More Evidence that Jonah Was Railroaded

Ever since the forced, uncanonical, and illegal resignation of His Beatitude, it has become clearer each day that the official story has not held up very well. As a result the blowback against Syosset has not abated. In fact, it has gotten worse.

Now comes the official report from the Special Investigation Committee (published on Pokrov, .pdf file). It reveals that most of the charges against His Beatitude in the unsigned letter which the Holy Synod put out the day after his “resignation” were false.

Even more troubling, the Synod, as well as the rest of the OCA Apparat, knew that the charges were false for quite a while since the report was issued in November of 2010. This means the letter was a fraud. The OCA Apparat, it seems to me, has exposed the Church to civil liability. From the viewpoint of canon law, the “resignation” and everything that proceeds is null and void.

The American sojourn of the priest-monk while in question is uncomfortable to read. It might be time to stop playing social worker for troubled monks and priests. Nevertheless, the allegations that His Beatitude was in any way covering up for the miscreant are flat-out lies.

The following facts are contained within the Report itself:

  • FACT: The report clearly states that the priest was “…not now, nor has ever been, a cleric of the Orthodox Church in America.”
  • FACT: The report clearly states that the entire Holy Synod was aware of some allegations of “…misconduct or disorderly conduct committed by this monk, possibly even rape.” [Paradoxically, the report then contradicts itself on page 6: “The level of abuse did not rise to the level of physical contact…”]
  • FACT: The report clearly states that the OCA had no jurisdiction over this priest but “…it was deemed necessary to conduct an investigation inasmuch as he was ‘clearly associated’ with both Metropolitan Jonah and St Nicholas Cathedral.” Moreover, “…by the middle of July 2010, the SMPAC began notifying His Beatitude and the Holy Synod about the need to initiate a proper investigation as mandated by the OCA’s policies and procedures regarding allegations of such misconduct.” At no time did Jonah impede this. In fact, “…with the blessing of the Metropolitan and the consent of the Holy Synod, the Special Investigation Committee was officially formed on July 25, 2010.”
  • FACT: The report clearly states that even though this priest was not under the omorphor of Jonah, Jonah “recused” himself from the invesigation in order to let it proceed according to the proper procedures as mandated by the OCA.
  • FACT: Because His Beatitude recused himself from the investigation, the Holy Synod was charged with the responsibility for the investigation and “…became the’ supervisory’ body of this investigation.”
  • FACT: As can be seen from this Report, at no time did His Beatitude act “unilaterally.”

What can we conclude?

Clearly, the interpersonal relationships that are necessary for a synod to function are irretrievably broken and have been for quite a while. Whether His Beatitude is going to be restored to his primatial throne is not at issue here. At stake is the truth. The good people of the OCA need to be aware that a fraud was perpetrated with the connivance of a vast part of the Apparat that governs the OCA.

While I believe it is possible that individual bishops were hoodwinked into accepting a false narrative about their Primate, the fact remains that it is the bishops who bear the ultimate responsibility for the Church.

They will answer before the Lord on Judgment Day for bearing false witness against their neighbor.


  1. phil r. upp says

    Really George, it doesn’t matter. + Jonah is gone because all of his fellow brother bishops on the Synod agreed that he could no longer fulfill his Metropolitanate. Why do you continue to look for conspiracies? The Synod didn’t all of a sudden decide to gang up on + Jonah, no, they saw an on-going, habitual set of problems. They acted. Case closed. It’s not as if + Jonah wasn’t warned on at least 3 different occasions. So, give it a rest. Find something else to rail about. A bishop nor a priest is untouchable nor not responsible for their actions. They come from the laos and can be returned to the laos.

    • George,

      I have to agree with the previous poster. This is over. Maybe there were a few i’s that didn’t get dotted and a couple of t’s, but the full document of the SIC shows poor judgement on the Metropolitan’s part and a complete lack of supervision of Fr. Kharon.

      Metropolitan Jonah said “Yes” to way too many marginal characters, and he chose to function outside whatever protective counsel the OCA might have given him. Yes, maybe the synod’s attitude drove +Jonah to have “another life” outside of their line of view – one that frustrated his chancellors to no end – but at the end of the day the root cause of all his troubles was a unilateral approach to life. It wasn’t just this incident. It was the corpus of everything that’s occurred over the last 4 years.

      Most importantly – the Synod did the right thing, and I am impressed by how thorough and direct they were. They didn’t “railroad” him. They carefully and methodically interviewed people who were there at the time, and chose to accept eyewitness testimony over supposition. He got his day in court, and it was a fair one. It’s interesting that the disingenuous witnesses in this case were the Abbess and the accused priest. You would have thought that a little honesty on their part might have been helpful to the Metropolitan who brought them here.

      Lastly, it doesn’t matter which bishops asked for his resignation (or whatever personal problems they might have) or whatever issues they had with Metropolitan Jonah, or whatever sins the OCA has allowed, the issue here is the Metropolitan’s self-undoing on almost a colossal scale. If he really was the hope of the new OCA (when elected), the very least the Metropolitan could have done was try to work with his synod and his advisers, instead of get involved in an endless (and destructive) tit for tat with them. Hard as it is for me to admit it, and as much as I loathed Mark Stokoe’s relentless and uncharitable attacks on the Metropolitan, he got it right – the Metropolitan has been the problem from the very first.

      Let this one go, George (Monomakhos). You fought the good fight; you did what you could to help a beloved cleric, but this experience shows that the art of administration is much much much more difficult than any of us could imagine. Met Jonah should have taken the offer they gave him last year and left the stage long ago. The synod would have worked with him if he had given them half a chance. Never were the words, “There is safety in much counsel” more apropos.

      • George Michalopulos says

        John, thank you for your reasoned response. Please understand, I am not here on a crusade to get Jonah restored to his primatial throne. True, a canonical case could be made that the actions which led to his resignation were uncanonical and thus null and void but that’s not the issue here. Please read my conclusion again: I said that the “bonds of trust,” had been “irretrievably broken.” On a personal level, simply because I actually care for people in general (and Jonah in particular), I wouldn’t want him to be subjected to the OCA Nomenklatura ever again. It’d be a fate worse than death.

        Regrettably, I have come to the conclusion that my Church (the OCA) is in danger of implosion. I’m not happy with the prospect but short of fulsome and public repentance, I don’t see any other future but continued lameness at best. Whatever leadership comes forth will be nothing short of insipid. Just look at the GOA after the expulsion of Iakovos. This is what happens when an Apparat calls the shots.

        As to your point about “administration being difficult,” I agree. However the meme that Jonah was not, could not, wasn’t cut out to be, an administrator is an assertion. He simply wasn’t allowed to be. No realistic help was offered to him (and that mean a decent salary for an aide and a chancellor who was willing to work with him). Now that we know that Syosset has put out an ad for an Executive Assistant, we now have tangible evidence that my assertion to the contrary is probably closer to the truth.

        The most difficult point you raise is that Jonah lacked discernment, that he said “yes to too many marginal characters.” I note your use of the plural. Instead, the SIC could only come up with one “marginal” character. Do you not see the perilously high bar you’ve erected for the rest of the episcopate? Could any one of the present bishops, put his hand on the Gospels, and swear that every priest in his diocese is not “marginal”? That there is no evidence of even one case of alcoholism, perversion, or whatnot? Why is Jonah singled out for retribution when every other bishop must have at least one person who is so afflicted?

        If this is the case, then why does the OCA need a Sex Czar and Clergy Cop?

        • George,

          What I have come to see in this case, and the many cases presented so bluntly by on their website, is that you have to see the other side of the coin: those many many people who are victimized by the poor choices of spiritual leaders. Another way to state it might be, “the way to hell was paved with good intentions.”

          You don’t cure problem priests by increasing their access to women, children and/or young men. You don’t resolve their sexual appetites, their drinking problems, their cognitive and spiritual dissonance by placing them in a community of unsuspecting parishioners, monastics, or soldiers. Even more so if you don’t monitor them.

          I would be highly suspect of any cleric who leaves their jurisdiction under a cloud and seeks a new home, a fresh “start”, in the OCA; especially if you knew the circumstances of their departure involved sex or drug abuse. Many of these charismatic “martyrs” have invented biographies and unresolved issues that pushed them out their respective doors.

          So yes, discernment is very important. Decision-makers in positions of authority have to get things like this right. That’s the point the synod was making. Otherwise the reputation of the church (and its pocketbook) is at stake. Clerics who work with the public must be vetted. You can’t do your “own thing” and run under the radar, hoping or naively expecting it’s going to work out alright.

          The desire to have mercy on an individual and give him a “second” chance cannot come at the expense of a community, a monastery, or a military unit where a repeat offense might occur. This has been the basis of costly sex abuse litigation and the synod has a right to be concerned it won’t repeat here. Sociologists will tell you that recidivism in this area is high.

          After 4 years of scandal-fatigue, I think the OCA deserves a break.

          • Michael Bauman says

            John, exactly the attitude of those ravaged by a scapegoating spirit. The trouble is there will be no “break”, just a breather until the next victim is found. Once the scapegoating spirit has taken over, it becomes the ‘normal’ state of existence for that community until the community is destroyed or active steps are taken to stop the scapegoating. One of the chief attitudes that must be eliminated is the sense of relief that follows an episode. That relief is buying in to the disease that it is OK to go after people.

            The ironic thing is that you can’t even ‘go after’ the chief architects of the madness because that just makes it worse. Neither can you just give in. Repentance, forgiveness and a steadfast courage to defend anyone who is attacked especially if they seem to deserve it is what it takes.

            • The trouble is there will be no “break”, just a breather until the next victim is found.


              Many here, George included, were gung-ho with Stokoe from 2005-2008, when they turned their attention over to the Antiochians, and now they’ve got the treatment of Metropolitan Jonah for which to blame their dudgeon.

              It’s all about taking offense and venting resentment, the cause-du-jour is secondary.

              • You would prefer no one says anything, sees nothing, allows this corruption in the church?

                • Monk James says

                  colette says (August 4, 2012 at 8:36 am):
                  ‘You would prefer no one says anything, sees nothing, allows this corruption in the church?’


                  Which brought to mind the image of three primates, one covering his ears, the second covering his eyes, and the third covering his mouth, accompanied by the legend: ‘Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.’

                  Sorry. I couldn’t help myself. [[;-D33

                • Alice Carter says

                  Jesus did not come to make bad people good, He came to make dead people live.

          • Kathy Erickson says

            Bishop Benjamin went into treatment and is in remission. He confessed his problem and need for help and took the necessary steps for healing. It’s not at all the same situation.

            • George P. says

              Kathy, you assume that others have not taken similar steps for their healing, repentence and salvation.

              • Kathy Erickson says

                I don’t understand your comment. I’m not assuming anything; on the contrary, I am implicitly stating that there is a difference between people who take steps “for their healing, repentence and salvation” (apparently Archbishop Benjamin) and people (such as the alcoholic priest befriended by Met. Jonah) who do not. It’s not a matter of judgment either. It’s simply that one person is practicing their faith – repentance, confession, taking steps to correct their behavior – and another person is refusing to repent, denying there’s any problems, doing nothing to find healing or correct their behavior and is not practicing their faith. The latter type of person needs to be removed, unless the particular behavior is so heinous that immediate removal is required as in the instance of a priest sexually assaulting somone.

                • George P. says

                  Ms. Erickson,

                  Thank you for taking the time to respond to my comment.

                  Are you in a position to know whether

                  the alcoholic priest befriended by Met. Jonah

                  has taken steps for his healing, repentance and salvation? Do you know for certain where he is and what he is doing at this moment? You assume very much. I don’t know either.

                  another person is refusing to repent, denying there’s any problems, doing nothing to find healing or correct their behavior and is not practicing their faith

                  When was the sic report FIRST published. Go on, take a stroll over to POKROV.ORG and take a look at the date. You don’t think it’s possible that within two years of these events happening that this person might have started working on something? I am not in a position to know, if you are, I would like you to share with us how you are in a position to know.

                  Otherwise making these assertions based on a report which George Michalopulos and others have demonstrated to be clearly flawed and with ulterior motives is dishonest and you know it.

                • Can someone tell me if any more offenses took place with Fr. X after the nuns took him in? It seems to me his loss of control was for a period of time and then he was reigned in . . . . Did +Jonah stop his craziness?

                  • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                    That’s the $64K question – we don’t know. It may be that the ROCOR investigation may shed light on this. Or not.

                  • Yes, the investigation could, but looking quickly over the time line of the report on Pokrov, it looks like it all happened before he went to the nuns . . . .

            • That’s right, Kathy! By the way, it’s ***Archbishop*** Benjamin: he and the other OCA diocesan ruling Bishops with more than five years service, a majority,I believe, on the Holy Synod, recently promoted all diocesan ruling Bishops with more than five years service to Archbishop, a measure noted merrily all over the world. Yes , he went into treatment as he has for almost all such problems. To end a long and unsuccessful struggle with appetite, he had his stomach “stapled”in Alaska in the years preceding his election to the episcopate. He also had Mrs. Gregory Safchuk take possession of his credit card(s) and checkbook the first time he had to declare bankruptcy. I believe he’s addressed most, if not all, of his “problems” with the appropriate remedies, but I don’t know everything, of course. Who does?

          • No John, there will be no break for the OCA. This pandora’s box was opened by those demanding the OCA be accountable and transparent. We now know that such accountability and transparency is a one -way street. They do all the accounting and transparency of others, but none for them, starting with Stokoe and ending with the current Synod demand equal accountability.

            Here are their qualifications to judge others:

            An Archbishop with a history of addictive behavior is quick to call his Metropolitan an addict? But’s that’s ok?

            Another Archbishop (or three) protects an Archdeacon who married another man, then divorced him will not be called on his actions which by their very nature have deposed him? But that’s ok?

            Another Archbishop who had charges brought against him by his brother bishop but threatened him with deportation if he ever mentioned his compromised lifestyle? But that’s ok?

            Another Archbishop who allowed over $800K in restricted funds to be used for other purposes? But that’s ok?

            Yet every one of these bishops actively pursued +Jonah until they removed him from office? But that’s ok?

            Accountability and transparency for Jonah but not for any of them?

            This is the new OCA and their rules mean they can do anything they want as long as they blame someone else for what is wrong in the OCA?

            You want to give the OCA a break? Really? No way. It’s leadership is corrupt, deeply compromised and dying of its own self-inflicted wounds. God will not be mocked and the bill for the decades of mockery is now coming due.

            Nice try John but the rules will be equally applied, that door is wide open and it won’t be closed until the entire corruption is swept away and sadly maybe the entire OCA. All of this and more is our collective fault if we turn a blind eye and want to give the OCA a break.

          • The concern for assault victims is noble, but around 60% of sexual assault accusations made (to the police) are FALSE accusations. The reasons for false accusations are as diverse as humanity itself. If you know someone who has been falsely accused of a sexual crime, or if you yourself have been falsely accused, then you know how false accusations can destroy a life, even if the falsely accused individual is never convicted, even if charges are never filed. False accusations can destroy careers, vocations, emotional health and self-confidence, physical health, and relationships. If a person is already struggling with personal issues at the time of a false accusation, the consequences can be catastrophic.

            • “but around 60% of sexual assault accusations made (to the police) are FALSE accusations”

              Where did you come up with this statistic? Source? I have never seen a number that high published anywhere. Maybe you heard 6% and misremembered it as 60%. I hope that’s the only reason you are so eager to discredit the victims of rape.

              The reality is that researchers agree that 2-8% of rape allegations are false.


              Keep in mind that this data does not include the vast number of unreported victims. The majority of rapes go unreported. Among those that are reported, the chance of a false accusation is very small. More (real) statistics. Even more.

              Rape is more prevalent that we realize, and it’s more likely to come from someone your wives, daughters and mothers know. 77% of rapes are perpetrated by non-strangers. Source.

              Educate yourself, educate and protect your families, and please stop spreading false statistics.

              • What Is horrifying here, is that “The Crime” whether Sexual Assault or Assault was a determination given by the Met. Council. Presumable because the drunken pass made by this “priest” involved attempting to get a kiss. I do not wish to minimize this victims actual experience in any way. She was obviously incredibly frightened and outraged and she did just right by running and locking herself away from his drunkenness.
                Very sadly, this type of “attack” is pretty common in the US at least, especially by drunks who will do anything.
                Most police will tell you that unwanted advances are not that definable as crimes(in a legal sence).
                If she came back a year or two later and complained of a rape I would be surprised but of course appalled.
                But there is a huge difference between an unwanted drunken come on, and RAPE.
                For the Synod to use such an excuse to hang +MET Jonah is beyond what I thought possible of them.
                I would also like to add, that in his pastoral experience +Met Jonah(Fr. Jonah) has supported and helped several victims of incest, rape, and violent assault. That he would cover any of these up is in my opinion unthinkable.

                • Sorry, not the MC but the investigative committee!

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Fr Yousuf, thank you for your kind and thoughtful reply.

                    First off, what do we know? That Jonah was fired because he allegedly covered up an alleged rape. Besides being awful tenuous, the fact remains that the Synodal letter which came out first, evidence from the Godmother showed that the timeline described therein in was false. It could be fraudulent, it could rise to the level of lie, or it could be a typo. Regardless, it was not correct. His Beatitude did not know of the alleged (more recent?) incident until May of 2012, NOT as the letter alleges in Feb of 2012. That’s significant.

                    Let me give you an example: I cannot be sued for malpractive for dispensing a medication wrongly while I was off from work that day. The medication may have been mislabeled (etc.) and dispensed at 10am but if I came in to work at 3pm, then it’s not my responsibility. Simple.

                    Now let’s go to the unethically (illegally?) leaked SIC report of Nov 2010. Leaving aside the fact that it should not have been released for public consumption (which exposes the OCA to a HUGE liability) it states clearly six things:

                    1. that Jonah never received the priest in the OCA,

                    2. that Jonah suspended this priest from participating in services in the OCA,

                    3. that Jonah told the Synod about this priest and thereby started an investigation against him,

                    4. that Jonah RECUSED himself from this case in order to not impede this investigation,

                    5. that the Synod took over “responsibility” for this investigation, and

                    6. that the report said that the incident in question did not rise to the level or “rape.”

                    I’m sorry Fr, but I don’t mean to be snarky, but the arrow of causation which Jonah’s critics have tried to construct would make Roy D Mercer’s head explode. (To all those who may not know, Roy D Mercer is an obnoxious radio personality of the redneck persuasion who calls up people and harrases them. His schtick is to get people to pay for something that they didn’t do but at best were only tangentially involved.)

                    Regardless, it’s not up to Jonah to prove his innocence, it’s up to his “employers” to prove his guilt. Unfortunately all available avenues to do so have been slammed shut in their faces.

                    And let us never forget, that in the Statutes of the OCA, the Primate is allowed to “unilaterally” receive any cleric from any other Church.

                • lexcaritas says

                  I agree Face-it, but I think the alleged rape and the reported assault on J are two different incidents that are said to have occurred in April 2010, but which involved two different alleged victimns.


                  • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                    Right – two different alleged victims. The one in which rape is alleged to have happened is what we don’t know anything about.

                • Face-it, it seems there are two different accusers. One is J, the one who reported the drunken pass in the DC-area apartment complex, which happens to be owned by Godmother. The incident involving J is the sole actual instance of alleged sexual misconduct dealt with in the SIC report. While it did involve an attempt at sexual contact, legally it appears to have been dealt with as a charge of (simple) assault, a misdemeanor. J. did not press charges, which apparently Fr. X and Abbess A. represented as an exoneration.

                  And while we know what is said to have happened to J. is not as serious as a rape, I would be very careful about making comments that would seem to take the crime itself less than seriously. Obviously the crime as described frightened and distressed J, even though she was not physically harmed. It was a transgression, but it carries more weight in the Church than in the legal system. And yes, unfortunately, this kind of drunken behavior is very common, but that does not mitigate the seriousness of the incident.

                  The other accuser is the Godmother’s goddaughter, who I will call K. for the purpose of this comment since she has no other identifier. K. does not live in DC, but somewhere else. In May 2012, she reported that Fr. X had raped her in 2010. Her written accusation was given to Met. Jonah by Godmother after the police had already been notified. It also came with a confidentiality clause that the accusation should pass no further than Met. Jonah himself, which is why Met. Jonah could not have informed the chancery or OCA legal team without breaking K’s confidence. This incident is not addressed at all in the SIC report because it had not been reported, and nobody knew about it.

                  What was dealt with in the SIC report, other than the incident with J., was the internet rumors spread in 2010 that Fr. X was a rapist. Apparently both Met. Jonah and the SIC concluded at the time that the rumors were exaggeration of the known allegation involving J, or outright slander. It’s entirely possible that the rumors and the eventual allegation of rape from K. had nothing to do with each other.

                  The SIC was concerned about Abbess A. along with Fr. X because they not only denied the rumors, they denied Fr. X had done anything wrong or had anything wrong with him at all.

                  The SIC’s main concern with Met. Jonah was how he seemed to put way too much faith in Fr. X’s ability to be rehabilitated into a working priest, along with the canonical mess he had apparently created in the attempted transfer. The SIC, however, did make a point of explicitly saying his letter was a good pastoral response to what was then known about Fr. X’s behavior. However, the Synod/Crisis committee’s letter of July 2012 would contradict that SIC report when it asserted that Met. Jonah handled previous allegations against Fr. X in a way that was at “complete variance” with the PSPs. Hmm…

                  I noticed Met. Jonah did not explicitly recommend this person for the chaplaincy in June – the report says that was assumed by a few people to still be the case since Met. Jonah first got in touch with Fr. Peter specifically about chaplaincy in the spring. Chaplaincy may have been what Met. Jonah still intended in June, but neither we nor the SIC know that for certain. An alternate explanation is that Met. Jonah might have intended to offer Fr. X as nothing more than an ordinary recruit rather than a chaplain, to give him a place to go after drying out, not to make him a chaplain caring for servicemen and women.

                  We also don’t know that Met. Jonah ever gave Fr. X a blessing to serve again after the May 19th letter. Fr. X apparently said he was going to celebrate a wedding, but didn’t. It appears Met. Jonah relaxed some of the stipulations in his letter after the charges were dropped, as he said he would after the case was resolved in court, but there is no documentation or testimony on this point. The SIC report is very vague about what Met. Jonah did, but says at that point that Fr. X had “absolutely no blessing to serve” and that Fr. X did not serve for the wedding.

                  • Thanks Helga, makes perfect sense to me.

                  • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                    This sounds like the best attempt to clear up the muddy water so far.

                  • Mike Myers says

                    Well, that little clarification changes the complexion of this affair completely. I didn’t understand that there was an additional allegation of a real rape against this hieromonk at around the same time in 2010. My understanding had been that there was only the incident at the D.C. apartment building, reports of which had been exaggerated into a rape allegation via rumors and “slander.”

                    This fisaco of distortions and premature speculation and savage denunciations of the HS based on rumors and grossly inadequate info is beginning to remind me of the perverse circus atmosphere here after George posted his shameful “essay” exploiting the Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin tragedy, wherein he pontificated in a grossly generalizing, blinkered and partisan fashion before just about anyone had anything resembling a solid basis of demonstrated facts to support any reasoned commentary whatsoever. So count me back on the side of the HS until further notice fwiw. I definitely should have known better than to come to even provisional conclusions based on anything posted here. My bad.

                    I completely don’t get how on earth MJ could have been subject in any meaningful way, legal or ethical, to a “confidentiality clause” with respect to allegations that he was made privy to, in a case under concurrent criminal investigation, of rape committed by a priest whom he had invited back into the US and, at least provisionally, into a presumptive process of reception into the OCA. With all the inevitable moral, if not legal or bureaucratic, responsibilities that tied MJ to this man, under the circumstances of his having been officialy released by his monastic superior to . . .whomever, but nevertheless back to the US and at the instigation and with the expressed approval, to some extent, of MJ. However informal, in bureaucratic terms, that approval may have been, de jure. This makes little sense. Who wanted this confidentiality? The alleged victim, K.? Her godmother? And how extensive was this confidentiality expected to be, and why – what was rationale for this, under the circumstances? Did this CC mandate no mention whatsoever about the allegation of rape, or just none of the vicitim by name or the alleged perp (the former would of course go without saying as standard procedure, presumably, at least in OCA circles). Or what?

                    The real elephant in the room: WHY did MJ want this guy here in the first place, even if only provisionally and even if it turns out to be true that there’s no documentation of his canonical reception into the OCA? To me the ginned up controversy about all that red tape stuff is a classic red herring, of little substantive weight, comparatively. Why is no one asking what seems the most interesting question of all?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Mike, you had me going there. I was genuinely worried that you actually veered uncontrollably into the truth. Good thing you’ve proven me wrong. Still, your latest comment is not without merit as it allows us to reiterate the fact that Jonah has been exonerated of these charges:

                      1. That he “unilaterally” received Fr X into the OCA.

                      2. Not that it mattered, as Primate he was allowed to do so.

                      3. The Nov 2010 letter shows us how deep the Synod was involved in uncovering these allegations.

                      4. The Nov 2010 letter shows us as well that the Synod took “responsibility” for this case. Why? Because HB recused himself.

                      5. The hatchet-job of a letter that the Synod put out after they ousted Jonah describes an allegation in which they say that Jonah knew about in Feb 2012 but told nobody until much later. As the alleged victim’s godmother said, that is not true, HB wasn’t informed until May of 2012. Therefore the stated reason for Jonah’s ouster was either based on erroneous knowledge or was fraudulent to begin with.

                      As for “why did MJ want this guy here in the first place”? what difference does it make? Why did MJ want Bp Mel here? After all, both of these clerics came from the same monastery in the Church of Greece. Go to the Transitions section of (or to any jurisdictional website for that matter. You will find the listing of priests who are retired, received, transferred out, suspended and defrocked. It’s unfortunate but these things happen. That’s why in every one of our services we pray for “a Christian ending to our lives.” We’re not Calvinists.

                    • Mike Myers says

                      George, nothing in your reply is relevant to the important issue. Your points 1 thru 4 are relative nothings blown up into a simulacram of serious matters mostly by you. They aren’t. These “allegations” you refer to that the HS knew about and were looking into and from which MJ recused himself were petty compared to the real issue. That issue is the real rape allegation, not the phony trumped-up one.

                      As to your point 5, the reason for the discrepancy between the 2/12 and the 5/12 date is not resolved as far as I’m concerned. No particularly good reason to take the “godmother’s” word for the later date over the HS’s for the earlier one, in light of the obvious possibility that he had heard about this in Feb. from someone besides her, of course, and the HS learned about this well after the fact, indeed just prior to releasing the letter. It’s hardly very likely that she was the only possible source of information about a nearly two-year old event that had been the subject of a police investigation, obviously. You’ve shown so many self-evident blind spots in this matter that I am surprised one of your allies hasn’t clued you in on them.

                      That the letter is factually sloppy and wretchedly composed is obvious but not in itself grounds for non-malicious people to assume the worst about the motives of the HS. All it really demonstrates indisputably at this point is gross incompetence, or a certain indifference to the opinion of suspicious laity, or both. Based on what I’ve seen here and elsewhere, you certainly do NOT have anything like adequate grounds to deny, as you’ve done, the good faith of the HS’s claim that MJ had culpably and irresponsibly failed to follow proper procedures with respect to the more serious allegation here, which he knew about significantly well before they did, evidently.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Mike, how can points #1-#4 not be “relevant”? They were the exact points mentioned by the Synod for why they felt they had to oust Jonah. It doesn’t get any clearer than that.

                    • Mike Myers says

                      1-4 merely retail the long known, medium-rare to medium-well-done acts that cooked his clerical goose and formed the background of very unpriestly behavior for the unknown-(to the HS)-until-June-or-so criminal allegation that if true would broil him to a crisp. These were all misdemeanors. The other allegation is of a class A-II or class 2 felony, depending on location. Jonah knew about this one significantly before the HS did, evidently.
                      It’s true that the presentation of facts in the letter is quite problematic, but you continue to conflate the two rape allegations, something the letter admittedly makes it easy to do. The reason I doubt the letter was written with the intent to deceive is that they brought it off so incompetently. All the facts as we appear to know them (sic) and as the HS presumably knew them could have been presented with far more accuracy and with much more devastating effect than the letter as written accomplished.

                    • Mike Myers says

                      And you may be bored by the question: why did MJ want this guy in the OCA’s priesthood — based on what exactly? But few others are bored by it, I’d bet. Of course, the issue could be turned on its head, as his Grace has noted: why did the HS elevate this relatively unknown and definitely inexperienced man to the throne. Plenty of questionable discernments to go around.

                      Still far too many (at least publicly) unresolved questions about who knew what when, which is why I’m saying not another word about this. So you get the last word for now.

                    • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

                      I appreciate the clarity that Helga shared on Aug 6th above.

                      Dear George Michalopulos, (we have other Georges now!)

                      I would appreciate you revealing your thinking on this part of the subject.

                      Was it your contention when writing “More Evidence that Jonah was Railroaded”, that the Nov 2010 investigatory committee Report had direct bearing or information on the specific allegation of gross misconduct, which Met Jonah is said to have been informed of in May ’12 by the Godmother, and/or Feb ’12 in the Synodal letter?

                      If it was, is it that still your contention?

                      If so, how?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Fr Yousef, that’s a very good question you ask. However, it’s not contingent upon us to figure out this thicket. It is the duty of the Synod which came up with an apparently cock-and-bull story in order to frame His Beatitude and illegally throw him out of office. We are not the “employer” of Metroplitan Jonah. Since the Synod seems to believe it is, then it is incumbent upon them to give us the real reason they got rid of him.

                      (This of course would not be the case if the OCA was an “at will” employer, wherein they would have the right to fire anybody “at will.” However, I was always under the impression that this was a Church and not a for-profit business. Forgive me if I was wrong.)

                      But, to answer your question as best I could, we are presented with two different documents, one which is a confidential SIC report dated Nov 2010 the other a poorly-written, amateurish “encyclical” dated July 2012. In both instances, allegations of rape are alluded. However in the SIC document utlimately states that the priest in question did not have “physical” contact with a certain person, whereas the Synodal letter of July 2012 states that there may have been a rape and that Jonah knew about it in Feb of 2012 and hid this info from the Synod. Thanks to the alleged victim’s godmother, we now know that His Beatitude did not not know about the allegation until May of this year.

                      I’m stumped, could you please ask your bishop for a clarification?

                    • Priest Justin Frederick says

                      Fr. Yousaf, that Nov 2010 document shows that of then, the priest in question had never been canonically received by the OCA, and probably never would be. The bishops’ recent letter says in contradiction to the official SIC report that he was–but if so, when? Where is the proof? Who would have received him canonically after all that? The SIC report shows the Metropolitan taking reasonable steps to deal with the known problem of the priest. It also shows him recusing himself and handing the matter of investigation of the priest to the Synod. What does that make the Synod’s responsibility for the priest between Nov 2010 and now? Seems hard to pin it all, whatever ‘it’ really is, on the Metropolitan.

                    • LowestOrder says


                      The answer to your question,
                      “why did MJ want this guy [I presume, you mean Fr SK] in the OCA’s priesthood — based on what exactly?”,
                      can be easily found through publicly available web resources – but I may try to summarize.
                      In Dec’ 08, Elder Dionysius from the Monastery of Petra (Karditsa, Greece) attended Met. Jonah’s enthronement in DC. Apparently, there +MJ asked the elder to send monks (presumably, from his monastery) to the US to help revive monasticism in this country, or to found a new monastery, or something like that.

                      As follows from the document attached to the Nov 2010 Synodal report, on 11 April ’09 (in response to +Jonah’s request from 8 April), Archim. Dionysios releases two monks – Fr Seraphim and Fr Symeon – to Jonah, specifically for the purpose of reviving monasteries. One could see how both of these monks could seem like an asset to MJ, since both of them are native Russian speakers, fluent in Greek, and with a grounding in monastic life. It is unlikely MJ could have any idea of Fr Symeon’s personal issues. Apparently, Fr Seraphim made it to the US in late ’09 or early ’10, returned to Greece but was drafted into the military service for 6 months, being a Greek citizen (see this info in his blog [in Russian]: Fr Symeon made it to the US, stayed in DC with no apparent plan and purpose, and went nuts. So, that’s how I interpret what had happened, having no intimate knowledge other than what was publicly revealed.

                      Apparently, MJ had met Fr Symeon for the first time only in Dec ’09 in Moscow, saw that the guy was an addict, but couldn’t do much at that point, since this monk was already released into his jurisdiction eight months prior to their first meeting. Maybe he should have sent him back at once. But anyone who knows MJ just a little would not be surprised that he saw this as an opportunity to “take care” of a person entrusted to him, and to try to help him. Perhaps he did not see at once the extent of the priest’s alcoholism. And of course he could not have known that trying to help this wretched priest would be a time bomb that would end his tenure as a leader of the OCA.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Lowest: your first 2 paragraphs seem to be spot on. However your last paragraph contains a supposition (“saw that he was an addict”) and a factual innacuracy (“was received into the OCA.”). The first assertion is possible but irrespective of anything in particular –how many sinners has the Metropolitan seen in the course of a day/trip/week/whatever? The second assertion is superfluous as well since any Primate can receive any priest from any other jurisdiction. However it is the second assertion that the Synod used as a bludgeon to remove His Beatitude.

                    • LowestOrder says


                      The basis for my “supposition” to which you object is contained on pp. 7 and 9 of the same report on Fr S.: it cites Met.Jonah himself as saying that he saw the poor monk’s addiction from the beginning. As for your second objection: I never said Fr.S. was received into the OCA, I said he was released, which he was, both by his Abbot and his Metropolitan.
                      I would agree with you further, b/c it appears that by the OCA Statutes, the Metropolitan can receive the clergy from other Orthodox jurisdictions (Art. IV.2.j) “unilaterally”, although the language of the statutes is a bit vague (they say he “receives [their] petitions”). As far as clergy receptions go, the jurisdiction of the Synod extends only to episcopacy and non-Orthodox clergy (Art. II.7.e, q). But I think that the “bludgeon” against HB was not so much his reception or non-reception of Fr.S., as the February 2012 date for his being made aware of the rape accusation.

                    • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

                      Dear George M.,

                      Thank you for your response.

                      I am asking you about the meaning of your words and your thought behind them. I am seeking clarity on a very specific point.

                      It was clear to me that there were some allegations known in 2010, and another, more serious allegation known only in 2012. You could get that from the letter of the godmother, without reference to the Synod statement, though the Synod statement also refers to previous allegations and to the more serious allegation known in 2012. From this, one could expect the report of Nov 2010 to shed light only on the earlier, relatively less serious allegations. From the Nov 2010 report we learn (among many things) that the word “rape” had come up, from “third parties” relative to the earlier allegations, and that the investigation did not find that that word was justified by the nature of the earlier allegations themselves. But the 2010 report could hardly be expected to evaluate an allegation known only in 2012. To believe that the report of Nov 2010 speaks directly to the “more serious allegation”, one would have to disregard and discount not only the Synod Statement, but the letter of the godmother as well, because one would have to regard as a falsification where the godmother and the Synod agree: that the more serious allegation was not known in 2010, was not known until 2012. What in the Nov 2010 report would give one sufficient reason to believe that the Synod and the godmother are in error when they agree? I believe that this paragraph contains a relatively neutral & logical assessment of the available information. No one should be stumped by this. It is, in fact, clear.

                      Let me tell a story to show why you should not be so confused. Once upon a time, in the wild west, Hans punches Jerry. Nettie at the saloon says Hans is violent and murderous. The sheriff says that Hans is violent but that Nettie was over the top with the word ‘murderous’. A year later, Bob says Hans shot Billy dead; he saw it. The sherriff says “well we knew he was violent, and now he is a suspected murderer, let’s arrest him”. Jorge says, “Now wait a minute sherriff, you already said last year that murderous is over the top”. Joe asks Jorge, “What the heck?” and Jorge says, “That no good sherriff is full of it. One year he says no murder, and the next year he wants to arrest him for murder, and I’m stumped”. (In case it isn’t obvious, I have deliberated not included a figure corresponding to Met Jonah in the allegory!)

