“See How Good it is When Brothers Dwell Together in Unity”

Amid the flurry negativity that seems to consume the world, the Lord has His own purposes. Sometimes, when we are open to God’s grace, we can partake of the His wonderful work among the Saints.

Recently, His Beatitude continued his ministry of reconciliation and with his characteristic humility, concelebrated with His Eminence Hilarion, Fist Hierarch of ROCOR and His Grace Bishop George of Mayfield at St John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cthedral in Mayfield, PA. In doing so, he healed a schism lasting some thirty years ago because of our foolish pride.

To the assembled hierarchs, priests, and laypeople: AXIOI!!!

Please take the time to read this wonderful story brought to us by the always delightful Byzantine, TX.

Click to enlarge(ROCOR-Mayfield) – Full report chronicling the May 27th “Walking in Our Forefathers’ Footsteps” pilgrimage walk from St. John’s in Mayfield to St. Tikhon’s Monastery

With the Blessing of His Eminence, Hilarion Metropolitan of New York and Eastern America, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) and His Grace, George, Bishop of Mayfield, His Beatitude, Jonah, Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada, of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) celebrated Hierarchal Divine Liturgy on Sunday, May 27th, 2012 in Saint John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral, Mayfield, PA.

This was the first time since 1982 that a Hierarch of the Orthodox Church in America has served in the Cathedral in Mayfield. In the early 1980′s the OCA decided to switch to the new style calendar, at the objection of many parishes. St. John’s in Mayfield held steadfast in the traditions of their forefathers, rejecting the calendar change nearly unanimously. It was then that a few dissenting parishoners, backed by the OCA Bishop at the time took St. John’s to court, in order to seize church property and assets. As a result of this, St. John’s, after an overwhelming majority vote, left the OCA, and joined the Eastern American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. This was a difficult time for Father John, his family, and the Cathedral, but they endured patiently and the parish thrived.

May 17th, 2012 marked the five year Anniversary of the Reunification of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia. Prior to the Reunification, ROCOR and the OCA were not in canonical communion. Since then, relations between the ROCOR and OCA have been normalized. Some four years ago, with the help of the now dean of St. Tikhon’s Seminary, Fr. Alexander Atty, Father John, the parishioners of St. John’s, and St. Tikhon’s Monastery and OCA bishops began on the road to forgiveness and healing. On May 27, 2012, Metropolitan Jonah, primate of the OCA arrived at St. John’s in the spirit of humility and reconciliation, even though he himself was not involved in any of the actions some 30 years ago. Asking forgiveness from the parishioners for the unfortunate and hurtful actions of previous OCA Bishops, Metropolitan Jonah remarked, “Truly today, an historical day, in which I come to you in the spirit of love, the spirit of forgiveness, the spirit of reconciliation. I know and understand, I fully acknowledge, and weep for the great pain that was caused by the decisions made by my predecessors, and ask for forgiveness.”

Metropolitan Jonah and his healing, God-inspired words were welcomed by the faithful of St. John’s, ending with a touching speech from Mitred Archpriest John D. Sorochka, who has been the priest of St. John’s for over 40 years.

This Hierarchal Divine Liturgy on May 27th coincided with St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Monastery’s 108th annual Memorial Day Weekend Pilgrimage, and kicked off the Procession “Walking in our Forefathers’ Footsteps”. Following Divine Liturgy, Father John and the St. John’s Parishioners hosted a luncheon. During the luncheon, the Myrrh Streaming Iveron Icon of the Mother of God arrived, and a moleban for safe travel was sung.

Over 40 faithful and clergy, consisting of St. John’s parishoners, St. Tikhon’s seminarians and their families, and pilgrims attending the services at St. Tikhon’s Monastery, participated in the over 11 mile procession. The procession began at 2pm on Hill Street in Mayfield with the faithful singing the troparion of the Cross “O Lord Save Thy People”, with Protodeacon Joseph Matusiak carrying the processional cross from St. John’s. Various walkers took turns carrying the cross. The walk continued through the Carbondale and over Salem Mountain, finally arriving at the monastery some 4 hours after the walk began. A caravan of cars equipped with water accompanied the walkers on their journey, giving a ride to some who needed a break. The walk took place in over 80 degree weather in the middle of the afternoon. Most of the walkers made it the entire 11 mile+ walk, with some walking a majority of the walk, and others walking portions of the walk. Children as young as 4 years old participated as well as some walkers 55 and older. All participants walked the final 1.5 miles to the monastery.

As the walkers ascended Salem mountain, the walk became grueling to some, but most of the walkers attempted at least part of the mountain. As the walkers went down the mountain approaching South Canaan, residents at the rural farms and houses enjoying their Memorial Day weekend stopped and watched the walkers, and a man even came out of his home, asked the Cross Bearer to stop, and venerated Christ’s feet, kissing the cross, thanking the walkers as they went onward to the monastery.

As the group approached the final road leading to the Monastery, the bells could be heard up to 1/2 mile away. The weary walkers were strengthened by the sounds of the bells and once again sang “O Lord, Save Thy People”, with even more conviction than when they started. At the archway to the Monastery entrance were His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah, Primate of the OCA, along with his Eminence Archbishop Tikhon, bishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, as well as the abbot of the monastery, and other monks and clergy. Each were holding relics of the Saints, especially those of St. Tikhon of Moscow who walked on the same grounds the pilgrims were on. Also present was the miracle working, Myrrh-streaming icon of St. Anna and the Theotokos. The walkers were able to venerate all the icons and relics with great joy, with some shedding tears, thanking God for being able to complete the walk and to make it to the holy Monastery.

A special surprise awaited the walkers and drivers as the abbot of the monastery invited all to the dining hall for a meal prepared for them. We at St. John’s would like to thank the Metropolitan, Archbishop Tikhon, and St. Tikhons for their hospitality and for helping to organize the walk. Metropolitan Jonah’s kind words and wonderful homily at the earlier Divine Liturgy will help strengthen the bond between St. Tikhon’s and St. John’s. The entire day was an edifying and unforgettable experience for all involved. Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory be Forever!


  1. StephenD says

    Bravo ! Axios ! It was very touching for Met.Jonah to do this..the pain of the past can be undone. Axios !

  2. Carl Kraeff says

    Please just tell me if I am wrong:

    1. A local church canonically decides to shift from the Old Calendar to the New Calendar.
    2. A parish in one of the dioceses of this local church refuses to accept the decision.
    3. This refusenik church is schismatic, no?

    • Michael Bauman says

      Carl, I would say no, because the whole calendar issue was (possibly) decided in an uncannonical manner in the first place. And the legalistic and sometimes barbaric ways in which the new calendar was forced on many who did not accept it kinda bears that out.

      As my bishop once told me (a new calendar bishop BTW). We changed, we should go back if it is standing in the way of unity.

      But, come on—does it really matter? Christ’s love was made manifest and where Christ’s love is–there is unity.

      I worship in a new calendar jurisdiction, my brother in an old calendar one. He is not dogmatic about it but does articulate the propriety and advantages while at the same time acknowledging the pastoral problems the old calender can present.

      The OCA is a mixed jurisdiction which puts in a unique position to bring folks together just as occured in this case.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Carl, Michael is right. The New Calendar (to which I adhere because of the accident of my birth) was shoved down the throats of a minority of Orthodox Christians in a tyrannical manner. It has done more to sow the seeds of division than anything else in the last 100 years.

        It was decided by a council in C’pole no less some 400 years ago that anybody who follows it is “anathema.”

        The extreme insensitivity with which it was forced on the Greek and the Greek-dependent churches is exceeded in egregiousness only by the spirit in which it was enacted –by the unfortunate Meletios IV Metaxakis. It was he who transformed the unfortunate term “ecumenical” into the even more ridiculous “universal” as in “supreme.”

        As if this wasn’t enough, he was complicit in undermining the newly-reestablished Russian patriarchate by consorting with the Bolshivik front-group known as “The Living Church.” As such, he was complicit in the martyrdom of St Tikhon.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          George–I am surprised that you are seeing an octopus here, its many tentacles reaching out to the Living Church, the unfortunate Patriarch, and even the odd notion that the Revised Julian is the same as the Gregorian. Have you considered writing a la Dan Brown and Robert Ludlum?

          • George Michalopulos says

            Carl, I am NOT a conspiracy theorist and I find the writings of Ludlum and Brown to be juvenile at best. It’s just that in retrospect, we’ve got to understand that the way the NC was forced down our throats has NOTHING for Orthodox unity and MUCH to cause enmity.

            Personal point: about 10 or so years ago, all Orthodox patriarchs (except for Ignatius) met in Jerusalem for a big conclave. It was done on Jan 9 –Christmas. I remember reading the news reports. They all went something like this: “The Orthodox Churches, which follow the Julian Calendar, celebrate Christmas two weeks after the Western Churches…”

            OK, that’s fine as it goes. I remember though one of my elderly cousins pulling me aside and asking me in a troubled voice why there was such a discrepancy. (Multigenerational GOA parish here.) I tried to explain that over 90% of the Orthodox ecumene follows the OC. She was very troubled. I’m not sure by what, the chance that the 10% (us) was wrong or that we were only 10%. It was almost an existential crisis.

            Look, do we need a council to address the Calendar issue? Yeah. Nothing wrong with being scientific and all. As the Venerable Dmitri told about 10 of us, “it’s an astronomical event.” No arguments there. But the way it was unilaterally imposed in 1923 by Metaxakis and imperiously imposed in 1982 on many pious people was most unfortunate. And the recourse to the argument that “the Holy Synod blessed this and therefore you don’t need to fret” is repellant.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Michael–I do know history as well. If you consider the decisions of the Church during Ecumenical Council era, both the Old and New Calendars can be (and have been) argued to be in compliance. So, any local church may decide this issue on its own. The facts are that both Old and New Calendar Churches accepted to stay on the Old in order to celebrate Pascha together and schisms were minimized. That is because most everybody recognized this was not a matter of dogma and decided to stay within canonical bounds by not meddling in other local churches’ affairs.

        One can argue that the change should have been made differently, with more buy-in from the laity and priests. I am surprised however that many folks here are criticizing the Holy Synod for making this decision unilaterally and for individual bishops exercising their authority differently. Are we not a Church of Canons, to include the OCA Statute–a modern version of local canons? Are we not a hierarchical church?

