Is Stokoe Credible Anymore?

The concern by Stokoe’s partisans, that he has been compromised, is rather late in coming. After all, many of us suspected for a long time that he was heavily biased. Intimations of this started leaking into the blogosphere about two years ago, but I handwaved them away simply because I liked the quality of his writing and respected the breadth of his knowledge. In fact, I’ve stated more than once in the last three weeks that I was a “big fan” of his.

Now that’s all come crashing down in flames.

How can we put this in the most delicate but simplest terms? How about this: we now know from the original leaked e-mail that the purveyor of OCAnews was actually a manipulator of the news rather than an honest reporter of it.

Since then, the perception has only grown. Recently, I published on my blog a brazen statement that Stokoe made in which he admitted that he can control events in Syosset, the Metropolitan Council, and even on the Holy Synod. He could do this because of his knowledge of certain facts and his ability to lob journalistic bombshells via his highly read blog.

Lest anybody think I’m making this up, let me quote you his own words:

(Editor’s note: Well, the issue was not really excommunication, for not even +Philip could give a canonical cause for that. His goal was to have me removed from the Metropolitan Council, and +Jonah promised to deliver the threat. He did. As did others from Syosset. My answer to them was “Say, didn’t Mt. Herman triy to remove Gregg Nescott? How’d that working out for you? I also pointed out that Mark Stokoe on the MC bound by the rules of Executive Session was more advantageous for their desire for less transparency, than Mark Stokoe not on the MC, free to publish absolutely anything he could get someone to talk about.” That ended those discussions immediately. So while no •crickets•, I do hear •yawning•.) (Parenthesis in original.) Source: http://ocanews.org/serendipity/index.php?/archives/599-+Jonah-Placed-on-Leave-By-Synod.html#c119885

In other words, what he told +Herman and the others on the MC was: do you want me on the inside pissing out or on the outside pissing in?

Clearly, his own words convict him. And this to me is rather sad, for all parties concerned –Stokoe included.

About GShep

Comments

  1. George, have you seen this? http://ocanews.org/serendipity/index.php?/archives/599-+Jonah-Placed-on-Leave-By-Synod.html#c119755

    This is the comment where he published the infamous email. For me this is important on two fronts:

    1: It authenticates the email. Stokoe admits to writing it. So there is no question of forgery or of passing between too many hands.

    2: He explicitly interprets himself as saying “the ‘Metropolitan must be removed'”, and describes this as the opinion of himself and the “Appalled Four”.

    Stokoe also claims in his commentary that “Obviously, [the Synod] did not listen to me because nothing I suggested was done. So much for my being involved in ‘those bringing these actions about’ ….” What suggestions is he talking about? I read the unredacted version at OCATruth and can’t figure out exactly what he means, but he does say “the emerging consensus of the appalled four, seems to be that Jonah should be placed on a Leave of Absence immediately”, which is his impression of what actually happened, and goes on to say that the plan was that he would be “left there while an Administrator takes over in the interim until after the AAC”.

    • George Michalopulos says

      God bless you Helga! I’m glad you’re on our side!

      • Nicole Troon says

        Dear Mr. M:

        I am very sad to see you a part of the “side” mentality and especially to see you adopting the “means justify the ends” stance of the anonymous OCA Truth folks.

        Neither of y’all are following the precepts I learned from the soul of the DOS, Vladika Dmitri, who has only looked anguish in my presence over the disrespect shown by one person for another. Nor from my catechizing priest Fr John Anderson at St. Seraphim’s when I joined, nor any of the revered Elders or Christ Himself in responding to what you perceive of as a threat to Met. Jonah. When Fr John for example was being discredited in a sly playground manner by another observed by me personally on numerous occasions and I was distressed, he told me I could support him positively but that Orthodox never ever speak harmfully about another in public unless forced to do to protect someone and then hopefully that would be by someone of a higher spiritual paygrade, a la St. Nicholas and a heretic. Any rebukes also would ideally occur in private (as perhaps the Synod was attempting?). I have wondered if Fr Hopko’s public comment about Fr Joseph came after private attempts were made. I read Fr Hopko’s maxims most days and don’t believe he would violate them without cause to protect the innocent. Certainly I would leave that sort of commentary to someone of his spiritual calibre with knowledge of the persons involved over time and not presume as a layperson to do the same thing.

        In addition we also have the fine example of Fr David Moretti now at SSOC who responded to his Antiochian Metropolitan’s discipline with humility and urged his followers to do the same. I have wondered if the “OCA Truth” (a curiously nonhumble name) folks are anonymous so they won’t have to tell their confessors who they are and what they are doing. I hope their confessors aren’t encouraging them to pursue their path of raising suspicions and harming many reputations (thus far the Synod, Metropolitan Council, Syosset have been smeared at one time or another).

        For example, the OCAT slant and incomplete reading given to Fr Ted Bobosh’s 2008 blog on homosexuality gave entirely the wrong impression and cast doubt on his reputation. (Might that be because as head of the M.C. Ethics committee he also may have voted against the move to DC? Is it because he brought that up on his blog just after Met. Jonah invited the homosexuality-approving Rowan Williams to be honored at St. Vlads and was preparing to move to DC despite the MC vote? Or is it simply to do anything to discredit Mark Stokoe and the M.C.?) Blessedly some time later a commenter was able to redirect the folks to Fr Ted’s actual comment in reply to Fr Early’s question as well as to the link to the most scathing article about the ills of homosexuality I have ever seen. No one in favor of homosexuality as a lifestyle or choice would post such an indictment of the life. But the damage was done after the delay. And usually there is no apology, just a happy reference to the blogger’s “learning curve” instead of abject apology and sorrow for any wrong information spread. There seems to be no Orthodox remorse anywhere in these two blogs. In addition you have mentioned that you don’t know the bloggers at OCAT but trust their “sources”. Are their sources and yours clergy who are feeding you things? If so, and if you don’t reveal who they are, we cannot wonder about their own agendas or yours with the same freedom you have knowing Mark Stokoe. More on agendas in a minute because you may be surprised by mine given the us/them nature of your blogging.

