More dissembling on OCANews

Here’s a comment Stokoe just made about his own reporting:

(New Editor’s note: Well, I have never claimed to speak for either the Synod, or MC, or Staff; nor can I. I do report on things people tell me however, and whenever possible, I state the source. But so far, as you point out, these highly articulate people have yet to contradict me on anything I have reported.

I am sure there is a great deal of varied opinions as to what to do, and how to do it, and what should and can be done: but I think I am safe in asserting the one thing I have been asserting since the beginning of this turmoil. Everyone agrees +Jonah’s actions and inactions are at the root of our current turmoil, however you want to define them, and however you think they should be resolved.)

Nice words. The problem is that none of it is true.

Stokoe has been in on the plan to remove +Jonah from the beginning (see: here and here). He portrays himself as the solitary outsider fighting for truth, justice, and the American way. In reality he is deep in the center of this clumsy little putsch. The plotters created a conflict that positioned +Jonah as an antagonist and, when +Jonah resisted, came back with all sorts of smooth rationales about conciliarity and obedience to claim that his resistance was proof that he was unfit to lead. (Don’t believe this? It is all outlined here.)

That’s where OCANews comes in. Trading in on the credibility he gained reporting on the malfeasance of the last administration, Stokoe knew that most readers were inclined to believe his reports. We really believed he was the solitary outsider. We really believed his only motive was the good of the Church. The leaked emails changed all that although Stokoe, as the quote above reveals, still labors feverishly to hold up the facade.

But now there’s a whiff of desperation beginning to emerge in Stokoe’s reporting. Just in case we still don’t get it, he reiterated:

Everyone agrees +Jonah’s actions and inactions are at the root of our current turmoil, however you want to define them, and however you think they should be resolved.

No, not everyone. More and more of us wonder what Stokoe and his friends have been up to. We just found out that +Jonah, in what can only be seen in terms of humility and self-abnegation, submitted himself to a battery of psychological tests and passed with flying colors. Yes, we saw that he needed to lose weight. He is taking care of that as well. Who is really walking the way of Christ here?

The desperation is going to increase. That’s why we saw the resolutions from the Diocese of the West emerge two days ago. The only card left is that +Jonah is a “renegade, rogue, rebellious.” These are code words for the narrative that +Jonah refuses to act in a “conciliar” manner; that he wants to go it alone. What it really means of course is that +Jonah refuses to conform to Stokoe’s and his cohorts ideas of how the Church should be run. That’s why Stokoe felt it was necessary to reiterate the point.

This tawdry putsch is going to fail. Vestiges of the former corruption are being revealed that needs to be weeded out. Stokoe’s cohorts should quit now to spare themselves even deeper humiliation.


  1. Heracleides says

    Benjamin’s been at it again. While not specifically germane to your current post, I thought I’d point out a communication appearing this morning on the official Diocese of the West website ( ) entitled “Secretary of Holy Synod addresses recent Washington Post article”. This communication to the Washington Post deals with the Synod’s ongoing “concern” (to borrow Carl’s favorite phrase) over the Washington Post article regarding +Jonah & the OCA. As of the time of this post, I can find no announcement of this official Synodal communication on any of the other diocesan websites, nor, more importantly, on the official metropolitan website. Nevertheless, there it is bold as brass on +Benjamin’s website. Call it speculation (or “concern”) on my part, but it certainly seems like the Washington Post article, which portrays +Jonah in a positive light, has really gotten under +Benjamin’s skin.

    • Anonymous says

      Actually, its more disingenuous than that. Bishop Tikhon’s letter begins with “I am writing as the secretary of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA).” The statement on the DOW website reads “On behalf of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America.”

      NOWHERE, does Bishop Tikhon state, suggest or imply that he is writing on behalf of the Synod. He states he is writing as a member of the synod. These are two completely different things. The DOW statement is a bald faced lie.

  2. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    I just wanted to say that I don’t really like what is going on, but I cannot believe the BS that I am reading and hearing. Everybody here loved Mark Stoke when he allegedly took on the financial corruption of former Protopresbyter Robert S. Kondratick (even though a State Jury found former Protopresbyter Robert S. Kondratick not guilty and the OCA settled his Breach of Contract and Liable suits for $250K), but now hates Mark Stoke when he is trying to do THE SAME THING to Met Jonah. Do you people actually believe that Mark Stoke was inncoent and clean during this time? You don’t think he was the OCA Holy Synod’s clean-up guy hiding there dirty laundry?

