Let the Healing Begin

jonah-synodThe OCA reported last week that it has reached an agreement with Metropolitan Jonah. What was printed on the website was terse but positive in its own way. We don’t know the particulars as neither Syosset nor His Beatitude released any specifics. In this absence some have taken to speculation. Regardless, the OCA has seemed to take the some of the right steps and that is good.

Some details need to be worked out. For example, will Syosset take back the original Stinkbomb letter that was so objectionable and caused immense scandal? We certainly hope so. Healing can only begin with sincere repentance. Such obstinance is inevitable given the institutionalist mindset that got us into this mess in the first place. Simply put, it’s hard to see how the OCA will be able to turn the corner as an ecclesial body if it is still beholden to the same secularist governing model brought to us by way of the Strong Chancellor/Metropolitan Council form of top-down governance.

So what should we look for? One hallmark of a renewed spiritual vigor would be the speedy election of new bishops to the relatively large number of vacant dioceses. The tired, old chestnut that there is a dearth of capable celibates may work for those living in the Syosset bubble but it is ridiculous on its face to those parishes ably run by devoted celibate priests. Another would be an honest look at the continuing existence of ethnic dioceses within the OCA. By what right is the OCA a territorial Church if it recapitulates within itself the same ethnic jurisdictions that exist in parallel albeit on a smaller basis? Third, the central administration as well as the Metropolitan Council could reconsider their own relevance given the OCA’s deteriorating population and decreasing assessments coming into Syosset. Melanie Ringa, the OCA’s Treasurer, has done stellar work stating the obvious. The question is, does her intended audience get the picture?

In the near future, Monomakhos will continue to offer more perspectives on this entire imbroglio. We intend to be far-ranging and objective. Several commentators have sent us material which we shall publish as their perspectives help us paint a broader picture which preserves us from perpetuating our own biases. We welcome others as well, even points of view different than our own. For myself, your humble correspondent would like to understand the mindset of those who saw Jonah as an unmitigated disaster from the get-go. We don’t understand it ourselves but if someone sincerely believes this, he has an open forum to present his own opinion. Be warned however: insinuations and hunches will not be tolerated, just cold, hard facts. For the moment however, let us revel in the big step taken by the Synod to effect a reconciliation.


  1. I’ll tell you what we should look for: the one thing we NEVER get from the OCA Synod. Transparency. Forever cloaked in dark mystery, they refuse to enlighten all we little people to what is going on. We deserve answers. From them, we NEVER get them. THAT is why the suspicion never ends.

    • Fr. George Washburn says

      T.R. – does it strike you as, well…..curious, shall we say, or even inconsistent ….that one who cloaks his own “little people” identity (i.e as someone with little or nothing to lose should his views about Syosset’s shortcomings be revealed?) in “dark mystery” and will presumably continue to “refuse to enlighten” us as to his true name, should be heard to complain about other people’s lack of transparency? love, slightly transparently, Fr. George

      • nit picker says

        Fr. George Washburn,

        I’ll tell you what “strikes me as, well…..curious, shall we say, or even inconsistent ….” is your never ending, incessant, insistent need to try pressure and shame correspondents on this forum to reveal their identities and qualifications, pretend like it has any bearing what-so-ever on the discussion and then when you are done trying to play your little lawyer intimidation mind games, signing your letters “love.”

        BTW, while you hide behind the title of “Father” and the signature of “love,’ at least my moniker is honest. I know what I am.

        nitpicker – someone who makes small and unjustified criticisms
        critic – someone who frequently finds fault or makes harsh and unfair judgments


        “My sin is continually before me…”

        • Fr. George Washburn says

          Well, nit-picker:

          That’s quite a definition, but I do find many of your criticisms small and unjustified.

          Can you explain precisely how you think I am hiding behind the title “Father,” since I am ordained? Seems to me that it would be “hiding” *not* to use it.

          And as to signing messages with the word “love,” it is not so much that I think my posts always demonstrate it, but rather it is what I aspire to …and think we all ought to aspire to…around here. In my personal, and yes, repetitious, opinion, the discourse here takes its hidden cues more from he rhetoric of “gotcha” politics in the media marketplace (where there is almost always an absence of love or any sense that when one member suffers [i.e. my ideological opposite] then all suffer) than it does from the Christian faith or scripture where the greatest of these is love and the sufferings of Met. Jonah or his most unjustified or justified critics are MY and OUR sufferings too.

          Speaking the truth in love is how people grow up in Christ (Eph. 4:15). I intended the use of objectively mild words like “curious” and “inconsistent” to convey love and entreaty where more inflammatory terms could have been used. And yet you still find them too harsh for me to sign “love” at the end. You are entitled to your view, but if those are too strident then is there any hope for “speaking the truth in love” on sites like this, and if there isn’t any such hope then isn’t it time to “shut ‘er down?”

          Now as to my allegedly continuing calls for people to identify themselves, I do plead GUILTY.

          So long as I continue to participate, and a good long vacation once in a while is necessary, I cannot and will not allow the seeming norms of this genre (namely scathing commentary combined with anonymity if not downright deception as to identity) to go unremarked or unquestioned. Kudos to George himself, who I sometimes criticize, and Fr. Hans and Fr. Alexander and others who use their true names to sometimes say things they know others will find objectionable. And yes, i think my background in the secular courts is relevant to what I post and should be part of people’s knowledge when they judge what I write.

          As to the “small and unjustified” criticism that the identity of a witness or commentator is irrelevant to strong contention over the past, present, and future of what is asserted to be the True Church, I could not disagree with you more categorically. If someone hiding his name without any need to feels pressured to use his true name in the future or ashamed of unnecessarily hiding it in the past (and I admit occasional anonymity is called for, but not a norm of wholesale pseudonymity for every Tom, Dick and Harry) then I will feel like I have done exactly as I had hoped, and your criticism, and your friends’ downturned thumbs will not deter me.

          The whole history of Western jurisprudence recoils with the greatest reason from anonymous accusation because it is known that witnesses bring all sorts of bias and hidden motives to their accusatory endeavors, and only the right to confront a named witness and cross-examine as to credentials, aims, past conduct, etc. will bring out the truth. Proverbs says “he who pleads his cause first sounds right, but then his neighbor comes and searches him out.” Identity and credentials is often a key part of searching out the value of a commentator’s contribution, such as Mr. Stankovich’s comments about matters psychological or Fr. Alexander’s reference to matters military.

          You are entitled to prefer the anonymous murmurs or shouts of a crowd, and when I am at the stadium to boo the Dodgers I have to admit that it is a lot of fun to be in a sea of orange and black – hollering not only without fear of recrimination, but actually a lot of encouragement and participation! It’s all more or less in good fun there. But that same phenomenon of the roisterous anonymous crowd turns deadly and spawns lynch mobs for the very reason that nobody feels he will will held accountable for what he shouts or throws. It doesn’t strike me as a good way to “do” religious controversy, which is notoriously volatile even when real names are used.

          When I read this site I often think of Psalm 64 in the English Bible, which we read at certain services. King David bemoans the conduct of those who shoot arrows from hiding and wound people, Please take a moment to read it. There are absolutely chilling parallels to internet anonymity. Presumably as a leader of God’s people David had to pull those arrows out of his back many times.

          There is a reason for that Psalm being in the canon and used in our services. Human nature hasn’t changed.

          It is so human to see enemies – and other members of the Body of Christ are SO seldom to be viewed that way – and SO human to prefer shooting arrows from cowardly concealment, especially when the voice inside us says we are overdoing it a bit or our opinions and motives may not stand up to full scrutiny. We should not let the small minority of situations where anonymity is necessary and justified create here the automatic electronic equivalent of stadium rooting- (or Star Chamber internet trials by secret witnesses and judges!!! (and SO many of the anonymous try to fill both roles here at once) At least not if we really want any “healing to begin.”


          Fr. George

          • nit picker says

            Fr. George,

            Since you asked, I am of the opinion that you hide behind the authority and dignity of your priesthood which you wield as a weapon on this forum in combination with your interrogation skills as a lawyer to intimidate and silence correspondents on this forum. That’s just my opinion though, and as my opinion, I realize that it may be incorrect (obviously).

            I don’t consider any person my enemy. Especially not you. When I disagree with what you write. I will state so in no uncertain terms. I expect no less from you. This does not give you the right to make demands of me or anybody else. As to why some of us feel the need to protect our identities. We know. The thoughts that others have as to our motives for protecting our identities, that is their problem. I thank you for your response. There is a lot there that deserves careful contemplation.

            You know what Fr. George…this isn’t a trial. The rules of juris prudence don’t apply here. A certain amount of speculation can take place. It needs to take place responsibly, with sensitivity, with flexibility. When we make mistakes we need to apologize, ask forgiveness, own up and not do it again and be sensitive to other people’s limitations. It becomes difficult and complicated.

            This isn’t Dr. Stankovich’s personal office where he is interviewing his clients and providing them with therapy (although that occasionally happens…he very kindly suggested a prescription for me just today without even examining me), or your law office where a client comes to ask your professional opinion on how to proceed with a case. This is not a jury trial. Nobody gets convicted. Nobody gets the electric chair or lethal injection. If you imagine that they do, even figuratively, then, there is a bigger problem than you even imagined.

            • Fr. George Washburn says

              Thanks for a reasonable reply, NP.

              It is late so I will just take one of several assertions you make: “This is not a trial.”

              My reply is, “Yes, but….”

              The “Yes” is based on what I think is at the heart of your assertion. This should not be seen or done as an exercise in adversarial encounter.

              The but comes from the belief that even though this is not a trial, it has something in common with one. Both *claim* to want to uncover “the truth.”

              In just about every one of the scores and scores of cases I tried, the various sides all knew going in just what “truth” they wanted uncovered …. and what “truth” they hoped wouldn’t be “uncovered” too!

              Sure I bring law stuff here, just like Fr. Alexander or Bishop Tikhon mention military and Mr. S alludes to medical or psychological. It is what I have to offer, and I don’t see it in the least as the last or best word on the subjects we discuss.

              But I think it is a word or approach largely missing from these pages. And to the extent that it is based on the conventions of truth-seeking arising from centuries of the distilled professional experience of the profession, I think it is a valuable one. It isn’t as if anyone else offers much of that perspective as far as I’ve seen. You are free to imagine that I use it to intimidate others, and perhaps it does intimidate people who do not feel comfortable being critiqued from that standpoint.