        I also do not understand at all why the Metropolitan himself has not behaved in the Orthodox manner that both Fr John and Fr David have, why he has not calmed folks and pleaded with, if not ordered, OCA Truthers and you yourself or your priest Fr Arrington if you are still in Tulsa to stand down. Or if he has, why that has not been publicizied and heeded. Because that is what true leaders do. They do not let their followers compromise their own souls by unOrthodox behaviors toward others to protect their own positions or inflame situations to promote their own agendas. Politicians do, some of them politicians with radically different personal beliefs than the Manhattan Declaration by the way. In the Garden of Gethsemane Christ stopped Peter from harming the soldier and healed the soldier’s ear, for both their sakes. The Monks of Mt Athos pour healing balm on situations by refraining from comment whenever possible; whenever they absolutely must disagree (as they did so beautifully about the Balamaand agreement in the early 1990’s), they sorrowfully and respectfully do so with no personalization. I do not agree with those in the DOS or anywhere dismantling persons to protect another person (Met. Jonah) or his agenda. You do not represent me and I do not want to join any in the DOS or Washington who wish to band together via such means.

        Re agenda, I will give my “credentials” so you and the anonymous “Committee” behind OCAT can vet me and not use the “discredit by difference” approach (rather than respecting differences) now apparent on these sites. I do not use my last name for work purposes (googling is powerfully effective these days) but everyone at St. Seraphim’s and now in leadership at St. Nicholas in DC knows who I am and if they are respectful will honor that here. I signed the Manhattan Declaration, pray in front of an abortion clinic weekly with a sign giving pregnancy center info to the desperate girls going in (hoping the Metropolitan will encourage that hands on behavior by his people), work actively against Euthanasia, believe strongly in heterosexual monogamy and chastity outside of heterosexual marriage (and inside it during fasting periods a la the wonderful Troy Palomalu). I happen to be heterosexual and I think heterosexual chastity is as much of a real struggle as homosexual chastity and think both can and should be done, with effort and help from God, at all levels of the laity and clergy, ideally. I would be surprised if the slyly maligned Fr Ted Bobosh doesn’t think that also from other remarks he has made on his blog but not quoted on your sites. I also believe my priest in Confession is my kind advocate and knows how much I fail and does not want to humiliate me by saying how I fail to others, an example of how I understood we are to be in the Orthodox Church. Why do you presume to know anything about the conversations between Mr. Stokoe and Fr Bobosh? I haven’t conquered anger or gluttony yet and my priest isn’t encouraging it but knows the Eucharist will help me heal. So when you see me not at fighting weight yet (sigh), does that mean Fr. Seraphim encourages my overeating? No. He is trying to help me heal from all sorts of things, God being our helper. Why do you presume that is not the case between Mr. Stokoe and Fr Bobosh?

        Regarding homosexuality, which seems to be used as a weapon for political ends in these two blogs, I understand Rod Dreher’s concerns about homosexuality in the priesthood of the Catholic Church because I lived through it too quite wretchedly and I fear for that here. However, I never had his idealistic expectation and thus profound disillusionment that something like this “could happen”. I assume it will happen because predatory folks like power and go for it. That is why we need checks and balances and conciliarity and why anyone who disposes of those principles concerns me, Metropolitan or otherwise. I am older than he too and further removed from my childhood Protestant perfectionism. I joined the Orthodox Church because of its teachings and the profound respect shown by the Orthodox to persons made in the image of Christ, not out of homophobia or out of fear of anything except hell and my own sinful nature. OCAT and your site or Rod’s casual references to other bloggers with a label simply don’t resonate with respecting the image of Christ in the other person. Instead they remind me of political secular bloggers. In addition, just because someone has a problem doesn’t mean that is why they say or do what they do. I don’t try to change church policy on gluttony or sloth because I suffer from them. They do not define me or rule my mind all the time, especially with God’s help in overcoming them. I struggle with them as may others struggle with their sins. You judge without knowing and use that judgment to promote your agenda. Gosh! So the arguments here again seem like attacking personality or foibles instead of discussing issues.

        I want to thank commenters Chris Banescu and Rebecca Matovic and some other very rational commenters who keep sticking to facts and expressing concerns about policies, decisions, actions, behaviors and bringing the inflammatory level down. You pre frontal cortex folks reassure me about the Orthodox faith in living action. You are speaking the truth in love not gleeful hate nor playground fingerpointing, nor are you silent and cowardly. I pray Mr. M. that someday I can say that about this site and others. Not yet sadly.

        I also pray that those inflamed to behave this way will wonder about the persons inflaming them. Inflammatory material is prohibited in the Courtroom because our brains’ amygdalas are easily inflamed and take over the blood supply even, preventing it from being available to the prefrontal cortex for careful thought and planning. Who is inflaming you and OCAT? Why if they are Orthodox truly would they do it? The Orthodox are all about calming the passions. They are about being straightforward not charming or flattering or inflaming. Try to think please who is flattering you and encouraging you to discredit someone else? Is this a “no respecter of persons” and “healing” approach? Why do they take this approach when they could speak about facts like Mr. Banescu?

        I pray that Met. Jonah will show true servant leadership by asking folks to stand down from discrediting others especially without facts just to rally to him and “save his job.” The people I respect in life don’t do that. They act out of principle and take their lumps. And they do what they say they will do. And they work with others and listen to others. May the Metropolitan simply do this and see what happens. I am having trust issues with him because of actions on his part not because of his professed agenda, which is 100% identical to my own.

        All very tough during Lent. I do not presume to call you “George” because we are not personal friends and have not even met. I hope we will and I hope we will all evolve with God’s help into the Chris Banescu and the Fr Johns and Davids. And I pray I can find an Orthodox blog which believes in the Manhattan Declaration but also believes that both the means and the ends are important.

        Thank you and may all our Lents be enlightening. Please pray for me that my passions will be calmed and my Lent be focused and that I will become more Banescu-like in my commenting some fine day.

        • Nicole Troon says

          Oops, too early. Meant “ends justify the means” of course….

          • Nicole Troon says

            And also my late night (at 5:00 am here actually), I am not implying anything about Fr Arrington who came out of St. Seraphim’s, just wondering if he is your priest and you are a prime identifiable blogger, why Met. Jonah as a true leader would not have asked him to speak to you about the means used, or just generally sent out a pastoral letter to all parish priests asking that this sort of OCAT approach cease and desist. Also because you reference unnamed sources and OCAT seems St. Seraphim-based, it leads one to wonder who the “sources” are. It would be nice if they would speak for themselves but perhaps job protection enters in. Don’t know but “anonymous” certainly doesn’t compute with being Orthodox either. It’s a way of hurting others publicly while protecting oneself privately in my humble opinion.

