And Now a Word from Clausewitz

“Only the dead have seen an end to war.” –Plato

I’m a big fan of Western Civilization. I believe it is one of the greatest gifts to the world. Multic-culturalists deride our civilization but its strengths are apparent in contrast to every other world civilization. We ignore the combined wisdom of the West at our peril.

One of these strengths is what Victor Davis Hanson calls “the Western Way of War.” Now I’m not a war-monger and as a Christian I believe that war is inherently foreign to man’s nature and thus God’s intention and design. However it’s very much part of our fallen state and will remain so until the end of time. We inherited this misery and we will never escape it no matter what the Progressives say.

As such, it’s important that we who treasure civilization dispense with politically correct notions of “making peace” and other naive notions that mostly are calculated to generate applause for those who hold them. Instead, we should pay greater attention to the great practitioners and theorists of human conflict and actually know something about it; men from the world over –such as Sun-Tzu, Niccolo Machiavelli, Frederick the Great, and Carl von Clausewitz. I’m not arguing we follow everything or even most of what these men say. But to argue they have nothing to at all to say could only come from those who never read them. Wisdom is taken wherever it is found.

When I first stumbled upon this piece on Clausewitz by Walter Russell Mead yesterday, I thought that it would be a welcome respite from the present turmoil in American Orthodoxy. Immediately I noticed the parallels with the present controversy. Looking back I shouldn’t have been surprised. After all the Christian life includes a never-ending struggle between “principalities and powers” that is every bit as martial as any Napoleonic campaign and as ruthless as the Peloponnesian War. More to the point, Meade describes the same conflict between hide-bound reactionaries and inspired visionaries — again, something manifestly evident at present.

And like the interminable wars of man’s past, the spiritual warfare being waged for the soul of Christendom portends an even greater permanence. We need to study history, especially we Christians. At the least we should not fool ourselves that our lives are not caught up in spiritual warfare. None of the mystics of the Church operated under such a delusion, Neither should we.

Read: Clausewitz, Master of War by Walter Russel Mead.


  1. Drivel!

  2. Drivel!

    Thank you Robert for your profound thoughts on the subject. This was as deep as it was enlightening….

  3. Philippa says

    We need to study history,
    I couldn’t agree with you more!

  4. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    Clausewitz, Jomini, Sun-Tzu, Hart, Grant, Sherman, etc., all the great military strategists and minds of history. I actually read Clausewitz & Company in college, and had many a great debates. It also helped greatly that our professor was an ex-army commander with the Green Berets. It was obvious that his sympathies lied with Sun-Tzu.

    Also, most in America’s war colleges emphasize Jomini over Clausewitz, even though there are many point of agreement. Clausewitz was a great “out-of-the’box” thinker. He belived in adapting the plan of battle to the conditions that arose on the ground before, during and after battle.

    Jomini is much more inflexible in this regard. Jomini believed in set and fixed tactics of War. So did Clausewitz, but was more more will and able to abandon those prinicples as the battle dictated. Jomini was not.

    Sun-Tzu was the logical conclusion of Clausewitz and an expansion of his causal relationship between politics and military force. Clausewitz recognized that “War is the exercise of politics by other means.” Sun-Tzu relaized this as well, but reversed this in realizing that the real battle was ultimately political. That one had to destroy one’s enemy politically not just militarily.

    Clausewitz and Jomini, both as products of the French Revolution and the great battles and military geniues of Fredrick the Great (Prussia) and Napolean (France), understool the need for disciple and order and to completely dominate and destroy your opponents so he never gets back up. This was actually a military philosophy adopted from the Romans (See Battle of Carthage) and used by Nepolean (i.e. one’s Total Commitment to War). See also General Westmoreland’s military stratergies for the classical Clausewitz and Jomini approach to war.

    Sun-Tzu realized that if you destroy the body, but leave the head, the head can rebuild the body maybe even re-build it stronger, so cut off the head. Destroy the enemy politically. Breed fear, trepidation, and second-guessing into you enemy. Through deception and battle-field propaganda will the war of and in the enemy’s mind and heart be won. (See Vietnam under General Giáp, especially the Tet Offensive).