              But their reactions are not the question. Rather the question is how Christians serious about living their faith can go about finding and living the truth in dialogue with those who seem to disagree, and how a Church can possibly be governed where instantaneous internet interactions are encouraged among largely anonymous and totally unaccountable people, most of whom are praised for concealing their true names, motives, expertise, past records and commitments to the truth … or their lack thereof, and where the distillate is touted as a foundation for policy and good governance, the correction of past mistakes, and the path to “healing.”


              Fr. George

          • For Fr. George Washburn says

            Fr. George Washburn:


            May we go back in time a mere 15 years?

            You were responsible for the laicizing of many a good priest, and contributed to the destruction of one of the beacons of American Orthodoxy a decade ago–the Ben Lomond community.

            From the transcript of the deposition of the Spiritual Court Trial of the Very Reverend Fr. John Weldon Hardenbrook re: +PHILIP, +JOSEPH, and Fr. George Washburn:

            “The Presbyters and I were all committed to healing the wounds. But, we had a problem inside the Presbytery. After it had finally settled on who was going to be laicized or take a leave of absence, the Presbytery needed desperately to get back to business. We had to make progress with the church business after being sidetracked for over one year. And, now we found ourselves functionally paralyzed due to one of our presbyters who seemed unable to work with a conciliar spirit. This had nothing to do with our current problems—we had struggled with him for years, but now we didn’t have the luxury to tolerate the meetings dominated by him. We needed to move on, so the entire Presbytery asked Fr. George Washburn to not attend the Presbytery meetings and we wrote and signed the following letter last July 27, 1997.

            It stated this:
            Your Eminence: Greetings in the Name of the Lord
            We, the priests of Ss. Peter & Paul Church in Ben Lomond find it necessary to bring to your attention a situation regarding one of our own, Fr. George (Kent) Washburn. We think the source of the problem arises from the incongruities that flow from his being a priest while also being an attorney (a conflict mentioned by Bp. JOSEPH at least three times during his November meeting with us). We have battled Fr. George’s adversarial spirit and his inability to work in a conciliatory fashion for many years. These problems have created division between himself and the rest of the presbytery and have sometimes been a source of scandal to parishioners. We cannot conduct presbytery meetings in peace
            when Fr. George is present. We have attempted to deal with these issues previously, without

            “It would be our unanimous consensus that he should not be a priest; but that is for you to decide, not us. As we confront him yet again at our July 28th presbytery meeting, we felt it expedient to inform you in advance.
            Sincerely in Christ Jesus.
            V. Rev. John Weldon Hardenbrook
            Rev. Fr. David Anderson
            Rev. Fr. Andrew Beck
            Rev. Fr. Luke Dingman
            Rev. Fr. Edward Hillhouse
            Rev. Fr. Robert Hinde
            Rev. Fr. Thomas Lindsay
            Rev. Fr. Terry Somerville
            Rev. Fr. Basil Steiger

            “It is my personal observation and humble opinion that Fr. George Washburn became bitter after his removal from the Presbytery and helped orchestrate, and continues to orchestrate a revengeful campaign against us. Even though I tried to stay in contact through regular meetings with him, he began to write numerous long letters to me. I ultimately realized that he was possibly leaving his “lawyer trail” of letters to use against me. We knew Fr. George’s dismissal from the Presbytery would cost us greatly since he would most likely turn against us with his professional lawyer skills. We also believed that he would still be with us if we hadn’t removed him from the Presbytery, but we wouldn’t have done otherwise.”

            Thence followed the demise of the Ben Lomond, CA, parish–which had been a shining beacon of Orthodoxy in the western United States–but was reduced to nothingness because of in-fighting, spite, deceit and jealousy.

            (Read it and weep: http://benlomond.wordpress.com/1998/05/26/fr-john-weldon-hardenbrooks-defense/)

            As we know… “The parish in Ben Lomond, CA was then the largest parish of the Antiochian Evangelical Mission. In 1997, it was a parish of about 1,500. Saturday Vespers had about 200 attendees. The entire congregation sang as the choir. It has a K-12 school, a world class choir, a hospitality house (for visitors), programs for teens, and a publishing house, Conciliar Press, which the evangelicals brought with them. The parrish allowed a highly respected spiritual father from Mount Athos to visit them and to hear confessions and give guidance. People began to fast and pray more. The hierarchy of the Antiochian Archdiocese then forbade any Antiochian clergy or faithful to go for a confession to a non-Antiochian priest. Their practice of having a complete round of daily services, with Matins, Liturgy, Vespers, and everything else, all well attended, was considered bizarre and no longer normal. Moreover, they had some unusual liturgical customs and Russian customs in their services. Certain Arab ladies in the parish got the ear of the local Bishop and started demanding that the thing was getting out of control; a new leadership had to be installed at Ben Lomond. The hierarchy instructed them that no Russian music was to be used; all music had to be from the simplified Antiochian music packets. Eventually, there was a huge parish meeting and the parish petitioned Metropolitan Philip to release them to the OCA (Orthodox Church in America). In response, the main priest who had years before started the parish from scratch and all clergy who were felt to support him, got a sudden fax from Met. Philip saying they were all defrocked immediately. They appealed to the decision to an Antiochian trial council. Then they were all excommunicated, some for a minimum of five, some for a minimum of three, years. The majority of them were treated as lepers. The building, all property, the school, all the bank accounts, were seized by the Archdiocese. The original parishioners became scattered, confused, and priestless. The court decisions came in in favor of the Archdiocese. However, the remaining small congregation hadn’t been the primary financial backing, and couldn’t support the church as it was. It abandoned the school entirely and gutted or abandoned other things, and began selling property. The OCA eventually received a large number of the faithful, on condition they keep quiet, likewise forbidding OCA clergy from discussing it. The Jerusalem Patriarchate received the rest. The Antiochian Archdiocese considered suspending relations with both. To this day, there is an atmosphere of watchfulness over parishes becoming too much like Ben Lomond had been. The clergy remained persona non grata for years, even after the imposed period of excommunication, and some died as such. Recently, the rest were received back into the AOA or elsewhere. The remainder of the parish is still there, but it’s not what it was. Nothing in the AOA has been like it since.”

            Fr. George Washburn, your actions will never be forgotten. And yet you dare scold us to reveal our names and not “hide” behind anonymity? Many of us migrated to ROCOR and to the OCA because of what happened in Ben Lomond, and we will never forget your role in the drama. Far better for you to have hidden your head in shame and repentance than to go traipsing about online, continuing to scold and berate Orthodox Christians.

            Last summer I drove to my old home parish Sts. Peter and Paul in the mountains near Santa Cruz, CA, and attended Vespers at Ben Lomond… once the hope of Orthodoxy in the West. Three people sang in the choir and not more than ten people were in attendance.

            Was it worth it, Fr. George Washburn?

            • Fr George Washburn says

              Hello Friends:

              Remember that comment of mine from a couple of days ago based on Psalm 64 in the English Bible -about people with axes to grind who unfairly shoot arrows at others from positions of secrecy? This person and his post is Exhibit A.

              The person’s bias is clear: he was on the side of the folks who locked the rest of us out of the church building and tried to get a secular court to uphold that most unOrthodox of positions, that local churches control the property, not bishops.

              The letter he quotes is genuine, written at a time when Mr. Hardenbrook, the leader of a plan to split the parish and leave Antioch, a plan I did not suspect in the least, so blind was I at the time, knew what he was going to attempt and was laying the groundwork. How?

              By secretly alienating friends and colleagues from me (he didn’t even have the decency to send me a copy of the letter!!) and then pressuring them into signing the letter. Why? Because he believed, correctly, that I wouldn’t participate in the scheme to leave.

              This anonymous message raises far too many issues to deal with here. Its use as a smear is effective, however, and does the poster as little credit as he hopes to dump on me.

              What he knows…. and deliberately omits from telling you in this message ….is that of the signators of the letter, Mssrs Anderson, Beck, Steiger, Hillhouse and Lindsay – over half by my count – repudiated both their allegiance to Hardenbrook and disobedience to the bishops, and apologized to me for ever signing the letter.

              But the smear value is still there friend, and you could not have done a better job of making my point about anonymous shooters of arrows from secret places if you had tried. Thanks.

              And no, had I caused the schism it wouldn’t have been worth the damage. But I am glad I didn’t, and feel very sad at having had to choose the lesser of two evils when the plans of those who did were revealed. I pray Lord have mercy pretty sincerely, and for those who planned it, not just myself.


              Fr. George

              • Heracleides says

                Over the years I have always found it ironically amusing to witness one the individuals largely responsible for the Massacre at Ben Lomond prattle on piously whilst offering feeble excuses for his part in the bloodletting (all the while attempting to cloak his actions in a mantle of ‘love’); sorry Fr. Washburn Esq., but that dog won’t hunt and your history speaks for itself.

              • For Fr. George says

                Fr. George, this proves MY point entirely–which is that it IS acceptable and okay to use a pseudonym to publish notes and comments anonymously on blogs! The information quoted above is just one history marker in the timeline of events that could be found online by anybody. Fr. David, Fr. John, the others–all their names are there online associated with those statements about you, including the statement that they didn’t believe that you should even be a priest. The internet doesn’t tell the whole story–shifting thought processes, apologies asked for and given in person, etc. 15 years from now, I do not want to do an internet search on my name and find my thoughts online like random pieces of a puzzle not put together. An internet search of a person’s name will never convey the entire story, and those of us who post here anonymously know that. I have no axe to grind, Fr. George. I am far too weary to even pick one up.

              • ChristineFevronia says

                Dear Father George,

                Your comment gives me great reason to hope! Surely Met. Jonah, who himself was the target of a smear campaign by clergy, has reason to believe that a similar recanting and apology will take place! If such a thing happened in the past, there is precedent for it!

                Perhaps a decade from now when the STINKBOMB letter is still “out there” to be found by anyone, someone might inadvertently get the wrong idea about Met. Jonah too. Perhaps then we will be able to write a similar response to yours:

                *that those who led the coup against the Metropolitan (by secretly alienating him and the bishops on the Synod who supported Jonah) acknowledged their role
                *that the signators of the STINKBOMB letter apologized publically to Met. Jonah for ever signing the letter in the first place
                *that we will forever be praying for mercy on those who stirred up the trouble in the first place.

                Love, (deeply meaning it)
                Christine Fevronia
                (P.S. My real name is Christine and my real Orthodox name is Fevronia, after St. Fevronia of Nisibis. That is the name I am called by the Good Shepherd, who knows the name of each of his flock.)