        I want to be make it clear that I brought up this issue to put the Metropolitan’s apology in context, to make sure that folks are not tempted to make more of it than a gesture of reconciliation. I am happy that further reconciliation between the Old and New Calendar Churches are taking place. I am not entirely happy with the phrasing “..the great pain that was caused by the decisions made by my predecessors.” I am not happy because the article did not also include the Mayfield folks also saying “and we are sorry for disobeying the Holy Synod and our Bishop.” And, I am not happy because the ROCOR leadership has not also said “and we are also sorry for aiding and abetting schismatics.”

        • Jim of Olym says

          “I am not entirely happy with the phrasing “..the great pain that was caused by the decisions made by my predecessors.” I am not happy because the article did not also include the Mayfield folks also saying “and we are sorry for disobeying the Holy Synod and our Bishop.” And, I am not happy because the ROCOR leadership has not also said “and we are also sorry for aiding and abetting schismatics.””

          Might have helped if a former bishop would ever admit to being a ‘jerk’ in the matter. But I suspect that the calendar was a subsidiary issue to that of property, at the time.
          I wasn’t around Orthodoxy back then, but I’ve learned that if you follow the money you will find treasures you didn’t know existed!
          Rdr. James

        • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

          You mean the schismatics who left the Canonical Bulgarian Patriarchate and formed a new “breakaway” Bulgarian Orthodox Church with Bishop Kyril(Yonchev)?
          Oh,but then they joined the OCA in 1975,so that made them all right,then?

          • Diogenes says

            What you don’t understand is, any churches in N. America directly under foreign bishops are non-canonical. The canons are clear, bishops only have authority of their own churches within their own territory. N. America is not the territory of the Bulgarians, Romanians, Antioch/Damascus, Russians, Serbia, etc. So therefore, any church or churches leaving these non-canonical dioceses and joining the only autocephalous Orthodox Church in N. America, the OCA, is following proper protocol under Canon Law!

    • When the OCA drew the line in the sand and declared itself to be a new calendar church, that is the synod of bishops, not the people asking for it, they created winners and losers. This forced parishes like Mayfield to “like or lump it.”

      Yet at the very same time that some bishops on the synod were declaring no exceptions to accept the NC, other bishops like Bishop Basil of the West permitted some parishes for pastoral reasons to stay on the OC. This further alienated parishes in other dioceses who wished to stay on the OC but were forbidden. Hence their departure to ROCOR.

      The OCA synod miscalculated the backlash on the calendar issue and it cost them dearly. The attempt of +Jonah to apologize is in keeping with a more reasonable consideration of the calendar question, made easier for +Jonah to make because he would prefer the OCA go back to the OC, or at least not stop parishes with the blessing of their respective bishops to bless such a change.

      I don’t think the OCA being on the NC is an impediment to unity, rather the existence of the OCA is the larger impediment. The rather feeble and sad “I feel good about the future” spin by Fr. Jillions on his inaugural Chancellor’s blog makes the opposite point as the OCA still has to spend so much time and effort trying to legitimate its existence no matter what calendar it observes.

      A sad confirmation of this relates to the last blog subject – the Sex Czar. Another brilliant OCA idea except Fr Jillions had to go to the Greeks last week to pitch the idea that the ACOB should foot the bill for such an effort. In other words, the OCA doesn’t have the money for its own idea. Or, to put the best possible spin on the Jillions attempt, since it is such a great idea, we should all support it. That might be a good idea, except the OCA has such little street cred after the last several years, the ACOB is not very likely to follow the OCA’s lead on anything. Remember, they are even at ACOB meetings because of the kindness of Archbishop Demetrios.

      Good for +Jonah to say what he said (with the permission of the synod) I hope it brings ROCOR closer to the OCA, which will help the OCA much more than it will help the ROCOR. Lord knows that if +Jonah could escape to ROCOR, he would.

      • M. Stankovich says


        I don’t know who you are or where you were at the time this process and decision transpired, but those were “days of rage,” historically speaking. As far as ROCOR was concerned, to adopt the NC was to transgress the foundational Tradition of the Church; this was a theological transgression of cosmic consequence (e.g. monastics calculated the day the Cross appeared in the sky to Emperor Constantine, and it was according to the reckoning of the OC!), and not a cultural/sociological or psychological “accommodation” to America. There was a rain of “Sorrow Epistles,” editorials, and letters – floating as photocopies between students at SVS, who had more unnecessary anxiety than anyone else – that strongly suggested reconciliation would never happen in our lifetime, if ever. And I never recall ROCOR “blaming” anyone but the “Parisian” protagonists, Schmemann and Meyendorff, for the “renovations.”

        Likewise, I am not so sure that the OCA miscalculated the “backlash” in that Fr. Schmemann’s “Three No’s and a Yes” had a tremendous impact on persuading anyone who listened that, on the ground, the calendar issue had become a “religious” issue, unlike ROCOR’s “theological” issue (and among the chumps in the back, the “battle of Mayfield” was, par excellence ethnic “religious” posturing, with ROCOR snapping up the cheese of the prideful corneille). The cynical kind would reduce the entire argument to “Russian Christmas,” meaning the debate was over a single day (“Ask them what day they celebrate the Nativity of the Theotoks. They don’t know because the don’t go to church if it isn’t Sunday”). It would seem that the confrontation of the 2nd-generation ethnics was inevitable for any progress. Perhaps it leaves the question, how was the issue ever resolved “theologically” but I guess we don’t need to go there…

        It seems to me, Amos, that street cred and money, like big membership lists and influential interviews by the New York Times are all simply variables. And variables are “liquid” quantities that flow, drift, and change. Better that we “gird [our] waist with the truth and put on the breastplate of righteousness,” (Eph. 6:14) greeting Orthodox Christians, “I am jealous over you with God’s own jealousy.” (2 Cor 11:2) We are an ancient Church in a new country, and I don’t think we’ve had time to properly remove our coat.

        • MS,

          I was around as you were ” back on the day” and the “all or nothing” approach, especially by Bishops Boris and Herman caused parishes to leave the OCA. If you don’t think this is still an issue, all the synod need do is allow parishes to choose which calendar they would prefer to be on and you would see a significant number would prefer to be on the OC.

          The fact that parishes were forced to adopt the NC was dumb. Thankfully, Bishop Basil saw that such a forced march would be wrong. He was bold enough to say no; and we all know how that worked out for him. He was retired soon afterwards.

          Your love for Fr Alexander is well known, but his real legacy is now being assessed 30 years after his repose. The calendar fight was not worth it in retrospect and was the bitter fruit of the arrogance of the OCA synod back in the day. Today, what the OCA does or doesn’t do has little impact on the American Orthodox scene.

          Yes, we are an ancient church in a new country but far from the only Orthodox church and certainly not an authocephlaous church speaking with any authority.

          • StephenD says

            I remember those days too and even though I was young it did feel as if the very fabric of the Church was being torn away. I had a selfish reason to be upset too. My father was Episcopalian and I certainly enjoyed the bounty of “Two Christmas’s”..It was unfortunate how it was done and I remember Bishop Herman being very ugly when he came to St.Stephen’s to announce the edict on the calender. One reason that the Baba’s didn’t string him up is because I do remember him saying that this would make us more “American”. I must always remember that this was said in a Church which took the word “Russian” off of the sign during the Cuban missle crisis. I have a feeling that many parishes would go “back” to the Old Calender if given the chance..

            • Carl Kraeff says

              There you go: No real reason except for not being Russian enough!

              • ProPravoslavie says

                I don’t think you got the point, Carl. The babas acquiesced in the change to the NC only because it made them “look American”. It would be more accurate to say that “there was no real reason for the calendar change except that they were not being American enough, and this had to change.”

                That’s OCAdoxy for you.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  1. I was being sarcastic.

                  2. My reference was to The One Main Sticking Point: Nativity. Let me explain with my personal experience.

                  I grew up in the Bulgarian Exarchate in Istanbul–an Old Calendar Church to be sure. Growing up, we all thought that Nativity was celebrated on January 6th, unlike those Catholic and Protestant heretics who mistakenly were celebrating it on December 25th. Imagine my surprise when I first cracked open my father’s Menaion to help chant during the Nativity Vespers I saw that the date was not January 6th but December 25th! So, I told my friends of my finding and not a single one believed me. Later on, my argumentation included the need to adhere to the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils; the idea that civil calendars (such as the Julian, Revised Julian, Gregorian and others) should reflect Natural Law–that is God’s Time and that we should be humble enough to admit that not everything that we do is hallowed, let alone correct.

                  I have since have had long discussions on the subject with many folks and even some Old Calendarists have agreed that the calendar can be changed, that it is not dogmatically important. I see the following factors that will impede going in the right direction:

                  – Fear of change.
                  – Fear of being accused of innovating.
                  – Fear of losing your distinctiveness vis-a-vis the heterodox or of other nationalities.
                  – Rejecting the RJC because opponents use it (ROCOR-ROC situation before the reconciliation)
                  — Because the Roman Catholics and Protestants use it.
                  — Because no civil calendar is 100% accurate.
                  — Because of the way it was imposed.

                  In other words, there are no real substantive and Orthodox Christian reasons. We can overcome these by educati8ng the people, using incremental steps and getting buy-in before wholesale change.

                  • Don’t forget the fear of missing out on “after NC Christmas” and “after NC Easter” sales.

                    Surely buying chocolate bunnies at 75% off rises to the level of serious theology.

                    (Don’t forget that I am a full blooded Russian cradle Orthodox who grew up in ROCOR.)

                  • Dearest Brother Carl, I cannot disagree more with what you have said. The calendar that the NCs use is liturgically incorrect. It separates Annunciation from Pascha. March 25 traditionally was the first day of the year, which is why Annunciation was put there–it is the beginning of our salvation–and Christmas was simply put 9 months from it. Some people act though the two cycles (Paschal and Calendrical) are separate. Completely untrue. Pascha and Annunciation must coincide because then the beginning and the fulfillment of our Salvation come full circle. In Jewish tradition, everything in religious history, the promises, the covenants, were said to occur on Pesach. So too, among the Orthodox; in fact, on those blessed occasions when the beginning and the end coincide exactly, i.e. to the very day (i.e. Pascha=Mar. 25 [O.C.]), this is called Kurion Pascha (Lordly Pascha), or Diple Paschalia (Double Pascha). In Orthodox lore it is an esp. momentous day and a great blessing.

                    Yet, among the NCs this never happens. It cannot happen. And over time it will get further and further apart as if to symbolize a kind of gradual floating away… In this light, even what the Roman Catholics do has more integrity than what the NCs do. However, because of their own bowing down to Renaissance scientism, the RCs end up celebrating their Pascha before the Jewish Passover, which also is incorrect and utterly against the tradition of the Church.