    You actually believe that Faith Skordinski is innocent was well when she, as well as other Clergy and Laity, have been instrumental in ousting past Hierarchs (i.e. Herman and Kondratick) and covering up sexual abuse sacandals here and in Canada? Wake up people! The only reason you don’t like it now is because the big ol’ flashlight of the internet has exposed these people for the frauds and fakes THE ALWAYS WERE and CONTINUE TO BE! Always remeber does a leopard (Mark Stoke, Faith Skodinski, BP. Benjamin, etc) ever change their spots? Fight for your Metropolitan, not because he is good or that he is pious, but because an unseen cabal is attempting to take him down for purely political reasons and all of you are being duped. STOP BEING DUPED and START STANDING UP!

    Also, while we are at it, lets also be clear as to everybody’s agendy starting with this blog’s author Mr. George Michalopoulos. Mr. Michalopoulos and his collegues over at OCL were the GOA’s “cabal” along with other Greek-Americans that took out Former Archbishop Spyridon. So George and the rest of the OCL were the “Mark Stoke” and “Faith Skordinski” of the GOA. So unfortunately precdident for the removal of hierarchs has been establsihed not just by other Clergy and Holy Synods, but by laymen and women as well.

    Tread lightly George because although I agree with alot that you have said and are saying, lets all be truly trasnparent here, and let’s all stop eating our own. Keep doing what your doing, but just know if you say that Mark’s hands are not clean, which they are not, then ask yourself how clean are your hands and the hands of the OCL?

    Unfortunately, no one is clean in all of this, and it truly is a miracle that people are still in and coming into the Orthodox Church, as flawed and as byzantine that it truly is.

    Happy Lent.

    • Peter, thank you for your well-reasoned post. For one thing, it will allow me to bring up my involvement in the OCL and it’s attempt to ouster +Spyridon.

      1. Yes. I am presently a member of the OLC.

      2, No, I wasn’t a part of the OCL during the time in question (1996-1999).

      3. Having said that, I supported their attempts to reform the GOA, including the ouster of +Spyridon.

      4. Yes, I did support Stokoe when he helped remove +Herman.

      The above is all true and udeniable. More importantly, they are largely uncontroversial. Let me explain further: the removal of +Spyridon was necessitated by the egregious actions of the Phanar, which unceremoniously dumped +Iakovos. Unlike +Jonah, +Spyridon’s tenure was not marked by a concern for progress, moral renewal, fortitude, evangelism, etc. Quite the opposite. The same with +Theodosius and +Herman. When the time came for these three men to go, there was no outcry. Just relief.

      Why the opposite with +Jonah? Because we all recognize that he is a different type of man. It’s as clear as the day is long. Even his enemies see that. Hence the present tumult.

      As for Kondratick, I have switched now to the position in which I qualify his actions with the adverb “supposedly” when describing his actions. (Although it must be said that the fact that he was defrocked must mean that his many critics can’t be all wrong.)

      As for Faith Skordinski, I don’t know her at all. What I do know is that one her leaked e-mails are particularly damning of the entire Holy Synod, as to their overall smarts. The other describes actions by Garklavs which are apparently criminal and/or scandalous. Again, like Solodow’s e-mail, Stokoe’s e-mail, etc., Skordinski’s paint a vivid picture of skullduggery, corruption, and conspiratorial mindsets.

      Peter, thank you for keeping me honest. I’ve tried to be open about my biases, beliefs, and agendas. Anybody who knows me knows what I believe and I’ve always tried to steer my actions in accordance with my beliefs. If, after this debacle we see +Jonah, the Holy Synod, and the MC retreat to their previous inept way of doing things, then I would have no option but to ask for their ouster. But please note: this deep institutional mediocrity (thank you Anonymous) that has existed in the OCA extends beyond the episcopate. We now know that this culture of ineptness embraces Syosset, the MC, and even Mark Stokoe, whose previous crusades against corruption stopped at the door of his cronies or those people in power whom he could control.

      In sum, as both OCAT and I have stated repeatedly, it’s not all black and white, +Jonah has given his enemies some weapons to use against him. Perhaps he tried to act too soon in some respects. Etc. But the facts were always with him. Now thanks to the leaked e-mails, we know that his adversaries were never acting in good faith.