              • nit picker says

                Fr. George,

                What he knows…. and deliberately omits from telling you in this message ….is that of the signators of the letter, Mssrs Anderson, Beck, Steiger, Hillhouse and Lindsay – over half by my count – repudiated both their allegiance to Hardenbrook and disobedience to the bishops, and apologized to me for ever signing the letter.

                That’s what you say alright!! Are they willing to put it into writing and have it published? Are they willing to go “to the mattresses?” That’s where the real proof is at. I didn’t know about your alleged involvement at Ben Lamond. I was just making an educated guess based on other behavior displayed through your written word on this forum. The letter signed by the former Fr. Hardenbrook and others reveals that there is a history of you being perceived in this light. This perception is not recent. They made the same connection I did concerning your communication style, in short: you use your lawyer skills to bully and intimidate while hiding behind the dignity and authority of your priest hood. Bad form father. Maybe it’s time you take a little criticism to heart and try to fix yerself up, eh? You know the old adage I’m sure, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck chances are, it’s not a moose….or something like that….I forget.

            • Seraphim98 says

              The year I was able to formally convert to the Orthodox faith was the year the troubles in Ben Lommand had come to a head. During the years of my inquirerhood and later catecumenate, Again Magazine, and the example of Ben Lommand were very important to my beginnings as an Orthodox Christian. The first priest I seriously talked to about conversion was Antiochian, and he was very helpful and supportive, and I have a very high regard for him to this day. I was overseas at the time the things you mention happened, but recall how shocked my priest there was at how things were being handled. The impression it left was a singular one…that if I an other choice at all I would never belong to the Antiochians. It was cruel, senseless, and unchristian by every metric I knew. The banning of Russian music was childish, and the forbidding of confessions to non-Antiochians struck me as bizarre and perhaps even phyletisitc at some level….certainly an effective denial of the unity of the faith. But it was the beginning of my education in the internal troubles, power struggles, and purseual of petty vendettas under cover of the cloth that have beset the Orthodox faith from time to time across the centuries…an education in how real treasure can be held in altogether too earthen vessels. Since then I’ve seen nothing to change my mind about Antioch. A couple of years ago I thought things might be changing for the better when they added titular bishops and seemed to have created a local synod….but that got turned on its head and the situation as it unfolded between doctored documents, the odd hem hawing and flip flopping of the Patriarch on the bishops status (or its appearance as such) and the crude spectacle of bishops being elevated then reduced to virtual mitered errand boys when the boss and his new synod saw the world differently…that solidified the impressions first formed in the wake of Ben Lommond….I would never become part of an Antiochian parish if I had any other reasonable choice…at least not until there was some new leadership at the helm in North America.

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                It’s a real education, I’ll tell you!

                Either Moscow (inconceivable), the OCA (a slow train wreck), Antioch (tyranny)….what about the Greeks? At least the Oecumenical Patriarch has no legions at all…..

                I think I’m going with the Greeks. Been there a whole lot lately. Tell me the worst now, please!

                • Carpatho says

                  Why not the most peaceful and secure diocese in North America, the American Carpatho-Russian Diocese in the USA?

                  • Jonathan Johnston says

                    The Carps are under the Greeks and thus their new bishop. The Carps have shrunk to almost nothing unfortunately. The best option for America remains the OCA. The Greeks insist on Greek & Hellenism. The Antiochians will have an increased immigration now and revert to what it was in the 1940’s – 50’s.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      If I may, although I decry the existence of separate ethnic exarchates in principle, I have heard some very good things about their new bishop, Gregory. Yes, he’s a Greek-American, but from what I hear he’s embraced the Carpatho-Russian tradition and is evangelically-minded. One of the things that gave me hope about him was that he was an already-accomplished man with a profession and entered the priesthood in middle age. In other words, he wasn’t a timeserver who of no achievement.

                    • Carpatho says

                      Jonathan Johnston.

                      You don’t know the first thing about the Carpatho Russian Diocese and your stupid comments prove it.

                      The ACROD is not shrinking. Where do you get that idea? In fact we are building new churches, planting missions and have one of the best if not the best summer camp programs in Orthodox America. It is a diocese run with great precision, organized, and a diocese that has no money problems. We have more money than the OCA and the OCA would love to have our funding stability.

                      We also have a new bishop who is doing an outstanding job and we have no problem that he came from the Greek Archdiocese. We view it as a model of inter-Orthodox cooperation, trust and love. Plus he is a moral man with integrity, inspires leadership from the laity and clergy and doesn’t put up with B.S.

                      So don’t write what you don’t know anything about. You can think the best hope is the OCA but don’t do it with ignorance about a autonomous Orthodox diocese whose legitimacy is not in any question.

      • Some things I’d like to say to Metropolitan Jonah

        1) The next place you go – consider STAYING there – to learn the benefits of Stability.

        2) And if you build something good and wonderful in the next place you go, and a supportive circle surrounds you (again), STAY there, and don’t throw it all away – and the people who grew to love you – for the “next new thing” that tempts you.

        Did your going from place to place, and thing to thing, and person to person ever really benefit anyone? I don’t think so. You were never there when you were there. You were always somewhere else. Small is beautiful.

        3) And the next time anyone, anywhere, at any time, asks you for an ecclesiastical favor (of any kind, under any circumstance, for any reason) try saying this, “Because of my experience, I have made it a point of not acting alone in such matters. I will bring this to my advisory council, and someone will get back to you.”

        There is safety in much counsel. (Proverbs 11:14)

        4) Own your issues, and stop being a victim. The orthodox world is weary of the unresolved drama surrounding you, and yet we remain hopeful. We would rather have you be a hero than a martyr. Take the foot out of your mouth and the gun you so ardently aim at that foot, and learn to live in the world with the rest of us everyday joes and underlings. Don’t let “Here comes trouble” be spoken of you again.

        5) Lastly, Please, Please, Please (did I say please?) GET A CLUE. Strive to enter some kind of imbroglio-free zone with those in church leadership. Maybe a different tack to chart the waters in this life? If it worked for the biblical Jonah, it could work for you too.

        In my estimation, a good babysitter has always been the issue, to protect you from yourself. And when you have that person, you thrive. And when you fight that person, you implode.

        Never was there a man more in need of a wise number #2.

      • Fr. George,

        You should donate your genome to medical science. It could enable the first reproducible “toady transplant” in history. The Metropolitan could pick it up at the pharmacy.

      • Libertad says

        The answer to your question, Fr. George, is no – T.R. should not think that his use of a pseudonym to express his opinions on this website is curious or inconsistent. Nor is the practice cowardly, unAmerican, or underhanded, whether used on this website or any other. The use of pseudonyms allows the free discussion of important public questions without intruding personalities into the discussion, which would only distract from what is being discussed. It also shields people from retaliation, when those in positions of power do not like the opinions being expressed. The use of pseudonyms in public debate is a time-honored American practice, going all the way back to the founding of the Republic.

        Usually those who demand that those using pseudonyms reveal their true names are hoping that retaliation will fall on the now-known person, or at least that they will somehow be silenced, leaving only those who toe the line of the powers-that-be to make public comments. Hopefully, Fr. George, you are not one of those people. And for T.R., keep using your pseudonym, and keep commenting. You have every right to do so.

    • Syosset is full of crap. Never trust them or believe them again. If they have taken some kind of steps it is only because it helps them out. Never trust them, liars!

      • Nate B (not Nate Trost!) says

        There is only one reason +Jonah was allowed to be present for the St. Tikhon’s event. The SOB (Synod of Bishops) had just received a report that stated very clearly that the OCA is in the hole financially (running at a large deficit) and that around 1,000 tithing members have left the church since Met. Jonah’s resignation. So, they trot him out for the event, have him photographed with them–all for one reason. They have finally realized that +Jonah’s forced departure has actually had repercussions: the “faithful” are not tithing and they are leaving the OCA. And so they bring +Jonah out, talk about their settlement with him ($1,000 per month as reported in the MC spring meeting minutes), and attempt to placate the departing, non-tithe-paying OCA members.

        Fool us once, SOB, shame on you. Fool us twice, SOB, shame on us!

    • transparency says

      Transparency and treating the little people right and honestly is a problem in our society right now, but it is beginning to be something that is being taken seriously. No more pretending things didn’t occur. No more sweeping under the rug! Preventative actions to prevent ethics and moral violations!


  2. A retraction of all of the actionable letters written by the Holy Synod against Metropolitan Jonah should appear on the O.C.A. website, be signed by every member of the O.C.A administration and Synod and go to every major news service that repeated the false allegations, whether or not the Metropolitan has given up the right for legal redress. It would make the Holy Synod seem more like a Christian entity.

    Concerning the ethnic archdioceses, I suggest the following:

    1. All Romanian, Albanian and Bulgarian archdiocesan parishes be folded into the O.C.A. Every “mother” church is recognized by the O.C.A. and their hierarchy celebrate with us in pan-Orthodox unity. We should begin to centralize and share administrative costs between jurisdictions when we can, and work for closer unity in the Faith. Presently, all jurisdictions are wasting our resources.

    2. Each parish has the right to vote on and choose the languages and rubrics of services and whether or not the civil or the Church calendar is followed. If one parish uses Vigils and the other Vespers with Matins the following morning, these are both Orthodox. As for the calendar issue, we should take the forefront in creating a new world calendar that the Church would also use, as calendar differences can either cease when a new one is created, or create even more difficulties.

    3. We should prioritize improving, increasing, and unifying translations into English, Spanish and other modern languages. This should be an inter-jurisdictional effort.

    4. All our theological, choral, chant and other educational conferences should be available to one another jurisdictions.

    5. As much as possible concerning our religion should be available for free online, be transparent and show best practices in compassion and Christian love.

    Christ is Risen!

    • Stop the Insanity says

      Invent a new 3rd calendar? Ridiculous!

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      We should prioritize improving, increasing, and unifying translations into English, Spanish and other modern languages. This should be an inter-jurisdictional effort.

      When we tried this about 20 years ago, the wrong people got put on the translation committee. The thing was perfectly predictable. They were “experts,” you understand, and the rest of us were kept in the dark.

      Fortunately, a few copies of the monstrosity got out, and there was an uproar. SCOBA finally rejected the translation and sacked the translators.

      Dimes get you dollars the same thing will happen if we repeat that effort.

      Putting “experts” on translation committees springs from the same quirky impulse that puts Father Dracula in charge of the diocesan blood drive.

      Anyway, our correspondent’s recourse to the alleged verb “prioritize” should make us all shaky about his suggestion.