    All in all the great minds of the Western Way of War, as well as the West’s synthesis of the Eastern Way of War under Sun-Tzu, are taught at all of America’s and the West’s war colleges. However, it should be noted that only Sun-Tzu’s philosophies have transcended the Military shpere and have gone over to the field of pure politics and finance. Furthermore, the philosophies of Sun-Tzu have merged and blended with the philosophies of Ayn Rand (i.e. Objectiveism or rational self-interest) that have caused and continue to cause a devastating affect to our poltics and economy.

    An additional observation can now be made that in the wake of modern American Military action the question arises: “Is American forign and domestic policy driven by unseen and (Rationally) self-interested motives that can (or have) realized themselves through our current military endeavors?”

    Neither Clausewitz, Jomini or even Sun-Tzu make moral judgments on WHAT the political goal is that must be achieved through War. Does Rand’s phiolosophy do so? Has it always done so (i.e. a State’s rational self-interest)? Can the State’s self-interest that leads to War be judged as moral or immoral, and by what standard is War contemplated and/or acted upon?

    To answer these questions a thorough examination of “The Morality of War” needs to be plummed for insight apart from its mechanics.

    Peter A. Papoutsis

  5. Nick Katich says


    Furthermore, the philosophies of Sun-Tzu have merged and blended with the philosophies of Ayn Rand (i.e. Objectiveism or rational self-interest) that have caused and continue to cause a devastating affect to our poltics and economy.

    In all due respect, if you think Ayn Rand is the root of devasting affects on our politics and economy, you are reading and believing way too much Ulyanov and StanVara.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Do tell? Let’s discuss it. I’m game.


      • Nick Katich says


        Your are the one that made the comparison. Give us your basis, please.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Peter, if I may? Ayn Rand was an interesting thinker. I applaud a lot of what she wrote especially about the Productive Classes, the people that actually make the world go round. However, as an atheist, she could not list a reason why the Unproductive should not be exterminated. In this she was no different from the Progressives who brought us Eugenics. The Nazi program was of a piece with this, as was Leninism which had its own ideas of who were the Unproductive.

          Plus, on a more prosaic note, even though she was an atheist, she ran her little school with all the trappings of a religious cult, including trials for heresy. She even thought that she could use a show-trial to justify her adulterous relationship with one of her also-married disciples, Nathanael Branden. It was all logical, you see? Her poor schlub of a husband had to accept it.

          In the final analysis, I’ve come to the inexorable conclusion that atheism must descend into nihilism. I didn’t want to believe it at first because of the atheists whom I admire. People like Christopher Hitchens, Camille Paglia, and the late Orianna Fallaci, but Dostoevsky and Lermontov were correct. They predicted the Bolshevik Revolution decades before it happened. More, they saw that the estrangement of the Church from the people would make this possible.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            I’ll get more into after services, but you are unfortunately 100% correct. Nihilisim is the natural end result of not only Objectiveism, but has always been the goal of the liberal/progressive movement here and abroad.


        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          I will do so after church and breakfast. It will be fun and thought provoking.


        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          Sorry for the delay Nick. Between the nice weather and my kids wanting to enjoy it, and work, I just now have had the opportunity to sit and explain myself in my previous post in regards to modern American foreign/military policy.

          First, in regards to Ayn Rand she postulated and proposed the idea of “Rational Self-Interest” or “Objectiveism.” For Rand the collectivist State or just the collectivist mind was anathema to her idealized “Individual. That the individual is the “Fountainhead” of all great ideas, for progress, for greatness. It is this “Individual” that is productive and must not be shacked by the state, business, etc. Anything that hinders the individual, such like the collectivist ideology, from reaching its full potential must be abandoned and fought against.

          It is because of this exhaultation of the EGO, as we see so clearly in her book “Antham,” that Ayn Rand fit nicely with Nietchez’s philosophies that eventually lead to and promote personal nihilism. For if there is nothing greater than the individual that the individual is the end all and be all of existence. It is quickly discovered that that existence is finite and limited and offers nothing but a dead end. If your worth is tied into you overall productivity and not on one innate self-worth as a child of God made in his image then Nihilism is the logical solution.

          Now how does this relate to government? Government is made up of individuals. Those individuals can be productive in creating a Rationally Self-Interested government (i.e. non-collectivist State), such as what we have, somewhat, in the West. To cry the slogan of the Neo-Conservatives “Rugged Individualism.”

