The New Sexual Misconduct Rules: More of the Same or a Power-Grab? Part I

confidentialMonomakhos recently acquired a leaked draft of the new sexual misconduct policy to be discussed at the ongoing OCA Synod meeting. These new rules have come under severe criticism by some of the clergy and laity who have read them. Why would this be? Isn’t it a good thing to have rules that protect lay people from clergy abuse?

Of course it is. Procedures already exist which do so. The fact that they are haphazardly applied is a problem to be sure. Selective enforcement has always been the bugbear of the OCA but that can be rectified easily if the diocesan bishops would step up to the plate. Unfortunately, the OCA has a dearth of diocesan bishops. Hence the very real fear that the proposed Rules and Procedures (R&P) are nothing but a power-grab by Syosset to exert even more control over the OCA.

Consider: under the new Rules, the diocesan bishop (assuming there is one) is one of four people who will be informed of any new case involving alleged sexual misconduct in his diocese. Moreover, if he has proof that the allegations are baseless, he is powerless to stop the process. In other words, he now shares episcopal oversight with at least three other people; essentially becoming a bystander. In reality, he is no longer sovereign in his diocese.

This new paradigm contradicts not only Scripture and the Canons, but the plain text of the OCA Statutes –specifically Article IV, Section 4, subsections b and f: “[the Bishop] has the right of initiative and authoritative guidance in all matters concerning the life of his diocese.” And “…shall exercise the right of pastoral action and discipline in reference to the diocesan clergy and laity in all cases not requiring the action of a Church Court.”

There are other concerns as well which we will examine in due time. What particularly vexes us is the Star Chamber quality of the proceedings. It’s bad enough that the diocesan bishop is for all intents and purposes being taken out of the adjudication process, what is worse is the Defendant is presumed guilty and must prove his innocence, a direct violation of Anglo-American standards of ordinary jurisprudence.

We will deal with these and other issues in Part II.

Read larger copy or download here (pdf).

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  1. Silent Priest says

    Whoa! These are the same people who crafted and disseminated the letter that lied about +Jonah shielding a priest accused of rape. Now they are going to be managing sex-abuse allegations?

    Watch out priests. They are circling the wagons and are going to use the threat of abuse allegations to keep you under their control. If they did it to +Jonah without apology they can do it to you.

  2. Robert Alden says

    Mr. Michalopulos,

    You have to be putting us on. This document can’t be real. It has to be a joke, maybe leaked for some reason. I can’t believe that the OCA would really believe that these rules are a positive step for them. It neuters the role of a bishop, it creates an more centralized power structure in Syosset (wasn’t that one of the things that was so terrible about the old regime?)

    Written by lawyers, insurance agents and people in Syosset turning the Church towards congregationalism and a utter contempt for clergy is beyond belief. This has to be a joke. Please tell me it is.

  3. Gail Sheppard says

    So your concern, George, is not with the content of this document, so much as it is with the fact that sexual misconduct does not fall under the complete authority or control of the diocesan bishops, the very same diocesan bishops who maligned Metropolitan Jonah, seemingly incapable of differentiating between true sexual misconduct and the misguided attempts of a drunken monastic/priest who stupidly tried to kiss a woman? It is your contention that we should give THESE bishops, some of whom are reportedly homosexual and living out their inclinations to varying degrees, absolute authority over such matters as sexual misconduct. If this is the case, I disagree with you, my friend. These men have shown themselves to be lacking in this regard. I suspect many of them are oblivious to what women find offensive, as evidenced by their inability to act on what has been brought to their attention until FORCED to act by unwanted public outcry. An example might be a middle aged man (bishop, mind you) texting a 20 something-year-old, like a school boy. How can you speak of the “lavender mafia” so critically and then advocate for these same men to have complete authority over sexual matters? What am I missing?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Gail, your criticisms are apt. Indeed, your assessment of the emotional maturity of these bishops is –alas–spot on. But creating a national Sex Czar-regime which is unaccountable is infinitely worse. Consider:

      1. any priest can be accused of anything, rumors included.
      2. he cannot defend himself.
      3. not only is his bishop informed but at least three other people as well.
      4. even a falsely-accused priest will find himself in financial limbo for up to a year. How is his family going to survive in the interim? (And we say we want only married men for the priesthood? What sane woman would look to becoming a Matushka under these circumstances?)
      5. the Star Chamber inquest will have one person who has been sexually abused/harassed. Will it also have a priest who has been falsely accused as well?
      6. will the Star Chamber go against priests who are living adulterous and/or homosexual lives with adults? Or will Syosset look the other way when it comes to their Golden Boys who are political/theological liberals but lower the boom on those who are more traditionalists?
      7. will they go after those bishops against whom there are credible allegations of sexual misconduct? (I’m sorry, but the only reason Matthias got busted was because he was caught. Some of the others have been more fortunate in this regard.)

      This is just a start. Do we begin to get a clearer picture of what’s at stake? For what it’s worth, it shows me how ill-thought out this entire scheme was. As usual, Syosset thinks as long as they put out appoint commissions, publish lengthy reports with lots of footnotes, splash some graphics with pie charts on it, then they’ll give off the odor that they’re all hip to the American scene.

      At the end of the day, my guess is that there is a black hole of injustice and corruption at the core of the OCA which cannot be extirpated save a massive and public repentance. If so, then boondoggles like this are inevitable. If I had to guess, I’d say His Beatitude came to the same conclusion and believed it was hopeless to fight it. That’s just my opinion but had I been in his shoes and knowing what I know now, I’d say it’s unsalvageable. (The answer to that problem? Hope that the Assembly of Bishops is a serious enterprise operating under a fairly quick deadline.)

      To answer your essential point: what is to be done? My suggestion is if we are talking about sexual assault, then the police have to be informed before anybody else is called.

    • Gail, I would say that George is defending the authority and prerogatives of bishops in general, without necessarily saying that the current active bishops of the OCA are worthy of that authority.

      I agree that the current active OCA bishops seem utterly oblivious to how sexual misconduct ought to be handled. The solution is not endorsing this protocol that emasculates the office of bishop, but putting these hirelings out of office, and finding bishops who are worthy of the rank.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I agree, Helga. George is 100% right. In my characteristically dramatic way, I was just trying to point out the irony of defending an office held by those who cannot be depended upon to fulfill it.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Gail, you’re wrong, I’m not 100% right, just ask my wife! :-). Still, thanks for the kudo and for highlighting the fundamental idiocy behind this draft.

  4. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    I’d comment on that wretchedly reasoned and wretchedly written ‘Draft”, but first I’d like to know if George Michalopoulos would be kind enough to announce when a topic is closed and further comments or response is blocked due to the disappearance of the “Reply” button.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Vladyka, the Monomakhos technical support department tells me the “Reply” button disappears when comments go 10 levels deep. That’s a limit built into the software. Comments aren’t closed. You can continue your comments by finding the first reply button one level up.

      Follow the colored bars on the left side of each comment. They show the comment stream.

      • Also, the threads automatically close to comments three weeks after the original posting. That’s what happened on the “More Fallout from Milwaukee” post that Bishop Tikhon wanted to respond to.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Helga, I ran this by our technical support department too. They said they close comments after three weeks to limit comment spam. Standard procedure in the business I guess. Spammers hit old comments hard.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            Did tech support explain what happened behind the “Heracleides” button in the Orthodox Humor department? There’s nothing remotely humorous or relating to Heracleides there.

    • sad but not surprised says

      Your grace, several topics ago you indicated you were leaving this website, never to return. You should therefore not feel yourself under any pressure to comment on this topic or any other that appears here.

      • I am delighted that Vladika Tikhon has the flexibility of mind to reconsider and post whenever and wherever he chooses. His wisdom is welcome

        • sad but not surprised says

          The next time I stumble and don’t do something I told people I would do (and undoubtedly this will happen at some point), may I be accused of nothing more than “flexibility of mind”.

          I have been led to expect more from bishops than from the average layman. Honesty in word and deed, a gentle and loving spirit, words that edify and build up, prayerful dialogue and leadership. Forgive me if you consider that pie in the sky, but we are Orthodox, after all, and do believe in the gifts of the Spirit that come with ordination. I have yet to read a single posting by his grace that is not dripping with insult, condescention, invective, abuse, and self-righteousness. If you call such things wisdom, you are of course welcome to your opinion. In my case, his grace has greatly contributed to my low opinion of the men currently in the office of bishop in the OCA (yes, I know he is “retired”, but he is still a bishop). If he had kept his word and stayed away, I would have considered that a mark in the plus column for him.

    • Your Grace, it’s too bad about those missing reply buttons, because I very much would have liked to have requested your thoughts on this:

      “If any one does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” – 1 Timothy 5:8

      • Anna Gribowsky says

        Thank you for a wonderful question, Helga!
        Meanwhile, it seems surreal that Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald can criticize Metropolitan Jonah for loving and caring for his parents and sister. After all, Bishop Tikhon refused to move to San Francisco from Los Angeles because, he said, SF would not be a good place for his cats. Yes, for his cats. I’ve noticed that the bishop’s memory is rather poor and he may not remember why he styled himself “Bishop of San Francisco, Los Angeles and the West” but some of us are still around and do remember!

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          Anna, I CAN “criticize Metropolitan Jonah for loving and caring for his parents and sister”, but I have not done so. I criticize him for his way of doing that after a lifetime of leaving them all to their own devices and for allowing others to use them in church politicking. I have never EVER “refused” to move to San Francisco, because no one ever told or asked me to do so. I did reply to some people in San Francisco who said, ‘When are you going to move up here where we can see you more often”, with, ‘How could I make poor Jacqueline, Jeffrey, and Kopeyka leave their home?” But that’s just the sort of harmless banter that no hierarch should feel is below him. I’m sorry you swallowed it as Gospel truth!
          Ms. Gribowsky, since you opine I might have forgotten this, how about YOU telling US why I asked the Holy Synod and they blessed me to add “Los Angeles” to my official title? What do you hear from your beloved Father Alexander these days, by the way?
          I wonder, though, is it perhaps life itself that “seems surreal” more and more these days?

          • George Michalopulos says

            Your Grace, is that fair? When Jonah became a monk his parents were much younger and I imagine able to care for themselves. What would you have him do during this time, not pursue his vocation and just sit home and be a couch potato while his father was still running his business?

          • Anna Gribowsky says

            Your Grace,
            I have an idea regarding your questions–let’s play “I will (answer), if you will.” And out of respect for your office, I’ll let you go first, of course. Here are only a couple of recent, very pertinent questions that you seem to have missed. And we would really love to hear what you have to say. Thank you.

            Helga says:
            October 16, 2013 at 2:09 pm
            Your Grace, it’s too bad about those missing reply buttons, because I very much would have liked to have requested your thoughts on this:

            “If any one does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” – 1 Timothy 5:8

            And this question is from “BANISHED TO BETHESDA”:

            colette says:

            September 8, 2013 at 9:24 pm
            Your Grace,
            As a retired Bishop do you need to ask permission from the OCA synod where ever and whenever you serve?

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              I DID give my thought on Helga’s question. I congratulated her on fnding a “proof text.” Another thought is that the Apostle in writing to Saint Timothy is apparently condemning thousands and centuries of Orthodox monks on Mount Athos, Trinity Sergius Monastery at Sergiev Posad, Kiev-Caves Monastery, in Egypt, Serbia, Bulgaria, and elsewhere, not to mention most all of the Holy Synods of the Local Churches except the OCA’s..
              As a retired Bishop i do NOT need to ask the permission of the OCA’s Holy Synod wherever and whenever I serve. I do have to have ONLY the permission of the ruling bishop of any diocese in which i would serve. IF, however, all the bishops of the Holy Synod agreed that they did not want me to serve in their dioceses, i couldn’t serve in any of those dioceses. I repeat, i, Bishop Tikhon, retired, OCA do not have to get the Holy Synod’s permission as such to serve anywhere. I suspect the question, Anna Gribowska, was put to me by “colette” in reference to the decision of the Bishops on the Holy Synod in Metropolitan Jonah’s case, that none of them but the Archbishop of Washington gives him permission to serve in his diocese.
              I hope you DO love reading my answers as you said you would!

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                I have a further thought for Helga. “Mythical ideal of monastic detachment?”
                I feel that if Metropolitan Jonah felt that his parents needed for him to look after them, he should have resigned in order to do so, and asked that he be freed from his obligations as an Orthodox monastic. Recently Bishop Basil Osbourne of the Parisian jurisdiction of the EP, requested to be deposed and released from his monastic obligations in order to get married. And he got what he asked for. If any other clergy, like Helga, would like a proof text, I’d start with “No man can serve two masters.” And, while not Scripture, I frequently quote the great Persian poet, Sa’di, and do so now because it seems to be fitting. ‘The best thing for an ignorant man is silence, and if he knew that, he wouldn’t be ignorant.” Anything else you’d like to learn, please feel free to ask me.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Your Grace, I believe your criticism falls flat on two points:

                  1. the “thousands of monastics” you site left home and family voluntarily to take up the ascetic struggle, knowing that their families had other members to care for them. Otherwise, using this logic, it’d be OK for a married man to abandon his wife and children and decamp for the monastery.

                  2. Bishop Basil Osborne was possibly (probably) engaging in sin. That he met and fell in love with a woman and wanted to marry her raises these uncomfortable questions (at the very least). In carrying for his family, two of whom were semi-invalids, he was not engaging in sin. To ask to be laicized therefore makes no sense.

                  • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                    Oh,and none of those thousands’ parents ever needed their help after they moved to the Holy Mountain, for example, and all had competent siblings? Amazing grace bestowed on, apparently, all but American monastics!
                    Are you saying Metropolitan Jonah could not be released to look after his parents because that’s not sinful? Everybody, like “Helga” and a couple others that will not HEAR any criticism of Metropolitan Jonah at all, compare his life to the Lord’s Passion, and find him of immaculate judgement and preserved from all error should realize they are only cooperating with the Holy Synod in their “case.” The anonymous and pseudonymous, likewise can be pointed out by the Synod with the phrase, “Hardly anyone is willing to stick his neck out for such a lame case.” I hope Metropolitan Jonah is not being tempted to believe he’s NEEDED by the Church!!!! That’s the slipperiest slope of all, on which, for example, those who publish their personal diaries are already sliding.

                    • Your Grace, wouldn’t resigning to take care of his family be “looking back from the plough” as you claim he has done anyway?

                    • Good point Helga. Also +Jonah was not just taking care of Mother and Father but his sister was really struggling too. His family needed him. There is no simply no argument against him taking care of his family.

                      People speak up for +Jonah not because we think he is flawless, but because he was wrongly and hypocritically blamed and attacked for the OCA’s problems. Had the OCA found a way to work with him they might very well have been on their way to a thriving Church by now, despite their many problems, avoiding all the pain and loss they have brought upon themselves . . .

                    • blast from the near past says

                      Right before her final illness, Laurie Paffhausen gave us an online retrievable insight into the Metropolitan’s intentions. Laurie was advertising online to area realtors for a 3-5 bedroom house in northern Virginia which would have been nearby D.C. She herself was also engaged in an intensive search for a paralegal position which could have funded or helped fund such a residence. Alas, she had a quick downward turn in health.

                      Her brother, in the midst of grotesque maltreatment by the OCA, spent many hours and days at Laura’s bedside and took over the family responsibilities wholesale. He is only to be commended for his loving care. Both his parents still require assistance, one a considerable amount.

                      Monastic tradition in most Orthodox countries in the world today includes universal health care. This is not the case in America, however. We are no longer expecting monks to go into the Egyptian dessert and live off grasses, much less consign their families to poverty and charity from outsiders. In our modern age, we even provide health care to former bishops while many of the laity have no health care. The only monks we consign to starvation are in war zones or at Esphigmenou.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Of course, Helga! THANK YOU! Exactly! And if he took this latter suggestion, he’d be in a much better position, as would his parents. He could get them out of that high-rent district, Embassy Row in NW DC and move them to one of the many cheaper and lovelier locations in, oh, Chicago (this would be a return to a former home, no?) or Cleveland, or Houston, or Albuquerque, or Tucson etc? But, you know, he REALLY loves living in DC! That’s the nub or the rub of it all. They all could live much more cheaply in, oh, Turtle Creek, Dallas…or in Shreveport, LA and so on. It’s not, Helga, his parents that are keeping him there!!!! What an idea!!!!