                    Note, too, Orthodox Christmas (Dec. 25) is not Jan. 6 on the New, but Jan. 7.

                    One cannot just fiddle with this stuff on a whim and call it the “right direction.” “Right” for whom, I pray? All Orthodox should return to the Orthodox Calendar and to the liturgical balance as our Fathers have set it out for us. We should note that the important places in Orthodoxy (Jerusalem, Sinai, Athos, Russia etc.) have not changed it, but only those who are weak and/or trying to impress their heretical overlords. It is not good to judge, but the inspirer of this wretched and divisive move was Patr. Meletios Metaxakis, who was the most suspicious churchman in modern Orthodox history. He also had a history in America. Not to sound conspiratorial, but the Lodge in Athens acknowledges him as one of their own. Anyway, dear brother, please do not take my words as enmity, but as love in Christ the Incarnate Logos, and his most blessed Mother.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      L, while I appeciate the information and the intent of your post. The vitrupertive tone of a some of it [esp.:We should note that the important places in Orthodoxy (Jerusalem, Sinai, Athos, Russia etc.) have not changed it, but only those who are weak and/or trying to impress their heretical overlords]does not serve you, the OC, or the Church well.

                      For there to be unity on the issue there must be forgiveness. Exactly what Met. Jonah and, Met. Hilarion and His Grace Bishop George were trying to foster.

                      We even need to find a way to forgive Metasakis. I think, NC that I am, that eventually the Church will return to the proper liturgical time. The more we hold anger and resentment (both NC & OC) the longer it wil take. May the work of these three bishops flower to the benefit of us all.

                    • With all due respect, dear brother, this attack on the Church’s liturgical harmony and balance was born of weakness and/or the direct/indirect/conscious/subconscious desire to please foreign/heretical controllers. There was no other reason. It’s no more wrong than stating that the foreign-imposed king Otto of Greece systematically destroyed the monasteries of Greece. I hold no hatred for Otto or his minions, but I am not going to forget what he did. I have no hatred for NCs; but I’m not going to stop saying what they’re doing makes no sense, and I will try to explain why in a spirit of friendliness and love. I do not hate Metaxakis, but I will not stop saying his actions were disastrous. On his matter, specifically, all Orthodox were for 1600 years on the same page. Yet now our “mutual joy is necessarily hindered” by a problem manufactured ex nihilo.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Dear brother/sister L–I respectfully point to you that December 25th was not the original date for Nativity, which was celebrated on the same date as Theophany, that is on January 6th. The celebration was moved to the Winter Solstice, which was December 25th at that time. The date of Annunciation was then computed as being 9 months before Nativity. You have this all backwards.

                      The reason why the Church Calendar says Nativity is December 25th is because at the time this date was established, the Old Pagan Calendar in effect in the Roman Empire indicated the Winter Solstice to be on that date. Nonetheless, I have no hatred for OCs; but I’m not going to stop saying what they’re doing makes no sense, and I will try to explain why in a spirit of friendliness and love. Thanks, Carl

                    • The current Christmas date was calculated from Annunciation. Annunciation is the beginning of our salvation, and it was put at the first day of the year. You yourself said, correctly, that Christ’s Nativity was originally celebrated at Theophany. But it was moved to 9 months from the already established feast of Annunciation.

                      Annunciation and Pascha are intimately linked–the beginning and the fulfillment–which is also why the Akathists are sung on the Fridays of Great Lent. Yet the NCs have separated the two feasts, as though the Paschal and Calendrical cycles were two completely independent cycles. Untrue.

                      Finally, I will take your duplication of my words toward the end of your note not as an effort to mock, but as flattery, given that imitation is said to be the surest sign thereof. So thank you, then, and peace to you.

          • M. Stankovich says


            I did not mean to suggest that “insolence” in this matter was one-sided – it certainly was not – but the word was, if “certain” parishes were defiant to the point of threatening to leave the OCA for “ethnic religious” reasons, au revoir! Their “trouble-to-contribution” ratio was high and unlikely to change. And it certainly wasn’t as if the defiance of Mayfield was likened to taking the Washington cathedral hostage – had Mayfield threatened to leave for the Carpatho-Russians, it may all have been limited to words. But being received by ROCOR was outrageous, and revealed that more than “theology” was at play (I have been told that some viewed Met. Jonah’s “apology” to Mayfield and comments on Met. Hillarion’s letter as “pandering to ROCOR,”). Vladyka Basil had an unique situation of very recent émigrés in cities where other very recent émigrés (including family) attended parishes (read that as ROCOR) on the OC. As the OCA now has more very recent émigrés on the NC than ever, the point seems moot.

            The fact remains that ROCOR maintains the OC for significant theological reasons of Holy Tradition. It would seem “prudent” to resolve this matter before offering parishes a “choice.” And if the goal, in fact, was to merely reduce the impact of “ethnic religion” on those who would answer “Yes” to the Church, why pursue the matter?

            I must say, Amos, that my “well know” love for Fr. Alexander is news to me. Certainly I have great respect and admiration, and he was an extraordinary man in his time in history. If you have a chance, I highly recommend Met. Anthony (Bloom)’s comments on the (I believe 25th) memorial of Fr. Alexander’s repose – very touching, but exceptionally realistic. But to imagine I have a commemorative tattoo or a “blind eye” is naive and somewhat disappointing, considering what I have read from you. I strive to be discriminate in all my opinions.

      • I found it interesting that the OCA.org website could barely manage one story on this (which hardly mentioned Mayfield at all), while ROCOR sources covered it relatively heavily. Oh, did I say interesting? I meant pathetic, on Syosset’s part.

        Met. Jonah said he came in a spirit of forgiveness, which I took to mean he was offering them forgiveness for disobeying their bishop, since he was asking forgiveness for the wrongs that led them to do that. The OCA hierarchy of the time did the bulk of the wrongs and caused a lot of unnecessary pain through their actions, whereas the Mayfield parish basically had their hand forced by that behavior.

        Met. Jonah’s apology was necessary because it was needed to complete the healing process for people who were badly wounded by the OCA hierarchy, but it was also very gracious because Met. Jonah himself had done no wrong in the matter and just wanted to help heal the people who had been hurt. I think that’s pretty much how the people of Mayfield received it.

        The faithful in both the OCA and ROCOR should give thanks to God for the reconciliation He has accomplished through His willing servants in both churches.

    • Unless I was misinformed long ago, parishes were granted the right to choose whether to adopt a new calendar, or to remain with the [then] existing one. Deciding to remain with a calendar used by the [numerical] majority of Orthodox Christians was a legitimate choice, not the petulant action of “a refusenik”.

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        Antonia, I think you’ll find that at least ONE OCA Bishop, then Archbishop Herman (Swayko), chose by himself to make the change mandatory throughout his diocese. This was not the policy of other OCA Bishops or of the Holy Synod of the day.
        I’ve often heard that Orthodox people, who lived under, or whose ancestors lived under, regions belonging to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, tend to adopt as a model of the ideal achievement and the highest state to which man may aspire is the ;position of Local Austro-Hungarian Chief of Police.

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          I forgot that Bishop Boris Geeza, whose ancestors came from Austro-Hungarian Galicia, also allowed no thoughts of even Economia to interfere with the polliceman’s baton.

          Somewhat related to Metropolitan Jonah’s good visit to Mayfield—-Patriarch Kirill recently observed some jubilee or other: a birthday, namesday, or anniversary of years in office, and other Local Churches sent representatives, but the OCA, was noticeably absent. The Church of Greece sent a big delegation, including hierarchs, but the daughter Church….no.
          I guess today’s OCA External Affairs team wants to show its muscle?

  3. Michael Bauman says

    Just a note: My parish celebrated this Sunday the 20th anniversary of the consecration of his Grace, Bishop Basil. A simple, quite, often humorous, but heartfelt celebration for a loving and much loved leader in Christ. At the conclusion of his short remarks he quoted his patron St. Basil that the only authority anyone had in the Church was the authority to wash one another’s feet. He then thanked us for allowing him to wash our feet. (He really means it and really does it).

    Just a reminder that despite all of the negative, there is also much good going on.

    • Many years to Bishop Basil! Those under his care have seen and known a true icon of Christ.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Axios! indeed. What a joke the ACOB is in comparison to your beloved bishop. All they care about is where they’re going to sit.

      Lord have mercy.

  4. Diogenes says

    The change of calendar was canonically done. All the bishops in SCOBA agreed that the “normal” calendar is where all the churches in North America should be. The Greeks, the Antiochians, the OCA and others. Those churches deciding to leave the OCA because of the “calendar issue” were acting non-canonically. + Jonah’s remarks were nice, but totally beyond what they should have been. The Mayfield parish created the problem, not the OCA.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Diogenes, I’m not talking about here in the U.S.–I’m talking about the original change. That George describes above.

      Also the OCA is a mixed jurisdiction when it comes to calendar use. I know of several OCA parishers that are old calendar and I’m not even OCA.

      • ProPravoslavie says

        I’ve been hearing that one OCA parish was blessed this year to return to the Old Calendar. Does anyone know what that parish is?

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says


          • This might not quite fit with what you imagine it to be because the Vancouver church in question is one of 3 OCA churches in Vancouver (4 if you included the Romanian OCA one) and the Canadian Diocese does not have uniformity of calendar within the dioceses. Until this point Vancouver only had new calendar OCA churches.
            This change was pastoral or opportunistic in nature as the current priest has been trying to establish this church as a Russian church, and has been trying to appeal to the recent russian emigres, and has done so with some success.

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

              How in the world would that not fit in to what anyone imagines it to be?
              Someone reported that they had heard that in an OCA parish something entirely unprecedented had happened: a parish which had orginally been on the uncorrected Julian Calendar, but subsequently changed to the corrected Julian Calendar, was allowed to return to the original uncorrected Julian Calendar.
              it shows that the OCA is freer during the incumbency of Metropolitan Jonah than it was during the incumbencies of both Metropolitan Theodosius and Metropolitan Herman.
              “This change was pastoral or opportunistic in nature?” isn’t that frequently, if not always, the case?
              ‘Opportunistic?” Sounds like an attempt to spin the action as reprehensible if at all possible.