            • lexcaritas says

              Beloved in Christ Nicole, I share some of your concerns, which I think are that Christ and our love for every person made in His image is easily lost in the heat of battle. However, it does seem to me that in your long post your modern sense of compassion is clouding your thinking or leading you to a bias that is not fair and hence will fall short of the peacemaking you desire. OCA Truth has made mistakes. I have told them so. But it is a defensive action created to defend a man they know and love as Bishop and Metropolitan from unfair jouranalistic slurs emanating from Dayton, OH. Anyone who has read OCA News over the past few years as I have ought to sense the glee–not sorrow–with which scandal is sought out and broadcast there and people made in the image of God, as you point out, are ridiculed, as “goind rogue,” for example. Of course, in the modern world, this kind of “jounalism” is thought to be cute and it “sells,” doesn’t it.

              I can understand your suggestion that Jonah (but wait he’s on leave of absense and is no longer locum tenens of Dallas and the South, so maybe it should be ++Nikon) ought to talk with George’s pastor and have him remonstrate with George to “cease and desist.” But where is the even-handed call from you, then, for our brother Mark Stokoe’s bishop to tell Fr. Ted as his pastor to do the same thing with him–tell him to stop? Not a word from you on that, why I wonder?

              I share also your respect for Fr. Tom, whose books I have read and whom I had the pleasure of meeting when he spoke here sometime back. Unlike you, however, I was appalled at his letter and cannot put it down, as you say, to an attempt to defend the innocent. The first paragraph was an admirable call for us to honor, trust and support the Synod, the central adminstraton and the Metropolitan Council. Fine and good. But did Fr. Thomas’ mouth begin to run away with him? He had to encourage us to honor, trust and support Mark Stokoe. Why, when the tone of his reporting is not particularly Christian and we are learning more and more about his biases, his own view of the power he wields and its source and his choice of life–if not yet his own past and the reasons for his dismissal from different kinds of service in the Church.

              Still, I would not have been upset had Fr. Hopko stopped there, but he did not. His third paragraph was, in my opinion, outrageous as a public attack on a fellow priest whom I have known to be a good man and an excellent pastor for the last several years at least. In purely legal terms, Fr. Hoko’s admonition for none of us to honor, trust or support Fr. Joseph or give credence to anything he says based on his past is tantamount to libel. By your own standards, it was not Christlike but an attack on another person made in His image. A person who had simply written his own impassioned plea for people to stand with Jonah because he was himself under attack–and based on what we now know from authenticated emails–he was and is.

              Finally, it is not right, prudent or wise to equate in words or thought the fact that human beings are created male and female–i.e. the race is heterosexual with the newly coined category of homosexuality or same sex attraction and suggest or pretend the the latter is just as normal as the first. Such labels are to be avoided, because they already dictate the outcome of one’s thinking. The point is same sex attraction is itself disordered and a deviation from the pattern in which God has made Man. In all fairness, ,you do seem willing to group same sex attraction with gluttony and sloth (two of the traditioinal capital sins that lead to death and which are no doubalso rampant in our culture). Like you, I would presume that these are private matters to be addressed by the one afflicted by them and his confessor and spiritual father. However, we are our brothers keepers and one thing we are taught is to correct our brother who sins and restore him. Furthermore, private sins can become public matters especially when they are indulged by those in leadership (i.e. deeper levels of servanthood) and when, rather than striving privately through prayers and the Holy Mysteries to replace such sins by beauty, truth, goodness and the opposing virtue, they publicly try to “sancitfy” them and transmute them into acceptable lifestyles. In the man in Dayton’s case, his relationship with his life partner, who is also a man, is apparently wellknown through out their diocese and at St. Vlad’s. This itself is scandalous. I would not have lent such rumours credence but for the fact that then his own mother’s obituary last May listed her as survived by two daughters, one sone and three sons-in-law. It seems to be a fair inference that the family considers Mr. Stokhoe’s partner to be his husband. This is not the way of repentance, but the way of attempting to call what is evil good and it leads to calling what is good evil as prophet Isaiah warned ancient Isreal. This explains for me the odd criticism of ++Jonah’s signing on the Manhattan Declaration and the ferocity of the opposition against him which is, frankly, beyond the pale and everyonhe who reads what the editor of OCA News says should sense this since his writing is tinged with disdain, pride and sort of self-satisfied spite and a disdain for authority other than his. My impression at least, and I think it’s discerning. As I have asked before, where is the mention of Christ and the focus on His glory at OCA News. Not only is it not there in the editor’s own writing and snide comments, just look at the vitriol that it elicits in the Comments, especially from those who appear to be in his “camp.” The whole thing appalls me, and I share your fear that it could seep over into OCA Truth, Monomkhos, and those on that “side.”

              One last point, I have urged OCA truth and M to correct their reading of Fr. Ted’s two-year old blog, which he explained in his comments. However, I sense they are right in the apprehensions that Fr.’s willingness to in some way put same sex attraction on the same footing with opposite sex attraction. They are not the same: the one is naturally disordered and a product of a sinful world and the other is naturally ordered even if it is not always properly sanctified. As for his parishionners, who serve in leadership at the parish level and on the MC, we do not know or need to know whether they are living chastely with each other, but what we do know and cannot accept without undermining Christian Marriage as an icon of the relationship between Christ and His Church is that they are living together in a relationship which of their family’s holds out to be equivalent to marriage. It is not given out that they are best friends, blood brothers, but in some sense married–but this is an estate reserved for a man and woman joined together by Christ until death them do part for the purpose of restoring the communion between man and woman and the procreation of children created in the image of God and reared in the admonition and fear of the Lord to grow up into the image of Christ Who made them: to Him be all honor and glory in the Church, forever. Amen.

              lexcaritas

              • Lexcaritas, excellent summation. I thank you for showing us the “higher road” which my discussion about “Second Base, etc.” makes it all but impossible for us to see, let along get on.

                That’s the sad thing isn’t it? We are asked to believe that Fr Ted has privately admonisthed the men in question to live chastely and that we can’t make judgments on a privately pastoral matter. Yet I know from my own experience that whenever a man is prone to certain behaviors, his pastor/counsellor/therapist tells him to remove himself from the temptation. This means that alcoholics are forbidden from going to bars and whenever they are tempted, they call their sponsor who walks them away from the temptation. Likewise, married men who fall in love with another woman are admonished to stop seeing that woman immediately. Etc.

                What then are we to make of Fr Ted’s “counsel” in this regard? Though his blog was sophisticated and nuanced, when the rubber hit the road he decided to look the other way regarding the men in question and even put them in positions of authority.

                Anyway you cut it, it doesn’t pass the smell test.

        • Nicole,

          you’ve given us a lot to think on and I appreciate your thoughtfulness. Having said that, I must tell you that I believe you are taking an unrealistically high-minded approach to this entire matter. In other words, you have accepted the criterion of “allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good.” And btw, I am neither perfect nor good, but I do want to get to the bottom of this and I cannot in good conscience stand aside while a good man is being slandered and our Church being put through turmoil. Anyway you cut that Nicole, what I just described in the above sentence is evil.