                      When I originally read your article “More Evidence that Jonah Was Railroaded”, I did not imagine it possible that when you wrote “the Synod, as well as the rest of the OCA Apparat, knew that the charges were false for quite a while since the report was issued in November of 2010”, you meant that the later, more serious allegation of 2012 was disproved by the Nov 2010 report. That seemed too illogical. Yet several posters seemed to take it that way; and Helga, no enemy of Met. Jonah at all, saw and sees the same distinction I just made between the earlier allegations and the more serious allegation known in 2012.

                      However, it occurred to me that maybe you did mean that the Nov 2010 report somehow voids the more serious allegation in 2012. There is no one else to ask about what you meant but you, George. You have written ten articles with well over 50,000 words with the task of debunking what the Holy Synod and Syosset have to say, (that not counting your comments). You have written that “I was able to deconstruct the Synod’s letter fairly easily.” and titled one of your essays: “Well, That Was Easy”. Now you say the task you freely assumed isn’t easy and that it isn’t your responsibility.

                      Given your response, (and the proportion of your response that was on unrelated issues, such as secular employment standards or whatever) I am going to venture the following understanding: You did get carried away with an interpretation of the Nov 2010 report. I am taking that as the answer to my question.

                      If you wish to, you can clearly state an answer as to what you thought about the later allegation when you wrote the article and if you still think that now, such as:

                      – No, I never thought the Nov 2010 report debunked the more serious allegation of 2012.

                      – Yes, I thought the Nov 2010 report debunked the more serious allegation alleged by godmother and the Synod, and I still think so.

                      – Yes, I thought the Nov 2010 report debunked the more serious allegation alleged by godmother and the Synod, but now realize that it is not likely.

                      Of course, it’s your blog, and you have no obligation to answer my question. But I feel that I may try to make clear exactly what my question is so that it is clear to you, me, (and any others who may be so interested), what it is and whether or not you have answered it. Thanks for letting me try to be clear.

                      In any case, I want to wish you a good conclusion of this fast and a joyous Dormition feast.

                      ( Response to Fr Justin F appended)
                      Dear Fr. Justin,

                      Christ is in our midst!

                      I trust my refinement of question above to George makes clear exactly what point I was asking him about. With that clear, I think you will understand that your response doesn’t really answer the question I was asking of George. For you too, I wish a good conclusion of this fast and a joyous Dormition feast.

                  • Good one, Helga, AS USUAL.

              • I do not dispute that sexual assault (including rape) is a huge societal problem. I’m inclined to believe and often repeat to anyone who will listen the estimates that 1/3 of women in the US will experience some kind of sexual assault in their lifetimes. But even if the number was much, much smaller, it would still be a huge societal problem. I also do not dispute the fact that the vast majority of rape victims never report the crime. This is certainly consistent with the cases I have first hand knowledge of in my life, so I’m not at all skeptical of published estimates in the range of 50-90%. And I want to stress that I know nothing at all about any specific case discussed or alluded to during the current OCA scandal. I have NO IDEA why you think I am “eager to discredit the victims of rape”. I consider that in itself a shameful accusation. Seriously.

                But it is also the case that false accusations of sexual assault are a huge societal problem. First of all, your assertion that claims reported to police are less likely to be false than claims not reported is illogical. To the extent that there are psychological, social, and financial benefits to false claims, most of these require making a report to the police.

                Regarding your sources, someone recently heavily edited the Wikipedia entry on ‘false accusations of rape’ to present what is a very slanted view (even reading the article itself and not appealing to any outside sources it is apparent that the article is intended to argue a particular view rather than to present the evidence as objectively as possible). It could be worse, but not much for an entry that has been this heavily developed. I would not be surprised to see this edited again within the next year to make it less agenda driven. Having said that, it is still worth a read. The other links you provided are for statistics about rape, not about false accusations — so it appears you are basing your assessment entirely on the current Wikipedia entry (which again, is strongly slanted right now).

                It is worth noting that rape is a subcategory of sexual assault and the stats may well depend on the specific crime, as well as the amount of evidence definitively for vs. definitively against a claim that a given individual can reasonably assume the police will be able to collect. DNA evidence certainly changes the lay of the land, and some of these statistics may actually be in flux. But this doesn’t change the fact that justice requires due process and concern both for sexual assault victims as well as concern for the falsely accused.

                If you really do want some alternative presentations of data on the issue, you could Google it. But here are a couple easily digestible presentations (link 1, link 2). If you don’t trust the blogs themselves, you can look up the sources they cite. This online journal article also provides a cogent intro (link 3).

                The reality is that this is a contentious area, and like so much social research the results depend on operational definitions. But the criticisms in the Wikipedia article of some of the articles I would cite are … well if not hypocritical, then at least unsympathetic and unbalanced, and on some points the criticisms are simply incorrect. Most false allegations of this sort are not prosecuted as obstruction of justice, slander, or fraud cases, they are simply dropped. If you operationally define “all false accusations” as just those cases which result in some kind of criminal conviction for a false accusation, then you are really not trying to get at the truth (that’s like saying the total number of rapes in the country each year is equal to the number of criminal convictions for rape — this would obviously be a gross underestimate).

                The Lisak critique of Kanin’s work (discussed in the Wikipedia entry) is worse than weak, it includes errors of both fact and logic, including self-contradictions. Depending on your objectives (and the quality of your remaining resources), it might be legitimate to discount the judgement of sexual assault detectives (those individuals who admittedly have the most first-hand experiences with real cases). On the other hand, it is wrong to say the judgements of experts cannot be included in an empirical report, and it is bizarre to say that detective’s statements of fact must be discounted simply because they might not be 100% reliable in every case. The fact that Kanin relied on police reports does not make his work unscientific as Lisak so badly wants you to believe. Just because Lisak doesn’t like Kanin’s operational definition does not mean he lacked one, or that his work was unsystematic.

                If you go a step further (as Lisak and others championed in the Wikipedia entry do) and only accept as empirical those studies which discount confessions of a false accusation whenever they are made just before or just after a lie detector test … well then you are really beginning to paint yourself into a corner. Presumably the goal of these studies is an accurate estimate of real world rates, not the conviction of a specific individual for fraud. So in painting yourself into a corner, you have to be clear about why you believe this is taking you closer to the truth rather than farther away from it. Lisak sets the kind of standard that a prosecuting attorney would set in deciding whether to take someone to court for fraud. That is a very high standard and not meaningfully different from a standard that only accepts as empirical evidence actual court convictions for fraud. The goals of the prosecuting attorney and the social scientist are very different, and Lisak seems to have completely lost sight of his role and objective.

                If you keep painting yourself farther and farther into a smaller and smaller corner, eventually it would be best to just say we have no clue what the real percentages are, rather than citing some percentage that we know is not representative of the real world. Agenda driven research is rampant in the social sciences, and it is hard to wade through. Still the reports in the 45-60% range appear to be based on sincere and rigorous attempts to arrive at the truth, although there does appear to be some desire to error on the side of a low estimate even in these reports. Consideration of the cases I have first hand knowledge of in my life, the Jordan (2004) study, Daniels (1993, study of sexual harassment claims, and perhaps the most relevant), as well as the McDowell & Hibler (1985) results lead me to accept estimates of 50%+ (with anything above 40% seeming plausible, and 60% being the best possible estimate if you have to choose a single number) just as I accept estimates that 1/3 of US women will face some kind of sexual assault during their lifetimes.

                Having said all this, even if these estimates are wrong and Lisak’s bizarrely conservative estimate of 6% is correct (simply not plausible, I just have to stress again), then false accusations are still a huge societal problem. Likewise, sexual assault would still be a huge societal problem even if we used the number of prosecutions or court convictions as our estimate for the total number of cases (essentially what Lisak has done with false accusations). Note that even according to one of your own sources only about 10% of rape allegations reported to police result in a conviction, while approximately 80% lack sufficient evidence to even go to court. If that number disturbs you, then you should find the approach of Lisak et al to estimating false allegation rates equally disturbing.

      • “John”…Fr Jillions, is that you?

      • John’s note of August 2 lacks one ingredient to make it worthy of consideration. John did not explain to us why the Holy Synod elected Metropolitan Jonah, hardly knowing him, if at all.

    • Bruce Wm. Trakas says

      Wouldn’t the OCA’s Holy Synod reply that the action that prompted their demand for the Metropolitan’s resignation was, after the debate that must have occurred within the Holy Synod (prior to the lenten “leave”), the Metropolitan had to know the Synod’s attitude toward his relationship with this very problematic priest, and yet the Metropolitan attempted to facilitate the “transfer” of this problematic priest to the AOCANA, and not to its ruling metropolitan-archbishop, but to an auxiliary bishop (the former ruling diocesan bishops of the AOCANA, have been deemed to be auxiliaries to Metropolitan Phillip by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Antioch, an unfortunate fact that was rather well publicised)?

      Also, George, it’s “Yannis-Yannakis,” while the priest may not have technically been received into the OCA under their procedures apparently, Metropolitan Jonah took him under his wing so to speak, assuming responsibility for him by giving him “a blessing to serve” in the National Cathedral, disciplining him, and giving him direction. The problematic priest was under the Metropolitan’s (the Archbishop of Washington D.C.and Primate of All America and Canada) “authority” if not formerly received into the OCA, and certainly the Synod had legal advice that liability for this priest’s actions would likely accrue to the OCA. Recall, this is the church that had to settle in full Kondratick’s “Promissory Note,” a document that was entered into in private, independent of the Metropolitan Council, contrary to OCA statutes, but never-the-less seemed to have legal standing in the court in which Kondratick filed suite.

      P.S. Last Summer I met an OCA priest whom I asked what was the real problem within the OCA’s Holy Synod, and “the first among them,” their primate. He told me he supported the Metropolitan, that his problem was that he, Metropolitan Jonah, could not see guile in anyone, especially a priest.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Bruce, this idea of “Yannis-Yannakis” is not good enough in ecclesiastical terms. One is either received or not. You can’t be a “little bit pregnant.” Right now, throughout this entire continent, there are hundreds of priests who have received blessings to serve in jurisdictions in which they are not formally attached. It happens all the time.

        That Jonah may have tried to guide the young man in question is immaterial. I’ve mentored younger men and women in my profession (I’m a licensed preceptor), but I’m not responsible for their subsequent mistakes when they receive their own license.

        And anyway, everybody seems to have overlooked the elephant in the middle of the room –Jonah, as Primate–had the statutory authority to “unilaterally” receive any priest from another jurisdiction into his. It doesn’t matter whether that priest turns out to be a miscreant or a saint, the principle stands.

      • Subdeacon David says

        P.S. Last Summer I met an OCA priest whom I asked what was the real problem within the OCA’s Holy Synod, and “the first among them,” their primate. He told me he supported the Metropolitan, that his problem was that he, Metropolitan Jonah, could not see guile in anyone, especially a priest.

        Isn’t it sad that we had a man who wasn’t cynical enough to be Primate of the OCA? What does this say about a) the rest of our leadership; and b) the discernment process of clergy, in general, in the OCA?

        When I set out to become a United Methodist Minister more than 30 years ago, I had to declare myself for the “candidacy” and be interviewed by both my local pastor and “Pastor/Parish Relations Committee” of my local church who had to recommend me to the District Superintendent (like a dean) who would then recommend me to the annual conference (think diocese) committee on Ministerial Candidates. I then had to go through a set process and have a psychological exam. At each stage of the process I was tracked and monitored and evaluated in at least annual meetings with the conference committee. When I became a “local pastor” (essentially an un-ordained full time lay minister) I was put under a supervising elder in the local area. Upon completion of seminary I could be ordained a “deacon” (not the same function as in the OC, more like a “junior” or “probationary” ordination) and went through two more years of supervision, meetings, etc., before finally being approved for full ordination as a presbyter (or elder). This whole process took five years. For Methodists. ‘Nuff said…

        My point is not that we need to discern more cynical men, but that if the discernment process was better and more systematic, perhaps we would have clergy (including bishops) with whom it didn’t require being cynical to work.

        • What about the command in the NT to be as “wise as serpents, as innocent as doves?” The “charismatic Elders” of the Church I suspect are about as without guile as anybody in the Church can be, but they also with their “clairvoyance” can see clearly what others are capable of in terms of sin as well as the essential holiness of everyone created in God’s image. That is not “cynicism.” And what of our Lord’s example in John 2:23-25? Surely, there is a position between naive and unwise trust in the name of “forgiveness,” on the one hand, and cynicism, on the other! Forgiveness does not mean lack of appropriate supervision and setting of boundaries or limits in the wake of a demonstrated weakness that has already victimized hapless others.

          • Geesh! Two negative votes right off the bat. Would I be correct to interpret that as that my comment is being interpreted as a criticism of our former Met. Jonah? If so, let me clarify it was not so intended. It was intended SOLELY as a communication of what I understand to be Christian principle based on Sbdn. David’s comment about “cynicism” seeming to be the only alternative for being qualified to serve within the OCA. I will also expressly state that I agree (precisely because of the biblical principle I was pointing to) that having a process such as he describes in the UMC would be appropriate and that I believe his conclusion is a sound one.

            • Ignoramus says

              Karen, it simply means that there a folks out there who like to give negative votes.

            • George Michalopulos:
              Karen says:
              August 3, 2012 at 1:02 pm

              Geesh! Two negative votes right off the bat.

              I’ve experienced the same thing, even while my comments were still awaiting moderation.
              Is some “spy” intercepting our comments for here before they are posted???

          • Subdeacon David says

            I confess to being too dense to quite get your point, Karen. If it is that +HB Jonah was not a charismatic elder, then I guess he would be the first to admit that. Can you point out one of our bishops who is such a man? It seems to me that +HB thought well of people and was not clairvoyant so as to see through them until such time as they actually demonstrated to him they were not good people – my, such a failing. It seems he treated the HS the same way – well, I guess that WAS a mistake. Based on the report I read, when +HB learned the seriousness of the problems with the priest in question, he took appropriate action. Perhaps it was not as soon as it could have been, but with the duties and responsibilities he had that is understandable, if regrettable. A little more support from the MC and a good administrative assistant would have done wonders to correct that.

            • I’m sorry Sbdn. David! Doubtless, I’m not that great a communicator. My point in using the admittedly extreme example of the “clairvoyant” Elder is that guilelessness is not incompatible with real wisdom and reasonable boundary setting in view of others’ weaknesses. You seemed to me to be setting up what I construed as a false dichotomy, i.e., either guilelessness OR cynicism. My point is only that cynicism and the employment of reasonable boundaries and limits (for non-clairvoyant Elder types–i.e., most all of us) are not the same thing and that the latter is an attainable goal even for the OCA. Does that make more sense?

              • Subdeacon David says

                Thank you for the clarity, Karen. I agree they are not mutually exclusive. However, if one must err, I would prefer a Primate who errs on the side of guilessness rather than cynicism. And having some experience with church politics (albeit not Orthodox), I know that cynicism is a fairly common trait among church aparatchik types. While one wishes that +HB Jonah had been more discerning and incredulous regarding the priest in question, it is difficult for me to fault him for more than being overly generous and not, perhaps (we don’t really know his side of the story, now do we) seeking advice from others. However, given the apparent viperous nature of the Syossett crowd and the Lesser Synod, one wonders to whom +HB could have turned for even handed advice.

                • I understand, and you may be right., but I still balk at setting up any false dichotomy. My own error would tend toward (hopefully guileless) naivete, but I’ve unwittingly hurt people by my weakness in this area, so I’m speaking from that experience. I appreciate those who aren’t so easily taken in by others because I’ve seen that be a protection for the more vulnerable.

                  I’m not judging the former Met. Jonah. My impression of him is that he is a genuinely good man and pastor who has been in a difficult situation. There is obviously a problem of trust, for which the Synod must share (and perhaps even shoulder the better part of) the blame, even though not many of its current members were party to the legacy that created that environment of distrust/cynicism.

                  My impression of my own Priest (Fr. John Matusiak) along with his colleagues and my Bishop (Bp. Matthias) is also that they are loving pastors–certainly not perfect, but good men.

                  • One small change I would like to make to my previous post. I would like to replace the word “blame” with “responsibility.” I don’t believe looking to place blame helps anyone (rather that is the m.o. of our common foe, the “accuser of the brethren”), but healing begins when we each take responsibility for our own mistakes and shoulder one another’s burdens.

        • Arnoldus Magnus says

          Isn’t it sad that we had a man who wasn’t cynical enough to be Primate of the OCA?

          I think you are wrong here. There is a big difference between being a cynic and being a patsy. A man put in a position of great power, especially in religious life, can’t afford to be either a cynic or a patsy. He is required to have discernment. It’s important for him to be able to tell when a wolf in sheep’s clothing is trying to put one over on him and the Church. If a man can’t do that, then he shouldn’t be the primate, because a lot of people stand to suffer from his good intentions if they aren’t balanced by wise discernment.

          • Subdeacon David says

            And so, Arnoldus, you demonstrate my point. As the facts bare out, +HB DID see the “wolf”, he just gave the man the benefit of the doubt at first. No doubt, if it was a priest the “powers that be” supported and he had NOT given the benefit of the doubt, that would have been an issue as well. No, no, we want the Protestants wanted at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, a “professional” clergy – it has been their downfall, and will be ours.

  2. Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

    Here’s a copy of a note that I posted on the Orthodox Forum, under the subject heading “OCA communications policy,” after the link to the report was posted there.


    Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

    I read with interest Ms. Sakoda’s post and a reply to it regarding the OCA Special Investigation Report, although now I don’t seem to be able to access either message again to reply to them directly (a temporary glitch?).

    Has there been any kind of release of this document to OCA members (of which Ms. Sakoda is not one)? Is there any official attesting that the report and attached documents are authentic?

    I am a bit mystified about how the understandable concern about legal liability in the OCA administration does not seem to be applied to leaking information, of which there is a long history with OCANews etc. In this case, I’m not sure what the privacy issues involved are, but since my quick reading of the document involves says there was no police report, and for some reason the details of the earlier custody of the priest in question apparently was not established apparently by the investigation (other than it supposedly happened), again from a quick reading the report doesn’t seem “ready for prime time” in meeting basic standards of journalistic reporting on crime allegations.

    As part of some kind of assessment plan for evaluating the performance of the OCA’s governance, relative to other local Orthodox churches (and including the situation of its monastic element), it would seem that the OCA Strategic Plan at least needs to review policies for communications and information release with the laity.

    Those of us who are dues-paying or tithing members shouldn’t have to rely on information published about the inner workings of the OCA by folks not within the jurisdiction, and have to wonder about its authenticity if it is not vouched for by our jurisdictional officials, or have also to wonder about any issues of potential liability of our jurisdiction for release of such materials if not done in a properly vetted way.

    If this report has been issued officially by the OCA and/or attested to by our leadership, then forgive these comments. But if not, why not? And if not, will there be any investigation as to how and why such information is released to folks outside the jurisdiction and not to members, and whether that has been done accurately and appropriately from legal and ethical standpoints? These kinds of concerns seem to be central to the OCA administration’s concerns about improving the organization.

    Forgive me if I’m missing something here, as is often the case; I’m happy to be corrected if so.

    Yours unworthily in Christ,

    Alf Kentigern Siewers

  3. Apr. Seraphim Bell says

    George, just to complicate things further, I was told some time ago that our (ROCOR) bishops have copies of documents that show that the priest in question was in fact received by Met. Jonah. I just checked again with one of our bishops and was assured that the priest “was offically received in the OCA , according to documents. And later +MJ gave him a “release”, but not to any Church in particular. He is now back in his old monastery in Greece, but I don’t think he was officially received back.”

    • George Michalopulos says

      If do, Fr, then the sic people lied to our bishops. The question is, when did they lie? Clearly, the fact that fr tosi is undertaking an investigation on that matter only reinforces the keystone kops atmosphere.

    • Archpriest Seraphim Bell! What do you mean by “copies of documents?” Only a letter signed by Metropolitan Jonanh receiving him under his omophorion is documentary evidence of the Hieromonk Symeon (Kharon)’s being received by Metropolitan Jonah.
      If only “our (ROCOR) bishops have copies” of this canonical Letter of Reception, as you assert rather categorically, how is it that the clerks and officials of the Holy Synod and other organs of OCA administration are unable to find or produce such?
      Have you been appointed by your Bishop to notify this web site that the Statement of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America is supported by ROCOR, insofar as it alleges that the Hieromonk Symeon was officially received into The Orthodox Church in America by Metropolitan Jonah, and that the ROCOR Holy Synod has evidence to support that contention?
      Why not ask your Bishop to send a copy of the Letter of Reception to the OCA’s Holy Synod, via the Secretary of the OCA, Archpriest Eric Tosi? Thanks in advance!

      • Apr. Seraphim Bell says

        Master bless. Your Grace, having seen repeatedly the statements on this site that Met. Jonah had never received Fr. Symeon, I simply reported what had been shared with me by one of our ROCOR bishops. I asked his permission to share it. He gave permission and so I posted it here. As you will read in a post that is still awaiting moderation, I when I myself asked why the OCA Synod’s investigation writes that Fr. Symeon was never a priest in the OCA, I was told by the bishop that he had no idea why the OCA was not privy to the various documents which ROCOR had received from the D.C. nuns.

        Given the interest in this subject on this site, I thought the information I had received would be of interest to others. As a Bishop of the OCA, would it not be possible for you to contact your fellow Bishops of the OCA and ask them for some clarification? Thanks indeed.

        • Your Bishop is mistaken, Abp.Seraphim Bell. You should let him know that the DC nuns never had a copy of a canonical letter of reception signed by Metropolitan Jonah receiving that hieromonk into the OCA. I don’t rule out the idea that your Bishop thinks that somebody’s opinion or statement is the equivalent of a canonical letter or reception. Father Victor Potapov never got any such letter from Father Leonid Kishkovsky to give to the ROCOR Synod, either. The material that George posted above, and the previous statement of the alleged victim’s mother and the total lack of any canonical letter or reception all demonstrate that no reception was effected. ONLY, I repest ONLY a signed letter of reception is proof of reception. If the ROCOR Bshops have furnished nothing to the OCA Synod, that is because they don’t HAVE a signed letter or reception. Q.E.D. The case you’ve come up with is indeed an interesting one. You’ve surely seen the reports here of phone calls to the Syosset offices of the OCA and the repeated excuses of the OCA’s Secretary, when asked for such a proof, “We’re checking on that.” Even retired, I have better things to do than torture the Secretary of the OCA. Both I and Bishop Nikolai have from time to time addressed questions IN WRITING to the Holy Synod. They do not get answered.

          • Jesse Cone says

            It’s also important to note that there is no trace of the priest in question in the official OCA “Pastoral Changes” documents.

          • Apr. Seraphim Bell says

            With respect Your Grace, I can’t very well let the Bishop know something that I do not know myself, but I will certainly let him know that you believe him to be mistaken. As for your decision to not contact the Holy Synod, I certainly understand how frustrating it can be when Bishops do not respond. By the way, it’s “Apr.” and not “Abp.”

            PS – It appears that you are mistaken Your Grace. Or rather, I believe the Bishop who told me that our Fr. Seraphim Gan passed the very document on to Fr. Kishkovsky. Perhaps you could contact Fr. Kishkovsky and ask him about it.

        • Lil Ole Housewife from Virginia says

          Dear Father Seraphim,

          I cannot seem to find your documents here or even a description of them. Could you repost them, please?

          I was at the enthronement of Metropolitan Jonah and witnessed the arrival of the various monks and nuns from Greece, and indeed that individual who sent them, their Elder Dionysios, who was present. There was a crush of bishops, clerics and monastics from many jurisdictions, but these were unusual. Although I was introduced to them by a Russian priest, I already knew about them from one of their websites and knew individuals who had visited them in Greece. Those monks present all represented themselves as wanting to start a monastery in the Washington, D.C. area .

          It was clear that they were not becoming OCA but rather only spiritually attached to the OCA under the direction of their spiritual father Gerontas Dionysios. Among them was the eventual Bishop Melchizidek Pleska, two monks, one of which was Symeon, another a Seraphim, and at least three nuns. All came from one or another of Gerontas Dionysios’s five monasteries in mainland Greece. I was surprised to learn that an American monk who I had thought to be at St. Tikhon’s Monastery and Seminary here in the states had left the OCA for Greece for quite a while to come under the direction of the Elder Dionysios. Bishop Melchizidek was already a candidate to head or be Locum Tenans, I do not remember which, of the Bulgarian Archdiocese in the OCA, after returning. All of those from Greece were known by some cathedral staff already, one of which is now their spiritual father / confessor and recently has a daughter who is a novice in Greece. At the enthronement at the cathedral, all of these individuals associated with and from Greece spoke to one another. Thus, questions as to the character of one of these small group of American monastics from Greece should probably be directed to the one person likely to know them very well, our bishop Melchisidek who is himself one of their number. Gerontas Dionysios is indeed an incredible person to meet and it was great to see the Church of Greece represented at Jonah’s enthronement with his unique presence. There are plenty of videos of the enthronement. You can literally see some of the complexity of individuals involved on that day.

          At many OCA events, the sisters also attended because evidently they were told to listen to Jonah when he preached. Maybe I did not notice the brother monks at these events more than once or twice? The sisters represented themselves, in addition, giving talks at the parishes of many Orthodox jurisdictions, once their monastery had been formally named and opened. The names chosen harken to their time in Greece. Even the name given to Hegumena Aemiliane harkens to the name of the spiritual father of Gerontas Dionysios on Athos. When their Sister Veronica was awarded the great schema, she was given the name Eisotheia, female for Entrance in Greek, short for Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple. Shortly after, the monastery was officially begun under this name.

          While living near the cathedral, the sisters attended some services at the cathedral, but also had their own services. I am sad to have never attended one of their own services. When at the cathedral, they formed a clump by themselves, a clump that increased in size as they acquired more novices, one being a fervent German graduate student parishioner who house sat for them when they were in Greece. Another was a woman who took monastic vows as she received hospice care from them.

          The residence of our dear departed Very Reverend Dimitri had become available to the parish of St. Nicholas upon his passing and it was renovated by parishioner volunteers. There was an incredible amount of mold and many other serious issues in that 1920s dwelling before it could be made habitable. I spoke to monk Symeon one day, coming out of that residence in jeans and workshirt about his own renovations there including bathroom tile work and plumbing. He is reported to have spent time renovating crumbling monastic property in Greece as well as in Washington. Although he was present in Washington some of the time and for many of the services, he did not serve there, and I am unaware that he ever gave confessions. If he did so, I never saw him behind the kleros.. But I myself was not present all the time so I cannot say for sure. I tried to be present, health and access willing, for services of the Metropolitan, who was often away. I do not even know why certain longtime parishioners of the cathedral seemed to dislike the sisters intensely, as I though their nearby presence good, and was happy that they found a home in the ROCOR when the parish voted to not extend their permission to stay in the parish house past May couple years ago. I last saw one of the sisters at a lenten retreat this year at one of the Romanian Archdiocese OCA parishes, permission for which was given by Archbishop Nathanial, the present Locum Tenens of the OCA. Present at the retreat were members of literally every local jurisdiction including one Greek Presvytera. We tend to be a pretty happy pan-Orthodox family in this area.

          As to the formation of a men’s monastery, that has all along seemed apparently problematic, although I do not know the reasons for this. People would ask and the answer would be “That isn’t happening quite yet.” Nor was it unusual to see many clergy serving at services, although I never saw Symeon among them. Quite frankly, while other parishes go wanting, the cathedral has an incredible number of attached clergy, many of whom regularly serve elsewhere and only occasionally show up. Many of these clergy are listed on either the Washington Archdiocese pages on the OCA website, and have been for many years, and on the bulletins of the cathedral. At no time was Symeon name mentioned in any of these, or on the website, or in any of the publications either in English or Russian. Current list, which has changed but a little:

          The farthest of these many attached clergy at present, to my amazement, is Father Duane, formerly of Columbia, MD and serving for a couple years, at least, at Annunciation Cathedral (GOARCH) in Baltimore, MD. Still, those giving confessions are only the two regular priests of the cathedral for both the Slavonic and English services and the Metropolitan. If other than those two served the Vigil, then of course these other clergy would confess those present, both individually and in General Confession after the services. These were always attached. I have never seen visiting clergy behind the kleros giving confessions over decades. Symeon, who I never even knew is a priest, but only a simple monk, was considered visiting. He has always seemed benign but then, I have never seen him that often, much less drunk. He spent more time with the neo novi imigrant. He himself was not a cathedral fixture. And then, he seemed to be, and by the gossip on this website, was gone. May God grant him healing from his apparent addiction (of which I personally knew and saw nothing) and that he be an asset to the Church in the future rather than an object of scorn and gossip. I inquired among those who had met him in Greece before he came to Washington, and they, too, were unaware he had any major issues. Could it be that the sisters though he was going through an acculturation or maturation phase? Those of us with adolescent or young adult children know their phases and frustrations. This young man was once in Odessa, later in adolescence in California with an iconographer father, back in Greece to be a monk at a young age, and then back in the states in his elder’s grand attempt to seed the Washington, D.C. area with a couple of monasteries. Other Greek elders had accomplished the same, why not him?

          The St. Nicholas Cathedral attached, from does need updating. Father Koblosh is pastor of All Saints of North America in Alexandria, Father Michael is kept on the list for reasons of love and nostalgia but lives in the Republic of Georgia, Father Miclean has his own parish in Annapolis, MD, and whatever is the reason for having a priest from Michigan attached, I do not know. Father Deacon Patrick has been sighted most recently serving in the ROCOR at St. John’s. Father George regularly serves at St. George’s (GOARCH) and various other parishes inclusive of the cathedral, Father Daniel has his outpost at seaside, and whoever Fathers Yaroslav or George Gulin might be, I haven’t a clue. Missing, perhaps from selective updating, is Father Vladimir, on the list for a couple decades. But then, the changes int he website at are hard to fathom.

          Parish Contacts
          Most Blessed JONAH
          PO Box 675
          Syosset, NY 11791
          Office: 516-922-0550

          Rev. Valery Shemchuk
          Associate Priest
          46174 Chester Terr
          Sterling, VA 20165

          V. Rev. Denis Bradley
          1718 Hoban Rd NW
          Washington, DC 20007

          V. Rev. George Gulin

          Rev. Gregory Jensen
          2302 Crest Line Dr
          Madison, WI 53704
          Home: 608-520-0856

          Rev. Maximus R Urbanowicz

          Rev. Michael Popkhadze
          23219 Murdock Ridge Way
          Clarksburg, MD 20871

          Rev. Martin (Duane) Johnson
          6189 Satinwood Dr
          Columbia, MD 21044
          Home: 410-772-1647

          V. Rev. George Kokhno
          2530 Chain Bridge Rd #203
          Vienna, VA 22181

          Rev. Robert Miclean
          1010 Cape Split Harbour
          Pasadena, MD 21122
          Home: 410-360-4401

          V. Rev. Daniel Hubiak
          Retired, Attached
          16 Wharf Ct
          Ocean Pines, MD 21811
          Home: 410-641-7323

          V. Rev. Michael Koblosh
          Retired, Attached

          V. Rev. Yaroslav Sudick
          Retired, Attached

          Protodn. Blagoje Siljegovic
          2800 Mosby St
          Alexandria, VA 22305

          Rev. Dn. Patrick Mitchell

          The link to the Archdiocese of Washington has been cleansed of Jonah and lists the new Locum Tenens. Which brings up the question of two Locum Tenens. Why was Jonah’s position split into two, one part to Archbishop Nathaniel and one part to Bishop Alexander?? Under Metropolitan Herman and Theodosius, the various archdioceses changed a few times. A bishopric for Baltimore came and went, Pennsylvania was split into two, the Bulgarian Archdiocese was added to one of those two, and Metropolitan Jonah, although supposedly lacking administrative ability, was tasked with many and various bishoprics in addition to his own job as Metropolitan. Even his own title with the variables coming and going like North America, Canada, South America and even Mexico.

          Let’s make him head of the OCA again. If we feel tentative, lets name him as Locum Tenens on at least a five year plan.I myself like the older Orthodox tradition of keeping them as bishops, Archbishops, Metropolitans and Patriarchs until they are sent to the ICU or illustrative of end stage Alzheimer’s, may there be a cure. Let’s end gossip, especially avoiding websites run by nameless recent convert neoconservatives, members of homosexual couples, and communist transvestitles.

          Instead, let’s attend more services, do more service ourselves to God, and love one another that we might be in some kind of shape and perspective to confess.

          When we bring the Metropolitan back, let’s provide him with some local administrative support and, by the way, let’s actually let him have his Chancery in D.C. like a real jurisdiction.

          I, for one, see a lot of reason for the OCA to survive, and pray for an American single jurisdictional Patriarchate of North and South America

          • Lola J. Lee Beno says

            Excellent summary of our parish. There is one correction – at present there is only one full-time priest – Fr. Valery; there is no money for a second priest.

            I too like the older Orthodox tradition. We have a wonderful tradition that has been time-tested, and it would be a shame to throw it out ways that only cause pain and turmoil.

            • Lil Ole Housewife from Virginia says

              Dear Lola,

              I know there is only one priest at present at the cathedral while they wait for the new dean to show up. The point I was making is that the confessions to individuals are done behind the kleros, and that they are by the Dean and head priests or the preist designated to officiate the service. Thus, if Father Vlad officiated and Father Valeri or Father Constantine were not present, only Father Vlad would give confessions, etc. General confessions were led by the same. For a long time, this meant Fathers Constantine and Valeri. While Father Dimitri was still alive, by him , too. When Father Fester was here, he took the place of Father Constantine. And so on.

              Did YOU ever see Father Symeon serve? Did you even know he is a priest?

              • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                No, I never saw him serve. I go to the English services, but didn’t see him serve. I think one time I saw him standing to the side, partly behind the side door, but I’m not too certain that that was him I saw. That might have been near the end of the service I was at. I didn’t really pay too much attention at the time since I didn’t know who he was; I have a good memory for people’s faces but often it takes a while for me to put names to people’s faces because I don’t always catch their names when I meet them for the first time.

            • Anna Rowe says

              Father John served 2 Sundays ago. Hopefully he stays.

          • George P. says

            Lil Ole Housewife = Lil Ole Powerhouse. Gotta love her! 🙂

          • Mike Myers says

            Communist transsexuals, more accurately. Post-op.

          • Lil Ole Housewife–
            Fr. George Gulin has been at the St. Barbara Mission (ROCOR) in Irvine, CA for some time.
            I remember that Fr. Yaroslav Sudick was the pastor in Endicott, NY, but that was years ago. I don’t know where he lives now.

            • Lil Ole Housewife from Virginia says

              Dear Anna,

              He is still listed in Yonkers, as of old.


              Maybe the page is not updated?

              • Dear Lil Ole–
                I should have checked the OCA clergy listings before…Fr. Yaroslav Sudick lives in Triangle, VA.
                And yes, that page is out of date: it still shows Archbishop Peter of NY and NJ.

          • Thanks, housewife from VA., for the info. Makes things a little clearer. As far as “lets make Jonah the head of the OCA again”, I don’t think that’s going to happen, but who knows? Miracles do occur. Perhaps this is just a temporary exile, as one venerable priest commented. In the meantime, Lord have mercy on the Orthodox in America.

          • Eleni Palmos says

            I love Geronta! And so do many, many people. He has spiritual children all over the world – in Greece, Russia, Georgia, the USA, the Greek Archdiocese, etc. Priests, bishops, lay people. He welcomes all with a huge heart.

    • It appears there is a great deal of confusion over the reception issue stemming from Metropolitan Jonah possibly having been a little bit personally ignorant of protocol in matters of interjurisdictional transfer.

      At times he acted as if Fr. X were under his omophor, like when he “suspended” him from priestly functions and assigned him a strict monastic obedience. Apparently Met. Jonah later realized, or was told, that the priest was not truly under his omophor, and his “suspension” of Fr. X could only be withdrawing his blessing to serve, hence his correspondence with Bishop Basil (six months after the date of this report) where he says that Fr. X is not an OCA priest.

      Again, the real problem here appears to be not that Met. Jonah didn’t follow protocol, but that he apparently didn’t know it. If he was told the priest was not under his omophor, and in fact he was, Met. Jonah cannot be blamed for not acting as if he were.

