Parsing Stokoe: It’s the Same Old Tired Game Plan

Credit: Heracleides

Credit: Heracleides

Stokoe Drops the Pretense

The nearly two week long silence about the death of Archbishop Dmitri on OCANews confirms that editor Mark Stokoe has dropped the pretense that he reports the news in the OCA. Readers should accept what his critics have said for years: OCANews is Stokoe’s private blog and designed to interpret and drive events in accord with his peculiar vision of how the Church should be run.

Stokoe’s lapse is not without purpose, however. Instead of news about +Dmitri’s death, arguably one of the most significant events within the OCA this year, Stokoe focused in on a handful of articles published on an obscure Russian language website that serves his tiresome narrative that Metropolitan Jonah is unfit to serve. These articles, according to Stokoe, were written by “a little-known, recently-consecrated hierarch of the non-canonical ‘True Orthodox Church.’”

Stokoe’s usual strategy is to drop a bomb right before a meeting of the Holy Synod, Metropolitan Council, or other major function. This week was no different. His latest screed arrived just in time for a meeting of the Lesser Synod.

Before we parse it, let’s take a look at the methods Stokoe uses to shape his narrative.

How Stokoe Shapes the ‘News’

Stokoe always draws from the same playbook:

  1. Plant rumors.
  2. Repeat the rumors over and over again.
  3. Refer to the rumor as fact by citing earlier reports of the rumor as evidence.
  4. Manipulate information to confirm the facts.
  5. Assemble the facts to shape a new narrative.

If readers gives Stokoe the benefit of the doubt, they usually don’t see the game plan. And often it works. For example, in Stokoe’s first (and particularly vicious) attack on +Jonah, OCANews labeled Fr. Joseph Fester as part of the “inner circle” and thus a villain over 240 times in his articles and forum. This was before Stokoe published Father Joseph’s emails that he stole along with Bp. Mark. Plant the rumors, treat them as facts, then manipulate information to serve as evidence of the facts.

Someone needs to read through all of Stokoe’s writings, count how often he slanders people by name, and then list them one by one. This will confirm that the core of Stokoe’s narrative is that +Jonah is unstable and unfit to serve. This theme was chosen to justify the attempted coup in Santa Fe last year. Look back at the ‘reporting’ to see how he tilled the ground when he and his co-conspirators thought the coup was a slam-dunk. He sticks to the playbook because it’s all he has got.

Parsing Stokoe

This brings us to Stokoe’s latest mythmaking: “Obscure Chronology Reveals Details of +Jonah’s Actions in Moscow Affair.” Here’s one example of his characteristic excess:

More importantly Moguntov’s chronology, if true, provides details of the actions of Metropolitan Jonah and offers a revealing glimpse into the problems Metropolitan Jonah occasions for the Synod (and the other governing bodies of the OCA, as well). The chronology shows the Metropolitan is both dismissive and unwilling to act according to the standards and policies of the OCA when faced with allegations he finds unpleasant. When he finally is forced to act, he attempts to circumvent any investigation by the Synod, committees and OCA legal counsel. Then, when told to recuse himself from the matter, +Jonah nevertheless continues to interfere, causing further legal, canonical and pastoral turmoil. Moguntov’s chronology reveals what has long been discussed in the higher circles of the OCA but never so clearly documented before – the governing bodies of the OCA attempting to work with the Metropolitan who seems only interested in working against them.

“…if true”? Is he serious? Then look at the connotations of the words he uses to substantiate his feverish conjectures: circumvent, interfere, turmoil, dismissive, unwilling to act and so forth. Does this sound like journalism or propaganda?

The most egregious claim is: “Never so clearly documented before – the governing bodies of the OCA attempting to work with the Metropolitan who seems only interested in working against them.” Who is lying to whom here? The documentation reveals precisely the opposite. Stokoe supporters should stop and ponder the dismissive contempt he displays toward his readers. How stupid does he think they are?

Another bit of Stokoe magic is embedded in the term “governing bodies.” Who are the governing bodies of the OCA? The Synod comes to mind, but since when did Syosset become a governing body? The lifelong bureaucrats see their access to power and information as their birthright. Woe to any unsuspecting Metropolitan who does not toe their line.

Anatomy of a Smear

Stokoe’s reporting of Fr. Zacchaeus Wood is also disgraceful. Look how maligning Fr. Zacchaeus in order to impugn +Jonah becomes a complicated weave:

+Jonah’s actions in the last two weeks of July as stated by the Moguntov chronology, reveal why the governing bodies of the OCA are increasingly thrown into aporia. How does one go forward with a Primate who, having interfered with an investigation by attempting to circumvent it, recuses himself, then publicly denies the allegations as “fabrications” even before the investigation is held? How does one go forward with a Metropolitan, who, having held repeated private conversations with opposing counsel against the advice of his own, reinserts himself in the process after recusing himself, and then orders things according to the wishes of the opposing counsel? Ultimately he restores the accused clergyman to sacramental ministry, with no regard for even a cursory investigation or concern for the alleged “victims”. In short, the Metropolitan of the OCA, instead of defending the policies, standards and best practices of the OCA, is opposing all those who would.”

In order to smear Met. Jonah with all these accusations, it is first necessary to provide the Internet public with a lot of information about another priest that is at best inappropriate, and at worst slanderous. The details of this complaint should have remained confidential or even under the seal of confession.

It appears that Syosset was privy to the information and leaked it like a sieve, even going so far as to place the announcement on the official OCA website in all its gory detail. By putting this out over +Jonah’s signature, any retraction or modification would have to be equally public, thereby increasing the FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) factor, and providing red meat for the next +Jonah beating Synod meeting.

The Central Administration’s handling of the complaint against Fr. Zacchaeus resulted in the maximum scandalous impact — before the facts are even in. Even if one attributes the highest of motives to the players, Fr. Zacchaeus’ reputation has been permanently damaged.

Looking back at most of the turmoil created in the OCA, the recurring problem is the torrent of information from either the Syosset Stooges or select Bishops. They leak private pastoral information for personal gain, often to Stokoe who yearns to share their bed. Imagine if a priest fell on difficult times and needed help. Do you think he would reach out to these “pastors” and risk the same kind of public crucifixion?

Of course, if you can’t get information on a person’s private struggles, you can always conspire to hack an email account or two and steal it from there. That act, more than any other, has come to define Stokoe’s character. He has yet to admit he even did it. The only redeeming element is that Stokoe’s new tagline “Aporia” shows us that his seminary education was not a complete waste.

Stokoe’s Malfeasance Affects the Church

With men like Stokoe or the Syosset Stooges defining what the Church should be, what young man would ever want to become a priest if it meant subordinating himself to their influence and control? Can you blame him? Moreover, if you encounter a man who wants to wear the White Hat under these circumstances, rest assured he is not the best man for the job.

These Machiavellian schemes and bureaucratic power plays have got to stop, and it is up to clear thinking laity to stop them. Bring this Church back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

About GShep

Comments

  1. Heracleides says

    For the “Stokovites” out there (you know who you are), this piece of satire was composed just for you: http://s1235.photobucket.com/home/Heracleides

  2. Herc, you’re killing me! I almost spit up my coffee!

  3. Brian McDonald says

    Note: I’m posting this here, as George has advised us to continue the postings from the “Yet Another Enconium” thread here.

    Well, let me be a fool who rushes in where angels (or even moderately wise folks) would fear to tread. I’m new to this blog and should probably just keep my thoughts to myself, but some things are bothering me, so I’m going to be a fool and speak.

    First, let me say that like some others, I’m a former “Stokovite” who had his blinders removed once certain priests started posting certain defenses of certain lifestyles on his website. Like others, this made me re-evaluate everything Mark’s ever posted and made me wonder how much of his reformist agenda was really driven by another much less honorable one.

    This threw me into a state of confusion and I’ve been reading a lot of blogs at OCAtruth, A.O.I. and this site to try and get a clear sense of the reality behind some of our controversies. While I’ve emerged from this as a supporter of H.B. and learned more than I wish I knew about the extent and kinds of corruption in the OCA, I’ve also had the sense that often more heat than light was being shed, and this is particularly true with the willingness of many who are on “my” side to engage in innuendo, some gossip, and sometimes insult.

    To take one of the milder examples, why is everyone piling on Carl Kraeff—often offensively and sometimes using coarse language. From what I can tell, Carl is neither a “Stokovite” or an “OCAtruther” but a reasonable inquirer who looks at both sides and makes reasonable arguments for his own position. Unlike some of his opponents on this thread, he is (usually) restrained and charitable in his tone. While some, to their credit, have replied in the same manner, others have been engaged in harsh and crude venting.

    I recall that in the dispute between Pope Stephen of Rome and St. Cyprian of Carthage over rebaptism of former heretics, one historian spoke of how “Cyprian did right in a wrong cause, while Stephen did wrong in a right cause.” This was because the church, following Stephen, backed up the “right cause” and came out against rebaptism. But while Stephen was “right,” he was so bellicose and harsh (as opposed to Cyprian’s mild and conciliatory tones) that Cyprian emerged looking a whole lot better.

    It is possible to do wrong in a right cause, and that’s why sometimes people are driven away and “turned off” by the right cause. I think the truth is dishonored when it’s not spoken in love. And when I say “love” I don’t mean gooey and falsely ‘nice’ language. I think it’s possible to be blunt and forceful while at the same time not questioning motives, or just venting, or coming close to name-calling.

    • Brian,

      You say you are new here so I have to wonder have you read the comments sections going back to February? A momentous task I know, but if not, you might want to do so to see why many (myself included) view Carl as a dyed-in-the-wool Stokovite. He’s entitled to his opinions, etc., etc., but he does consistently tie himself in knots in defense of Mrs. Stokoe-Brown’s agenda no matter how increasingly blatant it is displayed on OCAN. This, I feel, is why many (again, myself included) have tended to interact with Carl with progressively less patience as time has passed. Maybe that is not ‘right’ or ‘loving’ enough, but it is human; be it brawling bishops in council, monks with clubs, or rioting laymen – these situations have occurred from time to time in the history of our church when defending the faith. Is this the best response? I don’t know. Your words have much merit; but just as you can point to the historical example of a couple of bishops, so too can I point to our Lord in cleansing the Temple. Just my two cents. Peace.

      • Heracleides,

        This question has been on my mind for several days now: Would you still call Mark Stokoe “Mrs. Stokoe-Brown” if Jesus were standing next to you?

        Brian’s last paragraph expresses my point more eloquently than I ever could, so I’ll simply refer back to that. (I am not commenting on Carl Kraeff, as I have no idea who that is.)

    • Brian, I appreciate your words. There is obviously room for improvement for all of us, myself most of all. The reason I don’t respond to Carl myself is not because I can’t answer his arguments, it’s because over the past six months of posting here, he just seems willfully obstinate about a lot of things, and I find it hard to keep my peace. But I’ll tell you two of the reasons I admire Metropolitan Jonah: he *can* generally keep his peace–freely apologizing and asking forgiveness on the rare occasion that he doesn’t–and he’s not afraid to call someone down for getting out of line, even if he or she is on his side. So don’t be afraid to speak up when you believe someone has crossed the line.

    • Thanks Brian. I feel that I am often tilting at windmills here. Nonetheless, it is important for folks here to be reminded again and again that their echo chamber is not the entire universe. Some, like Helga, get offended when I disagree with them persistently. Some, like Heracleides, are fond of insulting their enemies through crude cartoons and language unbecoming an Orthodox Christian. Others like our esteemed host, the OCAT folks, supporters of Mr Kondratick and all those burned by OCAN have agendas. So, you are indeed not in a spin-free environment here. But, that is OK as I do not think of any forum that is spin and agenda free. I do enjoy the give and take but at times, just like Helga, I get frustrated and lose my composure. Bottom line: Stokoe is not all bad, +Jonah is not all good, and this blog is generally interesting (hat’s tip to George). Best regards, Carl

      • Thanks for the hat tip, Carl. I appreciate it.

        Brian: since we’re on this topic, I don’t view Monomakhos as an echo chamber. I for one don’t censor anybody. I’m full-throatedly Conservative and Traditionalist. I also know I’m a human being and can be (and often is) wrong. Having said that, in my defense (and leaving modesty aside), the reason this site can sound like an “echo chaber” is because like Talk Radio, it has unleashed the creative energies of people who are Conservative, Traditionalist, and can see through the objuscation and propaganda of genuinely untrustworthy, often despicable people. In the case of Talk Radio we’re talking about the Lamestream Media which is going ape-shit over Rick Perry’s denomination or Mitt Romney’s religion but was strangely quiet about the rantings of that rat bastard, blasphemous heretic who was Imam Obama’s “pastor” for 20 years.

        In the case of this site and OCATruth, it’s in response to the very real damage that OCANews has done over the past 20 years, destroying lives and pastorates, and all because (in a rare flash of brilliance) the OCA chose a long time ago to not ordain the deposed Ober-Procurator of the OCA.

        • Brian McDonald says

          George et al,

          I thank everyone for their mild and charitable responses to my criticisms about tone. Perhaps since I’m a “rookie” (though I posted once a couple of months ago) everyone has decided to take it easy on me till I’ve gotten toughened up a bit. At any rate, I was relieved by the welcoming and explanatory tone of your responses.

          By the way I’ve been following this site for quite a while, since approximately July 10th in fact. That was the date Fr. Alexis Vinogradov posted “New beginnings in community: Gender issues and the Church” on OCA News. Reading it, I realized I’d been wrong when I told my evangelical son-in-law, that if he wanted to avoid the continual “reinventions” and doctrinal instability of modern Protestantism he should become Orthodox. I told him that some Priests might be corrupt and the faith of a lot church members purely nominal, but the faith itself was passed on in tact from generation to generation, open in all its glorious and saving fullness for all who wished to taste and see how good the Lord was. And that wouldn’t change. After reading Fr. Alexis’s article (and learning some other disturbing things subsequently) I realized how wrong I was. The “God-guarded” city of Constantinople fell to the Turks. There’s no automatic guarantee that any given Orthodox jurisdiction will prevail against the Modernist Turks.

          Fr. Alexis’s post or rather the agenda I was convinced lay behind it made me certain that I could no longer trust OCA News’s take on the Metropolitan since the proprietor of that web site, and probably some influential allies of his, were clearly, for various reasons antagonistic to the firm stands H.B. took on traditional marriage and sexuality. That didn’t mean that everything Mark said, particularly about the financial scandal he’d done a lot to bring to light, had to be thrown out. But clearly a heavy discount needed to be put on it his claims: both his evidence and the interpretations he put on the evidence needed to be very carefully scrutinized from here on out. And as part of that “scrutinizing” process, I’d need to consult other web sites. Hence, I started reading the formerly despised OCA Truth, and also was guided by a friend of mine to this web site and A.O.I.