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    I remember one case where an Antiochian priest decided to do just that, violating the Apostolic Canon 5 in the process: Let not a bishop, presbyter, or deacon, put away his wife under pretence of religion; but if he put her away, let him be excommunicated; and if he persists, let him be deposed. That is exactly what Metropolitan Phillip did. I simply do not think that you can apply reverse logic on canonical grounds. And, I do not think that you want to be considered to be a innovationist either.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Well,Carl, we should also recognize that “under the pretext of religion” is a useless limitation. Who is to say what is practice of religion and pretext of religion. And since the canons permit a man to put away his wife IN ORDER TO BECOME A bishop, with his wife’s agreement,, that would surely come under the heading of the Apostolic Canon you cited.

                    • Archpriest John Morris says


                      None of our Antiochian Bishops are divorced. Bishop John is a widower. Because we live in a time in which a woman can get a no fault divorce, there may be divorced priests who are allowed to continue to serve, provided that the Metropolitan has investigated their situation and has decided to use economy to allow them to continue in the priesthood. However, in the cases about which I know every divorced priest has been suspended and eventually laicized. I do not know of a divorced priest who is still serving in our Archdiocese.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Your Grace–I continue to believe that Trullo’s two canons regarding bishops; cohabitation with their wives are temporary and will eventually be overturned, precisely to uphold Apostolic Canon 5 that, in turn, is based on Scripture.

                      Dear Father John–I merely pointed out that Metropolitan Phillip took decisive action in upholding the canons in the case of one priest, who is of course no longer a priest, let alone an active one in the Archdiocese.

                • His Grace Bishop Tikhon says, “If any other clergy, like Helga, would like a proof text, I’d start with ‘No man can serve two masters.'”

                  Your Grace, serving others is not serving a master other than Christ. I think our Lord Jesus Christ would differ with your interpretation of His words, because He explicitly contradicts what you have said:

                  Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ — Matthew 25:34-40

              • Anna Gribowsky says

                Your Grace,

                At the risk of boring everyone, here is my reply. My point was that I see a double standard in your criticism of Metropolitan Jonah’s choices and what you chose to do when you were the Bishop of “SF, LA and the West.” And please let me assure you that people did think at first that you were joking about your cats. But only at first, because you kept talking and talking about those cats of yours…

                There are several priests named Fr. Alexander on the West Coast, so I don’t get your reference.

                And I do appreciate your concern, but no, life seems real enough. It’s the doings of the OCA that seem surreal.

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  Anna G. You said there were two pertinent questions that I had not answered and you said you could not answer any of MY questions (What questions?) until I answered those two. Anna. I answered those two questions, and now you obsess some more about my having cats and loving them. Cats are, one must admit, not strange to monastic or episcopal life.
                  I mentioned Fr. Alexander because I couldn’t imagine who you are. If I ever knew you, I would say that you sound like a parishioner of a parish where I personally caught the Rector of that name in flagrante delicto with a parishioner, who had been referred to that parish because she felt lost in America, a young, poor, but pretty blond recent immigrant. I immediately suspended and removed that Priest from his post. He was later taken under the omophorion of the Bishop of Canada and even awarded the jeweled (or decorated) pectoral cross. Many women ‘of a certain age” were extremely resentful of my taking this single (divorced) Priest out of their company.
                  By the way, after my cats, Jeffrrey, Jacqueline, and Kopeyka, died,I never replaced them. Still they were a welcome refreshment after dealing sometimes with the various demons and pathologies that are found wherever there’s a Church.

                  • From “Jubilate Agno”

                    For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
                    For he is the servant of the Living God, duly and daily serving him.
                    For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
                    For is this done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.
                    For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon his prayer.
                    For he rolls upon prank to work it in.
                    For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.
                    For this he performs in ten degrees.
                    For first he looks upon his forepaws to see if they are clean.
                    For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.
                    For thirdly he works it upon stretch with the forepaws extended.
                    For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.
                    For fifthly he washes himself.
                    For sixthly he rolls upon wash.
                    For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may not be interrupted upon the beat.
                    For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.
                    For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.
                    For tenthly he goes in quest of food.
                    For having considered God and himself he will consider his neighbor.
                    For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.
                    For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.
                    For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.
                    For when his day’s work is done his business more properly begins.
                    For he keeps the Lord’s watch in the night against the adversary.
                    For he counteracts the powers of darkness by his electrical skin and glaring eyes.
                    For he counteracts the Devil, who is death, by brisking about the life.
                    For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him.
                    For he is of the tribe of Tiger.
                    For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.
                    For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent, which in goodness he suppresses.
                    For he will not do destruction if he is well-fed, neither will he spit without provocation.
                    For he purrs in thankfulness when God tells him he’s a good Cat.
                    For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
                    For every house is incomplete without him, and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.
                    For the Lord commanded Moses concerning the cats at the departure of the Children of Israel from Egypt.
                    For every family had one cat at least in the bag.
                    For the English Cats are the best in Europe.
                    For he is the cleanest in the use of his forepaws of any quadruped.
                    For the dexterity of his defense is an instance of the love of God to him exceedingly.
                    For he is the quickest to his mark of any creature.
                    For he is tenacious of his point.
                    For he is a mixture of gravity and waggery.
                    For he knows that God is his Saviour.
                    For there is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest.
                    For there is nothing brisker than his life when in motion.
                    For he is of the Lord’s poor, and so indeed is he called by benevolence perpetually—Poor Jeoffry! poor Jeoffry! the rat has bit thy throat.
                    For I bless the name of the Lord Jesus that Jeoffry is better.
                    For the divine spirit comes about his body to sustain it in complete cat.
                    For his tongue is exceeding pure so that it has in purity what it wants in music.
                    For he is docile and can learn certain things.
                    For he can sit up with gravity, which is patience upon approbation.
                    For he can fetch and carry, which is patience in employment.
                    For he can jump over a stick, which is patience upon proof positive.
                    For he can spraggle upon waggle at the word of command.
                    For he can jump from an eminence into his master’s bosom.
                    For he can catch the cork and toss it again.
                    For he is hated by the hypocrite and miser.
                    For the former is afraid of detection.
                    For the latter refuses the charge.
                    For he camels his back to bear the first notion of business.
                    For he is good to think on, if a man would express himself neatly.
                    For he made a great figure in Egypt for his signal services.
                    For he killed the Icneumon rat, very pernicious by land.
                    For his ears are so acute that they sting again.
                    For from this proceeds the passing quickness of his attention.
                    For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.
                    For I perceived God’s light about him both wax and fire.
                    For the electrical fire is the spiritual substance which God sends from heaven to sustain the bodies both of man and beast.
                    For God has blessed him in the variety of his movements.
                    For, though he cannot fly, he is an excellent clamberer.
                    For his motions upon the face of the earth are more than any other quadruped.
                    For he can tread to all the measures upon the music.
                    For he can swim for life.
                    For he can creep.

                    —Christopher Smart

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Mike, thanks!. I first read Christopher Smart’s poem about his cat Geoffrey (and Smart’s biography) when my Jeffery was a tiny kitten. No doubt Anna G. finds thoughts on that level to be suspicious….

              • So +Jonah is being treated differently as he needs permission from both Jurisdicitons. Why are you ok with that Retired Bishop T.?

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  colette. THE CHURCH everywhere strictly forbids any Bishop from serving in any diocese not his own without the bishop of that other diocese’s permission. I, colette, am “ok with that.” Metropolitan Jonah has no diocese of his own. Metropolitan Tikhon as Archbishop of Washington DC PERMITS Metropolitan Jonah to serve in one of his parishes. To my knowledge no Holy Synod in the world, no representative of any Local Church, has asked that Metropolitan Jonah be given a canonical release to their Church. If you know of such a request, please provide a verifiable reference to it. i am ok with the Holy Canons of our Church, colette. I am ok with the canonicity of ALL the actions (but not the publications) taken by the OCA’s Holy Synod after Metropolitan Jonah resigned in writing with his signature properly witnessed.. I believe, further, tht Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation letter was unconditional, though it expressed desires and hopes, but NOT prerequisites for that resignation. I believe that Metropolitan Jonah LOVES living in the nation’s capital and depends on his aging parents’ residence there to guarantee his continued residence there. You may flip a coin to decide whether it is his parents need to be with him or Metropolitan Jonah’s need to reside in the nation’s capital that is decisive in his situation. There’s no QUESTION that it would not be more feasible for Metropolitan Jonah to move his parents to, oh, Cleveland, or Chicago, or Albuquerque and live MUCH more cheaply but with the same standard of living as living just off Embassy Row in Washington DC. Talk about stewardship!!!!!

        • Thank you, Anna. I think this whole thing is just an attempt to catch Met Jonah in a catch-22. He preached many times as Metropolitan about the importance of caring for the elderly as part of the sanctity of human life. In caring for his mother and father, he is practicing what he preaches. If Met Jonah were neglecting his parents’ care for the sake of obeying some mythical ideal of monastic detachment that would preclude caring for one’s birth parents even when their only other child is unable to care for them herself any longer, you can bet that there would be many denouncing him as a right-wing hypocrite.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            Why uproot old people from their settled permanent home, old friends and neighbors in Southern California to live in a neighborhood where no one knew them and the climate goes to greater extremes when, as First Hierarch he would be “on the road” or in the air more often than not? His sister sure didn’t last long after that upheaval either.. Old people in DC and other urban areas even further north usually prefer climates like that of Florida or Southern California, to the extremes of the District of Columbia!/ Suppose, after he resigned, the Holy Synod had offered him Alaska?

            • geo michalopulos says

              Well, I guess because he was Primate and this was the only way to take care of them best?

              I agree it’s not ideal but I do know of elderly parents and/or a widowed parent who has moved cross-country to be with the child who can best support them. My widowed grandmother for one left her village in Messinia to go live with my maiden aunt in Athens who was a pharmacist. For awhile she came to live with her two sons in America.

              I know of several other instances in which aged and infirm grandparents had to uproot themselves and move. Jonah’s decision was based on the fact that his occupation was Archbishop of Washington. I suppose had he had a crystal ball and could’ve looked into the future he wouldn’t have moved them but he didn’t.

            • Lola J. Lee Beno says

              Respectfully, you weren’t there to see what was going on. I, being on the perimeter, could see why it was that Vladika Jonah would have done what he did. I think it is time to drop this dead horse and let it be.

            • Maybe they wanted to be with their son . . .

            • blast from the near past says

              People are forgetting that Metropolitan Jonah resigned after extreme pressure and misinformation from being Metropolitan of America and Canada, but he never resigned from being Archbishop of Washington. He made his intention to stay around quite clear.

          • Anna Gribowsky says

            You are absolutely correct, Helga.

  5. Gail Sheppard says

    The draft should simply state: “Call the police.”

    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

      The draft should simply state: “Call the police.”

      Assuming police exist, and that one would ever want contact with them.

      Foodstamp Program Shutdown Imminent? (10/15/2013):

      USDA “understanding the operational issues and constraints that States face, and in the interest of preserving maximum flexibility, we are directing States to hold their November issuance files and delay transmission to State electronic benefit transfer (EBT) vendors until further notice.” In other words, as Fox13News summarizes, “States across the country are being told to stop the supplemental nutrition assistance program for the month of November, pending further notice.”

      The Day the Dollar Died:

      • oliverwendeldouglas says

        “Assuming the police exist.” ?!?!? Assuming that this refers to a small town police department with little experience in dealing with matters other than speeding, public intoxication or burglaries, one can always contact the state police. If the violation also included matters that would be disseminated by way of the mails, wires, telephones or internet, then the FBI and Postal Inspectors are available. Failing that, the United States Attorneys offices generally have a criminal Assistant U.S. Attorney on duty to take calls and reports from the public. There is always an agent or inspector who is on duty to take calls from the public. Ultimately, it is a police agency that will have to make an arrest, and a public prosecutor (state or federal) who will have to deal with the case in court in front of a judge. If in doubt, there is always 911. The call is recorded and time stamped.

    • Sean Richardson says

      Alas, not every case of sexual misconduct falls under the law and is a crime. Any two consenting adults may have, non-purchased, sex, but just because it is not illegal doesn’t mean that it is moral. Those are two widely different situations.

      • Robert Alden says

        Sean, not according to the new ORSMA rules. According to them now, there is no such thing as consensual relations because the male/priest is always in a superior position and thus, in their flawed thinking, he is the oppressor. Radical feminism has now been codified in the OCA via ORSMA. Men are bad, women are victims. That is their starting point.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          This is idiotic, rotten thinking. No priest is supposed to have relations with anyone but his wife. It does not matter if the relations he has with someone other than his wife are consensual or not. It is not a matter of oppression but of sin.

  6. Robert Alden says


    If the bishop of the OCA can’t see how one of their primary roles as a bishop as stated clearly in their own Statute is being taken away by this ORSMA monster and clergy don’t see how a disgruntled parishioner can make any charge against a priest or deacon causing this the ORSMA monster to rise up and overshadow their lives if not put them in financial ruin, then I suppose they deserve the consequences.

    It is stunning to me that these draconian rules lump all sexual misconduct into the same pile where a hug is the same as sexually assaulting a minor. I totally agree with you, if you think a minor has been the victim of a pervert priest, CALL THE COPS. To hell with these stupid rules.

    The dearth of pastoral care in these ORSMA rules are pathetic. A word here and phrase there but the real purpose is to be punitive. And isn’t that what the “New” OCA has become more punitive than pastoral?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Mr Alden, if one is a Cultural Marxist, he does not believe that there is such a thing as “consensual sex.” Every priest by virtue of his authority has “power” over every female congregant over 18 he comes into contact with, according to this paradigm. I suppose that extends to every male congregant over the age of 18 as well.

      This preposterous view underpins much of the Draft. What this tells me of the spirit behind it is troubling indeed.

      • Robert Alden says

        Yesterday’s Chancellor’s Corner was another unintended glimpse into the mind of Chancellor Jillions who sees OCA clergy and lay workers as a type of Guinea pig experiment since the ORSMA rules will be perfected in “field work.” Field work? I wonder how many lives might be ruined and families suffer during the “field work” stage of this grand experiment? Another example of elitist thinking and utter distain for OCA clergy.

        A man would have to be nuts to get ordained or a lay person expose themselves to any contact with adults or children in the OCA where any crackpot could bring a charge against a cleric or lay worker and worse hearsay is now acceptable to bring a charge. Might be best for clergy to install cameras in the confessional and church school teachers to teach from inside a booth.

        • oliverwendeldouglas says

          or get ordained, in the first place, in another “jurisdiction.” Maybe the non-canonical situation we have here in the U.S. does serve a good purpose.

  7. sad but not surprised says

    One of the biggest failings of the current sexual misconduct statute is that it does not address real or alleged sexual misconduct of the bishops, only that of the lower orders of clergy and laypeople. Kind of like Washington passing laws and exempting themselves from having to abide by those laws. As recent history has shown us to our sorrow, if anyone needs to be covered by a sexual misconduct statute, it is our bishops. If this is not addressed in the new statute, it is useless, no matter what else it says.

  8. Michael Bauman says

    From the outside, the real problem is in expecting and relying on statues to replace spiritual formation, virtue and striving for holiness. No statute will do that and it is falling back into the law rather than striving for a higher life.

    It reflects the secularism of the surrounding culture and the artificial/hypocritical moralism found there. It only furthers the insanity raging around us and leaves no place of refuge.

    The jurisdictions will fall soon enough as those who seek Christ coalesce around one or more real bishops. The jurisdictions may still exist but they will be meaningless.