      It is interesting that the committee calls Met. Jonah’s letter an appropriate response to the April 22nd incident. Getting Met. Jonah’s side of the story is absolutely essential. Knowing about his alcoholism “shortly” after his arrival is imprecise terminology, and Met. Jonah himself said he only suspected the problem. Also, he may not have yet known what kind of behavior Fr. X was susceptible to while intoxicated.

      What is obvious is that Met. Jonah did take Fr. X’s drinking and other issues seriously, imposing even stricter sanctions on him in May 2010 than he was canonically authorized to do!

      What is not obvious is why Met. Jonah listened to Abbess A. rather than his own, rather sound, judgment as displayed in the “suspension” letter. Did Met. Jonah really think having the charges dropped meant Fr. X had been exonerated? That suggests optimism to the point of foolishness (sorry, Met. Jonah), but I don’t think it rises to the level of misconduct on Met. Jonah’s part.

      When I read the part about Fr. X’s personal icons being turned around, I thought that might not be a sacrilege on Fr. X’s part, but rather a cognizance of his sin, that he didn’t want the icons “seeing” him drinking. Perhaps Fr. X presented himself, sincerely or otherwise, as extremely repentant, and that’s why Met. Jonah thought he might be able to do without a residential treatment program. A huge problem for Fr. X, as Met. Jonah notes, was his lack of means to seek treatment for his alcoholism except as a charity case and inability to earn enough money, hence his foolishly-optimistic turn with military chaplaincy.

      It also appears Met. Jonah was purposefully kept in the dark about the misconduct accusation for a while, because his letter to Fr. X is dated almost a month after the incident and he refers to having been “only recently” informed, and the committee says Abbess A. and Fr. X both kept it from Met. Jonah.

      Another factor is that, what Fr. X is alleged to have committed in that document is gross and unbecoming, and completely deserving of punishment, but not nearly as serious as I was led to believe by the Synod’s statement. That incident as described was by no means a rape, as was rumored about Fr. X, and it may explain why Met. Jonah was of the opinion in April 2011 that Fr. X was “greatly slandered” while still being a very troubled priest.

      Now, how did rape enter into the discussion? Did J. later accuse Fr. X of rape? If so, that would explain the 2012 events in the Godmother’s letter.

      • Jesse Cone says

        Helga asks,

        Now, how did rape enter into the discussion?

        My understanding is that member of the Metropolitan Council speculated about Fr. X committing serial rapes — a speculation that was met with immediate amazement and rebuttal. Yet the speculation became a topic of conversation and discussion among members of the Synod/ MC/ CA. I don’t believe any credible allegations were made in this regard, and no “victims” came forward.

        It’s my opinion that the priest in question, regardless of other mistakes and sins, was in fact “greatly slandered” in this occasion.

        • Jesse, comparing the SIC report to the Godmother’s letter, I am starting to think we have two different victims on our hands, J., and an alleged rape victim.

          The crime as described against J. was of course nowhere near approaching a rape, to call it one would be a lie, it was a simple assault. There were apparently “internet rumors” of rape in late June, shortly after J. dropped the charges in the simple assault case, but those rumors were not substantiated at the time and it is quite plausible for Met. Jonah to think Fr. X greatly slandered by them.

          However, the godmother’s letter asserts that there was in fact a rape allegation, but that it was not made until May 2012, some two years after the fact.

          It makes me wonder if Met. Jonah went down for allegedly knowing about the rape but not doing anything about it, when in fact he only knew as much as the SIC, i.e., nothing. The rumors would explain why Syosset would think Met. Jonah must have known something, while the godmother says he only had the accusation in hand in 2012.

        • My understanding is that there was an alleged rape that happened in 2010, but the victim never came forward at all until 2012 and that was to the police, then to the Godmother then to Jonah in May . . .

          • lexcaritas says

            Helga and Colette, you make good points here. Why would the matters described in the November 16, 2010 investigative report be the cause of anyone’s seeking the Metropolitan’s resignation 18 mos later? Or why would the Crisis Management Committee’s rest its principal justification that? Maybe there was another recently made allegation of an alleged rape allegedly perpetrated a few weeks before the assault on J described in the Report–of which perpahs the Committee and Synod wrongly (i will refrain from saying intentionally) thought the Metropolitan knew in February, (Maybe they thought it related to the earlier incarceration to which +JONAH referred in the 5-19-10 letter to Fr. S and which +Michael’s investigative committee had not looked into. Apparently, they jumpted to the conclusion that +JONAH knew of it and had concealed it by silence and inaction, when, in fact, as the alleged rape victim’s godmother’s statement shows, he did not know of it until May. The new allegaton and the recent reappearance of Fr. S as one of the three priests serving the monastery near Frederick, MD may have re-ignited concerns and fueled the pressure placed on +JONAH in July. Of course, none of thiese was clearly and dispassionately explained in the Synod’s 7-16-12 apology for its precipitate action. They would have done much better, it seems to me, either to list a bill of particulars without a lot of rhetorical justification or simply graciously accept +JONAH’s resignation and reassign him to a place where he may serve effectively and fund the care of his elderly parents. No adequate explanation of why this gracious, kind and sensible approach was not selected–and that is what fans the flames of distrust and disappointment.

            May our bishops and pastors–and those who assist them–heed the example and voice of Christ and act with humility, candor, truth and love, and hallow His name by acting as He wills–and not otherwise.


            • Lexcaritas, that’s exactly what I think happened. With the way Met. Jonah hit the ceiling about the accusations against Fr. X in 2010, it is hard to believe he would have covered up an actual rape committed by this same person if he actually knew anything about it.

              I find it more likely that he took the rumors about rape to be slander, since the assault against J. had itself been exaggerated into a rape by an MC member. He also had no complaint in hand from the alleged victim for two more years.

          • possible correction-Godmother took it to ROCCOR I think before +Jonah?? It’s in her letter. . .

      • George P. says

        “It’s Tosi not Possi. LOL. What a sloppy bit of reporting. And how about that 85,000 OCA membership? Maybe we should call the possi out on Tosi for that whopper!

        Now, can anyone tell me if the alleged rape case is the same one that Faith Skordinski, Mark Stokoe, and +Mel tried to push? Or is there another complaint?

        » Posted By Amos On July 18, 2012 @ 7:36 am”

        Amos, you were kind enough to point out that these three people “pushed” (perhaps fabricated is a better word?) the “rape” story. Can you elaborate please? How, when, where in what manner they “pushed”? Where did they peddle this story? For what purpose? Did they know the truth and purposefully distort it?

        • George P. says


          “Um says:
          August 2, 2012 at 3:10 pm
          Fraud is a violation of civil law, but it is also a crime: “In criminal law, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual” (see wikipedia entry for an overview).”

          Disgusted With It says:
          August 2, 2012 at 3:46 pm
          “That is, how can they do so and be acting in good faith?”

          That leaves two possibilities — they’re not acting in good faith, or they’re incompetent.”

  4. Thank you, George, for continuing to expose the lies that +MATTHIAS’ and the Synod’s letter of July 16th were based on.

    So, when a drunkard tries to put his arm around a woman and tries to kiss her but fails, our Synod cries “RAPE!” and broadcasts around the world the our Metropolitan assists RAPE? The unwelcome and drunk pass is deserving of ecclesial discipline, but it is not rape. Yet another lie in the synodal letter.

    Meanwhile, Syosset simply wants to act as if nothing has happened, not even acknowledging their slander against their brother and the falsehood it contained. Instead, our Synod seeks to use a period of repentance in order to avoid their own repentance.

    As I’ve said before (, +NATHANIEL’s letter “on the Dormition Fast” had nothing to do with Dormition, but had everything to do with avoiding the topic of pastoral concern to all. It USED the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God as a diversionary tactic, ABUSING the holy Fast to cover up the sins of our synod.

    In response, the people should say, along with Jeremiah, “You have sought to ‘heal’ the wound of My people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace. Were you ashamed when you committed abomination? No, you were not at all ashamed, because you no longer know how to blush, says the LORD.”

    • Just Guessing says

      The greatest abuse in Archbishop Nathaniel’s Dormition Letter was his abuse of the English language and intelligent written communication.

      • He’s always been a wretched writer who is oblivious to the fact, Just Guessing.
        It’s what many satirize as “fine writing” attempted by utter amateurs. The :fine writer” is himself a figure of fun, now gone utterly stale and tiresome.

  5. Jesse Cone says

    The issue, amazingly, has moved from whether or not the allegations in the Synod’s letter were true to what possible justification they might have for removing him with a lie. If +Jonah is even un poco loco they could have acted awhile ago for that reason, not another.

    How is it that they could publicly smear and slander him, stirring up fear by making comparisons to Sandusky, when to the clergy of the OCA and other jurisdictions they claim an altogether different reason? That is, how can they do so and be acting in good faith?

    • Disgusted With It says

      “That is, how can they do so and be acting in good faith?”

      That leaves two possibilities — they’re not acting in good faith, or they’re incompetent.

    • The Sandusky comparison is preposterous and shameful.

  6. Fraud is a violation of civil law, but it is also a crime: “In criminal law, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual” (see wikipedia entry for an overview).

    Anyone with information about fraudulent acts of this magnitude should call their local police department immediately. Ask the police department which law enforcement agency would have jurisdiction over this crime and where it would be best to file a report. The difficulty with this crime is that criminal laws do vary by jurisdiction and it is not clear which legal entity would have jurisdiction in this case (this will probably end up being a state matter, and it is possible it could end up being a federal matter, but it doesn’t hurt to call the local police department right away and take the first step). Personally, I would also make a point of consulting with a lawyer, to make sure I have made my report(s) to all relevant authorities and taken appropriate steps to protect myself — it would be worth spending a couple hundred dollars on a consultation to get this right. A call to a state District Attorney’s office and the Department of Justice (Google should be helpful in finding numbers) could be helpful — the justice system is often as politicized (human) as other branches of government, and it is difficult to predict where you will get the best help/information in the end. For a variety of reasons, this should be done as soon as possible.

    Note: Anyone destroying records to avoid being implicated in this crime should be prosecuted for obstruction of justice, which could be worse than their personal involvement in the original fraud — either way obstruction of justice is both wrong and illegal, so don’t do it and report it if you have information that it is being done.

    Also: It is important to keep audio and video recordings as well as digital and hard copy records of anything that might be evidence in this case. This includes recordings of conversations and public statements made by all official parties. Hopefully someone recorded all statements and presentations by national church officials at the recent DOS meeting.

  7. Apr. Seraphim Bell says

    I’m told that in issuing their statement that the priest had never been a part of the OCA, the OCA had not seen the documents given to ROCOR, by the nuns themselves, showing that the priest had in fact been received by Met. Jonah. No indication has been given as to why the OCA was not privy to those documents.

    • No tickee, no laundry! Only a letter of reception into the OCA signed by Metropolitan Jonah is proof of reception into the OCA by Metropolitan Jonah. No nuns’ statements, no statements by releasing hierarchs— only a canonical letter of reception officially receives a cleric into any diocese. Without it, a cleric who was released is completely in limbo. No indication has been given as to why Apr. Seraphim Bell has been made privy to any ROCOR Synod documents at all except a copy of the letter he has, indicating he has been received into ROCOR from, oh, the Antiochians, the Greeks, or the OCA, whichever one by which he was most recently released. Surely, Apr. Seraphim Bell has several copies of canonical reception. Who told him that the sisters OR the ROCOR Synod ever had a copy of a canonical letter of reception signed by Metropolitan Jonah?

      • Harry Coin says

        Perhaps in your eyes. In the eyes of most, a signature on the document asking for the release, upon which the Greek bishops relied, would be acceptance enough. Unless you think these Greek bishops made up out of whole cloth the names of the priests wanted by the OCA, the locations they were to serve, and the nature of the facilities in those locations, and the name of the bishop making the request of them, including his title. Whereafter, the priest(s) appear in the OCA and are seen to function as such.

      • Apr. Seraphim Bell says

        Careful Your Grace. Your addiction is showing. I wrote nothing about “nun’s statements” or “statements by releasing hierarchs.” There is also nothing in my post to indicate that I have seen any ROCOR Synod documents. As stated, I have only shared what was communicated to me by one of our Bishops. I referred to documents given by the nuns to our HS. More recently in an amended post above I noted that I was told that Fr. Seraphim Gan was given the document to pass on to Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky. I have no idea why it upsets you so that a Bishop in our jurisdiction states that he has seen the letter of reception (not heard an opinion expressed, etc). I don’t know why you should be so upset that any of our Bishops communicate with Priests in the same jurisdiction. Our Bishop-Priest relationships are very different than those in the OCA. But it doesn’t seem to take much to set you off. I’m sorry to have been the occasion for that. Please forgive me.

        • LowestOrder says

          Fr Seraphim –

          is it possible to know an approximate date for that document? The timeline is quite important here, since it seems that all through April 2011 the priest in question has not been a priest in the jurisdiction of the OCA. When were the nuns received into Church Abroad? If the document you refer to was issued around the same time, it may be that it was created simply so that the priest in question could be safely released to ROCOR…

        • Be careful Fr. Bell when you use Fr. Serafim Gan as a source. He who is the “Mini Me” to Kishkovsky’s “Dr. Evil. Not an unbiased source of information inside the ROCOR.

        • Subdeacon David says

          There is a simple solution to this: scan the documents and post them for the world to see. Otherwise, all that is being presented is heresay; what “bishops” (can you provide names?) tell you that they have seen.

        • Roboacolyte says

          Father Seraphim,
          With all due respect,which by the way,you didn’t show to Bishop Tikhon in your reply to him.
          Could be he’s looking for the truth of the situation and you are simply being a “company man”.

          • Roboacolyte, Apr. Seraphim Bell may be motivated by a grudge. We have a little history with him, as do the Greeks. Just sayin’.
            Why in the world would ROCOR Bishops or Father Seraphim Gan, conceal a copy of a canonical letter signed by Metropolitan Jonah receiving that hieromonk under his omophorion FROM ANYONE? It’s a no-brainer, you know. It’s as bad as a priest justifying every liturgical mistake he ever made by claiming (after a couple years conversion) “I’m too used to the Byzantine-Greek liturgical way of doing things!”
            And why would Father Leonid CONCEAL such a document from the Chancery of the OCA?
            One should be careful not to be found “assuming.”

        • Seraphim Bell, an ordained priest of archpriestly rank, has written a defense of himself and his views in which he used this expression: ” I have no idea why it upsets you so.” His views began by addressing me: “Careful, Your Grace, your addiction is showing.”
          I wonder, has he perhaps shared a copy of this to his Bishop, the one who confides in him about ROCOR Synod matters? Who is his Bishop? Anyone? Would Archbishop Cyril know him? Or I could check with Father Alexander Lebedeff who knows both Father Seraphim Gan and Father Leonid Kishkovsky very well. All three of them served and/or serve in Sea Cliff, Long Island.
          I’ll wait to see how Seraphim Bell, an ordained priest o archpriestly rank, replies to this before I ask anh third parties.

    • Why would the nuns have documents relating to such an important event (the acceptance of a priest) but not Syosset? Doesn’t that seem strange?

      • Syosset will probably blame Met. Jonah for not “sending” them a copy of the letter. But how does that work if there was no letter to begin with?

        • George Michalopulos says

          Helga, don’t you see? Jonah has been exquisitely planning this entire conspiracy from his mountain lair in the Alps. You think the Elders of Zion are behind every conspiracy? I have it on good authority that they report to him!

      • It seems strange to me too. Is it possible the nuns created forgeries? Is it possible that Jonah created documents and didn’t follow correct procedure in filing them with the right people? Something is very wrong here.

        I doubt we will ever know the full truth. Personally, I have zero confidence in the Synod or the institutional OCA. I can’t even conceive of what could make me trust them, ever again. How long have we been dealing with this garbage? First Theodosius, then Herman and his mess, and now the Jonah fiasco. Is this a church or a clown car? The OCA is done. Part of me hopes that Bishop Benjamin gets the white hat so the whole thing will finally fall to pieces, and will be over and done with the whole shooting match.

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          Seriously, do you think +Jonah had time, what with his traveling, meeting with people, taking care of his parents, etc. to create forged documents?

          • I have had a good and close relationship with Metropolitan Jonah for over 15 years and know him quite well. He does not forge documents and does not lie. Obfuscate perhaps, evade a question, perhaps, but usually for a good purpose. Generally he is straight forward and his word is direct in answer to whoever he is dealing with. This whole affair is right out of the pit of hell and the Syossett bunch along with the Synod have fallen into the evil ones trap – to marginalize and/or get rid of a threat to his kingdom. Much of what is said on this forum will be considered ‘judging your brother’ at the final judgement. Dangerous.

            Perhaps more time in prayer for all of the above, the homosexuals, the transvestites, the OCA power brokers, and anyone else involved in fomenting this mess is in order for all of us. Most of all PRAY for Metropolitan Jonah.

            • Jacksson, that brings me to a pertinent and necessary question: How is Metropolitan Jonah doing? Does anyone know?

              • I don’t know and others who know him as well as I do, here on the West Coast, don’t know either. He isn’t answering his phone.

          • No, I don’t think Jonah would create a forgery. I think the nuns might have. Obviously I don’t know. I’m just speculation,

      • This is all getting very strange and even more disturbing.
        I think perhaps we can assume Moscow knows all the details (or at least more than we do and has joined all the dots) and this knowledge is behind their cold reception of Fr Leonid and Bishop Alexander.

      • Apr. Seraphim Bell says

        It does indeed seem strange George. I was just informed that in fact our clergy have given the document of reception signed by Met. Jonah to the OCA. It just gets stranger doesn’t it!

  8. The truth has, apparently, been carried off to Babylon! Like Israel, we may need a complete outsider of a different faith, like the Zoroastrian Cyrus the Great (of Isaiah), God’s anointed one, to effect its return!

  9. The holiness of the Synod notwithstanding, fraud is a crime (as well as a civil violation) defined broadly as “intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual”. Unlike libel/slander, none of this deception need be in a public forum — so long as some witness or documentation can still be obtained for use as evidence in court.

    Errors of fact in the Synod’s “explanation letter” are likely intentional to harm Jonah and therefore fraud (in the letter itself but more importantly as communicated before the letter was written).

    Given Stokoe’s email, months before the alleged Febraury 2012 “notification of rape at a previous time” incident, explaining the agreement of members of the MC (and the support of at least some bishops) to use something like the allegations in the “explanation letter” against Jonah, there seems to be a very high probability of fraud as well as conspiracy to commit fraud here (the conspiracy is a crime equal in severity to the fraud itself).

    So we have record of intent to harm via a particular strategy, that just so happens to be implement based on events that “supposedly” happened after the intent was expressed. Motive is either demonstrated or at least implied in that conspiracy email and elsewhere (for example,

    In addition, there are some other probable cause data to warrant an investigation: The fact that so many people knew about private sexual assault claims and the “usefulness” of these claims in harming Jonah before this story went public suggests that these claims may be in whole or in part fraudulent, at least as communicated by secondary and tertiary parties. This was something I understood to be true even before the Synod letter was published. But just as soon as the letter was published, the case was strengthened: The employment status of the accused priest, the details of the timeline as implied in the letter, claims about Jonah’s mental health and more could all be instances of criminal fraud.

    So again, the Stokoe email confesses intent and gives probable cause for a criminal investigation, but the leaks before the official “explanation letter” strengthen that case. Now the resignation itself and the ensuing national news articles are instances of real harm done to Jonah and possibly to other parties involved. So it appears extremely likely that crimes were committed. In a criminal investigation, Jonah would have to talk regardless of any agreement signed with the bishops (which might limit what he can say publicly or in a civil case). A fraud investigation may be the only way you ever get the whole story. If the OCA tries to shame anyone into not reporting what they know to civil authorities, please note that this is hypocritical and not consistent with their policies related to sexual and financial crimes (ironically, they are staking their case to remove Jonah on his reluctance to take criminal matters to civil authorities).

    • Who would actually have to take these claims against them to a civil court? The victim, who in this case, of course won’t. Or can just anyone? How is this done, practically speaking?

  10. “Ever since the forced, uncanonical, and illegal resignation of His Beatitude”

    If it is your assertion that a Metropolitan cannot resign or be asked to resign (forced is a little strong and inaccurate) by the Holy Synod then canonically speaking Jonah was never Metropolitan becasue Metropolitan Herman resigned at the request of th Holy Synod as well or “forced” as you seem intent on claiming. So please be consistent start reporting that Metropolitan Herman is the rightful Primate of the OCA and that his “forced” retirement is null and void.

    • George Michalopulos says

      George, that’s one reason I’m in favor of full canonical trials to depose a bishop. Herman should have had one. So should Jonah. The trouble is where they could have found a lot of stuff on Jonah’s predecessors, there was nothing on Jonah, save vague nothings like “unilateralism,” “administrative failings,” etc. That’s why they had to go with the trumped-up charge of “unilaterally receiving a priest into the OCA” when in fact, he did not.

      (Not that it would have mattered even if he had taken him in unilaterally. Any Primate has the right to take in any priest from another jurisdiction. That’s in the OCA statutes as well as canon law as properly understood.)

      • I’m in favor of full canonical trials to depose a bishop. Herman should have had one. So should Jonah.

        Are you confusing termination of employment with removal from sacred orders?

        • Good question. In my view, when you’re talking about “terminating a bishop’s employment” you are actively deposing him. In Orthodox ecclesiology, a bishop is for life. As far as I’m concerned so should be the priest and the parishioners.

          • George Michalopulos says

            PS such talk makes our bishops look like “hirelings.” Not a good thing, per our Lord & Savior.

            • I meant no offense. It was an honest question based on my own apparently inadequate understanding of the terminology, though the negative rating and your PS indicate that the question was taken as a jab. If there is a next time, I’ll try to pose my questions differently. Peace.

      • George M you are right. But note; Bishop Nikolai has been roundly and loudly blasted, with the obvious blessing and encouragement (actively) or with the silence of tacit agreement (passively) of the Holy Synod.
        If one one-hundredth of what is said about him with impunity were true, a spiritual court would be indicated. But neither the Holy Synod nor any member of it has called for such a court/trial. Why should they? They have accomplished as much as a guilty finding in a spiritual court would accomplish, and have not risked his being found innocent of anything at all. He is imprisoned by the Holy Synod: not allowed to cross the threshold of St. Paul the Apostle Church in Las Vegas although he the main founder and benefactor of it for whom prayers are regularly sent up from that Church!! They refuse to grant him a canonical release and have dispatched a kafka-like official of the External Affairs Dept to confer with a presbyterial “grey eminence” of ROCOR in order to libel him, hoping to prevent ROCOR from providing him a vicariate and a parish to provide him priestly compensation! Oh, it’s incredibly small-minded, and school playground-mean! The Holy Synod seems devoted to seeking out anything but canonical remedies for everything amiss! They are, in that, completely derelict in their duties. Economically, the financial stewardship (not speaking of the excellent Treasurer at all) is like that of a little shop, or Lavochka, in a shtetl in the Pale of Settlement, while in stewardship of the virtues it has all the ethical expertise of a sandbox: Throw sand at him! Kick him OUT!
        The Holy Orthodox Churches, however, have everything they need to preach the Gospel and live it. Why the OCA has no recourse to the Holy Tradition is puzzling, indeed!

  11. M. Stankovich says

    You need to be honest here. It was not “an issue,” and they did not “remove” him:

    Our request for Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation, or that he take a leave of absence for treatment, came at the end of a rather long list of questionable, unilateral decisions and actions, demonstrating the inability of the Metropolitan to always be truthful and accountable to his peers.

    If it were their intention to “publicly smear and slander him,” they could have done so at the AAC using everything in the letter explaining their decision to ask him to resign. It would have been over in November, 2011. But they did not. They offered him the opportunity to help himself and the church. While he publicly agreed to do “whatever was necessary” out his love for the church and his brother bishops, he chose to ignore his commitment. They should have dismissed him immediately by agreement in December – that would have been the “healthy” action – but that was the Synod’s error and the reason they have this conflict now.

    Now, the former Met. Jonah shamelessly continues to manipulate and embarrass them because they allowed him to “change” the terms of his agreement with St. Luke’s. St. Luke’s made their clinical recommendations based on sound, practiced, evidenced-based reasoning that would withstand foolish and ridiculous “challenges” by the ignorant, the uninformed, and the clueless. There is something seriously wrong here, and you are too invested in your story to admit it.

    • George Michalopulos says

      “Unilateral?” Really, you’re going to dust off that old chestnut? And yes, they did “publicly smear and slander him.”

      • Mike Myers says

        George, you can probably imagine how mortified I am to admit this, but I have to agree with you here, to a certain extent. After a careful reading of that SIC report published on, it’s clear to me that the HS’s letter is seriously challenged, ethically speaking. Probably legally, too. It’s beginning to look a bit like a railroading to me, too. The most egregious thing is the way they spun their “rape” slur in the text. That was clearly way, way over the line given the facts as determinable so far. A strong appearance of grave malice in that language, and without any question a reckless disregard for episcopal probity and the most elementary due process. It’s pretty shocking.

    • Michael S.

      The attempt to publicly humiliate His Beatitude at the Seattle AAC was effected when the Synod gave him an ultimatium, either insert and read the prepared text by the Synod in which Jonah takes all the blame, or the Synod will remove him and suspend him

      Please note that the same threat was used in his “voluntary” retirement/resignation when +Jonah was told either to quit or he will be suspended without pay, and tried in a spiritual court and found guilty.

      As for St. Luke’s, they apparently were in the minority of evaluation reports with two others apparently giving +Jonah a clean bill of health.

      I know it is difficult for you to accept that your long time friends who have been and are at the center of this ugly page of the history of the OCA and worked to hound +Jonah out of office, but please don’t think that the rest of us are buying any of it. It isn’t being bought here nor overseas.

      Jonah did not leave office freely. He left office under duress. If you don’t believe it, why not ask Jonah himself.

      • M. Stankovich says


        Your ignorance of the purpose, process, findings, and recommendations of St. Luke’s is, on the one hand, simply embarrassing, and patently unhelpful on the other.

        There simply cannot be a “clean bill of health” for the simple reason that the former Met. Jonah himself, in his own words, stood before before the church assembled at the AAC – heard internationally on the Ancient Faith Network – and accepted full responsibility for this “disaster.” If you say, “the Synod gave him an ultimatum,” then you admit he is a liar and deceiver – a man who violated his oath to submit to no coercion or duress in any form pursuant to the Service of the Election of a Bishop, and turning into a “Judas goat” leading others astray in his “saintly silence” as well.

        He then pledged to do “whatever necessary” to restore and repair – “if possible” – out of his love for the church and his fellow bishops. This is a commitment he willfully chose to ignore, apparently believing – and perhaps taunting – that the Synod would not act upon the consequence set for not keeping this commitment. In the presence of immature, childish, “unilateral,” and arrogant behaviour, the Synod acted purposefully and appropriately. And I repeat, their only “error” was not doing so much earlier.

        If mine is an “ignorant, self-centered, egotistical comment,” it is at least based on the truth, not on fantasy, rumor, contrivance, and gossip. I would ask Jonah himself, but he’s not taking questions at the moment, and I suspect for the foreseeable future. Likewise, if I listen to you, his speech is hardly reliable as the truth.

        • lexcaritas says

          Assertions. No evidence.


          • Ignoramus says

            lexcaritas, MS only wants facts from others. His own assertions are already facts because he utters them as a respected-peer-reviewed-double-blind kinda guy inherently. Anything that comes from the psycho(logical) community is wholly writ with him.

        • Golly MS you apparently believe every word that comes out from the Synod. With such amazing discrimination it is no wonder you believe what you believe. You not being a member of the OCA can sit on the sidelines and pontificate all you want. The truth of the misdeeds of the OCA Synod and their Syosset worker bees is now so transparent from here to Moscow that your rather feeble defense borders on amusing if not a pathetic attempt to carry the water for Jillions, Tosi, Wheeler and Stokoe.

          Please feel free to live in your own fantastic world. The rest of us will share “the rest of the story” whenever and wherever we can. You know, accountability and transparency and all that! 😉

          • M. Stankovich says

            And in my fantasy world, Amos, an honorable man would have kept his commitment according to his word with a vision toward the future – often referred to as leadership – and begun the task of working with his brother bishops to resolve the issues between them – otherwise known as he being the least experienced of bishops. Following the typical agreements, timelines, and measurements of committed participants, they would be well on their way to a better organization by now.

            OR, the former Metropolitan should have immediately come forward and made it known that whatever was recommended by St. Luke’s was ridiculous and he had no intention of following the recommendation(s), and why. Is their anyone who was not hopeful that the silence following the AAC indicated that some form of “peace” has been reached? Talk in this forum was, again, he had “survived.” It was a complete fabrication. That was and is the fantasy world.

            And the most absurd aspect is that he knew this consequence was inevitable – as it is in every intervention. And still he had a choice: go to treatment and remain Metropolitan, or resign. You call this “duress,” while a clinician calls this “directing the choices.” He “freely” chose to resign. Lexcaritas says above me: “Assertions. No evidence.” Pal, I’m quoting former Met. Jonah himself! Read the Service for Electing a Bishop. Listen to his AAC speech. Look at his lack of action. Read his resignation. He needs no Cromwell! This is a true tragedy.

            And that, Amos, is the “rest of the story.”

            • You were quoting I believe the part of +Jonah’s speech that was written for him . . . . and 6 months was not part of the original agreement.

            • M.Vasiliou says

              M. S.

              Now you are living in a fantasy world.

              With +Jonah’s electrifying speeches, which urged people to turn to God, both OCA laity and clergy were given a renewed hope, and that is why +Jonah received the majority of the popular vote. However, this hope was soon dashed when the Old Guard (M.C. and Synod) of the OCA realized how much power they would have to surrender.

              Met. Jonah being a very intelligent scholarly individual undoubtedly sought advice, and thus declined the bogus and sinister offer of a mental health commitment. It would have been foolhardy for him to go into treatment for a non-existent medical condition where secular humanists could have denied him the right to pray, celebrate the Divine Liturgy, or even dress as a clergyman while in treatment. Furthermore, food in such institutions is usually appalling, and the pre-cooked highly processed food alone could have affected the physical health of the Metropolitan or anyone else especially if one had to eat that kind of diet for six months. Come-on. Get real. I would not wish that kind of psychiatric/psychological confinement on my worst enemy, for we are to love our enemies.

            • Michael Bauman says

              The primary onus for learning to work together is/was on the rest of the Holy Synod. They elected +Jonah Metropolitan which, among other things means that they are honor bound to follow his leadership, support him in public, disagree where they felt necessary in private and help him where he is lacking. Obedience is a two-way street and it can NEVER be coerced, it always must be freely given. They owed mutual obedience to each other.

              Met. Jonah was remiss in not understanding the depth of their antipathy and trying to do too much too fast; in not exercising leadership in getting others on board and following him before he started speaking. It is one thing to inspire others in an impersonal setting, another thing entirely to be able to do that one-on-one. Met. Jonah expected too much, the Synod apparently expected too little.

              However, it is doubtbul that anyone who wanted to lead would have survived as Metropolitan, no matter how honorable or how much in agreement with the public motives of the Synod given the stubborness of the personalities and the scapegoating spirit that Stokoe unleased in the OCA.

              • If someone is jealous, and wants to get your white klobuk, there is no way to get his mutual love and understanding. Pharisees hated Christ because of jealousy. The same is true about HS, or the Lesser Synod at least. The other motives, such as, homosexuality and Syosset mafia, only sped up the process.

            • M. Stankovich says:
              August 3, 2012 at 2:47 pm

              he had a choice: go to treatment and remain Metropolitan, or resign.

              It that was the only “choice” he was given, and he was not allowed to offer some of his own, then it was duress.

              a clinician calls this “directing the choices.”

              So he was supposed to give up his God given freedom and self determination to a “clinician’s” “direction of choices”? Weird, to say the least.

              He “freely” chose to resign.

              Your word freely in quotation marks is ambiguous. (A Freudian slip?)
              So we may assume from that that you yourself are uncertain about his choice being freely given?

              • M. Stankovich says


                For whatever you make of my opinion – and it is solely mine – when a man says

                I am willing to do whatever is necessary, working in close collaboration with the Holy Synod. As a first step I have agreed to begin a process of discernment that will include a complete evaluation in a program that specializes in assisting clergy, starting the week of November 14th. I have chosen to do this out of love for you, the people of the Church, and for my brother bishops

                (emphasis mine), how many choices “working in close collaboration” does he need?

                Secondly, the Church obviously predicted the problems of bishops who decide and act under duress and so included a specific oath against such behaviour in the rubric of the Service for Electing a Bishop – I’ve posted it at least twice, look it up yourself. A righteous man could not and would not do such a thing. The problem here is that it is impossible to argue that he did not make these statements – they were broadcast and recorded, for heaven’s sake – so the next best thing is to argue he was “coerced” to say them, which violates his oath to do nothing under duress, and which further makes him a liar and a deceiver for knowingly perpetrating falsehood. And the final option, “”qui tacet consentire,” the maxim of the law, “silence gives consent.” However you cut it, you have a mess.

                As to your final point, your answer is easily found in Freud’s short volume entitled The Psychopathology of Everyday Life. As a “slip” is necessarily an “unconscious” process (e.g. a woman who had not paid her bill for for several months “slipped” in referring to Freud as “Dr. Money”), the fact I put freely in quotations should tell you something about my certainty.

                • M. Stankovich says:
                  August 3, 2012 at 8:42 pm
                  “PdnNJ, For whatever you make of my opinion – and it is solely mine”

                  Mr. Stankovich, it sounds to me like you may be fixated on one line of reasoning, unable/unwilling to open up to other possibilities.
                  Not good.

        • M. Stankovich says:
          August 3, 2012 at 10:24 am

          Your ignorance of the purpose, process, findings, and recommendations of St. Luke’s is, on the one hand, simply embarrassing, and patently unhelpful on the other.

          I think I may have finally figured Stankovich out, in my own mind, at least.
          He is not really defending +Jonah’s opponents, but rather, his own profession!
          (“The dreary science of psychiatry,” as Archimandrite Sophrony Sakharov of blessed memory wrote.)
          Stanky also wrote:

          Met. Jonah himself, in his own words, stood before before the church assembled at the AAC – heard internationally on the Ancient Faith Network – and accepted full responsibility for this “disaster.”

          completely discounting the possibility that Met.+Jonah may have done so in a kenotic effort to placate his opponents so as to open up new opportunities for reconciliation and problem solving.

          • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

            PDnNJ, you are correct. Stankovich’s posts are a defense of his profession and his role in it.

            I call it Freudian mysticism, relegating those things that the great unwashed cannot possibly understand to the realm of the unconscious, the keys to which are held only by experts like himself and others like the men of St. Luke’s who he defends without any equivocation. (Process trumps substance.)

            • I would appreciate it if Father Hans would provide an instance of M.Stankovich relegating ****anything**** to “the unconscious.” I have no idea what school of psychology is M. Stankovich’s, but I have missed any reference to anything Freudian at all in his posts. Or?
              Now, the late, ever-memorable Archbishop Vsevolod of the Constantinopolitan Ukrainians was not only a graduate of Yeshiva, but a fully licensed and accredited (Adlerian) Psychoanalyst. He would be the Orthodox mental health professional for Father Hans or any of us to consult relative to ‘the unconscious” and relegating anything to it!
              And what in the world does the learned-“sounding” “Process trumps substance” mean? Are there any other cards to play in this imaginary game? Is it something, like “Freudian mysticism” coming from the so-called Behavioral Sciences, rather than religion? Just askin’, as we of the minor unwashed are wont to mutter.

      • George P. says


        Please, if you would be so kind…

        thank you.

    • Ignoramous says

      Well, that says it all MS. Everyone who doesn’t agree with you is an just stupid. Why do we even talk about anything. Its all decided by the scientific elite even though they they are about as ignorant of the human person as one can get and driven by an ideological agenda that seeks to destroy the human being. But, heck, “Resistance is futile. We will be assimilated.”

      A more ignorant, self-centered, egotistical comment as yours MS I don’t think I’ve ever seen. May God protect us from the superior mind.

    • “Now, the former Met. Jonah shamelessly continues to manipulate and embarrass them”

      (Stanky has to be “pulling our leg.”)

      • Jesse Cone says

        PdnNJ remarks,

        Stanky has to be “pulling our leg.”

        I know, right?

        Perhaps Stanky is confused between Metropolitan Jonah and George Michalopulos.

