Met Tikhon Explains Why Fr Gerasim Not Elected

oca-logo-thumbTo the consternation of many of our readers, Monomakhos has so far restrained from commenting on the continued vacancy of the Diocese of the South.

Personally, I’m bewildered. Like the perennial Peanuts comic strip, Lucy continues to pull out the football just as Charlie Brown is about to kick it. I’m sorry, like much in the rest of Orthodoxy, it’s just too much changing the goal posts.

Abbott Gerasim has done an exemplary job as Administrator of the South these last six months. There have been no complaints (that I know of). The natives are clearly restless. Archbishop Dmitri’s shoes were always going to be difficult to fill but the affection shown by the people of the South for Gerasim bodes well for the future. His extensive travels are evidence of that –as well as his encyclopaedic knowledge of this massive diocese.

As I said, people are not happy. Otherwise, why would Metropolitan Tikhon see fit to write this extensive letter explaining Syosset’s continued dithering?

As of right now, his election will be taken up in the March meeting of the Holy Synod. Or so we are told. Unless I am mistaken, this will be the about the same time that the Great Council takes place in Istanbul, so I’m not holding my breath. (Nor for the Great Council for that matter.)

Anyway, please take the time to read His Beatitude’s letter.

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  1. Totally Fed Up With the Lies says

    Let’s just finally put the horse before the cart and say what we all know deep down. The SOB of the OCA never wanted Gerasim and they have been yanking the faithful and patient clergy and laity of the DOS since the day they got rid of Metropolitan Jonah.

    They don’t want Gerasim. They never wanted Gerasim and all these delays are fooling absolutely no one.

    The person they want is David Brum (Bishop Daniel). They want a yes man in Dallas and not someone who will carry on the spirit of Archbishop Dmitri of blessed memory.

    Benjamin wants Brum. Nathaniel wants Brum and they run the Synod. Not Tikhon or anyone else.

    Gerasim has been vetted more than any other episcopal candidate in the history of the little old OCA. If they would have vetted Benjamin, Nathaniel, Golitzen, Matthias or Seraphim as much as they vetted Gerasim, the OCA would not be the impotent Orthodox sideshow it is today. But they didn’t and trying to catch up now by men who have no credibility to vet only exacerbates what now is a totally ridiculous exercise in complete contempt for the only diocese in the OCA that has a chance at surviving.

    Gerasim is a better man than all of the current SOB members combined. And, maybe that is exactly why they don’t want him on “their team.”

    Metropolitan Tikhon, you are the worst wimp and yes man and a sorry excuse for a leader. You couldn’t take a stand when you were Abbot of St. Tikhon’s, or Bishop of the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania, and now as Metropolitan. And your letter to the DOS was pathetic.

    I am done with the OCA.

    • Kirill Berinov says

      “Impotent Orthodox sideshow.” What an apt characterization !

      Wait a year and there will be another “not yet” letter from do-nothing Syosset.

    • Christophertheugly says

      In this case, what does a “yes man” mean?

      • Christophertheugly says

        So I ask a question in all seriousness, it takes three days to get moderated. And then it doesn’t get answered, just down voted.

        How do you down vote a generic question?

        This website is a waste of my time.

        • Christopher,

          A “yes man” is a sycophant, someone always sucking up to those in power and licking their boots. I too have had posts held up for a couple of days. I don’t think it’s anything personal, just that George is a busy man.

          • Christophertheugly says

            Hi Misha,

            That’s a general definition that I could have figured out all by my own. We are all called to be “yes men” in the Church not blind ones, but for all intents and purposes, yes men.

            My question was

            In this case, what does a “yes man” mean?

            • Christopher, I believe it means that Tikhon is a puppet who works to please his masters. For him, it carries the added implication that he doesn’t carry real authority, but is just an empty suit.

              • Christophertheugly says

                But the notion of being a “yes man” was directed towards Bishop Daniel.

                I would like to know what this means in the context of Fr. Gerasim not being voted for in the DoS.

                And mind you, I am not against Fr. Gerasim being Bishop of this Diocese.

                • Christopher, the term “yes man” was directed at Tikhon as well, near the bottom of the original comment.

                  Regarding Bishop Daniel versus Fr. Gerasim, it’s not that complicated. There is a new consensus in the OCA synod, which Tikhon referred to directly. What that consensus is really about is quietly establishing a liberalized re-interpretation of the Orthodox faith, while maintaining a distance from Moscow and cozying up to the EP. Any ardent traditionalist is going to be a spanner in those works, especially if he is leading a diocese of people who are also ardently traditional. The desired “yes man” in Dallas, on the other hand, will go along with the rest of the bishops, and take the DOS with him by hook or by crook.

                  • Christophertheugly says

                    There is NO WAY on God’s green earth that Bishop Daniel would accept a liberalized Orthodox faith.

                    So I am not sure he would such a “yes man.”

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    You might be right, especially since you probable are a priest hiding behind your moniker. I say this since Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) calls you “Father Helga.” Are you still in the OCA? If so, do you mind telling us if you ever were? Thanks.

                  • Daniel E Fall says

                    What a crock of bullkaka.

                    This is the culture war mantra. Just stop it already, hasn’t it caused you enough grief?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Preemptive surrender, Daniel. I believe it was Churchill who said, “In defeat, defiance.”

                • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                  The Holy Synod requires unanimity in the election of bishops. Why in the world anyone would assume Bishop Daniel would be among fhose who would block Father Gerasim’s candidacy needs some explaining.
                  It only takes one firm holdout to block a candidate. Further, the Holy Synod of the OCA, like that of ROCOR, Moscow, etc., is made up of the diocesan, i.e., ruling, Bishops, not vicars/auxiliaries, although the latter may ATTEND the meetings and participate in the discussions.

              • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                Helga, your comment on Metropolitan Tikhon, though unbecoming of you, reminds me of hearing someone say, “A completely EMPTY limo pulled up to the curb. The door opened and Metropolitan Jonah climbed out!”

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          Monomakhos types OFTEN use the “Dislike” button when they can’t deal with what you wrote and this is their wayof saying, instead, ” I DON’T LIKE THE AUTHOR OF THAT POSTING AT ALL.”

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Mrs. “Totally Fed Up With The Lies!”
      Why call Metropolitan Tikhon “wimp” when you yourself are too wimpy to reveal your identity?
      ___won’t even support yourself in public?

      Oh well, there so many like you that the name of this blog should be changed to “They Who Fight Anonymously.”

    • Mark E. Fisus says

      The SOB of the OCA

      You mean the Synod of Bishops of course, lol

  2. This is complete and total hogwash. At what point are you people in the DOS going to say to hell with this Syosset cesspool, stop being their whipping boys, leave, and let the OCA go the way of the Episcopalians?

    How much more are you willing to take?

    • Where exactly would the DOS go? And what jurisdiction would want to take on the headaches and internecine conflict that would result from an attempt at secession?

      Now individuals might choose to leave the OCA, and doubtless many have already, but obviously the number isn’t great enough yet to concern Syosset.

      • Texan Orthodox says

        The diocese of ROCOR that covers much of the OCA DoS — the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America ( — has a wonderful, loving Archpastor in Bishop Peter (who grew up serving under St John Maximovitch in San Francisco), and our venerable Archbishop Alypy is/was an accomplished iconographer and has such a strong personal history that it brings chills to one’s spine.

        Concerned faithful or parishes in the OCA DoS are more than welcome to join us in the ROCOR Chicago/Mid-America diocese. Fed up with OCA ineptitude and shenanigans, I made the move years ago and don’t regret it one bit. I pray that one day we will be under the same jurisdiction, but until then, feel free to join us. I know that no jurisdiction is “perfect,” but come on, as so many people have stated, the OCA does not want Archimandrite Gerasim as their DoS bishop. If only they had the cajones to come out and say it.

        • Archimandrite says

          Why not let them apply to ROCOR as a diocese with a bishop-elect
          and allow them to continue using their own calendar, liturgy, books, etc.
          The transition would be more pastoral.

      • Patrick Henry Reardon says

        Edward (very reasonably, in my opinion) asks, “Where exactly would the DOS go?”