    • Sean Richardson says

      Isn’t that what Canon Law is? it’s statutory legislation that was agreed on and passed by a council. There’s nothing wrong with rules, policies and traditions in the Orthodox Church being agreed up and written down. But, as always, later councils might find errors in those statutes and correct them.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Yes, but Sean, canon law was made BY ecclesiastical authority; not imposed on them by secularists to compromise their authority. That’s the distinction. Anything that compromises ecclesiastical authority erodes the foundation of the Church. The solution isn’t to put documents in place to police the clergy, but to select bishops who know how to exercise their authority and act swiftly, when required.

        • M. Stankovich says

          I don’t know where, exactly, you studied the nature and application of the Canons, but I’m happy to help. Presumption killed the cat. Or something like that…

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          Gail is quite right here, but for clarity’s sake, it should be added that canon law is indeed not canon law until it is approved by a council. The “All American Councils’ are conventions, not councils, although the meeting of all the OCA’ Bishops during the convention IS a Council, that is, it is the sine qua non of an Orthodox Council. The parish delegates, lay and clerical are consultants to these Councils. The “Metropolitan Councils’ are, one may say, titular councils, that is, anomalous detritus of the old North American Mission’s Diocesan Council, left flopping around without a diocese at sll when the Metropolia/OCA was reconstituted as NOT a diocese, but as a federation of dioceses, i.e., as a Church. Successive All-American conventons have frequently thought up ways of giving the old anomalous “Metropolitan(‘s) Council” things to do. The golden missed moment to finally shed the Metropolitan Council was the granting of official autocephaly, since no other Local Church has such an anomalous and extra-conciliar add-on. Further, and as American pragmatists, we should recognize that the “All-American Council”, i.e.,Convention, is an expensive affair when a meeting of the Holy Synod is canonically able to do EVERYTHING that a convention of elected parish representatives might wish to see realized. Perhaps a way to begin to correct this cumbersome system would be to start calling them ‘The All-American Consultancy to the Holy Synod.” Of course we might acknowledge, too, that today neither the Holy Synod nor the All-American Council is the highest authority or ruling authority in the O
          CA; rather, it is what was called in the old days of the USSR: “The Nomenklatura.”: various and partially anonymous persons occupying key bureaucratic positions in administration and their own trusted advisers and, let us admit, cronies, for, let’s admit it: CRONYISM is life in today’s OCA…

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            Sometimes St John Chrysostom gets it right, but even there the OCA turns a deaf ear!
            “Did you commit sin? Enter the Church and repent for your sin; for here is the physician, not the judge; HERE ONE IS NOT INVESTIGATED: one receives remission of sins.
            – St. John Chrysostom

            • George Michalopulos says

              Your Grace, even though we are miles apart politically, it is insights such as this which makes me wish you hadn’t retired. If nothing else, I imagine that you could have thrown some cold, logical water on the Synod before they unleashed the Sex Squad.

          • blast from the near past says


            One of your best posts!

            May the next AAC be held through all laity and clergy responding by email or in writing to the Synod of bishops with all postings accessible online

    • I would argue that spiritual formation and liability are two separate issues. The misconduct guidelines are meant to address the latter not the former. As liability for sexual misconduct amongst clergy is a reality–for example the Catholic Archdiocese of St Paul, MN is dealing with a new issue–it is appropriate to for the church to formulate a response. This has less to do with spiritual formation than addressing a reality. It does not relieve bishops of their duty to engage in spiritual formation, but there is only so much that they can do on their own, no? Indeed, much of the problem is that the situation in the past was just as George and the appalled advocate. Bishops and diocese on their own. Result? Who knows?

      Also, is the proposition that bishops cannot delegate some of their duties to competent agents? How weird is that? George and others are appalled that the bishops’ proper authority is being taken away. But to deny the bishops the power to delegate responsibility is to do the same thing. Why can’t a bishop say, “as ruling bishop of my diocese, I want these guidelines and national office?” (Which is exactly what they did.) Talk about undermining episcopal authority!


      • No one is arguing with the concept of guidelines. What is at fault is the abdication of episcopal authority that is rampant throughout the guidelines. In Orthodox polity, a bishop might appoint an investigator, but only at the discretion of the bishop (or mandatory only for child sexual abuse). What this policy does is not only weaken the authority of the bishop, but makes the bishop answerable to ORSMA. For instance, if a bishop declines to strictly follow the discipline mandated by ORSMA, the bishop must answer in writing to ORSMA why they are not following ORSMA’s decree.

        The basic unfairness of the policy has been well established in other posts here. But even worse is the dismissal of common Orthodox practice, where even the rather liberal OCA Statutes affirm that the Bishop is the final authority in all such diocesan matters, and most certainly when it comes to priestly discipline. Those matters should NEVER be in the hands of lay persons. EVER.

        • Dear Nice Try,

          Does “nice try” refer to what you write? If so, its not so bad. If it refers to me, I am not sure I was trying to do anything–except offer an argument, which I did. There was no try.

          If a bishop agrees to delegate, how can that be abdication? Why can’t a bishop agree to answer to the ORSMA? Unless you think that there are certain powers that a bishop cannot delegate. What argument do you offer for that? None. You offer conclusory statements only.

          You mention Orthodox polities and common Orthodox practice. Where do you look for that? Where is this normative polity? I suspect such a polity is more a city in speech than anything real.


      • Gail Sheppard says

        To SAM: I guess some of us find it unsettling that a Holy Synod would spend so much time, effort and money fashioning a document that addresses every unseemly possibility. I honestly believe that in the Sidebottom case, we made a pack with the devil in allowing an attorney to dictate Church policy. (Not saying anything one way or the other about the merits of the case; I’m strictly talking about the outcome.)

        “According to the relevant provisions of that Settlement and Release, provided at the request of by Mr. Sidebottom’s counsel, Mr. James C. Spencer, of the firm HINKLE ELKOURI L.L.C. of Witchita, Kansas:

        “The OCA agrees that within six (6) months of the effective date of this Agreement, it will revise its Policies, Standards, and Procedures of the Orthodox Church in America on Sexual Misconduct to (i) prohibit all forms of retaliation against any complainant or witness and (ii) to specify the procedure when a bishop is a respondent or a witness to alleged sexual misconduct; provided, that the nature of, and any substance and procedures incident to, such revision shall be in the sole, good faith discretion of the OCA, acting on advice of its Holy Synod of Bishops, Metropolitan Council, legal counsel, such other professional advisers as the OCA may determine to be necessary, and/or, if necessary, All-American Council.

        The OCA agrees that within six (6) months of the effective date of this Agreement, it will pursue, through its Office of the Chancellor and the Department of Pastoral Life and Ministry (or such other Office, Department or Ministry as may succeed Office or Department, or such other office or department as OCA may later determine to be appropriate), implementation of a program that provides periodic harassment training for clergy and church employees; provided, that the terms thereof shall be in the sole, good faith discretion of the OCA, acting on advice of its Holy Synod of Bishops, Metropolitan Council, legal counsel, such other professional advisors as the OCA may determine to be necessary, and/or, if necessary, All-American Council.

        The OCA agrees that within six (6) months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the OCA, working with the OCA’s Central Church Administration, will pursue its intention to implement a formal process for screening all candidates for Holy Orders; provided, that the terms and procedures of such process shall be in the sole, good faith discretion of the OCA, acting on advice of its Holy Synod of Bishops, Metropolitan Council, legal counsel, such other professional advisers as the OCA may determine to be necessary, and/or, if necessary, All American Council. The terms of such process may include, inter alia:

        (a) A determination of whether independent psychological assessment of each candidate for ordination is necessary (i.e., for candidates to the diaconate and the episcopate; or for candidates to the priesthood, if such occurs five years after their ordination to the diaconate);

        (b) A determination of how detailed criminal records checks should be; and

        (c) A determination of the kind of review that should occur to determine the personality disorders and pathologies of prospective candidates, and what kind of prohibitions and/or restrictions should be placed when such are found.”

        • Dear Gail,

          I take the opposite view. I don’t understand how the Holy Synod could not spend time and money looking at this issue. This is not a pact with the devil. This is the Synod getting serious about a serious issue. And not before time either.


          • Gail Sheppard says

            To SAM: The issue IS serious, but they’re not “looking at it.” They’re spending your money (speaking figuratively) to draft a document to moderate their own behavior. In what universe is that not bizarre?

        • George Michalopulos says

          Gail, thank you for providing this historical insight. I was not aware of this legal history.

          Ultimately, this raises an interesting question: why did the bishops (who are responsible before God for safeguarding His Church) roll over and let the legal/insurance team take over and craft these curious rules? I realize the Sidebottom case was tragic but why did it originate? Sodomy of course is the genesis of it as it was in the case of the late Gregory Iliff. The question for me is whether this sodomy remained confined to one or two specific cases or whether it was normative throughout the upper echelons of the OCA?

          It seems to me that predators were allowed to function in the first place because it was accepted as normative in the Carpatho-Russian community for those young men who couldn’t make it in the “real world” and so were put on the episcopal track. (“Normal” boys would get married in this scenario.) Regardless, the lawyers were allowed to fight back against these injustices because the bishops were compromised men themselves and had lost the moral backbone necessary to exert their proper episcopal authority. Even if this is not the case today, the Synod remains curiously pliant in the face of this grossly un-Orthodox ecclesiological scheme.

  9. Ilya Zhitomirskiy says

    I don’t want to sound like an apparatchik of ROCOR, but such has never happened over there. The closest thing possible to sexual misconduct happened in monasteries now affiliated with schismatic groups (HOOM and HOCNA). When ROCOR heard of the abuses, Metropolitan Vitaly of blessed memory convened the Synod and warned the offenders. But when Archimandrite Panteleimon (Metropolous) refused to heed +Vitaly’s warnings, he and the rest of his monastery were deposed. The same thing happened when monks at Christ of the Hills were accused of sexual molestation. ROCOR didn’t have any definite policies at the time, but they were able to deal with their offenders. Maybe the OCA should take a leaf out of ROCOR’s book.

    • Dear Ilya,

      If I remember from that time, as a person who occasionally went to Holy Transfiguration, the ROCOR had a policy whereby someone accused of inappropriate behavior had a Synodal hearing. Igumen Panteleimon was invited to come and answer the extraordinary charges against him, that he not only had slept with monks under his guidance as Igumen, but that also he had uttered some very strange theological gobbledigook to only certain of his monks related to these relations, thus perverting the holy theology of the Church in the process of well documented disobedience. Panteleimon declined the opportunity to defend himself and several tracts subsequently made some excuses why he did not defend himself.

      On the matter of not having responded to the enquirers, he established that he had no respect for the Synod and was defrocked. Meanwhile, there was a strong core of individuals associated with the monastery that supported his decision, one of which was a priest I had known since the time he was beginning his theological studies. A lot of anuimosity was created and lives messed with in bad ways. Some of the monks who had come forward to say that they been sexually abused left the church. Some joined other jurisdictions, and some stayed in the ROCOR.

      Many good people are still caught up in the charisma of what Holy Transfiguration Monastery attempted to accomplish through translations, creating parishes and living traditional lifestyles.

      So, the ROCOR did have a policy, and that was to investigate anything that might hurt the Church as soon as possible. Still, during the period before the reunification, the ROCOR in its innocence, did ally itself with some old calendar individuals with less than pristine backgrounds. And it is difficult sometimes to see perfidy for the sheep’s clothing of Mr. Metropoulos had the physical appearance and sound of worthy sanctity and piety. There is still some great work for Orthodoxy that came out of that monastery and the Convent of the Nativity as well.

      As for the HOCNA, it underwent several name changes before it became the HOCNA.

      All the more reason to ask the local police to arrange surveillance first and let the local clergy know to expect a visit from a detective and that counseling might be needed by the congregation. To initiate an enquiry is not to state guilt, or even to judge, but the suggest only that victims should be trusted. Whether or not someone is or is not a victim can be determined later.

      • Ilya Zhitomirskiy says

        I merely meant that ROCOR had no written policies like this document, but they did all they could to investigate and stop strange behaviors, including sexual misconduct. There were pedophiles in ROCOR, but once they got exposed they were outed.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          I may be misinformed, but didn’t ROCOR just walk away from Christ of the Hills (deposed/defrocked who knows or cares; kids continued to be molested)? Archbishop Lazar stepped in and walked away, as well. No one called the police and shut it down. Am I wrong? – If I am right, this is not the example other jurisdictions should follow.

          • a pretty good summary is here:


            You will note that the ROCOR took immediate action against the monastery and its monks . Relevant passage of the article is here, relating to a successor monastery to Christ of the Hills:

            The Boscobel monastery, called St. Isaac’s Skete, is an offshoot of Christ of the Hills Monastery (COTH) in Blanco, Texas. In 1999, a boy filed sex abuse charges against two Christ of the Hills monks. In response, the Russian Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), to which both monasteries belonged at the time, ordered COTH to disband. The Blanco monks refused. ROCOR removed COTH from its jurisdiction, but could not shut it down because the monastery was owned by an independent non-profit corporation. In solidarity with COTH, St. Isaac’s Skete left ROCOR, later joining the Bulgarian Diocese. Additional allegations of child sexual abuse at COTH were made by other boys in 2006. The new charges resulted in convictions for four Blanco monks (one of whom was also convicted in 1999) and the suicide of COTH?s founder. The Blanco monastery is now defunct.

      • oliverwendeldouglas says

        As an aside, if someone knows what the story is, it may be useful to know why the HOCNA has lost so many churches recently. As I understand it, the entire Diocese of Portland (Oregon) departed, as have several churches in the Mid-Atlantic/New England area. What’s going on?

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      Ilya, you are much, much, much too young to make such a declaration, about ROCOR, that “such has never happened over there.” ROCOR came into existence in the 1920s and from that time until today i can assure you that the incidence of “such” in ROCOR is no novelty at all. Metropolitan Vitaly was in many ways a complete historical anomaly in the list of First Hierarchs of ROCOR.
      One name (among several) occurs to me: ‘Metropolitan Panteleimon (Rudyk)” never first hierarch but a member of ROCOR’s Holy Synod after WWII. Ask around amongst the most senior members of ROCOR.

      One former Jordanville seminarian related to me how, when a meeting of the Hierarchical Synod was held at Jordanville, one hieromonk standing amongst the seminarians in the refectory as the hierarchs proceeded to their meal, identified them individually: “That’s “Berlin and Germany”, that’s “London and Great Britain”, that’s “Vienna and Austria,’ that’s “San Francisco and Western America,” and so on. When one hierarch came in, the hieromonk didn’t say anything. A seminarian then asked, ‘Who’s that?” The hieromonk replied “Sodom and Gomorrah.”

      • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

        Your Grace,

        Master, Bless! Not to make a big thing out of it, but I don’t believe the hierarch Panteleimon (Rudyk) had the title of Metropolitan. It may have been given to him later on by the MP. Maybe Your Grace has in mind the Belorussian Metropolitan Panteleimon (Roznovsky) who joined ROCOR together with all of the other Belorussian bishops at the end of WW II.

        • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

          To clarify,I didn’t mean to imply that there were any charges against Metropolitan Panteleimon(Rozhnovsky),except perhaps by Belorussian nationalists who would have accused him and the bishops with him of selling out to the Russians.There may have been something with the other hierarch Panteleimon,but I wouldn’t be in any position to know.

  10. Texan Orthodox says

    Is it merely a coincidence that the Office for Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations (“ORMSA”) deploys a unit called a sexual harrassment and assault Reponse Team, which can be shortened via acronym as “SHART,” to investigate?

    I think a wonderful subtitle for this document should be “ORMSA makes a SHART.”

  11. M. Stankovich says

    The reason that the OCA invested the time necessary in securing a competent professional to direct this program is to insure compliance with the mandate of the law while protecting the safety and welfare of victims. Judging from the comments offered to this point, it seems appropriate to state that it also her responsibility to protect the OCA from the critique of unqualified, ignorant, jackasses who nonetheless feel compelled to to marchon despite their ignorance.