          This background is just to make the point that if I’m concerned about “tone” it’s because I’m a traditionalist who’s instinctively in sympathy with a lot of what I read here. If not, I’d be far less bothered at the points where vigorous debate gets derailed into uncharitable polemic (“you piss me off”), or insult (“Mrs. Stokoe-Brown”) or innuendo (“twenty years so-and-so was friends or roommates with someone who’s morally questionable, so their ideas can be rejected”). Why not stick to the issues, not pass on gossip or speculation, avoid anything that is ad hominem, and remember St. Paul’s admonition to fight with the weapons of the spirit and not the flesh?

          Fortunately none of you as yet know how much this homily needs to be heeded by the one who is posting it.

      • Mark from the DOS says

        Bottom line: Stokoe is not all bad, +Jonah is not all good

        This is what many of us have been saying, but we get labeled as OCATruthers, Team Jonah or some other loving and Christian moniker for not accepting that everything OCANews prints is pure in motive, grounded in truth and free from agendas. In fact, if Stokoe even once had been willing to conced the above regarding Metropolitan Jonah, the rancor on sites like this would likely be considerably less.

        • Stokoe can’t even manage to say one nice thing about Metropolitan Jonah. That’s what really gets me.

          Stokoe also apparently trusts this guy who he admits he’d never heard of, who he knows gets several things wrong, and cannot spell his name correctly even once (it’s Mogutnov!).

    • Carl (and everyone) should take the time to read Bp Tikhon’s post at https://www.monomakhos.com/2011/09/yet-another-enconium/#comment-10516

  4. If I were Metropolitan Jonah, I’d start taking care of that autopen in Syosset as soon as possible. He should demand that the Synod fire Bishop Melchisedek as interim chancellor immediately. Bishop Michael could do it, or one of the NYC-area OCA priests: there’s only about fifteen or twenty of them to choose from!

    If Bishop Melchisedek would dare to sign Metropolitan Jonah’s name to a letter that Metropolitan Jonah hasn’t written or even seen, who knows what else has been signed in Metropolitan Jonah’s name that he is potentially liable for? Are we going to find more pastoral decisions that he did not make, like this one? What about the possibility that property and financial decisions were made and enacted with his signature, decisions that he had nothing to do with? It is far too dangerous to ignore this as if it were a simple secretarial mistake.

    • Helga–just a couple of questions, so please take pity and respond this one time.

      Is the article by Parishioner at OCAT wrong in saying that the Metropolitan had agreed with the actions that were promulgated by that letter under his signature–whether or not he actually signed it?

      If the Metropolitan had not seen the letter nor signed it, does that mean that the letter in its essentials exceeded what the Metropolitan had agreed to?

      Thanks, Carl

      • Carl,

        I don’t know to what extent the Met agreed with the contents of the letter. Perhaps it was explicit, perhaps not. My criticism of him is that he at least tacitly agreed to it by not immediately stopping the idiocy. He is the Met, and it happened on his watch.

        Now I understand this is easier said than done: think about the position he must have been in when the letter was received. Does he throw his staff under the buss, or does he let them dither this case into an avalanche? He has to take this on the chin, but I have sympathy for anyone who has to act when “the right way is wholly lost and gone.”

        • George Michalopulos says

          Jesse, +Jonah’s too kindhearted, that’s his problem. Plus, he’s deliberative. Sometimes when you do the right thing (in this case repudiating the letter), things can still blow up in your face. Especially when you’re dealing with jokers who are determined to undermine you.

    • Helga, excellent point. Suppose Bp Mel encumbered the OCA with a purchase of real property or financial instruments that went south. The whole OCA would be on the hoof for this. Of course at that point +Jonah could repudiate his signature and Syosset, being too clever by half at that point, would have to admit that HB is able to disassociate himself from such a contract. This of course would gall them to no end because in doing so, they would give credence to the argument that Zacchaeus Wood was acted upon illegaly by use of the same ruse (i.e. +Jonah’s signature). Can anybody hear the words wrongfull termination lawsuit? I can.

      • I may be a little biased. I’ve met several members of the chancery staff, and I can count on one finger(!) the number of staffers who might actually be professionally competent.

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          Gee, that doesn’t sound very reassuring.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Would you deem the Metropolitan to be “professionally” competent? What does it mean for a clergyman to be professionally competent anyway?

          Metropolitan Jonah is a relatively young man who was thrust into his current office with hardly any experience in being a bishop. He had to grow in the office and become “professionally” competent, whatever that means. I think everyone agrees that he has made mistakes. The Holy Synod cut him some slack for a long time and finally stepped in to apply some corrective action. I believe that the Holy Synod took the corrective action in brotherly love to help +Jonah and not as a prelude to getting rid of him. No big deal.

          I do not agree with Stokoe that +Jonah is not salvageable. I think that +Jonah has great potential and will eventually become a great Metropolitan but he has some growing up to do, to hone his managerial and leadership skills, to become a team player and to control his impulse to fly solo. I continue to pray for his success as I do for each member of the Holy Synod, Central Administration, Metropolitan and Diocesan Councils, members of the clergy and laity. I pray that folks would quit criticizing with bitterness, hatred and in ways unbecoming Orthodox Christians.

          • Would you deem the Metropolitan to be “professionally” competent? What does it mean for a clergyman to be professionally competent anyway?

            Truth be told, I didn’t consider the Metropolitan part of the “chancery staff” for that statement. I think he’s competent, obviously, but his own office is in Washington, DC. And that is just one out of the ones I’ve actually met, which isn’t all of them. Maybe it would be better to just say there’s some deeply nasty people who work for the OCA, I’ve had some of that nastification thrown at me, and leave it at that.

            Metropolitan Jonah is a relatively young man who was thrust into his current office with hardly any experience in being a bishop.

            Maybe this is just because I come at this from the “under 35” set, but I think people exaggerate Metropolitan Jonah’s relative youth and inexperience.

            People talk about Metropolitan Jonah’s relative youth as if he were a five year old drawing on the walls with crayons, but he was actually an experienced pastor and well-formed monastic. Yes, he’d been a bishop for exactly eleven days when they plunked the white hat on his head, but he was 49 years old, fourteen years past the canonical age for consecrating a bishop, and one year away from being eligible to join the AARP.

            He had spent the past twelve years eking out a darn fine monastery from a moldy hermitage, despite indifference, and in some cases malicious interference, from outside sources. When his first brotherhood on that site was dissolved, he persevered and formed another by the grace of God. He had also founded and served many missions in California, and published a journal from the monastery. Before that, he had graduated college, gotten two master’s degrees from SVS, was the vice-president of a mortgage company, lived in Russia for a while, received monastic formation at Valaam, and survived a bout with cancer.

            By any measure he was an outstanding candidate for the episcopacy, and had received formation for that ministry under Archbishop Dmitri. There’s no shortage of biographical information about Archbishop Dmitri these days, but I think it will suffice to remind you that he basically built the Diocese of the South out of a few rag-tag missions and churches scattered across fourteen states, and he considered then-Abbot Jonah to be a worthy successor to carry on his work.

            He had to grow in the office and become “professionally” competent, whatever that means. I think everyone agrees that he has made mistakes. The Holy Synod cut him some slack for a long time and finally stepped in to apply some corrective action. I believe that the Holy Synod took the corrective action in brotherly love to help +Jonah and not as a prelude to getting rid of him. No big deal.

            Who was cutting him some slack when the bishops leaked like a sieve about their supposedly confidential meeting, putting a false story on Romfea.gr before the meeting was even over?

            Who was cutting him some slack when they complained about his travel expenditures, little noticing the overages on other budget items (including the staggering overage incurred by the Metropolitan Council itself, the body that SETS the budget)?

            Who has been cutting him some slack when at least one of them has been feeding information to Mark Stokoe for the past six months, all of it used to defame the Metropolitan and undermine his leadership?

            Who was cutting him some slack when they interfered in the internal affairs of the Archdiocese of Washington, forcing him to fire his cathedral dean over some ill-advised emails?

            Who was cutting him some slack when they persecuted that dean over those stupid emails, but ignored the unethical manner in which they were obtained?

            Who was cutting him some slack when they ordered him to take a battery of psychiatric tests (which he passed), and had Fr. Thomas Hopko openly call his sanity into question with a pathetic non-apology following soon after?

            Who was cutting him some slack when they “suggested” that he retreat at Ellwood City, where he wouldn’t be able to live with the monastics since they are ladies and we just don’t do things like that in the Orthodox Church, but he would be under the watchful eye of that Fr. Thomas Hopko?

            Was Bishop Benjamin cutting him some slack when he forbade Metropolitan Jonah from retreating at the monastery he founded, even though a monastic retreat was what the rest of the Synod had asked him to do? If Metropolitan Jonah invaded hell, Bishop Benjamin would probably make at least a favorable reference to the devil in front of the rest of the Synod.

            Everybody makes mistakes. Metropolitan Jonah freely admitted as much in the speech he drafted that was leaked to Stokoe. But I think his biggest mistake was not insisting that the rest of the Synod atone for their daft arrogance during the troubles, and not insisting that they put the “holy” back in “Holy Synod”. The Synod can show him some brotherly love by letting him do his freaking job for a change, without a stalker or babysitter following him everywhere he goes!

            • George Michalopulos says

              Wow, Helga. I’m glad you’re on our side. The litany of facts that you state solidifies the rightness of +Jonah’s position in these matters. It’s an excellent summation and I hope you don’t mind if in the future I use it as a blog posting.

            • You forgot to mention that Metropolitan Jonah served in his first assignment as the priest for the St. Mary Magdalene Mission in Merced, CA before going to St. Eugene’s Hermitage at Pt Reyes and establishing the monastery of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco there. That monastery did not dissolve, it moved. The 15 acres or so that they had at Pt Reyes was untenable as a monastic location with all of the rules and regulations for any California property on the coast. They were not allowed to do any construction without an enormous number of permits totaling about $500,000 just for the paperwork. That may be an exasperation, but that is what I was told. Anyway, as a former member of the Merced Mission, I can vouch the character of that fine young man, Metropolitan Jonah. I have been a member of AARP for about 20 years.

              • Thanks, Jacksson, but the one that dissolved was the one that started in the late 90’s, am I right? It is said that there were several monks with him in Point Reyes in the late 90’s, but some outside interference (biographies are very cagey about this) caused things to fall apart by 2000. Another brotherhood (mostly with different people, it seems) formed not long after that, though, and was successful enough that they were able to buy the property in Manton around 2005 or so, I think.

                A lot of histories seem to gloss over that, maybe for fear of making Metropolitan Jonah look bad. But I thought it showed more of his extraordinary character, that he was able to take such a painful experience and persevere.

                • You are right, Helga, some people have some bad information. I, personally, moved the then Fr. Jonah to Pt Reyes in late 1996. I was there frequently maintaining close contact with my spiritual father (and he still is).

                  The monastery had many painful events with young men coming and going and of course, Fr. Jonah growing into his position; as he has stated, he did not have a strong monastic formation when the monastery started. Other problems occurred such as the inability of the monastery to expand due to regulatory agencies, funding problems, and locating a suitable location to move to. Fr. Jonah, as I knew him then, was always very conciliatory and the brotherhood had meetings and made decisions with their abbot, it was definitely not a dictatorship.

                  Some of the young men left to pursue academics at St Vlads and other institutions; one died in a tragic accident by drowning up near Eureka. There were a lot of rough edges on the part of all involved, from Bishop Tikhon down to the newest novice, that needed to be filed down; that is the way life in Christ is, we all all being worked on. There was some outside interference that created problems, but I am not going to name names and those problems were gone by the time of the move.

                  Anyway, after several false starts regarding a new location, Manton property was located and was determined to be a very viable place to be for the brotherhood. The brotherhood was in full bloom when the move was made, there were quite a few monks who moved quite well from Pt Reyes to Manton and the monastery was able to quickly grow to overflowing in the new location (they were overflowing at Pt Reyes and there was an extreme shortage of quarters).

                  The Pt Reyes property was sold for a good price (California coastal property is very pricey). The chapel at Pt Reyes created somewhat of a problem and I am not sure what happened to the concrete standup walls and all of that, but the dome of the chapel was moved to Manton and is now the dome of the church there.

                  I am not now so involved with the brotherhood and have only visited Manton about six times, but my wife and I still support that wonderful part of our Orthodox Church in America. I suppose that there may be information and factors that I am not aware of in this historical account, I but have been involved from the very beginning up to and including the move to Manton, and I believe that the above is accurate.

                  The only monastic dissolution that took place was on the part of the small group of very elderly nuns who were residing at Pt Reyes when the decision was made to turn the St Eugene’s Hermitage location into a men’s monastery in 1996. The nuns were moved to Our Lady of Kazan Skete in Santa Rosa. They were having a very difficult time taking care of themselves and the move to Our Lady of Kazan was good in that the nuns there were younger.

          • Carl, he was “thrust” into office because he was receptive to the Holy Spirit Who gave him the words to speak to the mob which was righteously indignant. Did he need a few more years as bishop? Yeah, so what? I need more years to repent before I take Communion. You fight with the army you got. And for once we have a decent and kind Christian gentleman as Primate, one who’s courageous to take on the corruption of the Stokovites.

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Do we know whether Metropolitan Jonah authorized any other person to use his electronic signature? If we do know that he did, do we know what limitations that authorization contained (in writing, presumably, in an adult world)? It seems to me that we would have to assume that he did not authorize such use, or that the use violated the guidelines he specified, if, as reported, he objects to the signature having been used recently. Or?

      • Jane Rachel says

        That was the first thing I wanted to know.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Yes, the “or” is at issue here. What if he initially authorized the actions, the letter substantially conformed to his decision, and then later he changed his mind and started to do his thing, without fully coordinating them with anyone? That is indeed Stokoe’s accusation. It is for the Holy Synod to address of course. The rest of my comments are predicated on the answeer to my question being in the affirmative,

        +Jonah has already been strongly cautioned to fly right, to coordinate matters. I pray that Stokoe’s interpretation is wrong and that +Jonah did not mess up yet again. However, even if he messed up, I pray that the Holy Synod will take the sort of corrective action that will be appropriate and fair for all concerned: the alleged victim, the accused priest, the Cental Administration staff and the Metropolitan. I do not want a new Metropolitan. I like +Jonah and I would like him to do better. I want the Holy Synod to help him to better.

        • Carl,

          In terms of culpability and responsibility, there is not only black and white, but also endless shades of grey. So Mr. Stokoe’s interpretation is but one of a possible myriad of possibilities with respect to the behavior of both the Central administration and Metropolitan Jonah.

          Just as possibly, the OCA could have had an Alexander Haig moment within External Affairs, where a letter, although in principle requested by +Jonah, was crafted with the maximum vitriol, and in fact exceeded the Metropolitan’s intent. One would hope that this was accidental, but the fact that it was so widely disseminated as breaking news through the official communications organ of the OCA gives one pause.

          If +Jonah has “messed up yet again,” as you put it, it may be only that he is too conciliar. It seems that his problems often come from an attempt to meet his bishops, MC, and Central administration more than half way. Go on leave? Perhaps the right answer would have been “no, thank you.” Recuse oneself? Maybe think on it a bit first. It does seem odd that every time a crisis is ginned up, first someone has asked Jonah to step back from, or share, responsibility that is his.