        • George Michalopulos says

          OK, I confess, that earlier stuff about Jonah controlling world events through the Illuminati was only half- true. Actually, we’ve coordinated this whole thing together.

          OK, seriously now. Does the Syosset Self-Idolatry Society understand the tremendous boon they’ve given to the EP? Bartholomew’s room for maneuver has expanded significantly since the office of Metropoitan of All-America and Canada has been permanently debased.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            I have stated before and I will state it again. Moscow and Constantinople have been working behind the scenes to divi-up the American and Diaspora Orthodox pie that it has not stopped them one bit. This is a massive chess game that in the end will produce one winner (Moscow & Constantinople) and one loser ( An independent American Church).

            I firmly believe that the Tomos was NOT a blessing for the OCA, but a curse In the on going chess game between Moscow and Constantinople. The Assemby WILL produce a unified Orthodox Church in America, but NOT an independent Church. What the future structure of OUR American Church will look like I have no idea, but the end game is a unified American Orthodox Church with Moscow and Constandinople calling the shots. It’s a done deal. We can argue about releases and this and that, but it’s now done.

            The real question is will the OCA accept this, which the removal of Met. Jonah tells me they will not, OR, will the OCA be dragged kicking and screaming into this brave new American Orthodox world? My vote is on dragging, but will eventually accept the current future plan or risk excommunication and schism. I hope I am wrong, but so far I have not been.

            Take care.


            • George Michalopulos says

              Peter, I think you’re more right than wrong. I myself have been overly critical of the EP in these machinations and as such am being forced to reassess my own “autocephalist for the sake of autocephaly” beliefs. If anything, the way that the OCA has governed itself from almost its inception has been perilously close to scandalous. The most recent atrocity being nothing but an egregious scandal in every sense of the word.

              I’m also reassessing my contention that Jonah should not be restored to the primatial throne. A cleansing is certainly needed. Those priests, laymen, and yes even bishops, who conspired against him need to be brought to account. To all: notice I did not use the word “allegedly” in describing the conspiracy. It is now an established fact that His Beatitude was the victim of a conspiracy. The only question at this point is how large was this conspiracy?

              I also agree with you in that this will not end prettily for the OCA or American Orthodoxy. As I wrote in “You Can’t Fix Stupid” the hide of the OCA will be nailed to the wall by the Great and Holy Council. The hallmarks of our autocephaly (curiosities really) –Syosset, the Metropolitan Council, and national plenipotentiaries such as the Sex Czar, will be demolished in short order. If this is all that happens to us, it will only be because God is merciful to us as we deserve far worse.

              Unfortunately, we have nobody but ourselves to blame.

              • On the other hand a unified synod, even if Moscow and Constantinople call the shots, is the precursor for an autocephelous church. It has been well documented that autocephally is rarely granted willingly and requires the church in that region to declare itself independent. In the case of Russia it required a truck load of cash.

                A bigger challenge before us is the pull of the modernists and minimalists. Already you can see it happening in the Antiochian and GOA parishes where psalms are read, like the Latins, instead of chanted. Abriviations are getting more extreme and these parishes are looking more and more like Protestant Churches.

                • John Christopher says

                  Andreas: I suggest you visit Orthodox churches outside of this country to broaden your understanding of orthopraxy and liturgy. Psalms are read, not chanted, in the patriarchates of Constantinople (including Mt Athos), Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Romania, as well as the churches of Greece, Cyprus, Mt Sinai, and Albania. The liturgical manuscripts distinguish between reading and chanting, as far back as such rubrics exist.

                  • John, the Typical distinction is between “uttering” and “singing.” “Uttering” is a more or less monotone chanting, while “singing” is according to a a mode or tone or composition. St. Basil the Great, in his statement of the purpose of music in the Church used the example of Psalms, which, by melody, are conveyed easily into the hearts and souls of their hearers. (That’s my paraphrase and summary.) Without the music he indicated, they are immediately forgotten and not lodged in anyone’s heart.

                    i think that when Andreas said ‘read…not chanted”, he should have used “said” rather than “read.” In Churches under Rome, even Ukrainian “Greek Catholic’ parishes sometime serve a SAID Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. True, in Greece where for centuries the clergy studied at German seminaries, and in the Middle East, where Christian education was frequently entirely in the hands of Western missionaries, Presbyterian, etc., this kind of “saying” eventually acquired an aura of Christian virtue. That experience never impinged on the Russian Church which, as Father G. Florovsky liked to teach, kept a lot of what it received from “the Greeks”, while the Greeks discarded it.

            • Peter, I know it is off topic, but how is the rest of the Holy Orthodox Bible coming? I am eagerly looking forward to the completion of the HOB’s Old Testament to correspond with the awesome Orthodox New Testament.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                Hi Nicholas

                I purposefully avoid talking about the HOB not because I do not want people to know about it, but because out of respect for George and the others on this board. However, being that you have asked me I hope George and others will allow me this one time update.

                The HOB is going great. I just finished 2 Kingdoms and am currently working on 3 Kingdoms. HOB II(b) will thus have 2,3 & 4th Kingdoms with 1 & 2 Paralipomena. All books will have all LXX biblical and liturgical variations fully documented and accounted for just like the previous HOB volumes. HOB II(b) will most likely be out in the Spring or Summer of 2013.

                I have also completed Matthew & Mark in the HOB New Testament and am currently working on Luke. As always, this is just my translation/approximation and do hope and pray for a truly Orthodox Bible in English that will suit the needs of all English Speaking Orthodox Christians.

                Finally, my friend and fellow translator Michael Asser has secured a publisher for his translation of the LXX here in America that has received the blessing of a ROCOR bishop in England and will be released some time next year. It’s based on the KJV but modified according to the LXX. If you want once I get back home I can send you the details.

                Take care, and I hope I haven’t offended anyone with this update on my translation.

                Peter A. Papoutsis

                • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                  Thank you for the update – I very much look forward to it!

                • Have you kept the 2nd person singular personal pronoun? It’s quite well understood in the Bible Belt, which is wholly American and American English-speaking.

                  • Priest Justin Frederick says

                    An important question, your Grace. I certainly appreciate the precious of being able to distinguish between the second person singular and plural offered by traditional English. Precious is precision in communicating truth.

            • Harry Coin says

              Peter, I think your assessment of overseas plans might be correct. What’s missing is the fact that should that day of cemented overseas control come, the ‘unified American Moscow/Turkey church’ will shrink fast and how. The success of your theory depends on operative emotional blackmail, and in the USA folk will not recognize bishops capable of, or subordinate to, emotional blackmail to have much to do with Christ, God or church no matter the trappings. That church will shrink and right quickly.

              The OCA will be the future, if independent and if it exists it will receive those fleeing Moscow/Turkey when overseas control is cemented among the others. It will then be the only one that has a credible non-self-contradictory story it can present to the population in the USA. If the OCA is not independent, it too will shrivel with the others.

              Clergy who support this overseas control idea will look to a future of dwindlement and working second jobs well into their 70’s owing to insufficient pensions as social security won’t be then what it is now.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Harry, I am in complete sympathy with you. However, your assertion that “the USA folk will not recognize bishops” who are subordinate is belied by the facts. There is absolutely no move in the GOA for any independence whatsoever. The vast majority of the GOA seem perfectly content to have mediocrities selected as bishops by Istanbul. Insipid leadership that has been par for the course in the GOA since the expulsion of Iakovos notwithstanding.

                That being said, what does the OCA have to offer the GOA regarding a territorial paradigm? That when certain apparatchiks don’t like something the Metropolitan does we scream and cry like babies until he checks himself into a funny farm?

                Sorry, no thanks. If they can do it to him, they can do it to your priest, and ultimately you.

                • Harry Coin says

                  George, I didn’t say ‘folks in the GOA’. Once it’s clear there is an ‘episcopal assembly’ that’s controlled by some group overseas, it will shrink. Distant overseas control It isn’t part of the teaching, it’s not Orthodox, it won’t last. Trifles about personalities in leadership can’t compare.

                  • George and Harry you both make excellent points on this issue. On my end I question whether or not the Orthodox Church as it exists today is conciliar at all. All of us belong to a Church today at claims to be conciliar but does not have ability or the will to hold a council. There is not one jurisdiction that is today functioning in a healthy conciliar manner. We see things swinging back and forth from authoritarianism to a tyranny of the mob.

                    And I am Sorry but overseas I do not see “Mother Churches” but Churches that are wholly subsidized and controlled by foreign governments. America should accept no bishop from abroad whose Mother Church is subject to the meddling of various heads of state.

                    Again, the question is simple….. Are we Orthodox who we say we are? I have my doubts.

                • Was Archbishop Spyridon insipid?

      • Once Metropolitan, always Metropolitan. Out of a job perhaps, but still a Metropolitan. Kind of like Saint Nektarios being entitled the Bishop of Pentapolis long after he was railroaded out of the position manner similar to that used on Metropolitan Jonah with the differences expected in a different culture. Interesting, similarities in these two cases with exception that St. Nektarios was not the primate.

    • M.Vasiliou says

      M. Stankovich,

      Why do you consistently defend this St. Luke mental facility that is not even owned and operated by Orthodox Christians? Do you have a vested interest in them? Are you on their advisory board?

      Mental health practitioners and mental institutions can lie or fabricate a mental illness to suit the occasion. This was done in Soviet Russia, and it is still being done here in the USA by certain Psychiatric Emergency Teams (PET) who impose a 72 hour hold to evaluate individuals by taking advantage of the force of law. Once a negative evaluation is completed, said individuals are effectively silenced, their good reputations are ruined, they are removed from any prestigious offices they may have held, and/or they are divested from their wealth or livelihood. Furthermore, once false psychiatric diagnostic codes are given to an individual, those diagnoses cannot be undone even by an honest and board-certified physician who finds errors of judgment by previous psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers.

      Remember, the APA diagnostic codes change about every five years, and these codes have become more erratic and politically correct with each publication, so that a diagnosis of homophobia is now considered a treatable mental illness, but a diagnosis of homosexuality is no longer considered to be a deviation from the norm.

      Blessed are those who follow the Gospel of Christ.
      Blessed are those who preach the Truth, who is Christ.
      Blessed are those who take a stand for traditional marriage and monastic chastity.

      And from the Beatitudes proclaimed in the Divine Liturgy:

      In Your kingdom, remember us, O Lord.
      When You come into Your Kingdom.
      Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
      Blessed are those that mourn; for they shall be comforted.
      Blessed are the gentle; for they shall inherit the earth.
      Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness; for they shall be satisfied.
      Blessed are the merciful; for they shall have mercy shown them.
      Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.
      Blessed are those who suffer persecution for the sake of righteousness; for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
      Blessed are you when you suffer insults and persecution and every kind of calumny for My sake.
      Rejoice and be glad; for great is your reward in Heaven.

      The Divine Liturgy according to Saint John Chrysostom in Romanian and Modern English, Parallel Texts, The Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, 1975, p. 41-42.

      May Met. Jonah be protected and saved from post-modernistic and humanistic psychologists, psychologists, and social workers who serve not God but man.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Mr. Stankovich constantly defends the professional mental health paradigm because he puts trust and faith in what they profess. He practices what they profess.

        Unfortunately, IMO, he seems to put more trust and faith in the MHP than in the Church and the reveled truth she embodies. That’s because, I gather, the teachings of the Church have never been peer reviewed after a double blind research study.

        That, of course, is patently false as the lives of the saints and the pretenders to sainthood are the longest running research study ever conducted with millions of peer reviews. We see what works and what dosen’t.

        It is just a lot more comfortable and self-affirming to believe in the power of our own mind to figure our our own mind while ignoring the deeper reality–the life that gives energy to the mind in the first place.

      • Not “into” His Kingdom. That sounds like Detroit carelessness. Our Lord HAS come into His Kingdom. It happened long ago. We speak rather of His Coming IN (i.e., with) His Kingdom.
        It’s something like as careful English as that Detroit Dormition letter!!!!!

    • Heracleides says

      You’re more correct than perhaps you realize. Mr. Stankovich has previously revealed the following about himself:

      “…the left orbit of my eye was fractured from a traumatic brain injury in a newer.”

      Explains alot.

      Source: (viewable a third of the way down the page)

      • pelagiaeast says

        could someone explain to me what a “newer” is? The only thing I can find is a manure spreader! That was toooooo funny. Help! Maybe this is a typo?
        thanks. Trying to understand…..

        • Heracleides says

          I also wondered the same thing. My thought was that perhaps this is indeed a typo on Mr. Stankovich’s part and that the injury to his brain actually occurred in a ‘sewer’ as opposed to a ‘newer’ – all of which raises a whole new set of questions… perhaps he was assisting with some tunneling at his place of, ah, employment (i.e. San Quentin prison)? More plausible, however, is that (given his much trumpeted education) the injury occurred in an oddly named lecture hall or some such. 😛

          • pelagiaeast says

            Hummmm! Maybe we can WORK THIS UP into something! UCSD…..Mexican border…..tunneling…..altered mind states……..

            Thanks for a laugh. I think we all need them these days. I, too, tried to work out some typos, and “sewer” is the only one that comes close. ha!

            • M. Stankovich says

              Dyslexia is a phonological (meaning “reading”) disorder that can result in a disconnect between what the brain “sees” and what is actually written. What I saw – and which I carefully proofread – was a “newer photo.” That you invested the time and energy to bring my error to everyone’s attention is flattering, and that you derived a much- needed laugh at my expense is my pleasure.

              • pelagiaeast says

                Forgive me, Mr. Sankovich. I never meant to make fun of your injury, was truly trying to understand what a “newer” was as you can tell from my original post. My google search led only to the “newer manure spreader,” and that simply did not make sense, although it seemed funny to me at the time. I ask again, please forgive me. I, too, have dyslexia, so know well the problems.
                I hope you, too, could get a chuckle from the other post. Sometimes it is good to be playful, but not when it is hurtful.
                Lord, have mercy on us all.

                • pelagiaeast! Thank you. This explains a lot, but not everything. I’ve come across the dread dyslexia before and appreciate the tragedy of it. I’d been puzzling for a long time about something that M. Stankovich wrote about me that seemed to be out of character for a mental health care professional. He had written that he had been getting discouraged after 40 years about the coming into existence of a truly American Church (“I’ve waited more than forty, and yesterday was pretty much confirmation that there will be no truly American Orthodox Church in my lifetime.”
                  Then I replied very briefly: “And, M. Stankovich, God never said there should be! What an idea!”
                  WHEREUPON M. Stankovich replied excitedly and angrily:
                  “Vladyka Tikhon,
                  While it may be astonishing to imagine, for forty of my years it certainly seemed that God intended there to be an American Church. And while you appear to relish this bit of sarcasm , I cannot imagine a sadder week short of outright schism – and some even “heroically” suggest this is reasonable.
                  “On every occasion you take to writing about someone who “displeases” or has displeased you, I can’t help but think a condition of having you in their home would be to hide any personal diaries – or for that matter, anything of a discrete or personal nature – as you seem to have no sense of propriety, prudence, dignity, or respect for the living, and sadly, even for the dead. I do not understand it, but God never said I should.”

                  Now, I’ve been totally at a loss trying to relate what he wrote with what I wrote. He apparently READ my remark as being sarcastic! It wasn’t sarcastic: to me it was God’s truth. God has never ever indicated any interest in establishing an American Church. He has said that He will build His Church, but not a word about a Jewish, Roman, Greek, or American Church!
                  Where, I’ve been asking myself, is the sarcasm?
                  Even more astonishing, his next paragraph seemed TO ME to be unrelated to that exchange.
                  I don’t believe I’ve ever betrayed a confidence or the contents of anyone’s diaries: I just cannot UNDERSTAND what M. Stankovich is talking about. Please, anyone, spell it out for me, preferably with a supporting citation from anything at all I’ve written here! I understand his language, but I’m missing the referents.
                  Have I breached a confidence? Have I quoted from a diary?
                  Why, if I visited M. Stankovich, would he hide anything of a diary-like nature? Would he ordinarily have his diary out on the coffee table next to a picture book so that guests could enjoy them?
                  Now, THAT was sarcasm. I like it. I can’t come up to the high and entertaining level of some sarcasm in the Holy Gospels, though! I am struck with admiration and awe every time I read or hear the history of the man born blind. he simply makes mincemeat out of his interrogators with his “astonishment” al learning that a sinner could make him see! Then, the coup de grace:
                  “Why do you guys keep asking me? Do you want to become His disciples too, maybe?”
                  The Evangelist and, probably, the rest of Christ’s followers wouldn’t forget that one, so even though there were “many other things” that could have been written, they included that!
                  I’m now asking the equivalent of “where’s the beef” of M. Stankovich. And I apologize for not having taken his dyslexia into account. If I’d only known. Thanks for telling us. I admit I even had a problem with the quotation marks around phonological as well as its definition, since “phono-” ALWAYS refers to sound, and “phonological” ALWAYS refers to the same; the sound of things, rather than to LEXICOLOGY

                  • pelagiaeast says

                    I guess, in a strange, round-about way, some light has been shed!

                    Well! Praise God! Hope someone can help with the questions you ask. I am too new to this site to have any clue.

                    Yes, the guy born blind has always been a great favorite of mine. What guts he had!!


                  • Heracleides says

                    “I just cannot UNDERSTAND what M. Stankovich is talking about. Please, anyone, spell it out for me, preferably with a supporting citation…”

                    Would a cartoon suffice?

                • M. Stankovich says

                  No offense taken.

              • Monk James says

                M. Stankovich says (August 6, 2012 at 8:36 pm)

                ‘Dyslexia is a phonological (meaning “reading”) disorder that can result in a disconnect between what the brain “sees” and what is actually written. What I saw – and which I carefully proofread – was a “newer photo.” That you invested the time and energy to bring my error to everyone’s attention is flattering, and that you derived a much- needed laugh at my expense is my pleasure.’


                Maybe M. Stankovich will enjoy THIS, then

                The word phonological means ‘regarding sound’.

                In point of fact, dyslexia is a graphological disturbance, meaning that it’s related to understanding the written word, not sound or speech.

                • pelagiaeast says

                  Father, Bless.
                  Your comment made me take a look at several definitions of dyslexia. I only learned about it as an adult, but suffered much as a school child because of the disability – totally unrecognized by the people who were teaching or helping me. Suddenly many things make sense, since I didn’t realize the scope of this disability. Sadly, it runs in my family. Another part is right/left confusion.
                  I had a terrible time with language lab in college, but could read and write French well enough to keep my A. To this day, sometimes I have trouble catching the dialog in a movie, and now I know what the probably cause is, and it is not my hearing!
                  Thank you!

                  • M.Vasiliou says

                    While dyslexia can make language acquisition difficult, spoonerisms turn the expected into the unexpected.

                    Have you ever heard of Dr. Spooner? He was an Anglican minister who addressed the Queen of England with: “My queer dean.”

                • M.Vasiliou says

                  Dyslexia is more of a morphological disturbance having to do with the shape of a word or number. For example, a 6 or 9 could be mistaken for e, p, g, q, b, or d, while a W can be confused with an M. The number 1 is often perceived as one of the letters l, or i, or for the number 7. Thus a child with dyslexia might write W077i6 instead of Mollie.

                  Not only do children with dyslexia have problems recognizing the shapes of letters and numbers (morphology), they also have difficulty writing letters and numbers (graphology). However, with today’s advance technology, children no longer must learn to write, instead, they can use a computer enhanced with spell-check, grammar-check, and word recognition systems that guess with great accuracy what they person is trying to spell.

                  As a child grows and receives special tutoring, dyslexia largely becomes a thing of the past except while upset, under duress, and suffering from sleep deprivation. Therefore, there is little reason for adults to make typographical errors if they are well rested especially if they take advantage of spell-check and grammar-check.

                  Dyslexia can be a blessing too, as humor helps a person get over himself. Thus a normal person with dyslexia can misread texts and titles of newspaper articles, have a good chuckle, and then realize that he needs more rest and relaxation to avoid those mistakes in the first place.

                  • M.Vasiliou says

                    Yes, I need more rest and relaxation.

                    I just noticed two typos that suddenly showed up.
                    How did that happen?

                  • pelagiaeast says

                    re: spoonerisms. Here’s a great one for you. My husband reports hearing an Episcopal priest tell a bridal couple that they were now “joyfully loined together.”
                    Maybe it is an Anglican thing? 😉

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Did you miss “Neurology Night” at the Google School of Medicine? Try this: “Hooked on Phonics!” Wait, isn’t that a reading program? In point of fact, teaching a child to understand the written word is accomplished by utilizing a system of “sounding out” of the words. How many times have you heard teachers and parents carefully and patiently instruct the child, “sound out the letters” or groups of letters, because by associating sounds with a specific letter (e.g. “long ‘a’ sound” in date) or group of letters (e.g. the “-gh” in rough sounds like “f” in fish”), and so we learn, phonologically, to “read.”

                  The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health define Dyslexia as

                  a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and / or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

                  It is quite obvious that the prevalent symptoms of the problem are deficits “in the domain of phonological coding, rapid naming and verbal working memory.”

                  So, monk James, you were quite incorrect in presuming I might enjoy THAT. If your motivation was gentle correction in the spirit of fraternity, I appreciate the attempt. Otherwise, the urge to mock always suggests leaving the “points of fact” to those qualified to proffer.

                  • M.Vasiliou says

                    M. Stankovich,

                    I agree with the definition of dyslexia as given by the National Institutes of Health.

                    Although English is a very difficult language to learn with its several overlays of the Germanic languages (Anglo, Sax, Pics, and Danish), Latin, Old Norse, and French, children can master this language by the age of five. Reading can pose a problem if a child has dyslexia as the Great Vowel Shift caused our vowels to be at variance with the Romance Languages of French, Spanish, and Latin. Thus, the vowel “e” can be phonologically altered by other consonants and vowels in its vicinity. In addition, due to our language overlays, there are various ways to spell and pronounce our consonants and consonant blends.

                    This poem is a good summary of the crazy phonetic we see in English.

                    I take it you already know
                    Of tough and bough and cough and dough
                    Others may stumble, but not you,
                    On hiccough, thorough, laugh, and through,

                    Well done! And now you wish, perhaps,
                    To learn of less familiar traps.
                    Beware of heard, a dreadful word
                    That looks like beard and sounds like bird.

                    And dead — it’s said like bed, not bead.
                    For goodness sake, don’t call it deed!
                    Watch out for meat and great and threat.
                    They rhyme with suite and straight and debt.

                    A moth is not a moth in mother.
                    Nor both in bother, broth in brother.
                    And here is not a match for there,
                    Nor dear and fear for pear and bear.

                    And then there’s dose and rose and lose.
                    Just look them up — and goose and choose.
                    And cork and work and card and ward.
                    And font and front and word and sword.

                    And do and go, then thwart and cart.
                    Come, come, I’ve hardly made a start.

                    A dreadful language? Man alive!
                    I’d mastered it when I was five!
                    — Anonymous

                    Now, move a child from Georgia to Chicago or to Upstate New York, and he will be thoroughly confused by the Northern Cities Dialect. It is like a different language altogether as another vowel shift is currently underway in the USA.

                    Worse, move to the UK where every city has its own prescriptive use of vowels. These vowel shifts have been compared to the tower of Babel. No wonder our airplane pilots, who are supposed to be knowledgeable in English phonetics can become confused.

                  • M. Vasilou wrote what appears to be linguistic nonsense about vowel shifts and about “linguistic overlays.”
                    English is an Indo-European Language belonging to the family of West Germanic languages. It is classified as Low German amongst the other sorts of Modern German languages. “Low” refers to the low, northern, lands of Germany, iike Holland, Frisia, North Germany from east to west. (High pertains to the highlands of Switzerland, Austria, Bavaria and so on). “Middle’ however refers to time: between Old and New. English is not native to the British Isles, but became the language of the area called England after it was settled and filled by the Angles and Saxons.Aenglisch and Saechsisch make up the skeleton of modern English. Roman(ce) languages are the LAST to have been pasted atop the basic English. As for vowel shifts, “Great” and not-so-great, there are few languages where phonemes are not influenced, shaped and altered by neighboring phonemes, including such disparate languages as Persian, Russian, and English, causing the addition or loss of voicing of consonants and the coloring of vowels.
                    I’m at a loss to understand how vowel shifts could be compared to the Tower of Babel, which does not appear to have been dynamic at all. Confusion in the understanding of English is a product of the universality of English as a second language whose intelligibility in pronunciation would be affected not at all by spelling . In fact “our” (as opposed to whose?) pilots around the world are trained specifically in areas where pronunciation variations COULD cause confusion.
                    Just sayin”. And I think that radio and tv network English is well understood and copied from San Diego to Bangor, from Seattle to Key West. and all parts in between. Dialectical variations in American English are vanishing faster than the obscurer unwritten languages around the world.
                    The poem is a good example of that genre. Someone should collect and publish the thousands of more or less amusing satires on the disconnection between English spelling and speech. Though the poem was good, who needs another one?

                • Developmental dyslexias (reading disorders that show up during child development) are almost always due to an underlying phonological processing weakness or disorder — it is very difficult to learn sound-letter correspondences when the sound categories are weak or wrong (or from another perspective: without a strong sound category to tie a visual label to, it is hard to keep the various visual labels straight). Acquired dyslexias (reading disorders that show up after brain damage) are somewhat more diverse, with visual processing often more involved in the disorder, and with dysgraphias (writing disorders) and dyslexias (reading disorders) sometimes showing up in unexpected combinations.

                  I wanted to point out that in the original context, Mr. Stankovich’s use of the word “newer” made sense and was actually grammatically correct (the omitted noun was clearly understood in the original context: he used “an older photo, not a newer”). So there was no error for Mr. Stankovich to apologize for. I was also confused by the meaning of “newer” when removed from the context, but understood his meaning perfectly when I followed the link to the original post.

                  And finally, I wanted to thank Mr. Stankovich for sharing this personal information with us, that he has had a TBI. This was a courageous step to take in this forum, and I hope no one will use this as an excuse to discount anything he has to say. On the contrary, it is a legitimate reason to try harder and to be more patient with each other. Mr. Stankovich is obviously intelligent, well-educated, and cares enough to invest in detailed comments on this blog. At times, he has also displayed an admirable humility. When I have personally lost patience with him, it has been due to my sense that he was intentionally using his intellectual gifts to be difficult (not constructive). While I do not intend to give him a free pass on the positions that he takes, I will strive to attribute less ill will to him in the course of our conversations. Frustrations are common when discussing things that matter; but in light of the courage Mr. Stankovich has displayed, I will try not to lose patience as quickly when we seem to be talking past each other.

                  • pelagiaeast says

                    I, too, went searching for the original comment, and probably because of my own dyslexia, had some difficulty locating it. You are correct about the omitted noun being understood, but there still is a problem with the structure of the sentence (retired English teacher here), and THIS, too, may be a problem for dyslexics. The intervening info about the injury confuses the meaning of “newer” for me. I am still not sure whether it is the older photo or the newer photo (wherever the photo is???) that is the one with a problem. And I have no idea why photos were even mentioned, probably because I am a late-comer to the blog.
                    I, too, wish M. Stankovich well. We each have our crosses to bear. Lord have mercy on us all. Maybe dyslexia is His mercy to teach us humility?

                  • Jane Rachel says

                    A dyslexic skeptic walks into a bar and says, “Is there a dog?”

                • i’m with M. Vasilou on spoonerisms. I love them. Thanks of the Royal ‘queer dean”.
                  My favorite was the president campaigning ni Iowa who addressed the farmers as “Good morning, all you tons of soil!”

            • Michael Bauman says

              I am opposed to many of the positions that Mr. Stankovich takes, but there is absolutely no good reason to personally attack him with such snide, sophomoric attempts at humor. That just continues to lower the level of discourse and, in fact, continues to contribute to the scapegoating spirit at work in the OCA.

              In case you don’t get it, that ***** has to stop!

              • pelagiaeast says

                Please, Michael, lighten up. This is not scapegoating. I tried to call you this morning, but evidently we don’t have your phone number.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  It is not scapegoating directly, no, but it feeds the beast when ever grauitous slams are made.

                  I’ve seen the fallout from this sort of thing harm to many people. Anything that feeds the beast is destructive. Truth is the antidote, but truth sought and applied with mercy and as much peace as can be mustered always seeking healing. In my past experience with this sort of thing I’ve seen too many people I care about harmed to ‘lighten up’. Personal attacks against anyone does not help the situation at all.

                  Michael Stankovich irritates me, all the more reason for me to work hard at trying to understand what he is saying and not allow my irritation to become personal.

                  • pelagiaeast says

                    May God richly bless your efforts. I found Bishop Tikhon’s comments most interesting.

  12. Well, i made myself a little time line based on the “report”. In addition to the out right lies of the Synod and their complicity in all of this I note:
    The term “Learned of” is used a couple of times without reference to how, or exactly what was “learned”.
    It becomes clear that the committee investigating was looking for a scape goat in +Met Jonah from the start of this investigation. How?
    1. They go out of their way to mention that the Met, knew the priest had alcohol problems since almost the beginning.
    The beginning of what?
    Note: I personally know that several priests a year have alcohol problems that need to be dealt with and not necessarily through Fr. Garclavs or the MC. Amazing.
    2. +Met Jonah was not in denial over this but quite the contrary was evidently quite disturbed by the notion of whatever had happened in FEB,MAR that caused a 3 day incarceration and sent the May 19th letter.
    Remember, + Bishop Benjamin went through the same drill. Note: In that letter he clearly makes a reference to finding a free treatment program. His later thought of the military give me the impression that he saw no future for this priest TO BEin touch with a parish. It doesn’t preclude getting treatment Plus entering the military. The priest in question is an American and Met might have seen that as his only possible future in this country. ( We will skip the obvious possibility of becoming a bishop in the OCA.
    3. Since he didn’t know about April 22, and WHAT EXACTLY he was told is not in evidence anywhere here.
    4. What is in evidence if we are to believe this report is that the Nuns (for whatever reason) did not mention a serious breach of conduct on the part of this priest and his arrest.
    5. That the priest had a court day on the 15th of June in which he was exonerated or that both the nuns and he lied about the outcome. Which is it?
    6 The committee which was formed to investigate by July 25th should not be surprised or dismayed that the +met gave them the May19th letter at that assist them. They chose not to investigate that Feb or Mar incident.
    It seems very sad to note that the Nuns did not come forth with the information of this arrest and might have had information about the Jun 15 th court date, is not much of a comfort to those vulnerable to this guy’s disease.
    If you look at the time line in all this, it is actually quite short between Rumors on the internet” Learning” about the assault, the forming of a committee and the interviews themselves.
    What is confusing is that ONLY met Jonah was grilled by all and that NONE of them talked to the nuns.
    The topping on this cake is that This group has had this information since Nov 16,2011 and has lied about it consistently and with purpose.

  13. Martin Paluch says

    “The trouble is where they could have found a lot of stuff on Jonah’s predecessors, there was nothing on Jonah, save vague nothings like “unilateralism,” “administrative failings,” etc.”

    If you have evidence that ‘they could have found a lot of stuff on Jonah’s predecessors” then bring it to light. If you have no proof then please refrain from condemning. Do you not know that violating the 9th commandment is a sin that you surely will have to give an accounting for? You posted that you would not print anything about someone without positive proof and here you are making false accusations against previous metropolitans. True, you have not used names however our Lord and all of us here know who you have referenced.

    Yours in Christ,

    • Michael Bauman says

      Indeed George, a big part of the combating the spirit of scapegoating is to refuse to participate in it and also refuse to allow anyone else to participate. It is quite easy to get lazy and buy in without realizing it.

      Negative stuff about others must only be mentioned under two circumstances: 1. There is clear proof of the transgression; 2. that the transgression is specifically and clearly related to problems that need to be addressed at the present moment. No rememberance of wrongs.

      Even then, the negative information must be dealth with in a spirit of mercy and healing and not condemnation.

      Absent a spiritual court, as you correctly point out, everything is rumor.

      Such discipline is quite difficult to maintain these days, but it is exactly that sort of discpline that we all must commit ourselves to.

      Of course, there would not be a lot of traffic on the blog if we did…..

      Thank you, Martin. I needed the reminder too.

  14. phil r. upp says


    Good to see you here. So how is + Herman doing? How is his health? Are you two getting along well?

    • Heracleides says

      You neglected to ask if they’ve changed the sheets lately.

    • How is Met. Herman doing? I suppose not too bad for a former OCA Metropplitan living under house arrest imposed by his loving brother bishops.

      • But he isn’t alone.

      • Well, not quite “house arrest.” That house is not his prison but his fortress from which he will sacrifice anything and anybody to avoid risking its being occupied by anyone but himself as long as he’s alive.
        I’m afraid he thought the demand that he move out of the Eastern Pennsylvania’s Bishop’s Residence onto property of his Diocese of Washington and New York or Syosset, New York, was “house arrest!” God forbid he’d have to move from the Eastern Pennsyvania’s Bishop’s Residence to the White House, Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, Tsarskoye Selo. or the Residenz of the Archbishop of L’vov! THAT would be house arrest for him! Even now he wouldn’t rescue a dying man, a priest in the ditch, if he thought “they” would cause him to lose “his” house!!!

        • I forgot! I ask that all pray for the health and salvation of Metropolitan Herman because his health is fast declining: he was already failing before I retired, having undergone a series of strokes that made his speech sometimes more unintelligible than that of his Archdeacon! He NEEDS our prayers!

          • M.Vasiliou says

            Lord Jesus Christ, through the prayers of the Most Pure Theotokos and of all the saints, have mercy on +Herman granting him health and salvation,

  15. Michael Bauman says

    For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. – 1 Corinthians 14:33 (KJV)

  16. Martin Paluch says

    phil r. upp, I am not sure who you are? However, thanks for asking.

    We are both doing well.

    It is sometimes difficult struggling against the stones being thrown by some of our companions and friends that we use to hold sweet converse with. As strange as it might seem to some, we even pray for them that they may come to see the light, make a change so that they will not lose their place with our Lord.

    Both His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman and I have remained steadfast in the Lord as we have from the beginning giving whatever we can to build up the Holy Orthodox Church here in America.

    Yours in Christ,

  17. Fr. Philip says

    Is it just me, or do we seem to be missing one of the central issues in our collective psycho-drama, viz., whether or not there was on both sides obedience or disobedience to Canon 34 of the Holy Apostles? The Canon reads thus: “It behoves the Bishops of every nation to know the one among them who is the premier or chief, and to recognise him as their head, and to refrain from doing anything superfluous without his advice and approval; but instead, each of them should do only whatever is necessitated by his own parish and by the territories under him. But let not even such a one do anything without the advice and consent and approval of all. For thus will there be concord, and God will be glorified through the Lord in Holy Spirit, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

    And just how, precisely, do we define what the First Hierarch’s overall role actually is? Article IV,2, of The Statute lists various functions; but is that the extent and/or the gist of the Metropolitan’s role? What are our collective expectations, and how do those expectations square up against Orthodox Christian dogmatic theology and the Sacred Canons? If we’re flailing around blindly here (and we seem to be), perhaps it’s because we have yet to clarify certain fundamental concepts.

    But then, I could be wrong.

    Fr. Philip

    • Michael Bauman says

      Fr. Philip, an excellent observation. The base cause for the disagreements between the Synod and Met. Philip seems to lie in conflicting expectations and differing understanding of what exactly a Metroploitan of the OCA can and cannot do.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I don’t think it’s by accident that the Canon puts recognizing the First Hierarch as “premier or chief,” first, as it is impossible to achieve consensus and operate with “the approval of all” if you discount him.

  18. clueless catholic says

    “He told me he supported the Metropolitan, that his problem was that he, Metropolitan Jonah, could not see guile in anyone, especially a priest.”

    Gosh. A lot of people said the same thing about the late Pope John Paul II, who had known only heroic priests — including martyrs — during his youth in Soviet-controlled Poland.

    But that didn’t stop Mr. Dreher from reaming our late Holy Father up one side and down the other during the RC sex-abuse crisis.

    How things change. What a difference a beard makes! 😉 (Yeah, must be the beards….)

  19. I want to pose a question to the readers here:

    What happens to the Patriarch of Antioch if Syria is overcome by the Western backed Islamic insurgency? North America seems like the most logical choice after Lebanon. How would that change the canonical situation?

