too desperately wish to be liked rather than respected.

    May God grant conviction and “good repentance” to these phony monastics in this life, so that they may be spared eternal judgment in the next!

    To the gay-sympathizers: if it were natural, the Bible would be replete with positive stories about such “couples”. It isn’t. WAKE UP!


    • M. Stankovich says


      Sorry, pal, I was dozing! The prevalency statistics of homosexuality pose a significant problem in that it is difficult, in general, to attempt to measure anything from self-report alone. Secondly, when such a self-report is replete with demonstrated social consequences – loss of gainful employment, housing, friends, family, and so on – making the admission dangerous, it necessarily has skewed any accurate estimation. Thirdly, it is known that certain men are known to engage in sexual activity with men, yet deny they are homosexual (e.g. prisons), which further exacerbates the statistical problem, but I won’s bore you. Nevertheless, the “standard” has become between 2-6% of the world population is homosexual; and presuming the imposition of “investigator bias” in both directions, it is probably best to rely on a number in the lower third.

      Thus, Alex, when you say, “The same-sex-attracted addicts we have in the OCA, have reached a critical mass in the OCA,” I am left to consider that 1) you are suggesting a statistical anomaly within the OCA, such that there is an abnormal distribution of homosexuals beyond what we would expect in the general population with no evidence; OR 2) you inappropriately use the term critical mass, a biking event known for its disorganization & spontaneous nature as a “buzzword” scare-tactic for “over-run” or “overwhelmed”; OR you, and apparently you alone, believe you have been sent to repeat the same manic deedle as many before you. But with the free-of-charge make-over: “If you haven’t wanted to see this until now, I am rubbing your face in it.” I hate to spoil your fun, Alex, but the vast majority here wear a mask, rendering your little rub meaningless.

      So, Alex, it’s back to the hunt, old man. But bear in mind, pursuant to the Scripture, “Jesus himself testified, that a prophet has no honor in his own country.” (Jn. 4:44)

      • George Michalopulos says

        That’s not fair. Certain professions attract the heterosexually-challenged. In my posting last year (“The Dumping Ground”) I contended that based on anecdotal evidence as well as empirical research, that poor immigrant communities steered such men into the priesthood. So yes, I am suggesting that there is an “abnormal distribution” of homosexuals in some of the Orthodox jurisdictions here in North America.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Why just some of the jurisdictions in North America? Are you suggesting that various Orthodox nationalities “steered such men into the priesthood” only after emigrating from their fatherland?

        • M. Stankovich says

          Mr. Michalopulos,

          “Truth is like water through your fingers,” and I have learned the futility of requesting any evidence for your “suggestions,” but good lord, man, you are hanging meat in front of a hungry dog. A cordial dog, however, fully prepared to be disappointed.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          That is not the way it was when I went to seminary. The Antiochian Archdiocese as well as the Holy Cross seminary which is an arm of the Greek Archdiocese made a very open effort to get rid of homosexuals. We Antiochians had to go through a whole battery of psychological testing. My friends in the Greek Archdiocese told me that even married men among the Greek seminarians were asked very personal questions about their sexual activities. At that time, it was also made clear to us that the Orthodox Faith is truth and that if we do not accept Orthodoxy without reservation, we have no business being there much less seeking to become Priests.

    • Catherine 9 says

      Finally someone has spoken so well about this horrible problem !

      I am glad this person has explained so well the tricks employed to win acceptance
      from even clergy.

      I didn’t care for an Abbot writing on his blog that he is sympathetic about gays while
      not condoning them from an Orthodox point of view.

      How can ANYONE in their right mind sympathize with ‘the poor gays who are so
      maligned and suffer so badly” – ? This attitude is so prevalent today in
      both Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

      If these people don’t get tough with homosexuals, there would be no surprise if
      God visits calamity on their Church.

      People have to make up their mind.
      There is NO grey area here.
      It’s as plain as day from the tale explained in great detail about S. & G. in the Old Testament
      that homosexuality is NEVER permissible in ANY form.

      Clergy AND laity can NOT be wishy washy and coddle these people because “one has to
      feel sorry for them”.

      No ! THEY themselves made that choice to show hatred for God.
      My warning to those fence-sitters who have bleeding hearts for
      “Gay Parishioners” :
      Don’t join their sinking ship by having even a tiny shred of “compassion” for ANY gays anywhere !
      That’s all brainwashing only from “society”.

      • So, I take it that you don’t watch Glee?

        • Catherine 9 says

          What on earth is THAT ?!!

          If it is a ‘tv show’, they are all from the trashbin of history !

          I haven’t watched any ‘tv’ since childhood, even then very little.
          Mostly “Get Smart”, a clever show from way back.

          After that, there has been nothing of any benefit whatsoever to the soul !

  13. simplygermain says

    George, you said: ” Canonically Jonah remains First Hierarch. That’s why the other jurisdictions commemorate him as Metropolitan. You would think that the Synod and Syosset would take pause to consider whether electing a new First Hierarch might compound the canonical and legal problems they have already created. Apparently not.”
    I have attempted to post this question before… How is Jonah’s resignation non-canonical?

    Also, what other jurisdictions commemorate (currently) +Jonah as a Metropolitan??

    • It is uncanonical because other bishops, priests, and lay officers of the OCA were conspiring to remove him from office. This conspiracy was in itself uncanonical. There is documentation that this conspiracy was actively pursued for at least a year before his resignation letter (probably longer by some). You can find evidence of this conspiracy on Stokoe’s website (remember he was an active officer in the MC at the time) and in an email from Stokoe to other church leaders discussing the conspiracy (someone really needs to republish this email for the good of everyone joining this discussion late).

      Then the meeting of bishops and Jillions in which it was decided to officially request his resignation occurred without Jonah present and so was in itself conspiratorial. For such a meeting to not be conspiratorial, it would have had to be a meeting of the full synod and the reason for removal from office would have had to be one of the reasons enumerated in the OCA statute. In such a case, Jonah would have been retired involuntarily and a letter of resignation would have been superfluous.

      Also, Jonah was informed that the entire synod (minus their head) met to make this decision and that the vote was unanimous, when it now appears that only 2-3 bishops were present at the meeting along with Jillions. So even Jonah ‘s decision to sign the letter was predicated on a lie told to him by Chancellor Jillions which was intended to encourage his signature.

      From the beginning the conspirators used deceitful claims of mental illness, claims that he covered up sexual assault crimes by priests under his authority, and claims that he refused and neglected to follow agreed procedures related to sexual misconduct cases, among other less serious false accusations. They also used various forms of emotional and psychological abuse, such as mocking him in his presence and behind his back for everything they could come up with but frequently including his weight. These were all lies and abuses against a sitting bishop and primate used to further the conspiracy objective.

      In addition there were a number of steps taken by members of the synod to interfere in the internal business of Jonah’s diocese. This is uncanonical in its own right but was also done to further the objective of the conspiracy, which was the removal of Jonah as primate and ultimately as a bishop of the church.

      Beyond the uncanonical conspiracy and it’s role in the resignation, there does not appear to be any provision in the OCA statute for the resignation of a primate. This is part of what is creating confusion at the moment.

      And then there is now the further issue that the synod has taken the liberty of removing Jonah as bishop of his diocese without following any legitimate procedure for doing so.

      The situation is now so thoroughly botched, that even a seasoned canon lawyer could be forgiven for missing one or more major violations of church law. Looking forward, it is not at all clear how one could bring the life of this institution back in line with the canons. I personally don’t think it is possible, but time will tell.

      • M. Stankovich says


        While I believe yours is a serious take on affairs “canonical,” I find it be seriously misguided. Far be it from me to miss the opportunity to cite Fr. John Meyendorff as to the matter. What can I say, I did listen, and quite attentively at that…

        • Michael, I do not dispute that when acting out of love the law becomes unnecessary. I also agree with you and St. Paul that a “bishop must be blameless” for the Church to function as God would want it to. The difficulty is that we don’t act out of love all the time and no one is blameless.

          I do not believe the purpose of having laws is to purge the church and save select souls via a legalistic mechanism. I do agree with St. Paul that laws are extremely useful in helping ignorant humans to identify their sins and their sinfulness. But it is also not all about penance and eternal salvation, sometimes it is much more mundane than that. The Church functions within a physical reality. As humans, we have things like bodies and operate with limited resources. Chaos and violence are not good things for any creature with a nervous system. When individuals and specifically bishops sin against one another and the Church, some boundaries are helpful, no? Every society has agreed customs and rules, some are more rigorously worked out than others, and in larger organizations they become more important. But when individuals in the organization violate those social contracts, it is not without consequences. When the system itself is poorly conceived, it wastes resources and admits other risks as well. Good order is good for the Church, again I have to agree with St. Paul on that. If you are always flippant about governance, real people will suffer, guaranteed … and then because we are spiritual and complex beings, these dysfunctions carry the risk of spiritual and long term harm. I see no principled reason to avoid keeping one’s house in order, do you?

          • M. Stankovich says


            In that the Fathers never intended the canons to be a standard of “law” by any means, analogy, or extrapolation to be even vaguely comparable to a system of jurisprudence, such a notion is, at best foolish and misguided, and at worst, has become divisive and encourages a false pride and lust for “justice” and remuneration like the thieves of this world. The Church in its Councils has literally waged war with its enemies – from within and without – always summarizing its victories in the simplistic statement, “by the wisdom of men and the Grace of the the Holy Spirit, we join with the Fathers before us…” Where are the examples of the Church settling matters by “trial?” By the dueling of “seasoned canon lawyers” scouring the Codex of the Canons for the breach of “laws and regulations”; scouring for a penalty established by an otherwise well-intended, but truly peripheral bishop who was having an epically “bad day,” and in the scope of history, is no more considered “authoritative” than me? It does not exist.

            Perhaps you can point out a time when bishops did not sin against the church? When priests did not steal? When the clergy were not engaged in sexual deviancy of every sort? When accusers were not liars and liars were not accusers? You cannot. But by the wisdom of men and the Grace of the Holy Spirit, the Church has managed to govern and “manage its house” without the need for the internet-“outed” manipulators of OrthodoxTruth, electronic “petitions,” DC nuns, and the assorted cowardly sons of the embarrassed Job the Righteous, for centuries. And for heaven’s sake, has any ordained clergy on their way to civil court stopped for an hour – one hour – to read St. Chrysostom’s On the Priesthood? Accusation from every side is endemic; defend yourself modeling the meekness of St. Paul; then endure and trust in the Lord Who called You.

            I repeat myself: the Lord did not sacrifice Himself to set us free in order to enslave us to Canon Law! The Church of the Resurrected Lord is the reconciliation of earth with the Kingdom; the “Banquet of Immortality” which is the living experience of the Kingdom of God on earth, occurring at the Master’s Table, in His Father’s house of many rooms (Jn 14:2); and as Fr. John notes while they were aware that “at least cer­tain canons reflected the eter­nal and divine nature of the Church,” they knew there was “no canon­i­cal leg­is­la­tion in heaven.” And in the day, when our God will “gather together in one all things in Christ,” (Eph. 1:10) there will be no lawyers, Um!

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation is 100% canonical. He could theoretically claim that he resigned under duress, but that would mean that he has broken his consecration vows and could subject him to possible deposition.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Carl, first of all, it’s good to have you back. Having said that, how do you know that His Beatitude’s resignation was “100% canonical”? Are you a canonist? For that matter is anyone out there a canonist?

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Glad to be back, George. Let’s walk through this.

          1. The OCA Statute, which has canonical force within the OCA, does not have an explicit provision for resignation. I believe the relevant section merely says “Section 3. Vacancy in Office. The office of Metropolitan shall be declared vacant by a vote of the Holy Synod in the event of death, voluntary retirement, medically certified incapacity, or deposition by due canonical process.”

          2. I do not believe that there is a canon that forces anyone to stay in office, let alone to remain a Christian–after all, we are a religion and church of choice. So, until some true canonist cites chapter and verse that proves that +Jonah could not have resigned his office, I think that it is pointless to conclude anything other than “+Jonah’s resignation is 100% canonical.”

          3. There may be canons against forcing people to taking certain actions, such as forcing a bishop to resign his office. I just do not know. However, I think that this is a separate issue from the following:

          4. A bishop (or metropolitan) makes certain promises. I do not have my hands on the specific language, but the following is quite common across jurisdictions.

          “After his confession of faith, he is taken to the head of the eagle and Metropolitan Hilarion will ask Archimandrite Theodosy how he will keep the canons of the Holy Church and the sacred tradition of the church. The candidate answers that he will be faithful to all of the canons (rules) of the Holy Apostles, Councils, and Holy Fathers. Besides that, he promises that he will keep peace within the church to his very last breath. He will not do anything against the Orthodox Faith, and he will be obedient to the Synod of Bishops. He will be focused on pastoral learning, not be influenced by powerful people, earthly wealth, or crowds of people. He promises to always act with wisdom and meekness. The candidate goes into the altar, stands on the eagle rug, but does not take part in the Divine Liturgy.” From a description of what will happen at the consecration of +Teodesy (ROCOR).

          5. It follows from the above that there are significant issues that are attached to +Jonah’s resignation, issues that are simply not present if you or I resign our current positions. By signing that resignation letter, Metropolitan Jonah has crossed the Rubicon. He simply cannot take that letter back; he has resigned his office instead of taking a leave of absence (see the Synodal Letter that explained this action). And, the office is now vacant. Whether or not covered by the OCA Statute, by his own choice, +Jonah is no longer His Beatitude Jonah, Archbishop of Washington and Metropolitan of All America and Canada. Until he is given another see, he is in fact a retired Metropolitan. I do think that this is the only possible designation that he can have as we do have either active or retired bishops, no other category.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Carl, in point #1, you’ve answered your own question. There is NO provision for resignation. As for point #2, you are right, no canon can “force” someone to remain in office much less remain a Christian, however canonical sanctions certainly exist for an apostate bishop. As to point #3, there are in fact canons which condemn coercion against ANYONE in the Church. These canons mimic secular laws as well (indeed, most canons take as their starting point the civil codes of a society).

            As for point #5, your assertion is based on hope that the SoB did not act illicitly and with malice. Perhaps they did not. However the preponderance of evidence can easily lead one to believe otherwise.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              George–so we are mainly in agreement, even to the point of, in effect, disagreeing on your earlier statement “For that matter is anyone out there a canonist.” I am sure that you are right that there are canons against coercion. As I pointed out in point 5, however, it does not matter how and why the Holy Synod acted: +Jonah has a huge problem if he disowns his resignation. There may be two parallel issues; they are not in series.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Actually, it does Carl. If the Synod acted uncanonically (and illegally and immorally) then they may have taken our church into schism.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  If the Synod has done what you think it has done, it is up to sister Orthodox Churches to come to the rescue and rectify the situation. I think that the petition that is being circulated is about the only thing that can be done. It is not wrong for individuals to form opinions and ask questions; we have to do this in a manner that is not scandalizing, that does not inflame passions and cause anger, and divide us. Granted some folks are predisposed to sarcasm, flaming, or jumping to conclusions. I myself have been guilty of such behavior. These sort of predilections and approaches do nothing to build up the Body. Indeed, they pile scandal upon scandal and cause even more harm to our brothers and sisters.