          Ok, so let’s go:

          1. I am on the side of the Church, it’s teaching and it’s good order. Everything I’ve stated has indicated that. As you no doubt know, I’ve praised Stokoe in the past. However thanks to his own words, we now know that he is extremely biased and believes that he can manipulate “news” to his liking.

          2. Therefore, it is not I who believes that the “ends justify the means.” I’m not manipulating the news, just revealing things as they come and commenting on them. Neither is OCATruth for that matter. They’ve taken +Jonah to task on several occasions. So for you to believe that about either of us at this point would be unfair on your part. If on the other hand you feel that Stokoe is correct in his methods (which by necessity must color his narrative), then I would ask you to please defend his actions and reportage. Otherwise, no one can discredit mine or OCAtruth’s since at least both of us have taken great pains to look at the facts and document the assertions.

          3. Your concern about the “privacy” of “rebukes” stands on its own. Why has Stokoe been publishing like mad then over the years, why have bishops been leaking to him, and most egregiously, why did Hopko not take your advice? Prudentially, this was a massive mistake on his part as he has now been shown to be discredited and has lost tremendous moral authority –but that’s another matter. Ask yourself this: would your priest (the very fine man Fr John Anderson) have issued such an open letter in which he called a man all but crazy and defended another who is clearly biased as being completely objective? I rather doubt it.

          4. The anonymity of the bloggers who constitute OCATruth is ultimately neither here nor there. Are their words true? (It seems at present that almost all of Fr Joseph Fester’s points from his letter 3 weeks ago have been confirmed, and then some.) If anonymity is a scandal to you, then you must ask Stokoe to publish his sources. What’s good for the goose is sauce for the gander, as they say. Let me push this further: now that we know that Stokoe has massaged the news in the past, how can we for certan know that anything he’s written in the past is accurate?

          5. Your concern about the supposed “OCAT slant” regarding the “incomplete reading given to Fr Ted Bobosh’s” comments on homosexuality is too clever by half. The first reading was scandalous. The second reading only less so. All subsequent readings have left all of us in the muck and mire wondering about what constitutes “Second Base” and whether that’s as sinful as “Making a Home Run.” I’d rather not draw you a picture, but I think you get my drift. As for myself, I don’t even know how Bobosh voted about the move to DC; at this point, even if he came out for +Jonah with both guns blazing it doesn’t matter to me, the scandal of his Talmudic analysis as well as his pastoral “discernment” is nothing less than that –a scandal. You can ony put so much lipstick on a pig, it will always be a pig.

          6. Nobody is “feeding me things.” I can’t say the same things about OCAT but they can speak for themselves. Their facts so far have held up remarkably well. As for me, I am just looking at the whole thing critically. What tipped me off to the fact that there was a war going on between +Jonah and his brother bishops was certain unsettling statements made by Stokoe in his blog of 3 weeks ago. I reasoned them out on my own and you can read them for yourself. (Just so you know, I practice community pharmacy which has a significant forensic aspect to it. I can’t simply take what 95% of people tell me on face value. Had I done so, I’d be writing to you from prison right now. I don’t have the luxury of being as high-minded as others.)

          7. I must take issue with you about my pastor. You have clearly overstepped significant bounds here, bordering on illogic and bad faith. Metropolitan +Jonah is bishop of Washington, not the bishop of Dallas, therfore in a truly “conciliar” church (which is supposedly what we all want) he has no authority over my pastor. Let us press this further: your concern for “calming” the situation is not well-thought-out on your part. Do you want +Jonah to shut down OCAT? OK, how would you feel if he shut down OCAN? Would this pass your criteria? If not, why not?

          8. Regarding OCAT and OCAN, don’t you believe in freedom of expression? How would it look to those who are against +Jonah if he did this “for the good of the Church”?

          9. As for the Metropolitan “behaving in an Orthodox manner,” can you tell me what that is? He has been in his diocese every day attending one of the lenten services. I wish I could say that about myself. Let us call a spade a spade: Hopko suggested to the Holy Synod that +Jonah be consigned to a funny farm somewhere in New Mexico. This was part of a plan to use this as a means to get rid of him. No, I’m not making this up, Stokoe spelled this out in detail. This “concern” for the Metropolitan’s health is obvious to a blind man at least now that Stokoe’s wishes have become known.

          10. Do your concerns about +Jonah’s “followers” having somehow compromised “their own souls by unOrthodox behaviors” extend to those who wish to remove +Jonah? If not, why not?

          11. Nicole, I can tell by your credentials that you are a finer person than me. God bless you for it. I will not “vet your credentials” as this is most spiritually unprofitable. Nor have I “vetted” Stokoe’s for that matter. Instead I have let your words (and his) speak for themselves and I have given them due consideration, nothing more.

          I pray that you have a blessed Lent.

          • Nicole Troon says

            Dear Mr. M:

            Thank you for your response.

            Regarding point #7, my actual phrase was that he address and correct the OCA Truth approach not shut down the site itself, an approach which has been to throw out self-described “suspicions”, many of which smear or discredit individuals with what seems a nonOrthodox approach, since certainly suspicions are not truth. Correcting an individual privately is the first step or in a parish newsletter, etc. That is why I asked if that had been done.

            There are also many interpretations of events from within a room but most especially from someone else’s description, as are the times we have all had to bear false accusations to protect other peoples or issues. So one email does not an entire story make contrary to many of the posters. For example, Mr. Stokoe’s assessment of the other 4 may or may not be accurate at all. We would need to hear from them. I have been misinterpreted according to someone else’s wishes far too often to accept that at face value. Glad to hear from the bishops themselves of course.

            You are of course welcome to disagree with me, but I also do not plan to explain what I have or have not done with others and in other venues on your site. I do that directly to the persons involved and on their sites, sometimes individually and behind the scenes and sometimes directly depending on what seems appropriate. I am writing to you about the two DOS blogs staffed by personnel who have visited here at St Seraphim’s, which includes yourself. You seem companion sites at this juncture which seems a shame to me. And I am posting on your site and not OCA Truth because I admire your integrity in identifying yourself and will not post on a site whose bloggers protect themselves by anonymity while discrediting or dismissing others, Fr Hopko being an example of the dismissive rhetoric. I can’t recall anyone not yet discredited on the site except Fr Joseph (not at all) and Met. Jonah who has been gently chided for being green.