      • oh....... says

        Whoever effects the translations, at least they will exist and I see no reason to be defeatist. They are a missionary necessity.

        As for prioritize as a verb, it suggests an order to accomplishing a series of tasks. Bringing good news of Christ’s Resurrection would seem to be one of those priorities. Btw, concerning usage, it occurs to me that most of the Orthodox world uses patronymics and mostly westerners use middle names. On this blog, uniquely, there are many correspondents utilizing middle names or initials. Alternately, some folks who have converted utilize their chrismation names as if first names and relegate their birth names as middle names. Were you Henry before conversion?

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          oh! says:

          As for prioritize as a verb, it suggests an order to accomplishing a series of tasks.


          Alternately, some folks who have converted utilize their chrismation names

          With these two stumbling pronouncements our correspondent bolsters the case against translating our liturgical texts into English until such time as there are more Orthodox Christians who can speak and write English.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        As for me, I still think the RSV is best. The old RSV.

        You’ve got to pick one good one, at least as an individual, to memorize from. None beats the RSV for that purpose.

      • Ladder of Divine Ladder says

        “When we tried this about 20 years ago, the wrong people got put on the translation committee. The thing was perfectly predictable. They were “experts,” you understand, and the rest of us were kept in the dark.

        “Fortunately, a few copies of the monstrosity got out, and there was an uproar. SCOBA finally rejected the translation and sacked the translators.

        “Dimes get you dollars the same thing will happen if we repeat that effort.

        “Putting “experts” on translation committees springs from the same quirky impulse that puts Father Dracula in charge of the diocesan blood drive.”


    • Michael Bauman says


      1. why would anyone in their right mind what to be “folded into” the OCA. For instance, my brother is a priest in the Patriarchal Bulgarian jurisdiction. His bishop here, Met. Joseph, is amazing. Why would my brother give that up for a the gang that can’t shoot straight (apparently in all meanings of that word and phrase). “Central Administrations” are generally a bad idea. That’s what the OCA has now. How’s that workin’ for you.

      2. In case you haven’t realized yet, we are not Congregationalist. We are Orthodox ruled by bishops. We don’t get to “vote” on liturgics. Perish the thought.

      3. See Fr. Pat above. When enough English speaking people are hungry enough, God will provide someone to do the appropriate translations. In general, we do not need a forced homogeneity.

      4. They actually are but again, the bishops decide, as they should, which choral tradition is to be followed.

      5. Again, we are not Protestant. Our ‘religion’ (whatever that is) matters not a whit. What matters is union with Christ through the sacraments and our own dedication to that union through the practice of prayer, worship, fasting, almsgiving (mercy as well as goods) and repentance. That is freely and openly available anywhere there is a parish. Much of it is directly, freely, opening and transcendently available anywhere at anytime.

      You might have to work a little harder in some parishes and situations than in others, but God is merciful and constant. Jesus Christ really is incarnate and with us, the Holy Spirit is ‘everywhere present and filleth all things’.

      Read these stories: http://silouanthompson.net/2009/12/with-my-own-eyes/

      • Dear Michael,

        Was referring to ethnic archdioceses already a part of but maintaining separate administration within the OCA, that these get folded into OCA proper. There is no reason, for example, that there cannot be a parish with Albanian language and traditions without a separate Albanian Archdiocese within the OCA.

        I referred to what is already in place in the OCA, that individual parishes can choose old calendar or new. Most jurisdictions do this that have moved to the new calendar. Also, there are local liturgical usages. This is not “liturgics” and it is not “congregationalism”. It’s usually local tradition. Speaking of which, yer bro sings the OCA tones in a Bulgarian church which would normally sing the Bulgarian tones or Bulgarian composed music. Unique, but speaks to his parish’s own traditions.

  3. ChristineFevronia says

    There have been incorrect rumors about Met. Jonah’s settlement on this site by certain posters, about the amount of the monthly monetary stipend Met. Jonah will be receiving, and the conditions of the settlement. Please guard your hearts against gossip and heated exchanges about what is “right” or “wrong” until the actual details of the settlement are revealed in their own time. (Whoever started the false rumor about the $3,000 a month stipend should wash his mouth out with strong Palmolive soap.)

    Thanks to you, George, as always, for keeping the dialogue open. Thanks also for posting the beautiful picture above.

    • Christine,

      Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

      You are correct. The “settlement” was for $1000 a month (big deal) and 3 years health insurance coverage.

      Such a generous OCA. NOT!

      • ChristineFevronia says

        James, indeed He is Risen! Let us call brothers even those that hate us, and forgive ALL by His Resurrection!

        • Christine,

          I forgive them, for they no not what they do, but as for their salvation I also pray since they refuse to be true leaders.

    • nit picker says

      Dear ChristineFevronia,

      I don’t quite understand your post. Does that mean that an agreement has NOT been reached between Metropolitan Jonah and Syosset and negotians are still under way?

      Does this mean that the amount and conditions reported are significantly less?

      I am hoping that they are significantly more, but something tells me probably not.

      Truthfully, I’m willing to take your word on it more than anybody else’s.

      If you can give more information without jeopardizing Metropolitan Jonah’s position, great. If not, then I guess we’ll just have to wait.

      • ChristineFevronia says

        Greetings, nit picker. Someone wrote a comment on this site a few days ago that Met. Jonah was receiving $3,000 per month. That comment was not accurate, and it spawned a heated discourse about the “phoniness” of monastics who receive a monetary stipend/pension.

        According to the spring MC minutes: “MOTION LANIER/MCFATTER – To approve a financial package for Metropolitan Jonah, including $1000 per month until age 65, full medical coverage for three years… CARRIED with 6 opposed (Tosi, Shimchick, Jury, Mikhalevsky, Ringa, Van Duyn).” Met. Jonah is receiving $1,000 per month for as long as he stays within the OCA. (And please don’t just take my word on it… call Syosset.)

        Also, our dear sister Philippa justly noted on this site that Bp. Matthias will also receive just $1,000 per month for the next 18 months. As you know, Bp. Matthias did everything requested of him by the Synod, was found innocent of all charges, was given outstanding positive commendations by his evaluators and the investigatory team, and yet he was still dismissed by the Synod. (Here is a link to Philippa’s comment: https://www.monomakhos.com/stinkbomb-ii/#comment-57502)

        Simone Weil wrote: “Charity. To love human beings in so far as they are nothing. That is to love them as God does.” It doesn’t matter if someone is a monastic or Metropolitan, lowlife scum or exalted saint. Everyone deserves our charity and kindness.

  4. nit picker says

    *static crackles* AHEM! Dr. Stankovich! Paging Dr. Stankovich. Dr. Stankovich, please pick up the house phone. *beep*

    I’m posting this here since I’m unable to post this where we initially had the original conversation for some reason.


    Ok. I just got my tin foil hat back from the cleaners, I’m all hopped up on no-doz and red-bull and I’ve just finished a 48 hour marathon of the conspiracy channel and my lasers are focused on you (aren’t you lucky!!!).

    Remember this: https://www.monomakhos.com/stinkbomb-ii/#comment-57029

    Guess what? I think I may have actually figured out why your friends where interested in passing some information on to you to release onto this forum. You are quite correct, they really do have no interest in the OCA, but I bet they have an interest in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Interesting that information that you received “just happened” to coincide with this event:


    for those who don’t read Greek that well. This event is so important because they are making plans for an up coming Pan-Orthodox council and one of the items slated for discussion are issues concerning the former Patriarch of Jerusalem Irinaios.


    There are individuals who would like to see that Pan-Orthodox synod undermined.

    Individuals like:



    This is why I believe you are being played for a chump. Anybody that knows the common denominators and the players will understand what I am getting at. It’s all available on line. The issue that you raised concerning Bp. Basil’s apartment was only revealed by you and certain parties were trying to utilize it to try to create a scandal where there was no scandal and undermine this Pan-Orthodox council.

    • M. Stankovich says

      nit picker,

      If I were near, you would be receiving 80 mg ziprasidone IM, and after about 30-40 minutes we would be having a quiet, calm discussion as to the close proximity you are to the edge. A friend – and you will have to trust my word that this elderly, pious soul has no interest in “intrigue” and Pan-Orthodoxy – mentioned in passing of hearing of this situation shortly after the Old Calendar Christmas. Obviously, I did not pursue it. Only in my being offended at the misuse of the memory of the righteous, I posed the question. Only then did another friend confirm the rumor as true. I believe I was quite clear in stating I am not interested in “creating scandal,” but preserving the memory of a Saint. Perhaps someone – perhaps a church body or volunteers could purchase it and guarantee it preservation. That is the extent of my interest.

      I do not intend to pursue your argument nor your links, and as I have said here too many times, let the memory of the righteous be from everlasting, but protected from self-serving, self-righteous intrigue & scandal. Venerable Bishop Basil pray to God for us.

      • nit picker says

        Dr. Stankovich,

        Well let’s get this pegged down, shall we? Since you have already suggested what you would give me if you were near, how about I come to you and you can start treatment…hmmm? Not that you would ever make a diagnosis over the internet without meeting a patient. That would be irresponsible and unprofessional, wouldn’t it? However since you know what medication you would give me if you were near, what is your professional opinion, precisely?

        One of these: ” for the treatment of schizophrenia, and acute mania and mixed states associated with bipolar disorder. Its intramuscular injection form is approved for acute agitation in schizophrenic patients for whom treatment with just ziprasidone is appropriate……Ziprasidone is also used off-label for depression, bipolar maintenance, mood disorders, anxiety, aggression, dementia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, autism, and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

        Since you are putting your professional self on the line, perhaps you would like to explain to the general public the examinations and testing that you personally conducted on me to determine that such treatment was necessary. I’ll be by for dinner. We’ll talk more then. I’ll bring wine, you bring the meds. BTW, I’m allergic to shell fish. Just FYI.

        • nit picker says

          Dr. Stankovich,

          I forgot to mention…you picked a strange way to try to preserve a memorial.

          I fail to see how exposing the name of the apartment’s owner, expressing rage that hospitality was offered to some one that you hold in contempt in that same apartment on this forum, is equivalent to soliciting funds from private donors to secure its purchase so it can be preserved as an Orthodox shrine for all generations in memory of a contemporary saint. I’m just not seeing how your actions worked towards that end.

          That’s why I think you’re story is full of….ahem…holes.