              You know what? Some parishes really didn’t care one way or the other which calendar was used, especially if a change would disturb a flourishing parish or offend even the least of our brethren. The headlong rush to impose uniformity after autocephaly was granted didn’t allow for such niceties. Staying on the “Old Calendar” to a couple diocesan hierarchs was the equivalent of healng on the Sabbath to the Pharisees: always wrong, reprehensible, opportunistic, obscurantist, or the manifestation of ethnicism.

        • Edward Sorokan says

          my home parish (OCA) in Chicago has both old and new calendar. Every Sunday there are to Liturgies (English and Slavonic), the church has two separate altars. Two Sunday’s a month there is a third liturgy in Ukrainian. Further, Archbishop Job, of blessed memory, blessed at least two mission parishes to use the Old Calendar.

          • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

            I know one parish,St.John of Kronstadt in Lincoln,NE that came into the OCA in 2000 and was allowed to retain the Julian Calender.Yet,when another parish in Omaha(about 70 miles away,maybe less) came into the OCA in 2004,the same Archbishop(the late +Job),DIDN’T allow them the Julian Calender.I know because,I served in Omaha for the New Style Feast of the Prophet Elias,Sunday,July 21,2008 with Vladyka Jobs blessing.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      This is as well stated as I have ever seen Thanks.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Diogenes, you’re mistaken. The “change” in the calendar was not “canonically done.” The original change back in 1922 was a hash of a travesty of a robber council. The fruits that flowed from it have been nothing short of disastrous. That several SCOBA jurisdictions decided that it was “normal” is beside the point. Someday homosexual “marriage” may be viewed as “normal” here in the States.

      • Diogenes says

        The “Revised” Julian Calendar

        Memorandum of Explanation

        Some Orthodox Christians in both Europe and America celebrate the immovable feasts of the Orthodox Church on different civil calendar and Church calendar dates. For example: The Nativity of Christ-December 25th and January 7th; the Annunciation-March 25th and April 7th; the Dormition – August 15th and August 28th; and the feast of St. Nicholas – December 6th and December 19th. The 13 days difference is a scientific-technical one. The dates of the feasts of the Church are the same on an Christian Church calendars. Thus, for example, the Nativity of Christ, which for some parishes falls on January 7th on the civil calendar is actually shown on the Church’s “old style” Julian Calendar as December 25th.

        There is only one JULIAN CALENDAR in the western world the original Julian Calendar was adopted by the Church without correction of its technical errors Then it was refined twice: once by the Church in the West and once by the Church in the East. The basic civil calendar remained the same. The four versions of the Julian Calendar in brief are as follows:

        The “ORIGINAL” JULIAN CALENDAR introduced by Julius Caesar dates from 44 B.C. The length of the natural solar year (the time it takes for the earth to make one orbit of the sun) was estimated to be 365 days and 6 hours. Every fourth year the extra six hours were collected and added as an extra day to the year, creating a leap year of 366 days.

        Technically, this estimated civil calendar year is 11 minutes and 14 seconds longer than the natural solar year. Longer in time means faster in speed. This small error caused all the calendar problems. For instance, a regular phenomenon in nature like the Spring Equinox (the beginning of spring when day and night are each about 12 hours long all over the earth) recurs year after year at a measurable time in the orbit of the earth.

        Because of the error in the original Julian Calendar, over a period of time the extra minutes and seconds accumulate to a full day and the Spring Equinox arrives faster, or a day earlier in the civil calendar. The Spring Equinox fell on March 25th in the “Original” Julian Calendar.

        The “OLD STYLE” JULIAN CALENDAR dates from AD. 325. By the fourth century the Spring Equinox was arriving on March 21st on the “Original” Julian Calendar. When the First Ecumenical Council met in Nicea in 325 to settle the date for celebrating Pascha, the Church adopted the “Original” Julian Calendar and ruled that Pascha shall be observed on the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the Spring Equinox on March 21st, and independent of the Jewish Passover. The Council did not correct the calendar error, nor did it set the Spring Equinox date back to March 25th where it was in the first place. By fixing a faulty civil calendar date to a fixed phenomenon in nature the Church created for herself a calendar problem. The “Old Style” Julian Calendar dates from AD. 325, not from the year 44 B.C. as is commonly believed. The calendar adopted in 325 had nothing to do with determining the date when Christ was born.

        The “NEW STYLE” JULIAN CALENDAR dates from the year 1582. In the 16th century the Spring Equinox was arriving 10 days earlier on the “old style” Julian Calendar date of March 11th instead of March 21st, because of the uncorrected error in the “Original” Julian Calendar. With updated astronomical information, Pope Gregory of Rome refined the “Original” Julian Calendar.

        His astronomers reduced the number of leap years so that the average length of the civil calendar would be nearer to the natural length of the solar year. In a 400-year cycle they dropped three leap years and reduced the error from 11 minutes and 14 seconds a year to 26 seconds a year. Under this system it takes many years more for 26 seconds to accumulate into a full day.

        In 1582 the 10 days were dropped from the civil calendar so that the Spring Equinox would again fall on March 21st as the Church had ruled in 325. This version of the “New Style” Julian Calendar is popularly called the Gregorian Calendar and is used by the Church in the West for both fixed and moveable feasts.

        The “REVISED” JULIAN CALENDAR dates from 1923. Since 1582 the Spring Equinox in the “New Style” Calendar continued to fall on that calendar’s date of March 21st. In the 17th century the Spring Equinox arrived on the “Old Style” Julian Calendar date of March 11th, in the 18th century on March 10th, in the 19th century on March 9th, and in the 20th century on March 8th – 13 days earlier.

        In the same centuries, the “Old Style” Julian Calendar date of December 25th corresponded with the “New Style” Julian Calendar date of January 4th in the 17th century; with January 5th in the 18th century; with January 6th in the 19th century, and with January 7th in the 20th century – 13 days later. Eventually it will be January 8th – 14 days later.

        It is known that bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church seriously considered the adoption of the “New Style” Julian calendar as early as the 19th century.

        After sixteen centuries the Church in the East did something about the calendar problem. In 1923 a Conference of Orthodox Churches in Constantinople refined the erroneous “Original” Julian Calendar. The technical correction was not much different than the 1582 version. As did Pope Gregory, so did the Orthodox Church refine the calendar by reducing the number of leap years, so that the average length of the civil calendar year would be nearer to the natural length of the solar year. By reducing the number of leap years in a 900-year cycle, the margin of difference was trimmed to 2.2 seconds a year which is virtually perfect. In this version, the Spring Equinox will arrive on March 21st for over 40,000 years.

        To bring the Spring Equinox back to March 21st, the 13-day difference was dropped. Until about the year 2200 both the “New Style” and the “Revised” versions of the Julian Calendar will coincide. The national Orthodox Churches were given the option to adopt this version of the Julian Calendar. Some did and some did not. Because even this refinement did not settle the Pascha date problem, most Orthodox Churches agreed to observe Pascha according to the 325 formula, determining the Spring Equinox according to the “Old Style” Julian Calendar, until all Christian Churches could agree on a common date.

        The data presented above are taken from published documents from Constantinople in 1923 and from Moscow in 1948. The “Revised” Julian Calendar is not the work of evil or a scheme to convert the Orthodox Church to the Roman Catholic Church. Parishes in the Orthodox Church in America have been granted permission by the Holy Synod of Bishops to vote on whether or not they wish to use the “Old Style” Julian Calendar or the “Revised” Julian Calendar to determine the immovable feast days. Final approval of any calendar change is reserved to the diocesan bishop.

        Both the United States and England used the “Old Style” Julian Calendar until after American Independence.

        The sole criterion is TRUTH. Over the centuries man has succeeded in discovering more and more truths about the God-created universe. The calendar is a device invented by man that attempts to correlate his measurement of time with the natural, astronomical phenomena. Should some Orthodox persist in using a calendar based on a 44 B.C. estimate of the length of the orbit of the earth around the sun?

        If the Orthodox Church is the Pillar of Truth, it cannot afford to ignore the scientific truths discovered by man. How can we claim ‘I believe in One God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth..’ and refuse to accept the truth of the scientific measurement of the length of the year that He created? In 44 B.C. Julius Caesar’s astronomer, Sosigenes, made a fairly close estimate. Man has come a long way in his knowledge of our solar system since then.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Thank you for giving us this valuable document. I assume that it came from the OCA Holy Synod, no?

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          Actually the British and their American colonies adopted the Gregorian Calendar in 1751 before the Revolution.

          Fr. John W. Morris

  5. A minor correction: Metropolitan Hilarion of ROCOR was unable to be present, through unavoidable extenuating circumstances. His Eminence sent his prayers and best wishes with a letter which was read after Liturgy by the priest.

  6. Daniel E. Fall says

    It would seem to the casual observer, after reading opinions and facts presented, the Metropolitan owed noone any apologies. I’m not suggesting what Metropolitan Jonah did was wrong at all; just that if a Bishop told the church to do something; and the church didn’t, according to all I read here, the church was disobedient. And the fact they left pretty much solidifies that as fact. I find it very contradictory that in this particular case because you are defending Metropolitan Jonah (unnecessarily, if you ask me), suddenly it is okay that the church was disobedient because the calendar issue wasn’t handled correctly by the bishops.

    In all the other writings; even the last essay regarding the ‘sex czar’; you hold the bishops in nearly, well, let’s just say, almost, not quite, but close to, imfallible, regard. Certainly, calendar decisions made incorrectly are nearly not as important as sexual misconduct decisions made incorrectly? Or how about bishops charged with sexual misconduct; that is an easy one to deal with there; but I digress (or do I?). Wasn’t Karlgut the former ‘sex czar’ by definition?

    I’m just saying…you seem a bit inconsistent within two back to back editorials George. It is your blog and when you publish; you open yourself up a bit, mind you.

    kudos though to Metropolitan Jonah for taking a higher road than needed to patch things up a bit…but you didn’t say that in that fashion, so I’m not being as kind to you George because I find you to be inconsistent. Bishops are always right; except when they are wrong you say..

    As for my comments on the ‘sex czar’, I have none; the story seems a bit sketchy because I don’t understand how it could even be discussed without the Metropolitan’s involvement, but I suppose I digress.