        I could offer a suggestion.

        • And please continue your thought….

        • If you are saying what I think you are saying, from everything I ever saw or heard in the DOS, your suggestion would be politely but firmly ignored, for a broad variety of reasons. Things haven’t changed that much… And there is of course the question of which jurisdiction would really, truly, want to go into a protracted Cold War with what was left of the OCA in that part of the country.

        • This is an interesting question, where would someone go if they lost faith in the ark of the OCA?

          First, I’m neither encouraging nor discouraging anyone from jumping ship. In these times, one can leave too early or linger too long.

          The two jurisdictions that seem to be on the table are ROCOR and Antioch. I have some experience with both, and with the Greeks, so I feel like making some observations:

          The OCA-DOS is the only part of the OCA with which I have personal experience. It is true that liturgically, they would be more at home in ROCOR. Yet I know that there are Antiochian parishes wherein the priest was trained at SVS which use, for example, a lot of Russian/Slavic music. Moreover, with Antioch, the calendar is not an issue – though it is true that some whole parishes might be received into ROCOR while being allowed to keep the “new calendar”. Also, ROCOR generally mandates confession within the week before communion. That and the absence of “general confession” might turn off some in the OCA.

          In the end, I would have to say that Antioch is a better fit for two reasons: 1) Antioch and the OCA-DOS are simply closer in their sensibilities regarding orthopraxis than ROCOR and OCA-DOS, and 2) ROCOR is not exactly hospitable to neo-Patristicism. That would eventually come out in tangible conflict.

          The other point of divergence between ROCOR and OCA would have to do with the old ethnic tensions. However, I do not know if that would be a factor in the OCA-DOS.

          • The only people who can answer those questions are those in the DOS. There have doubtless been those who have left already and who have gone different places. When I was around the DOS, the thought of being Antiochian was unthinkable for the people that I knew.

            These were the days before Metr. Philip became an honorary traditionalist for his “abomination” comment, and when he was definitely one of the “liberals” on the American scene. The only person considered to be more liberal than him was the other Antiochian bishop, Antoun.

            That said, the ROCOR didn’t fare much better — they were too extreme in the other direction, and it was considered a given that the ROCOR banned all use of English in all parishes (all evidence to the contrary.)

            Based on my exposure then, I would say that the DOS then was far closer in praxis to the ROCOR than to any other jurisdiction — but the prejudices ran deep. It was this “nowhere to go” feeling that drove so many of the fears of what would happen after the Abp.

            Today, I don’t know, but my guess is that Misha is wrong. Given a nearby ROCOR and a nearby Antiochian parish in this hypothetical, my money would be on the lion’s share going to the former in the event of a blowup.

            I can guarantee that general confession is nowhere to be found in the DOS — unless things have really changed. As to neo-patristicism, if that is another word for Schemannology, that to was generally rejected in the DOS that I knew. But maybe Misha was exposed to a different corner of the DOS. Florida, for instance, is different from the rest of the DOS because of the large number of transplanted Yankees who drifted south for the winter.

            • In the Midwest/Upper South, neo-Patristicism is alive and well. It probably has a lot to do with the ethic of the parish. Edward might be right regarding the parishes he has seen.

              • I was mainly exposed to the DOS in Texas. But it was more than 20 years ago now and things may have changed, and there might now be general confessions and the like. My impression at the time was that there was a contingent in the DOS who thought they could, under the Abp’s leadership, change the OCA.

                Like with so many politicians who go to DC intending to change Washington, it is often the reverse that happens. And maybe it did in the DOS.

                • Back in the day, I attended Saint Herman’s (OCA) in Littleton, Colorado. We then had general confession on Saturday night in accordance with the 1972 decree of the Holy Synod. Here is an explanation that makes sense to me:

                  “In February 1972 the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America promulgated a document, “Confession and Communion: Report to the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America” by Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann, in which General Confession is discussed. It is clear in this document that General Confession is proposed as a “school of repentance,” as a means of strengthening one’s spiritual life and bolstering one’s experience of individual Confession. It is stated quite clearly that “General Confession is not meant simply to replace individual confession” and that it “is not and must not become a substitute.” Father Schmemann also notes: “Experience shows, that those who take part in such a General Confession begin to have a much better individual confession.”


                  Now that I am in DOS/OCA, I have yet to encounter a General Confession service.

            • Sammy Saunderson says

              In the Greek liturgical practice, there are times when a general absolution takes place. Hopefully, this would be predicated by an individual examination of conscience. General confession is a means for a group of people to encounter “personal inner reflection” as they would in an individual confession; then absolution. Of course, general confession was never meant to supplant individual confessions, but only enhance it.

              • Interesting.. In Greece, general confession means something completely different.

              • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                “General Confession” is not confession AT ALL. In it nobody confesses ANYTHING.
                Even St John of Kronstadt served the entire service and after the “tell me…’ every person in the Church CONFESSED ALOUD his or her sins AUDIBLY, in the hearing of the person(s) next to him or her. In the “so-called General Confession so beloved in some American parishes, the Priest respects the all-holy PRIVACY OF EVERYONE”—THE REAL PURPOSE____abolish the embarrassing practice of telling anybody your sins!

                • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                  Actually, the General Confession that falls at the beginning of the Lutheran Morning Service is more of a real confession than the General Confession of the Orthodox: They all say aloud “I, a miserable and unclean sinner have sinned against Thee in thought word, and deed” etc, Then the pastor pronounces the general Absolution—Our Lord HAS forgiven us” etc. Private Confession is an option in most German Lutheran parishes as well. Perhaps the generations of Greek Priests who were sent to seminaries in Germany (but Never TO RUSSIA) ADMIRED THE PRACTICE and brought it back with them to Greece, along with various collections of doctrinal or “Symbolic Books” like a Book of Concord…
                  Saint Peter Mogila (Mohyla) of Kyiv, often sophomorically and foolishly cited as evidence of “Latinization” in the Russian Church, was asked about group confession. He replied that he had HEARD OF IT BEING PRACTICED IN SOME PLACES ‘AMONG THE UNIATES”, but “in OUR service book (Trebnik”) it is unambiguously stated, The Priest leads the person, NOT THE PERSONS, who wishes to confess, before the Holy Icon of Our Saviour not Made by Hands, and begins, ‘Behold, my child.”
                  The first “locum tenens” of the PatriarchateMetropolitan Peter of Krutitskyordered the New Martyr, Valentin Sventsitsky to compile the case against General Confession, but was killed before being able to publish it. The entire study may be found in the various volumes of the dissident journal, “Nadezhda.”

                • Michael Warren says

                  General Confession and General Absolution are indeed unwarranted mutations of the Holy Mystery of Confession. I absolutely agree with His Grace to a point.

                  When General Confession is part of a penitential rite followed by private Confessions and is based on contrition and repentance before the congregation, instead of renovationist gimmickry, it can be salutary to the believer and congregation when the penitent through Confession and afterwards Holy Communion manifests true metanoia and to borrow from Fr. Sophrony “christification.”

                  The Eucharist is therapeutic and heals us, establishing our personhood and wholeness in the God-man. To get out of the way of this uncreated, freely given grace so that it can work means penitence, metanoia, self emptying humility so that CHRIST can live in us. This personhood is fundamentally a personal act in a personal Sacrament whose benefit is for the congregation, for the world at large and for us personally.

      • I didn’t say the DOS should go anywhere. The peopletherein can surely vote with their feet. And what if there is no Parish nearby for them to attend? Then they can do as best they can, and drive to the closest Parish as often as they can. It can be done. I have done it for a long time. These are not horse and buggy days.

        I can almost throw a rock and hit an OCA Parish where I live. But I refuse to subject the care of my soul, and those of my loved ones, to such people. The common “well, they do what they do up there, and we’ll do what we do down here” bogus sentiment, accompanied by a hand wave, will not fly. What THEY do affects the whole Diocese, and those who are complicit are every bit as guilty for not doing anything about it.

        Drive. Fly. Find a Godly Bishop and get a blessing to do Readers services. But get your soul out of Sodom.

        • The common “well, they do what they do up there, and we’ll do what we do down here” bogus sentiment, accompanied by a hand wave, will not fly.