          Your assessment regarding having been elevated to Metropolitan after 11 days experience as a bishop is spot on. It is exceeding difficult, possibly more difficult than we in the blogosphere could know or imagine to take the helm of an organization like this. And if I recall in 2008, it wasn’t exactly handed over to him running like a Swiss timepiece. And it will certainly take time to grow into the job – and that would be true of anyone taking the job, experienced as a bishop or not.

          But even if his brother bishops have only the best intentions with respect to Metropolitan Jonah, we have seen evidence that the Metropolitan Council and the Syosset crowd contain(ed) members whose objective was to embarrass, impede, cripple and if possible remove this Metropolitan. This makes a very difficult situation even worse, if that’s possible. It is a particular tragedy that +Jonah’s priority for skill set development must be to learn to deal with the long knives and power plays within the Church’s own staff – people who could make this learning curve less steep, but instead make it a jagged edge.

          Learning to swim is hard enough. Doing it after being dropped in a shark tank is even more of a trick.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Trey–Thanks for your thoughtful analysis. I certainly agree with you that there are always shades of gray and I would add that the shades are overlooked when people have made up their minds. I see that in my own postings as well as most others’: no matter where you start, you first proceed to hardened, black and white positions and perhaps, if you are lucky/blessed, you will graduate to considering the shades of gray.

            Regarding the Metropolitan, I had been a fan, a supporter who started to have doubts when he started to bring up maximal autonomy, even in the face of unanimous pronouncements by the Holy Synod that reiterated support for autocephaly. It just struck me that it was exceedingly odd for such a statement to have been issued in the first place. Lay aside for a moment the substance of this issue, it seemed to me that there was a clear disconnect between +Jonah alone and +Jonah in the Holy Synod. It was an indication that he was/is a fighter pilot (in the parlance of my service), somebody who would rather do things on his own, who enjoyed going into uncharted waters, a Captain Kirk Now, it is certainly true that Kirk was intelligent, brave and bold–all traits that are indeed possessed by +Jonah. But, even Kirk never acted as capriciously as +Jonah has acted; you cannot change your mind and not expect to create turmoil in the support staff for they become rudderless and feel demeaned.

            Forget for a moment the the OCA is not USS Enterprise and the Metropolitan is not the boss. I mean +Jonah may be steering the ship but his orders/guidance come from the Holy Synod. He is supposed to go where the Holy Synod told him to go and, having the power of pastoral intervention, he can indeed alter the course but only as long as he has good reason to do so. He cannot act capriciously and go hither and yon just because he wants to.

            In any case, in the present case there are indications (notice the gray word here) that he may have acted capriciously. The staff apparently did their job in bringing to him a problem and the accompanying recommended solution: sexual misconduct charge against Father Z, recommend we put him a leave of absence and recall him to the US. Apparently, +Jonah not only agreed but recused himself. So, imagine their surprise and dismay when +Jonah not only reversed course and reportedly decided on his own that the charges against Father Z are not to be pursued further. Imagine the questions that reasonable folks may have formed: Why have a staff if what it recommends is so ill treated? Why have national officers appointed by the Holy Synod so easily overruled by the Metropolitan? Why have policies if the Metropolitan runs rough shod over them? Indeed, why have a Holy Synod, if the first among equals is acting as if he is the whole show?

            I think these questions are valid ones and instead of being shot down as lies and fabricated charges, they should be carefully considered, even if they are exaggerated. In a way it is a tragedy that this is happening: the decision of +Jonah in this latest matter may have been he right one, but the way he went about it seems to be plain wrong. There are so many good things about +Jonah that it is a shame, a tragedy that he also has some really bad traits. In this instance he is like most of us; a mix of the good and bad. However, he does have the charisma from the Holy Spirit to grow into an outstanding leader. He just needs to not listen to serpents like Father Fester and to discipline himself not to fly solo. I think that his fellow bishops can indeed help him. I do not think that he is helped by OCAT and many folks here who shoot the messengers, vilify the staff and his brother bishops and in general act as enablers.

            • Carl,

              If His Beatitude was acting as a fighter pilot, (and I’ve known a few) then the at least a portion of those who should be in support, like his chancellor, have been pouring sugar and metal shavings into his Jet-A. It appears that one or more of the bishops in the Synod behaved in a manner that was perhaps uncanonical, arguably immoral, and certainly not helpful.

              You seem very willing to hold HB to account, as have many on this forum, but totally overlook the culpability of those others, some of whose behaviors are nothing less than reprehensible. You excuse the Syosset staff, asserting that, due to +Jonah’s actions”they become rudderless and feel demeaned.” These people have been so disrespectful that in any private enterprise they would have been escorted out of the building. And where one has been so escorted, a brother bishop escorted the man back in, and gave him access to all data he would need to undermine the Metropolitan.

              I was told long ago that Church politics were much more vicious than corporate politics, and I now see that this is true.

              My issue with your argument is that, although pretty much everyone (George, Jesse, Rod, et al) has acknowledged HB’s humanity and learning curve, you seem to have excessive focus on all of Metropolitan Jonah’s errors, while excusing or ignoring not only errors, but malicious activities from a group of people who are fiercely defending their turf and their power base.

              The tragedy and outrage of this is that this is being done at the expense of the OCA and of the Gospel.

              • You a have a point . The reason that I have not said anything about anybody other than +Jonah may have been because in this blog folks have been piling on the others. Also, I really do not know as much about the others. Bottom line though is that I have indeed been one-sided. Thank you for pointing that out.

                • Carl, that’s big of you. Please don’t take offense. I think I speak for everybody here when I say that there’s room for improvement on all sides. I know that I and the OCATs have said that dozens of times. The ferocity of our defense of +Jonah is based on the fact that even though we are willing to admit that there is always room for improvement, those who are acting against him have been unbelievably unfair in their attacks.

                  Not only have they actively tried to sabotage his ministry, they may have engaged in criminal behavior in doing so. They’ve certainly engaged in bad corporate practices (the autopen, Garklavs “unfiring”, leaking of confidential memos, stealing of private e-mails, etc.). Plus, we know that their high-minded concern for “reform” and “conciliarity” only goes one way.

                  It will soon come out that +Jonah’s most vociferous critics on the HS (there are only two) are incredibly flawed men who have absolutely no room to talk.

                  • Mark from the DOS says

                    When Stokoe came out with his three part hit piece on +Jonah, I challenged everyone who writes in Stokoe’s defense to find even a single acknowledgement in 3 lengthy diatribes of even one redeeming quality about the Metropolitan. You can’t find it because it isn’t there.

                    The older I get, the less tolerance I have for people who see the world in black and white, with not even a shade of gray to be found. And when the writer is someone as old as Stokoe, I simply believe it all to be disingenuous from its inception. Even +Jonah’s staunchest supporters acknowledge his flaws, his weaknesses and areas to improve. His detractors by and large can’t identify a single strength — because to do so undermines “the cause.”

            • Read It And Weep says

              He just needs to not listen to serpents like Father Fester and to discipline himself not to fly solo. I think that his fellow bishops can indeed help him. I do not think that he is helped by OCAT and many folks here who shoot the messengers, vilify the staff and his brother bishops and in general act as enablers.

              “Carl” give us all a break. You in one sentence call Fr Fester a serpent and then are outraged by people who vilify the staff and his brother bishops?

              You sir, are a hypocrite and your own words judge you. A serpent? You are the one trying to seduce people into thinking you have an open mind about Jonah and want nothing but the best for him. It is clear, you do not. You should be ashamed.

              • Geo Michalopulos says

                I gotta agree here. The absolute hatred shown by the Stokovites to +Jonah becomes more obvious as the days go by. I don’t include you, Carl, in this list of +Jonah-haters, but you are indeed blind if you can’t see their vitriolic hatred.

                someday when I have time, I’m gonna write chapter and verse about their blatant hypocrisies which evidence their hatred. One example is a comment Stokoe recently made about why he’s so upset with +Jonah’s tactics, because he doesn’t want the OCA to be liable for damages resulting from sexual misconduct.

                I know, I had to put down my drink for that one too. It was a real side-splitter when I first read it.

              • You are right. I have been a hypocrite and I apologize to all whom I have offended. Please forgive me.

        • Me too Carl. I trust you’re a man of integrity so please accept this without any snark: like you I want him to be helped by his brother bishops, but so far two have been antagonistic towards him for whatever reason I cannot say. I think we can agree that whatever his mistakes, the aggression against him has not helped matters at all.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            All of this trouble goes back to the OCA’s 1970 Tomos of Autocephalacy. That is the ONE SINGLE ISSUE that has never been resolved and still to this day haunts the OCA. Moscow is the one who granted autocephalacy, although canonically I do not know still to this day how that occurred, and is now attempting to take it back and rescind it. This is the fountain of all troubles for Metropolitan Jonah, the Holy Synod and the OCA. The GOA, the AOAA and the ROCOR have never recoginzied the OCA’s autocephalacy, it has torn parishes, families and clergy apart, and instead of fighting for the Gospel the OCA fights for autocephalacy.

            This issue will be resolved by the Episcopal Assembly. Its has to be resolved because it has caused to much destruction and heartbreak for ALL the American Orthodox Jurisdictions. Once Metropolitan Jonah started to back away from the OCA’s sacred cow of Autocephalacy the fix was in, and still is.

            I wish I had the answer on how to fix all this, but I do not. IMHO the start to fixing this problem is to rescind the 1970 Tomos of OCA Autocephalacy and allow the Episcopal Assembly via the EP, MP, AP via Metropolitan Philip, and Metropolitan Jonah as head of the OCA to hammer out a new vision, a CANONICAL VISION for the American Orthodox Church that brings us together instead of driving us apart.

            There will be an American Orthodox Church, but it will not be the OCA’s vision of an American Orthodox Church, it will not be the GOA’s or the AOAA’s or the ROCOR’s vision of an American Church, It will be OUR vision of a unified American Orthodox Church. Will it be perfect and what we all want? No, such things never are. However, will it be something that brings unity and canonical order to American Orthodox? Yes, that is my hope and prayer.

            Its time for OCA Autocephalacy to go, and for American Orthodox Church Unity via the Episcopal Assembly to occur. The EA wil do nothing unless its sees wide and varied support for such a vision of American Orthodox Unity. Right or wrong I believe this is what needs to occur for a United American Orthodox Church.

            Peter

            • The issue of autocephaly is mainly a problem for the overseas Patriarchs, ethnocentric hierarchs and some of the folks in the so-called diaspora. Down on the ground, there are almost always no problems with various churches being in any given area. They are in communion with each other, help each other out when needed, etc. The problem with the absence of an administratively united Church is the dilution of the witness of the Church, particularly in the areas of evangelization and ministry to the nation and community.

              I believe that OCA has always regarded its autocephaly as a bridge to an administratively united and truly autocephalous Church. OCA has offered itself, a mix of non-ethnic and ethnic dioceses, as a possible model for that Church. OCA, however, cannot do away with its autocephaly for anything short of an autocephalous church that incorporates all Orthodox jurisdictions in its bosom. In the United States, for example, this would mean that except for representation churches, there would be no outposts (dioceses, archdioceses, exarchates, etc..) of any other local Church. I am against unity under any of the existing Patriarchates but would favor, at the drop of the hat, union under a Holy Synod of the United States of America. The sacrifice of the OCA autocephaly could only be made literally the second before the establishment of the new, canonically recognized by all, Orthodox Church of the United States of America. I do not know of anyone in the OCA who would be opposed to this; I know many who would be overjoyed if it happened.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                And I believe that is what will happen, but it will happen on everybodies terms, not just Moscow’s and not just the American Orthodox of the OCA. This is what Metropolitan Jonah I believe is truly preparing the OCA to accept. We will NOT joint the OCA. That was never going to happen. But for all of us to unite under a framework we ALL can agree upon? That IS what will happen.

                Look everybody, and even the old world Holy Sees needs the American’s Church’s Power and Money, and the Old Greeks with Money, the Old Arabs with Money, etc, were not going to give up control over their own fiefdom, and neither were the overseas sees.

                However, the situation in America is uncanonical and must be corrected, and the EA can and must do this for the sake of the Church.

                As for American Orthodox not being affected in a very negative way to the OCA’s Autocephalacy I respectfully disagree with a very BIG hatred still in place between the ROCOR and the OCA. Just this morning I had the pleasure of talking to an older gentleman, professional attorney, who is ROCOR and still to this day he hates, and I mean HATES the OCA and their autocephalacy. Unfortunately these are the relaities of American Orthodoxy and cannot just be placed on the shoulders of overseas Hierarchs. They played with our Temples and our hearts and emotions, and it caused alot of scars, but we allowed for it to happen. Just becuase we all settled in to an uneasy truce does not mean all was forgiven and the OCA accepted. IT NEVER WAS!

                If the OCA’s autocephalacy was not a hurtful and emotional issue then were did all this venom come from against Metropolitan Jonah? Not saying he is perfect, but it was never about him. It was because he broke from the OCA’s support of Autocephalacy. That’s the big sin.

                I hope and pray that American Orthodox Unity does come from the EA because it will never come from the OCA’s Autocephalacy.

                Peter

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Peter, if the EA accomplishes anything in the lifetime of anyone on this blog, I’ll be surpised. There is absolutely no incentive for them to do anything as long as the old world Patriarchs are getting their money.

                  They won’t recognize the OCA because they know that such recognition means they will have to give up their control of the pipeline.

                  Right now the OCA is doing everything it can to shoot themselves in the head but they are certainly no more corrupt that the GOA or the AOAA it has just been opened up. Indeed the unveiling of the corruption which would occur during any unity is a big obstacle to achieving it. Just wait until Met. Philip decides to die. It won’t be pretty.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    I agree with your assessment Michael, but at some point the uncanonical situation has to be rectified. What the OCA is on a small level is what we need on the large scale. You are absolutely correct about the corruption, but it has to be dealt with.

                    Canonical order must occur on the North American Continent otherwise our notions and beliefs of Orthodox eclesiology are just all talk and no action.

                    Now should our Hypothetical Unified American Orthodox Church be independent or under the authority of someone or a HS of someones? Thats another question altogether.

                    So two questions arise:

                    1. Will there be a properly constituted and canonical American Orthodox Church? and

                    2. How will it be structured or better yet, how will it be governed?

                    However, I want to disagree with your assessment of the EA as something has to give, why not now? I may very well be wrong, but I pray I am not because this in-fighting has to stop for not only the sake of the Church and its mission to evangalize, but for ours as well.

                    Peter

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Peter, much of what you say is right but I firmly believe now that the real hatred generated by those who are against HB +Jonah is that he is an uncorrupt monk who actually believes in the moral tradition of the Orthodox Church. The more I have found out about those who are antagonistic to him, the more convinced I am of this. It’s beyond +Jonah’s “reimagining autocephaly” now. For these immoral anti-Traditionalists, its personal.