                  All I am asking is for all of us to step back and reconsider how we are approaching this.

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    Karl. I remember you from St. Elias in Austin.
                    What canonical authority would the other Orthodox jurisdictions have to interfere in the internal affairs of the OCA? Basically the only thing that the rest of us could do would be to break communion with the OCA. Unless the Holy Synod of the OCA openly embraces heresy, I cannot see that happening. Just for speculation and only for speculation, I am making no accusations, let us say that an OCA Bishop is openly immoral. If that happened only the Holy Synod of the OCA would have the canonical authority to deal with the immoral Bishop. If any authority besides the Holy Synod of the OCA can involve itself, it is Moscow since Moscow gave the OCA its autocephaly. You may not like it, but you may have no other choice but to learn to live with whatever is decided in Parma.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Father bless1

                      Dear Father John–It has been a long time! I also remember you and your lovely bride.

                      I would think that the other local churches have no canonical authority, unless every one of the OCA bishops sitting in our Holy Synod are deposable, as alleged by the +Jonah supporters on this site. Furthermore, I do not think any given local church (not even Moscow) would dare to involve herself because there is a clear canon on that. It would have to be at a pan-Orthodox Council. It also would have to be brought forth by folks who have some standing, such as non-Synod bishops, senior clergy, monastics and even lay theologians. As much as folks on this forum would hate hearing it, I do not think that our esteemed host, the two pro-Jonah priests, and a whole slew of anonymous posters would have that standing. So, we get back to the current situation where there are a number of folks who are in open rebellion against the Holy Synod, are scandalizing the faithful by slandering the Holy Synod and individual bishops, and are inciting schism. How to heal the breach is thus the most important issue. .

          • Carl,

            On the one hand, Jonah’s signature on the resignation letter was canonical, at least in so far as he acted within the spirit of the law. He performed this act out of humility, possibly even love toward his fellow bishops. He certainly did not sign the letter in order to lord it over them.

            On the other hand, members of the synod violated the canons (both letter and spirit) when they conspired against Jonah, when they asked for the signature, and again when they accepted that signature as grounds for vacating the office.

            No matter how powerful the synod, they cannot redefine right and wrong, they cannot redefine love.

            The question we are all asking now is: Is this the Church, or is it something else?

            You seem to think it is the Church. If so, help it act like the Church. You have a mind and a voice, therefore you have a role.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              You are making serious charges against bishops. Please take it up with the proper authorities; fighting this in public is scandalizing and dividing the the people. BTW, there is a petition that asks everybody who could possibly have a say so to investigate the resignation of Jonah. If you have not signed it, do so. After that, I would think that anything else would not be a good thing. Not for your soul, not mine, and not the souls of those who are caught up in this scandal.

              • “Please take it up with the proper authorities; fighting this in public is scandalizing and dividing the the people.”

                Why is this always the default position who insist on protecting the corrupt from disclosure?

                The “authorities” ARE the problem.

                What, the seemingly incontrovertible proof that many current, “retired,” or dead OCA bishops were/are practicing homosexuals is not scandalous or divisive if addressed “privately”? That they conspired to forcibly remove a good pastor who called them out — and those who refuse to bear witness and publicly condemn the murder of babies — is better left to quiet judgment in a Star Chamber?

                Keeping the utterly rank hypocricy behind closed doors is healthy for the Church?

                Where the h – e – double hockey sticks has the idea of shame gone? Those bishops who mock Christ’s Church the way many in this synod do should be exposed, loudly, proudly, with proof in spades.

                Their time — in this world — is coming, sooner rather than later. Too many smartphones with videos. Yep, prove and expose the scandal. Near universal condemnation will follow. That, or welcome to the Anglican Communion.

                Come on.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Alexander–I get it. I was and am on the other side of this controversy but I used to be frustrated just like you in the apparent unreasonableness of the other side.

                  Please consider that it is is not entirely correct or reasonable for you to say “What, the seemingly incontrovertible proof that many current, “retired,” or dead OCA bishops were/are practicing homosexuals is not scandalous or divisive if addressed “privately”? That they conspired to forcibly remove a good pastor who called them out — and those who refuse to bear witness and publicly condemn the murder of babies — is better left to quiet judgment in a Star Chamber?” The proofs and facts may be incontrovertible and clear as daylight to you, but that is in reality just an opinion.

                  If you and I were real judges and arrived at our judgments based on hearsay, unverifiable allegations of fact and mere opinions (particularly those offered by anonymous folks), we would deserve to be impeached and removed from the bench.

                  Bottom line: This situation is stressful, aggravating and even maddening for many of us–on both side of the issue. Ultimately however, is this issue truly worth all of this? Is this who we are called to be and, more importantly, to become? In Christ, Carl

                  • Carl,

                    Couple of things.

                    First, I’ll be Joe Lawyer in responding to your analogy. American judges — and juries — often base their decisions on the opinions of others. The opinions, of course, are subject to cross examination. Some opinions must be rendered by experts, others may be offered by “lay” witnesses. They also base decisions on hearsay, because all hearsay is not excluded from consideration. There are several exceptions.

                    Second, I advocate proving the allegations. Not merely conjecturing or speculating. Proof. Post a picture of a bishop playing tonsil hockey with his live in deacon and enough said. Nevertheless, the direct evidence and circumstantial evidence here — something also readily admissible — seems to overwhelmingly point to prove the propositions asserted.

                    To be sure, this is not an American court of law and different standards apply. But this has become so absurd, surreal, and utterly proposterous that its almost come to the point that they ought to prove that the allegations are not true.

                    There is “no other side.” The only side is the truth.

                    Lastly, yes, this and many other issues are “worth of all of this.” I believe that we have a sacred duty to protect the Church; it is our calling. But we must to so in a measured, and considered fashion with as pure of a heart as we can muster. In the end, we are as much a part of Christ’s Church as any cleric — deacon, priest or bishop.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Yes, I do agree that each one of us have a “sacred duty to protect the Church.” We have other, equally compelling duties as well; one of them that is directly germane is to do “so in a measured, and considered fashion.” My contention is that the folks who are attacking the Holy Synod are not fulfilling their duty to defend in such a manner, thus ultimately are hurting the Church rather than protecting Her.

          • Carl, you say

            by his own choice, +Jonah is no longer His Beatitude Jonah, Archbishop of Washington and Metropolitan of All America and Canada.

            When did he resign as the Archbishop of Washington?

            • Carl Kraeff says

              At the same time that he resigned as Metropolitan.

              • Why when the two are distinct roles? Nothing in the statute or canons ties them together. In fact the synod even appointed Nathaniel to be Metropolitan and Alexander to be Bishop of Washington after involuntarily retiring Jonah. Check the OCA website if you doubt me.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Um–Both Archbishop Nathaniel and Bishop Alexander were given temporary extra duty. In the case of +Nathaniel, he is merely Locum Tenens of the OCA by virtue of being the senior bishop. Bishop Alexander has the additional duty of Administrator for the Archdiocese of Washington until the new Metropolitan of All America and Canada, Archbishop of Washington is elected in Parma. This are normal and needed actions that EVERY Orthodox Church undertakes in similar situations.

                  • You have the correct individuals filling the two roles, but not the correct titles (see link here):

                    Nathaniel is Locum Tenens of the Metropolitan See.
                    Alexander is Locum Tenens of the Archdiocese of Washington.

                    This is according to the OCA Synod.

                    How they place a locum tenens in a diocese that already has a diocesan bishop is beyond me. Are there provisions for that in any part of the canons or statute?

                    You are correct that the OCA synod originally declared Nathaniel Locum Tenens of the OCA, but they eventually realized that was meaningless both in terms of the OCA statute and in terms of tradition. I believe it was retired Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) who pointed this out for them here on this blog.

                    Metropolitan is a title defined in the OCA statute to fulfill the role of “head” bishop, which is a position required by the canons. Primate would be a more descriptive title, since many bishops have their seats in large cities, but it isn’t a big deal. Neither the statute nor the canons tie the head bishop to a particular see. So it actually doesn’t make sense to identify a Locum Tenens of the Metropolitan See when there obviously is no metropolitan see. The canons require the bishops to know who their head is. They have identified Nathaniel. In the OCA, this person is called Metropolitan. In terms of OCA statute, Locum Tenens Metropolitan would make the most sense (and strictly speaking, Alexander would be Locum Tenens Bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington since he is filling in for a bishop not for a diocese, but the abbreviation here is understandable).

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      The way I am reading this is:

                      +Nathaniel is the locum tenens of the OCA temporarily to oversee the transition to a new Metropolitan of All America and Canada, Archbishop of Washington. +Michael is the temporary administrator of the OCA, taking care of those administrative functions that are usually carried out by the Metropolitan. +Alexander is the locum tenens of the Archdiocese of Washington.

                      This was clearly spelled out by the July 9, 2012 statement by the Holy Synod.

                      ““The Holy Synod has appointed the senior hierarch of the Holy Synod, His Eminence, the Most Reverend Nathaniel, Archbishop of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate, as the Locum Tenens of the Orthodox Church in America. His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel will be commemorated in the Liturgy as ‘His Eminence the Most Reverend Nathaniel, Archbishop of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate, Locum Tenens of the Orthodox Church in America.’

                      “The Holy Synod has appointed His Grace, the Right Reverend Michael, Bishop of New York and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey, as the Administrator of the Orthodox Church in America.

                      “The Holy Synod has appointed His Grace, the Right Reverend Alexander, Bishop of Toledo and the Bulgarian Archdiocese, as the Locum Tenens of the Archdiocese of Washington. His Grace will be commemorated in the Liturgy as ‘His Grace, the Right Reverend Alexander, Bishop of Toledo and the Bulgarian Archdiocese, Locum Tenens of the Archdiocese of Washington.’”


                      Since the Holy Synod is the supreme canonical authority in the OCA, it is rather an academic exercise to maintain that the Holy Synod’s position is wrong. Nobody, not even another local church, can gainsay the OCA Synod on this matter. Splitting hairs may be an interesting use of one’s time, but in this instance it is not helpful on any level.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Carl, the real way to see all this is

                      1. We can’t stand Jonah,

                      2. We got to get rid of Jonah,

                      3. We’ll do whatever is necessary to get rid of Jonah even if we have to make things up as we go along or if we get caught.

                      That’s why Jonah’s ouster has been nothing but a Charlie Foxtrot that continually blows up in these “holy” hierarchs’ faces. I expect a pie fight to break out any moment, it would be fitting climax.

              • If I did not know that you are familiar with his resignation letter I could take it as an innocent mistake on your part. However, I am sure you are well aware that nowhere in that resignation letter does he resign from the office of the Archbishop pf Washington. In fact, it is signed “Archbishop of Washington.” Now, how should one categorize your response? Which words should one choose without being offensive?

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Mitrich–You could say that I am mistaken, just as I will say that you are mistaken in this matter (as are Um and others who have offered their opinion) The point is simple, IMHO: the OCA Metropolitan is one of the diocesan bishops that comprise the Holy Synod. In most Orthodox churches, the primate is the diocesan bishop of a designated see; In Russia, it is Moscow, in Bulgaria–Sofia, in Serbia–it is a bit more involved but the same principle applies. When Bishop Irinej, the diocesan bishop of Nis, was elected Patriarch, he became “His Holiness the Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan (Bishop) of (the Diocese of) Belgrade and Karlovci, Serbian Patriarch Irinej.” Patriarch Irinej thus wears three hats simultaneously because he is the primate of the local Church of Serbia and for no other reason. (Side note: Patriarch Irinej’s third hat, that of Archbishop of Pec, is for historical reasons as explained here: “The Monastery of the Patriarchate of Pec is located at the very entrance of the Rugova gorge near Pec. The complex of the Pec churches is the spiritual seat and mausoleum of Serbian archbishops and patriarchs.” http://www.kosovo.net/epatrijarsija.html)

                  • Basil Takach says

                    FWIT even those dreaded Romans get this one right. If the Pope were to retire as Pope of the Church, the see of the Bishop of Rome would be vacant as well. Same arguments that Carl is referring to.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Not really. The Statute of the OCA is VERY explicit as to what can constitute the vacancy of the Metropolitan See.

      • Now you are talking like a good Episcopalian.

        Have you followed what the Episcopalians are doing to the Bishop of South Carolina, one of the last orthodox bishops in that church and the bishop of the only growing diocese in their church today?

  14. All in the Family says

    Fr. David Garretson? Fr. David Garretson? Why is that name so familiar?

    Oh, THAT Fr. David Garretson a member of the OCA Metropolitan Soviet who once stood up at an MC meeting and declared, “If I had a baseball bat I would use it to bash in the head of Fr. Robert Kondratick.” Yep, that is what Fr. David Garretson once said! Can you imagine a priest uttering such vicious words. Maybe he gained his courage with a wee bit too much of the ol Bushmills!

    But it kinda shows you the respect the OCA has for Metropolitan Jonah sending this same Fr. David Garretson to try and thug his way against +Jonah. It seems to be another indication at how far the OCA has sunk to use barroom intimidation tactics against it’s former Primate.

    I wonder if he tried the “baseball bat” routine last Friday in DC? If he did, it seems that he met his match because +Tikhon and Garretson didn’t get their way trying to scare +Jonah and his representative.

    If the OCA was smart they would button up and tie off the +Jonah thing before Parma. Otherwise they open themselves to the BIG UNKNOWN with lots of clergy and more laity who are loaded for bear and are want answers.

    I wonder if Garretson will bring his baseball bat to Parma? Better check him at the door. No weapons allowed!

    • Carl Kraeff says

      At least Father Garretson used/uses his name, unlike some folks who are slinging the proverbial you-know-what under interesting noms de guerre. These folks with fictitious names are using verbal baseball bats even more hurtful than a physical bat. But, hey, as long as you are hiding behind that cowardly facade…

      • All in the Family says

        Scorching retort, Carl. Tell you what, when someone hits you in the head with a baseball bat, I hope they give you their real name. At the moment, Fr. David Garretson is the face of the OCA. Disgusting.

    • All in the Family says (October 21, 2012 at 6:20 pm)

      Fr. David Garretson? Fr. David Garretson? Why is that name so familiar?

      Oh, THAT Fr. David Garretson a member of the OCA Metropolitan Soviet who once stood up at an MC meeting and declared, “If I had a baseball bat I would use it to bash in the head of Fr. Robert Kondratick.” Yep, that is what Fr. David Garretson once said! Can you imagine a priest uttering such vicious words. Maybe he gained his courage with a wee bit too much of the ol Bushmills!….

      Like the other three judges under the presidency of Abp Nathaniel, Fr David Garretson was deceived by the prosecution (Faith Skordinski) using materials collected by Bp Benjamin and his ‘Special Investigating Committee’ and by Met. Herman and his attorneys from Proskauer, Rose to cobble together a completely fictive case against Fr Robert Kondratick, who had already been unjustly relieved of his responsibilities as chancellor of the OCA. In this travesty of a trial, whose outcome had been predetermined by the entities named above, AbpN represented this cabal, not the OCA.