      • PS. Regarding Skordinski, I’d like to state that the fact that the bishop I talked to last Wednesday was willing to throw her under the bus proves to me beyond a reasonable doubt that the scandalous actions of Garklavs were clearly egregious. Again, her e-mail (and own biases) show that ti is +Jonah’s enemies who are reverting to desperation tactics.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        George I too have problems with the Phanar and I do also have problems with his interpretation of Canon 28, and was actually supportive of Met Jonah taking him on to that extent. I will also clarify as to your involvement with the OCL is absolutely correct in what you say, but for many of us in the GOA former Archbishop Spyridon WAS a return to traditional Orthodoxy. He spoke up on alot of issues that were not spoken of before. Yes, I will be the first to admit that they were “Greek” issues, but issues none the less that no one addressed in the past. Further his stance on bring back many traditional aspect of Orthodoxy appealed to a great many of us

        The point I am making is both heirarchs were vehicles of change that their respective hierarchs thought they could control and if not good-bye. Remember what the Phanar said that Spyridon was to be our Archbishop for life. Yeah, ok. I don’t like and have never liked Hierarchs that are positive for change being thrown out by hierarchs and lay people that have an agenda.

        I liked Spyridon, I like Jonah as he and others like him ARE the future of American Orthodoxy, but is this really the way to go about it? Iakovos was booted, Spyridon was booted and now Jonah. I don’t like hidden agendas whether its OCL, Mark Stoke, OCA’s Holy Synod, etc., because I feel that all this internet chatter is not just confusing, but it makes me feel used, and as a pawn.

        The autocephalists over here, the traditionalists over there, the librals who go along to get along in the middle and the Lavender mafia controlling it all.

        While I Whole-heartedly agree with Jonah and you that the Phanar is in the process, through canon 28, into becoming the Pope of the Diaspora Orthodox, what do you think the 1970 Tomos by Moscow was that granted autocephalacy to the OCA? It was Moscow’s way of bringing in the American Orthodox faithful under the Russian flag of Orthodoxy. If the OCA was truely autocephalists why did Moscow have to intervien recently with Alfayev? Answer: Moscow has ALWAYS been in control and the OCA’s autocephalicy is a sham.

        What about the Antiochians? You think the mass conversion of all those Protestants back in the early 80’s was something the Antiochians really wanted to do for purely altruistic reasons? By being the “Orthodox” jurisdiction that welcomes in protestant converts the Antiochians were sending out a signal loud and clear that they wanted to take the autocephalist lead in American Orthodox as long as they were in control and completely side-stepped the OCA that was trying to do that before them with the 1970 Tomos of autocephalacy.

        That’s what’s been going on in American Orthodoxy with the Greeks, Russians and Antiochians all jocking for autocratic control. NOW how does this relate to Met. Jonah? Met. Jonah, by taking on the EP in its interpretation of canon 28, told the EP, as well as the Antiochians AND the Russians that he wanted a TRULY autocephalist American Orthodox Church.

        In all of this has Moscow robustly defended Met Jonah? Have the Antiochians? You actually think that the DOW under Bp. Benjamin would have done what he did if Moscow didn’t wanted him to do it?

        OK boys and girls here is the REAL problem with Jonah and why the OCA Holy Synod wants him out: Metropolitan Jonah threw down the gauntlet in his Dallas speech not just for the EP, but to Moscow, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria. His message was clear – HANDS OFF THE AMERICN ORTHODOX CHURCH! That not only angered Constandionple, but also Moscow. If what I believe is true, that the OCA’s 1970 autiocephalacy was just Moscow’s policital power play to get control of the American Orthodox, but still have control over the OCA, then the current “SCANDAL” with Met. Jonah makes all the sense in the world. The EP, MP and all other old world hierarchs want this upstart out.

        The HS gets the call from Moscow, mechanasions are put in place, Mark Stoke is unmuzzled and told to attack, discredit the Metropolitan with the SMC report, get him to take a leave, amass more evidence against the Metropolitan, i.e. his handling of sexual and financial misconduct, and look in the Met. Jonah’s own financial expenses as well. Characterize him as a “Rouge” hierarch that needs to be dismissed ASAP, and put someone in there that will keep the status que until Moscow and the EP work out a deal to divie-up America, and while all this is going on we get distracted by this and that rumor or leaked e-mail.

        The dye has been casted and the players are not set to act. It happend in the GOA and now its happending in the OCA, and all the while nobay sees Moscow and Constandinople pulling the strings.