                  In fact, not only does the OCA’s autocephaly mean little to them, they’d trade it in a heartbeat for semi-autonomy if their little fiefdom remains forever under their control. And I’m not talking about just personal turf battles here, things like institutions, real estate, etc., I’m talking about their desire to turn the OCA into an Eastern-Rite ECUSA.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    Yeah, I have to agree. George stop being so right all the time. Its annoying.

                    Peter

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Me? Right?! Not according to my wife! According to her, the last time I was right was during the second Reagan Administration.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                “I am against unity under any of the existing Patriarchates but would favor, at the drop of the hat, union under a Holy Synod of the United States of America.”

                That’s what is probably going to happen. Then what? You stay with the OCA and hope for the best? Ok. I know alot of Greek Old Calendarists who think the same way and look at their mess. You have to be flexible Carl. If not your OCA will grow increadly small and even more isolated then it already is.

                As for joining into the OCA’s bosom I mean this in the most unsnarky way possible, but you do understand that that has always been a pipe dream right? If not I hate to tell you that that was never going to happen. C’mon Carl you knew that. You are smarter than that. Greek, Serb, Arab, etc., money was never going to allow that to happen. Look at what happend in the GOA. Look at what recently Happend with the Antiochians. Pipe dream buddy, pure pipe dream.

                However, American Orthodox Unity under a canonical structure whether attached to an overseas hierarch or group or hierarchs or not, maybe an American Metropolitan, who knowns, that may happen. Now what the structure will be? I have no idea.

                Peter

              • George Michalopulos says

                Carl, very eloquently put. As our beloved Vladyka said 20 or so years ago while in Russia: “The OCA was not created to be the master of American autocephaly, but its servant.”

              • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                Well said, Karl. For the first time I agree completely with one of your many posts on this message board.

                To underscore the main point, many in the increasingly benighted OCA do not view the EA as a genuine vehicle for an autocephalous national Orthodox Church for the U.S.A. as long as the Ecumenical Patriarchate (read: Greek Orthodox Church in America) insists on a dominant role everywhere in this country. Peter Papoutsis’ vision of Orthodox “unity” around a “metropolitan” under the authority of an “overseas” Church (read: Ecumenical Patriarchate) is as inadequate and unappealing to me as the OCA in its current form appears to be to Peter.

                Although I am a moral theologian, not a specialist in ecclesiology or canon law, I think the best practical and canonical solution to the conundrum was proposed a decade or so ago. At the moment I cannot recall the author; perhaps someone on this message board has a better memory. In any case, the proposal entails a simultaneous granting of “autocephaly” to every Orthodox ecclesial entity in this country by the respective mother Churches abroad, followed (perhaps in that twinkling-of-an-eye moment that you mention) by a another simultaneous action by all the “autocephalous” Churches in the U.S. to unite under one pre-designated primate and holy synod. That would require considerable negotiation and coordination in advance, as well as prayer, humility, and vision. But I do think it is a possible course of action.

                As an archpriest in the OCA, I would have no problem if the pre-designated primate in that scenario were the current or future archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, since he would be the senior hierarch of the largest Orthodox jurisdiction on this continent. I seriously doubt that the OCA primate, whether Metropolitan Jonah or his successor if the process drags on as usual, would insist on “being first” like a modern day Diotrephes, but would, instead, gladly yield to his GOA brother in the spirit of national Orthodox unity and independence from the overseas patriarchates. That has, by the way, been the OCA’s primary goal from its beginning in 1970.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Fr, this was in fact the offer that Met +Theodosius offerered way back in Ligonier in 1994. To give the white hate to +Iakovos. No serious person in the OCA was against it then. The question is: why now?

                  The reason is because the EP’s gross interference in the GOA which has resulted in its ongoing corruption, ineptitude, and xenophobia, while at the same time being triumphalistic. The loss of inspiration in American Orthodoxy has not escaped the GOA, where its leaden foot has quashed all spiritual creativity.

                  If you will permit me to continue, unless there is a surprising change in the future, I firmly believe that the legacy of the present EP will be one of failure vis-a-vis America and the so-called Diaspora. Sure, he’s had some successes regarding some real estate being returned in Turkey, and in time Halki itself may reopen, but the failures of the”Diaspora” will overshadow his few meager accomplishments.

                  I say this with sadness as I have met the man and I believe he was capable of some really good things. Still, I could be wrong. I actually hope that I am.

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  I agree with what you say father, but Its not my vision. I want what is best for all American Orthodox. I can invision a HS made up of the various Orthodox Jurisdictional heads and then voting on who would be Matropolitan.

                  In fact, George’s assessment is correct about Iakovos, but the EP would not allow it. As devoted as I am to my Hellenism I am more devoted to my Orthodoxy.

                  I hope and pray that Carl’s assessment is correct that we the laity will unite first and our hierarchs will have to catch up. Only time will tell.

                  As for now Blog’s like George’s and others are so necessary because like I said before it get all of us, Laity and Clergy, talking together across jurisdictional lines. This is how American Orthodox Unity begins by all of us talking to one another, and respecting one another, at least as much as humanly possible.

                  Take care

                  Peter

            • George Michalopulos says

              Peter, I see that your heart is in the right place. Personally as a member of the OCA who is passionate about autocephaly, I would be all in favor of the EA hashing this thing out for the betterment of all. And if I had the power, I’d put you in charge of it!

              Unfortunately, the EA has done nothing in the interim to inspire any confidence, instead, quite the opposite. And as I’ve said on more than one occasion, I don’t believe that any of the non-MP overseas patriarchates really want us to be united and autocephalous. Notice I’m not picking on the EP here, but the BulP, SrbP, RomP, etc as well.

              What caused my head to explode was Lambrianides’ speech back in 2009 in which he said that the American Church should “submit to the first throne of Orthodoxy.” That proved to me at least that the present EP was never in favor, nor would ever be in favor, of American autocephaly/unity. (As opposed to his predecessor, who was appalled by what he found in America.)

              But I’m not going to lay this at the feet of the present EP and other patriarchates. We ethnic Americans are incapable of putting aside our tribal differences and submitting ourselves to a bishop not of our ethnicity. We’ve also proved ourselves to be inept stumblebums as evidencd by the Three Stooges Film Festival that take place continuosly in Syosset.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                I will take the Three Stooges at any time over Astoria or Troy and what they represent.

                I should add that I am increasingly unconcerned about the uncanonical situation in the United States. Not that this situation is certainly irregular; I simply do not think that it makes that much difference in the long run. We now live in an environment where distance does not matter nearly as much as it did before, where folks do not feel constrained in the least bit to belong to this or that church (if any), where they indeed vote their religious preferences with their feet and their wallets. The ethnic churches are important to many Orthodox to be sure, but as time goes on they change, mostly by incorporating more English into their services primarily so that the children stay in the church. Ethnic things become overtime not essential to one’s life but added value.

                In any case, the real life of the Church happens in the liturgy of the laos at each and every parish. And, the laos increasingly recognizes that jurisdictions are not the ghetto walls that they once were, that we need to join up at least in prayer if we are to survive in the post-modern, materialistic society we find ourselves in. So, I would say that in a very real sense, the church is indeed united at the local level. The hierarchs will eventually catch up.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Carl, corruption is corruption. As shocked as I am by Astoria and Troy, the slapstick perpetrated by the Backstabbers of Syosset is immoral as well. I’m not saying that the tax fraud that happened at Troy is as bad as the child-molestation in Astoria, or that the destruction of a priest’s career by OCA insiders is as bad as Troy gangsterism, but we are only talking about degrees of gross immorality, in the sense that we don’t hang burglars but only murderers and traitors. Still, nobody likes a burglar or (a chicken-thief) for that matter.

                  Though not as vomit-inducing as Astoria, I continue to be shocked by what the present regime in Syosset represents: people who through their actions have consistently presented false witness against others and who turn a blind eye as well to sexually immorality as long as it is bishops, priests, and laymen who are in their camp. Bearing false witness is exactly what Frs Hopko and Oleksa did, not only against our primate, but in their esitmation of the honesty of Stokoe.

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  I agree 100% with what you said Carl. I just wish that we in America could just have One Bishop for each diocese. You are correct about our ethnicities being a barrier, but that barrier over time will break down. You are correct that the hierarches will have to catch up. But they have a great opportunity in the EA to do it. Why to the life of me they just don’t do it is beyond me. I know about the money, I know about the power struggle , but at some point the clerics have to understand that American Orthodox are in their Second, Third and now going into their fourth generation here in America.

                  I literally have nothing in common with the Greeks in Greece. I was born in Chicago IL and grew up in Clearwater, FL. My upbringing and culture is yours and mine. I have nothing in common except for religion, and not even that these days, with the Greeks in Greece.

                  Now I would love to be radical and push the OCL agenda, but I hate schism. I have made that known many a times. So I stay in the GOA and hope and pray by simple inertia things will change.

                  On a positiove note it IS blogs like George’s that get us all talking on the same things in the same virtual room. That in and of itself also furthers our unity in America.

                  So I don’t know if anyone has said it to you yet, but thanks George and good job. Thank you as well Michael and Carl because we need to talk about these things even if our hierarches will not or only give lip service to these issues.

                  Peter

                  • Geo Michalopulos says

                    Peter, keep on fighting the good fight in the GOA. Sometimes, it’s because of just one righteous man that cities aren’t destroyed.

              • I think the Tomos says “create” one Orthodox Church in America, not be one Orthodox Church in America.

              • Chicagoan observer says

                I don’t have high hopes at all of the EA. There is a higher likelihood of the Ecumenical Patriarchate leaving Istanbul for New York than there is of the EA achieving any administrative Orthodox unity in North America at any point in the near future. (And yes, it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople. It hasn’t been Constantinople for a long time.)

                And I say this as an American of half-Greek descent who left the GOAA for the OCA many years ago. I love my half-Greek heritage, but the GOAA’s insistence on constantly conflating ethnicity with Orthodoxy leads to a very schizophrenic existence when one is American 6 days a week but then an ethnic on Sundays. I don’t agree with it, and it’s not for me. Plus, I’ve grown to love vespers and the liturgical expressions in the OCA, which, sadly, are often lacking from GOAA parishes. I’ve never understood why so many GOAA parishes don’t do vespers — anyone have any information on why vespers is almost nonexistent in the GOAA?

                Ultimately, though, I came to the realization that the GOAA (while it was my initial introduction to Orthodoxy, and for that I’ll be eternally grateful) is not so much concerned with spreading Orthodoxy to Americans as it is with preserving the Ecumenical Patriarchate and preserving Hellenism in a non-Hellenic world. Don’t get me wrong — I speak Modern Greek and I love Greek culture. But foremost I think it’s important to spread Orthodoxy to America, and I don’t think the GOAA is terribly interested in evangelism (that is, unless American converts want to Hellenize themselves).

                So sadly, yes, the EA seems to be an exercise in futility, in my opinion, as long as foreign patriarchates are unwilling to grant independence to their American dioceses. For those of us in the OCA, why would we take 3 giant steps backward to go back as a diocese under the EP? Regardless of whether you agree or not with the way the OCA’s autocephaly was obtained, it’s a done deal, and it’s here to stay.

                And Peter, relations between ROCOR and the OCA are much warmer than you erroneously lead people to believe. In Texas and in Washington state (from my experience), ROCOR and OCA clergy concelebrate regularly and have a full, warm expression of their communion.

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  I can only speak to my relations and experiences here in the Midwest and they are still chilly. No pun intended.

                  As for the rest of your assessment, yeah ethnicity is more important than the Gospel for the GOA, and that’s really tough to accept and acknowledge.

                  However, there is a caveat. The younger generation of GOA priest are not like that and its only the various Old Timers in each parish that are holding the Priests back from doing a true and full evangelation push. Again, that’s just my experience and opinion.

                  Peter

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  Oh by the way even Istanbul is a Greek name from “Tis Polis” – “The city.” The phrase degrades in Turkish to “Istanbul.” Turks don’t really like to have that pointed out to them. Oh well.

                  Peter

                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  Chicagoan, two points: the further one gets away from the East Coast, the different things are. I’ll never forget, four years ago I was working for a corporation headquarted in Ct. One of my contacts was a really great fellow of Russian descent. When he found out I was Greek, it was one big, happy party. We exchanged stories about growing up ethnic and Orthodox, yada, yada, yada. Then he found out I was in the OCA. I thought he was in the OCA as well. You’da thought I told him I was some stump-toothed hillbilly who distills moonshine and likes nothing better than to sleep with his half-sister. I literally had no idea in what contempt the OCA was held in in the Northeast. Foolish me, I thought that because we in the South were firing on all thrusters they’d be as well.

                  Second point: I’m very proud of my Hellenic heritage. Unfortunately, what has gripped the imagination of most in the GOA at present is not Hellenism, but “Greekism,” a type of low-class, folk-magic type of spirituality that has only the most tangential relationship to classical civilization.

  5. George–you say “The nearly two week long silence about the death of Archbishop Dmitri on OCANews confirms that editor Mark Stokoe has dropped the pretense that he reports the news in the OCA. Readers should accept what his critics have said for years: OCANews is Stokoe’s private blog and designed to interpret and drive events in accord with his peculiar vision of how the Church should be run.” I have two questions for you:

    1. Haven’t you said this before.
    2. What’s the difference between you and Stokoe regarding the character of your blogs and your visions?

    • What’s the difference between you and Stokoe regarding the character of your blogs and your visions?

      George is a gentleman.

      • Colette–I agree that George is a gentleman (I just don’t like it when he finds Heracleides’ abominations funny). Isn’t this great; we have finally agreed on something!

        • Heracleides says

          Welcome to the club Carl: I have it on good authority that not only Mrs. Stokoe-Brown but also a certain bishop out west are not fans as well. Stay tuned because I am working on something for the AAC that will doubtless distress the three of you once again.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Heracleides–what can I tell you except that I would not acknowledge you as a fellow Orthodox in mixed company. Your conduct is disgraceful.

            • Heracleides says

              Likewise for you, Mrs. Stokoe-Brown, and the alcoholic, porn addicted, homosexual clown of the west.

              Don’t like blunt speech, be it visual, written or spoken (especially when the latest image pertained to you)? Oh well – sometimes it’s necessary and we can’t all chant the “ortho-speak” kumbaya troparion to a left-coast tune… er, tone. Deal with it just as I deal with your cool-aid flavored nonsense.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                Hey we agreed! 😉 Hint for another one of your abominations; Stokovites and Team Jonah hurling anathemas to each other.

                • The role of political cartoons cannot be underestimated in the history of this country and others. Heck, people have had fatwaws taken out for such cartoons. I know Carl is not endorsing that!

                  One of the saddest things about the “new” OCA it has lost its sense of humor. These episcopal types are “so serious” that they have forgotten to laugh at themselves. Heck in the bad old days they would needle each other and make fun of each other. Instead, today they devour one another. That is a bad sign, and I, for one, speaking only for myself, am happy to see Heracleides inject some satirical humor into this much too self-important entity called the OCA.