      Despite Attorney James Perry’s earlier representations to the contrary (he lied to us), FrRK and his defense team never learned the nature and extent of the accusations being brought against FrRK. As a result, we entered the court completely without the usual courtesies of disclosure and discovery, and only the charges were presented to the ‘spiritual court’. Those charges must have been very serious, since the judges found Fr Robert Kondratick guilty in absentia (we were forced to leave the proceedings), for which MetH decided to depose him from the priesthood.

      Since the charges were apparently so enormous and egregious, FrDG’s attitude is understandable, even if his remark was intemperate. In the light of subsequent information, I doubt he’d express himself that way now.

      The problem here, though, is that the charges — which FrRK never heard nor was allowed an opportunity to refute — were later objectively determined by the State of New York to be false. This means that FrRK’s dismissal from the chancellorship and his deposition from the priesthood also occurred under false pretenses, and are thus invalid and ineffective in church law.

      Whoever gets elected as our next primate at Parma must quickly acknowledge this awful miscarriage of justice, ask FrRK and his family to forgive all who conspired to ruin him, and reinstate him as an OCA priest in good standing.

      Without this institutional and even personal repentance on the part of people who abused FrRK and his family so badly, our OCA will not even begin to be healed.

      We will just continue to rot until there’s nothing left to be salvaged. Or hasn’t our institutional gangrene been noticed?

      ‘May our communion of Your most pure Mysteries, Lord, be not to our judgement and condemnation, but for the healing of our souls and bodies.’

  15. George Osborne says

    Good evening, everyone! As a “newbie” when it comes to this forum (with only two post to date,) I am loath to post too much opinion since what I believe or think plus a few bucks will only buy a cup of mediocre coffee at best. But for whatever it’s worth – and I trust that I am only stating the obvious – the choice for most of us will come down to this: Is the OCA envisioned by the HS and their minions on the MC and Syosset staff the OCA the rest of us once loved and trusted?” To me the answer is as equally obvious as the question.

    So, a simple and painful choice: Do we stay and fight and get slimed (we have an old saying here in Tennessee that when you slog across the pig pen, your shoes are always going to get some organic fertilizer on them!) or do we just quietly take our money, prayers and affection and go somewhere else? Let’s face it. The problems of the OCA are so institutional and engrained – beginning with the election of ++Theodosius – that the Potemkin village is just showing itself for what it has always been…just window dressing for an agenda masquerading as “the American Church.” As much as everyone once hoped that OCA could be a nucleus for unity of jurisdiction and government in NA, that day is long gone. So what is the motivation for staying? Our love for the local parish and our brothers and sisters? Well, of course. But the local parish is simply a manifestation of the bishop theologically and when the root is rotten, the plant will eventually wither, just as the fig tree the Lord cursed.

    I say take the high ground and struggle from that perspective. Get out of the pig pen. If that means splitting a parish and starting again, well, every parish started small and grew. What has been done before can be done again. Let’s start new missions under bishops (imperfect creatures though they tend to be) that at least try to uphold each other and the canons and who have alive for their flocks. This is why Venerable Dimitri was so beloved by those of us who knew him (and it was he that ordained me deacon and then laicized me to save my soul!); because he tried to take the right path and lead his flock with dignity and righteousness. We have had many discussions just since I have been perusing this blog and one interesting “fact” about real monastics is that monasteries grow around a starts or elder who knows God and has the ability to lead and guide those willing on the same proven path. Same for bishops, I think. We are attracted by their holiness and ability to guide us as sheep or the whole flock. Imperfectly? Sure! But that’s the way of it, I think. As long as the canonical situation in NA is such a mess, at least we can find a place to pray and live while the Holy Spirit sorts everything out…eventually. I have helped start three missions, two of which have thrived. It’s hard and expensive both in terms of time and money…but if it has to be done, then, let’s get to it and stop worrying about Parma and everything else. “Come out from them and be ye separate” saith the Lord. Good advice to Moses. Good advice for us.

    Please don’t flame me. I just tend to be very simple and unsophisticated about these things!

    Love to all…..George

    • Pere LaChaise says

      Not flaming but rebutting, George.
      I don’t see any real alternatives. The OCA has its problems, but the other ethnic jurisdictions ARE the problem, in a manner of speaking. They are autocracies sweeping all the dirt under the rug, haphazardly reconstruing canon and then using the abuse as a litmus test of loyalty (e.g. the Joe Allen flap, the Maymon canoodle). Within what (ethnic – that’s all there is) jurisdiction are you going to start your new offshoot mission, may I ask? Will you be happy with a condescending foreign bishop who treats you all like wanna-be’s? With a hierarch with whom you cannot carry on a conversation because you are not Greek?
      I think your letter speaks to ideological purism and a strong American Protestant tendency toward schism. Granted, within canonical Orthodoxy, you can split off without literally going into schism, but it’s effectually the same in the social context, especially in the South, where there is a different church for every truculent Scots-Irish family… sorry, my Anglo bias is showing. Anyhow, don’t just throw the baby out with the bathwater. Keep your focus on your own life and parish and remember that God is, as someone posted earlier, the one who saves the day in the last possible moment. Pray for a miracle, but don’t take your toys and leave.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Mr Osborne, I must agree here with PereLaChaise. Although things are better (for the moment) in the AOA, particularly outside of the Detroit-Boston axis, I am guardedly pessimistic with what happens after the passing of Met Philip. My suggestion if the OCA continues to implode is ROCOR. I’m staying in the South because things appear to be far more regional and autonomous, hence different. For one thing, we were spared the stupidity of Syosset under the Venerable Dmitri. Why? I dunno but let me hazard a guess: he set in motion a far different dynamic that we’re still operating with. The inertia of his archpastorate hasn’t to come to a rest yet. It could only be stalled if they elected some Syosset stooge who has coveted the South, thereby bringing his carpetbagger mentality to the South.

        • M. Stankovich says

          As I see it, Mr. Michalopulos, every parish I have ever claimed to have been a member has basically functioned in a similar manner: for all intents and purposes, it is a “kingdom” in and of itself. The bishop is a vague “someone” commemorated in litanies and the Great Entrance, who, the further you are from a metropolitan area, visits one a year at best. In some parishes, they revert to “alternate” translations of music and liturgical texts, stop reading “secret prayers” aloud, again open & close the Royal Doors, disallow women from reading the Hours & girls from holding the antidoron tray; all, of course to re-commence the following week. Honestly, if you push, the priests find it a nuisance, read Chekov’s The Bishop for the bishop’s view – seriously, one bishop for the entire South? – and as Hamlet noted, “It’s as easy as lying, and you seem to be good at it.”

          Where will you go, Mr. Michalopulos? As long as there are fallen humans, there will be anonymous cowards like your Sons of Job, or orאִיּ֣וֹב or ᾧ ὄνομα ιωβ, or имя его Иов. It’s inevitable. “Where shall I run from You? Or where shall I hide from Your presence? .” (Ps. 139:7) It seems to me we are so forgetful, no?

          • Michael,

            Too cynical. Are you really that unhappy a person? From what I know about the South, Archbishop Dmitri of blessed memory, may have been a 1000 miles away but his presence was felt as if he was standing in front of the altar. Distance from a bishop is only good when the bishop is no good. When your bishop is the presence of Christ, you want him as close to you as you can and as often as possible.

            • M. Stankovich says


              It wasn’t my intention to be cynical. Realistically, the diocese are so vast, so widespread geographically, and so diverse that one man could not possibly claim to “know” more than a sample of parishes in the diocese, and vice versa. St. Ignatius spoke of the relationship between the Church and the bishop as an intimate relationship, but he did so speaking of a relationship of relative proximity as well. Certainly the presence and influence of Archbishop Dmitri was significant at a distance, but it is much different to walk into a chapel at 6:00 am and sing bass with him! I truly believe that our perspective and behaviour as well as the bishop’s perspective and behaviour would be significantly different in close proximity and accountability.

              • Michael,

                More bishops, smaller dioceses, in theory is the better path, maybe with a united Orthodox Church in North America steps towards this can be made. As for the OCA, more bishops from a diminishing poor of viable candidates is a scary proposition. Let’s get one good one for the South before we start talking about dividing up the South.

                BTW, +Dmitri for more than 1/2 of his tenure in the South spent 6 months in Florida and 6 months in Dallas at 6 week intervals. I think he did an amazing job of spreading himself as best he could over a vast diocese.

                But, I agree with you, smaller is better when it comes to dioceses.

            • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

              From my experiences in Florida Vladyka Dimitri’s presence was not always felt as if he was standing in the Altar each Sunday.

              Priests need to have a relationship with their bishop that is built on respect for his office as well as open, loving pastoral guidance with communication flowing both ways.

              As a layman, I respect, love and pray for my bishop, but rely on my priest primarily for guidance and to be the conduit of communication coming from the diocese. Many avoid the parish when the bishop visits.

          • George Michalopulos says

            As answered, I will stay in the Diocese of the South. Unless they elect an execrable man (names anyone?) and then it won’t matter because the South will close up shop and the OCA will follow.

            Silver lining? Maybe by then the ethnic jurisdictions will stop being Bulbanian/Ruritanian Nostalgia Cults and a genuine American Orthodoxy will arise.

            • lexcaritas says

              If the Synod and Syosset have their way with ++JONAH, George, and at Parma, it will be because the deans and priests –including those rom DOS–have failed to lock arms and resist the ongoing scandalization and insist it be stopped and rectified at once and, as a result, it will be virtually certain, to my mind, that the man finally elected to fill Dimitri’s shoes will be someone acceptable to the SS and willing to play along. Thus, the character of the DOS will slowly change. This is a repeat of what happened in the ECUSA starting 50 years ago. It was, after all, the bishops and clergy that led that institution over the brink–not the laity. If not nipped in the bud, by repentance and in some cases resignations or removal and full restitution to those who have been wronged, the scandal will only grow worse and the bureaucrats and orgnaization men will take over entirely. The institutiion will go on for years providing employment for certain persons and solace for those who remain, but the Glory will have departed while lthe empty form remains without sense of mission and the preceptible presence of Christ in the indolent body that ought to be His but only claims to be and keeps up appearances.


              • Carl Kraeff says

                You are correct; the deans and priests have not taken steps to stop the scandalizers, such as yourself and many others who post here and elsewhere. I do believe that they are praying a lot for the few priests who have contributed to the scandalizers’ cause and they are indeed praying for all of us. They are in fact doing their job in a manner that does not further divide the church. Unlike you and others on this blog and elsewhere.

                • Mark from the DOS says

                  Why is it that anything other than accepting the status quo as is and as presented is termed “divisive” “schismatic” and the like. Why are priests that ask honest questions to be “prayed for” rather than answered. Couldn’t both be done in faith and love?

                  In my experience when right is on your side, you have no problem answering questions and being questioned. The approach of striking delegates and ignoring questions tells me that those who have chosen the path of silence and avoidance know that their actions are neither right nor righteous.

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            What is wrong with a woman chanter? What is wrong with a girl holding the antidorion tray. Sometimes when we do not have enough altar servers during a week day Liturgy, I ask a girl or a woman to hold the antidorion tray. I will not let a girl or woman serve in the Altar, but do not understand why anyone would object to a girl holding the anidorion tray on the Solea.

            • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

              Father, even I would not object to these things if there is an occasional need, but is there really no danger of the occasional need becoming more regular and of the regularity of women and girls doing such things encouraging the belief that it makes no difference whether males or females do them?

              When things come to be done regularly by women or girls, men and boys tend then to shy away from them. This is especially true with something like chanting, which women and girls generally do very well. If we don’t take care to prefer men as chanters, we may find ourselves dependent on female chanters. How then will men learn to become readers, deacons, and priests?

              Especially in this day and age, men and boys need to be encouraged to be bold, and women and girls need to be encouraged to be modest. That’s what the Church has always taught. The occasional need is an opportunity to teach what each needs to learn — to appeal to men and boys to step forward and take responsibility for the Church’s worship, and to teach women that in church they need to defer to men and boys.

              • Dorothy Allen says

                After the crucifixion, when the men remained indoors, it was the women who went out to anoint the body of Jesus. Indeed the first persons to receive the news of the Resurrection of Christ and the commission to relay that good news to the men were women (St. Mark 16:6). And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here; see the place where they laid him. But go tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you …” If women were considered worthy by Christ Himself to speak aloud to the disciples of the good news of His Resurrection, why should women in present times NOT speak aloud of this to others (i.e. be readers or chanters) in an Orthodox church? This is not (in my humble opinion) a display of feminism (I am a traditionalist) but a part of the expression of the joy of the Resurrection of which both men and women believers partake. The priest and/or choir director of the church that I attend assigns the readings equally to either a man or woman, alternately, as both men and women readers are available and know how to chant properly. It is a great honor and a blessing to be chosen to do so. Some men who do this may also feel called to become deacons or priests and some women who do this may also feel called to become nuns, but the fact that they read or chant is not what brings them to a wish to pursue the monastic life. It is love for God that inspires one’s heart to want to proclaim it (chant) and/or to follow an ascetic life. (I ask your forgiveness if expressing my understanding about this offends anyone.)

                • Dorothy Allen says:
                  October 23, 2012 at 1:27 am

                  “After the crucifixion, when the men remained indoors, it was the women who went out to anoint the body of Jesus.”

                  Just some random thoughts for whatever they may be worth:
                  Did the women intend to “anoint” His body, or just prepare it for burial?
                  Was that the assumed, normal, and customary responsibility of women in those days and so the reason why the men remained in doors?
                  When discussing women servers in the church, should we not forget that we live in an age of “radical feminism” the inconspicuous influence of which can cause us all kinds of confusion and proneness to mistakes?

            • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

              Women SINGING! Women serving blessed bread!
              Father! How could you?

              Of course I am kidding.
              Female Deacons– monastics– once took the Holy Mysteries in the Altar. Of course they did not have the same liturgical duties as male deacons but they were considered part of the clergy none the less.
              What would prevent a woman leading the petitions from outside the altar if the Office of Deaconess were restored and expanded a bit?
              The duties of male deacons have not always been static, but have evolved according to the needs of the Church.

              Of course the Church in America, the OCA in particular, has much greater problems .

              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                The office of deaconess was never abolished. I understand that there are still deaconesses in women’s monasteries in Greece. However, we cannot innovate. A modern deaconess should do the exact same things as an ancient deaconess, which did not include a liturgical role. Ancient deaconesses ministered to women. They were not simply a female deacon. It was a different order with different duties. If we start letting women lead petitions on the Solea, it will eventually led to women wanting to do more and will eventually lead to their demand to be ordained to the Priesthood. I have been down this path before. The ordination of women began with the ordination of women deacons in the Episcopal Church. Look at how that turned out.
                We have women who chant and read the Epistle, but they are not tonsured or blessed as Readers. Only men are blessed as Readers. (Blessed is the more correct term in English than ordained.)