    According to California Penal Code § 11165.7, “clergy members, who shall include a priest, minister, rabbi, religious practitioner, or similar functionary of a church, temple, or recognized denomination or organization, and any custodian of records of a clergy member” are mandated reporters of child abuse:

    California law requires mandated reporters to report incidents of obvious or suspected child abuse or neglect in relation to a child below the age of 18 noticed by them in their professional capacity or in the course of their employment.[ii] The term “child abuse or neglect” as defined in Cal Pen Code § 11165.6 shall mean: physical injury or death inflicted by other than accidental means upon a child by another person, sexual abuse as defined in § 11165.1, neglect as defined in § 11165.2, the willful harming or injuring of a child or the endangering of the person or health of a child, as defined in § 11165.3, and unlawful corporal punishment or injury as defined in § 11165.4.

    In the State of California, the police do not investigate child abuse. Mandated reporters – who are required by law to report “immediately” – do not report abuse or suspected abuse to the police. You obviously would not know that because you are ignorant. The reporter generally makes an initial detailed report by phone, receives a case number, and then has 36-hours to complete an interactive report on-line, or submit an completed report by email attachment or by fax. Child Protective Services investigates child abuse in the State of California. Now, multiply this times 50 states and you have the potential complexity of the program and the ignorance of your commentary. I would further suggest that a scan of the similar requirements of mandated reporters to Family Services of the US Navy would give a sense of just how unqualified the commentators to even speculate this to be an “operational ” document.

    I cannot imagine the unqualified eagerness to comment on a topic that involves victims who require, first and foremost, our protection and assurance. The gross reduction of the infinitely complex dynamics of abuse are, literally, boiled down to “call the cops.” These comments are as despicable as they are embarrassing.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Interestingly enough Dr Stankovich, this was not the case with a priest in the Antiochian jurisdiction who was deposed by his bishop after the police investigated charges of child molestation against him and then arrested him. Was there an ORSMA in Englewood? No, just a competent bishop in California.

      • oliverwendeldouglas says

        Gee Doc, I guess you are America’s “foremost expert” on all topics, including but not limited to criminal law. Why are you so nasty? Your venom just oozes out from everything you write. As for the OCA, another nail in the coffin. Who would want to enter the priesthood in this unfortunate outfit?

        • Ilya Zhitomirskiy says

          Totally true. I was thinking about serving in the diaconate, and still am, but the way that things are going now, I would rather swear an oath of loyalty to Putin himself rather than be ordained in the OCA. I know that I am being facetious here, because the ROCOR postulant’s oath only states that the ordinand swears loyalty to Metropolitan Hilarion and his lawful successors, as well as diocesan bishops. First a financial scandal, then a usurpation of the metropolitan’s see, then vacant dioceses, and finally this. I don’t know how anyone can endure this, or even if I should endure this. What is the tipping point after which I should leave the OCA? I could not swear loyalty to Metropolitan Tikhon because he does not occupy his see lawfully. If this organization exists as a cover-up for homosexuals, maybe then those clergy who do not out sodomites have deposed themselves. What do the canons say on this matter? I do not want to unduly condemn those not involved in these shenanigans, and I do not want to tar people with too broad of a brush, but I want to know the truth. Is the OCA spiritually safe anymore, or is it a minefield that I must leave as soon as possible? I know that it sounds like a desperate appeal, but that is because it is. If I cannot stay in the OCA, I will go to ROCOR and go through the programs at Jordanville. However, let God’s will be done.

      • Thomas Barker says

        Regardless of which agency (Child Protective Services or Law Enforcement) receives the first report of child abuse, the incident is cross-reported to the other agency. When you are a mandatory reporter in a large, corrupt bureaucracy, it is sometimes best to contact the police first, and chain of command second.

        From the California Penal Code:
        11165.9. Reports of suspected child abuse or neglect shall be made
        by mandated reporters, or in the case of reports pursuant to Section
        11166.05, may be made, to any police department or sheriff’s
        department, not including a school district police or security
        department, county probation department, if designated by the county
        to receive mandated reports, or the county welfare department. Any of
        those agencies shall accept a report of suspected child abuse or
        neglect whether offered by a mandated reporter or another person…

      • Archpries John Morris says

        Actually, it was Archbishop Joseph who turned the priest into the authorities. He visited the parish and learned of the abuse. The priest admitted it. His Eminence called the Metropolitan and had him laiciized, and then called the police.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          What Father John is saying is 100% true. Archbishop Joseph acted quickly and appropriately when he learned the truth.

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            On second thought George Michalopulos may be referring to an incident that took place ten or fifteen years ago, also in California. A Priest was investigated by the police on suspicion of child molestation. When the Metropolitan learned of this, he suspended the Priest.
            I might add that the Antiochian Archdiocese has had a publication containing its policy on sexual misconduct for many years. In speaking to the clergy, Metropolitan Philip has made it clear that there is a policy of zero tolerance for sexual misconduct by his clergy.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        Nothing wrong with reporting child abuse to the police; certainly not in my state. They will notify CPS, as well.

        Crimes are crimes and generally should be reported to the police.

    • William Harrington says

      Seems to me that the mere fact that you have to deal with fifty states plus the Canadian provinces would be a good argument against a centralized policy that tries to encompass all these different legal requirements and instead argue for greater diocesan authority.

    • Michael, I think “call the police” is broad enough of a statement to mean “report the incident to the relevant civil authorities and investigators”, as opposed to calling some paper-pushers in Syosset to make an auto-da-fé about the matter.

    • Read Much? says

      Can Dr. Stankovich read? This policy is NOT about “child abuse.”

      This document is a piece of garbage. According to these rules, the evidence “proving” something happened must be outweighed by the evidence “disproving” something happened. How does one provide evidence disproving something happened? Consider this: A priest is accused of touching a woman’s breasts during confession. She says that she has a scratch on her breast to prove it, and her friend can verify that Fr. So-and-so seemed to be leaning too closely to her friend in confession. Someone tell me what evidence any priest anywhere has to conclusively show he didn’t do that. Anyone?

      What would never even make the light of day in a secular court will be the tool of clergy control in the OCA. What an immense tragedy this is.

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        Years ago, an attorney spoke to the Antiochian clergy on this issue. As I remember he did not say anything that I had not learned during my college teaching days. A professor or priest must be very careful not to place himself in a position where he could be falsely accused of sexual misconduct. Never close your office door when meeting with a woman, be careful what you say and how close you come to the woman, that sort of thing. When I was a Teaching Assistant, my desk was next to my wife’s desk and we scheduled our office hours at the same time so that the other was always there if needed to provide back up because one of our fellow TAs was accused of making an indecent proposition to a student. You have to be very careful.

        • Fr. Peter Dubinin says

          I concur Fr.; however, though I would like to think better of “our” people, experience has shown to me how thoughtless many are in what they say about others to include their priests. Some unless deterred, will grasp at any opportunity to see a priest discredited and removed from the parish; doesn’t matter if the allegation is true or not. Even if exonerated the priest will now be under a dark cloud; if removed from one parish under this cloud and placed in another, people at the next parish will wonder if they have a sexual predator in their midst. My experience with some of our hierarchs as such does not fill me with a great deal of confidence. In a couple of instances in which I needed a hierarch to think clearly and soberly about a situation, to dig a little deeper (at least engage me in dialogue) they just came down on the side of those making insinuation and rendered their decision. Again, sexual misconduct cannot be ignored and I agree a clear procedure must be put in place; whether this is the current P&P under consideration or something else, there has got to be a very clear process to deal with those who make false allegations.

      • Fr. Peter Dubinin says

        Perhaps we introduce the confessional booth placing priest and penitent in separate compartments partitioned by a screen.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          To all those who are concerned about such matters: I think you should confiscate our cell phones and put a muzzle on us the moment we enter the parish. That way we can’t file a false report. Signage, like the kind they have at dog parks, could be useful in key areas behind the iconostasis to warn the clergy of the dangers of getting too close. You might even put something on your door that says, “No Girls Allowed.” This would discourage predatory women from wanting to talk to you privately, out of earshot of the rest of the parish. Better yet, just close your door entirely so we think you’re not there. – I’m trying to remember how many *false* accusations there have been over years. Interestingly, I can’t think of even one, but why take unnecessary risks? 😉

    • I think the concern in this post surrounds what happens when a mandated reporter is the one accused of not only abuse (Storheim?) but simply of misconduct (adultery/fornication that is legal but unacceptable in a cleric/monk), or even the appearance or possible intent of such (Moriak).

      The difficulty in the opposing camp’s view here is in its extreme understanding of the powers of a bishop within his diocese relative to the local church. A bishop’s authority within his diocese is not unlimited; various local Orthodox churches limit their diocesan bishops’ authority by reserving certain powers to the Metropolitan or the Patriarch (regional or local church-wide levels). Some local churches even allow non-ruling bishops to participate in decisions that within the OCA are reserved solely for the Holy Synod. These are traditional differences of structure within the life of the Orthodox Church. Given the ethnic dioceses within the OCA and its conscious attempt to make room for all thoroughly Orthodox traditions within its spheres of authority (given the Tomos of Autocephaly), one should be little surprised that we think of episcopal authority in ways different than what may be considered traditional or canonical by some. It’s not mine to say which is right, it’s just the was the Orthodox Chruch and her Traditions are today, not to say anything of history.

      That’s all prelude to the comment that a bishop is not only head of his diocese but also representative of the OCA, as a whole. The OCA has an interest in maintaining a certain level of competence within not only Syosset but also in the various dioceses. Sexual Misconduct rules are but one way the OCA as an institution can be held liable for actions (omissions, lack of oversight, etc.) at the diocesan and parish levels. That means she gets a seat at the table for certain kinds of things at those levels, too. That isn’t a diminution of episcopal authority, it’s simply acknowledging that a diocese is not an island unto itself, it is an integral part of a larger church body, legally and canonically, and that has consequences both legal and canonical. A structure something like that outlined in the draft above is one example of an attempt to address that ‘perichoresis’.

      • 123,

        How can we take these new sex rules seriously when one of the most egregious clergy sexual misconduct cases IS NOT EVEN BEING INVESTIGATED by the new sex czar, that case being the open and shut sexual misconduct case of Archdeacon Gregory (Burke) in Florida?

        Here is a deacon who has been living with his long-time partner, Bishop Mark (Forsburg) but then left Bishop Mark, moved to California, married another man and even married him in a religious ceremony? Is this not clergy misconduct? Are not these actions grounds for being removed from the clergy?

        There are other examples similar to this in the OCA yet none of these cases are being investigated.

        So what we are talking about is very selective prosecution which exposes these new sex rule as fraudulent. Is this what the OCA has sunk to where all clergy are presumed guilty until proven innocent as others here have observed?

        And now the OCA will be spending its precious resources by sending a delegation to the WCC including the new sex czarina? I suppose that if the only thing the OCA can point to are these new sex rules it explains why Cindy Davis would be part of the OCA WCC Delegation.

        So now we have draconian anti clergy sex rules and full-fledged OCA ecumenism on full display. No wonder people are leaving the OCA. Her priorities are totally out of touch with her people. But fear not, Big Brother will tell us what we need and what is best. Just be quiet, all is well, and keep sending your money.

        If it wasn’t so tragic it would be funny. But it is far from funny now. This is serious. The OCA has lost its way.

        • I’m sorry James, I accidentally voted down on this comment when I meant to vote thumbs up! I wholeheartedly agree with you about what an asinine mess the OCA has turned into.

        • Ilya Zhitomirskiy says

          I don’t remember the canons, but I think that there are canons against sodomy, and that clerics who do not repent of sodomy get deposed. I think that laity are also not allowed to commune for either 3 or 10 years for sodomy. Could someone cite the exact text? Anyway, sodomy is not something that should be tolerated, especially not among clergy, because they are supposed to set a moral example for us.

          • Not a Canonist says

            The 18th Canon of St. John the Faster provides that “It has seemed best to exclude a man who has madly fallen upon another man from communion for three years, weeping and fasting, and eating dry foods toward the evening, and doing two hundred prostrations; but as for one who for the most part practices slothfulness, let him fulfill the fifteen years”

            • Also not a Canonist says

              I’d like to see the Greek for “a man who has madly fallen upon another man.” Even in English, it sounds more like aggravated assault than sodomy.

              • Not a Canonist says

                I pulled it from the exomologitarion, which offers an interpretation in light of similar canons from St. Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa. Gregory’s canon and the interpretation are certainly about sodomy. Even going so far as to speak of the degrees of Sodomy. Sodomy against one’s wife is penanced more harshly than sodomy against a woman who is not one’s wife, which is penanced more harshly than against another man. I find that to be quite interesting in a strange way.

  12. Robert Alden says

    Dr Stankovich makes some good points. But one of the glaring oversights in this ORSMA thing is that there is no “clergy advocate” in the process, someone who is there to protect the rights of the accused. When you have a document that clearly has as its starting point that the accused is guilty until proven innocent and that there is no difference being made between major and minor offenses it is open to abuse ironically from frivolous accusations. The current ORSMA setup puts the ORSMA director in an automatic adversarial relationship with the accused. Having a “clergy advocate” would be, I think, one way to protect against frivolous abuse cases since it appears that the diocesan bishop is no longer an advocate for his clergy, just one who is notified.

    Again I will state that if one is dealing with clergy abuse of a minor, CALL THE COPS. That should be the first step. Whether the great State of California doesn’t think this is important or has legislated its own way is not a blanket rule for the other 49 States. Nonetheless, in other states if a teacher, for example suspects abuse, they are duty bound to report it.

    But let’s not lose sight of the fact that the secularization of the OCA through these new ORSMA rules further slip the OCA whether by intent or unintentionally away from the core teachings of the Church with new rules that are contradictory and unbalanced. The absolutism of the new rules have little to do with the Gospel and more to do with shielding the OCA from lawsuits. But in the end I think that lawsuits will still be filed and it will cost the OCA money one way or another.

    I also find it sad that the OCA finds it more important to spend the scarce resources on a full time “sex czar” while totally underfunding its evangelism, education and pastoral care departments, just to name three. It sure does reveal what they think is most important and that speaks volumes to me.

  13. From Jillion’s “Diary” entry for today –

    …the delegation that will represent the OCA at the Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Busan, South Korea at the end of this month: Bishop Alexander (Golitsin) of Toledo, Prof Paul Meyendorff and Cindy Davis.

    Why is Cindy going to the Assembly? She’s the Coordinator for the Office of Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegation. What has that office to do with anything associated with the trip? Perhaps to legitimize her position with the OCA?

    I dunno. Just seems weird to me.

  14. M. Stankovich says

    Mr. Michalopulos,

    You are not aware of the facts. I did not raise the issue of this case specifically because the competency of those involved – specifically Englewood – in meeting the criterion of “must be reported immediately” is still under investigation by CA Child Protective Services. If you are more knowledgeable of the CA Penal and case law regarding mandated reporters and the information instructing reporters, Mr. Michalopulos, please instruct me. Otherwise, you are engaging in pointless innuendo and gamesmanship.

    • oliverwendeldouglas says

      Ok Doc, per your request, here is your instruction: please pipe down. You are getting, rather, are, quite annoying with your repeated braying. Do you treat clients like this? You must be a real riot when you testify in court. Any lawyer that intentionally retains you as a witness would be in need of your services. Is that what a Catch-22 is? AND, can anyone explain how the cash-poor OCA justifies sending a delegation to a pointless meeting in South Korea, where nothing can even begin to be described as an Orthodox position will be adopted, let alone considered. It appears that a free trip to the Far East is just too much to pass by. Even when some churches (of the OCA type) are teetering on the edge. Pass the kimchi, would you please.

      • Really? Not Really says

        I think it’s more of a perk for a “job well done,” “quota of suspected pervert priest disposals met” or “Hey, we want to show everyone how politically correct we are! We have a full time sex czarina for a dying church! Look at us everybody!” (Cindy, stand next to the Papal Nuncio, and I’ll take your picture with him. Look like you’re talking to him…)

  15. Sean Richardson says

    If nothing else, I appreciate the effort. It has to begin somewhere and although there are problems here, at least it is a beginning. In my mind, any effort whose intent is to protect the Church and our children is worthy of appropriate consideration.

    • Michael Bauman says

      In my brief experience real psychopaths fool almost everybody, especially those with compassion. They will be largely untouched in the investigation of any single event and they will use the confessional to hide their crimes.