          Now how has this philosophy merged with the philosophies of Sun-Tzu? The heart of Sun-Tzu is deception and mis-direction. In pure political thought his foil is Nicolo Machiavelli. Basically do or say what you, The Prince, The State, have to say and/or do to get the populace to support either a leader’s or a State’s Rational (Productive) Self-Interests. Examples of this are the Boar War, to some the Vietnam War and to others the current Iraq war (i.e. Go in to get WMD’es and get rid of a national threat like Saddam, but really this was subterfuge to take the fight to Al-Quada in the middle east instead of America and secure the safety of the free flow of oil that is required for a healthy energy market that most of the world is dependent on).

          The West’s current involvement in Libiya. Is it for the spread of freedom in the NEW middle east, or was it to protect the free flow of oil? The support of a secular Arab administration to keep a check on Muslim Fundamentalism thus turning a blind eye to human rights abuses. Thus, the West’s Rational Self-Interests (Rand) merging with a “noble” lie (Sun-Tzu & Machiavelli), as popularized by both Leftist extremists (Hugo Chavez) as well as Right-Wing Regimes (Hitler and his invazion of Poland to save German nationals from Polish aggression).

          This is what I see that has occurred in the West, and, in particular, in America. We can debate to what extent this “Rational Self-Interest” has taken hold that may or may not have manifested inself in American military action. I will leave that as an open question for all to throw their hat in the ring to discuss these issues.


  6. Do you think Rod and Jesse ever realized that there are gay people at St.Seraphim Cathedral? Including a deacon who lives with his partner like people are screaming Stokoe does?

    • Excuse me?

    • O Hamartolos says

      Stephen, in Stokoe’s case there are bits of evidence that surely point to that. Being at the cathedral, when you asked the said deacon about your hunch, what did he say? Of course you have never bothered to ask him or even to ask the bishop. Nope. Cheap pot shots at a community you belong to but despise. And for what? If you genuinely cared, you would seek clarification privately, but to go on a public smear campaign simply to prove a point? Brother, you had better go back to the basics, as should all of us for that matter: remove the speck from your own eye before trying to take the beam out of your brother’s.

  7. Heracleides says

    Totally off-topic, but just thought I’d post a heads up that Mrs. Mark Stokoe-Brown has released his long delayed “Jonah in His Own Words” propaganda piece. After reading this latest dreck from Stokoe, I am left at a loss as how too adequately describe the man. Pure evil comes to mind, but even that doesn’t come close. Vengeful Queen may come closer (and I mean that unreservedly). Stokoe may look like a nice fellow in his photographs, but he has a heart of coldest stone. Lord have mercy on Stokoe and the OCA (and me for the utter disgust for both that I am experiencing at the moment).

    • I didn’t read Stokoe’s comments, but Jonah’s speech was great. Don’t see how Stokoe has any right to publish this stuff, or how he actually got a copy for that matter, but in this case I’m glad he did.

      You guys have your work cut out for you at the AAC, I hope you are preparing now … but I’m guessing most aren’t.

      In any event, the probability of a gay cabal being at the root of the ruckus has increased from 99.9% to 100% in my personal estimation.

      Other than that: Good luck! You guys are gonna need it. So far I remain doubtful that you are up to the challenge, but I truly hope that I am wrong about that. This is the Episcopal Church Redux Part II: Deja Vu All Over Again. Here’s hoping there’s an alternate ending, and that you guys can write it.

    • I’ve been reading it for about an hour, and I keep having to stop and punch something.

      I was hoping this would have some kind of smoking gun in it that would explain this madness, where Metropolitan Jonah would have some fit of insanity and say something terrible or crazy like “I’m the Metropolitan, and all of you are my bitches!”, and that that’s what set these people off. What I’m reading from Metropolitan Jonah is actually a brilliant and balanced assessment of what’s going on. Mark Stokoe’s interpretation reads like an exercise in diagnosing mental illness: paranoia, delusions of grandeur… At EVERY turn, it’s “Metropolitan Jonah says something reasonable”, and “Stokoe is outraged and spins it in a ridiculous way”.

      For example, Metropolitan Jonah says, “Through intimidation and the threat of exposure, of, for example, this supposedly confidential document — they try to manipulate the bishops and Metropolitan.”

      Stokoe claims, “ does not have the SMPAC Memo, and never threatened anybody with it.”

      But then, Stokoe wrote back in February, “Should they fail to remove him, as the SMC case is appalling, then all bets are off, and I plan to make it all known, at least as far as I know it.”