                  I mean, really, you read Stokoe’s website and it is so dang serious that it makes you half the time want to cramp up from a bad case of gas.

                  There is not much joy in the work of the OCA any more. If bishops make dumb mistakes that cause them to be the focus of humor, they should count it as a blessing for the sake of their humility.

                  Is there anyone else out there who has had the thought cross their mind that what the OCA is now is no better, if not worse than what we had before OCAN told us how bad thing are?

                  Sorry, just thinking out loud.

                • Jane Rachel says

                  Oh, Stop It!

                  Hercleides is the Daumier of the OCA. Excuse, but think “abomination.” Who is committing an abomination here? For gosh sakes, Carl!!! Think, “alcoholic bishop.” “Porno-addicted bishop.” “Young boys.” “A bishop married to another man.” “Elected by popular consent ‘head’ of the OCA ‘married’ to another man.” “Priests taking over without authority, sanctioning people who are ‘married to other people of the same sex’ to take communion.” Why attack the guy who draws the political cartoons? is the artist at fault here? Why shouldn’t he be angry? He’s an artist, so he says his thing that way. Don’t you like political cartoons?

                  There is no comparison. And you know it. One is for what is right, which is to speak out against corruption in the leadership of the Orthodox Church, and the other is corrupt.

                  Has anyone thought of this thought: Why are those priests taking it upon themselves to decide that it’s okay to allow active homosexuals to take Communion? Even if you think it’s okay, since when do THEY get to decide it’s okay? Shouldn’t they wait until the CHURCH makes it okay before they allow it? Why are these priest being allowed to continue? Who gets to decide to put The Holy Apostle Paul’s writings aside? To say that God is wrong? HUH??? Or, I’m sorry, does God sanction homosexuality? Sorry again, not to offend my family members. God is merciful. Does the Orthodox Church sanction homosexuality? If it doesn’t then the priests HAVE to STOP giving Communion to homosexuals. If they don’t stop, they are deciding for themselves what is Orthodox and what isn’t. They have to stop. For goodness’ sake.

                  I just can’t believe you could attack Heracleides. It’s more than I can take.

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    Oh my; I have offended the tender sensibilities of a Christian person who without proof libels fellow Christians, including members of the clergy. Judges them and rebukes them in public! Such a righteous person you are! How can a sinner like me dare to affront you?!!?? Ten lashes with a wet noodle!

                    • Carl, I’m not piling on but I gotta tell you: Herc’s got a wicked sense of humor! I think he’ll be remembered as the Thomas Nast of American Orthodoxy. Plus, whosever got the humor on his side is probably going to win the battle (or at least have a fun time fighting the battle).

                      Keep up the good work, Herc!

                    • Lol.. thank you George – I aim to please 😛

                      Let me restate to Carl and any other critics – none of my efforts are borne out of malice. Carl, you choose to wage this battle (and make no mistake for that is what this is) with words, I choose images. If you find my efforts “disgusting” and my images “abominations” then do what I do with many of your comments – skip them or lightly skim them and move on.

                      To reiterate – with my satire I’m simply attempting to prompt a fresh examination of the ‘Oh so dire!’ pronouncements and other events driving the agenda of Mrs. Stokoe-Brown & Friends from my admittedly irreverent point-of-view. I have hopefully accomplished this in my latest ‘abomination’ entitled “Newsflash” to be found at: http://s1235.photobucket.com/home/Heracleides

                    • Herc, it’s fascinating how the dismissal of Stokoe from the MC has so many similarities to a biography of Charles Lindbergh. 🙂

                    • Lol… indeed. I almost used an issue featuring Winston Churchill as my template, but in the end just couldn’t do that to one of the greatest leaders of the previous century. Can you imagine, Winnie sharing copy with Mrs. Stokoe-Brown? Talk about tabloid news. 🙂

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Herc, I’m glad you didn’t! I’m a huge Churchill fan. I kinda like Charles Lindbergh as well: he at least was a patriot and did something heroic. I know some people think he was too isolationist and accommodating to the Third Reich (but a lot of intellectuals were fascinated by Hitler and even more by Mussolini), but after the bombs dropped on Pearl Harbor he went to the White House and asked to join the Army Air Corps, so yes, he was a patriot.

                    • After feedback, I have significantly revised my latest satirical ‘abomination’ entitled “Newsflash” to be found at: http://s1235.photobucket.com/home/Heracleides

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Herc, even funnier! About how old are you? This reminds me of the old National Lampoon. I mean that as a compliment.

                    • Carl, having had my “Christian sensibilities (?)” blasted away by “Christians” I”m not sure I would call myself one in that camp, or fold. More like one stuck in the thorns hanging off a cliff. As far as “judging,” OH NO, clergy, rather than regular people…. We shall see. What’s true is true. I didn’t do it, by the way. And if it needs being said to wake people up, I’ll say it. I’ve said it before when I had the proof right in front of my eyes and that’s what landed me in the trash heap in the first place.

                    • You mean like what Stokoe has done to +Jonah?

      • Colette, you make me blush.

    • George doesn’t claim to be a reporter of news. He’s a blogger, and he openly proclaims his bias. The disgraced Mark Stokoe claims only to be a reporter of news, giving facts, not perspective. Hence his defense about not shooting the messenger. But the fact is that Stokoe has a perspective, and more than a perspective, an agenda.

    • Carl, thank you for agreeing with Colette.

      At this point I’ll just lay my cards on the table. This blog is about 145 degrees different from OCANews in a number of ways. Here they are in no particular order:

      1. I’m concerned about politics and culture as well as religion.

      2. I’m a Traditionalist in matters of religion. I see no reason to push an agenda other than Orthodoxy and Truth (which are synonymous in my book).

      3. I don’t believe that the Orthodox Church is needful of “reform,” especially any reform that conforms the views of Holy Mother Church to the world. And let’s be honest, Stokoe and his ABV handmaidens certainly have no problem at all with this type of “reform.”

      4. I call them as I see them. I’m not a caveman who grunts “Jonah=good/Stokoe=bad.” I’ve praised Stokoe in the past and taken +Jonah to task for what I believe to be missteps.

      5. I –and I can’t stress this enough–don’t censor anything. I’ve only exiled one blogger ASIATR for a time because he was getting real tiresome saying the same thing over and over and in increasingly hateful ways. Truth be told, I would have left him on because he was making a complete jackass of himself and thus elevating my arguments in comparison, but several of my correspondents gave me an ultimatum: him or them. I chose Them and in retrospect, I’m glad I did. (BTW, ASIATR is welcome back anytime, I just ask that he check his ad hominem attacks at the door and engage the arguments.)

      6. I am willing to publish anything that will further the truth. Several of my correspondents have alerted me to shenanigans which for some reason or another doesn’t appear to interest Stokoe. You see, I really do believe in Accountability and Transparency.

      7. I’m genuinely a funny guy and I enjoy putting up funny stuff (hat tip: Heracleides). Lot’s of graphics too, that differentiates this site from OCANews.

      8. Finally, I’m not trying to bullshit anybody. What you see with me is what you get. At my age, I’m no longer smart enough, nor agile enough, to play games. Telling the truth is so much easier than lying. Unlike Stokoe who swears up and down that he has no interest in changing the moral tradition of the Orthodox Church, we all know that that’s hogwash.

      9. OK this is a little gratuitous, but what the hell: when my mother fell asleep in the Lord, the obituary said that she had one son-in-law and one daughter-in-law. That would be my wife. And she’s a girl.

      Thank you for allowing me to clear the air.

      • George, you need to clarify number 9. I assume that means you have a sister that is married, not a brother. 🙂

        • George Michalopulos says

          thanks for catching that. I was talking about my wife being my mother’s only daughter-in-law. I actually have two sisters but the younger one wasn’t married yet.

      • P.S., the “145 degrees out of phase” quote was correct. I am not against Stokoe because he’s Stokoe. It just works out that more often than not (about 80% of the time) we disagree about things. Why? I tend to be realistic, hold to Tradition, not hate any bishop in particular, etc.

        In other words, I do think that sometime he can say the truth (you know, a blind sow finding an acorn kind of thing). But for the most part his a provocateur with a anti-Traditionalist agenda.

  6. igumen Gregory says

    i have a solution for the Stokoe website. Don’t read it!

    • Capital idea, Father. Now if only everyone else in the OCA didn’t read it, either!

    • Yeah but. if we don’t read OCANews how are we going to fill out our Stokoe B***S*** Bingo cards?

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Great idea if you want to stick to official sources and cheerleading blogs.

      • Read It And Weep says

        Well, at least Met. Philip, figuratively gave Mrs. Brown the middle finger and didn’t give a hoot what he was spouting. Now if only the weak-kneed bishops on the OCA synod would strap on a pair and do the same. (end of colourful language)

        • Carl Kraeff says

          The same person who allowed a divorced priest to remarry?

          • Read It And Weep says

            To quote you, “apples and oranges” my friend. 😉

          • Father *cough* Joseph Allen wasn’t divorced, his wife died and he was lonely… although he could have been less of a butthole about it. His book made me want to puke. He made the Early 90’s-era SVS faculty balk, and that’s saying something.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              OK. The Metropolitan who allowed a priest whose wife had died to remarry and also keep his priesthood. Against the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Canons? The one with papal pretensions? You are right; we need more bishops like him. /s

              • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                The very very very bottom bottom line in the Allen affair was NOT that a widower-priest remarried, but that a widower-priest married another man’s wife: she and her husband had been coming to Allen for marriage counselling, whereupon Allen successfully wooed the wife and married her himself after the divorce. During the divorce negotiations it was said that the priest threatened to excommunicate the (former) husband because the divorce settlement on the former wife was not large enough. Of course, no canon addresses such a case, since one never occurred before.’
                One might assume that His Eminence is privy to some information not known generally which caused him to bless the 2nd marriage of the widower priest to the divorcee.
                I’ve never learned whether Grecian flowery crowns were used or the metaliic ones. No doubt the rite of 2nd marriage, in which the Pauline shoulder-shrugging “better to marry than to burn, ” is heard, was used.

            • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

              My wife died and I’ve been lonely.But I haven’t married a parishoner whom I counseled,and who then left her husband for me.I don’t see how I could have done this either,even if I had a Metropolitan who would have blessed it.
              On a similar note,I had a ROCOR parishoner who once was a deacon.When he found out that his wife’s two previous marriages disqualified him,he turned himself in to his bishop.Even though the bishop would have let him remain a deacon without any further advancement,he couldn’t do it.He was laicised,the wife turned sectarian and vanished,now, thank God,he’s married to a normal RC woman(I performed the marriage about 17 years ago).The fact that an Archdeacon who contracted a gay marriage and is then returned to serving is a huge slap in the face to this honest man!

              • The fact that an Archdeacon who contracted a gay marriage and is then returned to serving is a huge slap in the face to this honest man!

                Yes, Father Andrei, but those who are slapped in the face here on earth will have their reward in heaven. Except Arius. 🙂

                Is there any precedent at all for allowing a priest to remarry?

                • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

                  As far as I know,it’s impossible.Those priests who do would be laicised first.I was mulling this idea 4 1/2 years ago.A Greek Old Calender bishop told me,you’re a priest for life,the concept of laicising is a Roman Catholic one.But then again,since I serve in the Serbian church now,I’m probably not really Orthodox in that bishop’s eyes!

                  • Actually, it’s the Roman Catholics who have the idea that the priesthood is forever and can’t be removed, and that a laicized priest is still a priest. Any sacraments he would perform would be *valid*, he just can’t celebrate sacraments licitly, and would be liable for that disobedience with excommunication.

                    The Orthodox teaching seems to be that holy orders *can* be removed and that laicized priests are laymen.

                    • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

                      Helga,George,and others who post here.I think I have to back away from my posting of last night.I should not be bragging about not doing something,which I shouldn’t be doing in the first place,i.e.,remarrying,whether or not I would continue serving as a priest.I’m certainly not a righteous man and really don’t deserve to stand in God’s altar in the first place.
                      I really should heed the words of St.Ephraim the Syrian,”to see my own sins and not to judge my brother.”

                  • Fr, I don’t think any of us were offended or look upon you any less.

            • Helga, now I fear that the SVS faculty would find a way to be “tolerant” about the Joseph Allen affair.

        • And this is where you have to give Bp Matthias kudos. He was willing to stand up to Stokoe and give him an ultimatum. Bp Matthias put on his big boy hat and acted like a leader. Oh well, there goes his Christmas card from Bp Benjamin.

        • Remnant, let’s not put +Matthias and +Michael in the same camp as the Deceitful Duo. Whatever else you can say about the two rookies, they’ve definately got a pair.

          • George

            My comment was not intended to besmirch the Bishops. I apologize if it was taken that way!

            My comment was a take off on the old corporate game of Corporate BS Bingo. Corporate BS Bingo was created to make fun of executives constant use of the current buzzwords in speeches and articles. The game makes sitting through broadcasts of boring corporate speeches entertaining.

            For Stokoe “BS Bingo” we could create a list of Mark’s “buzzwords” (in this case, a list of aspersion cast by Mark against Jonah) and then have Herc create a full set of BS Bingo cards for download. When after reading the latest (lamest) diatribe on OCANews you can check off the “Buzz words.” If you can check off all the words or phrases on your card you can say “Bingo” or the other words, because once again the author has dredged up all the same old BS.

            Maybe we need to start a list of words for the game,

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Remnant, that’s a fanTAStic idea!. I’m in! what we should do is combine our creativity, create some type of office pool, I’ll talk to my IT people and see if we can have a link or a pull-down. Let’s go people!

              I volunteer the word “chilling” as a Stokoism.

            • Mark from the DOS says

              I volunteer the word “circumvent”

            • I volunteer “unilaterally” and “legal risk”.

      • I’ll put away my pom-poms if Stokoe will lay aside his daggers. 🙂

      • Chicagoan observer says

        I’ve been a lurker here for a while, and I enjoy the discussion as well as the discussion on other blogs too. Yes, I read ocanews periodically and I have to admit that I am grateful to Mark Stokoe for the work he did bring the financial problems to light in the OCA. I think it’s fair to say that without his site, nothing would have changed 5 or so years ago. Maybe some don’t like that and wish that Metropolitan Herman and Robert Kondratick were still running things. But a lot of us are happy that things have changed.

        A question — just in general, I don’t have an answer to this, just curious for people’s thoughts. Like a lot of people, Mark Stokoe’s alleged lifestyle bothers me. But being honest with myself, I don’t know him, never met him and probably never won’t, and don’t know the first things about his relationship other than what I read online. (And we all know how accurate everything is that we read online…). I don’t believe the gay political agenda BS that homosexuality is inborn and unchangeable. So much research on sexual orientation shows that homosexuality has not much at all to do with sex but a lot more to do with sexualized emotional longings (that are unfulfilled). Yes, that stuff about men never bonding well with fathers (who may have been absent), brothers, uncles, etc., and carrying over that longing into adulthood where it becomes sexualized, and boom, you have homosexuality. This seems much more plausible to me, and it has been supported by many who have left the homosexual lifestyle.