      I’ve always thought the best thing to do is to refuse absolution until the person turns themselves in followed by excommunication and ,for clergy, immediate suspension. MS can correct me if I’m wrong but there is no effective treatment for pedophiles.

      Witch hunts destroy the good and enshrine evil in people’s hearts by both ensnaring the innocent and turning the guilty into “victims”. In the mean time the real victims are left in their own suffering.

      Psychopaths manipulate our compassion and our unbelief. Even when one knows what they are.

      Little is gained by after-the-fact punishment. More needs to be done before the fact in spiritual formation and discernment.

      It seems to me that this is the latest excursion by the OCA into scapegoating. Human effort is of no avail to break the destructive and regressive dialectic of the scapegoating mentality.

      Any attempt at rational discernment and balance is twisted.

      The are only two remedies: deep Cross-centered humility: living constantly “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” refusing all anger or thought of remonstrance. I have never seen that in any one. Or one can extricate oneself followed by deep, guided self examination and repentance.

      Staying in such a miasma with the expectation that you can fix it will damage you. I’m not sure attempting to live as if it is not happening is any better. Scapegoating is evil, tends to be all consuming and deeply destructive. One cannot battle it outside of one’s own heart nor without the willingness to give up all.

      Psychopathic in its own way (using the term loosely, not clinically)..

  16. This document could be read as a plaintive confession of the OCA bishops’ incompetence and inability or simple unwillingness to carry out their canonical duties.

  17. Fr. George Washburn says

    Hello friends:

    Any time sex is a major part of the issue under discussion we have to be extra careful we don’t generate more heat than light.

    I was somewhat privy to aspects of the CA case George mentions. To the extent that George is complimenting the bishops for swift action he is correct. To the extent that he is suggesting that the bishops waited for the police to investigate and make an arrest before reaching a decision or taking action, I believe he is not correct.

    Mr. Stankovich’s comments about CA’s mandatory reporting law are not complete – or completely accurate either. It is a law with quite a few sections to it; last year I prepared and delivered a comprehensive professional presentation for CA Orthodox clergy on the general requirements for complying, especially as regards facts learned in confession. There is an express confessional exception which Mr. S did not mention but was perhaps outside the scope of what he was trying to cover.

    Mr. Stankovich is incorrect to the extent that he criticizes the advice “call the cops” on the grounds of the CA mandatory reporting law. A call to *any* CA police agency suffices to meet the requirement of initial, swift reporting.

    His comments could also be read to suggest that once a report is made the case in completely turned over to CPS. That would not be a correct interpretation of CA law. While it is true that CPS investigates the child welfare aspect of any child abuse claim, the police with jurisdiction where the crime is believed to have happened still have the duty to investigate it as a crime, just as the DA must still decide whether or not to charge.


    Fr. George

  18. Remember Metropolitan Jonah? says

    Let’s all rejoice today that this marks the anniversary of Metropolitan Jonah’s ordination to the priesthood.

    • Axios, axios, axios!

      This Sunday is Metropolitan Jonah’s birthday, so I hope everyone will light a candle for him at Liturgy.

  19. I spoke to a friend in New York today who told that this sex czar position is going to be full-time job and that the current chancellor is spending a significant amount of time on sexual misconduct issues. Hmm… seems like we have been down this road before. One, here it is another chancellor spending much of his time on sexual misconduct issues. What the &*&*( is wrong with the OCA that chancellor has to constantly spend his time on sexual misconduct issues? And two, where exactly is the money for this full-time position supposed to come from?

    I honestly don’t know why there are so many rotten apples in the OCA basket but writing more policies and procedures is not going to solve the problem. It would seem logical that the bishops should govern their respective dioceses and should be able to weed out these bad apples. What am I missing?

    • sad but not surprised says

      Unfortunately, the answer might be that the OCA’s current bishops won’t weed out bad apples because they are themselves bad apples. Half our diocesan sees are vacant, with no diocesan bishop to give them proper shepherding and oversight. Of the diocesan bishops that the OCA does have, the only reason +Tikhon was made metropolitan was due to that fact that, of all the bishops, he was the LEAST affected by some sort of controversy. Really not a situation designed to inspire us little folk with confidence that the bishops can properly deal with real instances of misconduct.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Whited sepulchers?

  20. M. Stankovich says

    Thank you, Fr. George, for clarifying the procedural law. Obviously the police investigate crime, arrest, and submit evidence to the DA for disposition. My point was not to instruct as to the intricacies of one particular jurisdiction, but to emphasize the seriousness of the task of addressing fifty jurisdictions, where each jurisdiction may have requirements of mandated reporters – and those which do not – differing from other jurisdictions. It is anything but “casual,” and it relies upon knowledge and experience of the complexities of protecting accusers/victims and those accused. My “venom” is reserved for those “critics” who quite obviously have neither knowledge, experience, nor the wisdom to shut up.

    One example that immediately comes to mind is the point of utilizing lay investigators rather than clergy. The California Penal Code notes:

    A clergy member who acquires knowledge or a reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect during a confidential communication or a sacramental confession made to the clergy member in the course of the discipline or practice of his/her church has a duty to keep those communications secret. However, the clergy member has to report incidents of child abuse or neglect noticed by him in other capacities.

    While a “competent” Bishop or Dean or colleague might be inclined to receive a fellow priest in confidence, or even confession, it is an excellent manipulation to preclude discovery.

    Secondly, Mr. Michalopulos has previously led this “Star Chamber” argument for “false accusation” and “ruined lives” based on “vindicate accusers,” as well as a power system that holds the clergy “hostage” by the threat of a Stalinist-like “investigation” of anyone who protests. Everything relies upon the provision of some tangible, legitimate, replicable research that false accusation is a significant variable. And Mr. Michalopulos has provided nothing to support this claim. Search my posts and see how many times I challenged him to do so, and nothing. And by perpetuating this myth, we continue to denigrate and demean victims in a standard so archaic and long dismissed by reliable, verifiable, and sound research: on the whole, sexual abuse of women & children is grossly under-reported, and the incidence of false accusation by victims of sexual abuse in women and children is so infrequent, that when they report they have been victimized, we accept their report until proven otherwise.

    And finally, I have been the primary therapist for children damaged by sexual, physical, and emotional abuse in both in-patient & out-patient settings; co-facilitated group therapy for abused women for 6-years; and of this date, conducted 412 face-to-face clinical assessments of felony child sexual perpetrators in state prison; and have trained & supervized students in the assessment of sexual offenders. To suggest that Orthodox Bishops should possess the capability to manage these extraordinarily complex situations as “canonical responsibility” is ridiculous. Likewise, the idea that we may avoid or should avoid our interaction or responsibility to the state is neither contrary to or in opposition to our history or tradition.

    Apparently the “myth of eternal return,” which provided Mr. Michalopulos with brutalizing mileage in the “stolen emails of Dallas” saga (“Oh, the humanity!”) now allows him to look in the mirror and say, “That was malignancy; this is journalism.” Right…

    • oliverwendeldouglas says

      Hey Doc, it appears that the “significant variable” in this discussion is the apparent foolishness of the OCA (not to mention all of Christendom) in not hiring your expertness to run the whole shebang. Wow, 412 whole face-to-face clinical assessments! In state prison no less. Did that include lunch breaks? And there is that facilitation business. That always works out well. Let’s just shut down the discussion now. You have spoken. By the way, you refer to “we”. Do you have a mouse in your pocket?

      • M. Stankovich says


        Here’s my thought: if your only qualification in this discussion is fragonard, sorry, position filled. You are welcome to resume chasing your sister around the trailer park. For the record, I present my “expertise” precisely to illustrate the number of times psychopaths have fooled me, thus the statement, “an excellent manipulation to preclude discovery.” As a matter of fact, it happens all the time. This would suggest that real expertise must be the foundation of such a program, not superfluous bitching, such as a ticket to Korea “might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor.” (Mk. 14:5) I hardly suggested curtailing the discussion. I merely suggest that those who have read St. Ephraim the Syrian realize he wrote that the prideful end up being perceived as the jackass (jackass, dumbass, quelle que différence, vraiment?). You’ve had your moment, son. Enjoy it – and the “thumbs up” I’ve delivered – at my expense. You’re out of your league, and next time I’ll take your shoes.

        • oliverwendeldouglas says

          Time for yours meds. Lucky you have a prescription pad handy.

          And, holy cow, comparing the annointing of the Christ with costly ointment to a boondoggle to a far-off meeting with people who probably look upon Orthodox as quaint throw backs to a long-ago time where the foolish tormented the gnostics is a bit of a stretch. Though some OCA leaders would appreciate the comparison. Good to know that your French dictionary and phrase books, and Bible concordance are handy.

          Your nastiness continues to shine through. Kind of touchy about the “thumbs up”, though.

          Thanks for emphasizing my points.

        • Robert Alden says

          Dr. Michael,

          I certainly am not in a position to question your credentials. Having worked in prisons it is one of the most challenging experiences any person can attempt to influence in a positive and Christian manner. But I think questions about the legitimacy of these new ORSMA rules are valid. Knowing that you are a serious Orthodox Christian how can it be acceptable that known clergy cases of homosexual behaviors, not just homosexuals who know their sin and do not act on it, but active OCA clergy and bishops who have engaged in homosexual behavior are not even being investigated by these new ORSMA rules.

          If homosexuality is against the canons when applied to clergy as an impediment to ordination are still ordained, when, as one active example, an active OCA priest divorced his wife declaring he was homosexual was never suspended and still serves an OCA parish as its rector is not actionable by the ORSMA rules, it gives the appearance that these new rules will not be used fairly. Or another example of a bishop who was part of the implementation of these new rules had an active relationship with another seminarian while he was in an Orthodox seminary. Why after 25 years of him not being on any episcopal list or consecration because of his known impediment suddenly was elected a diocesan bishop in the OCA.

          The new rules which I don’t support because of the basic working assumptions and definitions and the actions of the Syosset regime to turn a blind eye to proven cases, one of which I outlines in a previous post can only add to the dissatisfaction of current leadership regardless of any attempt to further protect the OCA from aberrant clergy.

          Not until the OCA comes totally clean in dealing with known and proven cases of clergy misconduct related to homosexuality can these new rules gain any sense of legitimacy. If the OCA does pursue these cases which would mean at least one bishop should be removed and several clergy removed, these new rules will not pass the “smell test” with me. But if the OCA does act on these cases, then the new rules will prove to be a good start.

          • M. Stankovich says

            Mr. Neal,

            My first thought is that, like many of us, your thoughts and concerns are certainly legitimate. For that reason, I am on record as strongly objecting to the publication of a draft document that was a divisive, prideful act on the part of Mr. Michalopulous, who has ruthlessly scorned others for exactly the same tactic.

            Secondly, I would refer you to the gem hidden by time on this site which is the essay of Fr. Alexey Karlgut, which is entitled DEPARTURE FROM ORTHODOX ECCLESIOLOGY, but in particular, sections 4, 5, and 6, entitled Re: Conciliarity, Re: Church governance, conciliarity and catholicity, and authority, and Re: Authority in the church, Accountability, and Responsibility respectively. In my estimation, these are nothing short of ecclesiological brilliance. Somehow, in this age of “transparency,” rights, and “full disclosure,” we have acquired an entitlement to know, to be explained, to question, and to demand. Fr. Alexey provides a lesson.

            Thirdly, never has the the Church relied upon the personal holiness, sanctity, or piety of its hierarchs or clergy to determine the saving Grace of our God, or the operation or activity of the Holy Spirit: “If you, Lord, should remember iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” (Ps 129:3) We have endured the worst of sinners in the ranks of our clergy in every generation – from Patriarchs to deacons – yet we endure. The correlate to this point is that there exist a stunning lack of trust in the belief that our God is a Just Judge (2 Tim. 4:8) and a Righteous Judge (Ps 7:11); or that likewise He is jealous God (Ex 34:14) and will not tolerate injustice to the righteous. Archbishop Averky of Jordanville , of blessed memory, wrote how wonderful it would be if the people crying peace and justice did so as the angels! “But alas. For the most part it comes from people who do not at peace with God and with their own conscience, but are filled with spite in their relations with their own neighbors.”

            There is no injustice with God, is there? For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.… (Rom. 9:14-16)

            And finally, my only concern here is helping victims – and from what I know, there are enough to justify this program. I have personally advocated for a program that intervenes early enough, and effectively enough, and professionally enough to save priests, their marriages, their families, and their vocations before ever reaching a point where secular authorities become involved, utilizing the best help available, with the supervision of the Bishop. I believe this is a fine beginning.

            • Robert Alden says

              Dr. Michael,

              Thank you for your reply. I think you throw a stone unjustly at our host however. The so-called “leaked” draft ORSMA rules were really never “secret.” This according to Chancellor Jillions himself when he recently wrote on his blog, on October 16 referring to these new rules, “In July they considered the working draft and a number of bishops sent the document to their deans and others for comment, since it was never a “secret” text. “

              So maybe the “headline” by our host was a bit of a grabber, but your condemnation is not appropriate. I recall similar “grabber headlines” by your long-time friend Mark Stokoe on his now defunct website.

              Time will tell how effective these new ORSMA rules will be and I think that we can agree that our prayer should be that they will protect the innocent whether they be victims or those unjustly accused and that clergy and their families who may be caught in an unwarranted maelstrom because of the too broad brush definitions of the ORSMA rules will be spared. I look forward to seeing exactly how the bishops amended these and the SMPAC rules and that those modifications improve both flawed documents.

              • M. Stankovich says

                Mr. Alden,

                My sincere apology for referring to you as “Mr. Neal.” Too many over-nights this week!

                My commentary regarding Mr. Michalopulos was in specific comparison to his castigation of Mr. Stokoe and the considerable ethical “mileage” derived around the issue of his possession & disclosure of “private & confidential” material. I agree that the document was not “secret,” but it was not intended for him or this site. Perhaps he would address the reason he added the word “CONFIDENTIAL” to his graphic and stated, “a leaked draft” was acquired. Secondly, you perpetuate a myth as to my “long-time friend Mark Stokoe.” I was a senior at SVS when Mr. Stokoe arrived, and I recall a single conversation during that year, asking him to remove himself from my traditional seat in the refectory. That was in 1978. We have not communicated since. I would suggest you exercise more discernment.

                I spent the evening gathering data regarding false accusation, and only having time to read the abstracts and discussions, I remain confident in the statements I have already made. False accusations occur, there is no question, but they are so infrequent, both in women and children, as to be an insignificant variable in clergy interaction with laity. Likewise, clinicians are routinely confronted with patients who are seductive and children who are “precocious” and sexualized as the result of abuse or early exposure to adult sexuality. In both cases, practical measures and techniques can be employed to protect oneself and should be established before the patient arrives, in mind during the session, and in mind when terminating the session. Priests can easily learn these common-sense techniques. If it were not possible to believe that false allegations are an insignificant variable, even with “enemies,” malpractice insurance would be unattainable, and it would be impossible to practice any invasive form of medicine, let alone psychotherapy. Looking at the statistics, however, it is the “practitioner,” overwhelmingly, who is the predator, not the patient. Like any new policy, the particulars will be modified by the Bishops many times in practice. I again insist that it is a significant beginning with the intention characteristic of the employee assistance model, and not punitive in the least.

  21. jamesthethickheaded says

    In a secular society that doesn’t believe in prayer, it seems to me that if George is right and there’s a problem with the Standards… and as someone who has to sign these things… we all just sign and be done with it. With that said, one keeps one’s nose clean by never being alone in circumstances where these things can happen. But that’s not going to work easily for a priest in confession and counseling. Not my job, so I don’t know what folks do.