  7. lexcaritas says

    Has anyone explained why either the Julian/Ptolemaic calendar or the Gregorian/post-Copernican/Kepler one rises to the level of a “theological” issue worthy of enduring for three centuries +? I see that everyone is devoted to his “camp” but has anyone explained the basis of such devotion? I understand how in the year of change it affected saints days, name days, anniversaries, etc. and (sort of) how it has resulted in the “Lukan jump” in the Lectionary. But the former would have been a “one-time” inconvenience that could be dealt with by “doubling up” and the latter could have been handled, I expect, by a little better coordination. So, frankly I’m at a loss to see why this issue is so important to some (many?) of us. Is it to God? Does it merit the energy and passioin invested in it? Or is it a distraction that prevents our repentance and growth in the righteousness and self-giving of Christ and the mutual submission that we who are in Him are to exhibit? These are real, not snide, questions. Lord, have mercy and fill us with His love and humility.


    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Lex, basically it’s a non-issue. after all we’re talking about an astronomical event. I think well-meaning Old Calendarists see that as well and the need for reform. It has become a trip-wire against modernism, liberalism, so to speak. Reform could happen overnite had the New Calendarists evinced some humility themselves and admitted that the author of this reform (Metaxakis) was a heresiarch, syncretist, and Freemason who had delusions of grandeur.

      for myself, I’m with the NC but I hope that both sides come to see beyond the hidden agendas.

    • Michael Bauman says

      lex..I don’t think it is about the calendar itself so much as the reasons for the change and the manner in which the changes were forced upon churches sometimes, literally, at the point of weapons.

      Why move? The only reason I’ve ever seen for the change is to ‘make the Church more modern’. Is that kind of statement ever going to be easily and readily accepted in the Church.

      Despite what Carl says, the intent of Metaxakis and the manner in which he administered the change (folks who resisted died in some cases) matters.

      In some quarters the fact that the Gregorian Calendar is named after a Pope and the Pope made the change unilaterly. It tended to be looked upon as one more imposition of the West on the worship life of the East.

      As T.S. Eliot had Thomas Becket say in ‘Murder in the Cathedral’: “To do the right deed for the wrong reason is surely the greatest treason” Maybe the calendar change was the right thing to do, but Metaxakis did it to glorify himself rather than for the glory of God.

      IMO, whenever the calendar issue overshadows the pastoral life of the Church it assumes too much importance. Some like the rythmn of the old and the fact that it sets us apart from the rest of the world in our worship and helps us retain focus. Some like the coordination of the new.

      Certainly for converts the new calendar is easier to accept and live with. Even in NC parishes, many are confused and confounded with the difference between when the West celebrates Easter/Pascha and we do (and not just converts).

      I am not in favor of forced homogeneity on non-doctrinal issues. But, the issue of being disobedient to one’s bishop is important to consider. However, our obedience is never unqualified or absolute is it? Especially when it comes to matters of the adminstration of the Church and not on matters that are doctrinal. Maybe I’m wrong in that and that is a ‘Protestant’ way of thinking but I’ve seen too many cases where lay obedience is used solely to manipulate and prevent discussion or worse to actively abuse people. That makes me leary.

      I just find it exceedingly odd that a moment of real harmony based on an act of mercy and humility should become so rancorous. That’s just wrong.

      When we fight to be right, we’ll always be wrong.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Michael–I was referring to the decision by the OCA Holy Synod, that is all. I do not accept that proposition that it will take a world-wide Orthodox Council to decide this issue; each local church can adopt whatever civil calendar it wishes to use. Now, it is true that I wish I had the power to go back in time and the power for the Patriarch of Constantinople to have been somebody else. It was also a problem when the Living Church adopted the RJC and the Church of Greece imposed it in such a drastic fashion. Nonetheless, it is important for all of us to discern the relative importance of many aspects of this issue. Unlike some folks, I think that the revision of the calendar is important because it matters if our man-made calendars reflect God’s time as much as possible. It is illogical and dismissive of God’ Natural Law to maintain that the Julian calendar is the Church calendar for God did not create us to be illogical or engage in word games. All of the preceding is personal that I would not impose on others. However, I agree with you that there are real and abiding Holy Canons that were broken here when the Mayfields of this world disobeyed their Bishop. I will believe that coup0le of bishops acted in ways that were unseemly.

        • Michael Bauman says

          I just find it exceedingly odd that a moment of real harmony based on an act of mercy and humility should become so rancorous. That’s just wrong.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Carl, does God have time? Is not time as we preceive it extremely maluable? Is not time a measure of our decay and death? Does not the Divine Liturgy proclaim all aspects of Christ’s redeeming work present right now, including his return?

          Ever read Faulkner’s “The Sound and the Fury”?

          To some the use of the Old Calendar is an integral part of redeeming time.

          IMO, while useful, Natural Law arguments should be use quite carefully because pursued to their logical conclusion they lead to deism and a loss of the eschatological vision of the Church.

          All calenders are wrong, it just depends on by how much. How can they reflect “God’s time” as you call it.

          In fact, those who worship by the OC and by the NC can and do exist quite harmoniously together, there is simply no need for force or dogmatic precision on either side. The calendar issue only becomes a matter of salvation when we fight over it.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            You are essentially correct; the concept of relative importance makes the civil calendar issue much less important than the “eschatological vision of the Church.” This is a two-edged sword however: the same concept of relative importance (sometimes stated as tradition with a small “t” and Holy Tradition spelled with a capital “T”) applies to evaluating the relative worth of the several calendars that are important to us. Thus, we cannot just ignore which calendar that we should use as if they really do not matter. I though that we had some criteria that we had to consider in making such determinations, I merely highlighted two of them.

            If the Church saw fit to move Nativity to the Winter Solstice (that happens as God ordained it, that is according to Natural Law or God’s Time), and the date the Church chose was December 25th (that is the actual date of the Winter Solstice at the time the move was made), what justification can we possibly have to move it to a future date–in effect to the date from which it was moved in the first place?

            I think that the Church has the authority to now say: we are going to move it back into January. However, the Church has tried to eat the cake and have it too by insisting that January 7th is the same same as December 25th! This is the sort of “redeeming time” that we should not do because it usurps God’s Natural Law and Time.

            • lexcaritas says

              But if Diogenes is right in the information provided in his useful and lengthy discussion above concerning the four versions of the Julian Calendar Annunciation and Nativity are not falling on the Spring Equinox and Winter Soltice as they should under any of the four calendars–we basically have about a 5 day problem right now, so why wouldn’t a proper solution fix this discrepancy as well as the so-called Lukan jump?


              • Prospective Nomad No Longer says


                I fear that any attempt to realign the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord with the winter solstice would require stark and disruptive revisions to the ordo. We would have to move the Feast of the Holy Innocents slain by Herod, lest it absurdly fall after the Apodosis of the Nativity. The Feast of the Circumcision would have to be moved (so as to remain on the eighth day from the Nativity), requiring a rewriting of the rubrics for the Feast of St. Basil the Great, with which the Feast of the Circumcision now coincides. The Feast of the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple would likewise have to be moved so as to remain on the 40th day from the Nativity. The Feasts of the Conception and Nativity of the Holy Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist John would have to be moved to as to remain six months from the corresponding feasts of our Lord. A decision would have to be made about Theophany: Would we lengthen the fast-free and prostration-free period following the Nativity, or would we move Theophany and the Synaxis of the Forerunner to preserve what the West calls the “Twelve Days of Christmas”? Is the astronomy important enough to merit all this disruption? Surely a reasonable and charitable approach to the sensitive topic of the calendar–an approach in keeping with Metropolitan Jonah’s inspiring and praiseworthy actions vis-a-vis Mayfield–would be to say that the astronomy is not unimportant, but it is not as important as the peace and coherence of our prayers and the peace in which we are commanded to love each other.

                Please forgive me if I have misunderstood or offended you.

          • Jim of Olym says

            Michael, what do people put on their beloveds grave markers, Old Calendar, or New?

            Just asking. Myself, I’ve seen a number of Orthodox burial markers and they all seem to be ‘new calendar’ or ‘civil calendar’ if you prefer.

            Rdr. james

            • Michael Bauman says

              I’m NC, I’ll have to ask my brother what they do, although it is a young parish and they haven’t buried many folks yet. Since they are all converts that to means dealing with non-Orthodox family.

              Good question. For legal purposes it would have to be dated by the civil calendar.

              • Jim of Olym says

                I read it on a blog once, I forget where, but the blogger insisted that the Old Calendar was correct as that is the date the feasts are celebrated in heaven! Should either end the discussion, or lead to more argument.

                Rdr. James

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        I have refrained from talking about this issue because it is such a painful issue that caused a major schism in the Greek Church and in various other Orthodox Churches worldwide. This was an issue that we did not need to have IMHO. The schisms and loss of life were just not worth it. A wound that to this day has not healed.

        The OC issue itself is not so much the issue as how it came about and forced on Orthodox people. If the Church were allowed to seriously debate this matter and had a true need for a calendar change that’s one thing, but this was not a debate, but a forceful change that the Church never wanted or truly needed. What was gained (Nothing) as opposed to what was lost (Unity, Brotherly Love). Did we need a schism and loss of life over a calendar? Over time? I think not.

        The heartbreak, bloddshed and schisms were not worth it. Changing our calendar no matter the reasons were not worth all this. Was not worth what we lost.


        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          Jews still have their religious calendar, why not us? Are Jewish people not modern? Not Western? Not American?

          Orthodox People lost too much over an issue of time that, again, IMHO, was stupid to ever consider changing in the first place.

          But that’s just me.


          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            The Iranians (or Aryans, or Persians) happily observe at least three calendars: First there is the almost timeless Persian calendar in which the New Year falls (as it did the Christian calendar of the Orthodox for centuries) in March, on “No Ruz” or New Day and which has twelve months according to the 12 months of the Zodiac (today, our June 6, is their 17th of Khordad (Gemini). They also use the Western-Civilisation, or “Gregorian” Calendar, with the months’ names in French. Third, they use the Islamic Solar Hejra calendar. If these Iranians are also Jews, they also observe a fourth calendar, the Jewish lunar calendar; if these iranians are Christians and keep a separate ‘temple’ or “religious” or “churchly” calendar, then they follow whatever it is. The latter are mostly Armenians, Assyrians, etc. The Zoroastrians keep the above mentioned Persian calendar in religion and in life, like the Orthodox Christians of old who observed the same calendar in religion and in life. They used to be concerned with sanctifying the calendar by which citizens lived, rather than using a calendar to distinguish themselves RITUALLY from their countrymen. Thus, the separate observance of the Lord’s birth was chosen by the Church of Rome specifically to coincide with a date on the “secular” (actually pagan) calendar of Julius Caesar, 25th of the tenth (decembrist) month on the “non-Church” calendar. Now, of course, “Old Calendarists” are perfectly content to leave December 25th for a third commemoration: Saint Spyridon.
            Many Muslims, Buddhists, Confucianists, Zoroastrians, etc., would agree with the Christians who follow the counsel of the Great Apostle Paul: “Let no man judge you in meat or in drink or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days.” Some of a “Jesuitical” kind of mind might retort: “But he doesn’t say WE should not judge others by the new moon!”