                • Anagnostes says

                  The rite for the ordination of a woman deacon/deaconess as it survives in the manuscripts does make it clear that the office by that time had no liturgical function whatsoever. The presence of some deaconesses in Greek monasteries is a result of the 20th century attempts at restoring the office (e.g. by St Nectarios of Aegina), rather than a witness to an unbroken tradition. The office fell out of use b/c no one knew what to do with it, as it had no apparent functional significance anymore.
                  The restoration of the female diaconate is only possible if diaconate would mean something more or something different for us than a “glorified altar boy” or as a last step to the presbyterate. This was not the meaning of the female diaconate ever. We can’t get the lady to chant litanies, as no female deacon ever did that in our tradition, as far as we know.
                  Regarding the readers: historically, the term for the “installation” to all of the orders, from reader to bishop, is “cheirotoneia”/ordination. It is a much more “serious” term than a simple “blessing”.

                  • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                    Very good points here by Anagnostes. I would add that the office of deaconess was never actually accepted by the whole Church. The West didn’t have them when it was Orthodox, and neither did Egypt. It was mainly a Constantipolitan tradition, owing a lot to the high concentration of wealthy, aristocratic women in the imperial capital.

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    There are two different words in Greek for ordination. One “cheirothesia” means ordain, but only for the minor orders. The other word “cheirotonia” also means ordain, but only for the major orders, Deacon, Priest and Bishop. To distinguish between the two since we only have one word for ordain in English, some Orthodox translate “cheirothesia ” “blessed.” Both are done by the Bishop, although an Abbot can bless a Reader, but “cheirothesia” is usually done by the Bishop on his throne outside of the iconostasis and not during the Divine Liturgy. Ordination “cheirotonia” is only done by the Bishop, during the Divine Liturgy and at the Holy Table.

                    • Monk James says

                      Archpriest John W. Morris says (October 23, 2012 at 5:35 pm):

                      There are two different words in Greek for ordination. One “cheirothesia” means ordain, but only for the minor orders. The other word “cheirotonia” also means ordain, but only for the major orders, Deacon, Priest and Bishop. To distinguish between the two since we only have one word for ordain in English, some Orthodox translate “cheirothesia ” “blessed.” Both are done by the Bishop, although an Abbot can bless a Reader, but “cheirothesia” is usually done by the Bishop on his throne outside of the iconostasis and not during the Divine Liturgy. Ordination “cheirotonia” is only done by the Bishop, during the Divine Liturgy and at the Holy Table.

                      The greek word kheirothesia means ‘placing of hand(s)’, understood in The Church as the bishop’s placing his hands on the head of a man whom he is initiating as a clergyman of whatever rank. This is clearly an expression of the bishop’s own authority.

                      But the greek word kheirotonia means the ‘extension or raising of the hand’, as in an ‘aye’ vote — clearly an indication that the man to be ordained has been vetted and voted in by a competent body of electors, whose will the bishop does.

                      I thought it was odd that Fr John Morris used the thoroughly heterodox (now) word ‘abbot’ here, since he complained about ‘genuflection’ earlier. We do indeed make genuflections, but mostly not in the same way as do Catholics and Anglicans. Those groups actually make the same reverence as do we in a metanoia when they make a ‘double genuflection’ before the ‘exposed’ eucharistic bread.

                      Since FrJM is so good at Greek, please let’s have him translate our liturgical word gonyklisia, as found in the Evening Service of Holy Spirit Monday. Its components are gony (‘knee’) and klinO (‘bend, bow’) — exact calques of latin genu (‘knee’) and flecto (‘bend, bow’).

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      To Monk James:

                      It seems silly to argue over terminology.
                      I have never read or heard Orthodox use the term genuflection, which refers to an exclusively Roman Catholic and High Anglican practice. We do not drop to one knee like the Catholics.
                      Orthodox bow or make reverences or make a prostration. Why use a Latin Roman Catholic term for an Orthodox action.
                      The word Abbot is certainly not heterodox. It is simply the English word for Hegumen.
                      There certainly is a difference between the blessing (cheirothesia) of a Reader or Subdeacon and the ordination ( cheirotonia) of a Deacon or Priest.

                  • There’s a brief, but informative, commentary on women in the Altar here:


            • Fr. I think you will find many instances of this, it’s not an innovation. Who chants in a convent? Who holds the antidoron in a girl’s orphanage? Now, I think there is a case to be made against tonsuring women to the first rank of the clergy.

              • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                We have women chanters and may when an altar server is not available let a girl hold the tray with the antidorion after it is brought out of the Altar. In one mission that I served I have had an altar server take the bread out of the Altar after the Proskomedia and let a girl cut it into pieces before it is brought back into the Altar to be blessed during the Megalynarion of the Divine Liturgy. But we should not have altar girls like the Catholics.
                I do not know of any Orthodox Bishop who tonsures women as candle bearers, the first order of the minor orders, or blesses a woman as a Reader much less a Sub-deacon. I know that our Antiochian Bishops do not.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  In the GOA in Arizona last year, they almost tonsured several girls as acolytes. There was a disconnect between the host priest and Arb Demetrios and Monomakhos brought it to their attention. Thanks to our efforts, it was derailed at the last minute.

                  • In the very early 1990s, I saw two girl “acolytes” at an OCA mission in suburban Chicago that I was visiting on a Sunday morning. (Yes, they were in the altar.) I refrained from receiving Holy Communion because I was upset by the sight.

                    While in an Antiochian parish, many years ago, I was regarded by the priest and the parish as one of the chanters. (no illegitimate tonsure, of course) Mercifully, I never was asked to read the Epistle and I think that, even back then, I would have had the sense to decline.

                    In our next parish, eventually there was (for only a year or so) a priest so strict that he finally abandoned the parish in favor of a zealot group. During his term, he attended some conference from which he returned and “fired” all the women from chanting any responses or verses, no matter what the context. After my painful inner turmoil subsided, I recognized that I was reacting with sinful pride, and I adjusted to what I understand should be the norm for a parish — designated older teen boys and men for this task. The needs of a women’s monastery do not correspond to the situation of a parish, so one cannot properly invoke them.

                    • Thomas Paine says


                      Question for you, If the Holy Theotokos appeared in any Orthodox Church, would she be barred from the altar area? What is the reason women aren’t in the altar? In women monasteries, women are in the altar and the Abbess normally receives the Eucharist at the altar as any priest or deacon.

                    • Dear Mr. Paine,

                      Regarding your specious questions, I shall refer you to an Orthodox priest, or to Orthodox literature on the topic.

                      The needs of a women’s monastery do not correspond to the situation of a parish, so one cannot properly invoke them.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      If my Bishop came to my parish and found out that we had Altar girls, I shudder to think how he would react. He might have an heart attack. I know that he would discipline me for the offense. A parish is not a monastery and the girls are not nuns. What nuns do in a monastery for women does not set a precedent for parish practice. Any lay person can read the Epistle or take up the collection. In my parish to give the girls something special to do I have them ring the bells during the Megalynarion. I have the Bishop tonsure all altar servers to emphasize that only clergy should enter the Altar.

                    • George Osborne says

                      Dear Antonia……thank you for your insight based on experience. As for Mr Pain’s remarks to you below, my question is why not ask PECUSA to allow an Eastern Rite Episcopalian vicarate. You’d have all your favorites: acceptance of homesexuality, women fully embraced in every aspect of ministry and something for everything regardless of Tradition. So why bother trying to subvert the OCA (anymore than it already is, of course) and just get the Episcopalians to take you in and go from there. Oh, that’s right, somewhere down in the unfathomable cockles of your heart you still belive that the Orthodox Church is the Church of Christ. So, if you won’t leave because you’re afraid to abandon the Ark, why keep trying to change it into a cruiose ship?

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      “Any lay person can read the Epistle,” Fr. John? You might let any lay person read the Epistle, but the Church has forbidden it to women from the beginning and limited it to tonsured men by Canon 15 of Laodicea and Canon 33 of the Sixth EC.

                    • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

                      I agree with both Antonia and Fr.John.I have no problem with women chanters.In my Serbian church,I had a woman doing both the chanting and the Epistle.She currently has health issues and my son now fulfills that role.I have mixed feelings about tonsuring all Altar servers,but my son was made a Reader before his 14th birthday.
                      I’m sure,Fr.John,your bishop has never tonsured a woman as Reader?

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      To Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell

                      What do you do if you do not have a tonsured reader present? Do you skip the Epistle? I have seen women read the Epistle in the presence of the Patriarch of Antioch. I believe that His Beatitude knows what he is doing.
                      Canon XV or Laodicea reads, “No others shall sing in the Church, save only the canonical singers, who go up into the ambo and sing from a book.” That says nothing about who can read the Epistle. Besides I know that Russian Orthodox Churches allow women to sing in the choir. I have many CDs of Russian Orthodox music that has women singing on them. I have been in OCA Churches that had women in their choir.
                      The Sixth Ecumenical Council did not pass any canons. That is why they had the Council in Trullo. I thought that you might have confused the Council in Trullo for this because it was held to pass canons because the fifth and sixth Ecumenical Councils did not pass any canons. However, Canon 33 of the Council of Trullo says nothing about who can read the Epistle.

                      To V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev

                      I know of no case in which any Antiochian Bishop has tonsured a woman Reader.

                    • Oh my! I think it would be tragic to exclude women from even singing in the choir in a mixed congregation. In the visions of worship we are given in Revelation, there is a vast multitude from every tribe and nation (presumably including women) and all are singing praises to the Lord. If I understand Church history, originally the whole congregation was the choir. Surely, we can’t expect that women were excluded from this congregational role then. I would be heartbroken not to be able to join in singing the praises of our Lord in the gathered worship of His Church. To my great joy, mine is a parish where the congregation is, once again, the choir.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I must agree with you here Karen. The fears of feminaziism may seem overblown but the culture is driving it and we must be vigilant. I find myself agreeing with Deacon Mitchell that there have to be some boundaries in which boys and young men can feel secure within the confines of the Church.

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      To Fr. John W. Morris:

                      As with many things, there is what we do and what we ought to do, the latter being the better, more ordered way we should always be striving for. You stated what you do as if it were what we all ought to do — as if nothing in Church tradition stands in the way of women reading the Epistle. But the words of the Holy Apostle Paul do: “Let the women keep silent in the assemblies.” (1 Cor. 14:34)

                      The Holy Fathers consistently understood these words as barring women from all vocal offices in the church, not from singing along as members of the congregation, but from the offices of reader and chanter, reader especially. As you know, the prayer of tonsuring for a reader identifies the office as the first step toward the priesthood. The canons concerning readers often presume readers are male, for example, Canon 14 of the 4th EC, which speaks of readers being allowed to “take a wife.” And nowhere in the ancient Church do we find female readers.

                      There is a mention of “women readers” in the Arabic and Ethiopic Canons of the Apostles, but all it says is, “Concerning deaconesses and subdeaconesses and women readers, we have already spoken,” and the only thing already spoken relevant to women readers is a canon in the Ethiopic text saying, “It is not fitting for women to raise their voice while they stand in the church.”

                      As for the 6th EC, the 102 canons of the so-called Council in Trullo (the words are Latin) has long been understood by the Orthodox as canons of the 6th Ecumenical Council. Indeed, The Rudder begins its introduction to the 102 canons with these words:

                      “The Holy and Ecumenical Quinisext (or Quinisextine), or more properly speaking, Sixth Council . . .”

                      A lengthy footnote defends this designation of “Sixth Council” on several grounds, among them that the Seventh Ecumenical Council twice identifies the 102 canons as belonging to the Sixth Ecumenical Council, as do several other ancient texts.

                      Finally, Canon 33 of the 6th EC does in fact state:

                      “Nor, furthermore, shall they permit anyone to speak from the pulpit to the laity the divine words, in accordance with the order of enrollment in the clergy, unless such person has something to show in the way of a priestly tonsure.”

                      The Rudder’s commentary on this canon makes plain that it refers to the office of reader, citing St. Gregory the Theologian’s remark that the apostate emperor Julian had been a “reader (or lector) of the divine words.”

                    • Antiochian Friend says

                      Fr. John,

                      Father, Bless!

                      I personally do not object to women reading the Epistle, but this discussion does bring to mind two theoretical questions:

                      1) Is it not necessarily an exercise of economia to permit someone to discharge the duties of an order that she is not permitted to hold?

                      2) Perhaps this is only a Slavic custom, but isn’t the technically correct practice for the reading of the Epistle that the reader, Epistle book in hand, receive a blessing from the priest behind the iconostasis during the Trisagion hymn and then exit through the north door? After all, the Word of Truth always emanates from heaven. I have seen priests confer this blessing on the solea to a woman who was about to read the Epistle.

                      As far as choirs are concerned, the rubrics concerning left and right choirs and the chanting of certain hymns from the center of the solea are universally ignored outside of monasteries. It hardly seems wise or charitable to begin any restoration by muzzling musically gifted women.

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      Many ancient texts and Fathers speak approvingly of women singing in church — that is not the issue.

                      The issue is women singing solo as readers or canonarchs. No ancient text or Father speaks approvingly of that because it was considered so obviously inconsistent with both the modesty appropriate for women and their subjection to men, since reading scripture aloud in church was considered teaching. St. Jerome, for instance, accuses Pelagian heretics of allowing women to chant scripture in church “as though they were lawfully constituted teachers.”

                    • Can someone clarify what was meant by the Apostle Paul when he taught that it was proper for a woman to cover her head when she prayed or “prophesied” in the church (1 Cor. 11:5)? Apparently, at least in the first century, there was some sort of an exception to the “women must be silent” passage for such “prophesying” as well? Would it be proper to interpret some of these references (such as those found in Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16 and 1 Cor. 14:26-33) as showing a bit more spontaneous contribution from various members of the congregation in the assembled worship than became common later (and not just from members of the ordained clergy)?

                    • George, can I just take this opportunity to register a small complaint here about terminology? I know it has a philosophically justifiable meaning (for some), but the term “feminazi” is really just as repugnant to me as the attitudes and opinions of the militant feminists who get assigned the label. It is especially so because it is a favorite term of folks like Rush Limbaugh, who is many times ridiculously, scandalously and offensively way over the top in the heat of his rhetoric. (That’s what helps to get him ratings and $.) As an Orthodox Christian, I am utterly dismayed by Limbaugh’s m.o. (as well as that of his liberal counterparts) and find it to be quite counterproductive to the civility essential for spiritually beneficial cultural engagement and especially to an Orthodox mindset toward others (even our enemies).

                    • I think that we have to put aside the insanity of “politically correct” thinking and look at the situation as it really is. Now bear in mind that my rearing was in ROCOR, so that, if anything, I will see things more on the conservative side, but I see nothing wrong with women singing or reading in Church. I do draw the line at reading the Epistle, as there is no way that a female can enter the alter during the Trisagion to receive the Blessing of the Reader. But reading the hours, the Kathismi, the Psalter over the deceased etc. The concept of “Altar girls” is a “Do not pass go, do not collect $200.”
                      By the same token I remember when my parish was started as a mission in a 2 car garage. We often had women reading the Epistle, as there was no one else, and Father would exit from the Altar to bless the reader. Economia is a wonderful thing.
                      Go anywhere in Russia or Ukraine From Great Friday till Resurrection, and you will find women sitting with our Lord’s body, reading the psalter.
                      Now headcoverings and modest dress are another subject! LOL!