    • phil r. upp says

      The Pat. of Antioch moved to Damascus and retained his title; unusual, but the Antiochene church agreed. If Syria falls to radical Islamists and he must leave Damascus, it is conjecture where he may go. Lebanon? Some small island in the Med? The U.S. – Detroit? In any event, this is AGAIN why the American Church must become strong unto itself rejecting the control of ANY foreign bishops. The Bishop of Istanbul can hardly be seriously considered the top banana in Orthodoxy. He should move to his palatial digs in Geneva, but Moscow and others will never let him become and Eastern Pope. I’ll say it again, all the bishops of the Episcopal Assembly in the U.S. need to proclaim themselves autocephalous and no longer under ANY foreign bishops. Then, as a true American Synod, elect a leader for the NEW American Church. Done! No need for ANY foreign bishop’s approval; just do it!

    • Archpriest John Morris says

      I do not know, but since we have a fairly large complex including a university, monastery and seminary at Balamand, that Balamand would be the logical place for him to settle until he can go back to the Patriarchate in Damascus. Such a move will have no effect on his canonical status. The Patriarchs of Antioch have not lived in Antioch for centuries.
      This whole affair is becoming more and more disturbing to me as an American because it has been revealed that the Obama administration has been secretly aiding the anti-Christian rebels for some time. Once again our government shows itself totally unconcerned by how its foreign policy harms Orthodox Christians.

      Archpriest John W. Morris

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        I agree. But then again the Patriarch of Antioch is a foreigner and NOT a red-blooded American so he and our fellow Orthodox in Syria just don’t matter. You see that’s the logical conclusion of all this foreign despot crap that our American chauvinist cannot understand. Arguing for a regional Orthodox Church structure according to the Holy Canons is one thing and completely proper, but this foreign despot crap builds an us versus them mindset among fellow Orthodox Christians.

        Phill r. Upp you are wrong and your vile against fellow Orthodox Chrisians and churchmen is wrong. Have disagreements, but never revile them because if the day ever comes when war comes to your neck of the woods who will support you?


      • Fr., I was not referring to his canonical status. He could relocate to East Timor and still be the Patriarch of Antioch. I meant for the church in North America. If Lebanon became too hot as well, which entirely likely, and he ended up in the US would that not result in a realignment here?

        It’s been said, tongue and cheek, that if +Bartholemew relocated to Washington DC (the fifth Rome, or maybe the Fourth if you don’t count London) it would solve our jurisdictional problem. Would the same reasoning hold for +Ignatius? I hope this is not the case but the Middle East seems to be disintegrating.

        I agree that it is appalling that our government is backing the Islamists. What is interesting is that there is no right vs. left divide over Syria. Our political ruling class are idiots. They have no idea what they are unleashing.

      • Michael Bauman says

        The last president of the United States to support Christians and go against Muslim’s in the Middle East and North Africa was Thomas Jefferson. Obama is merely continuing in established foreign policy of the United States. He has been more open about it and his support has been more heartfelt perhaps, but nothing really different.

  20. “could not see guile in anyone, especially a priest.”
    I feel I MUST say the following, some of it not for the first time, with apologies:
    The members of the Holy Synod of the OCA not for the first time alluded publicly and rather emphatically to the failings they feel they observed in the character and deeds of Metropolitan Jonah. They have NEVER, however, taken the tiniest ATOM of responsibility for his incumbency as First Hierarch (Primas, or Primate), while it is they and NO ONE else who is responsible before God and the world for electing him, despite previous precedents of Holy Synods’ NOT deferring to “vox populi.”
    They have acted unconscionably in baring their judgements to the world without apology for being ultimately responsible for WHATEVER transpired during Metropolitan Jonah’s tenure, especiallly the matters to which they refer in their STINKBOMB of a Statement.
    No one, not even Judas Iscariot, not even the Sanhedrin, has treated anyone more unjustly than has the Holy Synod treated Metropolitan Jonah. Where is their confession of sins, one to another? Where is the slightest hinting reference to their own lack of utter perfection in EVERYTHING?
    Having repeated all that, I feel it’s important not to glorify Metropolitan Jonah as a saint YET.
    Some have written that he is without guile; others have been more fulsome in their reference to his moral rectitude and reluctance to judge others.
    If anyone has a copy of the speech he made on the floor of the All-American Council at which he subsequently was elected, I ask them to copy it here or give us a link. Reading it, one will be hard put not to see an ELEMENT of “karma” in recent matters. No one, no, not even in today’s Holy Synod, has gone so far as to IDENTIFY any individuals, including hierarchs, as raping the Church. Everyone knows WHO Metropolitan Jonah targeted in his oration, and it WAS an oration. Who uttered a peep about that public assassination? Remember, when considering how an accusation, founded or not, of RAPE animates our current dialogue, how RAPE was an accusation charged for the first time in public against fellow, brother, servants of the Church out loud at a convention of the clergy and parish representatives and institutional leaders of a Local Church. I do not know of any public expression of apology or sorrow coming from EITHER the Holy Synod or Metropolitan Jonah. Secondarily, there can be no justification for the unclean machinations of leaders calling themselves Christians, in their recklessness in risking disobedience to the Commandment to which Martin Paluch recently alluded.
    I ask you all to forgive me for my words and silences while serving as an hierarch of the OCA.

    • Nancy Maria says

      Joy in heaven!

      God said: 7Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Hebrews 13

      St John Chrysostom writes:

      What kind of following is this? Truly the best: for he says, beholding their life, follow their faith. For from a pure life [comes] faith.

      Or else by faith, he means steadfastness. How so? Because they believe in the things to come. For they would not have shown forth a pure life, if they had questioned about the things to come, if they had doubted. So that here also he is applying a remedy to the same [evil].


      “Then shall my latest breath whisper thy praise; this be the parting cry my heart shall raise; this still its prayer shall be: More love, O Christ, to thee; more love to thee, more love to thee!”

    • Harry Coin says

      “No one, not even Judas Iscariot, not even the Sanhedrin, has treated anyone more unjustly than has the Holy Synod treated Metropolitan Jonah. ” — Bishop Tikhon, retired, of the West.

      +Jonah is still being paid and seeking an assignment, yes? Nobody has been ordered dead, everyone well fed, housed, getting medical advice and care, yes? So, you know, a eensy teensy schoche of a overstatement there, possibly?

      Rather, I think, the people have to take some responsibility for allowing his name to appear among the candidates, knowing, as they apparently did, there were habits and patterns that would make for explosions later on. Being a metropolitan is no time for on – the – job training. And, if you’re humble at all, and you’ve got the big job with thin preparation, alienating yourself from your seasoned brothers and not at least somewhat following their advice, there was always a real chance it would end badly.

      However, that speech he gave, as most speeches he gives, I did really like what he had to say. I think it drew people to consider the church and I hope he finds a way to keep doing that.

      • Lola J. Lee Beno says

        You forget that he will be out of the house and without pay come October. He doesn’t even have a pension because of course he was not there long enough.

        • He doesn’t even have a pension because of course he was not there long enough.

          Metropolitan Jonah “doesn’t even have a pension because” he is a monk who renounced the world to follow Christ.

          • Monk James says

            CQ says (August 4, 2012 at 11:46 pm):
            ‘Metropolitan Jonah “doesn’t even have a pension because” he is a monk who renounced the world to follow Christ.’

            What coldness, what naivete cloaked in the Gospel! I never cease to amazed by the very firm opinions about monastic life expressed by non-monastics.

            Someone here had the inspiration to suggest that everyone who cares about Met. Jonah should support him directly with their money. Maybe that’s a good idea, or maybe it’s not. I don’t know. Maybe we should wait until his successor is elected, and see what our OCA can do for him. Maybe the OCA will extablish a tex-deductible fund for impoverished clergy and monastics, and people can contribute to that.

            Monastic renunciation does NOT involve starving ourselves to death, going naked or living on the streets. We work like everyone else, and when we can no longer work as much as we once did, we receive our pensions just like everyone else who is paid to work. ‘A laborer deserves his wages’ says our Lord Jesus Christ.

            In the case of monks and nuns whose work within their communities is not compensated by a paycheck, they share all the benefits and liabilities of the monastery. And when they are too old or sick to work as hard as they used to, they take on lighter, sometimes merely symbolic tasks, yet always praying, as they are supported by their younger and stronger sisters and brothers — if there are any — who consider it a privilege and a great blessing to assist their elders as the juniors learn from their seniors’ long experience.

            Since many american monasteries are so underpopulated, this ideal scenario is not always practicable here, and elderly and infirm monastics occasionally end up in nursing homes supported only by Medicaid. It’s very sad, but at least they’re being cared for.

      • Why does the metropolitan need any skills at all (or training for that matter)? According to Jonah’s harshest critics he was never supposed to be anything more than a figurehead anyway. Supposedly the synod is in charge of everything.

        Which is it? Can they have it both ways?

      • The personal condemnation of others, identifiable others, in that oration was like urine in a martini. I referred to it not in order to make it the basis of all the reprehensible talk and action since in the OCA, but to just say, in accordance with my age, “what goes around comes around.” Even now, some people defending Metropolitan Jonah cannot resist expressing their satisfaction at the condemnation of others in his oration. I don’t. Perhaps if he would acknowledge that, the Holy Synod might be encouraged to acknowledge their faults.

        • Priest Justin Frederick says

          Should a bishop need such encouragement to model the faith to the rest of us? But your point is well taken.

    • George P. says


    • Gail Sheppard says

      “Looted” & “raped” normally do elicit a visceral reaction. Given the Synod’s behavior toward Metropolitan Jonah, I’m beginning to wonder if Robert Kondratick WAS scapegoated.

      Is this is what the Synod fears; that Metropolitan Jonah will say something to exonerate the former Chancellor? As despicable as it sounds, perhaps that’s why they are trying to make Metropolitan Jonah look like a “nut job.” They want to discredit him so they won’t be culpable.

      Before you all give me a “thumbs down,” consider what we’ve seen. Is it really THAT far fetched?

      • Gail Sheppard, this is exactly why the OCA needs an independent investigation of all this, going back to the Kondratick days.

      • Monk James says

        Gail Sheppard says (August 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm):


        “Looted” & “raped” normally do elicit a visceral reaction. Given the Synod’s behavior toward Metropolitan Jonah, I’m beginning to wonder if Robert Kondratick WAS scapegoated.

        Is this is what the Synod fears; that Metropolitan Jonah will say something to exonerate the former Chancellor? As despicable as it sounds, perhaps that’s why they are trying to make Metropolitan Jonah look like a “nut job.” They want to discredit him so they won’t be culpable.’


        As Gail Sheppard and everyone else knows, it’s been my very loud and public position — well substantiated by the decisions based on the facts examined by the Superior Court of New York — that Fr Robert Kondratick is completely innocent of the charges falsely brought against him by Met. Herman and Abp Nathaniel and Faith Skordinski and Alexandra Makowski and the ‘Special Investigating Committee’, informed as they were by liars who were finally forced by the state of NY to admit the truth.

        It’s painfully obvious that the very same people who unjustly persecuted FrRK also persecuted Met. Jonah. I suspect that this is not a coincidence, but rather evidence of an OCA subculture which refuses to be instructed by the authentically orthodox catholic christian tradition, but instead wants to run The Church by committees and majority rule. This is not the christian way! It’s almost but not quite a species of ‘congregationalism’. It’s more like secularism, regarding The Church as a corporation rather than as a family or a living, breathing organism, the Body of Christ.

        While I can’t quite get why this is so, I’m sure that swifter minds than mine will make sense of this and require The Powers That Be in the OCA to correct all the injustices brought against both MetJ and FrRK.

        Or maybe they’re as godless as their actions make them appear to be.

        I’ve long thought that, on the Day of Judgement, our Lord Jesus Christ will be far more merciful to the people, clergy and laity, who left the OCA or Christianity altogether, than He will be to the bishops whose obvious and outrageous sins made those people leave and just take their chances with God.

        Unless and until our OCA repents and corrects our institutional abuse of FrRK, we will not be healed. We will not make progress. We will decline and die, and no one will miss us. Now, we might also add the ‘white martyrdom’ of MetJ to this.

        Please, let’s make it known to our bishops that we won’t take this misbehavior anymore. Let’s make most of them resign the high and holy office they’ve so abused, and then let’s elect good men in their place.

        • Jane Rachel says

          Monk James wrote:”I’ve long thought that, on the Day of Judgement, our Lord Jesus Christ will be far more merciful to the people, clergy and laity, who left the OCA or Christianity altogether, than He will be to the bishops whose obvious and outrageous sins made those people leave and just take their chances with God.”

          I hope so, Father James.

    • phil r. upp says

      You have too much enthusiasm for this issue. In fact, you seem to always have too much enthusiasm for those who should not be in any authority. RSK, + Herman, + Theodosius, Soriach, + Jonah, yourself, etc. Why are you always on the side of those who have tried to serve, but have failed the Church and the PEOPLE? Think about it.

      • “phil r. upp!” My actual name, o phl r. upp, is at the heading of this and other posts by me. Your post addressed to “+BT” is awfully strange! Whoever you are and wherever you are hiding from any accountability or transparency, you must know that, far from having “too much enthusiasm” for. those whom you name as “RSK, _Herman, +Theodosius, Soriach (sic), +Jonah,” and myself. I have NEVER EVER shown any enthusiasm for Metropolitan Herman, Metropolitan Jonah, or myself EVER! What an idea! Who’s been lying to you? Or did you just make it up on the spur of the moment, not having anything substantive to say about anything at all, including me? Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick is a man in my personal estimation of rare quality, of Orthodox Christian piety, and an example of a good steward. I rely very heavily on his prayers and those of his wife, Bette. Even now, if you cared about the truth at all, you could consult the parishioners of a parish in Florida, where he serves as jack of all trades, you will find out how a priest who has been spiritually assassinated by Metropolitan Herman through the non-court presided over by Archbishop Nathaniel, is still GIVING himself to (not failing at all)THE PEOPLE. As well, I’ve known His Grace, Bishop Nikolai (Soraich, not “Soriach”) and have great knowledge of his service to Christ’s Holy Church in the Diocese of the West, and in two parishes he founded and built up in Las Vegas, over several years. I know him very well. He has failed NO ONE, EVER., let alone the Church or the People. Anyhow, you don’t know anything at all about either the Church or the People! If you had, you wouldn’t be ashamed to let us know who you are. You are RIGHT to be ashamed, if your existence is marked by such falsehoods as these you just addressed to me.
        If I had never been received into the Church and had never been ordained, but had remained in the uniform of either the U.S. Army or the U.S. Air Force, I wouldn’t give you the time of day, and after reading what you have written, I’d say, “Oh, dear LORD, what a dope!” But, of course, NOW I can’t say that sort of thing at all.

      • I have to agree with what Bishop Tikhon posted above, phil r. upp, you don’t have a candle in this parade.

  21. alsoanonymous says
    • Has anyone here or anywhere EVER expressed doubt that a Release of the perp-Priest to the Orthodox Church in America was officially composed, signed, and released to the Orthodox Church in America? NO.
      I am truly hard-pressed not to call those who insist that release is a reception just dummies. Perhaps they don’t know or have never been told.
      A Canonical Release is NOT a Canonical Reception. This is true even if a Canonical Release has been preceded by begging for it, official and open begging.
      A Canonical Release is NOT a Canonical Reception. A Canonical Release is NOT a Canonical Reception.

      Here’s another one that may provide a basis for intelligent thought: Any Hierarch issuing a Canonical Release has no say whatsoever in the actions of anyone receiving that release. A Greek Bishop could release any of his Deacons, Priests, etc., to the Orthodox Church in America on the highest grade vellum with red ink, signed with a calligraphic signature and stamped with an official seal, and the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America could feed it to the shredder or print it in the newspaper, but NO ONE can make him receive the instances so released by the Greek Bishop. That would be known as “sticking it to him.’
      If ONLY, if ONLY! Imagine how easy life would be for any Bishop who considered he had a problem priest! Why, I, for instance, could have simply have issued a release of some Priest in Walla-Walla or whatever to ever-memorable Archbishop Job and he couldn’t do anything about it. That’s what Harry Coin thinks is obviously ethical and approved practice in our Church!!!!!!!

      • phil r. upp says

        Dear BT,
        With all due respect, we have known you since before SVS. We have no beef with you, but you should have never been ordained or consecrated; you know this. You weren’t “asked” to retire because of your great work, but because you are bi-polar and have acted in a very bizarre manner many times. Regarding RSK, he had misappropriated very large amounts of OCA monies. And then his direct interface with secret bank accounts and monies from the agricultural magnate to grease the wheels of the Russian oligarchy was just too much. The OCA now moves forward with checks & balances and psych tests for bishops & priests.

        • George of Monomakhos! “phil r. upp” is lying or fantasizing. No one EVER asked me to retire. I have been under a psychiatrist’s care for clinical depression, and my psychiatrist advised about two priests in my diocese; one of whom was bi-polar and the other of whom was a sociopath. I myself have NEVER been diagnosed as bipolar. phil r. upp has NOT known me since before I matriculated at SVS. I consider his characterization of the former OCA Chancellor to be criminal. If you know his identity, I request you contact him and ask him to get help, professional help. Perhaps M. Stankovich would be able to provide an appropriate referral. Previously he wrote lies here about the duration of my studies at SVS, which I promptly corrected. I would like to know the origin of his malice toward me, but I know I’ve offended many in the course of m 79+ years. But you should know that this malice is causing phil r. upp to fabricate untruths and bruit them here. You’re the man.

          • lexcaritas says

            I agree, your Grace.

            George, what Phil-R-Up alleges here is libel per se and should not be tolerated. It is torious conduct and is bearing false witness, stating matters of fact of which it is most unlikely he has uncontrovertible personal knowledge. Reckless, unseemly and unChristian.


          • Your Grace! Notice phil r upp. starts his poison, “with all do respect”. Then goes on to say,WE
            have known you…
            WE don’t have a bone to pick with you. The obvious question, is who is WE?
            Probably, a hallucination of filler ups endless horse _______.
            Trying to convince anyone he has no bone to pick when almost every one of his posts aimed at you is totally hostile right out front.
            July 30th He said “BT what goes around comes around”
            Then you were addicted
            Then you were too enthusiastic
            Then you were lying about you education
            Now you are bi-polar.
            If anyone is troubled here it would seem to be a deeply troubled Phil R upp.
            Almost scary!

            • Thanks, face-it! I learned long ago that the phrase, “with all due respect” ALWAYS precedes outright disrespect. It’s also like saying, before administering a kick to the groin, “This hurts me more than it hurts you,” an equally mendacious phrase.
              I don’t know of ANY Orthodox “we” who met me before I matriculated at SVS. Indeed, it would seem to indicate an unhealthy fixation (ridiculously inappropriate) on me.
              i have a couple candidates for “phil r. upp.” They were never able to “man up” when I was on active duty, and they are unable to do so now—it’s not in their DNA, apparently!
              I know, it IS scary sometimes. Not Columbine, or Aurora, or Sikh Temple scary, but in the same ballpark. Let’s remember how the ever-memorable servant of God, Dmitri, an hierarch, kept focussed on Jesus Christ, and keep remembering it!

        • Monk James says

          phil r. upp says ( to Bp Tikhon, August 5, 2012 at 6:55 pm):

          ‘Dear BT,
          With all due respect, we have known you since before SVS. We have no beef with you, but you should have never been ordained or consecrated; you know this. You weren’t “asked” to retire because of your great work, but because you are bi-polar and have acted in a very bizarre manner many times. Regarding RSK, he had misappropriated very large amounts of OCA monies. And then his direct interface with secret bank accounts and monies from the agricultural magnate to grease the wheels of the Russian oligarchy was just too much. The OCA now moves forward with checks & balances and psych tests for bishops & priests.’
          This unidentified correspondent addresses Bp Tikhon as ‘dear’ and then flushes out THIS bilge?!!

          BpT can defend himself here, but Fr Robert Kondratick cannot. It seems that in addition to being a liar himself, our nameless calumniator is also disposed to believe lies rather than the truth.

          So I would remind him and all participants here that FrRK was accused by people of misappropriating OCA funds.. These people, including priests and bishops, lied to the Special Investigating Committee and to others, thus forming the basis of the faultily consituted ‘Spiritual Court’ which illegally tried FrRK in absentia, and whose false verdict resulted in Met. Herman’s wrongfully and invalidly depriving FrRK of his priesthood.

          During the process of disclosure and discovery prior to Kondratick v. OCA — a trial which never occured because the judge and prosecutor said that the OCA had no case — these same false witnesses were deposed and advised that they would incur penalties in civil law if they perjured themselves, whereupon they all recanted their earlier lies and each of them admitted that FrRK had stolen nothing.

          It’s for that complete vacating of their earlier testimony that the court recommended an ‘omnibus’ settlement in favor of FrRK — not in favor of the OCA. Doesn’t THAT tell us something?

          I’ve many times made this clear and brought up these facts, yet aggressively dense people like our anonymous correspondent keep rehearsing already invalidated charges as if they still stood.

          Once again: Unless and until FrRK is reinstated as an OCA priest in good standing, our OCA will not even begin to be healed. Oh, there are those I’ve heard say that reinstating FrRK would create problems for our OCA.

          CREATE problems?! Where have these people had their heads buried these last few years? Isn’t it obvious that the persecution of Met. Jonah and our current administrative chaos are symptoms of the same plague whose first victim was FrRK?

          May the time be short, Lord!

          • Good one, James! You can’t say what you said about Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick too often. Keep it up. Actually, one person could take the necessary and effective step to rectify this horrible injustice, this crime, but he is (at about the same age as I) TERRIFIED at the faint possibility of being evicted from his house, which is to him like the Golden Calf was to the flakes among Moses’s people. He knows of what the present Holy Synod is capable: he trained them in it, or, at least, enabled them.

            • Harry Coin says

              Your Grace, I thought he was defrocked by the OCA. Which bishop caused him to be once again called ‘protopresbyter as you do here? Did you or someone act after he was defrocked?

              • Aw, Harry Coin! “Which bishop caused him to be once again called ‘protopresbyter as you do here?” Why Harry, no bishop “caused him to be once again called “Protopresbyter” as I always have and never have ceased doing.
                And as to the second question question (likewise a tortured kind of thing); “Did you or someone act after he was defrocked?”….Please be specific and less opaque. I’ve been an active person since I was born, many years ago. I’ve acted today, and yesterday and the day before and i hope to act tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. Along the way, I picked up a little bit of knowledge of the Orthodox Christians and their habits and customs and rules and so on: knowledge of, that is, “Orthodox culture.” The word “defrocking” is always inappropriate, except among Orthodox unduly influenced by Roman Catholics. Defrocking refers to a Roman Catholic rite where a clergyman is officially stripped publicly in Church. The Orthodox do no do that. And no one calls the vestment of an Orthodox Church his “frock!” That would be what “the Friends of Dorothy” might call it, when they are doing what they call “camping’, i.e., being deliberately offensive and flaunting their peculiarities. No, no, Harry, Orthodox do have a form of canonical penalty (actually, the ultimate penalty for a Priest (Presbyterus/Presbyter/Preester/Priester/Priest in the word’s etymological history), and the word is “deposing” or “deposition from the presbytery/priesthood.
                The only person empowered to depose a Priest is the Priest’s own bishop. Further, that bishop must see that his decision to depose a Priest is based on the results of a canonical court, a kind of ecclesiastical criminial court, over which the Priest’s bishop presides AND acts as prosecutor, and which is appointed by the bishop from among the priest’s peers. As I’ve always called Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick that since he was elevated from Archpriest to Protopresbyter a few decades ago, and since he’s never been deposed by his own bishop acting on the results of a ********canonical*********** court, I feel I would be betraying my vows relative to the holy canons if I were to recognize any acts of any bishop based on the results of the meeting of such a fake “kangaroo” court which was convened to deliberate on NOTHING, but only to carry out the ARBITRARY will of a now retired hierarch and “those with him.” if you, Harry Coin, want to bow down before that unjust and illicit decree of deposition, you may, it’s a free country and as a member of the OCL, I know your worshipful attitude towards the decisions of such monastic hierarchs as Metropolitan Herman! So, it’s all right. I don’t think it matters to Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick what you and many others may choose to call him. I choose of my own free will and according to my conscience and to my episcopal vows to continue to call a cleric NEVER deposed by a canonical court what I’ve always called him.
                Sue me!

                • Harry Coin says

                  So then were he to appear where you are celebrating a litrugy, would you commune him as a priest or a layman? Has this happened since the OCA synod defrocked him?

                  • Harry, pardon me, but I find your hypothetical question nonsense. Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick would NEVER put me or anyone else in such a position. If you, Harry, were a Priest, you might very well be the kind that would use the Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ to prove a point, or “test the limits.” Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick is not like you in that.
                    I don’t recall leaving California and Nevada since retiring. Neither has Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick ever visited California, except once: i met him for a cocktail and lunch at Marie Callendar’s restaurant on US 15 between Victorville and Hesperia once a couple years ago.

                    Anyhow, Harry, it’ll soon be moot. I decided not to serve Divine Liturgy on my namesday this year because it would involve my elevating the name of Archbishop Nathaniel as First Hierarch. This may prevent me from serving at all in the future, though I’ll still here the Confessions of my spiritual children when requested to do so, and bring the Mysteries to a sick person, likewise. There is no canon, Harry that threatens me with deposition if I choose not to celebrate this or that Divine Liturgy.

                    Give it up. WE don’t have a Roman Pope, and if we did, you wouldn’t be it, no matter how much you want to direct the Church.

            • Be sure to wish him a happy name’s day this Thursday!

          • George P. says

            These are the same people who are insisting on the validity of the most recent SIC report convicting Fr. X of rape without proof and without a trial in a civil court and recommending against the monastery in MD? HELLO!!!! Does anyone else see a pattern here or is it just me?

            People actually listen to these people? Uh, WHY?

            • I would just like to clarify….I am not refering to the persons of His Grace, Bishop Tikhon and to Monk James (whose comments appear directly above my own) but to the individuals who came up with the recommendations in sic report and people who actually believe that sic report is valid and unbiased without ulterior motive.

              • To All,

                The common thread in all the horrors that have come upon the OCA is Archbishop Benjamin. He was at the center of the retirement of Met. Herman, the ouster and defrocking of Fr Kondratick, the ouster of Fr Fester from DC, the unrelenting assaults against Met. Jonah and now the Manton Monastery unraveling. And lest we forget, Benjamin was front and center in the ouster of Bp. Nikolai.

                If the OCA ever wants to turn itself around it is Benjamin’s life and brutish actions that must be put under the microscope of investigation. his clergy live in fear of his erratic leadership.

                Time to wake up OCA you have a wolf inside the sheepfold.

                • M.Vasiliou says

                  While Bishop Benjamin was a deacon, he was an excellent choirmaster with a glorious voice.
                  As soon as he became a priest and then a bishop, an ungodly change came over him. Bishop Benjamin’s sermons changed as he unabashedly directed his words solely to the few youth in attendance at the Divine Liturgy. These sermons, and I heard many of them over the years, were very dissipative with lots of jokes and very little spiritual content. Perhaps these changes came over him as he became overwhelmed with his obesity, alcoholism, and financial irresponsibility. Thankfully, Bishop Benjamin sought much needed medical treatment for his addictions, but yes, such a person should not be a candidate for the White Hat.

                  • If anything is going to change in the DOW or the OCA as a whole, the passivity of the priests coupled with the intimidation must change.
                    Bishop Benjamin originally started out being willing to do the dirty work no one wanted to deal with. Then he became the dirty work. But he has been assisted right along the way by a cast of characters that have learned how to placate him and move forward without disturbing their lives.

                    I have to ask myself why in the DOW the deans, chancellor and council have spent years rolling over for whatever his present need seems to be. These are men who are loved by many, have great reputation as confessors, warmth of personality, etc.
                    Did you see any rebellion over the fact that +Met Jonah couldn’t even serve in the DOW for the last two years? NO rebellion at all?
                    These are the same guys who signed a petition against him that had absolutely no reason for being produced in the DOW except to join an illegal attempt at ousting the Met.
                    These are the same guys who commune homosexual couples and have active gays serving in parish life. This would depress anyone. What, did it take for their to be such a failing pastoraly and practically that would have promoted such a direction toward secular life in our church?
                    It can not be entirely, the evil of money and power although it’s tough to see beyond that avenue in some of these guys like Kishkovsky, Jillions etc. What I see is that many of our present priests came into the priesthood during the sixties/seventies when just about anything was acceptable as a life style in the country. Orthodoxy looked pretty safe and conservative, and most likely gay couples were not presenting themselves at the cup and priests did not have to deal with it, or think about it, or talk about it at coffee hour. As a result there is not enough pastoral backbone to deal with the present crises.
                    If a known adulterer comes up to the cup, a priest knows just what to do.
                    If a drunk staggers up to the cup, a priest knows just what to do.
                    But if a transsexual in a relationship comes to commune, we are at a loss and instead of the pastoral correction or great compassion and love in repentance they are offered the cup.
                    All others are labeled homophobic and oppressive and lacking in compassion.
                    One dean ,when asked about this communion, actually advised the distressed lay person.
                    “Well it’s all they’ve got and we should feel bad for them”
                    If that were the case we can just hand a bottle to the drunk and know its all he has got and ditto the adulterer.
                    Recently, a very confused Abbott has written on his WEB page a vague blather that allows more of the same. He allows that we are in a time of great uncertainty? We are? Maybe he is, but many traditional Orthodox Christians are not. We are not oppressive, we are not lacking in compassion, we are following the word of God.
                    What is clear, is that there are very few Men in Black willing to stand up and be counted, so the counting is going on in the back room by those willing to lie, cheat, and hoard power and they are counting on the weak men that these priests have sadly become.

          • Harry Coin says

            Someone wrote: ‘BpT can defend himself here, but Fr Robert Kondratick cannot. ‘

            They don’t have computers where he is, maybe? Please now.

  22. Your Grace:
    I have learned so much from you in all of this mess, because of your education, experience, and wisdom.
    What you have said is certainly an ironic and sobering reflection on today’s situation. It does provide for us all a lesson in humility, even under great pressure.
    As to, the AAC speech I do not have a link, but certainly remember it. Beyond the words that you may find in a transcript, I remember the great anger, frustration, and destruction of trust that had at that point, created an atmosphere wherein the body of Christ knew that they were going to hear no honesty, no clarity, and had no future.
    Fr. Jonah was asked to speak and did so from his heart, not a piece of paper. While this might have been foolish, it gave the church time to regain some breathing room and a chance to look each other in the eyes and recognize that the OCA as a whole was failing.
    If you believe that the results of that speech slandered the church or other clergy and that our present moment is the result of it I would disagree with you. There existed an entire history of nothing but that it seems.
    If the OCA Synod and Met Council, believes that the next AAC will be held in a state different from the last, they are in serious denial. There is more anger, more mistrust, more more… failing, and it doesn’t take much brain or education to figure out why. If RAPE comes up again I wouldn’t be surprised at all. Please forgive me a sinner.

  23. Mark from the DOS says

    Just wondering where the outrage over someone leaking the SIC report on this item to Pokrov is. Guess that part of the accusations against +Jonah weren’t that big a deal either.

  24. Daniel E. Fall says


    I have a few things to say.

    First of all, the Kharon matter does not in itself, in my humble opinion, seem to be enough to ask MJ to resign.

    Second, MJ handled this matter poorly and gave Kharon a place to stay and a blessing to serve (how this is debated continually here is bizarre). OCA priest-NO, serving as an OCA priest-YES

    Third, you act like a cat chasing a laser when you keep going over minutae in these letters, and you defuse the matter greatly.

    The thing you ought to be doing if you, like Stokoe, want accountability and transparency is demand to understand what prompted this action after there was no recommendation for MJ to resign in the SIC report. Please correct me if I have missed the obvious, and forgive me for saying you can be like Stokoe; I can imagine that one gets you a bit, but in the end; isn’t transparency what you want, too?

    Personally, the fat lady has done her singing. I just wish I knew the song and I don’t and it is sad to mistrust the Holy Synod (again). Maybe I’m missing the obvious for the clutter.

    • Lil Ole Housewife says

      Daniel E. Fall says on the Eve of Preobrazhenie, the Transfiguration of Our Lord, August 5, 2012 at 12:03 am

      YOU “First of all, the Kharon matter does not in itself, in my humble opinion, seem to be enough to ask MJ to resign.”

      Of course not, and you do not understand the Monk Symeon matter (his father, same name, is an iconographer)

      YOU “Second, MJ handled this matter poorly and gave Kharon a place to stay”

      no, he didn’t. The sisters did and others did.

      YOU “and a blessing to serve (how this is debated continually here is bizarre). OCA priest-NO, serving as an OCA priest-YES”

      Did YOU see him serve? I haven’t. Nor have i met or heard from anyone who has seen him serve. He has never been on the list of clergy and doesn’t even belong to an American archdiocese of any kind, unless he is a member of his father’s jurisdiction, whatever it is, in California in addition to being a GREEK monk from Greece of Slavic extraction. I have only seen him in the nave outside the altar and in the trapeza, eating food and talking to Russian speakers. Nor did he sit with the clergy, who dine on a dias. I actually have met Symeon. Have you? Russians referred to him as “Brother Symeon”, i.e. as monk, not priest.

      YOU “Third, you act like a cat chasing a laser when you keep going over minutae in these letters, and you defuse the matter greatly…The thing you ought to be doing if you, like Stokoe, want accountability and transparency is demand to understand what prompted this action after there was no recommendation for MJ to resign in the SIC report. Please correct me if I have missed the obvious, and forgive me for saying you can be like Stokoe; I can imagine that one gets you a bit, but in the end; isn’t transparency what you want, too?”

      Where are you, in the US? Why do you mention “Stokoe”? One of the reasons that old ladies like me are keen on keeping the Metropolitan is because he IS way more transparent than at least the last two of his predecessors.

      YOU “Personally, the fat lady has done her singing. I just wish I knew the song and I don’t and it is sad to mistrust the Holy Synod (again). Maybe I’m missing the obvious for the clutter.”

      It IS sad to mistrust the Holy Synod. Myself, I tend to think of the Holy Synod as either new to the job, overwhelmed and / or uninformed. A few people have to be brave as their jobs suggest they be brave, for souls are at stake.

      You are missing the obvious. But you are not alone in complacency.

      I hope you are fortunate to attend the Transfiguration Vigil tonight and the liturgy tomorrow. Tonight I am obligated elsewhere and will miss the service keenly. Tomorrow, I hope to attend.

      Preobrazhilcya yesi Hriste Bozhe….

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Daniel, as you know, Stokoe provided the venue, but it wasn’t just HIS show.

      • Gail, this may be the most accurate characterization: ‘He was but a TOOL.”

        • Gail Sheppard says

          I would never presume to argue with Your Grace!

          Daniel: I want to have the confidence that our bishops (this applies to all jurisdictions) do not lie, cheat or steal and that in their dealings with us, and with one another, they exercise good judgement. I don’t need them to be accountable to me. I don’t need to see what they’re doing. If they’re meeting their God given commitments, I shouldn’t have to police them. – That’s the difference between the “Stokoeites” and me. I believe in a hierarchical Church.

          • Priest Justin Frederick says

            Amen, Mr. Shepherd: ” I want to have the confidence that our bishops (this applies to all jurisdictions) do not lie, cheat or steal and that in their dealings with us, and with one another, they exercise good judgement.”

            Love and trust are what allow the Church to function well as the Body of Christ and the household of God rather than just another human institution. We had it in abundance in the DOS during the years of Vladyka Dmitri. We never thought to parse Vladyka’s words because we loved him, we trusted him, and he lived worthy of that trust. We delighted to obey him, even when we might have preferred to do differently, knowing he loved us as was looking out for our good and the good order of the Church. (Some of us wished he would have issued more directives than he did!)

            We are now beginning to realize just what we had, and what we have lost. Requests and demands that we trust what we are being told, especially when there is unrefuted credible evidence to the contrary, cannot substitute for real trust, which is based on truth, virtue, and living faith. So, how much real love and trust do we see in the OCA now? And if we judge them to be lacking, how may they be regained?

            • Fr. Justin, you hit the nail on the head there (except Gail is a lady, not a Mr.).