      Methinks Stokoe’s the one who needs to go for a psych evaluation. As for Metropolitan Jonah, “Eis polla eti, Despota!”

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        Now that’s a leader with a spine. A spark of hope for Orthodoxy has just been lit by Met. Jonah’s speech.


        • Nick Katich says

          Sounds like something Beckett wrote:

          Estragon: Didi?
          Vladimir: Yes.
          Estragon: I can’t go on like this.
          Vladimir: That’s what you think.
          Estragon: If we parted? It might be better for us.
          Vladimir: We’ll hang ourselves tomorrow. Unless Godot comes.
          Estragon: And if he comes?
          Vladimir: We’ll be saved.

          Nick to Peter: No more waiting. Godot is come.

      • Ian James says

        Wow! What a speech! Finally a leader with courage! Axios! Axios! Axios!

        Anyone know where else we can find this? Stokoe could have tampered with this. Already there is a problem:

        In short, we have a conspiracy with an agenda that will destroy the Church. We cannot live through another scandal. If their agenda goes forward, the OCA will become more a isolated and marginalized in the Orthodox world until everyone leaves. We cannot live outside the Orthodox Church. Underlying this is a very bitter subtext, the gay agenda, which demands one type of moral code for clergy, another for the laity accepting that agenda. I will not stand for this.
        “his group is a bunch of bullies, who are willing to use any means to advance their agenda and rip apart their enemies. First among these means is the internet, and Mr. Stokoe’s Through intimidation and the threat of exposure, of, for example, this supposedly confidential document — they try to manipulate the bishops and Metropolitan. How often do we hold back on a decision wondering how it will be spun on And what would be the reaction of the general parishoners, as they find another metropolitan being dragged through the mud?

        There is something missing between the paragraphs. Did Stokoe remove it? The missing part deals with him.

        • In the commented version of the speech, it’s not “‘his group” but “This group”. It may have just been a typo that Stokoe fixed on one version but forgot on the other.

          • Ian James says

            Did this speech come from the emails that Stokoe and Maymon stole from Fr. Fester’s computer?

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      Is there any other official source of Met. Jonah’s speech that isn’t on OCANews? I refuse to spend anytime there to read it.

      • For a nice change, Stokoe actually posted the unmolested speech along with a version with his commentary. If you can bring yourself to follow a direct link to a Stokoe-free page on the site, the link above goes straight to it. Otherwise, perhaps George would be willing to post it as a separate post. I’d copy-paste it into a comment, but long comments have a tendency to be annoying to have to keep scrolling through.

    • This is now a full-blown war by MSNBC on our Metropolitan. The slander is approaching clearly intolerable levels.

      I know where I stand. I think I also know where many of the more frequent commentators here stand (both pro and contra).

      George, we need to get a bit more organized. We have an AAC in a few months, and a deadline in about two months for resolutions and statute amendments. I think we need to have a separate place where we can organize ourselves in our various dioceses to fight this propaganda machine emanating from Dayton. I sent you a contact me message a few weeks ago, so you have my email. I am in the Diocese of Washington. You are in the DOS. We need others from all the dioceses — West, PA both. NE, NY, CN and so on. We need to organize and plan for the Council to support our Metropolitan and his vision for our church against these usurpers. We need a place to organize which is secure, private and effective.

      Will you stand with me? Will you organize with us?

      Brendan Ross
      Herndon, Virginia

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Heracleides, I’m not sure I agree with your assessment of Mrs Brown. Evil? I’m thining more along the line of non-thinking hysteric who’s lost all sense of objectivity. It’s really rather pathetic if you ask me. (And I’m really pissed that he didn’t mention Monomakhos.)

  8. Katherine says

    Stokoe isn’t the only one that needs to get a psych evaluation. I personally think that there are several others that are part of this could also use one. +Metropolitan JONAH and passed with flying colors. Those that required him to get it should have to get them as well to prove that they are not “gravely troubled” as well. I am not holding my breath that this will happen.

  9. Mark from the DOS says

    I am reminded of the old Wendy’s commercial.


    It seems that all Stokoe has here is another stolen Fester e-mail which he tries to use to hang Metropolitan Jonah. Yet I read the speech and all I can think is when am I getting to the objectionable part? When do I read something that shows HB is a threat to Orthodoxy; that he is engaged in conduct in violation of the Canons of the church? When do I get to the part that shows behavior worthy of a three month cyber-tantrum and dire warnings about the need for further action.