                    • I know of no case in which any Antiochian Bishop has tonsured a woman Reader.

                      Didn’t Bishop Antoun tonsure a woman as a reader in 1996?

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      Karen, the mention of prophecy refers to private prophecy. Montanists allowed women to prophesy publicly, but the Orthodox did not. A 4th-century anti-Montanist dialogue makes an issue of this, saying of course women may prophesy but only privately. Origen also writes:

                      “Even if it is granted to a woman to prophesy and show the sign of prophecy, she is nevertheless not permitted to speak in an assembly.”

                      No early Orthodox authority makes an exception for prophecy. None say, “Women must remain silent, but they may prophesy.” Instead, they say, “Women may prophesy, but they mush remain silent in assembly.”

                      I agree with you about Limbaugh, who is a blowhard, and I don’t use the term feminazi myself, but it does express the truth that feminism and oppression go hand in hand, because the success of feminism within a society depends on the use of force. When people are free, they act more naturally.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      To Antiochian Friend:
                      One does not have to be an ordained Reader to read the Epistle or chant. would not let a woman go behind the iconostasis to receive a blessing to read the Epistle. I bless both men and women Epistles Readers while standing on the Ambon while they stand in the Solea. In the Antiochian Archdiocese laity are allowed to read the Epistle. October is Youth Month in our Archdiocese. Therefore members of Teen SOYO read the Epistle. In March, which is Women’s Month, women read the Epistle. Fairuz, a popular Lebanese singer, made a recording of Orthodox chants from Holy Week.

                      To Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell
                      I do not know how to begin to respond to your arguments because you raise so many issues. First of all the commentary in the Rudder does not represent the official teaching of the Church. In fact, the English edition of the Rudder was published by the followers of a 19 century heretic Apostolos Makrakis who was condemned by the Council of Athens in 1878. Therefore one must be skeptical of the commentaries in this edition. Secondly, there are canons that express the official doctrine of the Church. These never change because the teaching of the Church never changes. There are also canons that deal with administrative and other non doctrinal matters. The Church is not bound to apply these literally but can adapt these to the changing times. That is why it is dangerous for a person to try to interpret the canons without proper training in the principles of Orthodox canon law. You cannot pick up a copy of the Rudder and start demanding that every canon has equal importance or that we must follow the canons without some accommodation to the contemporary needs of the Church. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the local Bishop to apply the canons, subject to the standards established by his Primate and the Holy Synod under which he serves.
                      Our Bishops allow women to read the Epistle. That is good enough for me. Holy Orthodoxy will not fall apart because a woman reads the Epistle.
                      Now to muddy the waters further. Antiochian women do not wear veils because in the society from which they come wearing a veil identifies a woman as a Muslim. Therefore to emphasize our Christian identity, Antiochian women stopped wearing veils. I have heard that the Patriarch himself once stopped a Liturgy and told a woman to take off her veil because she is a Christian and not a Muslim.

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      Father John Morris, you wrote that “any lay person can read the Epistle.” Quite a few saints in every century would disagree with you about that, no matter what your bishop says. Bishops are supposed to be the conservators of the tradition, not the makers of new traditions, and we are not obliged to believe they are always right, nor are we always guiltless when we obey them.

                      And so you know that I’m not such a simpleton as to treat the canons with too much reverence, here’s a fuller justification for why we shouldn’t casually throw this apostolic tradition overboard.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      Samn! says:
                      October 24, 2012 at 3:05 pm

                      I know of no case in which any Antiochian Bishop has tonsured a woman Reader.

                      Didn’t Bishop Antoun tonsure a woman as a reader in 1996?

                      Not to my knowledge.

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      Not that it’s important, but it’s not just the editors of The Rudder who assign the 102 canons to the Sixth EC:

                      Hefele’s summing up of the whole matter is as follows:

                      (Hefele, Hist. of the Councils, Vol. V., p. 242.)

                      That the Seventh Ecumenical Council at Nice ascribed the Trullan canons to the Sixth Ecumenical Council, and spoke of them entirely in the Greek spirit, cannot astonish us, as it was attended almost solely by Greeks. They specially pronounced the recognition of the canons in question in their own first canon; but their own canons have never received the ratification of the Holy See.

                      Source: Fordham Internet History Sourcebook

                    • Thank you, Fr. Dn., for enlightening me about the women “prophesying” issue. There is definitely a lot of confusion around these passages of Scripture in modern Christian circles because of the lack of respect for traditional interpretations and early practices.

                      I’m very heartened to learn that women members of the congregation singing was encouraged by many ancient Fathers. 🙂

                      Fr. John, thank you also for the information and perspective you have brought to this discussion. It seems to me because the Church is a living Organism filled with the Holy Spirit, there is a certain dynamic tension necessarily involved in her members upholding the fullness of the Tradition while exercising “economia” in a discerning way (and these are not in conflict, as they may seem superficially to be to our human ways of thinking). It seems to me to recognize that the ultimate goal of all that is done is the salvation of souls within a particular context is critical. The Tradition never changes, but how it is expressed in a particular context is not something that can be determined in a facile or legalistic way, but only through trusting obedience in the principles and precedents established by councils of Bishops in the Church and the development of real discernment that comes through the struggle to actively abide in Christ.

                      Non-negotiables for me are modest dress for all and, obviously, upholding the full moral tradition of the Church.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      George Osborne–I am sorry but I do not understand your ecclesiology. The head of the Church is the Lord Himself. Bishops and priests come in differing qualities; good, bad or indifferent, but the Lord is always there. We are not dependent on good bishops and priests.

      • George Osborne says

        Not really, Carl. This is not an issue of ecclesiology as it is a matter of pure theology. The Lord indeed is “everywhere present and filles all things,: but at the Ascension, he intrusted the Church to his apostles and gave them the power to bind and loose. The apostles are, as it were, his delegates and have the fullness of the Holy Spirit through their commission. Bishops are the successors of the apostles and hold the same fullness based on the transmission of their ministry and the descent of the Holy Spirit. Sure, undeniably Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, but He has delegated the earthly ministry in its fullness to Bishops. This is why when we see the icor of “Christ the High Priest,” Jesus is vested as a Bishop and this very icon often is dicipted over the bishops cathedra to remind him that he sits in the seat of the apostles and is responsible directly to Christ in his ministry. As bishops cannot be everywhere, priests are ordained by bishops to hold part of their office and minister in the several churches. But still, the undeniable essence is that bishops hold apostolic authority through Christ and are set in place to govern, teach and rule the Church.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Perhaps I misunderstood your original post. My issue was with you seeming to say that all of our bishops and priests must (instead of should) be good. I refer you to the statement that you made on 10/21/12 8:31PM: “But the local parish is simply a manifestation of the bishop theologically and when the root is rotten, the plant will eventually wither, just as the fig tree the Lord cursed.” You then wrote: “Get out of the pig pen. If that means splitting a parish and starting again, well, every parish started small and grew. What has been done before can be done again. Let’s start new missions under bishops (imperfect creatures though they tend to be) that at least try to uphold each other and the canons and who have alive for their flocks.”

          It seemed to me that you had given up on the OCA. So please forgive me if I am wrong. However, if that is not the case, I urge you to remain steadfast and tough it out. It appears you are in the Diocese of the South and we are right now praying for the Holy Synod to send us a good and Godly bishop. Since you are in DOS, you also know that our priests were deputies to Archbishop Dimitri of blessed memory, and thus good and Godly priests. We are still +Dimitri’s flock in many ways and I just think that you are giving up on us too soon.

  16. Hilber Nelson says

    Q: What do we do with leadership that insists we believe a lie?
    A: Stop sending them money.

    Q: What do we do with leadership that has split the Church?
    A: Stop sending them money.

  17. cynthiacurran says

    Rush is a mild verison of Procopius, just read the Secret History there several online copies ant its the height of nasiness and bitter satire.

  18. Oh my !! When I first saw this I thought it was one of the “Screw Tape” Letters…

    Read this very carefully…its kind of sad in a way

    http://oca.org/news/headline-news/preconciliar-commission-responds-to-current-qu\ estions-regarding-the-17th-al

    October 25, 2012
    Preconciliar Commission responds to current questions regarding the 17th
    All-American Council

    On Thursday, October 25, 2012, the Preconciliar Commission issued answers to 21 questions that have recently been asked with regard to the 17th All-American Council.

    The Council will convene on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at Holy Trinity Church, Parma, OH.

    While not exhaustive, the responses will assist in preparing for the Council. Additional questions not addressed may be submitted to the Preconciliar Commission at info@… .

    The questions and responses may be accessed in PDF format.

    The contents of the pdf file:

    Responses to Current Questions Concerning
    the 17th All-American Council at Holy Trinity Church, Parma, OH
    on Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    In response to a number of questions that have been received concerning the 17th All-American Council, the Preconciliar Commission has compiled the following responses. While not exhaustive, the responses will help in preparing for the forthcoming Council. Additional questions not addressed herein may be submitted to the Preconciliar Commission at info@….

    1. Why is the AAC being held at Holy Trinity Church in Parma and how was the date established?

    The Holy Synod of Bishops instructed the Preconciliar Commission to hold the AAC as soon as possible due to the requirements of Article IV, Section 4 of the OCA Statute, which reads: “When a vacancy has occurred in the office of Metropolitan, the bishop senior by rank and date of consecration shall convene the Holy Synod. After the formal vote declaring the vacancy, the Holy Synod will proceed with the election of a locum tenens. Within a period not exceeding three months (unless some unavoidable necessity forces a prolongment [sic] of this period), the locum tenens will convene an All-American Council at which a successor shall be elected.” The members of the Holy Synod decided to convene the AAC on Tuesday, November 13, 2012, at their August 2012 meeting, the consensus being that this would be the most reasonable time to organize and gather the Church in council.

    The other instructions included the desire to convene the AAC in a church if possible, rather than a hotel or other venue, as it would be more in keeping with the nature of the gathering. Consideration was also given to minimizing the costs associated with the AAC and its delegates, since the gathering was an unexpected one — that is, at the beginning of 2012 it had not been a consideration. There are only a few parish churches in the OCA that are large enough to accommodate a gathering of this size. After reviewing a number of parish churches, Holy Trinity Church in Parma was selected, as it is the largest church building in the OCA and its faithful parishioners expressed a willingness to host the AAC.

    2. What is included on the agenda for the AAC and why is it limited to the election of a Metropolitan?

    The agenda may be found in the Delegate Handbook, posted on-line at http://www.oca.org. It was decided upon by the members of the Preconciliar Commission and approved by the Holy Synod based on two points.

    . The first is that the OCA Statute specifies that an election to fill a vacancy in the Metropolitan See must be the sole agenda item. In the past, similar elections were held in conjunction with regular AACs, during which the ordinary business of the AAC was suspended, so that the Council could be declared open for the purpose of electing a new Metropolitan. After the election the AAC resumed its regular business. In the case of the forthcoming AAC, the sole purpose of the Council is the election of a new Metropolitan; as such, this is the sole item on the agenda.

    . There is precedent in this, inasmuch as the 12th All-American Sobor of 1965 — prior to the granting of autocephaly, such gatherings were referred to by the Russian term sobor — had as its sole purpose the election of a new Metropolitan after the repose of Metropolitan Leonty. This was used as the precedent in establishing the agenda for this special AAC.

    As such, the Holy Synod determined that this fit the requirements of a single-agenda Council.

    3. Are there any fees associated with attending the AAC?

    The Holy Synod determined that, because the 17th AAC constitutes an unbudgeted expense, the dioceses would assume the costs. The 16th AAC ended with a surplus of about $60,000, which was recently returned to the dioceses. The costs associated with convening the 17th AAC are approximately the same as this amount, so the surplus will cover the expenses for this AAC. Consequently, there is no fee for clergy and lay delegates for the 17th AAC, although delegates are responsible for their own travel and hotel expenses. The costs of meals are covered by the diocesan assessment.

    4. I heard that the registration numbers are low and that is why the OCA extended the deadline.

    In fact, registration numbers are now close to 600 clergy and lay delegates. There are about 65 observers. The deadline was extended because of the number of calls and emails asking if they could submit their registration packet late because they were having parish meetings after the deadline. The deadline was extended to accommodate them (and this happens at every AAC).

    5. Why is the observer registration limited in numbers?

    Provisions for observers always have been made for AACs. Observers are seated in a designated area, but they are not permitted to speak or vote or take an active part in the proceedings. Members of the Preconciliar Commission made the same provisions for the 17th AAC, but they were forced to limit the number of observers due to space considerations. Since the AAC will be convened in a parish church, it was determined that the only space available for observers was the choir loft, which has limited seating. This determination in no way is intended to keep people from attending the AAC; rather, it is a simple matter of logistics. Another option — simulcasting the proceedings in the church hall — does not provide the same experience as one would have if one were present in the church itself.

    At the same time, the AAC will webcast on Ancient Faith Radio so that anyone, present or not, can participate via the internet.

    6. Why are retired clergy and observers being charged a fee and delegates are not?

    In years past, retired clergy and observers were charged a nominal fee to cover expenses associated with the AAC. The Preconciliar Commission decided that it would continue this practice, and that a nominal fee of $50.00 to cover administrative and food costs associated with the Council again would be appropriate. The $50.00 fee also covers a brunch and a dinner.

    7. What is the Preconciliar Commission and what are its responsibilities?

    The Preconciliar Commission is the body established by the Statute to specifically organize and run the AAC. An outline of the duties of the Preconciliar Commission and guidelines for its formation may be found in Article III, Section 5 of the OCA Statute. All decisions on the planning and operation of the AAC are presented as recommendations by the Preconciliar Commission to the Metropolitan Council and receive the blessing of the Holy Synod. As such, the members of the Holy Synod and the Metropolitan Council are fully informed of all recommendations presented by the Preconciliar Commission, the members of which also have specific responsibilities and deadlines to meet in the planning process.

    8. Will there be parking available at Holy Trinity Church?

    There is plenty of parking at Holy Trinity Church, located at 6822 Broadview Road, Parma, OH. Overflow parking will be available at Pokrova Ukrainian Catholic Church, adjacent to Holy Trinity Church, which has agreed to assist us in this regard.

    9. Will transportation be available between the church and the hotels?

    There are hotel shuttle buses from the airport to the hotels. Delegates should look for signs for their hotels at the airport. Shuttle buses will be provided on Monday and Tuesday to transport people from the hotels to the church and back again. Appropriate signs will be posted at the hotels and the church. Travel time is about 10 minutes. On Tuesday, there also will be a bus to take people either back to the hotels or to the airport after the dinner. Hotel shuttle buses will make frequent trips to the airport.