              What I think the Synod fails to appreciate is that the healing that has taken place over the past few years was primarily the work of Met. Jonah. Most specifically, it started in his speech that turned a very uncomfortable AAC into a joyful one. People began to trust the Synod because curly-haired, bright-eyed Bishop Jonah told them that the bad people were gone, and that it was safe to love and forgive.

              Four years later, they pull this Saturday Night Massacre on him, and tell us they think he’s been dangerous and crazy for the previous eighteen months. Uhhh… what?

              Even if I didn’t like Metropolitan Jonah, I’d have a problem with this, most prominently with the fact that they just confessed to knowingly allowing someone to run the OCA while being a wackjob, and for what? They had Met. Jonah absolutely at their mercy in February 2011, and “knew” everything they supposedly know now about his supposed incompetence and sickness. Why didn’t they go for the kill back then?

              I think the answer to that question will reveal a lot about what’s really going on here.

              • Priest Justin Frederick says

                My sincere apologies to Ms. Shepherd! I have seen her name on and off over the years online, but for some reason, I had identified her in the past as male. I’m sorry!

  25. DoS Parishioner says

    Call me crazy, but now every time that I hear that #1 single Gotye song “Somebody that I used to know” that they play all the time on the radio now, I always think of the drama between the Holy Synod and Met. Jonah.

    The lyrics even sort of fit!

    • DoS Parishioner, it’s official, our bishops have a “relationship song”! Met. Jonah and the Synod are said to no longer speak nowadays, the Soviet-style scrubbing of the websites, shifting blame on the victim, and so forth.

  26. Denis Rukobludov says

    Time to turn over the keys to the MP.

  27. Isn’t the issue that the hieromonk in question was invited or welcomed to the DC Cathedral by Met. Jonah, even though the Synod never actually then ratified his/their presence? The fact that Fr. K was never a cleric of the OCA merely points to the Synod not accepting the end result Met. Jonah was seeking. It was a problem created by Met. Jonah that could have had more disastrous results should they have simply rubber stamped what the Met. wanted, should they have simply trusted his judgment.

    This could have always been the reason the Met. was going to be deposed, but other situations got in the way. it could also simply be the easiest to explain to the public, which is reminiscent of the Bush Administration’s use of WMD as the easiest hook to hang their otherwise expansive, complex reasoning for invading Iraq.

    • No, Melxiopp. That isn’t it. All you’ve done is reword that STiNKBOMB of a Statement from the Holy Synod!
      It’s once again the “lipstick on a pig” syndrome.
      And, by the way, there was never any “expansive” or “complex” reasoning (or ANY reasoning) for invading Iraq. It was not reasoning but the URGE to invade Iraq which overpowered all “reasoning.”

    • I am wondering why a bishop needs to ask the other Bishops if he can bring a priest into his diocese? isn’t that meddling in another bishops territory?

      • Collette,

        It is indeed meddling in another diocese, and this synod does it all the time, especially to +Jonah., with +Benjamin the main offender. The Metropolitan is responsible to be the point of reception when a cleric is coming to the OCA from outside the OCA, he then receives him if a bishop in the OCA has requested him. He then transfers him to that requesting bishop who then assigns him to an altar.

        With +Jonah and Fr Symeon, he was never received into the OCA by +Jonah, thus all the interference from the synod was even more uncanonical plus the fact that +Jonah sent the guy back to Greece and the bishop who released him. That’s right, they went after Jonah even after Jonah told this man and his bishop in Greece that he didn’t want him after he turned out to be a problem child.

        So one can see the lengths the synod went to pursue Jonah and drive him from office. And, one of these stellar characters is going to be the next person to where the white hat? No thanks.

        • Disgusted With It says

          What if 2/3 of the delegates to the Special Election vote for Metropolitan Hilarion of ROCOR or Archbishop Justinian of the MP to be Metropolitan — is that possible?

          • Absolutely! But I would assume that would mean the OCA would join ROCOR or MP, not that the bishop would come to the OCA.

            • If a non-OCA bishop was nominated at the Special Sobor to be Metropolitan you can bet that the OCA synod would not elect him and would rather elect one of their own. But it would sure send a clear signal that the assembled clergy and laity are not happy with how Jonah was dismissed. A very interesting prospect to be sure.

              • Disgusted With It says

                How about another possibility — the delegates elect +Jonah with 2/3 of the vote. Wouldn’t the synod have to accept that one?

              • Nikos, if any nominee receives more than 3/4 of the popular vote, it is true that the Holy Synod may still reject him and elect another, but they are required to give the CANONICAL reason for not electing the guy with 3/4 of the votes, before proceeding.
                I don’t know how they’d be able to find a canonical reason that would not have already disqualified any such hierarch—only if a Layman were to be so popularly elected would there be the possibility of a CANONICAL basis for Holy Synod rejection.
                Many were almost enchanted with Metropolitan Jonah’s habitual “Ill do it my way” approach since he was but a budding hieromonk, but not enough to get a really huge vote now, I believe. He chose to resign rather than contemplate any alternative. That’s fairly plain It was a miserable thing to do, playing him like that and insuring he’d sign that unbelieving letter he signed.

  28. In a court of law is there a difference between a priest that has been canonically received and on that is allowed to perform services, use the property of the OCA, receive $ from the OCA, lodging etc.? I highly doubt that any civil court would make distinction. It comes to the heart of vicarious liability. So did this accused priest perform services on OCA property? Did he ever recieve any financial compensation or any other benefits? These are a legitimate questions…ones that should be answered.

    • lexcaritas says

      Vicarious liability applies when there is a master-servant or principal-agent relationship; not when there is merely a landlord-tenant relatonship or host-invitee. For liability to be imposed then there would need to be negligence shown by the alleged tort-feasor in a duty owed to the victim.


  29. Just read the pastoral letter from Abp. Nathaniel, long ‘my’ heirarch, now everyone’s. I was heartened to see that he at least has some idea of the proper tone.

    • Mark G,

      Proper tone? Don’t you mean tone as in “Beltone” like hearing aid? If that is an example of what you have had to endure in the ROEA all these years, I can see why so many in the ROEA want Bp.Ireniu to takeover ASAP. That letter was just awful. What “proper tone ” are you referring to?

      • Nikos, be careful not to pile on. It may help to list the reasons why Archbishop Nathaniel’s letter meets with your distaste. That way it won’t seem you are complaining for the sake of complaining.

        • I think by “proper tone” Mark meant that it had Orthodox Christian theme and content. Otherwise, it was the next best thing toa truly pretentious example of the unchecked and failed urge to produce the dread “fine writing.” But a lot of people can’t “tell the difference”. Time and Newsweek are written for people with eighth grade educations. So probably some were indeed uplifted by Archbishop Nathaniel’s message.No harm done.
          I liked one famous writer’s characterization of the KJV or Authorized Version of the Holy Bible: “It was composed at a time when even a committee could write good English.”

  30. Denis Rukobludov says

    All of this drama in such a small community is quite disproportionate… it just goes to show that the OCA was never mature enough to deserve autocephaly. There are currently no strong candidates that can take on righting this ship… the risk is high that the next metropolitan will derail himself or be derailed. Three retired metropolitans is already highly embarrassing and only reflects immaturity and incompetence of the organization as a whole. It does not make any sense to run an autocephalous church parallel with the GOC and Antiochians when either easily outnumbers the OCA. Throw in the towel and toss the keys to Patriarch Kyrill and let SCOBA figure out how to best make an autocephalous American Church.

    • M.Vasiliou says

      Yes, the following two examples show the immaturity of the OCA Synod, The Chancery, and S-NY.
      I have checked the OCA website and for the past two weeks these glaring petty discrepancies have been noticed:

      Example 1, Met. Jonah is no longer listed as a former Primate under,
      yet his predecessors, Met. Theodosius and Met. Herman, are listed there with their full titles.

      Example 2, see
      While the former Metropolitans Theodosius and Herman are listed as:
      The Most Blessed Theodosius
      The Most Blessed Herman
      Metropolitan Jonah has been striped of his full title and is listed as
      The Most Reverend Jonah

      People who are immature and play petty games should not be serving as Bishops.
      Are there no bishops in the current OCA Synod who have the courage, fortitude, and charity to do something about righting this obvious wrong?

      • More stupid title stupidity.

        There are three offices in the Church: deacon, priest, and bishop. Period.

        Most Blessed Supreme Allied Commander, Uber Wearer of Special Coloured Mantije and White Hats, Wearer of Black Hat in Locum Tenens, Weilder of Golden Staffs with Serpents, His Universal All Supreme Imperial Magnificantness and Holiness, and Grand PoohBah of the Highest Rank, Holder of the Order of St. Suchandsuch (First Degree) … all are garbage.

        Its simple: Bishop Jonah of Washington.

        On second thought, as to Bishop Jonah’s predecessors, if one perhaps replaced “Blessed” with “Corrupted,” well, then it may be acceptable. Or at least accurate.

        • How about people who sign their names “Reader” Stephen or “Subdeacon” Stephen. I have been Orthodox all of my life and it is only recently that I have seen this..

          • That would be weird. Especially if their name is Frank or Jonathan.

          • StephenD says:
            August 10, 2012 at 10:18 am

            How about people who sign their names “Reader” Stephen or “Subdeacon” Stephen.

            What’s wrong with that?
            They are extremely valuable for the proper conduct of the liturgical services of our Church. And I honor each one of them for that, especially their dedication to their functions and responsibilities.

          • M.Vasiliou says


            A recent update of Met. Jonah’s biography was apparently done on the OCA website possibly in response to our questions at Monomakhos and the Synod meeting held on Monday, August 13, 2012.

            This paragraph below was added at:

            On July 7, 2012, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America accepted Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation from the Metropolitan See with the title “His Eminence, Metropolitan Jonah, former Archbishop of Washington and Metropolitan of All-America and Canada”.

            This paragraph was not in his biography the last time I checked a day or so ago.

            Notice “His Beatitude” was dropped in favor of “His Eminence.”
            Why are all the prior Primates given the title “His Beatitude,” yet Met. Jonah is not?

            Is the new head of the OCA to be called “His Eminence” too? Now, that would be an encouraging sign of humility and repentance! All of these self-aggrandizing titles such as Archbishop, Primate, and His Beatitude that accompany the bestowing of the White Hat should cease if the OCA is to be taken for real in this post-modern USA. After all, dropping such pompous titles might make evangelizing Protestant-evangelical America a little easier. Additionally, it might bring some much needed humility to the OCA Synod.

            I agree with Alexander. A bishop should be called His Grace, Bishop [Name], nothing more.

            What else does the OCA Synod have in store for the OCA laity and clergy in the next few days or weeks? It seems like one cat is already out of the bag.

            • lexcaritas says

              Hmm . . . actually JONAH’s letter only tendered his resignation “as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America.” This would, naturally, imply resignation from the Metropolitan See of Washington, DC (so he could request another episcopal assignment) but not his surrender of the title of “Metropolitan” or “former Archbishop of Washington, etc.”, would it? Nor did any of us ever call him your “eminence”; it was always your “Beatitude”. While I agree with our brother M. Vasilou that the magnification of title’s ought to be anathema given our Lord’s own directives about leadership among us–i.e. being the servant of all and the least of all–it does seem unjust to effect this deprivation on JONAH and not follow suit with his predecessors and former “brethren” amont the SOBs. I am not impressed. Nor do I agree with other statements made on this board that as Orthodox Christians it is our plight to accept such shenaigans as we are witness to. Rather, we were admonished by St. Paul the other aposltes to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing and drive them off. No doubt we are not to resist evil by replying in kind, but we are to overcome evil with good. We are not to accept it. We are to speak the truth in love and when necessary shout it from the housetops that in all things Christ may be glorified and that our boast may be in Him.


            • Disgusted With It says

              To go from “His Beatitude” to “His Eminence” would indicate a change from being a Primate of a National Church to being a Metropolitan of a Metropolitanate. Is the OCA really accepting that change?

        • Michael Bauman says

          We are all corrupted. It is just that Mets Theodosius and Herman had more opportunity to realized and actualize the corruption that we all have and we did nothing to help them until it was too late.

          If we want to rid ourselves of corruption then we must be more virtuous–all of us. In an environment of virtue, corruption is much less likely to flower. Even if it does, it is easily spotted and addressed much more quickly.

          We get the leaders we want and, often, the leaders we deserve. As George M pointed out in his essary on the dumping ground our lack of good leadership has been in the works for some time.

          Certainly, biships who do not fulfill their duties with integrity and faithfulness will have to account for their failings, but so will we.

          I don’t know what I would say to the question: What did you do to help your brother?

        • M.Vasiliou says


          Have you the courage to send a letter or email to the OCA Synod and suggest that all five Archbishops voluntarily reduce their title to Bishop…? AND that they consider not conferring the title of Archbishop and Metropolitan on the next person elected to that office?

          If you did rise to the occasion and send such a missive, the Synod would probably dismiss your insubordination with a suggestion that you get a mental health evaluation at St. Luke’s. Would you?

          Humor aside, it is obvious that there are several anonymous posters here who are OCA priests and who are rightly concerned about all the dirty tricks employed by Bishop Benjamin, the OCA Synod, and S-NY Apparatus. Besides prayer, is there anything we can do?

          Mention has been made of:

          1. Having in-home prayer meetings for Met. Jonah;
          2. Withholding any funds from the Bishops of the OCA Synod and from S-NY;
          3. Leaving the OCA and joining another jurisdiction like ROCOR, SiR, HOTCA, etc.;
          4. Staying put and hoping that the dust will settle, but this time realizing that the one person who had promised to right the wrong, Met. Jonah, has been silenced by bullies who did not want him to fight the good fight.

          I have another suggestion that we all pray the Small Canon of Supplication to the Theotokos (known in the Greek Churches as the Paraclesis) either privately or as a group. It is a very powerful intercessory prayer that is also very appropriate during the Fast of the Theotokos (August 1 to August 15).

          Paraclesis in Greek –

          Paraclesis in English – female voices –

          Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

    • Mike Myers says

      Kyrill, or Putin? Or is that a distinction without a difference?

  31. “lowest Order” is mistaken as to when Metropolitan Jonah first met Symeon Kharon.
    I believe he met Symeon Kharon when the latter was in his late teens in California , and when the Metropolitan was a hieromonk engaged in organizing his monastery at Point Reyes. Symeon lived with his father, Alexander Kharon, and mother, as well as his uncle, Hieromonk Gedeon (Kharon), at the Russian Women’s Home of Mercy. Father Gedeon served various parishes temporarily, including the ROCOR parish at Russian River, CA., returned to Russia and is well-known in the area of Kiev (they all originally emigrated from Odessa). I must say that if I myself had “bumped into” now Father Symeon in DC, I’d assume (barring evidence to the contrary, that he was the now grown-up son of Alexander Kharon, and I’d probably be favorably disposed toward him (not knowing any of the gossip), until I had a reason not to be. i have no idea whatsoever how Lowest Order came to believe that Metropolitan Jonah ever met Father Symeon in Moscow!

    • LowestOrder says

      Your Grace,

      The Synodal report, on p. 4, speaks about their meeting in Moscow. Thank you for correcting me – I did not know about the Californian connection (although it is also mentioned in the said report). Not that anything I have said matters now anyway. It was probably a mistake to enter into this conversation.

      Thank you again.

      • True, “LowestOrder”, true. Someone would have to have done a thorough professional job of investigating what actually went on, rather than investigating to support a foregone and necessary conclusion not detrimental to the investigators or their masters, before learning of the Kharon family, there time in California and their visitS to the St. John Monastery !

  32. Worth bearing in mind on this thread, and when reading other threads on this site…

    There were two old men who dwelt together for many years and who never quarreled. Then one said to the other: “Let us pick a quarrel with each other like other men do. “I do not know how quarrels arise,” answered his companion. So the other said to him: “Look, I will put a brick down here between us and I will say “This is mine.” Then you can say “No it is not, it is mine.” Then we will be able to have a quarrel.” So they placed the brick between them and the first one said: “This is mine.” His companion answered him: “This is not so, for it is mine.” To this, the first one said: “If it is so and the brick is yours, then take it and go your way.” And so they were not able to have a quarrel.

  33. Does anyone know anything about this letter? It indicates that ROCOR has concluded its investigation of the Monastery in Maryland..It isn’t dated which I think is odd. If it is authentic what now?


    Some days ago His Grace, Bishop Thomas announced that we did not have a blessing to visit the Monastery of the Entrance of the Theotokos in Union Bridge MD. The reason for this action was that the jurisdiction which has canonical oversight of the Monastery, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), was investigating a situation involving the Monastery. That investigation has concluded and the ROCOR Metropolitan has decided to relieve the Abbess of her duties and remove the Monastery from their canonical oversight.

    As I understand it, this action by ROCOR means that the Monastery is at the moment non-canonical. This does not mean excommunication. As I understand it, the Sisters have three options: join other already-existing Monasteries, return to Greece under the Bishop there, or possibly reorganise under another canonical Bishop here. I imagine that it will be some time before all this is sorted out. In the meantime, we still do not have a blessing to visit.

    The details of the findings of the investigation are unknown to most of us. What is known, however, is that much of the trouble centred around a priest at the Monastery who was the subject of very serious accusations. Hierarchs of both the OCA and ROCOR believed that there was enough evidence to dismiss the priest. They apparently also believed that the Abbess was refusing to cooperate with their investigation. Whatever else may have precipitated the investigation has not been made public. In any event, the investigation was launched, concluded, and the ROCOR Metropolitan has made his decision.

    Those are the basic facts, as I understand them. There are many rumours abounding and I would urge you not to believe most of them, whatever “side” they represent. I know that this is a deeply troubling, even heartbreaking, situation for many of you, as it is for me. We had prayed for a monastic presence in our area, visited and supported the Sisters, developed relationships, and grown to deeply care for this monastic community. We had dreamed, with the Sisters and others, about the Monastery even being used for summer camps, youth rallies, retreats, schools, and so many other possibilities. Now we have to realise that these things will not happen in the ways we envisioned. But surely God will open other doors.

    As we always have, let us pray for the Sisters that our merciful Lord will guide them into all truth. And please know that I am praying also for all those whose lives were touched by the Monastery, and that I would welcome the opportunity to speak with any of you who are struggling to deal with this unfortunate and regretful situation.

    The Lord bless you all!

    Archpriest Gregory Mathewes-Green

    Pastor, Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church

    • I saw it on the orthodoxjurisdictions list as well. Probably true, but sad. Well, there are plenty of “hierarchies” out there; maybe one of them will pick up the sisters while launching a blast at ROCOR, “World Orthodoxy”, Papism, and Sergianism, etc., and reminding us that the end is fast approaching. “Here it is!” “There it is!”

    • Rod Dreher says

      It’s real, and it was sent out yesterday to Holy Cross parish in Linthicum, Maryland. Many parishioners had developed a relationship to the nuns. I checked the accuracy of its claim with a ROCOR clerical friend, who confirmed that the nuns have indeed been released by ROCOR.

      I said on this blog earlier that I would accept whatever ROCOR’s determination on the nuns was. Now that we have it, I do accept it. I hope we will learn more details about the investigation. It must be conceded that ROCOR’s having given them the boot does not cast Jonah’s trust in them in a good light. In early 2010, when I was working on OCA Truth, I took it for true that the nuns were being unfairly persecuted by Bp Melchizedek. That is what Jonah believed. I no longer believe that. This is not to say that I believe the opposite, only that I don’t have any confidence that the nuns’ account of their travails is true.

      • I don’t know Rod but +Jonah is serving next week at the ROCOR church in DC. Not sure what that means but I wouldn’t invite him to serve if I thought him responsible for this affair . . .

        • Pravoslavnie says

          I heard that Met. Jonah was seen at DC’s St. John the Baptist Cathedral (ROCOR) last Saturday evening too. So it appears that relations between the ROCOR and +Jonah are still quite friendly despite ROCOR having to investigate a problem that it unknowingly inherited from and could easily have scapegoated him for. That the welcome mat is still out less than two weeks after ROCOR removed the antimension from the convent bodes very well for +Jonah, but not so well for Syosset.

          • This is precisely why I have also been praying for Metropolitan Hilarion and the bishops of ROCOR. I was hoping they would see it wasn’t Met. Jonah’s fault and would not blame him. Thank God!!

            • It appears that the DC Nuns fall from grace with ROCOR had to do with their refusal to accept the judgement of the ROCOR investigation that they cut their ties completely with Fr Symeon and the Elder Dionysius and come under the direct guidance and obedience of a ROCOR bishop. Under such circumstances it would be impossible for them to continue inside ROCOR.

              This is a shame, but the choice was clearly the DC Nuns to make and in not making it one cannot blame +Jonah, although the synod and gang in Syosset will continue to try and use this situation as justification for their ouster of +Jonah. Good luck. The fact that they are very nervous about +Jonah gaining counsel to advocate for a just severance package and the fact that their case against +Jonah has totally unravelled making them look like the incompetent and selfish lot that they are should make them more than nervous, it should make them sue for peace.

              If Bishop Michael has the inside track on being the next Metropolitan it is clear that he would want to have the +Jonah severance package wrapped up and tied off before the AAC. However there is already some serious cracks developing inside Syosset. Both Tosi and Jillions are telling people that they want +Benjamin to be the next Metropolitan. That makes sense because it would assure them both of their continued presence in Syosset. Tosi was +Benjamin’s priest in Las Vegas when +Benjamin got his DUI and Tosi did his best to cover up all the ugliness of that event. Jillions would be very happy with +Benjamin knowing that they both would go easy on any lavender clergy.

              +Michael has already started to see the work of Tosi in the +Jonah take down as a major problem and would most likely send Tosi packing. It is also more likely that +Michael would insist on bringing his own people as officers of the OCA if he became Metropolitan. He is smart enough to know that unless you have a team of people working with you and not against you the job of Metropolitan (as +Jonah sadly learned) becomes dysfunctional and impossible.

              There is no doubt that +Jonah is pressing hard against the synod and the synod knows that Moscow is watching very closely how +Jonah will be dealt with by the synod after his ouster. The synod will also be reminded of Moscow’s very cool (always polite) reception of Golitzen and Kishkovsky in Kiev. The loudmouths on the synod, +Benjamin, +Nathaniel and +Nikon will say “so what” to what Moscow says, but there may be enough other bishops who realize that the OCA is hanging on by a thread with Moscow holding a big pair of scissors ready to cut.

              Look for the synod to move for a speedy date for the AAC and the synod to offer +Jonah a severance package to get him out of their hair. Too bad that it will take decades for the OCA to ever recover from its recents blunders, if in fact the OCA can ever recover.

              • Nikos, Please I don’t understand paragraph one of your post. How did you come to that conclusion?
                Was there something released about this demand by Rocor that I missed?

                • face it,

                  I think the list of charges posted by the DC Nuns answers your question about my first paragraph.

              • Disgusted With It says

                I remember hearing a rumor when they hired Fr. Tosi as secretary that nobody in Syosset wanted him as secretary, but they were stuck with him because he was the ONLY one who applied for the position after multiple postings and extensions. Wow, the OCA sure is running with its brightest and best.

                As for metropolitan, don’t bother guessing. The bishops have already decided on Benjamin. It is a done deal. The AAC is merely for show — the “opiate of the OCA people”, so to say. I won’t waste the travel expenses no matter where it’s held.

                • Disgusted With It,

                  Tosi may have been the only one who applied for the OCA secretary job but he was a shoe-in because at the time Kucynda and Zarras were running the Syosset show and they both wanted Tosi. The Tosi family have been longtime members of Kucynda’s parish in Wayne, NJ. The fat that Tosi can’t write or administrate his way out of a paper bag only goes to show that in the OCA it is who you know not what you know that gets you a job. Same goes for Jillions.

                  As for +Benjamin, you may be right that he will be the next to wear the white hat after his efforts as part of the SIC, SMPAC and the HS to wipe away anyone who might get in his way. He is the most compromised bishop on the synod which means he will get the nod. Besides, both Jillions and Tosi have already said to folks that they want +Benjamin. With him, their jobs are secure.

                  You are right, there will be little need for folks to show up in Parma, Ohio in November for the one-day AAC. The bishops WILL elect who they want. The vote from the floor to nominate will be for show.

                  And the slow march to the OCA decline will continue.

                  • Disgusted With It says

                    Interesting that Fr Garklavs’ parish will be hosting this AAC. I’m sure it will be easy since he’s probably had it planned for months. How convenient indeed. This synod just makes themselves look more and more guilty with every move they make!

                    I still don’t see why Moscow doesn’t say “enough of this BS, get your s*** together or we will admit that we didn’t have the right to grant autocephaly in the first place and you are still under us”. If Moscow did that, would any other Church argue with them? Nope.

                    • phil r. upp says

                      Dear Disgusted,

                      Moscow has no control over the OCA. The OCA is an autocephalous church and operates independently. The ROC is still coming out of 80+ years of Communism & atheism. The ROC of today has fashioned itself on Orthodoxy of 1800. They, in a sense, are a new church themselves. Their “model” is archaic and infiltrated by govt personnel who use the church for political purpose. Moscow is not anyone’s answer to how any church should operate. Istanbul isn’t the answer either. The answer to Orthodoxy in N. America lies with us and no outside foreign bishops.

                    • Disgusted With It says

                      Dear Phil,

                      The issue is not control. The issue is recognition — recognition of an “autocephaly” that only the Russian/Slavic Orthodox world recognizes. (And don’t quote that lousy 1/3-1/3-1/3 explanation because it is nothing more than intentional deception. The fact is only 1/3 of the Orthodox Churches recognize the autocephaly of the OCA, while 2/3 DO NOT recognize it.)

                      2/3 of the world’s Orthodox Churches (who, by the way, have many more faithful here in North America than the OCA) regard the OCA as still being a group canonically “under” Russia in some way or form. If Russia says “we don’t recognize this autocephaly anymore, it was given in error” then what Orthodox Church in the world would refute that? The others would simply say “you, OCA, are canonically under Moscow, and if you do not cooperate you will separate yourself from the canonical Orthodox Church.” THIS is the true fear in Syosset. THIS is why Fr Kishkovsky is running to Moscow every time Syosset gets the chills. THIS is why the OCA is not what it claims to be.

                      The so-called “glory days” are gone. It’s time for leadership who accept and are willing to work with the reality of the Orthodox Church in this country, not blindly beat the drum of a battle-cry from decades ago. But all indications show that the synod’s just going to put in another drum beater to continue the illusions and misery.

                      You’re right, we don’t need “foreign bishops” to destroy us. Our own bishops seem to have done it already.

                  • I’ve waited a whole day, hoping someone else would do it, but it’s eating away at me.
                    The word is “shoo-in”, no ‘shoe-in.’ Shoo, as in Shoo-Fly pie. Shoe-in must have something to do with an overzealous kick in the rear.

                    • Bishop, I can’t help but smile and feel better about life whenever I am reminded of your broadly framed vocation. And really, what better forum to learn about the written language than on an interactive blog.

                      For what It is worth, “holly” on Yahoo Answers has this to say about the topic:

                      “a shoe in” means you have one foot in the door…he’s a shoe in for the job…meaning he has a good chance of the getting the job.
                      “shoo in” is a racetrack term applied to a horse that is expected to win a race, because the race is fixed.

                      The first usage admittedly is not mainstream, but it makes sense, and it is essentially a sales term. The second is a gambling term and is the one most people intend in spoken usage.

                      Both the sales and the gambling term could be meaningfully applied to Benjamin in this case, and the sales term is possibly the more accurate until we see what happens. He certainly has a foot in the door (at least! — perhaps he just removed one ceremonial shoe and left it outside the door for propriety’s sake while forcing his way in, but then that’s an unwieldy phrase to throw into a friendly conversation). Since he is already the unchallenged authority behind everything the OCA synod does, since he is de facto the “first among un-equals” calling the shots for the whole church and his power cannot be challenged even by a sitting metropolitan with no skeletons in his closet, it would seem the synod has a canonical duty to recognize him as their head.

                      We’ll just have to wait and see if this is one of those instances where the synod considers the canons relevant to the business of the OCA. Unless it is considered expedient to try another puppet on for size, they might actually find themselves following canon 34 this go-round.

                    • UM! “Shoo-in” is in the dictionary. Your dictionary. “Shoe-in” is not in the dictionary. Your dictionary. Do a quick Google. By the way, “is not mainstream”? ;Well, er, um, yes.

                      Shoo! Go on! Get inside! Shoo! Shoo! Go on! Go outside!
                      All you have to say is “shoo”, and they’re in!!!!

              • Nikos, there’s a lot of good stuff in this comment of yours. I share your opinion on the situation outlined in your first paragraph and the related sentence beginning the second.

                I can’t tell you how relieved I am to know Met. Jonah has retained counsel. They surely expected him to roll over and take his punishment like he has so many times before. Instead, Met. Jonah has finally decided to cowboy up. I wonder what drove him over the edge – the threat to his family? Finding out what they did to St. John’s Monastery? Whatever it was, good for him. I hope he gets what he needs and can shake the dust from his feet.

                You are almost certainly right about Bishop Michael. They are surely not smart enough to elect him, for all the reasons you named, but will pick Archbishop Benjamin instead. Well, that’s not so bad. That’ll be like the captive bolt pistol shot to destroy the brain, and then we’ll just need to be hung upside down and exsanguinated before being slaughtered.

                You were definitely right about them scheduling the special AAC very quickly. I laughed out loud when I read their report that the bishops were of “one mind” in scheduling it sooner rather than later. Fr. Jillions has delivered his best unintentional truth yet by stating the need for a “penitential” AAC! Where did they get this guy?! He just keeps walking right into these!

                The quicker AAC means they don’t have the luxury of playing the rotating-administrator game they planned, and they just might have finally realized just what a horrible mess they have made. They can’t even play “Pin the Blame on the Metropolitan” this time, because they made the mess by getting rid of him.

                Hold the election as soon as possible is all they can do, and they have to hope everyone will be too exhausted and traumatized to argue or switch jurisdictions. That plan may work, but the OCA has suffered a black eye that I don’t think will ever fade. The saddest part is that the black eye was self-inflicted, and Met. Jonah worked so hard to keep it from happening.

          • Pravoslavnie –

            How is it that you know the antimension was removed from the convent? Where you there to witness this event? Do you have a video of this event? Would you be so kind as to post it for all of us to see? Who authorized you to reveal that piece of information on this web site? By whose canonical authority was the antimension removed if it was indeed removed? Since you are in the know….please enlighten the rest of us. Thank you.

            • Pravoslavnie says

              George P….They were a primatial convent under ROCOR, so that should give you a strong hint as to under whose authority it was removed. Please read the abbess’s confirmation of its removal on her own website?

      • Please check

        Matthew 5:11-12

        “Blessed are you when men revile you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

        2 Corinthians 12:9-12

        “My grace is sufficient to you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

        • IB,

          Thank you for posting this.

          Thank you to Abbess Aemiliane and the Sisters with her in XC for not allowing rumors to fester and for sticking by the first Hierarch of ROCOR.

          I hope and pray that couple will repent, that the “godmother” will renounce her “goddaughter’s” folly.

          I never had any doubts that Abbess Aemiliane and the sisters with her are martyrs for the truth, now, all the world knows it.

          • For such a logical person, I can’t imagine how you came to this conclusion.
            “Goddaugther’s folly”? I don’t even understand from what Abbess Aemiliane wrote, what she even knew, let alone what was witnessed. The whole thing makes no sense. If you have some facts I am sure curious enen if it seems like gossip I think the “church” who is loosing their +Met have a right to understand this tangled web.

            • face-it,

              You’ve not put it all together yet?

              Let me help you out:

              – The godmother’s letter published on this site mentions her goddaughter and husband (her goddaughter being the alleged victim of Fr. X)
              – It turns out that this same couple was indeed mentioned in the SIC report. The SIC report states (as posted on that they wanted Fr. X to perform their marriage, unaware that Fr. X did not have blessing to serve and for what reasons – which were related to issues surrounding J.
              – According to Abbess A. this couple refers to Fr. X as their spiritual Father and continues to have a relationship with him after the date of the alleged rape until possibly February 2012.
              – For a reason that is unknown to me, this married couple is seeking to take up PERMANENT RESIDENCE IN THE MONASTERY OF THE ENTRANCE OF THE THEOTOKOS (February 2012) and when they are told that this is not possible, the previously unknown to anyone accusation against their spiritual Father, Priest monk X emerges through the agent of the Godmother, a very well connected and well respected, highly regarded member of the DC community.


              Until I have more concrete proof I cannot post more information in this forum. It is my personal opinion, based on information that I have uncovered which causes me to have serious doubts in my mind on the “victim” claim of the goddaughter.

              It’s all been posted, re-posted, discussed ad nausea here on these web pages face-it. Think about it, it will all make sense, diagram it on a piece of paper, read it slowly, deliberately…calmly…pray…pray….pray…pray some more….you get the idea. If you think about it, you will see the truth in it on your own.

              I believe Abbess Aemiliane by putting this statement out is hoping not to save her monastery but to restore Met. Jonah to His throne. They have not abandoned Him. We should not abandon them.

              I am honored that you consider me logical. Thank you.

              I think I just felt my ego swell, uh-oh, I hope my head can get through the door now.

              • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                Why do I feel like I’m in the middle of Rashomon?

                And just to clarify, you’re NOT saying that Goddaughter and J are the same person?

                • No Lola J. Lee Beno, Goddaughter and J are DEFINITELY NOT THE SAME PERSON.

                  Goddaughter = K.

                  I don’t know what her name is, but no other identifier has been provided for her, so why not K?

                • Lola, I feel like I’m in Rashomon, too. We have to keep praying. That’s all I know to do.

              • Harry Coin says

                The math you’re suggesting here is that free rent was the price of the god-daughter not complaining, and when the free rent went away the complaint came forward? Why would the god-daughter withhold a complaint in exchange for free rent for her god-parents? Makes no sense.

              • Eleni Palmos says

                The Monastery property in Maryland is a large one, with facilities to not only conduct services and house monastics but also to hold retreats. There are some small homes on the land and I’d imagine that a couple that has not been employed for at least the past two years and gone about from here to there would rather fancy to live in one asking to “help the Monastery.”

                The Sisters are very hard workers. They conduct their religious services with great care. They take care of the pilgrims and of the Monastery property with just as much care. Working, working, working all the time.

                I’ve always been of an opinion that hard workers, work hard everywhere.

                I am filled with joy that the Sisterhood is standing up for itself.

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      This message was sent out yesterday, so I’m assuming it is dated yesterday, according to my email program.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Lola, Rod, et al: personally I’m gonna withhold all comment until this is confirmed on the ROCOR site. I’ve seen too much fur out there flying in Ortho-world. One reason I’m suspicious is that we’ve seen actual evidence about the lengths that Jonah’s antagonists will go to to blacken His Beatitude’s name. I smell some of the same thing here.

        About three months ago I got an email from a Bulgarian site that said that a prominent metropolitan in the Patriarchate of Constantinople was deposed of his rank and made a simple monk.

        • Pravoslavnie says

          George, I don’t think you’ll be seeing anything about this affair published on any ROCOR website given the lawsuit prone times we live in. The best circumstantial evidence sealing its fate is the fact that the Convent disappeared from the ROCOR listing of parishes and monasteries today. Unless the ROCOR investigative report gets leaked to a I doubt we’ll be learning much more about this matter.

  34. I spoke to a friend who belongs to Holy Cross and they are accepting the news as real.People are very sad as there were strong hopes as to what the monastery could lead to.Summer camps ,retreats etc but more especially a stronger monastic presence in America.Hopefully the nuns can find another jurisdiction but it sounds as if the Abbess must step down or that was what I was told.

    • Rod Dreher says

      So, now Abbess Aemeliane has published a statement. Note this passage:

      17. “Let us give thanks to the Lord” who has deemed us worthy to suffer the same things as Athanasius the Great, Bessarion the Archbishop of our monastic homeland, Nectarios Metropolitan of Pentapolis, and the rest who were likewise slandered, according to which, in ineffable joy, we experience the words of the Lord, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and speak every evil word against you falsely for my sake” (Mat. 5, 11)

      18. Our Holy Monastery is lodging the relevant lawsuits and charges in the appropriate courts, for the protection of the Monastery and the honor of its members, against every culpable instigator and transmitter of slanders, railings, false reports, and defamations, which aim at our personal injury …

      Er, wow. Just, wow.