        Anyway, suppose 2 adult men realize that what they need is not sex but more of an emotional bond, sort of a close friendship. Is it OK for them to live together in such a friendship, in a sex-less arrangement? It’s been done a lot in the past (probably more often with women, who used to live together as friends pretty commonly years ago). In our sexualized society, we seem to think this is patently ridiculous and not possible. But what about for two committed (male) Christians who need each others’ friendship but whose relationship isn’t sexual. Is it OK for them to live together?

        My first hunch is that yes, it is OK, but with close counseling from and accountability to a spiritual father. And I do have to be honest with myself that even while I don’t like Stokoe’s alleged homosexuality, I have no clue as to what happens (or what doesn’t happen) at his place behind closed doors, nor should I.

        Thoughts? Is this half-baked or all-baked? Or is it possible for 2 committed same-sex Christians to live together in close friendship?

        Thanks in advance for your thoughts and lack of rude comments if you disagree with me.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Chicago Observer, I rather agree with you. Men almost always get their emotional needs met by bonding with other men. It’s natural. That’s how civilization is maintained. It’s men who trust each other to varying degrees who erect buildings, serve in armies, man the constabularies, irrigate ditches so farming can happen, dig canals, etc. Think how impossible this is to do in a bi-sexual (i.e. male and female) sense. It’s not gonna happen, or it won’t be pretty.

          It’s difficult for a man to bond emothionally with another woman who’s not his mother or his wife (and difficult even with wives). I got no problem with men who have a strong phileia (brotherly love) living together. What makes homoerotic genital contact so dangerous however is that it destroys the emotional bond between these men, just as having a physical affair with a woman forever destroys the relationship between the man and woman (especially if they’re in other relationships or just “two ships passing in the night.”)

          Chastity is important for heterosexuals because otherwise we will constantly think about former lovers which can damage the marital relationshiop, but that’s a story for another day.

          • Anthony Esolen has written a lot in Touchstone magazine about the collateral damage done to male friendships because of the current gay agenda. Boys who in my day would simply be close friends, like David and Jonathon “who parted like the nail from the flesh” now worry about whether there’s something “homoerotic” to it.. And to add to the confusion, their consciences, formed by liberal pieties in this area may even reproach them that they’re WORRIED about it.

            George, I would disagree that “it’s difficult for a man to bond emotionally with another woman who’s not his mother or his wife.” It seems to me such bonding is all too EASY. The problem, is, unlike normal male friendship, free of sexual desire, it’s almost impossible, as John Donne states in “The Undertaking,” to “forget the he and she.” So difficult that he who accomplishes it has “done a braver thing/Than all the worthies did.” Or attempted a more foolish one!

            I think Donne’s poem is indirectly relevant to the suggestion put forth by Bishop Kallistos Ware and some others that two men sexually attracted to each might covenant to live together celibately. Isn’t such an attempt to a “braver thing than all the worthies” an impossible dream?

            • Patrick Henry Reardon says

              “I think Donne’s poem is indirectly relevant to the suggestion put forth by Bishop Kallistos Ware and some others that two men sexually attracted to each might covenant to live together celibately.”

              This is the dumbest idea I have heard in the past three-quarters of a century.

              • CodeNameYvette says

                In the Roman Catholic Church (hey, even a stopped clock is right twice a day) they would call this an “occasion of sin” — a situation to avoid at all costs.

                We are not supposed to fling ourselves into situations where we are sure to be tempted and likely to fall. An alcoholic should not seek work tending bar.

                “I think Donne’s poem is indirectly relevant to the suggestion put forth by Bishop Kallistos Ware and some others that two men sexually attracted to each might covenant to live together celibately.”

                If Bishop Kallistos really recommends this, I have another good reason to distrust him.

                • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

                  Metropoitan Kallistos has done a huge amount of labor for English-speaking Orthodoxy,BUT he is not infallible..If he said such a thing,I would have to concur with Fr.Patrick.
                  Years ago,I was picking up Archbishop Alypy from the airport.His Eminence and I discussed an unfortunate priest who had “come out of the closet” after having been married and having had 5 children.Vladyka was of the opinion that some men MIGHT be born with a “gay gene”(I forget exactly how he phrased it;we were speaking Russian).He went on to say that an Orthodox man feeling this way,should steer himself towards a monastery.I agree that that mjght work out,but there is always the danger that he could end up bonding with someone else suffering the same affliction.After all,the Monastic life is taking the struggle with the evil one to a higher level,and he doesn;t take our challenge to him lightly!

                  • That’s a good point Fr. However I think a monastic setting would be the most ideal given all other circumstances. Why do I say this? Because in a monastery, there are usually several men there living full time. Assuming that two of them are so inclined does not necessarily make it any easier for them to exercize their erotic attracttion for the same reason that it’s difficult for heterosexuals to engage in theirs if the group they are members of is relatively tight-knit. Like a parish church for instance.

                    What I mean to say is that coition is always proceeded by seduction which is proceeded by flirtation. Unless the other people are dense as posts, it can become obvious that Mr X has a fascination with Mrs Y and social circuit-breakers step into place to put a stop before things take off. Usually, the attraction if it’s intense will have to circumvent the normal social setting of the church (i.e. liturgy, coffee-hour, Bible study, etc.)

                    In a monastery, no such extra-curricular flirtation/seduction can occur because the monks live there 24/7.

                    Mind you, I’m not saying it’s impossible, just difficult, more so than in a parish. Unless of course the entire monastery is corrupt, as was the case with a number of Catholic seminaries which lowered their standards in the late 60s and then started becoming openly homosexual in the 70s and beyond. If that’s the case, then it’s way too late in the day. But my experience has been that the majority of monks i’ve known do not fit this profile.

                    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

                      “I think a monastic setting would be the most ideal given all other circumstances.”

                      No, it wouldn’t, George.

                      A man sexually attracted to other men has no more business in a monastery of men than does a normal, heterosexual man in a monastery of women.

                      This is not theory with me. I can provide chapter and verse on this subject, based on pastoral experience for more than half a century.

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      I defer to your wisdom on this matter, Fr. I have no pastoral experience, just every now and then try to think things thru. If I may ask, what would be the answer then for a homosexually-inclined man who doesn’t want any near occasion to sin?

                    • A man sexually attracted to other men has no more business in a monastery of men than does a normal, heterosexual man in a monastery of women.

                      Fr. Patrick, having said that, do you have any comments on the Synod’s suggestion that Metropolitan Jonah retreat at the women’s monastery in Ellwood City?

                      I know some monasteries accommodate overnight pilgrims of the opposite sex, but it seems kind of ridiculous to place a man, who’s allegedly so troubled and so in need of help, at a women’s monastery. Being a women’s monastery, there are limits as to how much a man can participate in the communal life there. Also, this monastery’s chaplain happens to be of the mind that this man is nuts.

                      There are several men’s monasteries that they could have asked him to go to, including the one he DID ask to go to and was barred from.

                    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                      I’ve been thinking that same question as well, George.

            • There are now apparently two Brians here with no last name given. I am the first, and for the record, this comment was made by a different Brian. Perhaps Brian #2 could distinguish himself as such. I haven’t commented in quite a while so it is likely that Brian #2 is not aware of my existence.

              • Brian McDonald says

                Hi, I’m “Brian 2.” Before sending my post, I was seized with a certain shyness about going public with my full name (a bit irrational since I’d I’d included it in two previous posts!); but I decided that was as absurd as it was fainthearted. After this brief battle with myself, I proceeded to forget to restore the “McDonald.” I apologize for the unintended identity confusion and will continue to use my Christian and surname for any future postings!

        • I guess my question would be, why should it be the two of them?

          Ideas have been floated before about organizing households of single Orthodox people of the same sex, not necessarily people experiencing same-sex attraction but just anyone who isn’t called to marriage, or who is widowed or divorced. They wouldn’t go so far as to live a fully monastic lifestyle, because they would work outside the household and all that, but they would provide spiritual and social support for one another and do good works together.

          It would require supervision since there’s always a possibility of such a group degenerating into something unholy, like a frat house, but I think this sounds like a better idea than letting two homosexuals pair off and attempt to remain chaste.

          • This is a superb idea. I don’t know how much supervision this would need; perhaps it can have an assigned chaplain who would drop in from time to time?

      • Mark from the DOS says

        At least in the past year or so, OCA News has proven to be no more accurate than any other source out there; and its biases are there in full color for all to see.

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      There’s another solution . . . plug the leaks so that Stokoe website has nothing to post about.

      • Mark from the DOS says

        Amen! It is amazing how Stokoe can, with a straight face, go apoplectic about supposed disclosures of confidential information from +Jonah to others while he willingly accepts and uses the same from sources friendly to him. And not a single one of his fan club can be bothered to condemn this.

  7. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    Helga asks, “Fr. Patrick, having said that, do you have any comments on the Synod’s suggestion that Metropolitan Jonah retreat at the women’s monastery in Ellwood City?”

    Excellent idea! I was the priest at that monastery for five years. There is not a better one in the world. Outstanding place to make a retreat.

    • Yes, and I’m not casting aspersions on them at all, I’m sure Transfiguration is a lovely monastery. But to me it sounds rather cuckoo bananas to send a tonsured male monastic to a women’s monastery over a men’s monastery.

      • Helga, I think the real reason, the ONLY reason they wanted +Jonah there is not because he is “troubled” (he’s not) but because he’d be under the thumb of Fr Hopko, who has proven to be an agent of the Stokovites.

        Once you get to a certain age, one is usually pulled aside and told that “the dirty litlle secret of X is…” I didn’t come across my thesis of The Dumping Ground in a flash of enlightenment while meditating under the Bo tree, but from being told over and over again by priests in the GOA and the OCA (and even the AOAA) that The Dirty Little Secret About the GOA was homosexuality while The Dirty Little Secret About the OCA was alcoholism.

        +Jonah is neither an alcoholic nor a homosexual. Hence, the Institutional Mediocrities don’t know what to do with him. He’s an anomaly and that’s why they feel that they must vomit him out from their collective throats.

        The irony is rich: Stokoe is shocked, SHOCKED at the possibility that +Jonah’s supposed “mismanagement” will hurt the OCA in the same way that it has hurt the RC Church, when he himself is carrying water for bishops who are neither simon nor pure in this regard.

        • George, you have hit the nail on the head. +Met. JONAH is called “gravely troubled” because he is not like them. Rather than admitting that they are the ones who are “gravely troubled”, it is much easier to call the one who is actually sane to be the one who is “gravely troubled”. All I can say is that if +Met. JONAH is “gravely troubled”, then we need many more “gravely troubled” people in the OCA–hierarchs, clergy, and lay people. We need to get rid of all these “sane” (at least to Stokovites) people.

        • I had the OCA and the GOA reversed. So what is the dirty little secret of the AOAA?

          • They don’t really have one, or an explosive one anyway. Partly because they don’t have a seminary where an old boys club can be cultivated. Oh sure, if you had to press me I’d say that despite their best efforts at evangelizing white folks when push comes to shove they’ll retreat into their ethnic core, but that’s already happened. It’s not criminal per se, or unethical, or even immoral, so I’ll give them that.
            Short-sighted and dishonest, yeah, but it’s not of the gravity of the immorality that afflicts some of the GOA and OCA bishops.

            What I meant to say was that these “dirty little secrets” have been told to me over the years by priests from all three of these jurisdictions. Sometimes they tell on themselves, sometimes they point the finger at others. Like when the Greeks talk about the “Bohunks” who “run the OCA” and the OCA priests who talk about the “mama’s boys” who populate the upper reaches of the GOA.

            In both cases however, I think a lot of the real power resides in a coterie of married priests who run the seminaries. A lot of these guys are really gifted and talented but they have a deep resentment against the compromised mediocrities who become bishops. (That piece of info has been given to me by both GOA and OCA priests.) Antiochian priests tend to be more circumspect in their criticisms of their own jurisdictions because of the very real they have of Met +Philip. I’ve never seen anything like it, they usually become very subdued when his name is mentioned. GOA/OCA priests can be quite vocal on the other hand, just in the right company.

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              Being to at least one GOAA clergy-laity conference you would be shocked at the disconnect between the young and hard working married priest and their unmarried bishops. To put it lightly – there ain’t no love lost between the two camps. The married priest in many ways feel held back or pressured to tow a line that has less to do with the gospel and more to do what a wealthy Greek donor wants done either in a given Greek parish, Greek function or Greek monastery.

              I can get into some mind blowing and mind numbing examples, but I believe most hear understand what I am talking about. However, if you want examples just ask, just be warned you are not going to like what you hear.

              Peter

              • Peter, I was a delegate to two of them: 1998 and 2002. Both faith-shattering experiences. Darn if the MC/Syosset bunch don’t want to catch up with them and exceed them. Lord have mercy.

            • Patrick Henry Reardon says

              George Michalopoulos writes, “Antiochian priests tend to be more circumspect in their criticisms of their own jurisdictions because of the very real they have of Met +Philip.”

              There is no noun after the adjective “real,” George.

              Let me supply the noun that works, the noun that best conveys the truth of the situation.

              Your sentence should read: “Antiochian priests tend to be more circumspect in their criticisms of their own jurisdictions because of the very real RESPECT they have of Met +Philip.”

              It is shameful that Metropolitan Philip’s name has even surfaced in this discussion about the homosexual vice among church leadership.

              If there are doubts about Metropolitan Philip’s stance on this moral question, just ask him.

              Better yet—because he can sometimes express himself very colorfully—ask Bishop Antoun.

              Anyway, I am distressed that anyone has the nerve to mention the Antiochian Archdiocese in the context of this discussion.

              • Fr Patrick, please forgive me as I meant no offense. Nor did the tenor of my musings imply that homosexuality is a problem in the Antiochian jurisdiction or among its episcopate. In fact, on other occasions, I have singled them out as the only one (except for ROCOR) that has ZERO tolerance for homosexuality in the ranks.

                I was merely being amateur anthropologist, trying to say that each jurisdiction has its strengths and also defects. That’s all.

                • Patrick Henry Reardon says

                  Thank you, George.

                  It was not you, but someone styled “DM” who posed the irrelevant and impertinent question, “So what is the dirty little secret of the AOAA?”

                  There are no dirty little secrets of the AOAA,

                  We Antiochians have our problems, but they are open and amply (if not accurately) publicized. “Dirty little secret,” in the context of this discussion, means something quite different.

                  The real dirty little secret here is the identity of the irresponsible person called “DM.”

                  • I don’t know about “dirty little secrets,” but as an aside because it apparently doesn’t really matter and is not pertinent to this discussion, Father Patrick, I do know of situations where well-known Antiochian priests and leaders acted unethically, unfairly, and unwisely, to result in a lot of unnecessary pain and hardship on at least one good-meaning and hard-working ant. I also know that people, or at least one person, spent quite literally countless thousands of hours volunteering on the OSB with barely a thank you, and that the OSB Study Bible is selling, and that profit is being made and being placed somewhere in pockets unknown, while the workers I know of received countless nothing for all their labor. If my perception is incorrect and I am the only one who experienced this, then good, please do let me know. If not, then I, an ant, would like to receive at least a thank you. Thank you.