        Thats why I didn’t like and still do not like the OCL because it was used and abused to get rid of a hierarch that was actually going to be independent of the Phanar. Now Archbishop Demetrios is on the outs with the Phanar because he wanted to be independent as well, he wanted Met. Jonah at the current Hierarcal Assembly of Bishops. HELLO Met. Jonah was NEVER supposed to be at the Assemby. Moscow didn’t protest, Antioch didn’t protest, Constandinople DEFINITLY didn’t protest, but the one guy who did, Archbishop Demetrios, is now bye-bye and on the outs with the Phanar.

        Met. Jonah is the moneky-rench nobody wanted, that the HS of the OCA and Moscow thought they could control. They were wrong, and now its good-bye Met. Jonah no matter what.

        As for Robert Kondratick being defrocked, yeah who defrocked him? The Holy Snyod that has currently been exposed a fake, fraudulent and connyning to the nth degree. What was the Holy Snyod to do? “Yeah Bob you know we really didn’t mean to throw you under the bus?” “Oh in regards to all that bad stuff you know about us, lets just keep that between ourselves.”

        Finally, another point of clarification. George has had arguments with the OCL over many an issue, which does lean very heavily in favor of your honesty, integrety and credibility, and I have always seen that with you George. I cannot say that with every OCL member I have seen, but at leats you are honest and very transparent. I just don’t like hidden agendas, and if have said anything, especially now during great lent, that has offended you I humbly and sincerely ask for your forgiveness and apology.

        However, everybody really needs to see the big picture here, not just for the sake of Met. Jonah, but for the future of American Orthodoxy. I bid you peace.


        • Anonymous says

          Except +Jonah was the one who initiated a vote to surrender autocephally. The synod said no. +Jonah is also the one who invited +Hilarion. This invitation was apropos as +Hilarion was in the US with +Jonah for an unrelated visit during the time the scandal first broke out with Garklavs. Further, it is pretty normative in Church history to invite an outside bishop in to help calm down tenuous situations. Lastly, +Hilarion’s message to the Synod was “if you uncanonically dispose of your Metropolitan, there will be schism.” In short, Moscow needs the OCA for bare minimum as leverage in dealing with the Ukranian situation.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            That’s not going anywhere. Moscow needs the facade. Invite? The HS invited Hilarion? Gee I must of missed that one. Finally Moscow needs the OCA for far more than the Ukranian situation.

        • Peter, thank you for your thoughtful and reasoned reply. I too liked +Spyridon at first, thinking that he was a traditionalist and all. Yes, compared to a lot of what goes on in the GOA at present, you could definately say that he was more “traditional” and that’s a good thing. He also started out as a reformer who spoke vociferously against the “ethnic ghettos” of Orthodoxy, not once, but twice –and to thunderous applause. Unfortunately, he became Istanbul’s hatchet-man.

          Had he gone on to serve in SCOBA in a humble manner, picking up the baton of +Iakovos, I’d think that he’d still be primate of the GOA and who knows? Metropolitan of All America and Canada? But even if this is what he wanted, the Phanar did enough damage through him and within the GOA itself, that there was no way that he could succeed.

          Anyway, that’s my quick analysis of your post. I will consider your other points as well. Thank you for commenting.

    • Anonymous says

      Honestly, I suspect the situation is roughly that the Synod is a good ole’ boys’ club where whenever a neophyte bishop is brought on board they take advantage of his naivety to entrap him in a morally/ethically compromising situation. This is done in order to create a mutually assured destruction pact where every bishop can be manipulated by every other bishop via blackmail. Now, laypeople (via the MC) have wised up and are in on this game.

      The monkey-wrench is that +Jonah was consecrated Bishop and elected Metropolitan before this process could be implemented. I think that the SMC situation was not originally a plan to oust the Metropolitan, but to entrap him in this pact. Unfortunately, he wised up. The plan to catch him in a morally/ethically compromising situation thus backfired and now the Synod has to get rid of him before he can figure out the dirt on everyone.

      In short, the synod/MC are just trying to get rid of the one man who can actually clean house. This is why, for the Synod, the Moscow threats are irrelevant and they will continue this path regardless of the threat of schism. Thus, I think rather than explicit collusion, what we have is an implicit collusion via secret circles of blackmail.

      What did bishop Benjamin hide when he was on the SIC? Answer that, and this whole thing will unravel.

    • Chris Plourde says


      I know little of the personages involved, but from all I’ve read on all sides (and there are more than two at work here) these two lines strike me as being the most correct:

      Unfortunately, no one is clean in all of this…
      … let’s all stop eating our own.

      Those two lines (admittedly reversed from your post) make your post the most sane thing I’ve read.

      I offer this reflection:


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