      [This comment should not be read as a slander, railing, false report, or defamation aiming at the personal injury of anyone. It should only be read as an expression of utter gobsmackery. — RD.]

      • gobsmacked (ˈɡɒbˌsmækt)

        — adj
        slang ( Brit ) astounded; astonished

        I actually had to look it up.

        What’s to be astounded about? Somebody slanders or defames you, you have the right to take them to court. They are perfectly within their legal rights. Of course there is such a thing as “freedom of speech,” this means especially, responsibility.

        • Rod Dreher says

          Oh, please: “We are so blessed to be persecuted, so very, very blessed — and we’re going to sue the pants of off everybody who ever said a bad word about us!” What a load of pious nonsense.

          According to the ROCOR directive releasing the nuns, it had to do with their refusal to abrogate their subordinate relationship to their Elder in Greece. I don’t blame ROCOR one bit. You cannot have ROCOR nuns who consider themselves responsible to a Greek elder, not their ROCOR ordinary.

          • Rod, I was reaching for my wallet when I read that, too. I think this group and Met. Jonah are in two different life rafts. That is all I will say.

            With that said, the nuns and Metropolitan Hilarion have introduced a lot of information that we did not have before, not the least important of which is ROCOR’s apparent determination that the law was not broken by the nuns or Fr. Seraphim.

            I sincerely doubt Metropolitan Hilarion would ask them to return to Greece if there were any genuine suspicion that they had broken the law… breaking it like, say, by hounding a possible rape victim into recanting.

            • Rod Dreher says

              Helga, I think that’s reading too much into the ROCOR report. We don’t know what kinds of specific issues ROCOR was dealing with in its investigation. All they said publicly was that Aemeliane & Co. are kicked out of ROCOR for their unwillingness to break the connection with the Elder and submit to their legitimate bishop. I am told that there were other issues involved; it is possible that ROCOR only made public one of them. We just don’t know based on that document alone.

              If Abbess Aemeliane had told a rape victim that her salvation depended on not reporting it to the police, that would be absolutely outrageous and disgusting, but would it be a violation of the criminal law? I don’t know, but if it were, that would surprise me if so. I have heard, but do not know if it is a fact, that ROCOR investigators allegedly had a difficult time trying to get to the bottom of this mess, with all kinds of obstacles thrown in their path.

              • Rod, I think that would qualify as witness intimidation. It’s not the same as putting a gun to her head, but I think any kind of coercion in that regard is illegal. I’m open to correction, though.

                Anyway, I’m going on both documents – the abbess says that’s what Metropolitan Hilarion said, and I think that is corroborated by the fact that Metropolitan Hilarion is actively encouraging them to go back to their bishop in Greece, leaving U.S. jurisdiction. I do not think he would encourage them to leave the U.S. if he thought it might later be construed as encouraging them to flee justice.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  I completely agree with you here Helga. I can’t imagine Metropolitan Hilarion wanting to quash any criminal complaint. He’d be obstructing justice otherwise. I just think that it’s a personality conflict between ROCOR and Elder Dioynysius. This isn’t earth-shaking. The GOA has long had its tension with Elder Ephraim, going all the way back to Arb Iakovos. Even today, Met Methodius of Boston has embargoed any monasteries being opened by Elder Ephraim, however he’s actively seeking another Athonite elder to set up shop (as it were) instead.

                  • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                    George, it is not just a “personality conflict.” Neither are the nuns just pawns in a dispute among hierarchs. I have never heard the nuns accused of doing anything illegal, but I have heard and seen enough to believe that ROCOR did the right thing for the right reasons. Saying it’s just a personality conflict between ROCOR and Dionysios is insulting to +Hilarion.

                    For the record, the nuns weren’t any help on the gay issue at St. Nicholas. In fact, others mentioned to me their disappointment that the nuns seemed closer to the other side.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Thanks for the additional info.

                    • Eleni Palmos says

                      Please, what does “closer to the other side” mean? Or any side? The Sisters that I know look to the Faith and to observing their monastic obedience. When did they ever comment on anyone?

                    • Dn. Brian Patrick Mitchell

                      For the record, the nuns weren’t any help on the gay issue at St. Nicholas. In fact, others mentioned to me [I want to acknowledge that this is not necessarily your personal opinion Dn. but something that was reported directly to you. ~ George P.] their disappointment that the nuns seemed closer to the other side.

                      Should we understand from this that people reported to you the notion that the sisters actively support the lavender agenda? If that is what is being reported to you, that is a very serious slander (not by you) but by those individuals.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Dn Patrick, seconding George P’s concerns, I too would be shocked if this was true. I hope it wasn’t the case.

              • Rod Dreher says:
                August 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm

                “Aemeliane & Co.”


                I have heard, but do not know if it is a fact, that …

                I’m wondering what I should make of that.

                • Rod Dreher says

                  What you should make of that is that I was told by a source in a position to know that there were lots of issues involved in this investigation, and that the investigators had a more difficult time trying to get to the truth than they ought to have had, through no fault of their own. Read between the lines. I’m trying to be very careful how I phrase this, because a certain party is extremely litigious, or threatens to be.

              • lexcaritas says

                Unless, Rod, as I have suggested previously, Aemeliane was convinced the rape allegation was false. We here “on the outside” as it were already have been given testimony and evidence indicating the continuance of a warm and cordial relationship between the “victim” and the accused Fr. S and now of their request that he celebrate the “victim’s” marriage to her finance, as their common spiritual father. Aemiliane not only knew this, and perhaps more, she also knew and knows the parties in question. So she may have had good reason to doubt the allegaton and, being convinced of its falsity, would with good reason have attempted to discourage the “victim” from committing perjury and false witness that would ruin another person’s good name and career. If such an allegation were false it would, indeed, be a mortal sin, would it not, putting the wrong-doer’s communion with Christ in queston?

                Let’s be slow to judge.


              • Mr. Dreher et al,


                Look at point 12.

                I don’t know why everyone keeps insisting that the Elder and spiritual Father of the monastic community in MD is Archimandrite Dionysios. Archimandrite Dionysios is the Elder of the monastic communities in Greece. At the monastery in MD Archimandrite Seraphim is the Spiritual Elder and a priest of ROCOR. It says so in the official statement.

                So how can this be a point of contention in +Hilarion’s desire to release the community. The Elder of the community is one of His own clergy.

                It makes no sense.

                • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                  Please look at

                  Who is the elder that Metropolitan Hilarion named in this directive?

                  • Ms. Beno,

                    I had not seen this document. Thank you for sharing the link. I will make the assumption that this document was delivered to Abbess A. in a timely manner, that she saw it.

                    I apologize and ask forgiveness for other comments I made concerning the “theft” of the antimens. The information I had at the time I made those comments was incomplete.

                • Clare Voyant says

                  Friends have visited the monastery and have heard the name “Elder Dionysios” commemerated as a separate prayer (litany?) after Metropolitan Hilarion. They thought that seemed strange, and I agree. Or is this a legit practice?

                  In any event, it was Fr. Dionysios not Fr. Seraphim who was commemorated. (I don’t think it was Seraphim serving)

      • John Christopher says

        The entire statement puts the convent in a very bad light.

    • StephenD

      Which Holy Cross where please? Why should their accepting the news as “real” make it valid when only an official statement from the hierarchy of ROCOR could effect their canonical release or acceptance? Someone is playing with smoke and mirrors I suspect.

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      Here is the statement from the monastery:

      I have to admit I’m just bewildered by this – I’m scratching my head as I try to figure it out.

      • What’s to figure out Lola et al? It seems pretty clear cut.

      • lexcaritas says

        I am surprised at the grammar and syntax as it really does not read as if it had been written by an educated person comfortable with the English language–which Abbess Amelianee is. Most puzzling.

        I have heard that a least one backer of the monastery has very deep pockets. If so, I would not want to be in the management of the OCA given the factual errors in the Crisis Management Team’s letter published by the synod, which has not possiblly resulted in traceable economic damages regarding purchase of the Maryland property. Are the bishops and MC members entitled to rely on information fed to them by a management team that is either motivated by malice or incompetent? Each should consider whether he can expect the ordinary protection of what is called the “business judgment rule” under these circumstances. If not, personal liablilty is possible. Recommendation to the bishops and the MC members: start paying attention and demanding better and fairer work product from the Syosset staff and, if necessary, clean house. This is not a good situation.

        Let us pray that in the end Christ is glorified and His Body purified. I am encouraged to believe this will, indeed, occur, one way or the other.


        • John Christopher says

          The grammar and syntax ape Byzantine monastic documents: Periodic sentences filled with past participles and subordinate clauses (carrying the added benefit in Greek of allowing one to employ the subjunctive mood). The problem isn’t the style, which maintains the trappings of tradition, but the content, which is devoid of the more essential thing.

        • Lex ! I so so agree. while I am not that great a writer, the Abbess is a Native
          American and this statement is almost unreadable. I know she went to school and i Know she can speak and is understood, so what’s the deal with the vague and confused statement. I want to support what is honest and not romanticized . Just give me something that sounds rational– I want to believe but she needs a communication editor if she wants to promote “truth”.
          Something’s wrong here.

          • the Abbess is a Native American

            Really? What tribe? I thought she was of Scandinavian/Danish descent by way of Kansas (her surname is Hanson).

            Something’s wrong here

            I am 100% certain there is nothing wrong. There are many of us who personally know the Abbess and the sisters with her in XC. If you know the Abbess, ask Christ, don’t take my word for it. You know the Truth.

            • i beg your pardon, I should have said “native English speaker”.
              I still maintain that there is something wrong here. Not that the Sister’s are lying, but the truth is not clear either. The cast of characters including the police, has grown, now involving a couple.
              One day, maybe it will make “perfect sense” but given what has come before, it does not now.
              What I do know as of this morning’s post by Rocor, is that Nikos’s information about the nuns attachments to their Greek spiritual father and others, seems to have hit the mark.
              Now all this has been used to dump +Met Jonah and has apparently cost the nuns their canonical status.

              • You all will be kind enough to recall something else which has been discussed ad nausea on these forum pages….IT TAKES TWO TO EFFECT A CANONICAL TRANSFER.

                ROCOR can’t just drop kick the nuns to the curb and tell them “c’ya”. Their Bishop in Greece has to take them back. Technically, until they are accepted into another diocese they are still a legal functioning monastery under the omophor of ROCOR. In order to be dissolved without being transferred, they have to be found guilty of criminal charges in a civil court and then be tried in an ecclesiastical court. They have done absolutely nothing criminal that anyone knows of and certainly there is nothing criminal to the best of my knowledge that anyone to date has proven conclusively against them. If they have, I would appreciate a link to the reference. It would appear (I’m not sure because I don’t understand how these events unfolded precisely) appear that the only illegal activity that may have actually occurred is the “theft” of the antimension from their altar table when the Abbess was visiting with the First Hierarch in NY. In my opinion, it would have been more appropriate to wait until the Abbess was present, inform her that he had presence to remove the antimension and by whose blessing and authority and then comply with his obedience. I highly doubt that he would have received any resistance from Abbess Aemiliane and the sisters with her in XC. Taking advantage of the Abbess’ absence, in my opinion, is contemptible. I am ashamed for the person that uses such underhanded tactics.

                Your Grace, Bishop Tikhon, (Master Bless!) If anything I have stated in this post is incorrect I ask that You correct it. I am not an expert concerning the protocol for effecting canonical transfers, but You are a Bishop and certainly would know better than I concerning the veracity of my statements. I defer to Your knowledge. I kiss Your right hand.

                • Rod Dreher says

                  George P., by your comments you are revealing a lot more about your true identity than you may realize. I don’t wish to discourage you, because I’m kind of enjoying this. Still, though…

                  • Eleni Palmos says

                    As a cradle Orthodox who has been involved in the Church for years, I could write in a similar style. Many Greek Orthodox do and can. Not that I would ever post under a pseudonym as I don’t agree with that. (Back when, I had wished that you and Jesse wrote under your real names when it came to Still, I admired you greatly!)

                • George P., the arrangement the nuns had with ROCOR is no longer tenable. The best thing for them is to go back to Metropolitan Cyrill.

            • Rod Dreher says

              There are many of us who personally know the Abbess and the sisters with her in XC. If you know the Abbess, ask Christ, don’t take my word for it. You know the Truth.

              Oh, come on. I understand that you wish to believe that someone you know and admire is utterly without fault, but surely you cannot expect the rest of us to accept this based on the supposed word of Jesus, and because you “know” that she can’t be wrong. Because you just know.

              It’s good to have an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.

              • Thank you Rod! I thought the marbles that constitute my brains were going to fall out after having been told to pray and listen to GeorgeP’s Christ. I think he has his own.
                However, George as you seem to be relatively new to Orthodoxy, I would like to add a couple of gentle responses to what sadly has happened to the nuns in all this.
                +Met Hilarion doing complete due diligence very kindly describes the problem inherent in keeping a monastery under the protection of Rocor and having responsibility for nuns whose spiritual father, to whom they owe their obedience is from another jurisdiction. This is not a theoretical problem. It is a recipe for disaster on a lot of levels. The nuns have chosen to stay with this Elder, and the Charter which noted(or buried) his permanent role with them.
                +Met Hiliarion did not dissolve the monastery, he redirected them to the jurisdiction that he thought could best help them. He didn’t transfer them — he released them. Should
                they wish to stay with Rocor they would need to come to them free of obligation.
                This Elder, who +Met Hilarion , respectfully understands they love and support not only has his own difficulties in Greece, but I believe similar issues, hounded this group in Mexico.
                I hope these monastics have a chance to create a presence somewhere with a clean start and no baggage. If they want to be an independent entity, they have achieved a beginning

              • The removal of an antimins from an altar by a canonically designated person (the bishop) or his plenipotentiary, in this case the esteemed rector of St. John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Church in DC, is appropriate. There can be no theft because the antimins is not the sole possession of the monastery (or parish). It belongs to the bishop (+Hilarion) who blesses it to be there and can remove that blessing when he deems it necessary.

                The idea that the antimins was stolen off the altar is nonsense and hyperbole. Let’s not add any more confusion to a lamentable situation in which their bishop tried to extend his proper authority over a monastery under his responsibility and that was rejected because the DC nuns apparently were not willing to cut their ties with their elder nor see the errors of the priest-monk Symeon.

                • Nikos,

                  The wording of my comment was very clear. My point of contention is the underhanded way it was handled.

                  8. On August 4, 2012, at 6:00 p.m., we were with the First Hierarch of ROCOR at Vespers, in the Cathedral of the Sign in New York.

                  9. At the very same time, unbeknownst to us, the archpriest of the sacred church of the Honorable Forerunner (ROCOR) in Washington was removing the Antimens from the Holy Altar of the sacred church of our Holy Monastery.

                  11. Amidst a climate of fear, that if the First Hierarch did not do this, the same thing would happen to him as happened to the martyr and Primate, until recently, of the OCA, suppossed to have suffered, what he is suffering because of us.

                  I am not arguing concerning the status of the antimens :

                  belongs to the bishop (+Hilarion) who blesses it to be there and can remove that blessing when he deems it necessary

                  My statement concerns the underhanded way it was gone about. Like a slinky thief. No dignity or self respect at all! They waited for the Abbess to be away and without giving her a formal notification as to the why, how or when, stole into the monastery and snagged it off the altar table! Sounds like theft to me. My point is and I stated it very clearly in my previous post

                  In my opinion, it would have been more appropriate to wait until the Abbess was present, inform her that he had presence [I meant to write the word blessing here, my apologies if it didn’t make sense ~ George P.] to remove the antimension and by whose blessing and authority and then comply with his obedience. I highly doubt that he would have received any resistance from Abbess Aemiliane and the sisters with her in XC. Taking advantage of the Abbess’ absence, in my opinion, is contemptible. I am ashamed for the person that uses such underhanded tactics.

                  I am still ashamed for them that they took advantage of the Abbess’ abscence and they did not inform her that they were removing from the monastery the antimens. Just a little respect, that’s all. Crucify them if you must, but don’t break their legs too. What’s the point in that?

              • Well Mr. Dreher if you find my brains please do me the courtesy of not stepping on them. They may be worthless to you, but they are mine, and I am rather attached to them and I would appreciate receiving them back….just keep them in a 2% salt solution in a jar and then snail mail them to George M. when you get the chance, he knows where to find me. Cheers mate!

        • I suspect the document was written by someone fluent in Greek but not English and familiar with churchly protocols, who then instructed the Abbess not to change anything. Either that or it was translated from the Greek rather woodenly in order to convey the content of the original as closely as possible.

          • Basil,

            I suspect that it’s more likely that Abbess Aemiliane who has been living in Greece since the early 80’s is more accustomed to thinking in Greek than English now. The great majority of her life has been spent in a foreign country speaking, writing and praying in a foreign language.

      • Lil Ole Housewife says

        Dear Lola,

        You are not alone in failure to understand this. There are many things in the report that are difficult for me to understand. But we all should try and understand it since the sisters posted it.

        By the report, I see that I was wrong about the sister’s confessor. I thought it is Father Vladimir, their chaplain, and evidently it is Father Serapheim, now in the ROCOR. Father Vladimir was released from the OCA to the ROCOR when the monastery came under the ROCOR. According to one of their messages on their website, Archibishop Hilarion also ordained two monks as priests for them. Who and where are they?

        I can’t understand what they mean by a couple, spiritual children of a heiromonk (which heiromonk ?- see nos. 4 and 5).

        I find no. 9 horrifying to the point of being unimaginable. Orthodox monastics came home from a visit to the Pokrov Cathedral in NY and found their antimens allowing their chaplain to serve at their church missing from the altar?!!!

        Some links

        May God grant that everything works out well for the sisters, their holy work and their holy monastery. May their antimens be restored. May all be cleared up. May Metropolitan Jonah be able to lead us again. May the jurisdictional morass remain solved.

        The ROCOR recently made a video of a service in which a church was dedicated to the reunification of the OCA , ROCOR and MP. I hope the reunification is not hampered by any of this recent horror.
        Here is the video with English voiceovers.

        I am praying for months that someone will give me a ride to the monastery so that I might see the sisters again.

        PS. This letter of the Entrance of the Theotokos Monastery clears up something for me. That confusion is between Father Serapheim and Father Symeon. I never knew that either is a priest. Now we know that Father Serapheim is a priest in the ROCOR.

        Who started these rumors on the internet of which the sisters speak? In speaking of our own confusion after all this horror started, are we adding to the rumors?

        PS If you are reading this , dear sisters and Metropolitan, please forgive me if I said anything wrong. Everyone else, forgive me if any of my comments caused confusion

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          There’s been a statement by ROCOR that might shed some light on this:


          • Lil Ole Housewife says

            Dear Lola,

            By the way, Lola, is your website still up?

            That website is

            The Synod letter to the sisters is here –


            One of the sister’s monastery and other monasteries seeded by Dionysios has always been panOrthodoxy. Consider that the monastery in THebes Greece has monastics from many countries. In Christ there is no Greek nor Jew. Let us love one another that we may confess. It is common that people might have a spiritual father in another jurisdiction, or a monk that is seen from time to time in addition to the local confessor. What takes some getting used to, I suppose, is for this spiritual father in another jurisdiction to be shared by a whole monastery. The OCA has always been since its formation with the autocephally and in its past history as the Metropolia, inclusive of numerous Orthodox cultures. Indeed, the majority of the jurisdictions in the U.S. and all of our American saints, were once a part of the Metropolia.

            What do us ordinary and in your case extraordinary housewives know about the fine print of the charters of monasteries in the ROCOR or OCA? To me it seemed quite nice that there were these Orthodox ties to Greek and Russian and American.

        • LOH-

          Items 4 and 5 refer to Fr. X who tried to put his arm around J. This couple are his spiritual children. They were also mentioned in the SIC if you recall. They had asked Fr. X to perform their marriage, unaware that Fr. X did not have blessing to serve from +Jonah at the time. […] I pieced this all together a while ago, it was just a matter of verifying it, and as information “leaked” out, my guesses turned out to be accurate.

          Abbess Aemiliane and the sisters deserve our prayers and support, they have been greatly vilified, thankfully they are used to it, they are nuns and they endure no less than Christ did.

          • Lil Ole Housewife says

            Dear George P,

            Who is Father X? I do not know who you mean by J. Is this the person whose grandmother was represented on this forum that there was speculation about? I really don’t know how to navigate blogs very well. The point seem to be that mistaken rumor and innuendo or gossip, and some of the ordinary inevitable struggles of life. Who hasn’t had to call the police over a noisy, drunken neighbor, for example, and yet wished the neighbor get help and be an asset to the neighborhood family? Most healthy ordinary people do not wish people ill or plot vengeance or wait for their opportunity to get back.

            This is the first blog to which I have ever knowingly contributed my 2 cents. I did not contribute to OCAnews or OCAtruth, finding them biased, manipulative, agenda based, and in the latter case, dangerously anonymous. Why be a part of deception? I am not so sure that it is the right thing to post here.

            I have discovered that it is very difficult to navigate various topics on blogs, and I have decided that, for me at least, it iseems unChristian to like or dislike the post of another soul. I would request the moderator to remove any former dislikes or likes because I feel ashamed for having done so on some postings while getting used to this blogging. Our dear faith should not be subjected to a popularity contest, for popularity contests are often won by the lukewarm, off the radar person who is lukewarm, offends no one and/or represents the lowest common denominator nonthreatening outlook or physicality or charisma. I have posted because I thought I could provide information that might help clarify things being discussed that have serious consequences for all our churches, not just the OCA.

            • Lola J. Lee Beno says

              Fr. X is the priest-monk that was named in the SMPAC report. I don’t know if it is still okay to use his full name; probably not – George Michalopoulos? J is the neighbor in the apartment where Fr. X made inappropriate approaches towards. J is also apparently, according to George P, the fiancée who with her fiancé asked Fr. X to marry them.

              There is no grandmother, but rather, the godmother of the goddaughter (who is married and lives in another part of the country) who said that Fr. X had raped her, but gave the details only to +Jonah.

              We’re talking about TWO DIFFERENT women with whom Fr. X apparently behaved inappropriately.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Lola, I choose not to name the priest (and am enforcing that policy overall) because to do so might cause the woman’s name to be brought up. As far as I’m concerned, I prefer “J” for the woman and “Fr X” for the priest.

            • When I say Fr. X I am referring to Priest Monk Symeon K. who is accused of being an alcoholic and rapist (chiefly). I said it before and I repeat the statement. I believe that the godmother believes that she is reporting the truth. I am now convinced that she has been fed lies to help bring down someone she deeply loves, Metropolitan Jonah, and her goddaughter was the instrument of that betrayal.

              I hope the godmother will have the courage to come forward and expose the truth.

              • George P,

                Why are you convinced that the Godmother was set up? What evidence do you have prove your accusation?

                What truth do you wish to expose?

                • Nikos I have posted in other comments please go to any comment I have made on this site and click on the view all comments option in the upper right corner. You can see what I believe is the factual truth of the matter in light of all information leaked by POKROV, the official release of the monastery in MD and several probing questions by individuals on this forum. I am not going to hash it out for you as well. Cheers!

            • LOH,

              I hope you don’t mind that I’ve abbreviated your moniker?

              Our dear faith should not be subjected to a popularity contest, for popularity contests are often won by the lukewarm, off the radar person who is lukewarm, offends no one and/or represents the lowest common denominator nonthreatening outlook or physicality or charisma. I have posted because I thought I could provide information that might help clarify things being discussed that have serious consequences for all our churches, not just the OCA.

              I understand your point completely and I agree whole heartedly. I could not help but notice on more than one occasion that points of view that I thought (not my own but made by others) that where well written, with supporting evidence, not personal attacks on any individual on the forum, spiritually uplifting, not stupid assertions often spiraled into negative votes. The end result is that voting system works as a type of peer pressure mentality. I don’t pay attention to the votes anymore, I don’t pay attention to the names when I look at a comment anymore because I realize that I have come to associate certain feelings with certain names rather than taking time to understand the information that they are trying to convey. I am here because I am interested in finding out what happened. One commentator made the comment (to paraphrase) “why do I feel like I’m in Rashomon?” Because that is precisely what this is, a collective Rashomon experience. I believe we keep going at it because we want to know what the truth is, and we are not going to be satisfied until we get something that makes sense, really makes sense. It’s like the JFK assassination. Lee Harvey Oswald, grassy knoll, book depository, Marilyn Monroe, “back and to the right, back and to the right, back and to the right….” it just doesn’t click…where’s the smoking gun? Someone knows. It like one of those puzzles where there is a picture hidden among other pictures all within plain sight, but you just don’t see it. That is what we are all trying to figure out. “where the heck is that stork?”

              • M. Stankovich says

                George P,

                It seems to me that the “we” you represent missed that class on properly identifying birds – or was it the exegesis of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner? – as you clearly have mistaken an albatross for a stork. And, good heavens man, not only is it “within plain sight,” it’s hanging around your collective necks. And this should make sense, really make sense: “Mesdames et messieurs, bienvenue à Athènes, Grèce”

          • Rod Dreher says

            Yes, and just like Christ, they’re threatening to sue the cassock off of anybody and everybody.

            • I’m with Rod, Deacon Patrick, and Nikos. Met. Jonah should not be placed in the same boat with the authors of that statement.

            • Eleni Palmos says

              Dear Rod, I am sorry that you have taken such a dislike to the Sisterhood. I would have liked for you to meet them but it is my assumption that you have not. Of course, I do not know. You may have.

              Unfortunately, the truth will not come out through the blogosphere or Facebook. At this point, it needs its day in court.

              I read passing comments on the Internet that distress me. I am not worried about the people who know them. I am compelled to write to challenge vague statements that create a false impression for the people who do not know them.

              There is so much more that I can and will write – with respect to their canonical status, living arrangements in the time they have been here, even about “returning to Greece.” Monastics live in the real world too. How can so many people blithely disregard how they have or will live? These are (mostly) American citizens. It’s actually kind of funny (and crazy) when I think of one of them, in particular, who is a Mayflower descendant. When you apply the “return to her monastery in Greece” how can I not chuckle? As if she was some wild Greek monastic who strong-armed her way into the US to set up shop.

            • Mr. Dreher,

              If you have done nothing immoral, illegal, underhanded, slanderous or in any way criminal what do you care if

              just like Christ, they’re threatening to sue the cassock off of anybody and everybody.

              Only a person who has sinned fears judgement.

              • Rod Dreher says

                Because “George P.“, the lack of perspective here is comical. If you want to sue your bishop, and anybody anywhere who has said anything negative about you, ever, I suppose that is your legal right. But please don’t flatter yourself that you are assuming the mantle of the martyrs, least of all Jesus. The arrogance of that pose pretty much drives away any sympathizers except for the epistemically closed hardcore.

                Eleni Palmos: Dear Rod, I am sorry that you have taken such a dislike to the Sisterhood.

                I don’t know the sisterhood. I am only judging by the abbess’s public actions in this matter, which look and smell awful. I regret that Metropolitan Jonah allowed himself to get mixed up with this bunch. My belief is that he was, in the main, taken down by a group of bad actors within the OCA establishment. But I cannot avoid the conclusion that he made it fatally easy for them to do so by his consistently weak judgment. This embarrassing episode with the abbess getting her group kicked out of ROCOR is a good example, I’m afraid. I wish it weren’t so, but I’m not going to close my eyes to apparent facts, simply because they are inconvenient to what I wish was true.

                • Mr. Dreher,

                  Who precisely do you imagine I am? Just curious.

                  I am certain Mr. Michalopulos has the ability to check IP addresses. I am certain he could tell any and all legal entities that are so entitled to know what my actual IP address is, just as he could tell them yours, or Vladyka Tikhon’s or Ms. Palmos or LOH or colette. It’s a way of keeping people honest and responsible and accountable.

                  Like I wrote, if you have done nothing dishonest, illegal, or defamatory then there is no reason for you or any person to fear any judge. I certainly am not fearful of your self-righteous, erroneous, ignorant blather. BTW, did you find my brain yet?

                  • Rod Dreher says

                    Let’s just say yer wimple is showing.

                    • Mr. Dreher and Mr. Stankovich,


                      That was posted on August 4th. George Michalopoulos can confirm that it was posted from the same ip that it I always post from, but I don’t know why he would need to, since apparently the two of you have managed to somehow discover my ip address and are stalking me about the internet as well as bullying me in this online forum. I may choose to inform INTERPOL, fYI.

                      You will please note that according to:


                      8. On August 4, 2012, at 6:00 p.m., we were with the First Hierarch of ROCOR at Vespers, in the Cathedral of the Sign in New York.

                      Not everyone in Greece is a nun. Somebody has got to pour coffee and flip souvlaki for the tourists and the Germans, right?

                    • Rod Dreher says

                      I don’t know why he would need to, since apparently the two of you have managed to somehow discover my ip address and are stalking me about the internet as well as bullying me in this online forum. I may choose to inform INTERPOL, fYI.

                      A hysterical overreaction to mild public criticism, and a threat to launch legal proceedings against one’s critics? Gosh, where have we heard this before?

                      Funny, you claim that you are being “bullied” and “stalked,” but you are an (officially) anonymous person on the Internet. How could anyone know how to find you? Perhaps “bullied” is a synonym for “contradicted” in your world, but I don’t believe that’s how most people see things. Perhaps too you are being stalked by your own conscience.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      George P,

                      The internet is serious business, and a meme. Can a man be in San Diego & Berlin at the same time? Ha! Now it’s Parma! (whispers, “vpn”).

                      I kindly offer three suggested responses to my comment, #playnicewithmrdreher:


                      Pardon me? Exactly!

                      You are neither being stalked nor bullied, or trust me, you would know – doxed & boxed by /b/’s, as they say. I defend your right to privacy – but you are foolish to believe a screen name provides you the “anonymity” to snipe. More than a few will soon find this out, I am afraid, The self-righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.

                      Mr. Dreher, seriously, you can drop the crap about being “outed” by stolen emails. You and Mr. Cone were doxed on Pastebin for those interested in such things ahead of time. Focus here, /b/’s ==> “Fuel for the fire.” The internet is serious business. Expect us.

  35. Not sure if anyone posted this yet, but this is the announcement made by the monastery on their website today:

    • ChristineFevronia says

      Oh dear Abbess, stay strong in Christ! You are not meant for the slander of these treacherous men. There is a horrific misunderstanding underfoot, and I hope you find comfort in the knowledge that Christ, who sees all things and knows all things, knows your intentions. The court of public opinion may revile you, but our Lord the Judge will have mercy on your compassionate heart.

  36. Harry Coin says

    If you step back a bit, this news gives a measure of comfort to all involved. Here we see there never really was widespread or severe disagreement about the ideas presented in +Jonah’s speeches given to the general public.

    We see that the ROCOR/ Moscow folks basically came to the same decision as the OCA synod / MC regarding a habit of personnel choices sustained despite the potential to generate damage to others beyond the usual risks that come on average whenever people are involved. Looking at the internal OCA details on the pokrov site the same themes generated the same concerns both in the ROCOR/Moscow folks and the OCA synod / Metro council.

    The fellow so many like, and liked, including me, Met. Jonah, seemed to stick hard by rookie staffing choices that did his agenda no service. When added to his habit of leading the band without looking over his shoulder, he exhausted his team’s endurance.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Harry, your continued refusal to see that Jonah was railroaded does not lend any credibility to your argument. Even if Jonah made “rookie mistakes” good ends can never justify evil means.

      And I’d take any of Jonah’s “rookie mistakes” over the massive boner that ten hierarchs with over 50 years of service between them made one month ago. You know as well as I that the OCA’s name is mud in the GOA and the other jurisdictions. In a way, the Lord chastened me from ever standing up in an inter-Orthodox symposium and telling my ethnic brothers “come on in, the water’s fine.” Despite your continued obeisance to the “process,” I seriously doubt you’ll ever do this either.

      • Harry Coin says

        George, what do you make of ROCOR/Moscow agreeing with the OCA synod in this matter? You write as if that is nothing. Seems like one day you’re all about how great they are in Russia-ville, and now, you are writing as if they didn’t act as it appears they did.

        • George Michalopulos says

          On what matter specifically, Harry? The nuns? They’re tangential. I can assure you, ROCOR/ROC are FAR more concerned about the illegal ouster of Jonah. Trust me, they are.

          • Harry Coin says

            George, look you can’t move from ‘central’ to ‘tangential’ on the basis they stop ‘helping your preferred narrative’.

            The matter of ‘the nuns’ is another label for the matter of ‘Fr. X’ brought here at Met. Jonah’s request. Relabeling it won’t change that. That’s what appeared to push the synod beyond their endurance.

            • Look Harry,

              Jonah moved the nuns out of his diocese as per the request of the synod (he didn’t have to do this). He did not hide anything from the synod or from ROCOR and he let a more mature church deal with the matter. I’m not even part of the OCA and I can understand this much.

              So why demand his resignation and/or 6 months in a psychiatric hospital?! I’ve known my share of paranoid schizophrenics, bipolar patients, addicts, and sociopaths, but have yet to meet anyone admitted for six months. Not even those undergoing electroconvulsive shock therapy were considered to have that grave a need. He would have to be an immediate threat to his own physical safety or the physical safety of others to merit that.

              You need to come to grips with reality here. The OCA synod is anything but holy, honest, or loving. I’m sorry if this is a painful process for you. But you do nothing positive for yourself or anyone else by enabling their machinations.

              • Thomas Mathes says

                Um, when Metropolitan Jonah released the nuns to ROCOR, I don’t recall anyone suggesting that he did this in order that a “more mature church” could investigate or evaluate issues surrounding that monastery. Do you have information that others do not have?

                • Mr. Mathes, either you have misunderstood what I wrote or I am not understanding your real question.

                  I don’t have time for a complete answer right now (hopefully later), but since you place “more mature church” in quotes, I want to make sure that we are in agreement that the Russian Orthodox Church is a more mature church. As a matter of historical fact, the ROC (of which ROCOR is a part) is 400 to 1,000 years older than the OCA, the precise difference in age depends on which founding event one chooses to focus on. In addition, the ROC is anywhere from 150 to over 1,000 times larger than the OCA, depending on which estimates of size one considers most accurate. So the ROC is clearly more mature than the OCA, it is both older and it has grown more. It also happens to be the mother church of the OCA, so hands down it is the more mature institution.

                  It really is hard to imagine how transferring any entity from the OCA to the ROC (or ROCOR specifically) could be viewed as inappropriate, un-Orthodox, unholy, a grave administrative error, proof of insanity, or the like. But life in the OCA apparently includes figuring out these kinds of things. I do not have any information that is not freely available to others. It is possible I have a different perspective on this information than you have. I will try to find the time to explore that possibility soon.

                  • Thomas Mathes says

                    Um, “more mature church” is in quotes because I’m quoting you. I am not questioning your use of that expression for ROC. I had the impression that you were making claim about Metropolitan Jonah’s intention in releasing the nuns to ROCOR: “he let a more mature church deal with the matter.” I had never heard that reason given before. When MJ released them, I read that he had done so to let them escape the clutches of the OCA synod.But now your wording seems to suggest that he wanted ROCOR to make a judgment about the issues surrounding them. Did I misunderstand you?

                    • I think you probably did misunderstand my point, sorry. My focus was on responding to Harry. So let me take a step back and see if I can explain my perspective.

                      Up until Jonah’s resignation, the OCA synod never had any authority over anyone in Jonah’s diocese (except Jonah himself via their paradoxical interpretation of “headship”). What did Jonah really want? I think he wanted a monastery in his diocese, that’s what he wanted. When the OCA synod said “no can do,” he considered his options and chose the most responsible way to terminate the project.

                      The path that Jonah chose gave the OCA synod the benefit of the doubt and brought closure to a lose-lose battle within the synod. At the same time, the decision protected all potentially vulnerable parties (both inside and outside the monastery).