          What you just described has long been the attitude that I encountered in the DOS and other corners of the OCA. I personally found that it is exactly as you describe — doesn’t work all that well. Although your mileage may vary — it probably does work just fine for some.

          I’ve done what you’ve done and driven long distances when an unacceptable OCA parish was next door, and it was the right thing to do. I’ve also stayed in a healthy isolated OCA parish with a good bishop and just stuck my fingers in my ears and pretended that what was going on far away didn’t matter, and am convinced that was also the right thing to do at the time. Both strategies are less than ideal and both take their toll on you. Every times we pray along with the petitions and prayers in our services that incorporate all Orthodox Christians, we must send up an extra prayer for all who are isolated from the full benefits of healthy parish and diocesan life and are doing their best to survive.

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          Cyprian, what does Scripture tell us the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was? How can you tell it is absent ANYWHERE?

          • Michael Warren says

            Your Grace,

            It isn’t so much about getting bonafides that it is absent elsewhere. It is moreso about engaging in podvig and proper stewardship to address where it goes unchallenged in places where ecclesiastical authority is consecrated to combat it and not to embrace it or partake in it. When churchmen are guilty of the unnatural lusts which destroy souls either by commission or by their blessing or neglect they themselves impugn their offices and their authority and call themselves to the correction of the Church. They betray the Church which exists to transform humanity in the God-man by licensing demonization and sin which cries unto heaven which makes sin triumphant.

  3. Peter Millman says

    Well, George, it’s really good to see that Metropolitan Tikhon isn’t a procrastinator.

  4. My cynical self says they just want to make sure the happy juice takes good effect so that he plays nice with the Synod.

  5. My question, were I in the DOS, would be along these lines: Brum was elected to be an auxiliary bishop without any similar extensive “vetting,” and his name was almost immediately put forward as a candidate for the DOS position. Are we seriously to believe that if elected, Brum would have been made auxiliary to the locum tenens and sent to the DOS for a lengthy period of being the temporary administrator before he would be finally, maybe, elected diocesan bishop by the Synod?

    I suppose it is possible, but it seems unlikely. If that were at all a possibility for Brum, then by the same logic Gerasim could have been elected an auxiliary before making him diocesan administrator in the South — he wasn’t. He is being kept out of the “bishops club” entirely, for now, while Brum was welcomed into that club.

    On the other hand, it is entirely reasonable for the OCA to look for ways to be more careful. I was at an event recently, and a minor cleric asked me, “you used to be in the OCA, right? What is it with them and their bishops? Why do they have so many retired Metropolitans and bishops floating around?” I really didn’t have a good answer for him other than “bad luck.”

    But then, I looked at how things are in the ROCOR. All three American dioceses have very active auxiliaries who are likely bound for being diocesan bishops someday, and at least two of the current diocesan bishops were former auxiliaries. They get extensive vetting as auxiliaries, and anyone a couple of french fries short of a happy meal would probably get noticed. The ROCOR, along with the entire Russian diaspora under the MP, has been told in no uncertain terms that bishops are not to be received from other jurisdictions without the approval of the Synod of Bishops in Russia (of which the first hierarch of the ROCOR is a permanent member).

    In pre-revolutionary Russia, there was a complex system of academy training and graduated positions of responsibility — rectors of theological schools, superiors of monasteries, small dioceses, etc. There seem to be similar things going on in Russia today.

    Being very careful about who you hand the car keys to is highly laudable, and everything I have read indicates that Gerasim is being extremely humble and patient about this, which bodes well. The question is whether the same standards are being applied to everyone.

    • ROCOR sure did not do a good vetting job when it accepted Holy Transfiguration Monastery(Brookline) or maybe they liked what they saw.

      • ROCOR has made a lot of mistakes in accepting individual clergy and parishes and monasteries (although they have generally cleaned up their messes, no matter how unpleasant — Exhibit A being HTM). No doubt about that. But for some time, they have been exceedingly careful about who becomes a diocesan bishop. None of the Pantaloonies were ever awarded that prize, and it wasn’t because they didn’t want it.

  6. It is true that nomination by the diocese is but one part of the conciliar process of selecting and consecrating bishops, and not the most important part from a purely canonical point of view. It seems clear Arch. Gerasim was not the current Synod’s first choice for bishop, but the Synod’s continuing consideration (rather than outright no) can also be seen as their respect for the wishes of the Diocese. That is, they want to give Arch. Gerasim every opportunity to convince them he is the man for the job. Of course, that won’t do much for those who think he is clearly the man for the job, but again, in the Orthodox Church it is a Synod that holds the most canonical influence in such decisions. (There’s no use decrying “the Episcopalian wing of the Orthodox Church” on some issues while implicitly agitating for more Episcopalian-style practices on others, i.e., election of bishops.) Yes, the largest (by number of parishes alone) Diocese should have a bishop, but the Synod could just as easily take the advice of many and say the OCA has too many dioceses (and bishops) already and simply subsume it into other dioceses. The fact they haven’t also says something about the Synod’s respect for the Diocese of the South. I would argue that overzealous, almost factional support by some in the South for Arch. Gerasim has done him more harm than good; the Synod is being especially careful to determine whether that faction’s support says anything about Arch. Gerasim himself. The Synod doesn’t want someone to campaign for consecration with one voice and then reveal another, more intransigent or radical voice once consecrated – especially given his past leadership position in a vagante jurisdiction many labeled a cult (fully admitting his role in bringing the CSB back to/into the Church). There could also be fears such a leader with such a faction could lead the Diocese to another jurisdiction or into schism a la CSB. From a purely tactical perspective, those bomb throwers should realize that’s how their viewed and at least quiet down until their man is canonically elected, but given the relation with current Republican/neo-Dixiecrat politics so popular in the region, I won’t hold my breath.

    • Other than the gratuitous and irrelevant political slap at the end, this post is full of good sense.

      One correction: …in the Orthodox Church it is a Synod that holds the most canonical influence in such decisions.

      Should read “…holds the only real canonical influence…”

      • Concerning him becoming a “radical voice”:

        What does that mean?

        On what issues?

        • Fears of “another, more intransigent or radical voice once consecrated” would refer to the (in my opinion unfounded) anger some in the Diocese of the Midwest felt over Bp. Mathias’s moves toward more ‘traditional’ or ‘reactionary’ (depending on one’s POV) practices in the DOM after his year of listening and making no changes. That dissatisfaction was in place prior to the allegations that led to his removal from office – and which some would say were manufactured in response to the “more intransigent [and] radical voice” face he revealed after consecration. Analogies could also be made with epectations vs. reality regarding Met. Jonah, though there was little done in the way of vetting him prior to his election as Metropolitan so no one could really say they expected one thing and got another – they didn’t know what to expect, though most (far from all, especially in the DOS) disliked what they got.

        • Comments in this combox regarding when (not if) “you people in the DOS [are] going to say to hell with this Syosset cesspool” and leave is a significant part of the concern over who should be the next bishop of the DOS. One would calculate the possibility of a schism like that happening increasing should the new bishop also believe “Syosset” (Synod, Chancery staff, Metropolitan Council) to be a cesspool, is vociferously supported by those using such language, would presumably have an affinity for ROCOR, and was a leader in a vagante jurisdiction. These are not made-up concerns. Even assuming all this is just optics and spouting off at the mouth in comboxes, Arch. Gerasim would have been bounced from consideration as soon as his sponsor Met. Jonah was gone were the Synod not so deferential to nominations from a Diocese and the obedience and good work Fr. Gerasim has shown these last few years. The impatience, intemperance, and misplaced zealotry of his supporters are a (if not the) primary risk to his election, consecration, and enthronement in Dallas.

          • Ah. So it is the basic conservatism of the DOS on doctrinal and sacramental issues that is to blame here.

            Is it GOOD or BAD that the region and its diocese is growing in terms of members and clergy (although the latter has, I imagine, been hurt by the lengthy status as a widowed diocese)?

            aka — Is your note sincere, or satire?