            • Alexander says

              Is there an authoritative Orthodox exegesis on “time,” outside of the debate over the calendars? (And not something by Augustine.)

              Time — like mathematics — is a human construct, a useful, reasonable, and sensible construct to be sure, but rather imperfect around the theoretical edges.

              To think of God with reference to, or somehow subject to or bound by or even the “creator” of, time, seems at least to me, to be problemmatic.

              • Alexander, see ”Time and Man” by Georgios I. Mantzaridis, STS Press, 1996 ISBN 1-878997-54-8
                (Also, with regard to some of the comments on the ‘validity’ of evening Divine Liturgys, in the chapter Liturgical Time of that book, Prof. Mantzaridis writes the following which I think may be apropos:
                “It is significant that the Divine Liturgy makes no particular reference to specific hours of the day or night, nor is it linked by its content exclusively to a certain period of time. It is free of the constraints of time and can in fact be performed at any time.”
                To me that seems to be consistent with what is written in our Festal Menaion, STS Press, 1998, top of page 40:
                “The celebration of the Lord’s Supper is always an ‘eschatological’ event, in which the eschaton, the Age to Come, breaks in upon this present age; and so, although occurring in time, it transports the participants to a point altogether outside time—to the ‘heavenly places’ where there is no past, present, or future, but only the eternal Now. The Eucharist, then, cannot simply be integrated into the temporal sequence nor set on a level with daily offices such as Matins and Vespers.”)

              • Is time a “human construct”, Alexander?
                “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide day from night; and let them be for signs and seasons and for days and years.” Gen 1:14. Time is not a human construct; it is imposed upon us from above as an inescapable category of our earthly lives. In a fallen world we are to redeem time; Christians are not Platonic cave-dwellers!

        • George Michalopulos says

          I couldn’t have said it better myself, Peter. We always somehow seem to forget Love, don’t we?

    • Prospective Nomad No Longer says


      I believe that you are correct in saying that the calendar poses no theological problem. The new calendar does pose some non-transient doxological problems, however. The hymns for the Feast of the Holy Great Martyr and Trophy Bearer George are so inescapably Paschal in character that the Antiochian Archdiocese now transfers the feast to Bright Monday whenever Pascha falls after April 23 (N.S.). The rubrics for the Feast of the 40 Holy Martyrs of Sebaste explicity call for a Presanctified Liturgy on the eve of the feast if March 9 falls on a Tuesday through Saturday. The new calendar compels us to disregard these rubrics in years when Lent begins after March 9 (which cannot happen on the old calendar). The new calendar also compels us to abandon forever the special liturgical observances pertaining to Kyriopascha. Apropos of Alexander’s remark below, the Fast of the Holy Apostles will be entirely obliterated next year, because the Sunday of All Saints falls on June 30. I don’t write any of this as an apologist for the old calendar, but rather to point out that changing the Menaion observance without changing the Paschalion observance has introduced some real discord and disorder into how the Tradition instructs us to pray. (I’m not advocating a change to the Paschalion, either. The ultimate solution is above my pay grade.)

      • lexcaritas says

        Thank you, PN No Longer. This is the kind of problem I was getting at and hoping someone could begin to eludicate.


      • Carl Kraeff says

        It would not be a problem if we were using one civil calendar. If the Paschal cycle was based on the RJC, you would not have any of the problems that you indicate. (The reverse is also true of course).

  8. Alexander says

    The calendar is a small pawn in a bigger game. In and of itself, it is — or at least should be in my less then humble opinion — an utter non-issue.

    New or old calendar, Nativity will always be December 25. But its “cross reference” to January 7 on the Gregorian calendar is only valid between 1901 and 2100.

    The Gregorian date for Navity for those Orthodox Christians following the Julian calendar will be January 8 in 2101, if the Julian calendar is still used.

    All of us will be long reposed by then. But, I wonder what kind of mind melt this will cause with the hard core “the Old Calendar is theology, dogma, Tradition, and the absolute will of God” crowd. Christmas will no longer be “January 7.” Who knows, maybe no reaction at all.

    I think this is correct: use of the old makes the St. Peter and Paul fast last longer than for those who follow the new.

    • Jim of Olym says

      So in 2102 we might even experience a further schism, by one day?

      God help us then, if……

      I won’t be around then unless I get to be at least 200 years old. I hope the world lasts that long so the issue can be resolved in some way.

      I personally think it is more important that we KEEP the feasts rather than fight over when they are kept, but please don’t pay any attention to me. after all I’m on the n.. c….

      Rdr. James

    • George Michalopulos says

      Alexander, the only reason it’s not a “non-issue” (which it should be) is because the seeds which sowed it back in 1922 were demonic. It was from that date that the Patriarchate of Constantinople decided to embark on a supremacist vision over the Orthodox ecumene. Until that fact is acknowledged by all concerned (not just the Modernists in the See of C’pole), then this issue will continue to roil the waters.

      It is most unfortunate but we can expect nothing else when we are dealing with a local church that has universalist pretentions and wil never own up to its mistakes. As a man who was brought up in the GOA, I’m very sorry to say this.

  9. cynthia curran says

    My knowlege of the Julian Calendar is that Julius Caesar had an astromer which Alexanderia to reform the old Roman Calendar which was several months off since it was changed alot. The Old Roman Calendar began in March. Orthodox countries perfer it since it was in use in the Byzantine Empire but Romans dated from either Consul years or from the Foundation of the City.

  10. cynthia curran says

    I mean from Alexandra, the astromer.

  11. Archpriest John W. Morris says

    I have always felt that of all the controversies of church history the calendar issue is the most ridiculous. God is above time. It does not really make any difference whether we celebrate a feast on the Julian or the Gregorian calendar as long as we celebrate it. Actually, it is a matter of rendering to Caesar that which is Caesar’s. One of the powers of a sovereign state is the authority to establish uniform units of measurement. In the United States our government has decreed that we use the Gregorian Calendar. That means that today is June 6. I look at my Menaion to determine what saint to observe on June 6. There is no need to make an issue over it, much less a schism in the Church. We live in a society that needs the witness of Orthodoxy. We cannot witness the truth if we waste our time arguing over which calendar to use.

    Archpriest John W. Morris

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Fr John, you are correct. However the intent of the Meletian reform was not based on anything so benign. For one thing, the Kingdom of Greece did not use the NC at the time so he could not have been interested in aligning up his patriarchate with the Greek state. I’m sorry, but the guy was just plumb malign.

      As for our OCA synod back in 1982, they could have been more sensitive to the people’s voice on this issue. it could have been rolled out in a five-year period or something, with them explaining it in your terms. At the same time acknowledging the malign spirit behind Metaxakis’ “reforms.”

      Patriarch Nikon did the same thing back in Tsarist Russia and alienated tens of thousands of people. But mainly because of the abrupt and uncaring way in which he carried them out. (Destroying churches with onion domes for example because they weren’t “Greek” enough.)

    • StephenD says

      Father John
      I guess it would depend on how long one has been Orthodox and if one were around during that time or had relatives who were there. My mother was shaken by the change but I actually think she was relieved at now looking more “American”. She was born here in the States ,my greatgrandmother fled Russia during the Revolution.I think the Calender issue is important to “ethnics” and it shows a lack of compassion and empathy that you do not see it .

    • “God is above time. It does not really make any difference whether we celebrate a feast on the Julian or the Gregorian calendar as long as we celebrate it.”
      With the greatest respect, Fr John, I’m not sure that God is above time (if you mean ontologically yes, I agree, in that God is Lord of time), especially not since the Incarnation, by which, surely, time as well as humankind and creation have all been redeemed and through which God has demonstrated that He is not bound by all-too-human, Platonic notions of timelessness, as though the Divine could not enter fully into the created realm of space and time!
      Personally, I have never been able to resolve the calendar issue, but that others regard the question with a “holy passion”, and sometimes just passion, I can fully understand. If God created time – or with time, as Blessed Augustine averred – it follows that He is also vitally concerned with how we redeem it via the calendar. Having said that, I would like to think that God also extends His mercy to those who might err in this matter. Which is to say that I suppose we can live with the presently unavoidable pluralism in the matter of the calendar for the time being, until a resolution is accepted universally.

  12. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    Stephen D. Your judgment that Father John shows a lack of compassion and empathy for “ethnics” is not a good one.. After all, “ethnics” are not identical.
    My great-grandfather, Pastor Friedrich Kaeding, was outraged by the mandatory introduction of English into his Lutheran services in Ohio. The first Sunday if was required, he started the Gospel lesson in English and, shaking his head and saying that this is not Das Evangelium, he closed it and opened the ‘good old “German Bible and read it in German.

    • StephenD says

      I used to live in Chicago down the street from a Norwegian Lutheran Church which still had a service in Norwegian on Sundays…the english service was packed but the Norwegian service just had a few elderly people who faithfully attended it..the pastor decided keeping the Norwegian service wasn’t worth the effort and all hell broke out…english speakers who never attended the Norwegian service went crazy! The service was continued but no one attended except the few elderly who always did…..

      • Jim of Olym says

        We used to have a German Methodist church in Lost Angels back into the ’50s. it was across the street from the old streetcar terminal, a kind of gloomy dark gray stone building. Never darkened the doors there, but I remember it looked like the gateway to Mordor. I never heard of German Methodists before or since.

        • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

          Hi Jim,

          There’s still one down here, but in Burbank. I used to use the DMV that is near to it. The architecture is weird modern, but definitely later than the 50’s, maybe late 80’s. I stopped by once trying to find my grand-mother’s favorite German hymn, “Hier liegt vor Deiner Majestaet”. She was German Reformed, but it turns out the hymn is Roman Catholic. I did not find the hymn before she died. The assistant minister who spoke to me was African, and spoke German and English. Methodists turn up in weird places. Slavo-Macedonia, where one of the Skoplje presidents was Methodist, and I think one of the Baltics have Methodist churches.

  13. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    Dear God!

    We’re supposed to be evangelizing the world, and here we are in another stupid calendar argument!

    What the Orthodox Church needs to demonstrate in this country is some evidence of basic plausibility.