                      Clearly the OCA was not a mature enough institution to offer justice and love to the monastery (or anyone else associated with Jonah for the matter). There was ample public evidence (and no doubt Jonah had additional private evidence) that individuals within the MC and synod were willing to do whatever was necessary to remove him from office. There was even specific evidence that they had conspired together to use sexual assault claims against individuals under his supervision as a “hook” against him. This was an absolutely poisonous atmosphere for anyone under Jonah’s supervision who might be used/abused in this way. As a pastor, and a reasonable man, I’m sure Jonah could see how profoundly unfair it was to all parties (both the accused and the accuser, as well as various third parties) to allow political machinations to color sexual assault investigations. So, yes, in addition to honoring the synod’s request/demand that Jonah terminate the monastery project, the move to ROCOR did serve to protect the nuns from the politically motivated anti-Jonah factions in the MC and synod.

                      But at the same time, Jonah did not ship anyone off to a foreign country or some less mature jurisdiction to avoid a fair investigation (or discipline or prosecution) if that was appropriate. I’m sure Jonah saw a more mature and stable jurisdiction as good for the nuns as well as any parties involved in any sexual assault investigation, parties that would undoubtedly be in need of both justice and love. It is more than a bit morbid to say that any of this was what Jonah “wanted” for himself or the OCA. Clearly this was not what he “wanted” but what was necessary (what was best for those needing his leadership) in unfortunate circumstances. Clearly his focus was not on himself or the privileged leaders of the OCA, but on the vulnerable parties outside the leadership of the OCA. In the case of the nuns at least, ROCOR was a more mature and stable jurisdiction, and Jonah did a responsible thing by directing them there.

                      So my main point in responding to Harry was that Jonah displayed administrative skill, wisdom, and humility (which I see as a sign of personal maturity) in releasing the nuns to ROCOR. I think this should be obvious to any objective third party, but this contradicts Harry’s conclusion that “the ROCOR/ Moscow folks basically came to the same decision as the OCA synod / MC regarding a habit of personnel choices sustained despite the potential to generate damage to others.” This conclusion requires an imaginative leap not supported by the facts as we have received them so far. This was not what ROCOR concluded; and ironically, the fact that ROCOR was ever given jurisdiction to do any kind of investigation belies this conclusion.

                      I think you probably understood these aspects of what I was saying, but you seem to assume that I also had the goal of psychoanalyzing Jonah and uncovering some deeper motivations. I don’t see the point in that. His words and behavior so far are consistent with those of a pastor who would be motivated by love for those under his care. I have no reason to romanticize or deny such a common sense interpretation of his motives at this time. In the end, he did the objectively responsible thing by directing the nuns to ROCOR, that’s my point. This would be something to put under his administrative plus column, not something to mock, kick, or spit on him for. Make sense?

      • Thomas Mathes says

        George, you repeatedly claim that the OCA’s name is mud among GOA bishops. Exactly why would they look down on the OCA synod since they ousted their own Archbishop through conspiracy and actions contrary to the canons (your judgment, not mine)?

    • imperceptive |ˌimpərˈseptiv|
      lacking in perception or insight

  37. Lil Ole Housewife says

    Metropolitan Herman, the GOARCH, the Antiochains Elder Dionysios, seeding monasteries in the US and other interesting remembrances on the path to ending jurisdictionalism :

  38. The Gospel according to Luke: (IX:62)


    • Bishop, that is a perverse misapplication of that verse. I can’t even count all of the ways it is wrong.

      Do you seriously believe it was Jonah’s calling to become a patient in an asylum for the criminally insane?

      That was the only other option given to him by the “supreme canonical authority” (which had interpreted the canons to give them “all authority”) in the church. He had no army with which to fight these divine despots. He could not charm or over-power these men intent on evil. Was he supposed to call down fire from heaven on these men (an ironic reference to the passage you cite that I’m sure will not be lost on you)? He had no prospect of doing work for the Gospel in the insane asylum.

      Are you saying he asked to resign? Not even the Infallible Synod is claiming that.

      Even Jesus sent his missionaries out two by two. Even Jesus surrounded himself with a group of twelve before facing his ministry, and the Son of God chose from among these men individuals who were closest to him to support him personally and emotionally during his times of greatest need. Who among Jonah’s peers in the OCA was able and willing to support him? If you take the verse you quoted seriously it is either time to be that support that the bishops failed to provide, it is time to pick your brother up and support him in guiding the plow, or it is time to brush the dirt off your own feet (perhaps giving up your own pension) and get back on the road to Jerusalem (forgetting the hard hearts of the OCA as you leave them behind you). If you lose your pension in the process, you can rely on the faithful in God’s church and the charity of strangers to support you. God will not abandon you in doing the work he has called you to do.

      • So Um…you know the scriptures better than a Bishop of the Church?

        • Heracleides says

          Depends on the bishop, yes? Our history is rife with any number of clergy who have perversely misapplied scripture to suit their own agenda. In this instance, I’d have to come down solidly on Um’s side.

        • No, StephenD, not better than Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald). But as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. My specific arguments may even be in error, but God can use even errors on my part to bring about clarity (and hopefully mutual encouragement as well) in the context of a dialogue among people of good will.

          Most bishops do not participate in a public forum like this (especially not if it is on permanent record and unfolds virtually in real time), because they are too proud to risk making a mistake. Bishop Tikhon understands this and has embraced the challenge. This in itself is a tremendous witness to his faith, to his character, and to the church in which he is a bishop.

          I claim no special knowledge or authority. God has given each of us minds, of course, and that is a powerful mystery in itself. I only know Bishop Tikhon from this forum, but I hold him in the highest regard and would be thrilled to be half the man I believe he is. When I reach retirement, I will be thrilled if I have provided half the service to humanity and to God that I believe Bishop Tikhon has offered during his career. I could be wrong even about this, but this is my honest perspective (not gracious hyperbole) as best I can express it at this time.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Um, that’s one reason why I admire Bishop Tikhon. He’s got guts. Don’t agree with everything he says but he’s courageous. We need more bishops like him.

            • Courageous?
              Was not the topless woman who confronted Patriarch Kirill in Kyiv also courageous and have guts?

              • PS: I also would not classify anyone with an encyclopedic memory who pontificates, and who belittles others with “sweet and sour words,” as having exemplary courage and “guts.”

                • George Michalopulos says

                  I’ll have to disagree with you there PdnNJ. His Grace is an exemplery man. We may not agree with him on all things but he has the courage to come forward and say what he thinks. Some of those things are unpleasant to say the least, but they need to be said.

                  • I believe you monitored out my reply to the above post of yours.
                    As I recommended before, you should not give higher clergy, i.e., bishops, preferential treatment.

              • George Michalopulos says

                No, she was evil and demonically driven.

              • PdnNJ ! I’m amazed at how you are able to support someone with whom you’re arguing without even knowing it! Someone said we need more courageous bishops, and you brought up the Pussy Rioter as an example of courage and guts. PRECISELY! PRECISELY! PRECISELY! And THAT is why we need more BISHOPS that are courageous: Don’t you see it?
                What you are actually saying is, “We DO need more courageous bishops, because our enemies are courageous!!!

                • Your Grace, you are completely “off target” with those accusations.
                  I wanted to convey that those who are like minded with, and in favor of the actions of, the P. Rioters would/will/do see their actions as “courageous” and with “guts” no matter how we see them.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    As for the Pussy Rioters, I still think they need a good horse-whipping.

                  • BUT, :PdnNJ, this is what you actually wrote–don’t deny it!

                    Was not the topless woman who confronted Patriarch Kirill in Kyiv also courageous and have guts?

                    See that? YOU, not backers of the woman, asked that question—YOU.

                    Man up! Admit that YOU said, without reference to any “like-minded with” at all, “courageous and have guts.”

                  • BT, What I posted above might be easier for you to understand if you replace “I wanted to convey that” with “I wanted to make the point that.” But with that said, I leave you to your own will and desires.

            • OccidentalGuido says

              I too admire Vladyka Tikhon for his courage.
              I also think that at times he can be downright mean and belittling. This behavior is neither courageous nor Christian.
              Being mindful of my own sins, which trail behind be like grains of sand everywhere I go, I pray for His Grace.

              • OccidentalGuido says:
                September 5, 2012 at 3:59 pm

                I also think that at times he can be downright mean and belittling. This behavior is neither courageous nor Christian.

                I agree!

              • Is anybody arguing? I’m not. I’m often mean and belittling. This is not rocket science. Read all my posts if you like. I often mean and belittling, but not always. Sometimes it’s inappropriate.

                In general, too, i love all living things, except that I draw the line at tapeworms.

                • Sometimes it’s inappropriate.

                  I’m wondering when being mean and belittling is appropriate.

                  • Heracleides says

                    “I’m wondering when being mean and belittling is appropriate.”

                    That’s certainly a question which only a bishop may discern. No doubt one of the major perks of the gig; definitely NOT something with which mere laypersons should concern themselves.

                  • CQ!
                    When you call some people blind guides straining at a gnat while swallowing a camel?
                    How about asking Priests of Baal why Baal is absent?
                    How about saying, “You can say that again! You’ve had five husbands and the guy you’re with now isn’t even one of them!!!”

                    Are those kind and enabling counsels?

                    • Vladyka please!

                      Is it seriously your teaching that St. Photini was drawn to Jesus by His mean temperament, and was inspired to repentance by His belittling of her?

                      Here’s a tip: A good parent speaks the truth in love; an abusive parent is mean and belittling.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Did Jesus not call the Syrian woman a “dog”?

                    • CQ, The first step in conversion is getting someone’s intention. If one is sincerely interested in another person’s salvation, CQ, and not in being liked before everything else, one may sometimes have to resort to meanness, belittling, unkindness and all sorts of non-enabling, non-cosseting, non-friendly behavior.
                      Yes, Our Lord, God and Saviour, Jesus Christ converted the argumentative Samaritan Woman through shock-tactics of meanness and belittling reference to her morality and her religious beliefs and those of all her countrymen (“Salvation is from the JEWS”). He got her attention.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says:
                      September 7, 2012 at 11:46 am

                      Yes, Our Lord, God and Saviour, Jesus Christ converted the argumentative Samaritan Woman through shock-tactics of meanness and belittling reference to her morality and her religious beliefs and those of all her countrymen (“Salvation is from the JEWS”). He got her attention.

                      For an different understanding and interpretation of that Gospel narrative, read “Homily Nineteen, On The Gospel About the Samaritan Women” in “St. Gregory Palamas, the Homilies” (Monut Tabor Publishing, 2009).

                    • George Michalopulos says:
                      September 7, 2012 at 6:53 am

                      Did Jesus not call the Syrian woman a “dog”?

                      I have read in the Holy Fathers that (paraphrased) “worldly people see things worldly, and spiritual people see things spiritually,” and in the same vein that only those who are able to “read between the lines” can fully understand what is written in Holy Scripture, especially the Holy Gospel.
                      Definition from my Macbook dictionary:
                      read between the lines
                      look for or discover a meaning that is hidden or implied rather than explicitly stated.
                      Of course the Lord himself must open one’s mind and heart in order for one to discover the hidden or implied meanings, and the real truth contained therein.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Of course, I understand that there are different “levels” of understanding the text. But the very words themselves are startling to say the least.

                    • Thank you PdnNJ. I think I trust St. Gregory’s interpretation of that passage. Bp. Tikhon’s seems to me rather to be an example of what is known in psychology as “projection!”

                    • George, i repeat, see “Homily Nineteen, On The Gospel About the Samaritan Women” in “St. Gregory Palamas, the Homilies” (Monut Tabor Publishing, 2009) Then the “startling” will change into “awe,” to say the least.

                • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says:
                  September 6, 2012 at 12:22 pm

                  Sometimes it’s inappropriate.

                  For those with the Grace to see Christ in their neighbor,
                  it is always inappropriate.

                  • I didn’t interpret anything. I repeated what went on in contemporary language.I neither looked into the Savior’s heart nor mind. i pointed out how HE got her attention. And I distorted nothing. He used shock tactics on her.

                    • Bp. Tikhon writes: “I neither looked into the Savior’s heart or mind.”

                      From Philippians 2:

                      3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

                      5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

                      From Philippians 3:

                      10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

                      12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

                      15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule,[b] let us be of the same mind.

                      Your Grace,

                      With these exhortations from St. Paul in Philippians in view and another of his affirmations in 1 Corinthians 2:16 that through the Holy Spirit we have been given in the Apostles’ teaching the very “mind of Christ,” I respectfully must ask, if you are unable to look into the Savior’s mind and heart at least in some small degree (with the help of the Holy Spirit’s inspiration), how are you qualified to interpret His words in this passage at all? Surely, you should then all the more rely on the interpretive lens of those within the Church with demonstrated ability to do so (such as St. Gregory). Inasmuch as you have held these words of the Savior up as examples of “belittling” and “meanness,” I believe this is indeed interpretation (especially as those terms are commonly understood).

                      “He used shock tactics on her.”

                      Yes, I agree, it was truly shocking that He, a Jewish rabbi, would humble Himself, speak to her (a Samaritan woman), and ask her for a drink. His subsequent words which revealed He understood not only that she was a Samaritan woman, but one of ill-repute, would have shocked her still more deeply, and also put the great love and humility of His actions toward her in even higher relief!

                  • Perhaps, this is a matter of semantics to some degree. “Meanness” and “belittling” are in my understanding *always* associated with a sinful lack of love (a meanness of spirit). On the other hand, I believe that true love can sometimes be severe in its truth-telling, and that this is always out of the depths of a self-giving love with the insight and wisdom that this alone in a particular instance is the prescription that heals. That Christ spoke the stark truth to this woman yet managed to only fluster her, not put her utterly on the defensive such that her heart closed down, is evidence to me that she understood He was to be trusted (i.e., that He spoke in order to heal and not hurt her) and that He did not come across to her as belittling or mean spirited. Certainly, He had already disarmed her with a kind of grace and acceptance demonstrating His own humility by breaking several conventions to speak with her and ask her for a drink. That is the immediate context of His words in this passage and not without significance.

                    There is plenty of evidence in the sayings of the Saints and Elders of the Church that part of this delicate dance of love is knowing when and to what degree the person in need of healing is receptive to the truth, such that being faced with a certain truth about themselves they will be able to repent and be healed, and not be pushed to despair and rebellion against God.

                    In Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit, I recently read this saying of Elder Paisios the Athonite:

                    “At the beginning of the spiritual life, out of love, God doesn’t allow anyone to realize either his sinfulness or the many benefactions that He bestows on him, so as to keep him from despair, especially if he is sensitive.”

                    The only case where I could envision “belittling” and “meanness” as a true act of love (and not genuinely coming from mean-spiritedness) would be in the highly unusual case of an Abbott/Abbess, who having a very advanced spiritual child, discerns that such treatment is what alone will give the monk or nun the best opportunity to exercise spiritual discipline that will continue to open them to God’s grace, and/or perhaps keep them from temptation to vainglory or pride.

                    • Some of us seem to believe that the Samaritan woman was endowed with the pastoral and theological wisdom of a Saint Gregory Palamas and realized that when Christ spoke to her, this was an example of Divine Grace. She realized that when Christ informed her, ‘Salvation is from the Jews,’ He was not belittling her Samaritan ethnicism or religion. So many of you, however, DO think that she had these Palamite and other insights, that I must admit my mistake. Christ did NOT call her the equivalent of a “nigger” by referring to dogs or to the saving grace of His race, but..well, read the Fathers’ commentaries and you;ll understood how the Samaritan Woman was a patristic scholar and embued with the Spirit of God, and this event was staged for our benefit and salvation and she knew it.

                    • Well, she did *become* a Saint, Your Grace.

                      From St. John Chysostem on the Samaritan Woman (found here:

                      “For the woman was more fair-minded than the Jews; they did not enquire to learn, but always to mock at Him, for had they desired to learn, the teaching which was by His words, and by the Scriptures, and by His miracles would have been sufficient. The woman, on the contrary, said what she said from an impartial judgment and a simple mind, as is plain from what she did afterwards; for she both heard and believed, and netted others also, and in every circumstance we may observe the carefulness and faith of the woman.”

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Indeed she did. I agree with BP Tikhon however: Jesus’ initial talk to her was shocking. The verbiage was not politically correct. Having been in that part of the world, I know that saying the wrong word or with the wrong inflection can make you an enemy for life.

                    • Well, George, I happen to think when it comes to understanding someone’s words, context is everything and, in context, Jesus words were not mean spirited, though I agree they were also not politically correct. They were, however, objectively spiritually true, and she was receptive to that truth when He demonstrated the gifts of a prophet–that He knew her life without being told. I’m sure, being the kind of woman she was, she was well used to people saying all kinds of belittling things to her (if they deigned to speak with her at all). She did come to draw water at high noon all alone, did she not, contrary to the normal custom (either because she was forbidden or so as to avoid facing social rejection from those who drew water at the normal time in the cool of the morning)? Because of all that and because I understand how such people are generally treated by others, especially in very traditional cultures, I highly doubt she could have been much shocked by Jesus’ words in that sense. That’s exactly what she would have expected a Jew to tell her. Now, if she had been a man and the chief honcho of the Samaritan village and Jesus had said that, then I think you might have a case. As it is, I beg to differ. I think He was just telling her the truth in order to reveal to her His identity as Messiah.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Yes, they were true and politically incorrect, and insensitive. From my own personal experience having been in Greece, just looking the wrong way at a man or referring to him in the third person can lead to a shouting match. Mediterranean cultures breed people who have hair-trigger tempers.

                      As for the contest, the mere fact that a Jewish hasid was openly talking to a mongrel women who worshipped in a mongrelized fashion, in broad daylight, especially when that woman was a trollop, raises red flags all over.

                    • George Michalopulos says:
                      September 8, 2012 at 9:26 pm

                      I agree with BP Tikhon however

                      George, Bishop Tikhon says one thing in his post of September 7, 2012 at 11:46 am above,
                      and something else (as “some of us”) in his post of September 8, 2012 at 2:06 pm also above (where and how he/they came up with those ideas is anyone’s guess).
                      Which one of those do you agree with?,
                      because he says one thing in first
                      and something entirely different in the second.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Please refresh my memory. I’m under a time constraint.

                    • It’s shocking to see a Bishop declaring these two words properly describe Jesus or his behavior.


                      1 unwilling to give or share things, esp. money; not generous: she felt mean not giving a tip | they’re not mean with the garlic.
                      2 unkind, spiteful, or unfair: it was very mean of me | she is always mean to my little brother.
                      • vicious or aggressive in behavior: the dogs were considered mean.


                      make (someone or something) seem unimportant: this is not to belittle his role | she felt belittled.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      And yet, the ipssima verbi that Jesus used were “shocking” and “belittling.”

                    • I’m with Karen.

                      If the rating system were working I believe you’d see the mind of the Church expressed.

                    • No one here, except me and possibly George, seems able to accept that the Lord put the Samaritan Woman to a severe test and she passed with flying colors. His test consisted of mean, harsh, belittling words, references to her people, religion, and morality.

                    • Somehow, this whole emphasis on the supposed “shockingness” of Jesus’ “politically incorrect” words in this context seems profoundly anachronistic to me. Who would have cared in first century Palastine that Jesus’ words were “politically incorrect” toward someone on the margins of society? There was no sensitivity training in those days. Politically incorrect speech, polemical rhetoric, and belittling of other cultures was, if I understand things, the order of the day! Speaking politically incorrectly to someone in a position of power is one thing. Speaking it to someone on the fringes of society is quite another. Jesus was speaking truthfully, and in context, I think not at all unkindly. Frankly, His words to the Pharisees were more truly ascerbic and “politically incorrect,” and for that, He went to the Cross.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says:
                      September 9, 2012 at 11:58 am

                      No one here, except me and possibly George, seems able to accept that the Lord put the Samaritan Woman to a severe test and she passed with flying colors. His test consisted of mean, harsh, belittling words, references to her people, religion, and morality.

                      Well then, St. Gregory Palamas totally disagrees with both of you.
                      And, therefore, so do I.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      PdnNJ, far be it from me to disagree with Palamas, still as a man he could be mistaken. However, I believe the basic point remains: Jesus’ words to this goy were startling to say the least. I don’t mean to imply that He desired her damnation –far from it. And if racist language was necessary to get her to see the error of her way, by all means!

                    • “Put her to a . . . test.”

                      Let’s look at some of the facts of the story here. Jesus breaks several social conventions and does something known by the earliest readers of this Gospel to be completely beneath His dignity as a Jewish rabbi, He speaks (1) to this woman (2) in private (3) and asks her for a drink (4). All this is quite shocking, yes. Note: there is no public shaming (often associated with belittling) going on here. SHE, not the Lord, raises the issue of race and prejudice. Undaunted, He proceeds to hook her on his line through a hint that He is someone special and a claim to miraculous powers–He can provide water that will permanently assuage her thirst. Another shock–who could this Man be? She’s intrigued. She bites. “Yes, give me this water.” He throws out another hook. “First, go and bring your husband.” She admits, “I have no husband.” He commends her honesty and tells her her whole story. She’s humbled and convinced. This man is a prophet and someone special. He has earned her respect, trust, and a hearing. He now offers the unvarnished humbling truth, “Salvation is from the Jews” and goes well beyond *what either Jews or Samaritans* believe (Jesus shows equal opportunity disrespect here for the beliefs of either race)–the time is coming when true worshippers of God will not worship in a particular place, but “in Spirit and in truth.”

                      So, this one of several reasons why I stick with Sts. John and Gregory. I believe Bp. Tikhon’s characterization is a distortion of what really occurred in its full context. Since the common understanding of “meanness” and “belittling” is as pejoratives coming from mean-spiritedness, His Grace’s opinion actually has the potential to be seen as slandering the Lord’s motives. As for His putting her to a “severe” test, I agree there definitely were several challenges there to her faith, world view, and beliefs, and I agree with His Grace that she passed with flying colors. I do believe it is quite evident, also, in this story, however, that she was well supported throughout that test by the Lord’s grace.

                    • No-one has any trouble believing the Jesus spoke a truth that could be surprising, even shocking, to those who heard it. “Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees” shocked and even offended the leaders of the people.

                      The problem is that we disagree with spirit that motivates and informs that speech.

                      You say it is mean and belittling, but we would say it is love.

                      The difference is the difference between having the devil recount to you your sins, and having Jesus recount them to you. One desires your death and wishes to drive you to despair, the other desires your salvation and wishes to drive you to repentance. The sins are the same, but the spirit in which they are being recounted to you are as different as darkness and light, hate and love.

                      You seem to have lost the distinction between the two, and in teaching that Jesus was mean and belittling you (perhaps inadvertently) make him no better than the demons.

                    • George Michalopulos says:
                      September 9, 2012 at 9:14 pm

                      Palamas, still as a man he could be mistaken.

                      Just “a man,” George, “who could be mistaken”?
                      “Listen up” closely to the following, because “we believe what we pray, and we pray what we believe”:
                      St Gregory Palamas the Archbishop of Thessalonica
                      Troparion – Tone 8
                      O light of Orthodoxy, teacher of the Church, its confirmation,
                      O ideal of monks and invincible champion of theologians,
                      O wonder-working Gregory, glory of Thessalonica and preacher of grace,
                      always intercede before the Lord that our souls may be saved.
                      Kontakion – Tone 8
                      Holy and divine instrument of wisdom,
                      joyful trumpet of theology,
                      together we sing your praises, O God-inspired Gregory.
                      Since you now stand before the Original Mind,
                      guide our minds to Him, O Father,
                      so that we may sing to you: “Rejoice, preacher of grace.”
                      (Just beautiful words, with no important meaning?)

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      PdnNJ, I bow to Palamas’ wisdom. I know for a fact that I am more wrong than he could ever be. I also know that God alone is imperfect and every Church Father was not always in agreement with everything everybody else wrote. That’s all.

                      Is Photini a saint? Yes. Did Christ preach to her? Yes. Was there an interchange of negative racial stereotypes between them? Yes.

                    • George, I’ll end my part of this “sub-thread” by saying that I base my contention on the fact that St. Gregory writes from what he learned from his personal experience of Uncreated Light, i.e., Christ Himself, and his understanding and teaching of Holy Scripture all stem from that, and not from “”saintly reflection” on it.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I don’t disagree a bit.

      • Why, Um! “Asylum for the criminally insane?” And “insane asylum?”
        And what is this interest in my pension? I contributed to my pension from 1972 until 2007. I’m fully vested in that plan, and I count on GOVERNMENT to keep anyone in the church or outside the church from taking it away from me. I recognize that it must just eat away at the stomach ulcers of men of ill-will, but there you have it. it’s basically money that I earned, some that I directly contributed, and some that the parish and diocese contributed that they would have otherwise included in my salary. I could declare myself a follower of Baal or Marduk, and i’d still keep my pension.
        You ask, UM, what other options were offered Metropolitan Jonah? The other option he was offered was not to resign.
        What did he prevent by resigning, i.e., wnat “offer” did he accept?
        Forgive me if I’m wrong, but you are saying that Metropolitan Jonah resigned and asked for forgiveness because he couldn’t help it? That’s where I disagree.

      • Jane Rachel says

        If you read the scripture in context it is fitting in this case. You have to think about it a minute or two and before you think about it, try to keep yourself from jumping to conclusions. Which is what the silly disciples were doing in Luke 6, as they were growing up, being taught by the Master Teacher, from a state of being unfit for much of anything, much less leadership, into becoming Saints and Holy Apostles.

        • Jane Rachel says

          I mean Luke 9. By the way, did Metropolitan Jonah’s reasons for his resignation have to do with his family? Just wondering. Luke 9:59: . “And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said , Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.”

          • JR,
            IMHO I think the resignation has quite a bit to do with his family. He made reference to his family during his talk at the AEI. I just sensed it burdened him.

    • Bishop Tikhon,

      Master Bless.

      1 Kings 19:19-21 19 So he (Elijah) departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing, with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth; and Elijah passed over unto him, and cast his mantle upon him.
      20 And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said: ‘Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee.’ And he said unto him: ‘Go back; for what have I done to thee?’
      21 And he returned from following him, and took the yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.

      Not only turned away from the plough…he made a bbq with the plow team…and this is a prophet. The name Elisha BTW means “God is my salvation.” Repentance is always possible. To say that it is not possible is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. This is the difference between Judas and St. Peter.

      Your Grace, with greatest respect, You Yourself admitted on this forum that the treatment not only of Metropolitan Jonah but of preceding Hierarchs and Robert Kondratick was uncanonical and unlawful. I do not dispute these points. I am asking that we need to consider not what seems good administratively but what is just in the eyes of the Lord.

      The only thing that can be just in the eyes of the Lord at this point and time is that the entire synod should fall on it’s face in front of Metropolitan Jonah and kiss His feet after He resumes His place in His throne in His Cathedral without further delay.

      • Additionally, please see:

        particularly the Matthew Henry commentaries which I personally have found helpful in tandem next to the St. John Chrysostom commentaries on the Gospels.

      • Gee. that’s a no-brainer. He didn’t turn back from the plough. He dropped it and killed the plough oxen. Try not to twist the reasoning of a figure of speech by the Lord. No one answered him back and said, ‘What about Elisha? ” but now that’s what you are doing. Your dispute is not with me, but with the Lord. The Pharisees liked to quote anecdotes from Scripture back at the Lord, too.

        • Bishop Tikhon,

          Master Bless.

          I am not attacking You. I have never attacked You. I have always addressed You and Your Arch-priestly office with the greatest respect and affection. However, I disagree with Your interpretation of the passage in question, particularly Your application in regards to the situation of Metropolitan Jonah. Pressing on the view all comments button of Your Grace one can easily see that Your Grace did indeed express the opinion that not only was Metropolitan Jonah treated wrongly, unjustly, unfairly, worse than a dog, but so were previous hierarchy and Fr. Robert Kondratick. I defer to Your knowledge in these things because Your Grace appears to have (as another correspondent aptly described it) “encyclopedic knowledge” , which should not be taken as a disparaging remark imo but should be expected for someone of Your age, station and experience. Your Grace’s ability to express this knowledge eloquently has been a source of amazement, inspiration and knowledge to many on this forum, and on more than one occasion, I have expressed my gratitude for Your Grace’s presence here.

          Why Your Grace chooses now to apparently “flip-flop” on His position concerning His brother in Christ Jonah is beyond my comprehension. I have examined Your previous comments Your Grace and up until now I was under the impression that You felt the removal of Met. Jonah was wrong, uncanonical and unlawful, and also done under duress. Did Your Grace express these sentiments or no? If Your Grace repents of these sentiments, it is of course Your right, and none of my business.

          The purpose of my bringing up that particular reference Your Grace was to demonstrate several points:
          1- There is a clear and obvious parallel between the two scriptural passages.
          2- Elijah throws his mantle over Elisha. From ancient times, a sign of adoption.
          3- Elisha’s name “God is my salvation” – when he asks to go say goodbye to his parents he is rejecting his adoption by Elijah who is the personification of God (Elijah was sent by God to find Elisha). Elijah chastises him, saying essentially “weren’t you paying attention, you don’t have parents anymore, I just adopted you for God, you accepted, what are you asking to do? I thought God is your salvation!”
          4- Elisha comes to his senses, “comes to himself” (as Christ says in the parable of the prodigal son, imo one of the best phrases that expresses the nature of repentance in English – the return to a state of sane living, wholeness, to what we are truly meant to be, the icon of Christ) REPENTS and makes the bbq.
          5- Reinstating Jonah (Jonah wearing his omophor again as primate) is not out of the question. Maybe He did sin in resigning it in a moment of weakness. We were wrong to allow Him to be bullied for so long Your Grace. What did any of us do to support and encourage Him? Is it unreasonable to allow His repentance? Do we have that right to deny the Holy Spirit?

          I am not asking Your Grace to answer for Yourself publicly, but can any of us say that when things really got insane that we stepped in to help encourage and protect Him from people that were trying to drive Him off the edge? We know that the synod acted immorally, uncanonically possibly criminally on more than one occasion on more than one matter. How many of us cried foul? It had to reach this stage of critical mass.

          Your blessing.

          • Bishop Tikhon (et al)

            Master Bless-

            Please see


            Is Amos lying? Is he misrepresenting reality? Then we are going to turn around and say that the sin (fault) lies with Metropolitan Jonah? Really? How quickly we forget (no, I am not being sarcastic).

            Where was Your protest then, Your claim of “anaxios”? That is effectively what Your Grace claims against Metropolitan Jonah with this line of reasoning. [btw Geo Michalopulos: This is guts – I know I am making myself a target but it needs to be said-let’s see how many correspondents can refrain from descending into personal attacks and actually “participate” constructively in conversation].

            Here are their qualifications to judge others:

            An Archbishop with a history of addictive behavior is quick to call his Metropolitan an addict? But’s that’s ok?

            Another Archbishop (or three) protects an Archdeacon who married another man, then divorced him will not be called on his actions which by their very nature have deposed him? But that’s ok?

            Another Archbishop who had charges brought against him by his brother bishop but threatened him with deportation if he ever mentioned his compromised lifestyle? But that’s ok?

            Another Archbishop who allowed over $800K in restricted funds to be used for other purposes? But that’s ok?

            Yet every one of these bishops actively pursued +Jonah until they removed him from office? But that’s ok?

            • I believe that George P. is saying that someone told Metropolitan Jonah, “Look back from the plough, or ELSE.” So he signed his name to his resignation.

              Now some are speculating and even advising him; “Take back that resignation and we’ll get you your primacy back.” Maybe that’s so……

              Just sayin’.

              • Your Grace,

                I did not state or imply any such thing. I only quoted text from Amos’ posting. Perhaps You believe that Amos thinks that there would be “dirt” that could be used against Met.Jonah to force Him to turn back from the plow “or else”?

                Well Your Grace, if You know, and You are the one that usually does, …we are all waiting with baited breath for the death strike. Might as well sooner then later right? Public record and all that…just sayin’

              • So a priest must have his bishop’s letter of release to transfer to another jurisdiction. Can a bishop or metropolitan transfer without a release or are they in fact under the authority of their local synod in Orthodoxy?

                My guess is that among other factors, Jonah viewed himself as being first-among equals when viewed individually but in some real sense constrained by the authority of the consensus of the OCA synod, which would be undeniable in the case of a unanimous vote. Perhaps he could legally ignore the unanimous directive of the synod-minus-him, but would this not in fact be a belligerent choice in violation of the spirit if not the letter of the canons? Canon 34 certainly specifies that he should do nothing without the consent of the other bishops. If no other bishop will give his consent for a metropolitan to continue, on what authority and based on what hope can any metropolitan continue? Has this ever happened in the history of Orthodoxy? Now consider that this metropolitan is a monk who takes his submission to spiritual authority seriously even when he disagrees and that he has publicly promised to bend over backwards to mend the rift within the synod.

                Is it not possible in this context that Jonah’s resignation was a well-motivated act of submission (and expression of love and humility) to his brothers in the church? Is this not in fact how Orthodoxy is supposed to work?

                And is it not also appropriate in this situation for the laity to chastise the bishops for their hard hearts and sins against the Church and Jonah by giving Jonah a vote of confidence. Since the synod has failed miserably in making a case against him or his leadership, simply re-elect him and he will be restored with the authority to do things that he was unable to do the first time around. And if the synod rejects him on some trumped up canonical grounds, they will at least go forward knowing the mind of the faithful with respect to the things they have done.

                At least let them know you are not fools and do not suffer fools gladly, no?

                I think if you take any other approach, your failure is guaranteed. You will never see repentance for past wrongs and politically the faithful will be divided among various compromise strategies or candidates and those plotting ill behind the scenes will have free rein to do as they like.

                I say book your flight now. Overwhelm them with numbers and let your voice be heard. If this is the Church, then how can the Holy Spirit turn a deaf ear to your cry. If any active bishop on this synod deserves mercy and a second chance, it is Jonah. Maybe he says no. I would say no, but this man is a monk. Make your call clear. Put him and the synod on the spot. Force them all to face reality and respond. If you do, who knows, maybe miracles are possible even in the Church?

                • Apostolic Canon 34: <>

                  Doesn’t this imply that what is desire is true unanimity. Applying this to ++JONAH he should not have tendered his resignation w/o the verified, free and uncoerced consent of each and every other member of the Holy Synod, nor is he compelled without his own consent to resign because everyone else asked him to. His own vote counts. Likewise, none of the other bishop-members of the Holy Synod should do (or have done) ANYTHING of consequence without His Beatitude’s consent–but they do it all the time.

                  I used to serve on a parish counci, of a then most blessed parish, under rules that NO ACTION would be taken in the absence of prayerful unanimity. It worked, by the way–even if sometime it took time, prayer and much discussion. It will not work in a worldly organization; but it does work in the true Body of Christ as it did for the Apostles when the disciples were all of one accord in one place and the Holy Spirit spoke to, in and through them.

                  Christ is in our midst. May we remember and honor his Presence.


              • I just decided to throw in another verse or four.

                Matthew 10:12-15

                And when you go into a household, greet it. If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it, But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgement than for that city.

                I just checked verse 16: Behold I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. and continue reading on your own.

                Jesus didn’t seem to spend a lot of time messing around with His strongest critics.

            • GeorgeP.

              I was referring to Bp. Tikhon (Mollard) of yhe OCA diocese of eastern pa not retired bishop Tikhon of the west.

              • Amos,

                I had no idea who you referring to in your posting since there was no name posted in that link above, but thank you for clarifying. Besides, I suppose one could reason it out by the time line if one were so inclined and realize that it must be referring to Bp. Tikhon Mollard and not Bp. Tikhon Fitzgerald. My point was and still is that Met. Jonah was coerced into resignation. Fr. Jillions went to the private residence of Met. Jonah and did not leave until he received what he was sent to obtain…a letter of resignation. I think if they gave Metropolitan Jonah 48 to 72 hours to think about it after asking Him for His resignation, this entire series of conversations might not be happening right now, and the OCA would have her Primate-not a locum tenens and Geo Michalopulos would be able to concentrate on exploring and composing other interesting and worthwhile topics instead of moderating our (often stupid, tit-for-tat, childish) arguments.

                BTW…you never did answer me, and maybe you don’t want to answer in a public place like this, but you did write previously that the initial allegation of rape against Fr. X was made by Bp. Melchisedek, Fr. Eric Tosi, and Faith Skordinski. I really wish you would publish more information about what you know about this since it is really clear that it is contrary to the findings of the SIC, it implies that the three of them may have been involved in a conspiracy to defame the reputation of individuals and may shed more (or a different light on the whole matter). If you wish to contact me privately, you can ask for my e-mail from George Michalopulos.