          If I wanted to secure an apartment as a national Orthodox memorial for a contemporary saint, I would enter into private negotiations with the owner. They might even be willing to donate it. Since the owner of the apartment is one of the individuals pushing the most behind the canonization of Bp. Basil, I’m willing to make an educated guess that they have already arranged to bequest all of Bp. Basil’s personal affects to the OCA or to a museum for preservation. So you see, I bet you really have nothing to worry about at all!! Aren’t you glad? Let your friends over-seas know too, so that they don’t worry either. Just in case, contacting the owner privately is the first step I would take. You already know her name and she isn’t difficult to find. So again I find myself asking “what did Dr. Stankovich hope to achieve by posting that information? What was he trying to communicate, to whom and for what purpose?”

          • Dear Nit,

            While I whole heartedly agree it was distasteful for Stankovich to say the name of the apartment owner and try to stir scandal about it, I don’t know what you mean as far as purchasing the apartment with donors $ for a shrine–the apartment is already owned . . . . ??

            • Right, Colette, I guess Mr. Stankovich wants to save the apartment from the horrible fate of being used as an apartment?

              Whatever else Fr. X is, he would certainly not be better off being left homeless on the street, and I applaud the apartment owner’s generosity in letting him stay there.

              As things stand, the apartment is kept more or less as Vladyka Basil left it, and it is privately owned. I don’t know what Mr. Stankovich hopes to accomplish if he wants to take up donations to take ownership of the apartment, unless he is insinuating that the current owner is somehow not good enough to own this piece of Vladyka Basil’s legacy. In which case, I would have to defend the owner against such a scurrilous charge.

              • I should clarify that I know Fr. X is not staying in that apartment right now, he hasn’t been there in three years or so, and only stayed there a short time when he was there.

                Having overnight stays in a vacant dwelling is helpful because it deters burglars, and lessens the chance that unforeseen breakdowns would lead to catastrophic events (gas leaks, water leaks, electrical problems). If there is an insurance policy on the dwelling, it may also be necessary to have someone stay overnight at certain intervals for the policy to be maintained.

                I have no doubt that the owner’s only motivation in permitting Fr. X to stay in that place for a little while was to give shelter to someone who needed it, a natural outpouring of the owner’s very caring and generous nature.

                Fr. X’s personal flaws, whatever they may be and however deep they may run, do not reflect on the apartment owner in any way.

            • nit picker says

              Dear colette,

              In his post, Dr. Stankovich wrote:

              Perhaps someone – perhaps a church body or volunteers could purchase it and guarantee it preservation. That is the extent of my interest.

              That’s why it struck me as so odd. That’s just not the way I would go about trying to secure a property that I wanted to see preserved. Others out there may not know why the current owner would be the ideal person to preserve the property and possessions of Bp. Basil (even though you and I do). In fact the current owner is over qualified to be the protector both from a personal and professional standing. Those that know the owner would agree.

              Let’s look at Dr. Stankovich’s assertion:

              “Perhaps someone – perhaps a church body or volunteers could purchase it and guarantee it preservation. That is the extent of my interest.”

              Let’s assume it is 100% true. Let’s assume that his motives are entirely altruistic (just for the sake of this discussion). What steps would you colette (let’s assume you are Dr. Stankovich – just for this exercise), what steps take to secure this property as a shrine for posterity as a place of veneration for all Orthodox Christians to the memory eternal of a contemporary Orthodox Saint?

              1. I would speak to my local bishop and see if he gives me blessing to go ahead with such a project and what is required.
              2. I would speak to the owner of the property and find out what plans exist, if there are any outstanding issues with the property. Maybe the property has already been willed to the church.
              3. I would get together a list of people and corporations that make matching donations so that a trust can be set up for the maintenance of the property, as well as lawyers and other volunteers to help maintain the property so it will not become a financial drain on an already financially burdened OCA, and get all my ducks lined up to make sure that it can have tax-exempt status.

              What I wouldn’t do is rant and rave and foam at the key board about it on this forum IF what I was really interested in doing was preserving the memory of a saint, but , hey, that’s just me.

              If you or somebody else think that foaming at the keyboard is a good idea and accomplishes anything in this particular case, I’m interested in reading why.

              I’m also interested in what you and others think of my hypothetical assessment. Would you do something similar or entirely different, and why or why not?

              • Hmmmm. Would I do something different. Yes. I would move it (the contents) to a place that is accessible to all. The apartment is small and other people live all around it. I think it is a bit odd for the other owners/renters and only a few people can actually enter.

        • M. Stankovich says

          nit picker,

          MADONNA MIA, it was a JOKE! I might realistically take the rubber mallet to you, you knucklehead, but I was kidding.

          As for the rest of it, let it go, dude. I’m bored already. Recall the words of Stephan, “The Most High does not live in houses made by human hands.” (Acts 7:48) I apologize for ever raising the issue. Let the memory of the Saint be recounted in the wonderful stories of his life, in the marvelous recordings of his writings, reflections, & sermons broadcast around the world, and in the hearts of his spiritual children who celebrate his memory and will preserve his memory for generations to come. Beyond that, I am no longer concerned. I hope to live long enough to witness his canonization! Blessed Bishop Basil pray to God for us!

          • nit picker says

            Dr. Stankovich

            Blessed Bishop Basil pray to God for us!


            I might realistically take the rubber mallet to you, you knucklehead, but I was kidding.

            So it’s a good thing I didn’t show up for dinner then? Truthfully, it is unfortunate for you. Not only was I bringing wine, I also was bringing some very fine hand rolled cigars, a lemon meringue pie (made it my self) and my backgammon set. Unfortunately, I was detained with other responsibilities. My apologies for not calling. I hope Mrs. Stankovich didn’t go to too much trouble for little ‘ol me. Don’t tell Heracleides, he might get jealous.

            Rain-check then? Shall we say next Tuesday? Do you like strawberry? I’ll make a strawberry-rhubarb pie.

      • Ivan Vasiliev says

        You put far too much trust in the power of anti-psychotic medications, Dr. Stankovich. I’m not so sure that nit-picker would necessarily be moved in the least by a mere 80 mg of Ziprasidone. I managed to take 300mg of Quetiapine, 200 mg of Topirimate, and 400 mg of Carbamazepine yesterday morning (my nighttime dosages by mistake in the morning) and still managed to make it through a day of meetings and work–albeit a bit “calmer” than I might have been otherwise. Why am I sharing this with you? Because these things are no joke for those of us who have to take them to deal with life under the lash of a major mental illness.

        One of the most objectionable things the Holy Synod did was to attempt to tar Metropolitan Jonah with the brush of mental illness. Whether or not he is mentally ill, I don’t know. What is objectionable is that it is still OK to throw that particular kind of illness out with a wink and a nod to explain everything nasty and ugly in a person. One can’t really cry, “Witch”, anymore. “Commie” won’t cut it either. And, “Fairy”, just gets giggles. So, what’s left but something out of the DSM IV (now 5–no more Roman numerals for the crazies)–a personality disorder or a major mental illness and a shot to go with it?

        Forgive my ire, but this one touches too close to home to ignore. The cross that the mentally ill person (and their loved ones) carries chafes us as raw as the cross that anyone with a physical illness carries. The awful truth is that we often carry ours for decades and the stigma that goes with it is very far from having died.

        • nit picker says

          Mr. Vasiliev,

          Illness is humility. Thank you for sharing yours with us.

        • M. Stankovich says

          Pardon me, Mr. Vasiliev. I had no intention of offending you. I have spent most of adult life advocating for my patients, and more often than not, they have been a segment of the population who are the most persistently mentally ill, the most needy, the most helpless, and by far, the most disdained in our society.

          At the same time, I would note that you cannot “have it both ways”: advocating understanding, empathy, and acceptance on the one hand, and railing against the “soviet-style” imposition of diagnosis when we have neither the sufficiency of information or qualification to do so. Mental disorders have no respect of persons, and if there is, in fact, any “tarring” to be done, it should left in the hands of those trained to do so.

          Again, forgive me for offending you.

          • Ivan Vasiliev says

            In this particular incidence, Dr. Stankovich, I avoided my usual Soviet references. I clearly stated that I do not know the mental status of the former Metropolitan. Nor do the Most Reverend Worthies (at least to the best of our collective knowledge). It was their knee jerk decision to send His Beatitude (or ex Beatitude now restored to a current but retired Beatitude) for a mental health check up that was so troubling in the first place. Why not to a regular physician? Why the assumption of mental illness (as opposed to demonic possession in a more ancient time “a witch”, or a political heretic in a more recent time, etc.)?

            Did he show obvious clinical signs of schizophrenia, bipolar, etc? Who on the Holy Synod (notice I am refraining from my regular Soviet style references to the Holy Politburo with great effort) or the Metropolitan Council (not the Central Committee today, Doctor, due to the gravity of this particular subject) has the clinical knowledge to make even a knowledgeable guess about a mental disorder? Why the assumption that he should go for psychological rather than physical assessments, or, better yet, for a spiritual retreat at a monastery (in keeping with the real tradition of the Orthodox Church). My complaint against what I will accept as a rather poor but not malicious joke on your part has to do with the assumption that the first line of defense (if that term is correct, here) is to be found in the DSM whatever number it is now. For some us (and I am included here) the diagnosis and medications found in that tome can be life changing for the better. But not for all, not even for most. And to use the psychiatric model as the first line of response in situations where there is profound disagreement and stress is dangerous. You mentioned the soviets, not I. It was your slip, but I think it was an excellent one. When any institution begins to define its dissenters as mentally ill and suggests that they be confined to mental institutions and subjected to “medication” it sounds an awful lot like how the Party dealt with people who just couldn’t fit into the social norms back in the good old USSR. Again, you mentioned them here, not I.

            As for “railing” I hardly think I was. I do think I was a bit taken aback though. As one who is on the other end of the needle so to speak (though willingly and in pill form) and as one who has seen people disappear from his life once it became known that he wasn’t quite right in the head (and who has had to watch the shame and hurt it causes family members, too) your opening sentence came as something of a slap in the face. You have apologized though and I accept it. I do believe that you would be much more likely to use a mallet on nitpicker than a needle. Do understand, though, that whenever I refer to the Holy Synod there is a degree of, let us say intentionality, intended that may not be there when I use my preferred (and I believe more accurate) Soviet references. To me they are and always will be the Holy Politburo in my heart guided by the People’s elected representatives on the Metropolitan Central Committee. Now let the fun begin again, sir.