            • Good or bad for whom? Leaving the DOS orphaned (the better term, since a bishop is out father) has few downsides for Syosset. The money keeps flowing to the central administration regardless of how long the DOS remains orphaned. The more the diocese grows, the more the money flows. The problem is that it seems that there are those in Syosset who do not want a bishop on the Holy Synod who reflects the relative conservatism of that diocese, but the diocese itself wants precisely that.

              While I disagree with parts of aka’s analysis, I think he is basically on target. The DOS is restive, and the Synod is not going to take a chance on a bishop who might side with his diocese rather than the OCA if there are calls feom faithful and clergy to leave for another jurisdiction. A diocesan bishop personally controls much diocesan property, and has broad powers within his diocese.

              What I disagree with is the idea that the Synod is trialing Gerasim out of respect for a diocesan nomination, unless one defines respect as giving a show of something one has no intention of following through on.

              I think that almost by definition, anyone that the Synod is completely comfortable with will be someone that the DOS will reject, and vice versa. It is precisely the growth of the DOS that puts the OCA in a bad position. It would look bad to have a revolt or exodus in what is arguably its most vibrant diocese, so while what they might most prefer to do is just stick in a bishop that they trust, that is fraught with problems with a restive diocese.

              I personally don’t see an alternative to this perpetual holding pattern, and wouldn’t be surprised to see it continue for years to come. As long as the DOS is growing and as long as faithful and clergy aren’t revolting and leaving the OCA or withholding money from Syosset, the status quo may be the best state of affairs from the OCA point of view.

              In short, there are downsides to putting in a bishop the Synod likes and downsides to putting in a bishop the DOS likes. So far, there have been no downsides for Syosset for them to leave the DOS orphaned. So it should be of no surprise that the third choice is the one that is repeatedly chosen.

            • I don’t believe I mentioned anything about the self-styled “basic conservatism of the DOS on doctrinal and sacramental issues”.

              Is your comment meant to be a satire of the otherwise thoughtful, careful criticism you show on

              • No, I meant what I said. I was linking the logic of your comment to the material in the rest of the thread, citing the nature of the DOS and Archbishop DIMITRI’s relationship to the OCA mainstream.

            • The growth in the DOS is good, but that growth is often misinterpreted to mean something more than a shift in the U.S. population and the Orthodox population. Too often those in the DOS assume its growth is due to spiritual rot in the Northeast, in the Midwest, and out West, which view says more about the culture and politics of the South than anything else. Such assumptions also assume the DOS is doing something different and ‘more Orthodox’ than other diocese of the OCA, too.

              My point regarding the real size of the DOS has more to do with how the OCA as a whole has been challenged to rethink the number of its dioceses and bishops given its real numbers, i.e., a church of 1+ million might need as many dioceses and bishops as we have, but a church of 84,500 could likely do with fewer. The dissolution of a separate DOS could be one piece of that transformation, especially since it’s been without a bishop in residence for some time; merging WPA and EPA is another, NE with NY/NJ and the MidAtlantic, Alaska with the West, etc. There are various other potential new boundaries that could be considered, as well, e.g., Northeast, Southeast, Central, West; maybe even fewer ruling bishops and a host of lower paid, auxiliary bishops for most of the travel while also serving in larger parishes. Given the numbers of OCA parishioners involved, solutions like this could make sense; given the number of OCA parishes involved, this makes less sense. That’s the DOS in microcosm, and a conundrum for the OCA as a whole.

              The other factor is the sustainability of convert parishes led by convert priests. Will they survive the passing of their founder-priests or a handful of primary benefactors? Will the children of converts remain Orthodox and remain in town, especially in out of the way places with their own demographic and economic challenges? Do we build diocesan infrastructure around what are effectively still missions in most places, if we were expected to pay priests as we should?

              • Texan Orthodox says


                Can you expand on what you mean by “maybe even fewer ruling bishops and a host of lower paid, auxiliary bishops for most of the travel while also serving in larger parishes.”

                Fr Tom Hopko of blessed memory in his fantastic series on bishops and the church (available on AFR and iTunes) is quite clear in stressing that the entire concept of an “auxiliary bishop” makes no sense. A bishop is wedded to his diocese and is an integral part of it. A “bishop without a diocese” (which is what an auxiliary bishop essentially is) is nonsensical from an Orthodox point of view. I’d be curious to know why in 21st century America we have so many “auxiliary” bishops. What’s the point? If a bishop is too old or frail to administer his diocese, he should retire and let someone else (often the “auxiliary”) take over. If a diocese is so big that it needs an “auxiliary,” then it should be split into two separate dioceses.

                This concept and problems related to a “bishop without a diocese” was made clear in the last decade, when Met. Philip of blessed memory demoted his bishops to “auxiliaries” essentially. All it creates is confusion and problems.

                As for merging the OCA DoS into other OCA dioceses, I think that might cause general revolt. Parishes in Texas and in Florida cannot be effectively administered from a bishop in Washington DC or in Chicago.

                The diocese of EPA is a big mess lately — who would want to be part of that? A priest at an OCA parish in south Philadelphia (Assumption of the Holy Virgin church) recently left the faith and became a muslim! Yes, I can’t believe it either — I used to go to vespers at his parish from time to time. He seemed like an energetic young priest with a young family who was given a parish in a difficult section of Philadelphia — and now he’s a muslim. Ugh. Another priest in OCA suburban Philadelphia (St Mark’s) was forced to retire a couple of years ago for what was reported to be sexual improprieties with seminarians. And more problems at St Nicholas parish in Philadelphia with the recent suspension of the priest there (an 80-year-old priest who has been a priest for more than 50 years and who is loved by his parish). Why any parish or diocese would want to merge with the OCA EPA diocese is beyond me.

                • I completely agree that fewer diocesan bishops and more auxiliary bishops (let alone a “host” of them as aka suggests) is a terrible solution for any jurisdiction. I don’t disagree that the OCA seems to have difficulty finding enough qualified candidates to be competent diocesan bishops, and might benefit from redrawing diocesan boundaries based on that fact. But anyone who shouldn’t be a diocesan bishop shouldn’t be an auxiliary bishop either — or even a dean.

                  The ROCOR practice of having one auxiliary in each diocese that needs one seems to work well, with that auxiliary generally moving on to become a diocesan bishop, often in that same diocese. In an ideal world, all bishops would be diocesan bishops, but all one has to do is look at how many “retired” bishops and metropolitans that there are in the OCA to know that something isn’t quite right in how that is working out. Vetting potential diocesan bishops by having them serve in a limited number of auxiliary bishop positions isn’t a bad working solution, even if it is not perhaps a strictly canonical solution.

                  I would add that with the demographics of the DOS, that diocese is probably the one OCA diocese that would have the least difficulty financially supporting a diocesan bishop, so that excuse can’t be used. If breaking up the DOS were a solution that the people there would sit still for, it would have been done long ago.

                • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                  Who is this priest that left the Orthodox faith to become a Moslem?

              • At this point, which parishes are (a) producing new priests, (b) producing converts and (c) retaining children in the faith? Does anyone have a link to the recent study that addressed those issues?

                This might be the one:

                • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                  You can’t quantify holiness, which is the main quality and GOAL of the Church. God can raise up saints in a TOTALLY DYSFUNCTIONAL PARISH. tmatt would appear to put his faith in statistics!
                  This is the MBA approach judging parishes.

                  • You are, of course, right and I have met saints in dysfunctional parishes. However, churches that are alive create new missions, new priests, new Christians and pass on the faith to their children. This may or may not be seen in statistics, but — in my work as a reporter — I have almost always seen that dying churches are rarely centers of new life.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      tmatt Please define what you call a “dying” Orthodox church. It seems to me that the parishes in the old Soviet Union did not create new missions, produced the bare MINIMUM amount of new Priests and very very few new Christians.
                      Christ established a yardstick of “two or three”; He did not say “Two or three that create new missions, new Christians and pass on their faith to their children.”