    It seems Stokoe was told to keep quiet for a week or two after Chicago. But make no mistake, this petty kingmaker is frothing at the mouth for more controversy. How long until he decides to threaten another bishop with a cyber-smear campaign in order to provoke action. Stokoe’s own words tell us the answer is soon:

    +Jonah has and is a problem, and will remain one. Resolving that problem is the Synod’s task, and one that cannot wait resolution forever.

    This little dictator’s putsch may have been quelled temporarily, but make no mistake, St. Mark of the Lavender Fields will shortly be e-mailing, cajoling and threatening to accomplish his goal. Who will stand up and say Enough! Who on the Holy Synod will finally realize that they cannot be guided by a cyber-bully with transparency issues all his own? Who will say the ends do not justify the means, Mr. Stokoe? This is one little man on a metropolitan council. Are there no other members willing to say we will not be ruled by you? Or does fear rule the day through all bodies of the OCA?

    Enough is enough. If Metropolitan Jonah sneezed, Stokoe would find a way to editorialize about it. And his lap dogs would devour the remnants while praising his self-glorifying drivel. Posts like that just make me want to scream.

  10. I’ve been digging through the 2009 Treasurer’s report, and I do not see any line item that can possibly refer to moving the Metropolitan for any amount near $20,000. I may have missed something, and would welcome the input of anyone who can spot it.

    I do see the line item for “Washington DC Transition” in the proposed FY 2010 budget, but it appears to have been removed by the Metropolitan Council. Furthermore, that line item is for $50,000, not $20,000. And even $20,000 sounds very excessive for moving a household, much less $50,000. Metropolitan Jonah and Monk Gregory are monks – so it’s not like they would have a ton of stuff – and the move was only a few hundred miles. Figures like $20,000 or $50,000 sound more like they were meant for moving the chancery from Syosset to DC, in which case it would not be part of the Metropolitan’s compensation but an expense of operating the business.

    Anyway, the MC removed the item from the budget, so the money was never disbursed in FY2010.

    Also, Stokoe says that Metropolitan Jonah was “moving his personal household to DC where he desired to live, since he steadfastly refused to live in Syosset”. He makes it sound like moving to DC was some lordly whim of His Beatitude, demanding to live in Versailles because he doesn’t feel like living in the capital. In truth, Metropolitan Jonah refused to live in Versailles, and wants to move the seat of government out of that country palace and into the city.

    Anyway, the truth is that the division of the Diocese of Washington and New York, with Metropolitan Jonah taking the Washington diocese and New York being allowed to elect their own bishop, was accomplished by a vote of the Synod. So if Stokoe is genuinely puzzled as to why Metropolitan Jonah lives in Washington, DC, it’s because that’s where the Synod put him.

    • And he’s our bishop. It makes no sense at all for our bishop to be based on Long Island (nothing against LI, I grew up in Queens). The Synod has now purported to forbid him from moving the Chancery to his own diocese on the pretense that the Chancery is answerable to the Synod, and the further fiction that the Synod is based on Long Island. It was a Synodal coup, a rebellion. Uncanonical and illogical.

      • It costs ~$18,000.00 per month to maintain Syossot, and this mansion is only 1/2 used, crumbling and unnecessary, since any office complex floor would suffice much better – and at a lesser cost! Among those on the committee to decide if the OCA office should be moved was: Fr. Eric Tossi – can anyone say ‘conflict of interest’??? Not DC? OK. Where….??? The conditions under which the Oyster Bay 15 acre mansion was given to the OCA (must be kept for 50 years) have expired. It’s past time to get out of that mansion and into reality, and this is what was proposed. Why aren’t people asking. “What’s the hold up?”??? There is money tied up in that building and property that are needed by the OCA. What is the hold up???

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          How many rooms are there in the mansion? And I hear that it was originally intended to be a summer house.

        • I noticed that they budget upwards of $20,000 per year on “Lawn”, and have overspent that by a large margin in both FY2009 and FY2010. Did they put in a secret golf course or swimming pool?

      • The bottom line is that if they wanted Metropolitan Jonah to live in Syosset, they could have easily put him in charge of New York rather than Washington. They elected to make him bishop of Washington alone.

        And if they did this only because Metropolitan Jonah insisted, that means the supposed glutton for power and wealth chose to minimize his own authority by taking a tiny diocese over the megalopolis diocese that Met. Herman created.