    10. Are people who are not members of the OCA permitted to attend?

    While outside observers are permitted to attend, as space is available, they must be approved by the Preconciliar Commission. There are a few individuals who will be assisting at the AAC, such as those associated with Ancient Faith Radio, certain specialists in administrative duties who have assisted the Church in the past, and others who have made special requests. While at a regular AAC the agenda is more comprehensive, with sessions spanning several days, and there is far more space available, limitations in the number of requests honored have had to be taken into consideration.

    11. Are hierarchs and clergy from other Orthodox Churches being invited
    to attend?

    It was decided by the Holy Synod that the 17th AAC would be limited to OCA delegates due to the space requirements and in the interest of minimizing expenses. Normally at an AAC, certain costs are covered by the OCA for visiting delegations; the budget for the 17th AAC does not permit this. However, it was decided that, with the enthronement of the new Metropolitan in January 2013, delegations from all Orthodox Churches will be invited to attend and to concelebrate.

    12. Are former and retired hierarchs of the OCA and bishops without a diocese allowed to attend? What level of participation are they allowed?

    According to Article III, Section 2 of the Statute, “All bishops of the Church” are allowed to attend. In the past, former and retired hierarchs have attended AACs and were seated in an appropriate place. They have the same rights as retired clergy, but they are not permitted to speak. Former and retired hierarchs are not permitted to vote in the nomination process due to their status (only active delegates can vote), nor may they vote in the election process of the Holy Synod, since only ruling diocesan bishops are eligible to vote, as noted in Article 1V, Section 4 of the Statute. Auxiliary bishops are not permitted to vote in the Holy Synod election (This is also true of the proceedings of Holy Synod meetings, at which former, retired and auxiliary hierarchs are allowed to be present but may not vote on decisions.)

    13. Are former or retired hierarchs and bishops without a diocese permitted to be nominated?

    There is nothing in the Statute that explicitly prohibits such a nomination. However, it is up to the Holy Synod to elect the new Metropolitan according to the procedures of the Statute.

    14. Is Metropolitan Jonah still the Archbishop of Washington even though he resigned as Metropolitan?

    According to the Canons of the Orthodox Church, every bishop must have a See. The See of the Metropolitan is Washington, DC. The office of the Metropolitan and the See cannot be separated. Bishop Alexander is presently the locum tenens of the Diocese of Washington.

    15. There is a rumor that there will be armed security in the church.

    There will be no armed security in the church. Parma auxiliary police, who are unarmed, will be assisting in parking and directions. Because of expected heavy traffic, there may be a uniformed Parma police officer and a patrol car stationed where the church driveway meets the road for traffic control, something common for large public events.

    16. There are rumors of disruptions. How is the OCA responding?

    The members of the Holy Synod are certainly aware of such rumors; as such, they wish to remind the faithful that we are the Church, and that the response to any disruptions will be handled in a Christian and churchly manner. People are free to express their views, but the Church does have business to address, and all are reminded to act respectfully in cases of disagreement. Those with further questions or issues in this regard are encouraged to speak to their parish priest or diocesan bishop.

    17. Is there a preferred candidate at this time?

    The Statute is very clear that there is to be no “previous discussion of names” (Article IV, Section 4a). Of course, delegates should prepare to vote through prayer and fasting. Page six of the Delegate Handbook offers helpful advice on how to prepare for the AAC.

    18. Who is eligible to be a candidate?

    Article IV, Section 4 of the Statute outlines the requirements for a candidate for the office of the Metropolitan, as set forth in Article VI, Section 9:

    . The candidate for the office of diocesan bishop must satisfy all the requirements of the Holy Canons pertaining to this highest of all ecclesiastical offices. In addition, it is preferable that he have completed a course of study in a Graduate School of Orthodox Theology and that he be conversant in the English language.
    . If he is not already a bishop, he can be nominated only from among the monastic or celibate clergy or laymen;
    . If at the moment of his nomination he is a layman or a celibate or widowed priest, he shall pronounce at least the first monastic vows (rasophoria).

    Also note that candidates, if they have not already been so, are to be vetted by the Holy Synod, including background checks and examinations as is the current practice of the Holy Synod.

    19. What is the difference between the nomination and the election?

    According to the Canons of the Church and the Statute of the OCA, bishops elect bishops. The clergy and laity nominate a candidate or candidates, whose name or names are presented to the Holy Synod for canonical election. If, on the first ballot, a candidate receives a 2/3 majority, his name is submitted to the Holy Synod for consideration. If the members of the Holy Synod do not accept the nominee, they must present their reasons to the AAC. If no one receives 2/3 of the votes on the first ballot, then there is a second ballot, after which the names of those receiving the highest and second highest number of votes are submitted to the Holy Synod for consideration and canonical election. The actual election occurs after the name or names are submitted to the Holy Synod, the members of which then proceed to vote in the altar. The vote is by secret ballot, with each active diocesan bishop writing a name on a piece of paper and placing it in a large chalice.

    The Secretary of the Holy Synod then tallies the votes. The bishops approach the person with the majority of votes and ask him to accept. If he does not, the process is repeated until the candidate accepts the office. 20. Where are the procedures specified for this AAC?

    Please refer to the Delegate Handbook, which may be accessed on the OCA website at http://files.oca.org/aacs/ 2012-0912-v3-delegate-handbook-17th.pdf, for detailed instructions and procedures. There also is a dedicated button on the right side of the website’s home page that links to a wealth of information about the 17th AAC.

    21. What will happen after the election of a Metropolitan?

    Immediately following the election, the new Metropolitan will be installed into the office, if he is already a bishop. If not, then other procedures will take place. He will be vested in the church with the symbols of his office by the bishops of the Church. Everyone will have a chance to hear him speak and to receive his blessing. He will immediately take up his duties.

    He will be enthroned in Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Washington, DC in January 2013. The date and arrangements will be announced as they become available on the OCA website.

    • Theological and moral issues aside, how can a group of men with graduate degrees be this incompetent:

      14. Is Metropolitan Jonah still the Archbishop of Washington even though he resigned as Metropolitan?
      According to the Canons of the Orthodox Church, every bishop must have a See. The See of the Metropolitan is Washington, DC. The office of the Metropolitan and the See cannot be separated. Bishop Alexander is presently the locum tenens of the Diocese of Washington.

      … and Nathaniel is “Locum Tenens of the Metropolitan See” (OCA.org).

      Do they think we are all sub-human life forms incapable of appreciating coherent thought? If they are not capable of coherent thought themselves, why can they not hire someone capable of it?

      • I saw that too. +Jonah resigns as Metropolitan, so he implicitly resigned from being Archbishop of Washington (though he didn’t). They’re connected, so he did, so they say. If what they are saying is true, and the Metropolitan See in inextricably connected to the See of Washington DC, they why is Bishop Alexander not also Locum Tenens of the Metropolitan See? Or why isn’t Abp. Nathaniel not Locum Tenens of Washington?

        And they wonder why we don’t trust them and don’t believe what they say? Are they really this incompetent? Can we trust anything they do and say? And they would have us believe it is all +Jonah and George’s fault. Really, if it weren’t for those two, everything would just be fine.

        You’d better think again dear Archbishops, Bishops, and staff members at Syossett. Man up, take some responsibility for your own mistakes, which are piling up, show some humility and repentance, before it is too late (we need to see your example–you are our leaders after all–if you expect us to repent also). You are making us the laughingstock of the Orthodox world! Please stop, you are embarrassing us! And you are about to break things even more if you don’t make some changes…

    • What are you trying to pull, Stephen? Like it isn’t obvious that you hated Metropolitan Jonah and are glad he was ousted.

  19. I’d like to reply to this post-but it wouldn’t let me so I moved it here . . .

    Since I see +Jonah about twice a week, This statement below is BS! Aside from weight (like half of America) +Jonah is always clean, tidy and composed. This statement below is manipulative and purely made up with the intention of gossip, slander and to mislead.

    Furthermore, if his fellow bishops were really concerned for +Jonah’s health as now Mr. Mike S is leading us, then sign him up for Weight Watchers and a gym along with a couple other bishops! Sending him to St. Luke’s does not fit the situation.

    “M. Stankovich says:
    October 25, 2012 at 6:06 pm
    Mr. Michalopulos,

    Truly I do not intend to be rude, but I’m going to suggest that this is a path you do not want to head down with me. I would refer you to Kaplan and Sadock’s Synopsis of Psychiatry, the “resident’s bible,” in particular the detailed structure of clinical assessment. And how does it all begin? Appearance. Kempt or unkempt, groomed or not, odorous, nourished and fed, pallor and coloring, demeanor, attentiveness, eye-contact, etc., etc. etc. Bait-and-switch my butt. Please, you know to exactly to what I refer, and it is germane and pertinent to an overall state of health – physical, emotional. and spiritual – that is inseparable and most importantly – stating the obvious – symptomatic. He refused their help three separate times. This is ludicrous.”

    • M. Stankovich says

      And you are qualified to assess the “situation” and “what fits” how, colette?

      Next time you see him, ask if I might have a copy of the St. Luke’s report in complete confidence. I will, however, gladly and most sincerely apologize and repent here and anywhere else you would like if I have fabricated, slandered, or misled anything. NEVER have I even speculated as to what St. Luke’s might have determined. All I have done is state the obvious. That seems fair, no?

      The only people working their backends off to make me a “playa’,” manipulator, politician, and “sockpuppet” are the ones with an admitted agenda! Slander & mislead by stating the obvious. You crack me up, colette.

      • The obvious being that the OCA Synod clearly identified morbid obesity as the justification for their actions against Jonah in their explanatory letter?! And that you take these Spirit-filled men of God at their word?!

        The obvious being that the OCA statute clearly identifies a medical diagnosis of “overweight” as grounds for declaring the office of the metropolitan vacant?! And that the OCA statute has therefore been carefully followed in even this minor matter of removing the canonical head of the church?!

        The obvious being that St. Luke’s only provides medical treatment for diabetes and morbid obesity?! And that it is the only treatment facility in the world capable of treating “fatness” in an Orthodox manner?!

        The obvious being that you live in Washington, DC, attend St. Nicholas Cathedral regularly, and have had ample opportunity to observe first hand the disgusting characteristics of Jonah that you so gleefully describe in graphic detail?! I suppose there is a California Street in DC at any rate, so if you look cross-eyed at a map and drink a lot of hard liquor you could almost imagine yourself not being 3,000 miles away from the events you describe.

        You demand “primary sources” from others and condemn primary sources when the are provided as “tertiary”!!! By whose authority do you degrade yourself and everyone of us with your filthy and perverted fantasies about Jonah as if they are clinical and factual observations? Do you not realize fantasies do not even rise to the level of “source”? You can’t even be bothered to offer a source, tertiary or otherwise. You then claim you have “earned authority” to pontificate on this subject. After we have invested so much time and mental effort to communicate with you, after we have shown you grace in the face of your traumatic brain injury, you would see fit to repay us with this excrement from your imagination?!

        You owe us more than an apology. You owe us all, and Jonah and your God especially, true repentance of the heart. What you have done here and the zeal with which you pursue it is disgusting. It literally turns my stomach, Michael, I’m not exagerating. It degrades you and all who have to witness what you are doing.

        Nikos & Um,
        Above I mentioned the phrase, “State the obvious.” You do not need a medical degree or board certification in cardiology or bariatric medicine to merely look at the morbid obesity, the shortness of breath, and the red & perspiring face of the former Metropolitan incited by simply vesting for the liturgy to state with authority, this is not a healthy man. Charity, astonishment, and sheer sadness prevents me from posting a recent picture I received, not of an image of monastic “humility” and all the other flowery window-dressing you scatter about, but in actuality slovenliness. And it is you who are hopelessly propping up a Miss Faversham of Great Expectations, feeding the delusion that time can reverse itself, and we can all act like this never happened. The Synod “saw the obvious,” referred him to St. Luke’s with a promise that he follow their recommendation; compromised their agreement about following St. Luke’s recommendation (in my estimation a grave and terminal error); waited an undefine, “open-ended” period for him to act (a second grave error); and finally, demand he follow the original recommendation or resign. It is as simple, Nikos, as that.
        And, Um, only a fool would have attempted to “negotiate” millions of dollars from the empty pockets of the OCA if they had any other legitimate recourse. The civil courts have consistently refused to enter into matters of church statute. And should they manage to convince a court to entertain the issue, I’m thinking the first order of business would be discovery of the findings from St. Lukes and, as they say, let the games begin… As we’ve clearly seen, Orthodox Christians are models of respecting confidentiality. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) protects patients, until they foolishly make spectacles. Even a “seasoned canon lawyer” will know that.
        In conclusion, brothers – because it certainly doesn’t bear repeating from me – I am unwilling to accept that it is acceptable for any bishop to resort to deception and lying. It is not a characteristic of humility or obedience, in fact, it is the antithesis and a mockery. A bishop who would knowingly feign humility and accept responsibility illegitimately; who would promise to commit himself to a “correction” he had no intention of attempting – ultimately because he either did not believe he was responsible, or it was necessary; and who would falsely instill in the clergy and the faithful a sense of hope and confidence based on a renewed “commitment” to restoring the inter-relationships he neither intended nor endorsed is gravely troubled and needs to quietly go away.

        • M. Stankovich says


          What would you like? Luther’s declaration, “Here stand I?” The “list” you apparently believe cries out to my God has nothing to do with the former Metropolitan, nor was I referring to him. If you saw the original context – and of course the classic chapter of Drs. Kaplan & Sadock -, you would see I was referring to what might potentially strike an evaluator as significant observations within the context of a diagnostic impression. The issue is congruence: if you tell me, theoretically you are at “peace,” unconflicted, with no significant life stressors, and I observe your affective presentation to be depressed, you are lacking a normal range of emotions, and you are morbidly obese, I will reasonably conclude something is amiss. Get it? So, please, save your dramatic and gut wrenching prose for something you actually understand.

          Let me clarify an essential point here for you: it would appear that I am the only who is not rationalizing the difference between “overweight,” obese, and morbidly obese. Take a picture of the former Metropolitan to a cardiologist and ask if I am, in fact, mindlessly & shamefully mouthing “filthy and perverted fantasies,” or this is a relatively young man heading for disaster. I saw a recent picture and it is troubling. I do not need your word, the word of the Surgeon General of the US or the Dean of Harvard Medical School, and certainly not the “Spirit-Filled Synod” to assist my perception. State the obvious. Whatever his problem, I did not diagnose him; St. Luke’s did. Combine this with an objective observation. I can reach no other reasonable or prudent conclusion than the recommendation for a treatment program was obvious.

          The pure stupidity of this entire discussion is that it continually returns to me. I did not draw these conclusions. I did not fabricate them. I am not the author of reports, or conclusions, or recommendations in any shape or form. I have nothing to win or nothing to lose. If the former Metropolitan phoned me today and asked for my assistance, I would do anything possible. If he phoned me today and told me shut up, I would shut up. But I could not stop fearing for what I believe will be the inevitable and predictable outcome. My sincere hope is that should he change his mind and accept the recommendation of St. Luke’s, that the resource mercifully remains available.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Well, then who were you referring to? YOur various insinuations against His Beatitude –alike with sly insinuations–have caused many of us to think you are an Inspector Jauvert unable to forget that the original crime was only the stealing of a loaf of bread.