                      The Early Church, it is often said, grew through great suffering and martyrdoms. The “successful” Imperial Church increased membership through imperial regulations and persecution of dissent and dissidents. Anyone who hoped to get ahead in the Empire of (St) Constantine and his successors had to “join up.”
                      I realize that almost every American city has a formerly Greek Orthodox edifice in it that is now occupied by, oh Black Muslims, Baptists, etc. But it is claimed that the parish simply GREW into a suburb, No one said those parishioners admit to murdering their witness in their former locale, but I FEEL that it is that sort of thing, NOT proper managemrnt, that produces death.

                      We Americans believe in management as the key to “church growth.” I disagree. Perhaps leadership would be a more likely factor?
                      In USAF Officer Training School we were taught that there are two kinds of great leader:: normal and neurotic. Modern American Orthodox establishments, however, do not pat attention to leadership at all, but rather to a kind of MBA idea that if we only follow this or that METHOD we can “grow” the Church! Devotion to Holy Tradition is deemed totally irrelevant to “Church Growth!” Tradition is even disparaged sometimes. or defined (limited) so as to exclude anything but UNdoctrinal “spirituality or a Quaker-like inner spirituality!!

                    • M. Stankovich says


                      It seems to me that if one “reports” or statistically “analyzes” the dying by such criteria as you have established, certainly many more parishes in all jurisdictions are dysfunctional rather than centers of new life. “Alive” in my mind are parishes which are “life-giving,” to those who are attending and participation in the Sacramental life, to those who convert into them, are obedient to their bishop, who love one another and practice charity, or, who like he Centurion, pray for the Masters’ healing of their servant, but feel unworthy to ask directly (Lk. 7:2-10). This too, it strikes me, was the essence of Vladyka Dmitri, for as many times as I heard him him preach, speak to students, and informally chat with a cup of cofee in his hand, was to be obedient and faithful over the little things.

                  • A dying church? One that declines to the point that it eventually needs to close its doors and cease ministry. Clearly, that is not the same as, in the Soviet era, a church that is forced by the government to close its doors.

                    Another test: Is a diocese needing to invest resources — resources that could be used for the poor, new missions, new ministries — in keeping a parish open? Is the parish itself running on the resources given by previous generations, often preventing ministries, social and evangelistic, in the current age? These questions are practical and spiritual at the same time.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      There you go again: thinking rationally.

                      Seriously though, those in a moribund institution can’t see the forest for the trees. As long as the central administration is still functioning they won’t care.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    But holiness produces fruits. Abundantly.

      • Under the OCA’s Revised Statute, the diocese “shall” nominate a candidate for diocesan bishop. While the Synod can decide whether that nominee is “acceptable” and elect whom they will, that “shall” means the Synod must always take seriously the voice of the diocese. I would argue the fact Arch. Gerasim is still under consideration for Bishop of the South – in the face of serious opposition to his election by at least some on the Synod – is due to the Synod’s respect for his nomination and the will of the diocese.

    • aka if you want to combine dioceses in the OCA how about West and East Pennsylvania? How about New England and New York? How about eliminating the Bulgarian and Albanian dioceses and folding them into the geographic areas of existing dioceses?

      Your suggestion that the DOS should be eliminated into existing dioceses only makes sense if those existing dioceses were folded into the DOS. It is the only OCA diocese that has the financial stamina and missionary vision to put their money where their vision is not only the OCA but Orthodoxy in America.

      As for your pot shots at Archimandrite Gerasim being a long ago part of the CSB makes about as much sense as saying that every convert bishop on the OCA Synod should also have been a non-starter. Let’s see, that would be Nathaniel, Tikhon, Bishop David of Alaska, Benjamin, Bishop David (Brum). Come to think of it, you may have a point!!! 😉 So, only blue blood, born Orthodox should be considered for the office of bishop. Check!!!!

      Your logic also fails in trying to paint the clergy and laity of the South as rightwing nutters. Gerasim received over 80% support from the Assembly even with the ham handed attempt by Syosset to pack in more candidates.

      The DOS spoke loud and clear. The Synod is deaf. And, if it wasn’t for the piety and faithfulness of the clergy and laity in the South, they would have taken a page out of the Archbishop Job days in the Midwest and withheld money going to Syosset. But, you see, they aren’t like that and in the end their patience is seen by the One who matters and it will be rewarded.

      • I did not argue for dissolving the DOS into other dioceses but merely noted the push toward fewer bishops in the OCA could be part of the reason for the Synod’s delay. In fact, the DOS represents the OCA’s demographic challenge/opportunity – lots of parishes and missions, not many people. One solution is to simply not have bishops too involved with most of their parishes. I had advised in the past that more bishops over smaller dioceses would help contain any bad news from any one bishop, i.e., no one bishop could do too much damage, but that’s only sustainable if the bishops leverage Syosset and Diocesan resources/advice, don’t expect to make substantially more than their priests, and might even act more like another priest in a parish/deanery/diocese.

        Being a convert isn’t a problem, having been a leader in what was then an aggressively schismatic, “True Orthodox” jurisdiction under an abbot and bishop with sordid sexual histories and many of the trappings of a cult is different than having been raised Episcopalian or Eastern Rite Catholic. Even assuming Arch. Gerasim had nothing to do with anything untoward or inappropriate, the fact his supporters can’t see how bad that litany of facts would be portrayed is problematic. And that’s without considering the liability such a history would entail should he ever be accused (much less convicted) of sexual misconduct, e.g., Bp. Mathias (who, I believe, was railroaded, FWIW). And, of course, there’s the simple question of whether Arch. Gerasim as a person is a fit for the team of men that must make the Synod function. The Bishop of a Diocese has two jobs: one in the Diocese and one on the Synod. Being good for one doesn’t make one good for the other, and I can imagine a bunch of former parish priests and seminary types not seeing eye to eye with a monastic – which is not to say the Synod couldn’t do with more monastic influence.

        All that said, I am very glad to hear Arch. Gerasim is doing so well in his role as Administrator and that the bloom is not off the rose for the people and clergy of the DOS. His ‘failure’ would do no one any good.

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Aka provides a whole grab-bag full of possible excuses/rationalizations.
      . It’s my conviction that it is spiritual JEALOUSY which motivates some members of the Holy Synod to make them say “NEVER”
      If Father Gerasim should complete his life without being made a Bishop, I feel this would be a revelation of Christ’s love for him.

  7. Not Rocket Science says

    Re-Read, and this time between the lines.

    1. “make himself better known” means that one or more of the bishops just don’t trust him. He appears to be doing a fine job, got the SVS degree, liked by the DOS, etc….but some of the bishops remain unconvinced. Somebody is black-balling him. Hmmmm….remind us, what was it that happened up in Alaska???

    2. “function within the context of unity” means making sure he buys into the whole OCA program. Gotta make sure he’s on board, we can’t have any more Jonah’s or Matthias’.

    3. “in light of recent difficulties” means we just wrapped up 5 YEARS dealing with a convicted Archbishop, and we’re scared to make decisions because someone might sue us.

    All Clear now?

  8. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    What a SHAME.

  9. Not:

    All Clear now?

    No, not really. Elect him or send him back to the monastery.

    • OOM,

      One thing is very clear, you are a simpleton who gets his jollies by posting things that only you seem to think are funny but add nothing to the discussion. Sit this one out because you obviously don’t know what you are talking about, again.

    • And then the growing DOS does what?

  10. What was the problem with Jonah? Not pink enough? Not hard to see the same problem with Gerasim. “plays well says it all”.

  11. Why are you people making a big deal out of this; it isn’t. Everyone wants to make sure Gerasim is right for DOS. 1st off, + Dimitri created DOS and his cathedral as the “Anti-Syosset.” + Dimitri ran his own show, beat his own drum and as a Baptist convert, was more dogmatic and tried to emulate Russian practice & hoopla. Many right-wing elements still exist in Dallas and as we see on this forum, ROCOR convert nuts. So, Gerasim, a convert who has had Brotherhood of Man connections, needs to be vetted. I don’t think Brum is much better; an RC protoge of RSK. In the Spring, just around the corner, a decision will be made. Oh, and “+ Bart’s Excellent Adventure” is dead in the water. Orthodoxy is not about to coronate an Eastern Pope.

    • Kirill Berinov says

      I think you have hit upon the truth here. “They” (Syosset + Apparat) apparently seek not the man who is best for the Diocese, but rather seek to put in a man who is allegiant to the Syosset agenda.