  14. Michael Bauman says

    I just find it exceedingly odd that a moment of real harmony based on an act of mercy and humility should become so rancorous. That’s just wrong.

    3rd Time

    In the interest of charity George, I suggest you shut comments on this topic.

    • I don’t object to further comments being made, but I also hate what this thread turned into. Calling the Mayfield parish “schismatics” after all those ill feelings were very publicly laid to rest, and acting like Met. Jonah did something wrong by apologizing to St. John’s Cathedral, are both way over the line.

      Something tells me that if another OCA bishop had been standing on the ambo in Mayfield instead of Met. Jonah, nobody would be complaining about it, and OCA.org would be trumpeting the event from the rooftops.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        I would complain about this if any other bishop did it. And, exactly in the same terms.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Your probably the only one Carl. The Stokovites have not proven themselves to be acting in good faith.

        • Michael Bauman says

          It dosen’t matter PdnNJ. Its not about empirical correctness. Nothing in the Church is about empirical correctness. It is about a certain order of things that goes beyond the specifics AND THE WAY IT WAS INSTITUTED!!!!!

          I swear, I worship in a new calendar jurisdiction, never experienced what it is like to worship full-time in an OC parish, but the more I hear this conversation, the more I begin to appreciate the OC.

          Especially in the light of the words of my own bishop (new calendar all of his life) that it might be a good idea to go back to the OC. Of course, we can’t do that either since then EVERYBODY WHO KNOWS ANYTHING would get pissed.

          Go to your time out corner folks and stop the tantrum.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Carl, then you need to take a time-out and do some serious contemplating, ’cause you are way off base.

          Just sayin’

          And George, seems to me this has gotten into the “old scores” that you wanted to prevent—“My GOD Mayfield just needs to be punished and punished and punished some more and anybody that doesn’t realize how horrible all THOSE people are is even worse and, and, and (sputter, sputter, sputter…….)

          It’s sick.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            You are overlooking one simple fact: I am not against reconciliation. I do support Metropolitan’s gesture. What I am unhappy about is that there was no similar gesture/apology from St John’s or ROCOR.

  15. Which of the two calendars is scientifically correct?

  16. I really appreciated the article. I was blessed by reading the accounts of love, brotherhood and friendship. Thank you for shareing it.

    As far as the Calendar issue goes Im not sure how to feel. Our entrance into Orthodoxy was through an OC parish and the diocese I am in is OC and frankly I wouldnt want it any other way. My objection to the NC isnt for the same theological reasons as many others have given which for the most part I am in agreance with. I just see things a little simpler, when we celebrate the Feast Days and the Fast days on the OC we are seperating ourselves from the world and It just seems way to easy for us to blend in.

  17. What complete and utter boobs is the OCA website. Today is June 7, Bishop Matthias was hospitalized on June 5, and still they are promoting the lame Chancellor’s Diary but not one word about a bishop of their Church. Talk about an out of touch group of “leaders.”

    They must be too busy finding that Sex Czar.

    • StephenD says

      I guess there is an Old Calendar, a New Calendar and a Syosset Calendar

    • How’s Bishop Matthias doing now?

      I know some people in his diocese are making things unpleasant for him, and I think it’s more than just about Vesperal/Baptismal Liturgies.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Spit it out Helga! I read Bishop Matthias’ memo on the three reforms/corrections that he has instituted. I agree with all of that he has done and I deplore the fact that some of his priests may be fighting some of those. What else are they”fighting him” about other than the following guidelines?

        Beginning September 1, 2012, I would like those holding the Communion cloths to be individuals who have been trained to hold it properly, in order to avoid any possibility of an “accident” occurring during the distribution of Holy Communion. As the Communion cloth itself may lie on the holy table, it too should be considered a sacred vessel of the Church, along with the tabernacle, antimension, Gospel Book, hand cross, chalice, discos, and spoon, which also rest upon the holy table. The reserved Sacrament and those items used for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy are the only items that should be permitted to lie on the altar.

        2) BAPTISM
        The following instruction becomes effective January 1, 2013, thus allowing time for adequate teaching and preparation of the faithful. The entire Office of Holy Baptism is to be served as set forth in all of the approved Service Books (for example, the Service Book of Hapgood, The Great Book of Needs, Vol. I, available from STS Press, and the pocket-size Baptism booklet available from SVS Press). Then, the Divine Liturgy is to be served in its entirety, without the omission of the Antiphons, for example.

        Concerning the practice of serving a Vesperal Liturgy on the eve of a Great Feast, discussed at length at the convocation, it seems that my statement with regard to the topic of Vesperal Liturgies as “something that we would revisit next year” has caused confusion, and some have misinterpreted this to mean that if parishes rally around the celebration of Vesperal Liturgies, I will allow them to continue. This is not the case. I did not want to force the practice of ending them immediately, but gradually over the coming year. What I had hoped was that when we do revisit the discussion next year, those who had been previously served Vesperal Liturgies in their parishes would be afforded another vantage point for discussion, inasmuch as they will have begun the process of implementing the services according to the rubrics and Typikon of the Church — i.e., either serving Vigil or Great Vespers on the eve of the Feast, followed the next day by the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.

        See the rest at http://www.midwestdiocese.org/news_120601_2.html

        • Mr Kraeff,

          The letter you refer to is very good. So good that it suggests Vladyka Matthias’ has employed a writer to help draft the letter. This shows that Vladyka is making some solid decisions. But, as always, does the letter accurately reflect the tone and content of the meeting. One is reminded of the briliant scene from Yes, Prime Minister in which Sir Humphrey explains the purpose of official minutes. With this in mind, both you and Helga can be correct.

          Wishing you a pleasant weekend,


    • Carl Kraeff says

      Calling names like you are doing (“What complete and utter boobs is the OCA website”) is unfortunate and I thought was not going to be tolerated anymore on this site. In any case, His Grace Mathias was hospitalized for observation due to high blood sugar and I suspect the Diocese may not have submitted the information to OCA.ORG. Let me conclude by saying that I find your constant negativity to be unexpected to be emanating from an Orthodox Christian person (assuming that you are one of course). Lord have mercy.

      • Carl, I understand why you would object to name-calling, but calling OCA.org “boobs” – not the web team but the website itself – is nonsensical, and therefore humorous. That takes out the punch while leaving the correct impression that Amos doesn’t think the OCA website is run very well.

        Seriously, the web team needs to get their priorities straight. New peace and healing between St. John’s and St. Tikhon’s? Blah! A bishop is in the hospital? Whatever! Treasurer releases a quarterly financial report? HERE’S THE BANNER HEADLINE, PEOPLE!

        • Geo Michalpulos says

          Helga, I tend to agree. I’m not sure what is going on in Syosset. Based on the website, there seems to be some meandering. The event in Mayfield should have received much more attention than it did.

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          It’s the people who are responsible for signing off on what goes up on a website like oca.org. These folks and the web design team that actually manage the website are not necessarily the same folks. Once we are able to figure out who these people who sign off on web articles are, then we’re close to figuring out what’s going on there.

    • Why should the OCA Main website report on Vladyka Matthias’ condition? It was timely and adequately reported on the DOM website. It does not of great import to the OCA as a whole. People interested in the DOM can go to its website. The website is not bad.


      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        I guess ‘SAM” if not familiar with the Orthodox Church and its pious ways, historically. The OCA, it is now becoming more and more apparent, is a kind of maverick among the Local Churches. There was a time when OCA members were interested in almost anything to do with their church; While the paper newspaper, ‘The Orthodox Church’ was mailed to all member households and members who wanted to ‘keep up” did not have to take the initiative and go to a web site to read the news, even so, the former Chancellors, such as Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick took special pains to post health information about OCA clergy, INCLUDING Bishops, on the web site, once operated by the extraordinarily talented OCA layman, John Mindala, as soon as it was known: it was (like everything to do with Protopresbyter Rodion, PEOPLE-ORIENTED. Of course, Mister Mindala was hired away from the OCA after the Protopresbyter was given the bum’s rush by the former Metropolitan and the group lined up behind ever-memorable Archbishop Job and the supporters of the morbid and now moribund ocanews.org people and the Archpriests they suckered into their program. Now John, famously, is the internet media and photography man for the Greek Archdiocese for several years. The main characteristic of the OCA website (and Chancery” is, as we all know, TURNOVER. Its hard to blame any one person now: there seems to be no leader who really has a handle on anything there.
        It was good of SAM to remind us that the dioceses have their own websites. . There’s an article on the OCA’s Diocese of the West website now which should really make Chris Banescu’s toes (and those of some others) curl with delight, relative to my 25 anniversary as a Bishop.

        • Vladyka, my congratulations to you on 25 years of episcopacy.. An event marked by the DOW website but not Main OCA. Am I really ignorant of pious Orthodox tradition? When did website posting become pious tradition? Mindala and Lucs did a wonderful job. As did Fr Bob in many ways. Yet despite my admiration for them, I would not present them as arbiters of pious tradition. My overall point is that argument over this rather petty. Information gets sent out, and if one has to look at more than one website, well, that is OK. Continual gripping about these small things is ugly. Perhaps it is becoming an OCA tradition, but certainly not a pious one.


          • SAM,

            Then what is the point of having a central administration, a Centre? Information flows up and down, but when such an oversight is obvious it calls into question what the Centre is doing? They have picked up many local stories from diocesan websites before. Why not this one?

            Things have changed, that is for sure. The best days of the OCA website and communications were under the “previous administration” and His Grace hit the nail on the head, using the medium to try and present a vision of the OCA as a local Church and part of the wider Orthodox Church worldwide was a priority. That is now missing and when the apparent intended use of the Internet by the OCA is to focus on its own internal life, the non-coverage of Bishop Matthias’ hospitalization is baffling.

            Rather than petty, I believe it reveals another example of the inner workings of the OCA centre. Turf wars over who is in charge leaving no one in charge and a Church searching for an identity in a country that no longer buys the argument that the OCA is THE Local Church. SAM, it is much deeper issue IMHO.

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            The ;pious tradition I referred to, SAM, goes like this “Where is your brother?”

            • Not “how is my brother?”. Vladyka, does this mean that reading OCA.org is a pious tradition?

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            “Continual gripping?” Get a grip, SAM. Reading OCA.org is NOT a pious tradition as such. What an idea!
            However, visiting that site (and as many others as practical) to learn about the welfare,condition, health, whereabouts, etc.,of my brother IS acting in the pious tradition of caring about my brother Get it now?