            I do hope you will also consider the questions I have asked about being inflamed or charmed into taking sides instead of considering that there are people “on” Met Jonah’s side and for his agenda who are also very concerned about his process and how it relates to his stated process. I may trust a man but realize he is setting up policies which will be very very harmful and work against his own stated agenda, for example, dismantling the M.C. or ignoring the Synod because he wishes to work differently. Again, that concerns me. I have thought “burn-out” as Fr Justin Frederick describes would be a real possibility or health issues could be a factor too. One is not “bonkers” when that is mentioned. Are we expecting the man to be a machine? Can he be a human who is mistakenly influenced? Who framed the for or against Jonah argument? Not me. The folks who do, in my humble opinion, seek their own ends over the goodness of diversity in the Orthodox Church.

            Finally, I apologize seriously for my long though infrequent postings. I have other time obligations and like to think things through and concentrate on one project at a time. I am a pitiful multi-tasker so take my hat off to those of you so gifted. I will go into the Great Silence forthwith and spare you. Hope to meet you soon.

            A blessed Lent to you,
            Nicole

            • George Michalopulos says

              Nicole, I very much want to meet you. You are clearly an inspiration to us all. If I may quibble about one of your first points, that you only meant that +Jonah ask us to “tone it down.” Again, I fail to see why we who are defending the truth or at least have major doubts about the veracity of the attacks against him are the only ones whom HB should ask to modify our stances. Why do you not ask HB to ask Stokoe to do the same?

              Second point: I would love to hear from the bishops on this matter. I fear that they are too timid and scared about the skeletons in their own closet to summon the courage to do so.

              Third point: the much-derided anonymity of OCAT is a red herring. Many of the posters on my site post anonymously. I look at the words which they write. I also look at Muzhik’s, et al’s words and can find nothing that I disagree with.

              As to the rest, the idea that +Jonah has “ignored” the MC or the HS is likewise suspect. I’m sure that there have been mistakes on +Jonah’s part –both Muzhik and I have admitted them–but nothing to justify the vitriol and charges of crimethink that have been heaped upon him by some of the bishops and of course St Stokoe. If anything, the exposure of Stokoe’s hamfisted extortionist tactics on the MC (to say nothing about his unrepentant embrace of sin) may do more damage to the concept of the MC than any of HB’s supposed administrative failures.

              If I am in Dallas anytime soon, I would love to meet with you.

              in Christ,

              Geo

              p.s. and you’re right: it’ll be one of the happiest days in my life when I can go back to talking about other issues.

  2. Lola J. Lee Beno says

    I will say this . . . he has lost all credibility with me. He has crossed the line and put many miles between it and himself.

  3. Heracleides says

    Just a small correction: Mark made the statement to +Jonah, not +Herman as you’ve stated.

  4. cheryl fairchild says

    Ditto Nichole!

  5. cheryl fairchild says

    George, I pray you take Met. Jonah’s advice when he says “don’t react.”

    • George Michalopulos says

      Cheryl, thank you for the gentle reproof. You’re a wise soul. I have tried to be very level-headed about this whole affair. I really want to get to the truth of the matter. Where I’m wrong, I’ll admit it.

  6. cheryl fairchild says

    I certainly understand George, but maybe it’s a passion better left at the cross and let our merciful God sort it out. It is He who is in control, not us…love you George! May God have mercy on us all…

  7. Harry Coin says

    In the end, we see on Stokoe’s website reporting that always has turned out to be so. His name is on it and he stands by what he writes, and what he writes later turns out to have been exactly the case as affirmed by those who care to check.

    That some have discovered he has opinions about what shape the future has come as no surprise to anynody. Those who appear ‘shocked, shocked and dismayed’ by that ought to know better.

    1+1=2 no matter the agenda of who says it. Those who don’t like what agenda then sense Mark has would do well to counter it with facts third parties can actually check, and when they check have those facts turn out to be so.

    This business of anonymous websites and anonymous contributors being cited as authentic only holds water when they assert material facts third parties can check. In my book, proof that a news website editor has an opinion long evident to all reading right out front in public view on their own website isn’t exactly a breaking news shocker.

    Seems to me Mark Stokoe comes by his position honestly as he’s cited various specific disregardings of agreed upon ways the church leadership agreed to work together. If a promise to go forward in a certain way can be forgotten by those in authority then really what moral authority can the leadership pretend to have?

    I personally discounted ‘ocatruth’ to worse than zero the moment they put ‘truth’ in the title but did not have the moral constitution to let people know who it is doing the writing.

    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

      Harry, you have implied if not asserted two things that are not true: (1) that Stokoe has always been honest, and (2) that +Jonah has disobeyed the Synod.

      (1) is not true in my own personal experience of Stokoe, as I have shown here and here. Stokoe has been careful not to allow himself to be shown up by an obvious misstatement of the facts, but he has not always been honest. In my own experience, he has withheld information contradicting his own repeated assertions and given a false and defamatory reason for editing out a comment critical of his website and its fans. See the links for the details.

      (2) is only true if you accept Stokoe’s spin of the facts. That spin requires you to believe that the Synod laid down specific conditions regarding the “leave of absence,” that +Jonah agreed to those conditions, and that his subsequent actions violated those conditions. But what are the specific conditions? Where does it say that +Jonah must do or must not do this and that? The minutes of the Santa Fe meeting only mention a “leave of absence” for general purposes. They do not detail the parameters of what that leave and that absence entail. They aren’t even proof that the Synod voted on a “leave of absence,” because they aren’t a transcript of what was said; they are only someone’s interpretation of what was said, produced after the fact (and as a veteran journalist, I can tell you that what the reporter writes down in his notepad is often not what was actually said). Next question: Who is saying that +Jonah has been disobedient? So far, no bishop has come out publicly and said, “Now wait a minute, Jonah, you agreed to . . . ?” Why? Maybe because they know they can’t get away with such a claim. Final question: How likely is it that +Jonah agreed to be put out to pasture, effectively deposed as metropolitan, the way some people say the Synod meant to do? Do you really think he would have agreed to that?

      So you see, Harry, it has been shown that Stokoe is not always honest, and it has not been shown that +Jonah has disobeyed the Synod.

      • Harry Coin says

        Dear Dn. Brian, My world is broken enough that I count it no small thing to encounter a website about the church asserts nothing as so that later turns out not to be so. To me and I think to nearly everyone that is the most basic test of honesty. When we get into the area of true things not reported upon as a sine qua non for honesty — in the end that’s not less than placing upon someone else the obligation to substitute your views about what’s important and expecting him to live up to them — without paying him anything and still assuming justification for being disappointed. The correct response is to post the truth he omits and to stand by it with your name attached to it as he does. Any literate person can do so now on the internet for all to see. So, you know, light your candle and no need to curse the darkness.