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Tony Toms speaks fpr those members of the Holy Synod and Protopappacracy whose main spokesmen have been: Archbishop Job, Archishop Nathaniel, Mark Stokoe, Ptotodeacob Eros Wheeler, Metropolitan Herman and various “hangers-on” of SVS. Tony maligns the memory of Archbishop Dmitri.. Nobody but God “creates”. To say that Archbishop Dmitri created a diocese is to malign the parishes ans PEOPLE that are the Diocese.Tony is apparently an ethno-Orthodox, jealous of devout and learned converts. hat does he mean by Russian “hoopla?”
      Why would Orthodox Christins be called “convert nuts?” He thinks Father Gerasim who graduated SUMMA CUM LAUDE from SVS neds to be VETTED. Does he think the SVS faculty are naive nincompoops?
      WHY would the Holy Synod entrust the administration of a Diocese to someone they are not sure can be trusted?Of course, Tony Toms can bear false witness endlessly here because no one can call him to account: He hides behind a made-up name! Why credit one word of his?

      • Vladyka Tikhon, you related, some time back, an interesting account of your lonely opposition to the reception of “retired Archbishop Lazar Puhalo” (AKA Caitlin Jenner’s fan boy) into the OCA from his vagante status. That man’s last canonical moments were right before he was deposed as a mere deacon by his ROCOR bishop — a deposition that was never lifted. You told us that the members of the Holy Synod extracted from you a promise — namely that if they promised to hear you out regarding your evidence against receiving him, you must promise not to go into schism, and you agreed.

        And that (schism) is something that a diocesan bishop can do that a mere administrator cannot do. A great deal of property and canonical (and moral) authority is vested in a diocesan bishop.

        Do you think it possible that the Holy Synod fears that the natives are so restless in the DOS that with an insufficiently loyal diocesan bishop, schism could result if there are clashes within the OCA over faith and morals? Or am I overestimating what a diocesan bishop can canonically do?

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          Edward, I think you have too rosy a view of the motivation of the opponents of Father Gerasim’s candidacy. I admit it COULD BE concern for the Church that motivates them, but…..well, I just turned 83…I think it’s personal and quasi-ideological.

          • I have rarely, if ever, had “rosy view” attributed to me, Vladyka. You just made my day!

            I can’t speak to the personal, but the “quasi-ideological” does lead directly to my question regarding fear of schism. Church leaders should fear schism out of concern for the spiritual well being of the souls under their care, true, but there are other motivations.

            The loss of property, income, and prestige that would come from losing the DOS would be more than enough reason to want someone in place who could be depended on to “ride for the brand,” as they used say back in my ancestral neck of the woods. It seems there are quite a few folks in the DOS who are fed up with parts of the OCA leadership on “quasi-ideological” grounds. The Synod cannot perhaps take a chance on a diocesan bishop who might side with his clergy and people rather than the Synod — in a hypothetical showdown. From what I understand there is at least one bishop on the Synod who is ready to approve his election. But it takes more than one.

            I have zero knowledge about him or his fitness for the job, nor is it any of my business. It is the process that I find to be of interest — and of course the implications for Orthodoxy as a whole in this country.

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        I apologize for my many typos. Once a speedy typist at ca. 75 words a minute, I developed Depuytrens syndrome in my left hand and, recently, rheumatoid arthritis in my right. It’s only such imbecilic crap as has recently been dropped here by Tony Toms (sp?) about Ever-Memorable Archbishop Dmitri that forces me to produce my rants in spite of horrid syntax.

    • OK, I’ll ask: Archbishop DIMITRI “was more dogmatic” on what issues?

      Be more specific, please.

      • Still waiting.

        He was more dogmatic on issues linked to fasting? Confession? Divorce? Sex outside of marriage?

        Come on, folks. What are the specifics of this clash between the DOS and the OCA powers that be? What are the trip wires? Or is everyone just blowing smoke here?

        • Terry, I can only speak to what I observed in my interactions with the DOS some 20 years ago. Abp. Dimitri was a loyal member of the OCA Synod of Bishops, but the culture of the DOS was that it was a place apart, with praxis that more closely mirrored what one would see in the ROCOR or MP (although the ROCOR was viewed as being too extreme — only the DOS achieved a Goldilocks “just right”), and a conservative/traditional attitude toward liturgics, morals, and dogmatic theology.

          There was a very self-conscious awareness that things weren’t like that in the vast majority of the OCA — to be found east of the Mississippi and north of the Mason-Dixon line. I first learned that SVS was nicknamed “Babylon on the Hudson” from folks in the DOS. You get the idea.

          Way back then, people were already worrying about what would happen after the Abp was gone, and some joked that they would, Soviet style, conceal the fact of his death for as long as possible. They spoke openly of concerns that the OCA might try to foist a bishop on them in the vein of Metr. Theodosius us or Abp Peter, to name just a couple.

          Some who went to SVS as a necessary “finishing school” spoke of those at Syosset and Crestwood who returned the favor by deriding Abp Dimitri as a reactionary whosee influence needed to be kept in check. Unless things have changed, the mutual distrust and fundamental disconnect runs deep and has been a long time in building. There was even talk of starting a dioceaan pastoral school for the formation of clergy, reportedly with the Abp being all for it.

          How much Abp Dimitri himself had to do with this I do not know, but he certainly knew his flock and seems to have done his share of worrying about what would happen to the diocese after he was gone.

        • Texan Orthodox says

          I’m by no means an expert on this matter, but I imagine that in this context “more dogmatic” means that, in the South, people don’t care who you are or who your family is or how long your family has been Orthodox. If you are going to be Orthodox, then you should do things the “right” way.

          Archbp Dmitri created a parish in Dallas out of literally nothing — St Seraphim’s began as a true mission parish in the 1950s. And look what it is today: a beautiful cathedral and the seat of a vast diocese (still without a bishop….). In the “traditional” OCA of New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania/Ohio, this “creating something Orthodox out of nothing” was hardly ever done, and I don’t think that many knew what to make of him or what to do with him.

          Because Archbp Dmitri created “something out of nothing,” he did not have an “Orthodox family” nearby to tell him to not bother with such and such service, to not make liturgy too long, to not do matins, that it doesn’t matter how often to go to confession, or that it’s OK to show up late for church. In some parts, “being Orthodox” is considered being overly dogmatic.

          • convert at St Seraphim's says


            Your post proves, once again, that generalizations are not worth the pixels written with, including this one. At Liturgy, there are generally 30+ cradle Orthodox scattered crosslegged on the rug in the center of the cathedral. They are the children of the converts that you so smugly characterize. Converts only last one generation. I would posit, however, that everyone, convert or no, should come to some conversion experience where they personally take the teachings of our Lord and His church as their own.

            But converts I have met in the DOS (and elsewhere) generally do not carry a mental genealogy chart in their heads to determine if you are Carpatho, into what family you married, who your brother- in -law is, and all the other subtleties that seem to have the attention of the Northeastern cradle Orthodox. (See how those generalizations rankle? Because they don’t necessarily apply?)

            DOS most desperately needs a bishop, if only to provide leadership and example to converts who are trying to find their way, as reading the Rudder and other writings of the fathers without helpful interpretation, might produce the behavior that you find in your visits to DOS over 21 years. Converts are learning the faith. I pray we all are learning about this faith. But all of us, including converts, do the best we can with the information we are provided.

            And the answer is not a middle way between right focused and lax. It is in loving one another as we try to live in this community called the body of Christ, the Church.

          • Estonian Slovak says

            Matins in a parish? Horrors! That’s only for fanatics like the Old Believers or Greek Old Calendarists!

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Thank for this Saunca. I think we experience that even up north. You are right convert and cradle do need each other and are complements to each other. Not rivals. Thank you again saunca.


    • Michael Warren says

      As someone who has a lifelong acquaintance to Russian Orthodoxy in all its strands in N America, i.e. the OCA, ROCOR and MP, and in particular a loyalty to the OCA, I have to confess that I have never read anything as degenerate and aggregious in all of my life. Yes, at the outset, I am an unapologetic Russian party remnant in the OCA. I am unapologetically Russian Orthodox in America.