                  • The question was not irrelevant to the post I replied to, which referred to gossiping clergy from the GOA, OCA and AOAA. My phrasing was impertinent, and I was sorry about it when reading George’s reply the next day, but there was nothing I could do about by then. I’ve been called worse and better than irresponsible, but I’ve never been called anything by anyone so distinguished. My identity doesn’t matter since I am not in a position of influence. As long as George permits handles, I think it is enough that I post here consistently, at first as “Doesn’t Matter” but quickly shortened to “DM.”

              • Excuse me Father, but this thread is not primarily about homosexuality but about church leaders who have made possibly bad decisions and bad situations that exist in the various jurisdictions.

              • how are those open audits working in the Antiochian Archdiocese? Money seems to be Met.Phillip’s vice

        • I am just curious George of whether you are concerned that your very strong views on Father Hopko and others would give credence to spartiongeometrias.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Who?

            As for Fr Hopko, I have only parted ways with him in this one regard. Otherwise I have praised him as an eloquent speaker, outstanding theologian, and a premier ecclesiologist. I have take him to task only once, because of the unfortunate choice of words he used against Metr +Jonah and essentially bearing false witness against Fr Hopko and for Mark Stokoe.

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            Thank you, Carl. I for one never intended for this blog to be about homosexuality or corruption but an open forum to discuss issues relating to our culture and our Church. Unlike other bloggers, I intend to keep discussion open and honest and if this discussion veers into matters of corruption, within whatever jurisdiction, so be it.

  8. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    George Michalopoulos responds, “If I may ask, what would be the answer then for a homosexually-inclined man who doesn’t want any near occasion to sin?”

    Pretty much the same as for a heterosexual: Stay away—prudently—from places, situations, and circumstances which render a fall more likely.

    If a man is overly driven to gambling, a trip to Las Vegas may come under that heading.

    A man given to drink should know what circumstances may prove too difficult. He will avoid those circumstances.

    If a guy has a really bad rubber addiction, he needs to watch himself around tires. He should use a ball point pen, instead of a pencil with an eraser. His Father Confessor may instruct him to use paper clips instead of rubber bands. Raincoats are especially troublesome.

    These things start small, but you need to keep your eyes open. A kid begins by nibbling on his eraser when no one is watching, but by his teen years you find him out behind the garage, gnawing on his galoshes.

    Avoiding sin is, in large measure, a matter of effort and common sense.

    A normal guy is careful around women. If he has experienced a fall in that regard, he will have a better sense what circumstances will be too much for him.

    Homosexuals differ a great deal among themselves with respect to this temptation. Circumstances that one person can handle may be too much for someone else. This is the sort of thing one works out with his Father Confessor.

    A homosexual person should be counseled the same way as anyone else. He should not be treated as a freak.

  9. On the actual subject of the post. The allegations against AZ, whether true or false, are quite serious, presumably criminal. It may be, in some technical sense, MJ’s prerogative to ignore the administrative process he himself approved for dealing with credible accusation of this kind. It’s a very bad idea to let the discretion of one individual be the arbiter of such things. I opened up the latest edition of Rolling Stone while waiting for my car at the garage this morning and read an absolutely stomach-churning article about the current prosecution of predatory Catholic priests in Philadelphia. Whatever one’s opinion of Stokoe of MJ overall, one hast to admit he has a point on this one. There simply has to be comprehensive investigation of allegations this nature.

    • Yup

      And the proper authorities should handle the investigation, not the Syosset Stooges!

      The proper authorities in Russia, the place of the allegation, should handle the investigation. On the flip side if it is an unfounded allegation the consequences of “misleading authorities” is quite stiff.

      The consequence of the Sexual Misconduct case handled by the Syosset Stooges in the OCA is to smear the reputation of an Arch priest, with no consequences for “misleading authorities” on the Sexual Misconduct special investigative panel.

      What would be your choice?

    • The trouble with that line of reasoning Matt is that this is exactly what happens with other bishops. Benjamin in particular has overlooked certain actions by some priests of his diocese and the whole HS has taken a bye in the case of the archdeacon in Miami.

      • Joseph Clarke says

        Mr. Michalopulos, please correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to be arguing that the abuse allegations against the Archimandrite should not be investigated according to the “due process” for such matters because you believe that other bishops also circumvent that procedure. But just what are these incidents which the bishops have “overlooked” in the West and in Miami? If you have reason to think that sexual predation is occurring or people are being abused, then for the sake of the victims, I think you should come forward with it.

        • Mr Clarke, let us deal only with your first assertion, that of “due process.” Due process was not followed here in the Zachaeus Wood case. First, oca.org ran a screaming headline not only accusing him of wrongdoing but announcing that he was stripped of all priestly functions for the time being.

          Correct me if I’m wrong, but in the criminal procedures, first a complaint is filed, then a warrant is issued, then an arrest, then the posting of bond, then a trial, then a finding of guilt or innocence, then if guilt, a punishment phase. This is what most people think of when they hear words like “due process.”

          In the corporate world the process isn’t nearly so convuluted, but it goes something like this: the person against whom allegations are made is brought in quietly to hear the charges against him/her. He is offered a chance to respond. The boss has the authority then to (1) fire the person if he feels the charges have merit, (2) send the person back with some warning or reprimand, (3) send the person on a leave of absence or some suspension (paid or unpaid) because the matter is adjudged to be more complicated, or (4) completely ignore the charges and send the employee back to work. At no point is the company newsletter or website used to use screaming headlines accusing the person in question of malfeasance –and here’s the kicker: even if he IS guilty and fired.

          But then what do I know, I’m just a layman in the OCA. I guess this is SOP.

          • George, you are so full of it; it is coming out of your ears!!! 😉

            You know or should know that what was announced was what needed to be done. Period.

          • Joseph Clarke says

            the person against whom allegations are made is brought in quietly to hear the charges against him/her.

            Sorry, but isn’t this exactly what the Synod attempted to do? The OCA did not use “screaming headlines” to charge Fr. Zacchaeus, as you claim. They sent him a private letter recalling him home. A week later, after he had failed to return to the U.S. as instructed — and heading into the next weekend, when they might have feared that he’d try to celebrate Liturgy at St. Catherine’s — a notice was posted online.

            I have met the Archimandrite several times, like him very much, and sincerely hope he’s cleared of wrongdoing. But I cannot see how it’s in anybody’s interest, including his, for the Metropolitan (who previously agreed to recuse himself from the process) to intervene in Fr. Zacchaeus’s defense by talking directly with Berezansky.

            Finally, I’m still hoping you’ll explain your comment to Matt Gates that it’s OK for the Metropolitan to shield Fr. Zacchaeus because you believe other bishops have protected abusers from investigation in the past.

            • They “sent him a private letter”? Then how come we know about it? That’s a strange definition of privacy if you aks me.

              What do you mean by “shield Fr Z…”? How do you know that +Jonah –who is his bishop–isn’t investigating the matter on his own?

              May I ask you, when you go to Confession, does your priest discuss his pastoral affairs in regard to to this Sacrament with the parish council? If not, why not, since you think it’s ok for the HS (and Syosset, and the MC, and I guess you and me as well) to be involved in this affair?

              • Joseph Clarke says

                Your professed disinclination to pry into the private confessional affairs of OCA officials gave me a good laugh. Thanks for that.

                In any case, questions concerning Fr. Zacchaeus are not an internal diocesan matter for Met. Jonah. The Archimandrite is the OCA’s public representative in Moscow. He has (for whatever reason) failed to comply with his instructions to return to the U.S., and has retained private counsel. Unfortunately, this is no longer a matter that can be resolved quietly, though it appears there was an initial good-faith effort to do so.

                But you still haven’t explained your above comment that other OCA bishops have “overlooked” sexual abuse allegations in the past, which now gives Met. Jonah the right to obstruct the investigation by talking directly with Mr. Berezansky in the absence of OCA lawyers.

                • Your professed disinclination to pry into the private confessional affairs of OCA officials gave me a good laugh. Thanks for that.

                  And I suppose if Fr. Zacchaeus had been accused of entering a gay marriage, you’d be circling the wagons around him.

                • Read It And Weep says

                  Mr. Joseph Clarke,

                  Why don’t you just ask Mrs. Brown what he knows about Bishop Benjamin. Why not ask, when he recovers from surgery, Bishop Nikon about the good deacon in Miami. Stokoe knows all of this but he won’t be transparent about it because it does not serve his purpose. He needs both Benjamin and Nikon to do his bidding on the Holy Synod to rid the OCA of Jonah.

                  Your recent post (I believe your first on OCAN) is a not too veiled attempt to give the impression that you are “just asking sincere questions……”

                  When an abuse allegation is raised in any organization — especially if there’s a whiff of possible legal trouble — it’s important that a strategy be agreed on and stuck to. All members of the organization must follow the same playbook. Our bishops may have their differences, but in the face of a crisis like this, they need to maintain a uniform policy.

                  Abuse? What abuse? All we know is that there was a complaint based on some sort of alleged sexual misconduct. Why use the buzzword, “Abuse”?

                  Who is alleging that the Metropolitan is doing his own thing outside the OCA Policy? Stokoe. Has anyone else come forward and said the same? Maybe your sources are better, if so, share what you know. You are just taking Mrs. Brown “reporting” as gospel, like so many others do and then you proceed to chastise Jesse Cone and then start posting here.

                  Your post on OCAN chastising Jesse Cone for printing private correspondence and then concluding that this is hindering the Moscow affair investigation is a real knee-slapper. You either are really new to all of this, which I doubt, or you overlook the all too obvious that Stokoe has been publishing inside information from inside sources for years. He even publishes emails that have been obtained by illegal and unethical means, so your outrage is really off base and your insistent prodding of others here is easy to see through.

                  Why don’t you just put your cards on the table and tell us what your end game is here in asking obvious questions and why you all of a sudden started to post on OCAN and are now here on Monomahkos. Of course, in the spirit of transparency and accountability.

                  But I think the rest of your OCAN post really tells us all we need to know….

                  “The fact that the Metropolitan and his Internet mouthpieces are openly consorting with the Archimandrite’s lawyer (anyone following the campaign at OCATruth will note that Jesse Cone now corresponds with and publishes verbatim the claims of Mr. Berezansky) is simply making it more difficult to follow the “due process” of a misconduct allegation and, if Fr. Zacchaeus is innocent, to clear him objectively of wrongdoing.

                  Those who care about the rapid, responsible, and orderly investigation of sexual misconduct charges should implore that Metropolitan Jonah be removed from any position in which he can further interfere with this investigation.”

                  Mouthpiece?

                  • Mr Clarke’s position is not unreasonable. I guess its not a surprise that this opinion comes from an accused Stokovite like myself. Nonetheless, I do find it odd that the person who rightfully criticized me for being a hypocrite, and thus falling short, would himself accuse a bishop of the Church of untoward behavior without proof and without following proper Christian procedure and charity.

                    • Read It And Weep says

                      Carl,

                      Let Mr Clarke reply and speak for himself, if he so desires. I find that reasonable. Don’t you?

                  • Matt Gates and Joseph Clarke are both members of Leonova’s coven which tells you all you need to know in ascertaining their motives.

                    • That explains a lot. Lenova and crew don’t like +Jonah’s stand on homosexuality (“insensitive” and all that). No wonder those boys are trying to rescue Stokoe.

                  • Joseph Clarke says

                    If it gives you a thrill to post pettish, mocking comments about fellow Christians (“Mrs. Brown”), go right ahead. But don’t expect others to take you seriously.

                    You can look up my posts and comments anywhere on the Internet because I sign my name to them. There’s a serious issue here and I’ve tried to ask an on-topic question. It is not being answered, so I’m now going to shake the dust off my feet.

                    • Let me apologize for Read it and Weep.

                      RIAW, you got it wrong. From now it is is MR. Stokoe-Brown!

                      (The Mr. is a Mrs. and the Mrs. is a Mr., or so the shake your dust of the feet guy says.)

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Joseph, I would encourage you to stop the posturing. Given what we know about Mdme Leonova’s Facebook “Listening Group,” I find it hard to take you or Mr Gates seriously.

                      Why do I say this? Because I tried to join your FB group about 2 months ago and have yet to hear a response. Others have contacted me as well.

                      Listening goes both ways, unless we’re talking about “listening” I guess. As for myself, I welcome an open debate.

                    • You keep accusing people here of ignoring the supposed “wrongs” committed by Metropolitan Jonah and only being concerned about sexual misconduct of others.

                      What’s actually being pointed out here is that the people who are accusing Metropolitan Jonah of ignoring the policy are also ignoring it themselves. We are not excusing any possible wrongdoing on the Metropolitan’s part based on what other people are doing. This is what accountability means: it means everyone is being held responsible, not just a few.

                      Sexual misconduct of any kind should not be tolerated, consensual or otherwise. But we will not stand for people like Fr. Zacchaeus being railroaded as abusers, while others are given a free pass for their sexual proclivities simply because they feed questionable information about the others to a gossip-blogging layman.

                      Now, does that clear things up?

                    • George, they will probably claim that they never got an introductory message from you or the others, or if it was sent, that they did not find it satisfactory.

      • Two wrongs=a right?

        • No, but I have to say I find it much easier to sympathize with someone who is personally uncompromised in terms of sexual misconduct protecting others from investigation (if he believes, rightly or wrongly, that the charges against the other are baseless and/or politically motivated), than with someone trying to protect himself from investigation, especially when that latter someone appears to have resorted to covert and unethical means to stop that investigation.

        • No, but your assuming that +Jonah perpetrated a “wrong.” That’s not in evidence.

          • I do not know how you could jump at that conclusion. I was merely pointing out that the counter-argument to Matt’s rather logical one was in essence, “yeah, but other bishops also have not done x, y z in similar circumstances.” What we are wondering if he is not doing what needs to be done by a prudent leader. Y’all have defended his handling of this affair as being within the purview of a diocesan bishop. However, his handling of this issue could cost the entire OCA, not just his own pockets or the coffers of the Diocese of Washington, legal and financial headaches.

  10. Speaking of someone “gravely troubled” see my latest satire entitled “If at first…” viewable at: http://s1235.photobucket.com/home/Heracleides

  11. The circumstances of the accusation being unknown to the general public, there could be any number of reasons why the case can’t be prosecuted in a law court, including jurisdictional issues, the peculiarities of Russian law (remember we’re talking about a country where well-connected mob figures enjoy virtual legal immunity, where the judiciary is often somewhat less transparent than our own) the citizenship of the accused, legal technicalities, or any number other complicating factors. The OCA has an obligation to to conduct internal investigation of all credible accusations and to remove predatory clergy from public ministry and positions of trust. Something of this gravity can’t depend on one man’s judgement.