    But if there is a problem with the rules, George is right to bring it up and find out what to do is now BEFORE we have an honest to goodness problem. Someone needs to make a legal protest of applying the laws in this fashion to a hierarchical institution. But the protest should be done separate from litigation after the fact of some offense. Reality is that most folks who don’t have the legal piggy bank to fund legislative appeal, or rule making appeal at the regulatory level… are condemned to simply go along. And with the prior money issues, this is a temptation. One of the questions fair for consideration is IF the Synod isn’t or hasn’t behaved consistently as though the institution were holy… and I think this is one of George’s charges, then it would seem odd to suddenly claim holiness and inapplicable implementation of the law, and bother to protest and seek another recourse. Given the history of our friends in Rome, I doubt this cuts much ice with either the judiciary or legislatures these days, but it can be tried. I wonder though, how many of us are willing to sit in jail on behalf of our bishops if they were to fight this under duress as is suggested? Not many I suppose. And that’s your real secularism.

  22. Now that I’ve had time to read the R&P, I’ve several comments and questions.

    Section 4.01: Purposes and Objectives – I question the objective to fairly review and evaluate sexual misconduct allegations because it doesn’t seem to me there is much that is fair in the OCA. The “presidential” families are given preferential treatment and if you are not one of them, or somehow related to/associated with them, then fair treatment is a non-starter.

    Section 5.03: Pastoral Authority – While this should be automatically understood, it is good to have it stated as clearly as it is.

    Section 5.04: Avoidance and Precautions – …clergy should be aware of and not disregard any signs of sexual boundary breakdown in relationships with others. Frankly, I chuckled at this. I agree that we all should be aware of this type of thing. Self policing is good; however, I suggest most people are not that astute. That, of course, presupposes the individual has a clear understanding of what is, or is not, okay AND has a clear understanding of when what was okay, no longer is okay. If a clergyman and woman (or man for that matter) are carrying on an illicit affair I highly doubt either one really cares about the breakdown of the boundary. Unless of course, he decides she’s abusing him in someway and makes a claim against her. But then again, “no means no” even when the parties are engaged in (cough) the act (cough) and one decides things have gone too far.

    Section 5.05: Counseling and Assistance – I found it interesting that in several sections in addition to this one, the diocese will pay for counseling for clergy with the approval of the Bishop. I guess the dioceses will have to budget that into their on-going yearly expenses. Which is rather funny when you think about it all because assessments are static, stewardship is still being talked about with not much action and the census is going down not up. Further, this section is presupposing clergy know their behavior is risky and will therefore seek help. Not necessarily.

    Section 5.06: Cooperation and Discipline – All members of the clergy who are respondents …shall accept and abide by all recommendations and discipline… This makes it sound like there is no recourse open to clergy if they feel they have been wrongfully found guilty and railroaded. They must sit back and receive the discipline? I guess so…in all humility, which I understand is what our Lord modeled for us. Funny though, I don’t hear much about other Synod members accepting any discipline quietly and humbly. As a matter of fact, I’ve heard they hold a double standard and have given all kinds of passes to each other and the favorites amongst the clergy.

    Section 9.03(d): Clinical Evaluation; Medical Examination – This section paints a picture that by refusing to submit to an eval or exam it will be considered as an admission of guilt.

    Section 9.04(d): Rights of the Complainant and Respondent – All documents are considered confidential and privacy of individuals respected. Really?! This made me laugh out loud. After all, these R&Ps where leaked. The investigative info surrounding the allegations against His Grace, Bp. Matthias were leaked…by the complainant herself no less!! So much for this section being upheld and valid.

    Section 10.06: Discipline of clergy – Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken in accordance with the Holy Canons. Really? I’ll believe it when I see it. The Canons were not applied in the case of Bp. Matthias. Why ever would we believe they would be applied anywhere else. The Canons are not upheld with some of our clergy, thinking here of those who are divorced yet still are rectors, to mention one. Why ever would I believe they will be applied elsewhere.

    Don’t get me wrong. I think it is wise and necessary to have policies and procedures in place for this type of thing. It lays out what to do, when to do it and how to do it. What I really wish for and pray for are men who are courageous leaders, willing to stand up and be just that – leaders.

    We have a society that has reversed roles. Parents are afraid to parent – mistaking their purpose to be leaders and around which all in the home revolves with being friends with their kids and giving them everything they themselves were deprived of. Therefore, children, feeling insecure and unsafe, run the show and have become little tyrants. It is the same in the OCA. There has been such a lack of leadership for so long, the void has been filled – inappropriately. It will take someone very strong to fix things. That strong someone is not wearing the white hat.

    One thing I can say with assurance, any ministry work I had with children and youth is over and done with. I will never enter into that arena again. And I will be rethinking my Parish Council participation.

  23. Fr. George Washburn says

    Limited time here before a day in a lovely museum, but I simply must reply to the immediately foregoing message by Mr. Stankovich in which he suggests that the immediacy of Englewood’s response to the 2012 CA clergy sex abuse case is still under investigation by CA CPS authorities. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    It is wrong first of all in assuming that ANY CA CPS has jurisdiction to investigate the issue of a mandatory reporter’s compliance with the penal code provisions on immediate reporting. CPS deals with the child and family issues, NOT mandatory reporting.

    Second, it is wrong in casting doubt on the immediacy of the Antiochian hierarchy’s response to either its secular duties to report or its sacred duties to care for the flock. I know because I was involved along the edges from a very early stage. The bishops let the local police know right away and proceeded with their own discipline while the police were still gathering information.

    Third it is wrong in suggesting that the CPS – or local police for that matter – found any fault whatsoever with the hierarchy’s performance. I was in a meeting in which the local authorities addressed this issue with an audience and there was nothing but compliments for the bishops. Afterwards we had a sit down meal with the authorities and I spoke with three of them at modest length, two investigators and a psychologist. Their approbation was complete and sincere, and will be used by them as an example of correct clergy handling of such issues in future law enforcement conferences.

    I have lot of questions about the whole OCA proposal that perhaps I can address after the day’s activities.


    Fr. George

  24. Fr. Peter Dubinin says

    I did a quick look at the draft; will process more fully in time. Given a quick look, I could not find any direction or guidance on how those found to have made false statements are to be addressed. Perhaps this SOP is not the proper place to provide that guidance but it needs to be addressed somewhere. Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, making a false statement is a court-martial offense. Trust me, having this misdeed codified acts as a deterent to anyone even thinking about making a false statement to defame or ruin someone. In short, sexual misconduct needs to be addressed; at the same time, folk who may be tempted to make use of false accusations of sexual misconduct to ruin the reputation, ministry of another likewise need to be addressed.

    • Fr. Peter Dubinin says (October 17, 2013 at 6:01 am) says:

      ‘I did a quick look at the draft; will process more fully in time. Given a quick look, I could not find any direction or guidance on how those found to have made false statements are to be addressed. Perhaps this SOP is not the proper place to provide that guidance but it needs to be addressed somewhere. Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, making a false statement is a court-martial offense. Trust me, having this misdeed codified acts as a deterent to anyone even thinking about making a false statement to defame or ruin someone. In short, sexual misconduct needs to be addressed; at the same time, folk who may be tempted to make use of false accusations of sexual misconduct to ruin the reputation, ministry of another likewise need to be addressed.’


      The ancient roman lex talionis (‘law of retaliation’) was incorporated into our canonical tradition so as to punish people who make false accusations against the clergy with the same penalties as would be imposed on the accused clergy had they been found guilty by a spiritual court, mutatis mutandis.

      But it’s self evident that the SMPAC’s P&Ps document is not rooted in our canonical tradition. Rather, it stands on a very wobbly tripod whose first uneven leg is a complete reliance on civil law and its ‘what if?’ attitudes and tangled vocabulary. The second shorter leg is the assumption that our clergy are prone to sexual misconduct and that they need a full-time supervisor (episkopos!?) to manage their anticipated crimes. the shortest of the three legs is an unspoken but obvious assumption that our bishops are incompetent, whether individually or as a body.

      Given our OCA’s recent history of miscarrying justice in ‘spiritual courts’, it’s not surprising that we felt the need for some sort of guidelines, but that’s a larger issue than merely the consideration of sexual misconduct. For that problem, we can forget these P&Ps, since they’re overblown and repugnant and frankly unnecessary.

      There’s a very simple solution, again with three constituent parts. Since we know that all clergy and church personnel are mandated reporters, here’s what we should do when someone brings us an accusation of sexual misconduct or abuse: First, bring the accuser to the appropriate civil authorities. Second, inform the bishop and support the alleged victim in every possible way. Finally, we must always be faithful to our high and holy calling, and keep our hands to ourselves.

      While there are probably not many of our priests who fit this category, if any of the clergy are tempted by the flesh more than they think they can bear, they must make this known in confession and seek spiritual and psychological counseling whether or not they have acted on these impulses.

    • Texan Orthodox says

      Taken from the SATs recently —

      Syosset : Orthodox faithful in America :: the entire US government : the American people

      Yes, this was an easy one. Syosset is so out of touch with the Orthodox faithful in the United States (except perhaps those living on Long Island) that is it beyond bizarre. I’m thinking that Valerie Jarrett must be advising the OCA central administration in her spare time.

      Bishop Peter is visiting our Texas parishes this weekend and we love it — it’s wonderful to have a loving, truly Orthodox, bishop who cares.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        I wonder why ROCOR members have taken to attack the OCA? The potshots have been numerous and quite ugly. Are these shameless people the attack dogs of Moscow or are they merely acting out?

        • Texan Orthodox says

          Oh, come on, Carl. It’s hardly an “attack” on the OCA. It’s merely pointing out the obvious. I was in the OCA for a very long time, and no one more than me would like to see things rectified there. But as countless others have outlined here, there has been no evidence that the OCA has any plans to correct itself. It continues to capitulate to secular society, as evidenced by this ridiculous sexual assault policy or whatever it is that they call it, something that Fr Alexander Schmemann would have hated as well.

          Remember Fr Alexander’s “2 No’s and 1 Yes?” “No to secularism. “No” to religion — Christ did not bring religion; Christ brought the Kingdom of God. Christianity is not a religion to help secular man to cope with his “problems.” Man does not have problems, he has sins. This world does not need “therapy”; it can’t be “helped.” It has to die to rise again. And “Yes” to the Church — Yes” to the Church – the entrance into the risen life of Christ; communion in life eternal, ‘joy and peace in the Holy Spirit.’ And it is the expectation of the ‘day without evening’ of the Kingdom . . . the fulfillment of all things and all life in Christ.

          I am hardly an “attack dog” — whatever that means. Moreover, do you understand how bad I feel for my OCA brethren here in the Diocese of the South who have not had an episcopal visit now going on 7 years? Seriously! And we are not even allowed to ask if there is a Bishop for the DoS on the horizon? Are those in the central administration even capable of pretending to be loving pastors? If so, it is well hidden.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            I have plenty of concerns for ROCOR, having been in ROCOR once via the Bulgarian Diocese under Bishop Kyrill and I also would like “to see things rectified there.” However, since I am no longer in ROCOR, I do not expose my concerns in public for they may well be hurtful to my ROCOR brothers and sisters. I hope you take my hint. As for a bishop for the Diocese of the South, if you have a chance please visit St. Seraphim’s Cathedral where Archimandrite Gerasim has just been assigned as Rector. I suspect that within a year, we will nominate Fr. Gerasim as our candidate for our next bishop. We pray that nothing will happen to pose an obstacle to our hope.

            • Kraeff,

              But you forget that we are “free men” in the OCA. We must speak up where we see injustice, wherever it may be. We are now empowered to listen to rumor and hearsay and pass it on concerning a priest or deacon, even if we have no first-hand, second-hand or third-hand knowledge because our Dear Leaders have told us that male clergy are oppressors and guilty until proven innocent. They are to be watched with suspicion.

              You may attempt to hide behind some sanctimonious wall of false proprietary but YOU are one of the loudest voices for the syosset secularists your tithes support. You have pontificated here how much better the OCA is now that Jonah is gone. You have justified their bad behavior time and again and now you are stuck with rules that are corrupt from the inside because their starting premise is not Christ but secularism. Not pastoral but punitive.

              If these rules were in effect when your priest was entering the OCA he would never been ordained and who knows, he might now be on the ORSMA radar because of his former Holy Order of Mans days. Be careful what you wish for, you just might have it now!

              • Carl Kraeff says

                IP–I am greatly offended by this slanderous accusation against my priest. I reject it, deny it and condemn it.

                George–Please, correct the record.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  It is now the next day and nothing has been done to delete a slander from an anonymous poster. Am I to conclude that our esteemed host is in collusion with the anonymous coward or that he associates himself with this slander?

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Carl, I am in collusion with nobody. And no one was slandered. If a layman or priest was at anytime a member of HOOM, that is not a slander. If however your priest was not a member of HOOM, then I will correct the record. I don’t known your priest’s name so there’s no way of knowing whether he was or wasn’t a member of HOOM. Either you or your priest may contact me offline if the record needs to be corrected. Thank you.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      George–Membership in HOOM is not at issue here, unless one thinks that one is guilty of sexual misconduct solely by virtue of being a member. That is not what I object to. In this matter context matters and the context is the Office for the Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations. Therefore, in context, I read the poster say that my priest would have been accused of, and investigated for, sexual misconduct and that the results of such investigation would have barred him from ordination. He twisted the knife further by implying that mt priest would now be accused of, and investigated for, sexual misconduct.

                      Now, the only things I know personally is what I have read in Pokrov, Orthodox Wiki and the Again Magazine, which carried an article by the then Hieromonk Jonah (The Doors of Repentance; The Journey of the Holy Order of MANS / Christ the Saviour Brotherhood and the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood into the Canonical Orthodox Church) at I do not know if my priest was a member of HOOM and I frankly do not care for he is a great pastor and a saintly priest.

                  • There is no slander here, Carl. IP was saying that your priest, being a former member of HOOM, is subject to unwarranted suspicion and Star Chamber-style treatment from ORSMA, and that these days he likely wouldn’t be ordained simply because of that association.

                    IP did NOT accuse your priest of anything. IP was saying that you are not recognizing how these insane regulations and despicable tactics could affect innocent people in your life.

                    Of course, Carl, you can’t recognize that the same people who have slandered Metropolitan Jonah will happily do the same to your priest if he puts a toe out of their line. A past HOOM association is the perfect “hook” for taking out an otherwise innocent person, thanks to people like the “Pokrov” women who have made crusades out of casting aspersions on anyone from that group.

                    • So Carl shows up, and suddenly the votes get all screwy… interesting. I have noticed this several times. Well, Carl, like it or not, your priest was a member of the HOOM cult before he became Orthodox. All that was over two decades ago and is ancient history to most people, including me – I certainly don’t hold it against him. But some people in the OCA are very unforgiving about this sort of thing, or at least don’t have any qualms about using such things against their political enemies. Either recognize it and fight it, or wait until your priest runs afoul of the powers that be and watch them destroy him and your parish.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      The point Helga is that IP did not say what you say he may have meant. I would not have reacted to your interpretation with such revulsion and vehemence if he had. I would have responded with my strong disagreement, but that is hardly news to you.

                      Now, regarding my inability to “recognize that the same people who have slandered Metropolitan Jonah will happily do the same to your priest if he puts a toe out of their line,” I continue to maintain that Metropolitan Jonah was one big huge mistake until he fessed up and resigned (and later retired). In other words, he was an exception and therefore what happened to him is not and will not be the norm. I say this while remembering the Bishop Matthias episode, which probably would not have come to light if a new era of accountability and transparency had not prevailed (at least in the OCA).

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Carl, your reasoning continues to baffle me. I’m sure you’re not naïve and equally sure you’re not stupid. (I don’t want to think you’re in the grips of delusion.)

                      Why do I have this quandary? Simple, because you do not answer Helga’s point that Jonah was slandered (a historical fact). Your evasion tell us that you accept that the slander was necessary because in your esteemed opinion “Jonah was one big huge mistake.” Which is it? Was he slandered or not? A simple yes or no answer is all that is required.

                      Of course I fully expect that you will evade the question. Why? Because if you answer “yes” then you accuse the “Holy” Synod of grave canonical malfeasance. If you answer “no” you do so in clear defiance of the facts.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      i agree here with the entity called “Helga” in the above message. There were people here who stated their consideration that abbot Gerasim and Metropolitan Jonah were unclean because of their history with members of HOOM. Their word “Hoomie” is exactly the same sort of word as “nigger” and “kyke.”