      1). I agree with the method of formation in the OCA DOS because it is a sober American attempt at Byzantine, with Russian accretions, formation with a native context. I believe it should be one of the models for the OCA going forward. Right, left, center… it is Orthodox. I am a social democrat. In ROCOR, my orientation is called sergianist. That’s as real left as it comes with my mind not being a sewer of NY Times talking points.

      Whereas in dioceses like New England and the Bulgarian diocese and with what is going on in DC there is something akin to eastern rite episcopalianism happening with a strong bit of renovationism which certainly is not Orthodox. My own diocese of the Midwest has its own issues in this regard as well especially in newer parishes.
      2). Archimandrite Gerasim is a solid candidate who was never a hoomie; albeit, he oversaw the entrance of most of them into Orthodoxy. He probably helped receive and form into Orthodoxy more people than anyone in the Holy Synod and definitely has more of an appropriate Orthodox temperament than whatever renovationist ashram diocese responsible for creating this pathetic, liberal hatemonger. If it is a crime to convert people into Orthodoxy with a traditional formation in your mind, I suggest you are in the wrong church. Frank Schaeffer is in need of young haters of orthopraxy. You got that niche if you are not a middle-aged, liberal trying to be too hipster that is: then the GOA has you covered and since you probably don’t do AHEPA hellenism, don’t bother.
      3). The Holy Synod has gotten out of control in its sacking of and refusal to consecrate sober Orthodox Bishops. It has that right to act as it sees fit. But it does answer to us. We have the obligation to speak up and act by witholding funds and demanding accountability and holding people like +Nikon and +Benjamin to moral Orthodox standards. We have the capability of seeking the counsel and mediation of the Russian mother church. Frankly, Syosset’s 40 years of mismanagenent tend to put strict interpretation of the Tomos in jeopardy and make reorganization look like appropriate stewardship. And why is the Metropoltan constantly attending ecumenical gatherings but doing nothing for troubled parishes. Why doesn’t he understand that currying favor with Uniates and being one of the boys with the poster children of the Catholic League is not sober rule consistant with the history, culture and mission of the OCA. What in the world is the point of a trip to non chalcedonian homelands when he should be storing up support for the OCA amongst Orthodox local churches? Why does he have a chancelor who is a crypto papist and venerates the Cure of Ars but still has trouble writing St. John of Kronstadt or St. John of San Francisco.
      3). The DOS bound for either ROCOR or even more laughably the AOA is schismatic nonsense. +Peter Lukianoffff, really?! People need to ask around there. And as far as the Antiochians are concerned. Ben Lomond with the curiousity of beardless bishops decreeing hackneyed akriveia by fax machine with dilletantes decrying “fundamentalism”, ie the mature Orthodoxy practiced in every Orthodox local church in the world which seems to be the bane of right baiting, pew and organ, papal pedophile lounge suit wearing renovationists in North America. Only Antiochian zealots of Gilchrist think the Old Calendar and Observance of the Mystery of Confession is a loser-seems they can’t add up 80% of Orthodoxy shaking its head at what’s going on in America and asking “What in the world are they doing?!”

      The DOS has to weather the storm and form strong Orthodox brotherhoods in the face of a Syosset unhinged and avoid silly, DNC partisans like this fellow. The center will buckle. There will be accomodation. Schism is a mistake. The OCA is the sole canonical North American local church.
      4). Great Council of dubious sincerity and agenda called by the Vatican’s man in Istanbul is a robber council. It should be taken for what it is: a crypto papist attempt at manipulating the zeitgeist by an unscrupulous fellow who falls under the 2000 Moscow Sobor’s anathema of those who espouse branch theory. Two lungs ecclesiology is branch theory.
      5). MSNBC crossed with AFR surely does produce some weird sorts and then they end up malforming people as some type of mouths of hate of things which are really Orthodox. This person’s issues have been debated and he lost the argument many times over during the last 40 years but no one seemed to pass along the memo, alas. In plainspeach then, reformation and modernism are tenets of liberal mainstream Protestantism which is not Orthodoxy, right, left, center or even crazy convert. The people creating such obvious renovationist mutants in Syosset need to be called on it. The Nikons and Alexanders and Benjamins as evidenced by this person’s profound politicized ignorance are a greater threat to the American church than the worst parody of either +Metropolitan Jonah or Archimandrite Gerasim. What produces maladapted ignorance like this bareheadedly assaulting Orthodoxy is what is the problem. The people behind Daily Koz mouthes like this don’t seem to understand how quickly their heads will roll if they ever do successfully swim across the Bosphorus.

      • Wow. The attitudes expressed in this post by one of its partisans do a better job of raising questions about the OCA — in even its supposedly “most Orthodox” manifestations — than does any direct attack on it. There are some true statements and some good impulses to be sure, but one wonders just how a “renovationist” church with “cryptopapists” at the helm are going to move the “sole canonical North American local church” forward.

        And of course I will exercise my usual role by asking what exactly the slurs against Abp. Benjamin, Bp. Alexander, and Bp. Peter are about. You can’t just casually drop things like that without backing them up, in my opinion. (I will give you Bp. Nikon as a freebie, since he didn’t publicly discipline Arida — even though you seem to imply rather more than that.)

        • Michael Warren says

          Sometimes a little is enough. No need for a bar brawl and dragging things into the gutter. Those mentioned know exactly what I am talking about.

          The Church is a theandric organism. It is holy. It is immaculate in the GOD man, despite what some clerics may or may not do. The fact remains that we are true to CHRIST, though sinful, and progressing in our vocation as the North American local church.

          You see, the Church is the Body of CHRIST made up of all of her members who are responsible for her and not just some wayward members of the hierarchy or a swarmy, liberal minority. So schism is never warranted. And we don’t need to nail theses to our church doors either. We are collectively responsible for our local church.

          Now I realize that Orthodox formations are hard to come by in the orthodoxist renovationist land of McOrthodoxy, but I wouldn’t so blatently publicize the notion that wherever you are they may not be happening. Although that is essentially my point: to rectify the sorry occurence of Eastern Rite Protestant counterfeits AKA Renovationism masquerading as Orthodoxy. To end whatever happened to you. You have my prayers and sincerest apologies.

          My standard is simple: you can witness it by visiting almost any given, mature Orthodox local church. And it is fidelity to the Holy Fathers, the Holy Canons expressing the mind of CHRIST, leading the people of GOD to theosis in respect of what has been passed down to us. That isn’t extreme. That is Orthodoxy. Where it is lacking or assaulted or termed “fundamentalism” by some renovationist it is betrayed. Orthodoxy is betrayed, and that is unacceptable.

          So be Orthodox or not but don’t offer people protestant counterfeits in the name of Orthodoxy. If you are into pews, organs, vestments, a little incense and ritual catering to a liberal ego with politically correct inclusion and American culture and the times reflecting your worship and theology, the Episcopal church is really what you want, and that is not Orthodoxy.

  12. Michael Woerl says

    When “THE Autocephalous Church of America,” which has insisted since 1970 that it is “mature and well formed” enough to be Autocephalous has all the Bishop trouble it has had, from scoundrels to supposed scoundrels to non-entities that seem to just take up space, seems to be a real big deal to onlookers. Imagine the people in the South aren’t exactly thrilled either. And, so much for all the “conciliar” jazz … just gives one message about the OCA: Stay Away!

    • Daniel E Fall says

      Sounds to me like someone’s been eating way too much humble pie!

    • Mr. Woerl:

      You are not well read. The Greeks, Antiochians & others have had more clerical scandals than the OCA, but apparently, you aren’t aware. It’s called, the fallen condition in this world and this is why as with Gerasim, it is better to measure 2, 3, 4 times before making the cut. I think the OCA learned this with BT.

      • Daniel E Fall says

        Not to mention Woerl apparently believes it is wise to send funds back to foreign patriarchies without any accounting whatsoever. Nothing to see here, no Rolexes will be videotaped.