            • Dear Marcus Welby Stankovich,

              Jonah, overweight, obvious.
              Jonah a diabetic? No.
              Jonah, a heart condition? No.

              Could is overall health be better, sure, probably mine and yours too. But before you go making another long distance diagnosis, sorry observation, why not do the same, from afar for all the members of the synod. I have noticed that +Benjamin after getting gastric bypass a couple of years ago has gained back a significant amount of weight. That is very dangerous. It could lead him to a medical disaster. Maybe it explains some of his erratic behavior over the past couple of years, coupled with his drinking issues. But, no doctor am I, just making an objective observation.

              And what shall we say about the bishop of Pittsburgh and his heart issues, Nikon battling cancer while he still sneaks a smoke, or the dramatic weight loss of +Mark? If we are going to bring up physical health issues to suggest that this was one of the motivations of his brothers on the synod, or, in fact to bring it up at all, then the medical kettle is black for many of them too. But, no doctor am I, just making an objective observation.

              Again you speak of the recommendations of SLI. What are they? You know them? The confidential recommendations? Did they suggest he go to a fat farm? That would have been a far better recommendation from +Benjamin then demanding that +Jonah go to a drug and alcohol rehab center.

              And if you as you say, The pure stupidity of this entire discussion is that it continually returns to me then do yourself a favor, stop writing here. Might be good for your health. Or maybe we should just let +Jonah call you and tell you to stop. 😉

              Have a good day.

              PS I do believe you would do whatever you could for Jonah if he asked. So would most here would too.

              • M. Stankovich says

                Nikos, my friend, as I cannot imagine another way of stating or restating, phrasing or rephrasing, and hashing or rehashing the same opinion, I will not repeat it. Forest for the trees, eyesight to the blind, rationalization killed the cat (or something like that), whatever. If I were an expert… Oh wait, I am an expert in the Courts of NY and CA. What was I thinking! I speak to what I know. No apologies. And bless you, Nikos, for your concern as to my health! BMI = 27 (“overweight,” but not obese), but consider: Total cholesterol = 134, HDL = 72, triglyceride = 89, fasting blood glucose = 79, Hgb A1C = 5.32%, and ALT/AST (liver function, expected 2:1 ratio) = 30:17. How about that, Nikos? I fit the new NIH criteria for “overweight, but healthy.” But hang on! Blood pressure? On Thursday it was 110/72. Holy cow, Nikos! Cancer survivor and head-whooped into the middle of next week, but the numbers don’t lie. Yes, there is a lesson here, Nikos.

                So here’s my number, he’ll call me maybe (and I know it’s cra-a-a-a-z-e-e-e)

              • Nikos, for the record, Mark’s dramatic weight loss was from getting a sleeve gastrectomy (stomach stapling) done in February.

                All the crocodile tears and hand-wringing about Met. Jonah’s health do not move me in the least. The bishops do NOT care about him and never have. As for Stankovich… I’m not sure what to make of him except to say “Physician, heal thyself”.

                • Well that explains the rapid weight loss. Hope he can keep it off better than +Benjamin.

                • This is Bishop Mark you are talking about? Not Bishop Benjamin? How do you know this?

                  Bishop Mark has been telling all who inquire that he has been dieting, no sugar or bread or rice or the like. Nary a word about a stomach stapling.

                  • Yes, it’s definitely Bishop Mark. I wasn’t aware that he wasn’t telling people about it, since he made a public posting about it online several months ago. He probably is dieting like he said, since it is necessary to adopt healthy eating habits after a stomach stapling. Sorry for outing him, but in his posting he seemed rather pleased and grateful for the results.

                    I don’t fault Bishop Mark at all for getting the surgery, I am happy he was able to do something about his weight problem and that it apparently works. But people need to stop giving Met. Jonah such a hard time about his weight. What works for one person’s weight loss doesn’t always work for someone else, and suffering from morbid obesity does not automatically mean that person has a lot of choice in the matter.

                    It’s so strange to me that people like Stankovich would express such supposed concern about Met. Jonah’s cardiac health, but have no qualms at all about wounding and breaking his heart.

            • M. Stankovich says

              General Description: Appearance

              In this category, the psychiatrist describes the patient’s appearance and overall physical impression, as reflected by posture, poise, clothing, and grooming. If the patient appears particularly bizarre, the clinician may ask, “Has anyone ever commented on how you look?” “How would you describe how you look?” “Can you help me understand some of the choices you make in how you look?”

              Examples of items in the appearance category include body type, posture, poise, clothes, grooming, hair, and nails. Common terms used to describe appearance are healthy, sickly, ill at ease, poised, old looking, young looking, disheveled, childlike, and bizarre. Signs of anxiety are noted: moist hands, perspiring forehead, tense posture, wide eyes.”

              Sadock, BJ, and Sadock, VA. Chapter 7, “Clinical Examination of the Psychiatric Patient: Mental Status Examination.” In Kaplan & Sadock Synopsis of Psychiatry, 10th Edition. Lippincott-Williams & Wilkins: Philadelphia, PA. 2007. p. 232

              For Continuing Education credits, please answer the following questions:

              1) How many Metropolitans are mentioned in the above quote?
              2) How many anybodys are mentioned in the above quote?
              3) Do you understand that these criteria apply to any patient who walks through the door?

              Email your answers and $15 (we accept PayPal) to: i_am@out_of_my_league.com

              • George Michalopulos says

                well then, who are you talking about?

              • well most monastics would be classified as off-beat at best and gravely troubled at worse. I guess +Jonah and all monastics should have adopted the little goatee, neatly cut hair, a sweater when out and about with their roman collar either in our placed neatly in your breast pocket, and yes, your cross tucked in your breast pocket to give that snappy look.No need to wear a cassock out in public, that is so old world.

                Maybe if Jonah got some GQ tips before going to SLI he might have passed the Sadock and Sadock first impression test at SLI. Sorry Michael, such quotes don’t make me feel any better about mental health professionals. I rather talk to one of those disheveled, not so impeccably clad monks if I need emotional/spiritual help. I am funny that way. Shhhh, don’t tell SLI, ok?

                • M. Stankovich says


                  What is so pitiful to me, and what stays in the back of my mind, is that years ago, I sat in a classroom at SVS as a fieldwork instructor. I was futilely attempting to persuade a group of students that they were engaging in sarcastic rationalization by not acknowledging that a friend, and in one case, a family member, was in similar danger as I have stated here. As it turns out, the young man under discussion at SVS at the time is the the young man who bled out and died alone in the basement of a rectory in Alaska. For those of you who are continuously insisting that I always make it “about me,” I would note to you that being correct as to the statistical probability of that young man’s death breaks my heart & brings me to tears. But I am especially saddened for those young men who loved him; who sat through four days of inadvertent, and one day of direct confrontation. I do not believe I have seen one of them since, and my prayer is that they are adequately consoled.

                  I have made my point in every form possible, and I will not repeat it. Accept or don’t, that’s your business. In my estimation, the former Metropolitan met with competent professionals, and they reached conclusions that are reliable and accurate. I repeat that the criticism of St. Luke’s has received is unqualified, misguided, and plain foolish. My concern is that someone personally, or on behalf of someone significant to them, will rely upon the comments of the unqualified & misguided and make uninformed decisions. Don’t do it! Speak with your priest or your doctor, not the internet!

                  • Stankovich, let me get this straight. So Metropolitan Jonah must be crazy because, like all other Orthodox monastics for the past several hundred years, he wears his hair long and tries to maintain inner stillness.

                    But if he were to claim he was a woman trapped in a man’s body, while going around wearing dresses and calling himself by a woman’s name, and saying that he wanted to have his body surgically altered to resemble a female’s, you wouldn’t find anything crazy about that!

                    Let me put it this way: I will be honored when you, the bishops, Fr. Hopko, and SLI all think I’m as “gravely troubled” as Metropolitan Jonah.

                    • Helga,

                      Give Michael a break. He has had a bad week. He had to move off the crazy card to the “he’s too fat” card and now, he looks weird and disheveled thus something must be wrong. The fact that +Jonah doesn’t go around like a crazy man screaming at people and bullying them must mean something is amiss in his behavior. I mean if that isn’t the case, why would +Benjamin be held in such high regard by M.S.?

                      My bet is that M.S. will be compelled to defend his honor with at least a 5 long paragraph response. Any bets out there? 😉

                    • I really don’t believe that is what is being said here.

                      I’ve been following this conversation for weeks, across various iterations, and, basically, what I am gleaning from M.Stankovich, is that a Bishop, *any* Bishop, who is in his early-to-mid fifties, who is morbidly obese to the point that vesting becomes physically disabling; who finds it challenging to see to his own daily care, as it were; who is unabashed in bending his own monastic fasting rule; admits, publicly, to his inability to perform the duties thrust upon him, albeit subsequently repenting; and so on, might need some guidance from those closest to him.

                      It has been my experience that those who love someone are generally the most reluctant to intervene when there appears to be a problem. We may be wrong, we don’t want to offend or upset, and/or we may be leaving ourselves open to attack from the beloved or others.

                      Yet. Fully realising that within the Orthodox paradigm there are those rare Fools for Christ who belie rational modern paradigms, and monastics who are often “unkempt” and “other-worldly” (I remember how taken aback I was, when newly Orthodox, by Fr Serpahim Rose and his filthy fingernails–wasn’t cleanliness next to godliness? I have learnt much since then!). Isn’t there a discernible difference between those who are moved by The Spirit and those who are not? And can we not pray to God to lead us and guide us in this discernment process? Yet when too many little things begin to point to a singular issue, are we not to trust God in these details and do our best to offer our best to a hurting brother and/or sister, never forgetting that they, too, are in His image, struggling to be in His likeness as well?

                      How many alcoholics have we known, or abusers, or manic-depressives, or addicts, or our own children/spouses/parents/friends only to, later, regret we did nothing to help because we had this niggling feeling, but were afraid to, in love, confront? How many times has a singular voice marshalled us to action, only to be ridiculed as the Boy Crying Wolf?

                      Personally, I would prefer being wrong then right, then have to answer for doing nothing. I would rather lose a friend because I loved them too much than walk past them like the people in the parable of the Good Samaritan, watching them slowly self-destruct.

                      I’d rather not be the frog in the pot.

                      For reference: http://orthodoxwayoflife.blogspot.com/2012/10/how-to-respond-when-someone-speaks.html

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I can assure you that the picture painted of His Beatitude as being “unkempt” is far from realistic. Overweight, yeah. I don’t know about being “morbidly obese” as I don’t know what his BMI is.

                    • Nikos, like so many of the other accusations and insinuations about His Beatitude, it is quite obviously not true. Yes, I am sure it chafes them terribly that despite their best efforts to abuse and demoralize him, he has never slid into chemical dependence, sexual sin, or insanity, and remains coherent, clean, and well-mannered.

                      I have never seen him show the least amount of distress from vesting or serving, either. It must be all the Eis Pollas.

                      I’ve met OCA clergy who really do have bad manners and/or poor hygiene, who have real heart conditions and diabetes. If those things concern Stankovich and company so much, why can’t they do something about them?

                  • Dear MS,

                    For those not politically with it, or knowledgeable about the inner workings of St. Vlad’s of today, or is it St. Herman’s in this case or some specific place in Alaska?, could you please name the sad individual who bled to death? At the risk of asking to hear about yet another scandal (and now is probably justly when I will lose electricity), what and who are you talking about. Sounds horrendous. How are four seminarians or other young men involved?

                    As for the body image thing, I have had friends over time who were male and female models, a couple who were queen and king sized, all with the attitude and sure conviction they were the bees knees.

                    • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

                      I would rather have a bishop, (or even a priest) who has trouble controlling his appetite for pasta and sweets than one who has trouble controlling his appetite for booze, boys or broads.

          • Stankovich, are you for real, or is this another one of your head games? I don’t know what picture you are referring to, but he looks fine to me.

            Since when is Met. Jonah supposed to have a depressed affect and “lacking a normal range of emotions”? Where on earth did you get this idea?

            If Metropolitan Jonah appeared to have a blunted affect and/or appeared depressed to SLI, competent evaluators might have taken into account the fact that he is a monastic, and “Do not react, do not resent: Keep inner stillness” has been his motto for the past thirty years.

            If he appeared depressed, one might have looked at that betrayal and humiliation by his brother bishops, on top of a very stressful job with long hours.

            And he’s fat! My God, why didn’t someone point it out sooner?! I’m sure he never noticed. /sarcasm Did it never occur to you that his obesity may well be caused by something other than his personal choices or mental state?

            The SLI evaluation was a set-up and a fraud from the beginning, with Metropolitan Jonah’s health and reputation on the chopping block. You see a man whose weight exceeds your personal tastes, and you decide that there must be something wrong with him. A team of competent psychological evaluators would have a field day with that one!

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          Did they not get a look at Metropolitan Jonah before the elected him? I frankly doubt that he suddenly gained weight after he became Metropolitan. It is very easy for a person who does not have a weight problem to criticize those who do. Unless you have the problem, you have no idea how hard it is to lose weight and keep it off. A person with a weight problem goes on a diet, loses some weight and the gains it all back because a severe weight problem is caused by matters usually beyond the control of the person suffering from this particular curse.

  20. Alert! Alert! As the East Coast battens down the hatches in fear of and preparation for “Sandy,” i thought it would be important to point out before the Karma Council that Bishop Alexander Golitzin has always been known to his family and friends as “Sandy!”

    • Do tell us more, we need some humor to get us through the storm. Here’s my contribution on the family:

      from the wikipaedia –
      Prince Georgy Sergeyevich Golitsyn (born 1935) is a Russian physicist noted for his research on the concept of nuclear winter.

      Prince George Golitzin was the associate producer for Pollyanna and Parent Trap. His brother, Prince Alexander Golitzen was art director for hundreds of movies. He also built the sets for many an award ceremony.