            • nit picker says

              Mr. Vasiliev,

              In your comment you write:

              It was their knee jerk decision to send His Beatitude (or ex Beatitude now restored to a current but retired Beatitude) for a mental health check up that was so troubling in the first place. Why not to a regular physician? Why the assumption of mental illness (as opposed to demonic possession in a more ancient time “a witch”, or a political heretic in a more recent time, etc.)?

              Good question!! I’m surprised that I didn’t think to ask it before. As I read your question the answer became glaringly obvious.

              The answer is this: The canons of the church are very clear under what circumstances a hierarch can be removed – teaching heresy, or severe psychological impediment. Heresy is a little difficult to prove. He would have to preach it from the ambo or sign a document. What if, just what if his brother bishops were to claim he was mentally unstable, send him to a treatment facility (let’s say in Maryland, let’s just say it’s called St. Luke’s) which has a reputation for labeling conservative religious as mentally unfit for ministry (remember the article “Salt for their Wounds”?) Maybe they even arranged who at St. Luke’s was to do the interviews to be sure to get the evaluation they desired so that they could justify their removal and put their man in. It was a done deal from the git go. The burden of proof is off of their shoulders and then they put out lots of different rumors of administrative issues for example: the multiple rapes that never happened under his watch that somehow got leaked to the press. The highly confidential reports that also some how got leaked to the public. All very carefully calculated. Then we are supposed to trust them? Seriously?

  5. nit picker says

    Dear “elf”

    For some reason I can not post any comments to where you asked your question, so I am posting here.


    I was responding to Philippa’s comments and concerns that Bp. Mathias would only be receiving $1000 per month for 18 months, that his pension was reduced and this was a precondition of his acceptance into the OCA, and that Philippa made a well intentioned request to solicit funds for Bp. Mathias.

    Apparently you have other information as to what Bp. Mathias will be receiving? You are certain he will receive his FULL pension when he reaches age 65? If so, praise God. It was not my intention to offend anyone and I ask forgiveness. I have no idea how old Bp. Mathias is now. I hope that people will be kind and offer him some support and not leave him utterly destitute.

  6. Hmmm…. interesting title, “Let the Healing Begin.” I would personally like to see some healing occur but there are many things that have been left unresolved for so long that I”m not quite sure the OCA is on the path to healing — perhaps a better title would be, “We stopped hemorrhaging.”

    I’m not a doctor so my analogy might not quite fit exactly (but I’m sure you get the point). I’ve seen this dog and pony show before with the OCA — ala Fr. Garglavs and that regime which is now almost completely gone. Getting rid of Metropolitan Herman was supposed to do the trick. Getting rid of Bishop Nikolai was supposed to do the trick. Metropolitan Jonah as the successor to Archbishop Dmitri was supposed to do the trick, then making him Metropolitan was supposed to really do the trick. Getting rid of Mark Stokoe was supposed to heal the OCA, so was the getting rid of various other members of the Metropolitan Council, changing law firms and accountants, etal. I don’t know about you, but I’m still not feeling the “healing” (maybe it’s just me).

    The OCA will begin to heal when the hubris subsides. The OCA is a 20,000 member group (oops sorry, 19,000 member group — Melanie Ringa pointed out that the OCA lost 1,000 members in one year). It is once again running in the red big time. It is not the voice of Orthodoxy in America despite the politburo telling its party members about the autocephaly. When the OCA decides to confront how it just treated its last Metropolitan with the utmost of disgrace by humiliating him and and offering him a paltry $3,000 per month to live on, when it confronts its horrific tolerance of homosexuality amongst clergy, and when it begins to lead by grace, humility and truth, then I will believe that the healing process has begun.

    • Michael Bauman says

      What you describe is the phenomena of a community practice the tradition of the law–finding a scapegoat. It is antithetical to Christianity. It is profoundly destructive an quite hard to overcome once it takes hold.

      Don’t hold your breath.

      • Fr. Justin Frederick says

        “…the tradition of the law–finding a scapegoat.”

        Is this what happens when we have lawyers running the OCA?

        • Michael Bauman says

          Lawyers are fine as long as they seek the truth and counsel according to the law rather than seeking to use the law to obfuscate and hide the truth.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Fr, let’s not “kill all the lawyers” pace Shakespeare just yet. Wouldn’t it make more sense instead to have Canonist in each diocese or at least the Central Administration?

          Your point though is thought-provoking. I for one was aghast that any lawyer who graduated from anything above a Junior College would have signed off on the original Stinkbomb letter. It was not only full of holes and falsehoods, but poorly written. I went to public school from K-12 during the height of forced bussing, where the primary concern of most of the students and teachers was not to get beaten up or thrown out of windows, and if anyone had written something so ungrammatical and redundant, he would have been forced to write on the blackboard “Fartacus was not a Roman god” 100 times.

          • Abbouna Michel says

            I think your comment has considerable merit. This, in fact, is my obedience in my current jurisdiction. I remind my bishop, only half jokingly, that my job is to keep his feet off landmines and his, umph, out of jail.

            In multiple jurisdictions, controversy is exacerbated by civil attorneys operating beyond their expertises, and venturing into areas for which their education provides little preparation. The result, unfortunately, is frequently undesirable.

            Each diocese, if possible, ought to have an eccesiastical lawyer who works, primarily, for the bishop, but is available for other kinds of consultation as well. Ideally, this person ought to be trained in both civil and ecclesiastical law. Roman Church universities offer the “J.U.D” (literally, “Doctor of Both Laws) degree. Perhaps some Orthodox entity ought to create a similar program.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Agreed. Responding to my earlier response to you Fr, I regret if I gave the impression that I don’t like lawyers or that there was no need for them in church administration. One of the Godliest men I have had the privilege of knowing is a lawyer. Had he been employed in Syosset then none of what transpired in the past year or so would have happened. He’s a true Christian gentleman who tries to discern the face of Christ in every person he meets.

    • Nick,

      If you are appalled at a “paltry $3000 a month,” what is your reaction to $1000 per month? Because that is all Met. Jonah will get – and health insurance for 3 years. See the minutes from the Spring Metropolitan Council meeting.

      The $3000 meme, first put forth by Jeffrey, I believe, is typical of how misinformation is introduced and then amplified on the ‘net. Jeffery indicated that he had a “rock solid” source, and he may have had just such a source – direct from Syosset perhaps. That source may have had reasons to ‘plant’ that leak with Jeffrey, with Jeffrey being the unwitting dupe who gets it into circulation. Another theory could be that Jeffrey was in on it and played the shill. However, now good people like you now think that HB Jonah is getting $3000 a month. Several people seize upon the number and discuss it as if it were true, and 90% of those reading take away an immpression that is much more generous than reality, and the damage control doesn’t cost Syosset/OCA a dime!

      That very same pattern was followed regarding an unsubstantiated diagnosis tossed out here on George’s site a couple of weeks ago.

      Those faithful who have been helping +Jonah through the Holy Archangels Orthodox Foundation might be confused and believe that he has finally been taken care of by the Synod. Of course, living on $1000/month is not what many would consider being taken care of. But $3000/mo? That is a grayer area.

  7. Healing can only begin when the OCA bishops retract their slander of Metropolitan Jonah. I will never allow a penny of my tithe to go to the OCA as long as the bishops fail to do this.

    • Father Mark Hodges says

      I agree that OCA healing (and the restoration of integrity) must begin with the episcopal apology and public retraction of the Synodal letter slandering Metropolitan JONAH, which falsely reported throughout the world press that he intentionally covered up rape –signed by all who were represented in the slanderous letter and released to all media outlets which covered its character assassinating lies. If our bishops were true monks, they would not hesitate to admit their wrongs, and there would be not only personal repentance but a public prostration ceremony before His Beatitude JONAH.

      Such humble action –true episcopal leadership and a true example to all– is what would start the healing.

      • Fr Hodges,

        One would normally think that such an apology from men who are professed to be our leaders, an example, men who are reminded at each Liturgy, “Let your light so shine before men so that they may see your good works…..” one would think that such an admonition would prompt them to at the very least show mercy and take upon themselves the Cross of humility.

        However, this Synod of Bishops leads by another set of rules, the bitter fruit is that people are leaving their flocks. As Abe Lincoln once said, “you can fool some of the people some of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

      • Ivan Vasiliev says

        Father Mark,

        I know our church is vastly wealthy in liturgical rites, but do we actually have a Public Prostration Ceremony? I know that we do something like that on Forgiveness Sunday when we offer the kiss of forgiveness (in most of the parishes I’ve been in people cross themselves and bow low, touch the floor and offer each other the kiss of peace asking forgiveness, “Forgive me”). It’s quite beautiful and moving. The choir either sings Lenten hymns or Paschal hymns depending on the parish and tradition, but I’ve never seen a separate rite performed. Perhaps in monasteries. It would be interesting. But would it be something that should be done publicly for the news media? I wonder. It would probably be turned into something vulgar. I don’t think non Orthodox would get it.

      • Weary of WellDoing says

        Sometimes, it seems to me that healing will begin when we are led by bishops who are formed as true followers of Christ; who are cultivating such fruit as self-control, kindness, forbearance, gentleness, and so on. It’s difficult to look upon the figure of such a one who is patently suffering from the sin of gluttony, for example, regardless of vocation, and find hope for much spiritual direction when he is obviously and publicly unable to attain control over even the simplest of tasks: portion control.

        In our overly-materialistic and anti-Christian society whereby our wants, our desires, our perceived needs prevail, (“go for all the gusto you can!” and “you deserve a break today…at McDonald’s!”), it’s discouraging to look around and see, firstly, fat spiritual fathers. It’s difficult to seek out their help in my OWN struggle against vainglory and greed when it’s so painfully and embarrassingly obvious they, too, are failing in this very basic and first small spiritual step. God help me, but I need someone further along the journey than I am to give me a hand-up, so to speak.

        To be constantly confronted with “spiritual elders” who appear to be men who cannot control their appetites (regardless of season), their prurient self-interests, their need to bloviate in cyberspace, and/or control snarkiness against those with whom they disagree (politics? what did Jesus say about politics? does all of American Orthodoxy ignore Romans 13?) and…golly! what’s a poor cradle (much less convert!) to do?!?

        Where are those Bishops and Monks I’ve read about in “Beauty for Ashes” and “Everyday Saints”? Where are the barefooted St Johns? I suppose I am hopelessly romantic; naive. We all have feet of clay.

        But, in all truth, won’t real healing begin when we look to ourselves and cease pointing fingers at who should go first? When we see to our own healing instead of waiting for someone else to go first? Fr Mark, do you think I should look to you to go first? or should I firstly, take the plank out of my own eye?