      • By BT, I am assuming you mean his Beatitiude Theodosius…

  13. Instead of “thanking” us for our patience, he should stop taxing it.

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      No one can accuse me of being an apologist for the OCA Holy Synod; nevertheless, one must remember that the Holy Synod barely knew Hieromonk Jonah (Paffhausen) who suddenly became the absolute HIT of an All-American Council through a “Monomakhos”-moralizing oration. They unaccountably panicked and, unlike previous such Synods bowed to “vox populi”.and elected him to preside over them. When he proved to be not at all a person whom they would have otherwise approved, they asked him to resign. He did so. One thing most of them DID know was his previous association with deposed Abbot Herman (Podmoshchensky. Now, here comes a MAGNIFICENT candidate along, Abbot Gerasim, and he happened to have also been associated with the deposed Herman….I feel one should not blame them too harshly for “measuring seven times before slicing” as is said in Russian. One must keep also in mind that Metropolitan Tikhon, as an STS “product, would always be viewed with suspicion by “the usual suspects.” One should not imagine him to be one of them.

  14. I am decidedly negative towards the OCA given its only slightly-veiled gay agenda, but on this particular topic I am willing to take Metropolitan Tikhon at his word. The Orthodox world moves incredibly slowly and the OCA Holy Synod even slower. It is refreshing to read that the metropolitan is at least acknowledging that they have not vetted candidates for the episcopacy as well as they should have in the past.

    I have had the pleasure of meeting Fr. Gerasim on several occasions and I think he will actually make a good bishop because he is a very humble man and he works very hard. Personally I don’t know what the hold up is with his candidacy, other than the fact that the Holy Synod simply didn’t want to make the decision at their last meeting given that they were in the midst of deposing Archbishop Seraphim (the former locum tenens head of the OCA lest anyone forget).

    I will say this though, if the Holy Synod does not affirm him and doesn’t provide a really good explanation for not affirming him, I suspect you will see more people leave the OCA.

  15. Arch. Gerasim will NOT be elected a bishop by this Synod. This will be revealed at the next Synod meeting in the Spring. (The lawyers have spoken.) You heard it here first.

    • Texan Orthodox says

      “Fair use,”

      If you are speaking the truth, then this is sad and unfortunate. Archimandrite Gerasim is a personable, engaging, caring, and dedicated priest and leader. He understands North American culture and is not afraid of engaging it to spread the gospel.

      He is just what is needed for an Orthodox bishop in North America. Too bad that those in positions of authority disagree. Or maybe they view him as too much not like themselves, possibly too much a threat. Who knows.

    • Bruce W. Trakas says

      How terribly sad and most unfortunate. Even the Holy Synod allows lawyers to make determinations that are within their purview.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Indeed. It’s stuff like that that gives the Phanar all the ammunition they need to regurgitate their “America isn’t mature enough” mantra whenever we demand autocephaly.

      • Lawyers? Please explain. What do lawyers have to do with what are clearly doctrinal tensions and the financial realities linked to them?

        • If this is true, it is likely related to Arch. Gerasim’s leadership role in the Christ the Saviour Brotherhood and St. Herman of Alaska Monastery while it was in schism. There have been any number of revelations about Abbot Herman’s sexual misconduct in those years. I haven’t heard anything about Fr. Gerasim in particular or about the monastery since their acceptance into the Serbian church (and the former Abbot Herman’s retirement), If the Synod bounced Bp Mathias for doing nothing but seeming like he could have possibly meant to do something maybe, then Arch. Gerasim was much closer to real, documented misconduct. He was also under another noted sex offender’s omophorion. There are any number of ways to explain this away; there are any number of ways to explain how serious it all is. Since Abp Seraphim was just deposed for a conviction and Bp Mathias was retired for someone being uncomfortable, that puts Arch. Gerasim’s situation firmly rising to a bar that would exclude him from the episcopacy under current practice in the OCA.

          And none of that says anything about whether or not Arch. Gerasim is a wonderful administrator, priest, spiritual father, student, or monastic. It also says nothing about whether he was involved in the sexual misconduct of his abbot or even knew about it. It shouldn’t require lawyers to understand how bad that litany looks and to determine Fr. Gerasim is just not called to the episcopacy, at least at this time, not least because of the sexual scandals that have engulfed clergy in recent decades.

        • And furthermore, “sexual misconduct,” even the hint of it, the smell of it, sends the dogs at Syosset wild. There are few decisions at Syosset that don’t involve lawyers these days, and every decision making process ends with the question speculating “how much will this cost us if it goes wrong?”

          Think about this: name one area of Syosset’s time and treasure that gets more attention than misconduct? Add up the cost of the Sex Tsarina, the lawyers, the cost of sending investigators at every allegation (including going through a backlog of settled cases from 20-30 years ago), the time for reports, depositions, hearings, the famed crisis committee – what other department in the OCA gets as much attention, time, and treasure? None. How’s that OCA youth program coming?

          Gerasim’s past associations is his undoing, not his personal conduct. The Pokrov gals are breathing down Syosset’s neck, and they’ve had it out for the CSB from day one. Their lap dog Jillions is not going to allow Tikhon to go down this road. Syosset doesn’t see a wonderfully humble, obedient man in Gerasim. They see a financial liability.

          The dwindling support base of the OCA is a very real issue that the Atlanta council didn’t address because the census will become a thing of the past, something that can stay buried now. The stooges who voted for the “biblical” financial formula just got had, because Syosset was simply looking for a way to extract more cash out of the parishes. Because Ringa is counting pennies, and they bet the farm on this new funding method…there’s barely enough money to keep the lights on in Oyster Bay Cove.

          Welcome to the OCA, ladies and gentlemen. Please step to the left and the nice policeman will take your fingerprints.

          • Couple of observations.

            a. Thank you for clarifying your previous comment by stating flat out “Gerasim’s past associations is his undoing, not his personal conduct.” I still do not know how you know this. That said, it seems to me that you are making a fundamental error in giving too much authority to the lawyers, particularly since Fr. Gerasim’s personal conduct is not an issue. Instead of being a legal issue, it is a risk management problem that should be solidly under the purview of the Holy Synod.

            b. Thank you also for allowing us to see into your thinking, which is hypercritical, cynical and paranoid to say the least. We do need more folks like you in our ranks for clearly Saint Paul was wrong when he wrote “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23. /s

          • Michael Warren says

            Sexual misconduct which seems to escape not so closeted excesses in New England, the Diocese of the West, the Bulgarians and in DC? Hypocrisy seems to know no shame, but people who can and even look to be bought to advance an agenda are by their nature vulnerable. I don’t place high odds on the longevity of the gender benders – closeted renovationist alliance in Syosset. St. Vladimir’s gone human rights campaign/Stankevich crazy bubble notwithstanding, a cultural amoral fad will be hung around their necks like an albatross. Then we can resume the mature development of the American local church.

            • Estonian Slovak says

              Along these lines, one OCA bishop has forbidden readers and subdeacons from wearing the cassock except when they are actually performing liturgical functions. Not directly relevant to this discussion ; but there are far too many ordained subdeacons running around everywhere, incuding ROCOR. I agree with Archbishop Alypy, unless you have a cathedral with a bishop,you don’t need subdeacons in a parish.

              • Michael Warren says

                Readers and subdeacons are clergy of the Church and should wear appropriate, modest attire to set themselves apart and respect the charisma the Church has blessed them with.

                I agree that there always seem to be too many unserious clerics these days distorting all kinds of Orthodox practices, such as Bishops forbidding clerics in their dioceses from looking like clerics. One group outside of the canonical local church, the OCA, even forbid Priests from wearing cassocks outside of parishes, instead mandating that they wear papal, pedophile lounge suits. Seems that look is appropriate to some in the place of an Orthodox cassock. So much for orthopraxis in the hopes of a maturing, North American Orthodox mission.

                So, yes, we must definitely have less clerics prone to renovationism across the board and more zealous, unashamed to be Orthodox clerics with servants hearts across the board.

  16. Memory eternal for our friend, Laura Paffhausen, AKA Madam. She departed this life three years ago yesterday. May her soul dwell with the blessed!

  17. Michael Bauman says

    When tempted to react and say what you can’t retract–remember: all is INSANITY. Especially here.