      Prince George’s children are Alexander, John, Katherin and George. Father Alexander (Golitzin) (born 1948),[4] is an Orthodox priest, monk, patristic scholar and professor of theology at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. His work focuses on the discerning the roots of eastern Christian spirituality in Second Temple Judaism. John Golitzin was an opera singer, now deceased. George Golitzin received his bachelors in Mathematics from Harvard University and PhD in Mathematics from Yale university, specializing in Algebraic Number Theory. [2]

  21. The Metropolitan See of The Orthodox Church in America is currently the diocese of Washington DC. In other times, the Metropolitan See of the Orthodox Church in America has been the diocese of New York and New Jersey. The Metropolitan See of the old Metropolia was for most of its existence, the diocese of New York and New Jersey, although for short periods it was Chicago, Cleveland and the Midwest or the diocese of San Francisco and the West.
    Metropolitan Jonah was elected, as First Hierarch of the Holy Synod of The Orthodox Church in America, to the Metropolitan See of the diocese of Washington DC.
    Metropolitan Jonah, courageously or not, resigned from being the First Hierarch of the Holy Synod, and VACATED the Metropolitan See.
    Members of the Holy Synod have been most careless in publishing the results of that resignation, almost as if they did not understand the Holy Canons, or the Statute, or Orthodox Church administration! Instead of immediately, upon Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation, appointing a locum tenens for the Metropolitan See of the Orthodox Church in America, that is, Washington DC, the first announced the appointment of a locum tenens of the whole Church: “Locum Tenens of the Orthodox Church in America.’ I can think of no other Orthodox Local Church whose hierarcby would make such an obvious, uneducated boner! And rather than publicly amending their original boner, they quietly changed the title over the Locum Tenens’s photo on the OCAS web site to read “locum tenens of the Metropolitan See”, but without naming it!!!!!
    This has resulted in many naive and well-meaning people opining that (God knows how!) Metropolitan Jonah resigned ONLY from BEING Metropolitan of All America and Canada, but did NOT resign from the Metropolitan See of Washington!!!!!!
    I feel that the Holy Synod of The Orthodox Church in America COULD ask Metropolitan Jonah to withdraw his resignation, but that they would not and should not. That would be as difficult for the bishops as it would be difficult for the laity to accept and vote unanimously for a resolution to ask the Holy Synod to elect a new first hierarch without any nomination by the people.

    • Your Grace, what does it mean to you that the Synod accepted Met. Jonah’s resignation as written, with “Archbishop of Washington” under the signature?

      • I have a question: if the Metropolitan See of The Orthodox Church in America is currently the diocese of Washington DC, WHY do we have TWO people as substitutes for Metropolitan Jonah’s previous position:

        +Nathanael as Locum Tenens of the Metropolitan See
        +Alexander as Locum Tenes of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC?

      • EXACTLY, Veronica! I feel the answer is, “somebody is really slow upstairs.”

      • Helga, it demonstrates in writing that Metropolitan Jonah acknowledged that he was still Archbishop of Washington until the moment that the Holy Synod approved and blessed his resignation. It proves that it was, in fact, THE Archbishop of Washington who resigned.
        Both King Edward of England and Emperor Nicholas of Russia likewise signed as King and Emperor respectively—their last official acts as King and Emperor, just as Jonah’s resignation was AS Archbishop of Washington.
        ONLY the Archbishop of Washington can resign from being the Archbishop of Washington.

        • Your Grace, if that’s the case, why didn’t he sign it “Jonah, Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All-America and Canada”? Seems like if he were doing what you said, he would have signed it with his whole title.

    • Bruce Wm. Trakas says

      Metropolitan Jonah was elected to the Metropolitan See of the Orthodox Church in America. He can’t just resign from the Church’s primacy and not resign from the Diocese of Washington. It is a matter of record that “Bishop Jonah of Fort Worth [was elected] Archbishop of Washington and New York, Metropolitan of All America and Canada.” He should have negotiated a diocesan assignment if that was his wish because the diocesan boundaries would have to be changed through due process to enable a ruling Bishop of Washington who is not the Primate of the OCA, and then recognize another primacial see. Under the logic of the post above, to which diocesan see would the next Primate be elected? Can the “Archbishop of Athens and All Greece” resign from the primacy of the Church of Greece, but retain the archepiscopacy of the see of Athens? No. Can the “Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome; and Ecumenical Patriarch, by the Grace of God,” resign the Ecumenical Throne, but retain the archepiscopacy of Constantinople? No he cannot. Neither can the “Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia” resign the Primacy of the Church of Russia, but retrain the archepiscopacy of Moscow. It’s irrelevant what were the intentions of His Eminence. The cathedral of the diocesan see which is the primatial see, is the primacial see of the local church. In Orthodox ecclesiology, a primate or first hierarch is a member of the Synod as a bishop of a diocese of the church. He doesn’t sit in the Synod only as a primate; he is the “First among them,” among the diocesan bishops, meaning he is one of THEM, “first among them.”

      • George Michalopulos says

        It’s more complicated than that Bruce. For one thing, the OCA has little canonical rigor to it. Therefore it’s easy to envision how the See of Washington is not necessarily coterminous with the Primatial See. That’s why during the life of the Metropolia Sitka, then San Francisco, then New York were viewed as primatial sees even though Washington, DC existed (admittedly there was no bishop there).

        It’s like when the Diocese of Constantinople was elevated to patriarchal status, its bishop had been a suffragan of the Archbishop of Herakleia. Although C’pole now outranked Herakleia in primacy, the patriarchate continued to receive his consecration from his former superior.

    • Bruce, Good Bishop, Carl, et al., please forgive my exasperated tone. I mean no personal disrespect, but!

      The current Metropolitan See is Detroit (follow this link, scroll down to “The Holy Synod” and click on “The Metropolitan” if you doubt me). Admittedly this is a temporary arrangement, but it is the legal reality according to the supreme canonical authority of the OCA. The OCA Statute calls for the synod to elect a Locum Tenens Metropolitan immediately after voting to declare the office vacant, and the synod elected Nathaniel, Archbishop of Detroit (see OCA Statute, Article 4, Section 4 at the link below).

      Also, does anyone in your church, anyone at all (other than possibly Jonah), ever read the rules that are supposed to govern you? The following is from the OCA Statute. It is available for all to read online (link here):

      Article IV The Metropolitan

      Section 1 The Metropolitan Among the bishops of the Church, the Metropolitan enjoys primacy, being the first among equals. He is the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and is the diocesan bishop of one of the dioceses of the Church and bears the title, “Metropolitan of All-America and Canada.” He supervises the internal and external welfare of the Church and represents it in its relations with other Orthodox Churches, religious organizations, and secular authorities. The Metropolitan’s name is mentioned during liturgical services by the other bishops of the Church. The Metropolitan mentions the names of the other heads of autocephalous Orthodox Churches.

      The relevant definition there, for those who can’t be bothered to read the whole thing is: “He is the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and is the diocesan bishop of one of the dioceses of the Church and bears the title, “Metropolitan of All-America and Canada.””

      This current loosey goosey approach to church rules is exactly what allowed gay activists to take over the Episcopal Church. Trust me, they could never have done it within the framework of the constitution and canons. They had to break the law numerous times to get there. Sadly, even those who were strong on theology were not willing to enforce the laws of the church. I urge you not to repeat that mistake.

      I do not know Jonah personally, as you do, but I suspect that he, at least, did read the statute before signing a letter offering his resignation from the position of Metropolitan. I will admit that if I was king of the OCA, I would assign the primacy to a specific see (and I’d make it Washington, DC, with the plan being for Canada to have its own autocephalous church and its own metropolitan some day), as this makes sense to me, but this is not how the OCA is set up — it is not what the statute calls for — nor is it required by any Orthodox canon that is binding on the OCA. If you doubt me, go to any OCA parish on Sunday and see who they commemorate as Metropolitan … and report back if it is not the Archbishop of Detroit.

      • Also, just to be clear, there is no “Metropolitan See” defined in the OCA Statute. So legally, there is no Metropolitn See, not in the sense that it can exist independently from the actual cathedral seat of the Metropolitan (which is what Metropolitan See means in English). Search the statute, you will not find any reference to or definition of a Metropolitan See, not even a hint of it. This is something the synod made up when they got lost in their own smoke and mirrors. There is no provision in the statute for electing a Locum Tenens Bishop of the Metropolitan See, only for electing a Locum Tenens Metropolitan. Read the OCA Statute people. It is not that long. There is a section where the office of Metropolitan is defined explicitly. Never once does it associate the office with a particular diocese. On the contrary, the definition makes it clear that the metropolitan can be the diocesan bishop of any diocese in the OCA. Though he must be one of the diocesan bishops while he is in office, he may be the bishop of any diocese. The location of his cathedral seat may be meaningfully referred to as the Metropolitan See, but only because it is in fact the cathedral seat or see of the Metropolitan. There is no invisible chair floating around over Kansas somewhere waiting to be spiritually sat upon by the primate. Nathaniel has been elected Locum Tenens Metropolitan and his actual seat, where his cathedral is, is in Detroit. If “Metropolitan See” has any meaning in the OCA, then Detroit is the Metropilitan See. The only other alternative is that the term has no meaning … unless, of course, Jonah is still Metropolitan (but that brings up a seperate set of issues).

        NB: Seat in Latin is “sedes” –> “episcopal see”, in Greek it is “kathedra” –> “bishop’s cathedral”.

      • lexcaritas says

        Excatly, Um; and ++JONAH did NOT tender his resignation as Archbishop of Washington DC; hence, no locum tenens for that Diocese should have been appointed until he was given the requested alternative episcopal assignment.

        You are, by the way, exactly right about the capture and destruction of the Episcopal Church–which began with the House of Bishops, the national administration, and the seminaries, and then infected the priests, and only lastly the laity. I witnessed it first-hand for some 30 years–though it began before my time and has continued apace since my happy departure. Little had I dreamed that an organ of the Orthodox Church might likewise succumb. Let us pray, that the disease is not too far advanced and that our Lord will deign to provide the cure–and we to take it,willingly, when it is adminstered.


      • Bruce Wm. Trakas says

        “Um,” Now that I’ve read the statute, I see that you’re right.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        The point is that it was +Jonah who chose Washington DC as his Metropolitan See. Ergo, when he resigned as Metropolitan, he also resigned as Archbishop of Washington. Of course, as His Grace has pointed out, until the Holy Synod accepted his resignation, he was the Archbishop of Washington. Helga asks elsewhere why he did not also add “Metropolitan of All America and Canada” to his resignation signature block. The possibilities are:

        1. He made a mistake.
        2. He did not think it was important as it would be redundant.
        3. He usually signed his letters that way.
        4. He purposefully meant not to resign from his Metropolitan See.

        My feeling is that if he was playing games with the Holy Synod and intended to keep his Archdiocese of Washington, shame on him!

    • Dear Vladika Tikhon,

      You say

      I feel that the Holy Synod of The Orthodox Church in America COULD ask Metropolitan Jonah to withdraw his resignation, but that they would not and should not. That would be as difficult for the bishops as it would be difficult for the laity to accept and vote unanimously for a resolution to ask the Holy Synod to elect a new first hierarch without any nomination by the people.

      What’s a little difficulty and humility among Orthodox Christians? Are we not taught to ask forgiveness? Doesn’t brotherly love require a tad of humility? Which reminds me, has anyone ever written a good essay on the protocols for Forgiveness Sunday? For asking forgiveness on other occasions in private and in public. I very much enjoyed writing some of the essays you wrote when you were an active bishop. Are you still wrting those essays?

    • Bruce Wm. Trakas says

      Your Grace Bishop Tikhon,

      With due respect, I do not understand the reference to the multiplicity of Metropolitan Sees of the OCA/Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Metropolia that you listed. I have read that Metropolitan Theophilos maintained his see in San Francisco. However, who was a Metropolitan and a diocesan hierarch of Chicago, and which Metropolitan was a diocesan hierarch of Cleveland? Metropolitan Leonty had been the Archbishop of Chicago prior to his election to the Metropolitan See, but he accepted his election as “Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All America and Canada,” and moved to New York, pursuant to his elevation.

      • Bruce,
        I understood that Archbishop Leonty, when elected First Hierarch was Bishop of Chicago and Cleveland. Perhaps I’m wrong, and it was Archbishop John (Garklavs) who added Cleveland to his title? At any rate, I believe you’ll find that until Metropolitan Leonty was enthroned in New York, for at least a month, that is, his title was recorded as Leonty, Archbishop of Chicago and Metropolitan of All America and Canada until his enthonement in the New York Procathedral. On my second visit to Syosset, now as a Bishop, i did some research in the archives, including all issues of the Russian American Orthodox Messenger, One Church, etc., etc. That’s where, I believe, I came across that nomenclature.

        • Bruce Wm. Trakas says

          Interesting, Your Grace; I never heard that before. Thank you for the information and reply.

        • Monk James says

          Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says (October 31, 2012 at 10:27 pm):
          I understood that Archbishop Leonty, when elected First Hierarch was Bishop of Chicago and Cleveland. Perhaps I’m wrong, and it was Archbishop John (Garklavs) who added Cleveland to his title? At any rate, I believe you’ll find that until Metropolitan Leonty was enthroned in New York, for at least a month, that is, his title was recorded as Leonty, Archbishop of Chicago and Metropolitan of All America and Canada until his enthonement in the New York Procathedral. On my second visit to Syosset, now as a Bishop, i did some research in the archives, including all issues of the Russian American Orthodox Messenger, One Church, etc., etc. That’s where, I believe, I came across that nomenclature.


          Abp John Garklavs’s title was ‘Chicago and Minneapolis’ but not by choice. He used to poke fun at this and ask in jest ‘What am I, a bigamist?’

          He believed deeply in the ancient concept of the bishop’s being wed to his eparchy, and he took it very seriously, prayerfully and practically, that he was responsible for the salvation of every one of the faithful in his eparchy.

          From Abp John, directly and indirectly, I learned almost everything worth knowing about The Church. At the same time as I miss him, I can still hear his wise counsel and I still ask his intercession.

          • Monk James, in winter 1960-61, I visited the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Chicago at Vigil and at DivineLiturgy, I was travelling home from Texas to Detroit on leave before taking up my assignment at Goose AB , Labrador. I was invited up to Archbishop John’s apartments after the Vigil for a little supper. There it was explained to me, MonkJames, that AS Archbishop of Detroit and CLEVELAND, Archbishop John travelled once a month to serve at St. Theodosius Cathedral in Cleveland.
            Monk James! Archbishop John (Garklavs), Father Hilary Madison, and that diocese existed long before you ever showed up. Their history did not begin with your appearance. I enjoyed conversing in German with Archbishop John–he told me how he smoked so heavily because his first assignment after ordination by Metropolitan Sergii (Voskressensky) Exarch of the Baltic, was as chaplain to a fishing fleet operating out of Riga. He wanted to be welcomed as an equal by the fishermen and they all smoked, so he did. He told me of his time in the camps in Germany, his adventures with the Tikhvin Icon,of arriving in Montreal and beholding, for the first time in his life, a Church (the Greek Church in Montreal) with an organ in it. six years later, a student at SVS, I was pleased to get letters from him. Once he sent me copy of the newly published German prayerbook from Munich. He said that he had been the one that initiated that project when he was in Germany, therefore, they had sent him several complimentary copies. I think, Monk James, that i knew him VERY well. If you’ve made some research into the OCA ARchives and find that he was NOT at one time the Bishop of Chicago and Cleveland, then you might be justiified in your. By the way, he never mentioned you to me…when did you meet him? Another person who knew him VERY well was Raphael (Ronnie) Banasz.

            • DC Indexman says

              It has been announced that Bishop Mark will concelebrate a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy this coming Sunday at St. Nicholas Cathedral in D.C. This will be his second appearance there in just three weeks time. Is this a sign of his rising stature or his own effort?

              • DC Indexman,

                Isn’t it interesting that +Mark never showed up once in DC when +Jonah was his bishop, but now he is frequenting St. Nicholas Cathedral on a regular basis? I think you all can get a glimpse into the man by this. Or am I missing something?