        Forgive me, a sinner.

        • Father Mark Hodges says

          Yes, by all means, I would be eager to be first in line to prostrate before Metropolitan JONAH for being a part of an ecclesial body that published to the world press the most vicious character-assassinating lies about him. But my point is that for the OCA to begin to heal and regain integrity, the starting point is an apology for slandering our Metropolitan.

          • Philippa says

            As well as your own apology, Priest Hodges, for your contribution to the ousting and slandering of His Grace, Bp. Matthias.

            Physician, heal thyself.

            • Heracleides says

              This would be the same Bp. Matthias that interacted very inappropriately with a young female catechumen? (Let’s call a spade a spade – Matthias’ actions were those of a dirty-old-man.) The same Graceless Bishop through whom the Stinkbomb Letter defaming Met. Jonah was disseminated? My compliments to Fr. Hodges if he did indeed take a stand against this unremarkable lecher in episcopal robes.

            • Father Mark Hodges says


              Christ is risen!

              With respect (though I don’t know who you are), and putting aside your avoidance of the point with which I partially agreed (I did not agree about withholding tithing, but with the necessity of an apology), the Synodal letter lies about Metropolitan JONAH in the most character-assassinating ways, and I agreed with Helga that if our beloved jurisdiction (and our contribution to Orthodox unity in America) is to heal and move forward together, one place to begin is the Synodal letter. (One could go earlier, to the mistreatment of +JONAH, but the Synodal letter is the most blatant, most offensive, most intentionally damaging and most internationally known.)

              As far as your charges against me, even if true (and they aren’t), they do not dispute the agreed necessity of an apology, nor even address the intentional, public harm done by the Synodal letter against Metropolitan JONAH. Again, as far as you accusations against me, I deny slandering anyone, but I welcome your correction, in specifics.

              Getting back to the subject, the Synodal letter had the worldwide effect of destroying Metropolitan JONAH’s reputation –and destroying the reputation of the OCA, as well as holy Orthodoxy in the eyes of many. I work in a radio station which covers one-ninth of Ohio (NWC). In July, I was working when we broadcast (live) our daily “Religion Roundup,” a report on current religious news, which we announce only a few minutes after a shift change, when I came on. We get our news feed from The Associated Press. I was given the following to announce, with about four minutes to read it over:


              I kid you not! The article went on to state as fact, based solely on the letter released by the Holy Synod on 7/16/2012, that Metropolitan JONAH had intentionally covered up rape, knowingly protected a “rapist priest” under his jurisdiction, and with personal knowledge of the rape kept the priest under his episcopal care in the U.S.

              The article I was supposed to read on the air continued, again based solely on the synod-signed letter, to say in sum that Metropolitan JONAH acted similarly to Roman Catholic bishops who knew priests were raping and sodomizing children, and yet not only looked the other way but protected such activity among priests under their archpastoral care.

              The same article implied that the OCA Synod was considering Metropolitan JONAH’s case to be like Jerry Sandusky’s, actually using Sandusky and Metropolitan Jonah in the same sentence and in the same context, as the synod letter does.

              None of those slanders are true. But even if they were, the unnecessary damage to holy Orthodoxy in the eyes of the world is incalculable –let alone the intentional destruction of a brother’s character! We’re not talking about in-house, among the faithful, factual criticism; we talking about publicizing falsehoods with the intent ruin a brother.

              I had about four minutes before I was on the air. What do you think I should have broadcast?

              I did not report on that AP news story, but I was ashamed of the coverage, which continued for days and days. At the radio station, I looked into other news wires. The Washington Post’s headline read:


              The Post reported that Metropolitan Jonah was removed “because he had failed to remove a priest accused of rape.” It further reported that Metropolitan Jonah “was involved in attempting to keep the alleged victim from pursuing the case, telling them that ‘their salvation depended on their silence.’” The Post quoted Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation letter “begging forgiveness” and connected +JONAH’s apology with: “he had been forced to resign over a rape case.”

              All this from our Synod’s letter.

              The Philadelphia Inquirer ran the headline: “ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA EXEC FIRED FOR NOT REMOVING RAPIST PRIEST.” Philadelphia’s report said “the Orthodox Church in America has dismissed its presiding archbishop for failing to remove a priest who had raped a woman.”

              The Chicago Tribune reported that Metropolitan JONAH “failed to remove a priest accused of rape,” and tied this directly to +JONAH’s “begged forgiveness…for mistakes in judgment.” The Chicago Tribune article says +JONAH “discouraged the accuser and her relative from mentioning the allegation and arranged to transfer the priest.”

              I found similar headllines slandering Metropolitan JONAH literally across the globe. The Wall Street Journal’s headline: “LEADER OF U.S. ORTHODOX CHURCH QUITS AMID RAPE CLAIM”; The Christian Post headline: “ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA ARCHBISHOP REMOVED FOR HIDING ALLEGED RAPIST PRIEST.” The Knoxville News headline: “BISHOPS SAY CHURCH LEADER WHO RESIGNED FAILED TO REMOVE PRIEST ACCUSED OF RAPE”; And so on, horrifyingly, throughout the world. This is not an exaggeration.

              My colleagues at the radio station have access to all the above, of course, and not only was my relationship with them affected, but the witness of Orthodox Christianity before them was seriously compromised. Two co-workers had previously visited Saint Stephen’s, one seriously looking for a church. Not anymore. I also work with every clergy association in the area, and they read the news coverage, too. After the Synodal letter press, the average non-Orthodox Christian associated us with the recent Catholic scandals, and more easily dismissed holy Orthodoxy as both corrupt and morally bankrupt.

              This is not to even mention the considerable effect on the faithful across the OCA –including our youth.

              The letter not just had its facts wrong, but was filled with slander, unsubstantiated charges, and misleading chronology intended to incriminate Metropolitan JONAH. Remember the inferrence that the Synod was cooperating with police and might consider criminal charges?

              I assume the best of my bishops, that they trusted what they had been told and did not investigate the truth behind what they signed their names to. But more significantly, even if the slanders were true, the synod’s letter intentionally exposes a brother’s sin, and successfully invites the world to associate Orthodox leaders with pedophiles and rapists.

              As I wrote my bishop last July and our Metropolitan last December, this letter demands to be recanted publicly –to the same worldwide audience it originally went to. It additionally requires –at a minimum– a public personal apology to Metropolitan JONAH.

              That’s my only point: I agree with Helga, that an apology to Metropolitan JONAH is warranted, and is the best place to start to restore trust.

              As for my sins, you are right that they are countless, inexcusable, and beyond terrible. I am deserving of your condemnation, just not for the specific accusation you make against me. I sincerely welcome your factually quoted correction –my email is fr.mark.hodges@juno.com


              • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                I agree with Fr. Mark Hodges. The letter accusing Met. Jonah was brutal and clearly intended to damage his reputation. An apology and recanting of that letter would help reverse the (self-inflicted) damage.

              • This is so outrageous to read-again! Absolutely the OCA bishops need to recant to all of the papers that carried that story AND to the Orthodox faithful. It is the only way for them to show an ounce of decency.

              • Kentigern Siewers says

                Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!
                Father, your blessing!
                Thank you for this forthright note on the problems with the letter from the OCA Holy Synod of last summer. The letter from Orthodox lay scholars to the Synod that was sent last November, respectfully seeking correction or clarification of the Synodal letter and the media reports it sparked, remains unanswered. So does the followup letter that our group sent early this year.
                That Metropolitan Jonah is now in effect restored officially to his full title of respect as a retired Metropolitan, and reportedly (from what I’ve read here) to a freer situation to provide leadership within American Orthodoxy, is certainly welcome.
                But, as you note, that letter (and related media reports) still stands as a public statement of the Synod. There seems to be a contradiction between the recent actions related to Metropolitan Jonah’s status and the contents of the letter and media reports that it generated. Many of us among the faithful would support your calls for healing resolution of that contradiction.
                Please pray for me a sinner,

            • I have never seen Fr. Mark Hodges slander Bishop Matthias or anyone else.

              It is possible that political concerns and other unworthy motivations may have informed how Bishop Matthias was dealt with. This does not affect the gravity or inappropriateness of his uncontested behavior.

              I also have yet to see His Grace repudiate his signature on the slander against Metropolitan Jonah.

          • Hmm, perhaps Metropolitan Jonah could lead a Canon of Forgiveness Service as part of a Vespers followed by a General Confession. Canon is here (quickest one I could find): http://holyascensionofchrist.org/repentance.htm

            Service could be given at several locations, the first three of which would be a suburban dwelling with a private chapel to St. Sergius on Long Island, second of which would be St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington, D.C., third of which would be Christ the Savior Church (http://www.sobor.org/)

  8. Michael Kinsey says

    This generation seeks a sign.No sign shall be givien it ,save the sign of Jonah.The highest seats on the OCA do everything in secret,keeping the laymen in the dark.Perhaps any trust in them is very misapplied. Perhaps Met Jonah is this sign.Will we ever see an OCA Primate presiding over the Holy Fire Miracle on Pascha in Jerusalem?Somebody has to replace the Papacy, if it is destroyed as the dark seers all predict.

  9. M. Stankovich says

    I am most fascinated with the evolution of the terminology, “transparency & accountability” in that it seems in its current manifestation, business terminology that suggests “we have a right to know what becomes of our money” has been translated into “we have a right to know what goes on in our church.” It would seem in the former, as required of a corporation, what transpired previously was not only incompatible with “best practices,” but was unlawful; but what is the the authority for the latter?

    It seems that the Church itself by rubric and statute has clearly and emphatically stated what we need to know about any bishop in the Service for the Election of a Bishop. In this ritual sanctified in our Orthodox Tradition, the candidate is scrutinized as to their faith, beliefs, and opinions of every aspect of the Orthodox Faith. Further, they required to take oaths regarding the office of the episcopacy, and to accept allegiance to those who consecrate them. It is an interesting parallel that in the Service for the Reception of Converts, they are scrutinized and asked for allegiance in a similar manner. In either case, are they asked as to their sexual orientation, their mental health history (including drug & alcohol), their financial history, their arrest record, their marital record, or any private and personal information? No. How do we “little people” know what’s going on? The Church knows by our Tradition of Confession & Reconciliation, and it is the identical process for each of us; “Confess your sins to one another [ἐξομολογεῖσθε οὖν ἀλλήλοις τὰς ἁμαρτίας]” – and Blessed Bishop Basil (Rodzianko) stressed especially husbands to wives & wives to husbands – but only in concession we do so before a priest. There is simply no authority to demand that bishops answer to what is not heresy or grievous wrongdoing.