        • Actually, Helga, my guess is that the Synod did this to marginalize the Metropolitanate. That is, make the Met the Bishop of DC and keep the Chancery (ie. Central Admin) in Syosset, where the cronies could maintain their power. Jonah wanted to change that by moving the CA to DC, which makes sense because the CA reports to him (disputed now by the Stokovites), but that was obviously a huge threat to the CA itself, especially as HB suggested that the staff might be too large in any case.

          But this was a planned coup. MS is now working double time to refute some obvious truth telling from our Metropolitan. Where do we stand? Will we stand together or not?

          • Heracleides says

            I stand with you Brendan. Thought I might as well put those university community organization/advocacy courses to work and I am presently working on a couple of projects for implementation at the AAC. If you think you might like to join in handing out various items at the start of the AAC and discuss other actions, email me at: heracleides at gmail dot com.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Now Helga, you’re thinking logically. We can’t have that now, can we?

  11. Geo Michalopulos says

    For the life of me, I can’t understand what’s objectionable in HB’s speech. Nick, could you please translate Stokoespeak for us peasants? Surely there’s something horrible in here.

  12. Nick Katich says


    I was not commenting on Jonah’s speech (which I assure you as I breathe that he did not write). I was commenting on Peter’s remarks.

    However, since you seem axnious for some comment, I will proffer that it does strike me as PioNonoEsque to say: “Only I as Metropolitan have the responsibility for this Church as a whole, in the face of God. And is my responsibility to bring about and foster the unity between us, as my office is the icon of that unity” to which I, as a Royal Priest, disagree and “I alone here have the responsibility to intervene in other dioceses where there is disorder” to which I, as a “synodalist”, also object.

    To me, it ain’t about JP. It is all about JC.

    • Nick Katich says


      I forgot to mention, I don’t speak Stokoespeak. I signed the Manhattan Declaration. For that I applaud Jonah although it would have been better if the whole Synod signed it. It would be nice to put the AAC to the test and see if they endorse it.

      • Nick Katich says


        PS: You are not a peasant. Someone else appropriated the Muzhik title ahead of either of us. However, I would reiterate, my lineage is traceable to at least four hundred years of Serbian peasants from Bosnia.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Actually, I am a peasant on both sides of my family. And proud of it. But really, criticizing the content of OCAT’s analysis because one of its principals used the moniker “Muzhik”? Really? I guess that invalidates The Federalist Papers.

    • Nick, those comments that you despise are based on current OCA church law. Clearly you don’t like current OCA church law — So why not work to change it! Make the church in your image! Then you can be happy most of the time and rational in your contempt the rest of the time.

      But until you get busy and do that, it is ridiculous to criticize any bishop for failing to implement your personal vision and instead being faithful to what the church itself has defined in canon and statute.

      Even if you don’t like what I’m saying, you do get my point, don’t you?

      I agree, it would be informative to put the AAC to the test. No matter what, it will be informative to see what the AAC does. From my outsider’s perspective Stokoe is being incredibly sloppy right now. That either means he is self-destructing or he believes victory is guaranteed.

      • Nick Katich says

        Ah, Um:

        You have rightly perceived what I have set out my task in the remainder of my days to be. As I said earlier, I am not a renovationist. Those that followed John the Faster, Moghila, etc. are the renovationists. Fr. Schememann, Bishop Athanasius of Serbia, Fr. Kern, Lossky, Fr. Florovsky and others have tried to return the Church to its Apostolic roots. To a great extent, at least liturgically, if not yet ecclesiologically, they are succeeding, even postumously. I intend to do my small part although never being able to fill those gigantic shoes. Liturgical revival is growing deep roots. Hopefully, ecclesiological revival will soon, though slowly, follow.

        Some may perceive my comments here to be anti-Jonah. They are not. They merely reflect my view of ecclesiology without regard to the individuals who are Metropolitan or Diocesan Bishop. I would take the same postions regardless of whether, for example, Fr. Schememann of Thrice Blessed Memory were Metropolitan and the farcical Soraiches and Fitzgeralds were the Synod. I say that, though it would admittedly be a personal and emotional difficulty to think that the Soraiches and Fitzgeralds could ever “control” a Synod.