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Pokrov has a problem with forgiveness and perhaps with casting a net that is sometimes too wide (at least as it may appear to the casual reader); the Pokrov ladies, however, have not resorted to the broad brush that is implied by IP’s association of sexual misconduct with HOOM membership. As for folks in the OCA who would be so cruel and pharisaical as to employ such an attack, I think that such people exist in all jurisdictions and they all deserve our pity and prayers. They certainly cannot be taken seriously.

                      PS: Regarding the votes getting all screwy when I show up, I hope you will note that you received a thumbs up precisely as I posted my reply. Yes, I confess; it was I who screwed things up, but I do not know how to change my vote.

                    • Carl, my first paragraph is EXACTLY what IP said. Your ‘vehemence’ was based on your taking an accusatory and hostile posture, creating previously non-existent accusations against your priest out of whole cloth and putting them in someone else’s mouth.

                      Metropolitan Jonah never ‘fessed up’ anything: his resignation was forced under false pretenses, and the other bishops viciously slandered him.

                    • Daniel E Fall says

                      Since you seem to be a Jonah expert Helga, I have a question for you….

                      Why would two Chancellors have a difficult time working with the fmr. Metropolitan?

                      I have some inside information, but I’d appreciate your perspective.

                      And while you are at it, can you clarify exactly how he was “viciously slandered”?

                    • Gee, Daniel, I remember that Fr. Jillions told everyone repeatedly that he had a very good working relationship with Metropolitan Jonah.

                      So are you the liar, or is he?

                    • Daniel E Fall says

                      Well, to call someone a liar for a mistake is a bit much. George bashed, and continues to bash, Jillions repeatedly, so it seemed like Jillions was another person Jonah struggled to get along with. If my assumption was wrong, funny Jillions wouldn’t jave gone to bat for Jonah if he were so wronged.

                      I never had strong opinions about Metropolitan Jonah. I personally don’t think the mandec was wise, and the thing with Garklavs was destined to fail absent a yes man. I could never quite comprehend whether Metropolitan Jonah wanted to renegotiate autocephaly, but it is sad to consider my uncertainty. Metropolitan Jonah could have gone to a church dinner every week I think and been fine. All the freaking drama with the bishops has really been an easy way for me to sort of say phooey to it all, and it isn’t like I don’t have enough to deal with anyhow. My non-Orthodox wife is a bit put off by the 3x-3x-3x stuff.

                      I’m quite convinced married bishops would have prevented most of the OCAs troubles these past years.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      “Hoom Hoom Hoom” and others are wrong. Father Gerasim (Eliel) and all the monastics at Platina were NEVER in HOOM-never were members of HOOM. HOOM still exists. Some, perhaps most, members of HOOM left HOOM and after being “received” by (former)
                      Abbot Herman (Podmoshcensky) considered that they had left HOOM to join the Orthodox Church. became members of the new entitry, created after former A
                      Abbot Herman was deposed, called the Christ the Saviour Brotherhood. Neither was James Paffhausen or Father Jonah (Paffhausen) EVER a member of HOOM, although he did work at Raphael House for a time as a secretary/clerk-typist. True that Fr. Matthew Tate belonged to HOOM, followed by CSB,and then the OCA.
                      Some persons doubting the efficacy of the Holy Spirit, such as the ladies of Pokrov, feel that HOOM ineradicably deforms the soul, as does sexual abuse, believe that just as any penetration however slight may constitute sodomy under the Nniform Code of Military Justice, any contact with former members of HOOM however slight, permanently cripples the soul To me this is as ridiculous and improbable as claiming that the Larsons never really converted or came to believe in God AT ALL! Some people’s beliefs about people who left HOOM are as well thought-out as the beliefs of the Cargo Cult.

                • Dear Carl,

                  I feel reasonably certain that the answer is simple. “IP” probably construed your post to mean that you are a member of St. Seraphim Cathedral community. Fr. Gerasim, now assigned to that parish, did have HOOM connections years ago. . . . If I did not know you IRL, I easily could have drawn the same conclusion that you live in Texas.

                  At any rate, former HOOM connections do not, in any way, axiomatically defile a man or woman who has left all that far behind, has repented of any errors and/or sins, and has moved on with life as a rightly-believing, Orthodox Christian seeking salvation through Christ and His Church.



                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    Dear Antonia–You are most kind and I thank you for it. It would be good if IP himself publicly apologized for his slander OR, if I misunderstood him, if he would clarify his remarks as others have attempted on his behalf. For me it is as if he attacked a member of my family. Thank you again for your kindness.

                    • Hoom Hoom Hoom says

                      Fr. Gerasiam Eliel was in HOOM, along with Fr. Jonah Paffhausen, Fr. Matthew Tate, and others of the OCA clergy and hierarchy. To say so is not slander. It is verifiable fact.

                    • Michael Kinsey says

                      These are the fully accurate facts. Neither + Jonah or Fr. Gerasim was ever in the HOOM. The interaction of HOOM and Platina began when both united under the spiritual leadership of +Pangratious , a pure heretic. + Jonah was in Manton In the OCA, but was in Communion with Platina., co-operating in their agenda in Russia, accepting Gleb’s and Gerasim as functioning priests and acknowledging a plethora of bogus sacraments.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Hoom hoom hoom–If you were keeping up with the discussion, you would have realized that I am not objecting to HOOM membership. Do you take pleasure in sounding like a know-nothing, an idiot?

                  • Fr. George Washburn says

                    Well, Hoom Hoom Hoom indeed!

                    I’m afraid you’ve wandered out of the imaginary forest of Ents in Middle Earth (wasn’t a repetitious “Hoom” their cry?) into a discussion where facts are, theoretically at least, coin of the realm.

                    I hereby challenge you to back your assertion and present the evidence, the allegedly “verifiable fact” that Met. Jonah was ever a member of HOOM. And no cheap hearsay please. I categorically say you are wrong, and will eat crow if you’ve got the evidence. Will you eat it, anonymously or by name, if I am right?

                    straight up,

                    Fr. George

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Fr, I don’t know the answer to that question. My question regarding HOOM/CSB continues to be: “So what if Fr/Bp/Layman X/Y/Z was a member of HOOM/CSB?” Would this facto be ipso facto disqualifying? If yes, in what way?

                    • Fr. George Washburn says

                      George’s question is one of those hypotheticals that may seem tempting, but …..

                      For example he doesn’t say disqualifying from what. Grace? Communion? Fellowship? Respect? Blind trust?

                      I’d venture an answer that is about as general as the question: like any other significant former engagement in one’s life, it should be evaluated in context of who the person seems to be today and the gravity of the relationship or office for which he or she is being considered.

            • Dear Karl,

              Instead of innuendo, I think it would be more clear if you did provide the reasons for Bishop Kyril leaving the ROCOR and joining the OCA.

              As an aside, somehow, by the death of Bp Kyril, there were no longer any candidates who spoke Bulgarian to take his position. The two monk priest candidates were someone who spoke only Greek and English after several years in the Bulgarian cathedral and an academic who spoke Russian but was capable of learning Bulgarian. Guess which one we picked? That said, your point is well taken and, as another example, there must have been reasons why Bishop Basil of blessed memory remained in the OCA until his death.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                Dear “Dear Karl”–My understanding is that Bishop Kyrill’s sponsor in the ROCOR Holy Synod had reposed and the Bulgarian Diocese was no longer a good fit. There was nothing I heard to even suggest of dissatisfaction with, or maltreatment by, ROCOR. Besides, that was a time where everybody was looking forward to a unified church in America and joining the OCA, along side the Romanians and Albanians, seemed to have been a first step. In any case, while I have some issues with ROCOR, they have nothing to do with the fact that the Bulgarian Diocese once was in it; I mentioned it merely to point out to a blogger who had left the OCA to join the ROCOR that it is not seemly to take pot shots across jurisdictional lines.

                Regarding Bishop Alexander, this has nothing to do with the Bulgarian Diocese, but, as the locum tenens of the Midwest Diocese, His Grace has done something wonderful; he has blessed the ROCOR Holy Cross Monastery to continue OCA’s St John the Theologian Monastery. Here is the retired Abbot’s report: “…on August 20th, with the blessing of our Locum Tenens, His Grace, Bishop Alexander, the board of the not-for-profit Corporation of the Orthodox Catholic Christian Brotherhood of Saint John Divine (also known as St. John’s Monastery), elected new board members and officers to replace the soon to retire officers: Fr. Alexander, Fr. Daniel and Fr. Peter Pawlack. The officers newly elected are: His Grace, Bishop George of Mayfield, Fr. Seraphim, Fr. Alexander and Fr. Nektarios of Holy Cross Monastery. Since the monastery’s deed said nothing about the old Russian Metropolia, the OCA, Diocese of the Midwest, Ohio Deanery or Cleveland Deanery, etc., the transfer was made easier and thus completed. The deed was in the name of the not-for-profit corporation. There were also stipulations in the deed that said if the property was not used for religious and other purposes, the property would revert to the Sudnick family. You have now read the report of the process by which St. John’s Monastery came under the omophor of His Holiness, Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.”

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                Archbishop Kyrill (Yonchev)’s episcopal career began with him stabbing Metropolitan Andrey in the back and then going to ROCOR where he had been assured episcopal consecration. That consecration took place. Before, during and after consecration, he was devoted to the Gregorian reform of the Julian Calendar to conform with the Church Calendar (Menologion/Menaia). He was never asked by ROCOR to adopt the unreformed Julian Calendar. Not too long after his consecration he was able to verify that the Metropolia’s clergy, including hierarchs have much better compensation packages than ROCOR’s. As many who knew him can testify, Ever-memorable Archbishop Kyrill (Yonchev) was affectionate towards money and property. No matter how otherwise depressed or angry he might be about anything, one might just ask him a question about this or that person’s bank account or apartmentS, and he would brighten up like your average American child on Christmas morning. I believe that he left ROCOR, and entered the Metropolia/OCA without a canonical letter of dismissal, and no one ever produced a copy of such, although some claim it existed.
                Archbishop Lazar-Lev-Ronald (Puhalo-Buehler-Haler) moved from local synods to local synods and never produced a canonical letter of dismissal, and such was never required of him before being incorporated into the episcopacy of the OCA by fiat. The Metropolia/OCA was always quick to receive clergy dissident to their former bishop without a canonical letter of dismissal, but usually deposed any of their own clergy who left the Metropolia/OCA for another episcopacy’s clergy. I remember how the Ever-Memorable Protodeacon Vladimir of Blessed Memory, was received in the middle of the night from ROCOR into the Metropolia. Archpriest Arkady Moisejev called up Metropolitan Leonty in the middle of the night and asked him to receive him into the Metropolia “Quick! Before ‘they” have a chance to punish him or leaving!” Perhaps Anna Rowe would care to comment on this… After the Russian Revolution and two World Wars, “Economy’ became routine, especially in the emigration…the NORM,rather than the exception. That’s all right, I’m just sayin’.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Your Grace–Please, must you speak ill of the dead? I do not know but I suspect that you have a burning desire to speak the truth at all costs, but can you not be at least somewhat charitable towards the departed? They cannot defend themselves… Lord have mercy.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Carl, maybe His Grace wants to set the record straight? That the happy talk that gushes from the Syosset Apparat and which you believe is not based on anything but a collective anti-Jonah animus?

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      George–Believe it or not, not everything is about your idol +Jonah. The information I related on Archbishop Kyrill (Yonchev) was not obtained by anyone in the OCA or in ROCOR; it was from a correspondent in the GOA”s Pittsburgh Metropolis.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Carl, I’m not an idolater. But I do have an acute sense of justice and I can smell an injustice from 50 yards. My concern is that the OCA repent of this injustice for its own sake. Otherwise, it will continue to atrophy.

                      If you can’t understand the simple fact that a defamation was used to get rid of Jonah (and a false one at that) then I wish you to understand that no priest is safe.

                      Helga mentioned you took umbrage at the fact that your priest was “slandered” because of his past associations. Both of us calmly informed you that said association was not a slander in any way. Unfortunately, under the new Drezhlovite biases that underpin the USSR, converts, “Hoomies,” political conservatives, etc., are (stupidly in my opinion) under suspicion. Who’s next? Those who homeschool their children? Speak out against abortion? Want to abolish the Fed?

                      Otherwise, why did you react so violently to her simple statement of fact?

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      I did not catch this revealing bit until now; You wrote “Helga mentioned you took umbrage at the fact that your priest was “slandered” because of his past associations…Otherwise, why did you react so violently to her simple statement of fact?”

                      Since I reacted “so violently” only to IP’s slander, are you saying that IP and Helga are the same person?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I did not. I worry about your reasoning though. You still won’t answer Helga why a priest being a former member of HOOM is a “slander.” You said it, not she.

                    • No, IP and I are not the same person, Carl.

                      I can deduce IP’s meaning, even though i am not IP, because IP’s meaning is exceedingly obvious to anyone reading this with a passionless eye.

                      Your charges of slander against IP and George are utterly baseless. No one accused your priest of sexual misconduct at any time on Monomakhos. What IP was trying to warn you about was the possibility that your priest could be victimized by a heavy-handed, ‘Pokrov’-influenced ORSMA, due simply to his past affiliation with HOOM. It was not and never has been slander to suggest that he could potentially become the victim of undue suspicion, which is all IP said.

                      It is time for you to drop your false accusation, which is itself slanderous, and apologize.

  25. Michael Kinsey says

    Having more than one man’s opinion concerning the guilt or innocence is a wise decision. It is much more unlikely that all 4 investigators will be prone to arbitrary favoritism., which ,in the past, has been extended to men guilty of sexual misconduct. This, especially concerns homosexual misconduct as gay agenda clerics will protect each other, if it’s not too costly personally,Spiritually, gays have no business in the clerical hierarchy of Christianity. The honor of the laity is sufficient, and it is good enough for them, as it is good enough for the other laity, who are content in this honor.DO not tonsure or ordain repentant homosexuals. This will eliminate a sizable percentage of offense in the first place,.A genuinely humble and repentant sinner does not demand elevation above others, but considers himself unworthy. This will prove their repentance and open eternal life to them, I hate the sin, not the sinner.

  26. Anonymous by neccessity says

    The men who crafted a false allegation of covering up a rape against a sitting hierarch are setting themselves up as judge and jury over every priest.

    If they did it to +Jonah they will do it to anyone. If they did it once, they will do it again. The difference is that a priest falsely accused will have no defenders.

    This policy stinks. It creates the suspicion that every priest is a potential molester and sets up Syosset as his uncontested overlord.

    All it will take to destroy a man is a whisper that he might be under investigation. Even the threat of a whisper will be enough to kill all creativity.

    Priests should be worried. The maw of Syosset is closing in on their necks as it did +Jonah’s.

    Bishops, it is time to recover your manhood. Push back and kill this. Start repairing some of the damage you inflicted on the Church.

    If the Bishops roll over, the priests become wards of Syosset. The architects of the +Jonah fiasco will own the priests. Syosset has never repented of writing the slander letter against +Jonah. They have never even acknowledged it was factually wrong.

    Imagine what will happen to a priest who lands in Syosset’s cross hairs once they grab full authority over the priest’s reputation through this self-serving policy. Most priests don’t trust Syosset and this policy will demoralize them even more.

    Hiring a Czarina instead of a Czar is an especially clever gambit. Now the priests are accountable to a female bureaucrat instead of their bishop or other clergy. This changes the dynamic considerably.

    This policy is a Stalinesque charade, like the +Jonah and St. Luke’s episode when Syosset feigned concern over +Jonah’s stability in order to brand him as unstable.

    Think about it. The men who crafted a false allegation to discredit a fellow priest will become the judge and jury over the kinds of false allegations that they employed.

    Priests, welcome to the new OCA. You have all been placed under the cloud of suspicion. You are all potential molesters. Exoneration and safety lies solely in the hands of Syosset. They are your new overlords.