    Fr. Alexey Karlgut has written on this site regarding Authority in the church, Accountability, and Responsibility and it should be consulted continuously for its insight and direction. And he concludes his criticism of the Strategic Planning Report of the OCA thusly:

    Responsibility is used primarily in relating the role and duty of hierarchs within the church. It is sparingly used to refer to the diocesan assembly and the MC and, in one instance, is used in reference to parishes and parishioners. The lack of responsibility given to other clergy and faithful seems to deny that everyone within the church is responsible for its life and mission. Granted, this responsibility is exercised in different ways at different levels within the church, but is true responsibility nonetheless. If this document truly wants to lift up the role of everyone within the church, each in its proper place and perspective, it might better highlight the accountability and responsibility that pertains to all. Emasculating the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America and over-empowering the Metropolitan Council (itself a historical aberration) violates true Orthodox conciliarity and catholicity, and the wholeness and integrity of our church.

    If you are a Bishop, Chancellor, Secretary, or whatever in the OCA reading this crap – and your “firedrill” reactions to commentary on sites such as this would seem to betray you – STOP. There is no wisdom here. There is only anonymous cowardice. Trust me. Keep moving. You know better.

    • oliverwendeldouglas says

      Who is this person? Can anyone tell me?

    • nitpicker says

      Dr. Stankovich,

      3:22 am? Glad to see that I am not the only one that keeps strange hours and drinks Red Bull. Cheers.

    • No Michael we don’t trust you not when you have sold your soul to idolatry of the OCA and the memory of an idea that has long ago died with its creators while you are not even a member of the OCA but prefer to be under a legitimate foreign Patriarch. In other words, do as I say but not as I do.

      • Michael Kinsey says

        I am unchurched at present, and do not attend any Orthodox. There has never been any Christain church I attended in the past 40 years ,where I was not driven out. Only Operation Rescue recognized me, and had the kindred spirit of authentic self sacrifice for the lives of innocent children. They are the best people I even met, and in much more abundance than in a church setting. A gathering of eagles, indeed, you should have been there.This is my experience , which is predicted as the great falling away, which has started.

    • Michael Kinsey says

      If this is incorrect, I apologize before hand, Mr. Stanovitvh beleives the governemnt lies concerning the 911 false flag attack, which equats to a government hack.Bald faced liar is the only accurate description of anone who has viewed the evidence and still insists the government is telling the truth.Bald faced hardball is fair play, it is just turn around.Perhaps the it is the bald faced liars opinions which should justly be disregarded..What the matter ,sport, you can dish it out, but can’t take it.

      • M. Stankovich says

        Mr. Kinsey,

        Apology accepted.

        • Still don’t trust you Michael. You are not a member of the OCA and you have judged it. Who are you to preach to anyone of us?

  10. Heracleides says

    All things considered (St. Tikhon’s hosting of Met. Jonah, the recent OCA Financial Report, Fr. Washburn’s usual drivel, etc.) I’ve composed a new image that sums up my present, umm, ‘view’ of the OCA. It is entitled “Chump Change” and should be viewable at the link provided.

  11. Heracleides says

    All things considered (St. Tikhon’s hosting of Met. Jonah, the recent OCA Financial Report, Fr. Washburn’s usual drivel, etc.) I’ve composed a new image that sums up my present, umm, ‘view’ of the OCA. It is entitled “Chump Change” and should be viewable at the link provided.

  12. Heracleides says

    All things considered (St. Tikhon’s hosting of Met. Jonah, the recent OCA Financial Report, Fr. Washburn’s usual drivel, etc.) I’ve composed a new image that sums up my present, umm, ‘view’ of the OCA. It is entitled “<a href="Uploaded with ImageShack.us“>Chump Change” and should be viewable at the link provided.

  13. Heracleides says

    All things considered (St. Tikhon’s hosting of Met. Jonah, the recent OCA Financial Report, Fr. Washburn’s Fr. Jillions’ usual drivel, etc.) I’ve composed a new image that sums up my present, umm, ‘view’ of the OCA. It is entitled “Chump Change” and should be accessible at the link provided.

  14. Michael Kinsey says

    The Only Holy One Is supremely Victorious over His adversary. Those to whom He gives to His Son, Jesus Christ, of these, none, not one, is lost to the adversary.Evil is helpless amd powerless against His Divine Will.As I experience the spiritual Sodom and Gommorah prevading in the hearts and mind of my fellow men, and the abounding iniquity always gives tribulaions, it is most unpleasant.But, this has the effect of causing a thrilling and exihilaratiing in the depths of my being, when I can focus on this Victory. All this madness, had no effect against the Only Good One.This Christianity is so good, it is so worth the effort to gain the victory over the beast.This is our time, and those who love and Know thier God will do valiantly, which is Holy Scripture.If this is your Christianity, were on the same side.

  15. Michael Kinsey says

    Save the son of perdition, who is lost, perdition means to give up.None of us will be perfect in our faithfulness, like St. Peter as in the cock crowing, but just don’t quit trying to be perfect in your faithfulness.St Peter didn’t give up.Neither should any of you.

  16. Philippa says

    Priest Hodges,

    My spiritual father has not given me his blessing to go into details on this blog or elsewhere on the internet. Thus I cannot comply with your request, publically or privately. He is a wiser person than me. Though I am sure there are those who will see that as my hiding behind his cassock, there it is.

    For what it is worth, when I tried to post a message about the priests who were at the forefront of ousting Vladyka Matthias and naming them, it was not permitted to go through. So there you have it.


    For what it is worth, I have verified the truth of the matter regarding Vladyka Matthias with more than a few sources. Again, I have no blessing to publish them. But I can assure you he is not those words you use. And you probably wouldn’t believe me anyway. Forgive me.

    Fr. Hans and all,

    What I don’t quite get is this. We laity and priests demand transparency and accountability from our Hierarchy – something that I don’t necessarily see in other world-wide jurisdictions. Okay, I’m good with that I guess. We’re Americans and our history proves we don’t trust those who are in power. However, when we are given what we demand, we 1) don’t accept it and 2) claim it is a lie and slanderous. Obviously, we don’t trust them. So, who do we trust? Who would we trust? What would we trust? This is a double bind that I see no way out of.

    God is the only One I am choosing to trust in this whole mess. While I still love the Orthodox Church, I no longer believe that Her priests and leaders have Her best interests at heart because I have witnessed more slander and unChristian attitudes than not. I witnessed God’s Perfect Will be set aside for man’s will at the election of His Beatitude, Met. Tikhon. People are treated with more kindness and love in secular institutions than in Christian in my experience.

    And don’t get me wrong, I like Met. Jonah – alot – though I’ve never met him. I have been blessed by his writings at some of the darkest days in my life. That being said, others have testified to his administrative inabilities. (Gee, doesn’t that sound familiar?)

    Ultimately, every knee shall bow and the Truth (truth) will be given. I am hoping against all hope that is true. For now, I must remain patient and obedient to my spiritual father to the best of my ability.

    • Heracleides says

      “As well as your own apology, Priest Hodges, for your contribution to the ousting and slandering of His Grace, Bp. Matthias.

      Physician, heal thyself.”

      So, are we to assume that your supposed ‘spiritual father’ did give you permission to post the calumny against Fr. Hodges referenced above?

      “And you probably wouldn’t believe me anyway. Forgive me.”

      Correct. Neither would I ever consider donating a penny towards the upkeep of your ‘Vladyka’ – given the tenor of his past email communications, heaven alone knows who or what he’d actually spend it on. Plenty of worthy Orthodox recipients out there without throwing a single cent down yet another OCA rat-hole.

      • Philippa says

        Heracleides, your response made me chuckle outloud. I guess Priest Hodges now knows what it feels like to be accused of something he didn’t do.

        Priest Hodges, my email address is readily available on this website.

    • Father Mark Hodges says

      Christ is risen!
      Thank you for your reply. I understand you disagree with the Synod’s decision not to reinstate His Grace +MATTHIAS. I certainly am sympathetic to your cynicism regarding Orthodox priests and leaders (a category I myself am in). But you have made public a false charge against me. If you actually have facts or quotes to demonstrate your accusation, and yet are constrained not to publicize it, feel free to email me at
      Please remember to keep it to facts or actual quotes of my words, not just that I agreed with deanery colleagues and those who believed Bishop Matthias should not be returned to the Midwest, based on His Grace’s inappropriate actions.
      Again, I deny your charges, but I welcome being corrected. Perhaps we can privately enter into dialogue, and come to a better understanding. What is your email address?
      Fr Mark

      • WearyofWelloing says

        Please remember to keep it to facts or actual quotes of my words, not just that I agreed with deanery colleagues and those who believed Bishop Matthias should not be returned to the Midwest, based on His Grace’s inappropriate actions.

        What does this mean, then? Because it comes across as a sort of duplicity; asking for facts and actual quotes while ignoring one’s actions.

  17. To be sure, their existence within the OCA was an artifact of the Cold War and Syosset did the right thing in granting them ecclesial cover. And of course it must be assumed that the treaties that were enacted between them and the OCA were executed in good faith, but the fact that these treaties were never revisited after the fall of the Soviet Union has led to some deleterious effects.

  18. Hello! Would you mind if I share your blog with my zynga group?
    There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Many thanks

  19. The problems faced by the OCA did not begin this year with the discussion of The New York Plan (or in 2008 for that matter). They have been of long duration and if anything, this new proposal simply brought the problem into sharp relief. To be viable as an entire church, the OCA must grow. The source of that growth is an increase in members. Both non-Orthodox and already-Orthodox have to be evangelized. The work to make that happen takes place in the parishes. These parishes must have direction provided to them by the Dioceses to which they belong. Simply put, a remote central chancery in a continent-wide Republic is not a viable model, especially when there are viable Dioceses located throughout 48 the contiguous states and Alaska. Starving the parishes and the Dioceses to support a bloated, out-of-touch central administration that has little to show for its efforts is a plan that has been tried and found wanting. A continuation of the present financing scheme is at this point, nothing but throwing good money after bad.

  20. To be sure, their existence within the OCA was an artifact of the Cold War and Syosset did the right thing in granting them ecclesial cover. And of course it must be assumed that the treaties that were enacted between them and the OCA were executed in good faith, but the fact that these treaties were never revisited after the fall of the Soviet Union has led to some deleterious effects.