        I would only caution an exception to one of your comments, namely “defined in canon and statute”. Some of what Jonah said could be interpreted as defined in statute although the statute is, as he has himself admitted, unclear. In canons, he is dead wrong. That is the heart of my disagreement. Canonically, the primate may do nothing, according to Apostolic Canon 34, without the consent of the Synod.

        By the way, Apostolic Canon 34 has an interesting history and none of the so-called “Apostolic Canons” were written by the Apostles. But, they are Canons adopted by the Council of Trullo during the height of the Church’s temporary, temporal subservience to the State.

        • Canonically, the primate may do nothing, according to Apostolic Canon 34, without the consent of the Synod.

          And neither may the rest do anything without the consent of the primate.

        • Nick, so then just lobby for them to remove this from church statute, and you should be good to go, right? If this is such a clear violation of canon, then it shouldn’t take the remainder of your days to convince the divinely appointed Holy Synod of your case:

          OCA STATUTE-Article IV, Section 2i. “The Metropoitan Has the right of pastoral initiative and guidance, and when necessary the right of of pastoral intervention, in all matters concerning the life of the Church.”

          The thing that Jonah said was unclear was a limited matter as follows:

          What is the authority of the Metropolitan in regards to his Chancery Staff? The OCA Statute is very unclear. But, the Human Resources guide to Policies and Procedures is very clear.

          • I do appreciate your thoughtful replies, so let me try to do a little better myself here.

            As best I can tell everything Jonah said is consistent with canon 34. The following is an English translation from the Hilarion essay Brendan pointed us to:

            The bishops of all peoples should know the first among them and recognize him as the head, and do nothing that exceeds their authority without his consideration. Each should carry out only that which relates to his own diocese and to areas belonging to it. But the first among them should also do nothing without the consideration of all.

            I would like to acknowledge that your preferred model does seem like a viable model for church governance to me. As I understand your model, the very highest and final authority in an autocephalous church would be vested in a Synod of Bishops. Immediately under them on an organizational flow chart would come the “first among them” or “head” bishop. The Synod would presumably function like a legislative body or board of trustees for the autocephalous church and the “head bishop” as both a member of that body and a chief executive who implements the wishes of the legislative body/board of trustees. This is an entirely reasonable organizational model, and I personally would have no problems with it. I suspect many others here and elsewhere would be ok with it too. The fact that this model would fit so closely with current American for-profit and non-profit governance practices would also be of tremendous benefit.

            As a minor inconvenience, this model does not seem to fit neatly with the spirit of canon 34, which suggests something more like a “loving monarch” model for national church governance. But I merely point that out as an observation, not to goad you about the matter.

            Personally, I think the “apostolic canons” should be honored no so much for being divine revelation as for being part of the established structure and tradition of the institution. They should be honored because one shows respect and love towards others in the institution (both past, present, and future) by honoring the cumulative history of shared decision making up to the present moment. They should only be changed via mechanisms that have already been accepted by all for accomplishing such changes (specifically, if they were established via Ecumenical Council, then they should only be changed via Ecumenical Council).

            If my understanding of these matters is correct, to achieve your vision for church governance via established mechanisms, you would need to convince the AAC to make a few changes to OCA statute (to remove some prerogatives of the metropolitan, MC, and AAC, and to clearly vest all final authority in the Holy Synod — making it the legal board of trustees for the national church, if it is not currently, which I’m guessing it is not) and then you would need to convince a future Ecumenical Council to slightly update canon 34 (to reflect current Western nonprofit board-governance models, as opposed to the out-dated monarchical governance models in vogue at the time the canon was originally articulated).

            • Taking a step back for a moment:

              When you look at the effort to remove Jonah under false pretenses, this is clearly an injustice that must be addressed as soon as possible to restore the church to some semblance of order and functionality. The church is at best paralyzed until this crisis is resolved; at worst it is falling apart and lives are being damaged by the chaos.

              You have to understand how it must frustrate others when you seem unsympathetic to these pressing concerns. I personally cannot understand why you do not actively support your brothers and sisters in addressing this crisis as soon as possible. As a matter of priority, you guys have to remove all those who conspired to use false pretenses to oust Jonah. The moment this is accomplished, emotions will settle, trust will become possible again, and you can begin to work on other matters of importance.

  13. This is pure and adulterated Met. Jonah P. and no one else wrote it. Anyone who thinks otherwise not only does not know the man, but has not seen, read, or heard +JONAH.