        • Jane Rachel says

          I haven’t had any time at all to comment or read much here lately, but I read this a minute ago on the DOW web site:

          “…during the 20 year tenure of His Grace, Bishop Tikhon, the number of parishes and monasteries doubled. His call, especially to liturgical renewal and mission, made for a new and creative wind to blow in our diocese.”

          Something to cheer about. Many Years!

      • Jim of Olym says

        Well, it is of interest to anyone who wants to keep Bp. Matthias in their prayers for whatever reason.
        I pray for all the bishops for my own reasons, hoping that they will fulfill their offices to the glory of God and to our edification and salvation.

        Incidentally, not one word anywhere about the changes afoot at a certain parish in western Washington where the priest of ten years was suspended for mysterious reasons and where the people were left hanging.

        Is there ‘pastoral care’ for priests who have been suspended, or are they left to hang out to dry on their own?
        Sorry if this offends anyone, but I care about the people involved, all of them, although I’m not a member of that parish.

  18. SAM

    Why should it be on the OCA website, maybe so that others might be able to pray for him? When other bishops were hospitalized it made the OCA website! Goodness, this isn’t difficult.

    • M. Stankovich says


      While appreciating your criticism of the OCA website, I must say personally that it has never been clear to me the intent of the “organizational” site. Is OCA.org the place for “breaking news” (such a bishop’s hospitalization), or “informational” news (election of a new bishop)? Should OCA.org announce “breaking news” (a “ticker” perhaps) but direct you to the website of the diocese (e.g. Vladyka Dimitri’s illness and repose), or “mirror” it in full?

      I will say that, after watching ROCOR’s professionally filmed and edited, HD-quality video of the Memorial Day events, compared with OCA.org, I did begin to question the wisdom of the old Sonny Terry favorite, One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show (indulge, it’s only $.99).” Nevertheless, without knowing their expressed purpose, it doesn’t seem fair to be overly critical if their expressed purpose is less than my expectation.

      • MS,

        Really? Not reporting on the health of a bishop? A bishop on the Synod? Maybe that is the problem because they reported this not that long ago.

        Maybe +Matthias is on the outs with the SVS crowd that works in Syosset now since he is not permitting Vesperal Liturgies any longer in the DOMW, or the banning of reading any prayers out loud at the Liturgy, except for those around the Anaphora? Maybe this was an intentional snub.

        MS, the OCA website is just another manifestation of the utter chaos that is the OCA leadership and of the high-priced bureaucrats who were too busy to let the rest of us know that a bishop was sick enough to be in the hospital.

        You can’t make a silk purse out of this. It’s a sow’s ear. They blew it and it was insulting to Bishop Matthias and the clergy and faithful of the Midwest.

        • M. Stankovich says


          As to your choice to address me as the dumb waitress in Five Easy Pieces, I’ll chalk it up to a bad day: “Above all things have fervent charity among yourselves; for charity shall cover a multitude of sins.” (1 Pet 4:8) Charity is why I said what I said. And if you read it again, I did not say “don’t complain,” I said “overly.” Seriously, neither you nor I know that the bishop didn’t instruct them specifically not to report it. You speak as if you are the kaishakunin of a tormented soul and a maligned diocese, forced against all sense of decency to respond. Remind me to put on the shark gloves before leaning in to offer the softspeak as your own personal Mr. Miyagi: “Amos-san, pick your battles, dude. This ain’t it.”

    • Amos, didn’t it make the OCA website when Fr. Zacchaeus was hospitalized after his suspension? I remember they made a big deal out of Bishop Melchisedek getting a hernia last summer.

      At any rate, thank you for telling us about Bishop Matthias’ illness. I wouldn’t have realized he was unwell if you hadn’t said anything, and I have kept His Grace in my prayers.

      • Helga,

        Of course. The website, like much of the OCA is rudderless.

        • Amos, they do have a rudder. They just get ticked off at him every time he tries to turn the ship!

    • Perhaps. But I hardly think that depriving Vladyka of the prayers generated by Main OCA web traffic is an example official incompetence.

      • No it is spiritual incompetence. Much worse.

        • You have me there. Is timely posting about episcopal health news a recent addition to Orthodox spiritual discipline?

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            SAM if you think Bishop Matthias’s sickness is not worthy of your notice, please, just say that.
            You don’t care to learn about whatever you consider to be trivialities, compared to what you consider to be important concerns of the Church: we’re all very very aware of that by now since you, one person, have repeatedly complained about the interest of many.

            • LOL. Your Grace is very drole. You do me, and yourself, an injustice. As you yourself just pointed out, I helpfully indicated exactly where to find the relevant information. I shouldn’t have thought that a discussion about posting news would translate into caring or not caring about the Church.


              • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                I’m afraid that SAM is getting addicted to the heady experience of communicating with me, which he finds to be (although he can’t spell it) “droll.”
                Just want to point out that the Church is much, much more than an institution, but that even as an institution, its priorities are those of our religion, not of the world. Our Lord asked “Where is your brother,” as we all should know, and, Incarnate, he addressed (He Who is the very Body of the Church) concern with our brothers/neighbors/fellow travellers on the Way and their welfare far ore than he expressed concern with institutional values and procedures.
                One justification for a central or synodal administration is that it can address concerns that extend beyond diocesan boundaries. The dioceses must not interfere in other dioceses’ lives; however, they must always care about them. My caring about Bishop Matthias and others is central to our pious tradition, received from Christ. Such concerns should never be labelled inappropriate, or less than traditionally pious. With the creation of the Internet, the possibilities of addressing our concerns about our brother (“Where is your brother,” God asked) were increased. You wrote, ‘I shouldn’t have thought that a discussion about posting news would translate into caring or not caring about the Church.” That’s the first time you’ve mentioned that topic: “caring or not caring about the Church.” No one’s had a chance to translate that into anything, even if the idea were found interesting, apart from caring about our brethren personally.

                • Drole (with a circumflex at the o) is a word. Where DID you go to school? I am not sure why you are so irritated. Does not make for heady experience at all.

                  • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                    Well, then, now that SAM’s discovered that there is a (French) word spelled d-r-ocircumflex-l-e, while trying to find out how to spell droll, we can say that he’s learned that. I went to school mainly in Detroit. I won the Detroit News’s school district spelling bee one year, and the class spelling bee most years, and I still have the dictionary I won. So I am rather confident, but not vain, when it comes to spelling English.
                    I didn’t see any circumflex in SAM’s comment. I’m not irritated, by the way, although drole w/ circumflex would have everywhere been considered a misspelling in English.. Where did SAM get that idea? In fact, I much enjoyed imparting Orthodox Church teaching in my last message responding to him. Where is there any room for irritation in such pleasure?
                    Coolidge Elementary and Junior High, Lincoln High of Ferndale, and Wayne State University. Also Saint Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., and one year at St. Vladimir’s Seminary.
                    I apologize to George and others for not giving up on SAM right away. I’m such an optimist about people, but at my age I should have learned to exercise a better stewardship of time.

                    • Apology accepted. Alas, I cannot claim to have discovered “drole” (can’t do accent on iPhone), as it was in common usage before my time. Probably before your time too, Vladyka, venerable though you be. Thank you for elaborating the theological underpinnings of internet news postings. Myself, I remain a bit skeptical. But let’s just call it a bit of the sand of doubt in the oyster of my soul.

                      Have a pleasant day,


                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Upon discovering the Persian language, my life became even more interesting. It wasn’t as fascinating as when i first discovered language, but it was still a fascinating discovery, like discovering the joys of the traditional martini. I remember, too, the joy my parents felt when I discovered this or that ordinary, given part of life for the first time as I grew up (haven’t stopped that). It would be like discovering the differences between piety, religion, and theology for SAM. Hope he didn’t get his underpinnings in a twist, though.
                      How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity, indeed!

              • Jane Rachel says

                SAM, you simply spelled it incorrectly. You are, ahem, wrong. If you wanted to be cute and use the French word for “droll,” which is drôle, you needed to add the accent mark. Without the accent mark it’s just incorrect and confusing and misspelled. But then again, why use drôle when you can use “droll”? “Droll” is a great word. I like “droll” almost as much as “wont.”

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Well, JR,

                  The OED offers the following spellings for the word meaning boone companion, merrie grig, pleasant wag; one that cares not which end goes forward, or how the world goes’.

                  drol e.g. Howell Lett. i. i. xviii, The old Duke of Main‥was us’d to play the drol with him.

                  drole e.g. Marvell, Fitzosb. Lett. To drole upon the the established religion of a country.

                  droll e.g. Cowper Task ii. 369 He doubtless is in sport, and does but droll.

                  In this case, SAM would be correct with or without the accent, but the French drôle (conjugated from drôler) is so obscure as a verb I find it to be unlikely his intention. Better to have said “Your Grace is a drole and intend jest” (perhaps thrown in a “merrie grig” to spare us all the kiss-and-make-up), and be done.

                  NOTES: When used as an adjective, it is always spelled droll.

                  SAM – To access “accents” on the iPhone/iPad, simply hold the letter until a pop-up menu of accented vowels appears. Select your choice and it’s inserted.

                  Ironically, JR, had you asked me just yesterday if I considered myself to be a pleasant wag, I would have immediately assented, but boisterously denied being a drole. Little did I know…

                  • Thanks. I didn’t know that about iPhones. In the spirit of dictionaries, if one went to one’s La Rousse French dictionary, one would see drôle listed in its adjective form.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      What in the world does “in the spirit of dictionaries” mean?
                      درول indeed!

                    • SAM,

                      FYI, you can do all types of accents on the iPhone by holding down the letter you wish to accent then choosing the type of accent, you can do the same here, oōøõ. Éèë.

                  • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                    Now M. Stankovich, agreeing, no doubt, that there is no adjective spelled drole, with or without circumflex, brings up a new topic: a word, once spelled “drole”, etc., which is a substantive, a noun. SAM did not say I was a drole at all. He said I was drole. That’s a bad: a misspelling of ‘droll.”
                    Thank you for confirming (and thereby agreeing 100 per cent with Jane and me) that the adjective is always spelled droll. The NOTE is peculiar though, in that you fail to tell us when WHAT “is used as an adjective.”
                    One suspects therefore, that both SAM and M. Stankovich may be droll trolls or droll drols.
                    And I’m NOT trawling.
                    And thanks for increasing the inanition score!

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            It has nothing to do with spiritual discipline. What an idea!

  19. No. It is as old as the petitions we pray at divine services. Remember?

  20. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    This is a test to see if my comments are allowed.