        Regarding your second point Abp. Nathaniel simply made the minutes public and I think they indeed speak for themselves. Either we’re a church where the synod’s decisions are taken in sobornost, whose agreements about how to proceed are respected among the people with whom they are undertaken, or we’re a church with some rubber stamps who expensively come together to say ‘amen’ and eat well from time to time. And, worse, where ‘agreements’ from leadership are not more than donor bait for the bubbas. Only the former is a recipie for survival.

        Remember I only wish the OCA as a whole well, I go to a GOA parish but believe we meet one another in the Eucharist and our kids and those we marry from other traditions don’t make big distinctions between national origin minutae.

        • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          The correct response is to post the truth he omits and to stand by it with your name attached to it as he does.

          I’ve done exactly that. I’ve also posted a few untruths Stokoe has deceived people with, but they appear not to concern you.

          Abp. Nathaniel simply made the minutes public and I think they indeed speak for themselves.

          So tell me, Harry, what specific conditions named in the minutes has +Jonah not kept? If you’re going to accuse someone publicly of a sin, you should at least back it up with the details and not just say “the minutes speak for themselves.” The minutes do not accuse him. Neither should you.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Dear Father Deacon Patrick, here is how they speak for themselves and I have highlighted in bold the relevant portions for your convenience.

            “The Holy Synod’s Concern for the Health of His Beatitude, Jonah
            HEARD:
            The Holy Synod discussed matters affecting the primatial service of His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH. Holy Synod members affirmed their love and obedience to the Metropolitan and reminded him that love and obedience are also reciprocal between the Metropolitan and the Holy Synod. There must be mutual obedience.
            Metropolitan JONAH was asked to absent himself from the meeting.
            Discussion followed.
            Metropolitan JONAH returned to the meeting.

            DECIDED:
            The Holy Synod took the following actions and reviewed them with His Beatitude:
            1. The Holy Synod accepted Archpriest Alexander Garklavs’ resignation as Chancellor effective immediately.
            2. The Holy Synod expressed concern for the Metropolitan’s health. Once again they affirmed their love and concern for him and their earnest desire to see him succeed. After further discussion, the Holy Synod determined that a sixty day Leave of Absence for His Beatitude would be beneficial. Metropolitan Jonah accepted to do so. The Synod asked him to request to do so, as it would be better seen that he acknowledged the need for this. Metropolitan JONAH then requested a Leave Of Absence for not less than 60 days during which time he would see a physician and devote himself to his own spiritual and physical health without concern for the burdens of the primatial office. This could include a time of retreat at a monastery. His Grace Bishop Benjamin asked if he was ready to make this decision or if he needed additional time and the Metropolitan said he did not need more time to make the decision.
            3. The Holy Synod appointed Archbishop NATHANIEL as Administrator of the OCA for the length of His Beatitude’s leave.
            4. The Holy Synod appointed Bishop MELCHISEDEK as interim Chancellor.
            5. The Holy Synod relieved His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH from his responsibilities as Locum Tenens of the Diocese of the South and appointed Bishop NIKON Locum Tenens of the Diocese of the South with Bishop MARK continuing as administrator.
            6. The Holy Synod relieved His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH from his responsibilities as Locum Tenens of the Diocese of Midwest and appointed Bishop TIKHON as Locum Tenens of the diocese of the Midwest with Archimandrite MATTHIAS continuing as administrator

            HEARD:
            Bishop BENJAMIN conveyed to His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH, the above decisions of the Holy Synod. He noted that these decisions were made out of love for His Beatitude and out of concern for the spiritual and physical health of the Primate.
            The members of the Holy Synod emphasized that it was their desire for His Beatitude to sincerely take this time to address issues of his well‐being so that he could most effectively fulfill his responsibilities as Primate of the Church.
            Metropolitan JONAH thanked the brothers for their concern and acknowledged that a leave of absence would be beneficial and noted that he had not had much time off since his election as Primate.
            Bishop TIKHON asked His Beatitude if he needed any time to reflect upon these matters.
            Metropolitan JONAH declined and confirmed that he would abide by the counsel of his brothers.

            DECIDED:
            A. The Holy Synod accepted the request of Metropolitan JONAH for a leave of absence for 60 days.
            B. Bishop MICHAEL will meet with Archpriest Alexander Garklavs on Friday to convey to him that the Holy Synod accepts his resignation. He will also meet with the other members of the staff and inform them of the above developments and appointments.
            C. The Holy Synod will issue a press release, to be dated Friday, February 25, 2011:

            Thursday, February 24, 2011

            SESSION V

            Final Review

            HEARD:
            The Holy Synod reviewed the decisions from the minutes from the previous days.
            Bishop TIKHON presented a draft of the Press Release.
            Metropolitan JONAH inquired about several upcoming events which he had been scheduled to participate in.
            The Holy Synod recommended that it would be best for His Beatitude to begin his leave of absence immediately and allow the Administrator, the Interim Chancellor and the members of the Holy Synod to assume the responsibility for those events
            Metropolitan JONAH agreed to this recommendation.

            The meeting adjourned at 10:00 am”

            This does not even need translation. The Metropolitan after having assented to go on a 60 day leave of absence, says something to the effect: wait, there are some already scheduled upcoming events that he had been scheduled to participate in, can he participate in them? The Holy Synod says in effect no, you have go to start your leave of absence immediately–even if we will call in public something else, and what part of “absence” don’t you understand? (slight paraphrase here). You asked for specific conditions, I cannot think of any better than “start immediately” and others will participate in these events in your stead. Hello??

            • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

              Thank you, Carl, for providing this so we can all see what was said. Now look closely: Do you see anything ordering the Metropolitan to do anything? Do you see the Synod actually saying “you have to” do anything? No, you do not, because it’s not there. Here’s what the minutes the Synod did:

              (1) It “determined” that leave of absence would be “beneficial.”
              (2) It “accepted” his request for leave.
              (3) It “relieved” him of duties as locum tenens of the Diocese of the South.
              (4) It “relieved” him of duties as locum tenens of the Diocese of the Midwest.
              (5) It “appointed” other bishops as locum tenens of these dioceses.
              (6) It “appointed” another bishop to serve as “administrator” of the OCA.
              (7) It “emphasized that it was their desire” that he use his leave in a certain way.
              (8) And it “recommended” that he start the leave immediately.

              That’s it. That’s all the minutes say the Synod did.