    • “Something of this gravity…”

      Are you perhaps privy to information that the rest of the public is not? Just because Mrs. Stokoe-Brown spins the allegation(s) as serious & credible does not necessarily mean they are. If you’re not privy to such information, then please refrain from acting the tool for Mark and his flunkies at Syosset.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Matt, there are things “…of this gravity” that have been overlooked by Syosset for years simply because it was one of their own who were caught with their pants down or thrown in the drunk tank. It’s no different than the old literacy tests in the Jim Crow South: the white guy was asked to spell “cat” but the black guy was asked to spell “Czechoslovakia.”

      This type of injustice cannot stand forever Matt. The Lord is not mocked. Judgment begins in the House of the Lord.

    • Something of this gravity can’t depend on one man’s judgement.

      Wow. So you would have insisted that they handle this situation with disregard to the OCA’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, Standards, and Procedures document? You don’t think the diocesan bishop should have discretion and authority over their priests?

      You can argue that they should have handled it your way, but you can’t blame Met. Jonah for coloring within the approved procedures lines for this stuff, which — by the way — matters legally.

  12. These accusations are presumably not of private, consensual indiscretions. It was the entire Synod, not Stokoe, who ordered the investigation that MJ is now actively obstructing. To dismiss these matters by placing them in the context of some imaginary meta-narrative about Culture Wars is the ultimate triumph of illusion over reality, shielding “our guys” at all costs because “everyone else is out to get us.” While I truly believe that the Met means well, it’s precisely this kind of paranoid “us vs. them” stuff that allowed Cardinal Law to rationalize his cover-ups. It’s in everyone’s best interest, especially AZ’s, to have this properly investigated.

    • “It was the entire Synod, not Stokoe, who ordered the investigation that MJ is now actively obstructing.”

      And you know this how??? Source please.

    • These accusations are presumably not of private, consensual indiscretions.

      Okay, now that is BULL. One of them involves one of the bishops and his own teenage nephew. This bishop happens to be one of the ones who is most bitterly against Metropolitan Jonah. When Met. Jonah ordered an investigation of this allegation, it was shut down and Santa Fe followed shortly thereafter. And how interesting is it that Stokoe protested Metropolitan Jonah’s supposed refusal to go by the sexual misconduct guidelines, but also protested Metropolitan Jonah’s attempt to initiate a proper investigation of this allegation against this bishop! That’s not “transparency” or “accountability” in my book! That looks like a coverup and a persecution of a whistleblower!

      It was the entire Synod, not Stokoe, who ordered the investigation that MJ is now actively obstructing.

      That could easily be the “appalled four” at work, not the consensus of the Synod. And isn’t it interesting that three of the four are on the recently-constituted Lesser Synod while the fourth is interim chancellor? Strange how all four of Stokoe’s “appalled four” have wrangled themselves these new positions of authority – and direct control over Metropolitan Jonah – since Santa Fe!

      It’s in everyone’s best interest, especially AZ’s, to have this properly investigated.

      The alleged crime, assuming there is enough in the charges to hold up to basic scrutiny, is said to have taken place in the Russian Federation and is therefore subject to THEIR jurisdiction. Attempting to force Fr. Zacchaeus to come to the United States could easily be construed as an attempt to flee justice on his part and an attempt to obstruct justice on the OCA’s part.

      Furthermore, Metropolitan Jonah seems to think the charges are a ruse to ruin Fr. Zacchaeus’s career and reputation. I can’t prove that, but it certainly is suspicious that the situation, with nearly all the details that were possible to release, was blasted across the front of the official OCA website within hours, even though I can’t think of another OCA priest outside Syosset who has ever been subjected to that treatment, regardless of the severity of his alleged crime. It was only ever bishops and Syosset employees (e.g. Kondratick) before.

      As for the supposed prominence of Fr. Zacchaeus, I find it hard to believe most on-the-ground OCA members are even aware of the representation church, much less of the priest-in-charge. The only reason I ever had a clue who the man is, is because I happened to run into him once while he was traveling in the States.

      So ask yourself not about the charges themselves, since none of us here have enough evidence to find guilt or innocence in that matter, but rather, who might benefit from destroying Fr. Zacchaeus?

      • CodeNameYvette says

        May I humbly suggest that it is time for George M. to open a discussion about Bishop Benjamin? Cards on the table. If someone who is very seriously compromised is wielding great power in the jurisdiction he ought to receive the appropriate attention, particularly on the eve of the ACC.

        Does anyone know first-hand what goes on in San Francisco at the cathedral? Does anyone know why Raphael House broke ties with the diocese?

        • Does anyone know why Raphael House broke ties with the diocese?

          I don’t know, but I think Bishop Benjamin used to live inside Raphael House.

    • Matt Gates says,

      It was the entire Synod, not Stokoe, who ordered the investigation that MJ is now actively obstructing.

      Sorry, but that is wrong. As you can read in the OCA’s Sexual Misconduct Policies, Standards, and Procedures complaints are gathered by the Office for Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations, which then disperses it to the diocesan bishop. At that point the bishop can investigate as he chooses: including using the same Office to aid in the investigation. In this case, the complaint was received by Metropolitan Jonah and he deemed it fit to allow an investigation to proceed while he recused himself. Once things had been sufficiently jumbled and fumbled, he found himself forced to act.

      It ain’t pretty for anyone, that’s for sure.

      I know of no way in which he is obstructing his own investigation. Perhaps you know better. However, I think what you may be referring to is Met. Jonah is refusing to turn over all his communication regarding his investigation to a certain bishop who is asking for it. That’s something entirely different.

      The aporia you are probably feeling is (1) not the good Socratic kind, and (2) coming from this (salty military speak — “fubar-ed”) situation, not Metropolitan Jonah.

      Do you really believe that Stokoe, who was just ousted from two councils by a member of the Synod, knows the Mind of The Synod? I would be careful listening to him when he volunteers their thoughts, feelings, and actions.

      • Jesse, I doubt anything you have to say will carry much weight with Matt as he views you as someone “trapped” in a “Freudian nightmare” and a purveyor of “sociopathic filth” as he has so eloquently stated below:

        “What’s disturbing about OCAtruth is not so much the identity of its authors as the frankly weird brand of sexual paranoia and McCarthyism they espouse. The despicable rhetoric employed by both them and George Michalopulos, who consistently refers to anyone with slightly more nuanced and empathetic views than himself as “lavenders” and “nominal, tribal Christians,” panders the the absolute lowest denominator. I don’t know which is more terrifying, the possibility that these men are using such rhetoric as a means to achieve their own ambitions, or that possibility that they their minds are actually trapped in the Freudian nightmare they so eloquently describe. Most unsettling of all is that this kind of sociopathic filth seems to strike a chord with so many of the faithful. Jonah and Fester’s knowledge of the content of the site ought, in and of itself, to be grounds for their removal.”

        #56 Matt Gates on 2011-05-02 20:32

        http://www.ocanews.org/serendipity/index.php?/archives/619-The-Truth-Behind-OCATruth.com.html

        Consider the source though – this is someone who also said the following in praise of Fr. Vinogradov’s so-called “reflection” on homosexuality:

        “I would like to thank Father V. for is insightful, well-written and compassionate reflection. No doubt he will take some heat for it, but we need articulate voices like his to overcome the hysteria over this matter that’s being shouted by some. The depth of his insight about the Church in history and God’s continuing love for Her are evident in every line. Many years, Father V.”

        #9 Matt Gates on 2011-07-12 19:05

        http://www.ocanews.org/serendipity/index.php?/archives/632-Fr.-Vinogradovs-Reflection.html

        • Why do some people get off on “McCarthyism”? Haven’t they ever seen Jenny McCarthy? She’s HOT!

          Seriously, as for Tailgunner Joe, he may have been an alcoholic, but he was essentially right. He smoked out the Commies who were in the State Dept.

        • Jesse, I doubt anything you have to say will carry much weight with Matt as he views you as someone “trapped” in a “Freudian nightmare” and a purveyor of “sociopathic filth”

          The same folks that have been accused of being “sexually repressed” by their Freudian nightmare have also been accused of “breeding like rabbits”.

          The good news is that, despite my obvious psychological dysfunction, the OCA’s document on such matters does not.

  13. Least I think no one reads what I write… I’m flattered something I said got under your skin, gentlemen. It was written in state of shock and disgust and I stand by every word of it.
    As I understand, and correct me if I’m wrong, the procedures call for these things to be investigated by a panel, consisting, I believe, of a priest, a psychiatrist, and an attorney with some expertise in these matters. Seriously though, correct me if I’m wrong. At issue has never been the allegations regarding AZ himself, but MJ’s reaction to them. If you honestly believe these things were simply invented to by a cabal to entrap people, no amount to reason will convince you otherwise.

    • Written in true Stokoe fashion. Slap up some allegations about a sitting priest, force a reaction, then attack the reactor because he is the one you really want to get.

      Matt, you are out to get +Jonah just like Stoke is. Part of that is the homosexual agenda. You don’t like that +Jonah won’t go soft on sodomy like you and your friends at Lenova’s coven want — you know, the Church is “silent” and all that. Good thing we’ve got boys like you to set us straight. (Oops, sorry, didn’t mean to be insensitive saying “straight.”)

      • Answer the man! Only those without an resort to ad hominem arguments. I don’t think that anybody here will mistake your position on homosexuality but that is not on topic, for heaven’s sake.

        • Answer what? That the allegations “if true” amount to no more than a smear? That we are supposed to take the “if true” as truth and pretend that Gates’ assertion that “At issue has never been the allegations regarding AZ himself, but MJ’s reaction to them” is really the issue? Are you serious?

          So why are Gates and friends so eager to jump on Stokoe’s let’s get +Jonah bandwagon? Why do they persist in the “if true” when they can’t produce one shred of evidence if the “if true” is indeed true? Why are Gates, Clarke, and you so eager to perpetuate Stokoe’s narrative?

          And how come the loudest voices, Stokoe, Gates, Clarke all share an affinity for homosexuality? Sorry Kraeff but Gates and Clarke are real open about that, Stokoe more quiet. Don’t ask us to pretend it doesn’t matter just because you do

          • Very well said Ian.

          • Help me understand as I haven’t followed all the particulars in this debate. If there is an allegation of sexual misconduct/abuse against a member of the clergy, what should happen? Letting the Bishop of that individual decide, doesn’t seem appropriate because of potential conflicts of interests, inconsistency of results, etc? And heaven forbid, if there is the Roman Catholic attitude that sexual misconduct/abuse by the clergy represent minor missteps, or just boys behaving badly. Abuse by clergy, using their position of trust, should be rooted out with zero tolerance. To me, that should be an organizational policy and process, and not solely the discretion of one person.

          • He asked “As I understand, and correct me if I’m wrong, the procedures call for these things to be investigated by a panel, consisting, I believe, of a priest, a psychiatrist, and an attorney with some expertise in these matters. Seriously though, correct me if I’m wrong.” Why can’t you answer that simple question? If you don’t know the answer, say so. If you know the answer, why are you attacking him as if his alleged sympathy toward homosexuality disqualifies him to ask simple questions? This is a truly to right way to bring discredit to folks like me who have signed the Manhattan Declaration. If we, who are opposed to the blessing of homosexual marriages by the Church or of the Church changing its ages-old stance of homosexual behavior, display such knee-jerk and abusive stance against all who are even remotely different from us, we will lose the greater war. The reason for this is simple: we are not Jihadists, we are supposed to be Christians.

            • Don’t dissemble Kraeff. Here’s what was said:

              At issue has never been the allegations regarding AZ himself, but MJ’s reaction to them.

              Nope. Stokoe’s “if true” — remember? Read my response. Elevating the secondary question, as if it has real bearing is sly — but that’s your stock in trade. It makes people think the premise is legitimate.

              You didn’t address the premise though, did you?

        • Addendum: Look what Clarke wrote on OCA News (comment #21):

          Those who care about the rapid, responsible, and orderly investigation of sexual misconduct charges should implore that Metropolitan Jonah be removed from any position in which he can further interfere with this investigation.

          So, we got a guy advocating for sodomy telling us +Jonah has to go. You want us to ignore the sodomy part, but take him seriously with this nonsense, right? Ever wonder why people have a hard time taking you seriously?

          • See above. I have a hard time taking seriously folks like you who cannot see that these are two distinctly separate issues. First of all, your stance is illogical. Secondly, your stance is uncharitable. Thirdly, you are fulminating like a fanatic.

            • Like I said, you want us to ignore the sodomy part, but take Clarke seriously with his other nonsense.

            • Karl

              You, Jesse and others have more than adequately explained, in this thread, the procedure outlined in the Sexual Misconduct Procedure. Then you wonder why someone wanders in late, tosses a bunch of allegations around and the says “What?”.

              In answer to Matt Gates, the roll of the investigative committee, if appropriate is explained here

              <a href=""http://oca.org/Documents/OfficialDocumentsPDF/040203ocaguidelines.pdf

              Rather than troll through a couple of different blogs for the procedure, go to the source. And since you seem intimately involved in the AZ activities, could you provide how the procedures were violated, starting with the Syosset Stooges botching the first part of the procedures.

              • In fact, Matt was confusing best practices with the actual 2003 policy. It is not the case that a sexual allegation must be immediately investigated by the team that Matt talked about. It should be, but it is not required by the policy IMHO. The “diocesan” bishop still has the prerogative to dismiss the case at the outset. It is not clear that once he has not done so at the outset that he can short-circuit an on-going process; however, that is above my pay grade. That is the reason why we have national officers, Metropolitan Council and Holy Synod. We may ask the questions, but they are the ones who must deal with any issue. Ultimately, the people will either ratify it or not, voting with their feet and wallets. Of course, let’s not forget the modern version of the agora; the internet.

                • Carl says,

                  That is the reason why we have national officers, Metropolitan Council and Holy Synod.

                  Can you show that in the Statute?

                  The role of the Metropolitan Council (and to a lesser extent, the CA) is a vital and tendentious topic.

  14. Read It And Weep says

    Ian, et. al.,

    Thanks for the correction on Mr/Mrs Brown. Sorry the truth offends some folks.

    But let’s be serious, Mark Stokoe has made his choice in life and how he desires to live it. Whether he openly or privately desires that the Church change its Traditional stand on same-sex relations and marriage and blesses his personal choices, people now know more. In his “humility” Stokoe will always demure, but he has been discovered.

    George, time for another thread? There has got to be more things to shed the good light of truth on!

    • Indeed! Be on the lookout for some more stuff soon.

      • Patrick Henry Reardon says

        Before we close this thread, let me apologize to anyone I may have offended by my sharp remarks this past week.

        I suppose I am attempting to put my house in order before flying off to Damascus this evening. Metropolitan Philip is sending a small team of us over to check into the situation in Syria.

        Pray, please, for the Christians in the Middle East, who are currently bearing the brunt of the policies of various nations, including our own.

        Pray, too, for Patriarch Ignatius and Metropolitan Philip, who have been charged to guide the Church during these very troubled times.