              At this point, a lawyer would say, “Gotcha!” Because if the minutes are binding, nothing in them requires +Jonah to do anything.

              Notice that the minutes do not say the Synod “relieved” him of his responsibilities as metropolitan, only of his responsibilities as locum tenens, and so if he continued to act as metropolitan after this meeting, he was not disobeying the Synod according to the minutes.

              But you’ll say, “Oh, but it’s clear what the Synod wanted.” That’s not a fact established by the minutes. That’s an interpretation of the minutes, and since the minutes are themselves an interpretation, it’s an interpretation of an interpretation. And it’s not the only possible interpretation. You can bet the Metropolitan interpreted what was actually said at the meeting very differently.

              Now you might say, “Well, all of this soft language about determining, accepting, and recommending is just to sugar coat what they were really doing,” in which case you’re saying the Synod was being disingenuous. You’re saying they weren’t being straight up with +Jonah or with the OCA; they were instead putting a false face on their actions for appearance’s sake. I’m not saying that. I don’t know that. All I know is that what some people say the Synod wanted and thought it got was not what the minutes say it voted on or what the Metropolitan agreed to.

              • Harry Coin says

                Dn. Brian, you’ve posted and I agree that Stokoe has made no actual material misstatements of fact. Of interest I think Met. Hilaron in his visit supported the synod’s view in a statement.

                The agreement by the Met you noted appears to have been — well what? That’s a serious lesson for anyone else in the future who thinks they’ve left a room with him having agreed to something.

                Also, apparently, did you leave off your list of things Met. Jonah was ordered to dy by the synod that a young man, a monk from Northen California I think, was ordered to separate himself from Met. Jonah and go to the other side of the country. Odd, that, the synod concerning itself with such a detail. I notice you left it off your list, but Stokoe reported it. Was he wrong?

                • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                  Stokoe’s take on +Hilarion’s visit was merely Stokoe’s plainly self-serving interpretation. Another interpretation is that +Hilarion politely read the Synod the riot act, telling them that the ROC will not accept a “leave of absence” that amounts to +Jonah’s uncanonical deposition.

                  As for the monk you mentioned, where do you see that reported except on Stokoe’s website? It wasn’t in the minutes, and no bishop has publicly made that demand.

                  I’ve presented conclusive evidence that Stokoe has not been always honest in his postings on his website, but honesty doesn’t seem to be something that interests you. You only seem interested in getting rid of +Jonah.

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    OK. Let me try one last time to reason with you. I have to confess that I am indeed irritted by your obstinate mintenance of a fiction but I guess you really believe in what you are saying, wrong as it is. So please forgive me.

                    Again:

                    1. The Holy Synod placed +Jonah on a leave of absence and he agreed. Leave of absence, in the United States at least, means to be away from your duties and place of employment, without being fired. It indeed means to be relieved of your responsibilities for the duration of the leave. This is something specific that the Holy Synod told +Metropolitan Jonah to do.

                    2. +Jonah himself knew this because on the last day of the retreat, he asked the Holy Synod to make an exception for those duties and responsibilities related to upcoming events in which he had been scheduled to participate. The Holy Synod said no, non, nein, nyet (fill in your language of choice), and I am parapharsing to amplify the plain meaning of the Minutes (something that seem to escape you);

                    You shall not participate for you are relieved of your entire responsibilities as the Metropolitan of the OCA because you are on a leave of absence and we have we have arranged for other folks to do those things for you. Indeed, in case you did not notice, you are no longer Locum Tenens of two dioceses and we have a temporary administrator for your functions (duties, responsibilities–again, your pick) as Metropolitan. Do not participate in those scheduled events in which you had been scheduled to participate, OK? The Metropolitan said I agree.

                    You know, the more you argue this point, the more you are hurting +Jonah’s stature and credibility. Please cease on defending what is clearly indefensible.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Harry, Carl, etc., I gotta tell you, if we’re going to play the nit-picking game then the good Deacon has you beat regarding what what was “said” and what was “meant.” If +Jonah is the true “rogue” that St Stokoe says he is, then the HS needs to meet forthwith and depose him. But they can’t because they got nothing on him.

                    And as for +Hilarion’s visit, the Stokoe Spin Cycle went into massive overdrive to blur the reality. Trust me, +Hilarion gave them marching orders about what they’re going to think about this situation. He left them no out, unless they want to lose their canonical standing.

                    And btw, if they do this, then Moscow will ask their names be striken from the EA list and our old friends at the Phanar would just love to do this.

                    The lines of the demarche are clearly emerging. They can hate +Jonah all they want, but they’re stuck with him. He on the other hand, isn’t stuck with them.

                  • George, This comment from you is shocking and truly disturbing:

                    The lines of the demarche are clearly emerging. They can hate +Jonah all they want, but they’re stuck with him. He on the other hand, isn’t stuck with them.

                    Compare that with how Met. Jonah has talked about the relationship of bishops in a Synod:

                    “I would assert first and foremost as Orthodox Christians our leadership, the leadership of the Church, that element that comes from above, is the divine element. But the leadership that is within the Church, the leadership of bishops and the dioceses of the Metropolitan among the Synod–because what it the Metropolitan? He is the chairman of the Synod. The leadership of a parish priest in his parish: If you sit there and you lord it over your parishioners that ‘I am the priest and I can do whatever I want and I can spend the money however I want without accountability and without…’ you are not going to go very far. In fact you are likely to get thrown out because you will get into all sorts of problems. And I think that form of leadership is over.”

                    And Fr. Thomas Hopko’s explanations of how Orthodox bishops should act together, in a conciliar manner:

                    The Orthodox Church, of course, has no infallible Pope who exercises direct and immediate episcopal jurisdiction over all the Church’s members in the world, including the other bishops. It has no bishop of any see that can speak in any way binding on all the faithful in matters of faith and morals. It has no curia. It has no magisterium. It has no college of cardinals. It has no international advisory council of bishops from around the world. It has no “ecumenical council”, or a council of any kind, that can be considered authoritative, still less infallible, before its decisions are taken and are universally accepted – or perhaps rejected — by all the churches that recognize each other as Orthodox.

                    According to traditional Orthodoxy, using the celebrated third century formula of St. Cyprian of Carthage in his controversy with the bishop of Rome, Christ’s Church knows no “bishop of bishops” (episcopus episcoporum). The “episcopate is one” (episcopatus unus est) and all of the Church’s bishops hold the same episcopal authority and exercise the same episcopal service “in solidarity” (in solidum) with each other. The holy hieromartyr also teaches that the bishop of every church who makes St. Peter’s confession of faith and receives the Holy Spirit with the authority of “binding and loosing”, sits on the “seat of Peter” (cathedra Petri.) And St. Cyprian also holds, as proven by his famous letter 69, that the bishop in his own church does nothing by himself, but acts in everything in harmony with the church’s “common council” to which, as a member and head of the church, he is accountable for everything he says and does.

                    These convictions, formulated so clearly and so well by St. Cyprian, are proclaimed and defended by all Orthodox doctrines and canons through the centuries. They are also demonstrated in Orthodox liturgy, including the rites of election and consecration of bishops. The Orthodox Church unequivocally rejects the teachings of Vatican Council I about the special position, prerogatives and powers of the Bishop of Rome. And today the Orthodox Church, it seems to me, should also reject the explanation of Vatican II about how bishops function in the Church, and how they and their churches are to relate to each other, including even to autocephalous churches and their primates.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Chris, in a more ideal world, one governed by at least a modicum of good faith and good will, open lines of communication and a desire to grow the Church, I would completely agree with you. Please be aware, the demarche that I described above is not to my liking nor an ecclesial structure that I want to pass on to my children, unfortunately because of the stunning bad faith of a few men (not all bishops btw), this is what we are stuck with at present.

                    Notice I said at the present. I believe that because the Church moves as slowly as it does, that cooler heads among the anti-+Jonah bishops will prevail and come to repentance or at the very least common sense.

                    How will we know that this is happening? For one thing, t he MC will have to be cleaned up; second, some significant retirements in Syosset and among the priesthood will have to be announced. Even some compromised bishops will have to either announce their retirements or themselves take “leaves of absence” to go to Mt Athos.

                    PS. BTW, I completely agree with Hopko’s assessment of the episcopate and how its degenerated, esp among the Turkish-dominated churches. I for one would love to see the direct election of bishops by the priests and people within the dioceses (subject to ratification by the HS) and even more dioceses spawned.

                  • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                    Carl,

                    We’re talking about a meeting that neither of us attended, about minutes in which the operative words are “accept” and “recommend,” and about a disagreement among the bishops about which none of the bishops has spoken publicly to confirm your reading of the minutes (by accusing +Jonah of disobedience). In such a situation, neither of us is in position to be dogmatic about what actually said and done by the Synod.

                    Your interpretation of the minutes is plausible, but so is mine. I think it very unlikely that +Jonah asked to be temporarily deposed, which is what some people think “leave of absence” meant. I think it very likely that he thought “leave of absence” meant one thing and others on the Synod thought it meant something else, and then when +Jonah saw how others might interpret it, he said to himself, “Wait a minute, that’s not what I asked for and agreed to. I’m still a bishop and I’m still the metropolitan.” To make that point, he stated publicly his own interpretation of what he agreed to and kept a couple of prearranged appointments before returning to his archdiocese. That’s all he did. That’s the sum of his “disobedience.” So what’s the big deal?

              • Bishop Jerome of Manhattan (ROCOR) made a post on the Indiana List a few weeks ago about the minutes issue, a post that was so concise and logical, compared to the abundant hysterical accusations against Metropolitan Jonah for his alleged disobedience, that I had to read it five or ten times before I could really believe someone had managed to make such sense of the situation. This is what he said:

                +JRS: It is hard for me to see, based on the comments in the OCA Synodal minutes, what Metropolitan Jonah can be “accused” of.

                The minutes simply imply there was a difference of opinions, not any wrongdoing by the Metropolitan.

                At any rate, so far, unless I’ve overlooked something in these postings, no one has accused him of any canonical violation.

                In Christ
                +Jerome, Bishop of Manhattan (ROCOR)

                • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                  Thank you, Helga. I had forgotten that. He makes the point quite plainly.

  8. As a newcomer to Orthodoxy and the OCA I confess to being amazed, troubled, and baffled by this present situation. I do have a couple of comments.

    I have read that +Jonah has been considered too ‘political’ but to me this whole scene and the way it is being handled by the powers that be reads more like a secular political coup than the way a supposedly Christian organization should handle a problem.

    In reading OCAnews I have learned that the OCA part does not stand for Orthodox Church in America News, but Orthodox Christians for Accountability: a masquerade. To me, this constitutes fraud from the get go.

  9. Nicole, ask Vladyka Dmitri what he thinks of Mark Stokoe.

  10. Chris, I don’t think George meant that Metropolitan Jonah can act without accountability. I think he just meant that Met. Jonah holds the advantage because he did nothing to warrant deposition, so the actions that could have been taken against him, depriving him of his see, would have been uncanonical.

    Sorry for breaking the thread, but it won’t let me reply to your post directly.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Helga, thank you. Let me flesh this out if you don’t mind. You are correct, they are stuck with +Jonah because they have no canonical (or criminal, ethical, moral, etc.) complaint with which they could use to remove him. On the other hand, any action which they take against him –even if it fails–puts them at great risk of being recognized as uncanonical by the ROC. (And believe me, the Phanar would LOVE to join the ROC in unrecognizing as many OCA bishops as possible.)

      As such, his moral authority will only grow in the interim.

      If I were to advise the anti-+Jonah bishops on the Holy Synod, I’d tell them to repent, pray, and start thinking about the post-Paschal future, one in which they all link arms with their Primate and start singing “Kum-ba-ya.”

      And yes, this means tightening up standards for the Metropolitan Council. ‘Nuff said.

  11. Deacon Antony Dyl says

    Just a short addition to this discussion, but from what I’ve read in the minutes of the Holy Synod meeting in New Mexico, Metropolitan Jonah was asked to take a leave of absence from his duties as Metropolitan. Well, tomorrow, when I commemorate him at the Great Entrance, I’ll commemorate him as “Archbishop of Washington and Metropolitan of all American and Canada.” So, about this charge that he has “gone rogue” and disobeyed the Holy Synod, I have to ask: when was he relieved of his duties as Archbishop of Washington?

    After all, he has been attending services in his Cathedral as Archbishop of Washington. He gave a speech at a Lenten Retreat as Archbishop of Washington. Mark Stokoe interpreted these actions as the Metropolitan “going rogue”. But why? Aren’t these the types of things an Archbishop is expected to do in his own diocese? My own diocesan Bishop is giving a retreat at our parish next Sunday. Aren’t these the things a diocesan bishop does?

    Deacon Antony

    • George Michalopulos says

      Deacon Anthony, you are forgetting one important point: what Mark Stokoe says goes. Only he can interpret the Sacred Texts infalliby. Who are you, who even are the bishops of the Holy Synod to disagree with his interpretation?

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