    • M. Stankovich says

      This the most shameful posting I have ever read on this site, and St. Chrysostom himself rebukes you:

      Do not, I beseech and implore you, do not be so downcast. For while there is safety for us who are weak, namely, in not undertaking this office at all, there is safety for you too who are strong, and this consists in making your hopes of salvation depend, next to the grace of God, on avoiding every act unworthy of this gift, and of God who gave it. For they certainly would be deserving of the greatest punishment who, after obtaining this dignity through their own ambition, should then either on account of sloth, or wickedness, or even inexperience, abuse the office. Not that we are to gather from this that there is pardon in store for those who have not been thus ambitious. Yea, even they too are deprived of all excuse. For in my judgment, if ten thousand were to entreat and urge, a man should pay them no attention, but should first of all search his own heart, and examine the whole matter carefully before yielding to their importunities. Now no one would venture to undertake the building of a house were he not an architect, nor will any one attempt the cure of sick bodies who is not a skilled physician; but even though many urge him, will beg off, and will not be ashamed to own his ignorance; and shall he who is going to have the care of so many souls entrusted to him, not examine himself beforehand? will he accept this ministry even though he be the most inexperienced of men, because this one commands him, or that man constrains him, or for fear of offending a third? And if so, how will he escape casting himself together with them into manifest misery. Had he continued as he was, it were possible for him to be saved, but now he involves others in his own destruction. For whence can he hope for salvation? Whence to obtain pardon? Who will then successfully intercede for us? They who are now perhaps urging us and forcibly dragging us on? But who will save these same at such a moment? For even they too will stand in need in their turn of intercession, that they may escape the fire. Now, that I say not these things to frighten you, but as representing the matter as in truth it is, hear what the holy Apostle Paul says to Timothy his disciple, his own and beloved son, “Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins.” 1 Timothy 5:22 Do you not see from what great blame, yea and vengeance, we, so far as in us lies, have delivered those who were ready to put us forward for this office.

      Why should any one describe the silly chatter of our own people? For these are not less than the attacks upon us from without, while they give the teacher even more trouble. Some out of an idle curiosity are rashly bent upon busying themselves about matters which are neither possible for them to know, nor of any advantage to them if they could know them. Others again demand from God an account of his judgments, and force themselves to sound the depth of that abyss which is unfathomable. “For your judgments,” says the Scriptures, “are a great deep,” and about their faith and practice you would find few of them anxious, but the majority curiously inquiring into matters which it is not possible to discover, and the mere inquiry into which provokes God. For when we make a determined effort to learn what He does not wish us to know, we fail to succeed (for how should we succeed against the will of God?); and there only remains for us the danger arising from our inquiry. Now, though this be the case, whenever any one authoritatively stops the search, into such fathomless depths, he gets himself the reputation of being proud and ignorant; so that at such times much tact is needed on the Bishop’s part, so as to lead his people away from these unprofitable questions, and himself escape the above-named censures. In short, to meet all these difficulties, there is no help given but that of speech, and if any be destitute of this power, the souls of those who are put under his charge (I mean of the weaker and more meddlesome kind) are no better off than ships continually storm-tossed. So that the Priest should do all that in him lies, to gain this means of strength.

      I pray you are not a priest who has written this, and if you are, you are hopeless, shameless, and prideful. This is a sad, paranoic, creepy, diabolical, cynical writing that says nothing about the OCA, and certainly nothing about the Church. It speaks volumes about your empty heart.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        I agree with you Mr. Stankovich, but you do not go far enough. This is also malicious slander and evil. I smell sulfur in its wake. Lord have mercy.

    • oliverwendeldouglas says

      This is an outstanding brief recognition of both the general situation in the OCA and the problems that would be caused by adoption of the proposed policy. The priests are left out “there”, just twisting in the wind. Even the consideration of such a policy again brings to the fore the validity of arguments questioning the wisdom of endowing the former Metropolia with “autocephaly” and whether other Orthodox churches were correct, ultimately, in disdaining it. This policy is not the product of a church that honors or understands the role of its bishops. Unfortunately, it does focus attention on the fact that there is a dearth of “talent” on the Synod as it is currently constituted. It may be time to bring in some high-round draft picks from other Orthodox churches (they don’t necessarily have to be from Russia) who already have some seasoning, as the pro scouts would say. BUt overall, good job “Anonymous by necessity.” I understand why and sincerely hope and pray that things go well for you.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Not surprisingly, his minions speak in support.

        • M. Stankovich says


          I believe it was E.B. White who said, “Even in foolish sarcasm, do not belittle yourself with spelling errors.” You meant “Tsaritsa.” (цари́ца)

          • Dr. Stankovich,

            “Easy is to judge the mistakes of others. Difficult is to recognize our own mistakes.”


            • M. Stankovich says


              I believe it was W.E.B. Dubois who said, “It was a joke, sistah. Let da beez out da trap, beez out da trap, be-beez out da trap.”

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Anonymous–You rightfully do not disclose your name for the very first sentence reveals you to be a liar and a slanderer. Or, perhaps you believe the lie the Team Jonah has perpetuated, to wit, that the Holy Synod “crafted a false allegation of covering up a rape against a sitting hierarch.” I am tired of arguing the same point over and over again, but I will say it one last time: +Jonah was accused of not taking the steps spelled out in his own policy in cases of sexual misconduct. The allegation was that a rape had occurred; it did not matter whether the allegation was later found to be true or not; his duty was to take the prudent steps that were outlined in the policy that he himself had promulgated. About the only logical way that your lying and slanderous statement can be true is if you can prove to us that +Jonah was gifted with prophecy and knew immediately that the accusation was untrue and declared this truth to one and all. He did not do that; his actions and inactions put the OCA in moral and financial liability and thus he screwed up royally in discharging his responsibilities as both diocesan bishop and primate of a local church. What a shepherd, eh?

      • George Michalopulos says

        Carl, why is mentioning the fact that a clergyman was a member of HOOM necessarily a slander? I’ve been proud to know several fine people in this order who have been Orthodox Christians for quite awhile. It’s no slander at all.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          George–I believe I have already said that it is not slander to mention that a clergyman was a member of HOOM. I will repeat my allegation of slander against IP who on October 21, 2013 at 6:14 am said “If these rules were in effect when your priest was entering the OCA he would never been ordained and who knows, he might now be on the ORSMA radar because of his former Holy Order of Mans days. Be careful what you wish for, you just might have it now!” My response was on October 23, 2013 at 10:36 am: George–Membership in HOOM is not at issue here, unless one thinks that one is guilty of sexual misconduct solely by virtue of being a member. That is not what I object to. In this matter context matters and the context is the Office for the Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations. Therefore, in context, I read the poster say that my priest would have been accused of, and investigated for, sexual misconduct and that the results of such investigation would have barred him from ordination. He twisted the knife further by implying that mt priest would now be accused of, and investigated for, sexual misconduct.”

          Let me ask you in turn: Are you too proud to admit that your blinders are making you unable to see slander when the poster is seemingly on your side?

      • Carl, once again you fail to understand. Nobody accused the Synod of slander based on the rape allegation itself, the slander was their public accusation about how Metropolitan Jonah handled the allegation. What they said then, and what you have said now, is simply not true.

        If you want evidence that the Synod’s statement was indeed slander, try looking for that statement now.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Helga–You and I agree (finally!) on one point: The Synod did not accuse +Jonah of covering up a rape. However, I was responding to “Anonymous by necessity” who wrote on October 17, 2013 at 3:45 pm “The men who crafted a false allegation of covering up a rape against a sitting hierarch are setting themselves up as judge and jury over every priest.” If you think anonymous is talking about anybody other than the Holy Synod, you have got a lot of convincing to do.

          You and I are going to disagree whether the accusation that +Jonah mishandled the rape allegation. I firmly believe that +Jonah did indeed mishandle the allegation; you do not. Differences of opinion on this matter does not rise to the level of slander, no?

          • Carl, that the Synod’s accusations against Met. Jonah have been taken down is not an opinion but an objective fact. But you continue ignoring that inconvenient fact because it torpedoes your argument that Met. Jonah mishandled the case, when in fact he did not mishandle it, and was unfairly deprived of his office. You are not doing anything good for the Church by continuing to defend the despicable behavior of the current OCA synod.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              I am not ignoring that; I do have a copy of the statement and I truly believe it to be a honest accounting of some of +Jonah’s mistakes and misdeeds. The problem that I have with it is the length and details; it would have sufficed to say that, in the judgment of the Holy Synod, +Jonah mishandled sexual misconduct cases, as he had in other matters. I will continue to defend the members of the Holy Synod against unjust accusations and slander. And, I will continue to condemn such slander from cowards who hide behind anonymous Internet names.

          • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD says

            It is astonishing to me, Mr. Kraef, that at least some detractors of Metropolitan Jonah continue to deny the obvious. To be sure, the most serious false accusation against His Beatitude in the infamous “Statement” by the OCA Synod of Bishops on July 16, 2012, would give any reasonable person pause and perhaps engender a convenient forgetfulness among those who would rather “move on” than deal with the enormity of such a personal attack in public by a group of Orthodox bishops against one of their own.

            Here is the pertinent section of the “Statement”:

            “While under Metropolitan Jonah’s omophorion, this priest is alleged to have committed a rape against a woman in 2010. Metropolitan Jonah was later told of this allegation in February 2012, yet he neither investigated, nor told his brother bishops, nor notified the Church’s lawyers, nor reported the matter to the police, nor in any other way followed the mandatory, non-discretionary PSPs of the OCA. The alleged victim, however, did report the rape to the police. We know, too, that the alleged victim and a relative were encouraged by certain others not to mention the incident, and were told by them that their salvation depended on their silence. As recently as last week Metropolitan Jonah was regularly communicating with one of those who tried to discourage the reporting of this crime by the alleged victim and her relative.”

            The last sentence in that excerpt is a clever attempt at allegation via innuendo–specifically, that Metropolitan Jonah may have been involved in an attempt to cover-up a rape incident.

            Taking its cue from that thinly-veiled accusation, the mainstream press began, dutifully, to report the “scandal” in July 2012 with screaming headlines To cite only one of many examples, on July 20, 2012, the Washington Post ran a Religious New Service story based solely on the OCA Synod’s “Statement” under the headline, “Orthodox Church in America head Metropolitan Jonah dismissed over alleged rape cover-up.” See

            • M. Stankovich says

              If I am not mistaken, Archpriest Alexander, you assumed the ” moral high ground” and sought refuge under the omophor of His Beatitude Met. Hilarion, who undoubtedly has given you his blessing to be openly challenging the Hierarchs of the Orthodox Church in America? Certainly it would be uncharteristic of a man such as yourself – honor, integrity, discipline, and such – to break ranks and simply “spout off?” Or are “traditionalist” afforded that “free pass” everyone complains about? I would stomp off in righteous indignation, but there is the small matter of your knife in my back…

              • Mr. Stankovich,

                “Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.” If you assert that His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of ROCOR would take issue with any of that, you would be defaming and insulting him. It is terribly ironic that you would invoke concepts like honor and integrity against someone for defending another’s honor and integrity.

                • Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

                  Dear Helga,

                  And then there is also this from the Prophet Micah: “What does the Lord require of thee but to act justly and to walk humbly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with they God.”

                  The ad hominem attack and snarky or disparaging comments or implications related to hierarchs (Metropolitan Jonah and now Metropolitan Hilarion), and even synodal policies (participation in the March on Life by the OCA Synod, and by implication, given his own self-published views, the sections on sex and sexuality in the Social Concept synodal statement by the Russian Orthodox Church), seems to be the stock in trade of our friend and the Chancellor’s here.

                  Was it his unique practice of ecclesiology that led him to leave the OCA and not return to help us, rather merely advising us, Cheshire-cat like, in Obi-wan-Kenobi style, as an elder who isn’t with us, and is a certified social worker rather than clergy or a recognized scholar?

                  His methods open him up to ask why he apparently left the OCA but won’t return to help us. And does the OCA Chancellor approve of these methods by him, if they are good friends as claimed?

                  His criticism of the konvertsy rabble, the great unwashed with whom he has to put up as the isolated OCA genius (so isolated that he seems no longer to be a member!) maybe can be contextualized in a unique form of ethno-phyletism in the Online Church of America, to which he seems to belong by default.

                  Maybe the answers will be in his next self-published scholarly series featured on his own website, to which he apparently requires us to submit as the last word in Orthodox thought on sexual issues today.

                  Please pray for me the sinner,


                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Prof. Siewers,

                    If you would be so kind, at the point where I have transitioned from being your hobby into actually becoming your part-time job, am I obligated to provide you with benefits? A uniform, perhaps? Personally, I’m fond of those retro-bell-boy hats.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  How can one say that’s BS to a (possible) Orthodox priest? Not only does Helga (my suspected priest) knows a lot about the OCA, now he/she is presuming to speak for Metropolitan Hilarion of ROCOR. It is a mystery, unless he/she is a ROCOR priest?.

              • George Osborne says

                Dr. Stankovic….See quote re: E.B. White above. Glass houses and all that.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Dear Father Alexander of ROCOR–That last sentence reads like a statement of fact. It is indeed the most damaging sentence in the entire report as it allowed, as you correctly point out, the media to come to the conclusion that +Jonah was not doing all he should have been doing in the matter of a rape allegation. Now, it is clear that the Holy Synod did not accuse +Jonah of covering-up a rape ()thanks. for your supporting argument). I suppose that you and others, being so close to the main players and so gifted by the ability to read men’s hearts and minds, that you KNEW that the Holy Synod couched a malicious and slanderous allegation as a statement of fact! I wonder which of the gifts of the Holy Spirit you have been given to come up with that accusation.

              As for you taking potshots across jurisdictional lines, would you please answer Dr. Stankovich’s implied question: Did you or did you not receive your bishop’s permission to attack the OCA’s Holy Synod?

              • George Michalopulos says

                Carl, I’m worried about your basic reading skills. Fr Webster reproduced for your pleasure the original stinkbomb put out by the “holy” synod in which they categorically accused Jonah of covering up a rape allegation. I imagine with your service to our country you had to pass a battery of reading comprehension tests before you could work at an AWACS station at a major Air Force base. At least I would hope so.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  George–I thought that I was responding to something that Father Alexander posted; if you do not mind, i will wait for his response, if any. My conclusion from reading the record, to include what you call the “stinkbomb letter,” is diametrically opposed to your interpretation of them. Nonetheless, I try not to insult you by questioning your reading comprehension; I merely question your skewed judgment and the hatred that burns in your heart.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    First of all, let’s get over any “hatred” burning in my heart. Ain’t any. A lot of sadness, pity, some contempt. No hatred. Got that? If there’s any hatred here, it’s your emotions regarding Jonah. (And if what you display isn’t hatred, I’d really hate to see what is.)

                    Now, let’s get to the meat of the matter. You said that Jonah was defamed. Fr Alexander Webster went and posted the Stinkbomb letter. It’s a clear defamation by any normal understanding. Read the text. Re-read it if you have to. Now go looking for it. You can’t find it. Why? Because Syosset took it down. What better proof do you need? If it were true, keep it up for all to see.

                    Now let’s get back to the original assertion that got you so wound up in the first place, why are you so exercised by IP & Helga’s mentioning of a pastor’s former associations? If he wasn’t, I’ll correct the record and ask IP & Helga issue an apology. If he was, so what? I used to think Blazing Saddles was the greatest cinematic tour de force of all time. Now I think Napoleon Dynamite deserves that accolade. Should I take umbrage at those who criticize my earlier adoration? I think not.

        • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD says

          Thank you, Helga, for your heads-up: “If you want evidence that the Synod’s statement was indeed slander, try looking for that statement now.” Moments ago I searched the website in vain for the infamous July 16, 2012, “Statement” of the OCA Synod of Bishops re Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation.

          Has that important historical document been removed from the “official” OCA document collection by the Ministry of Truth in Syosset?

          Fortunately, we may still access the content of the original document online here:

  27. Once again, the Chancellor assures us via his Diary that there was nothing “secret” about the PSPs. And for what it is worth he also announced that following some revisions, the PSPs were approved by the Synod on 10/15.

    A former bishop thinks the Sex Czarina might as well don the white hat and be the Metropolina.

  28. Michael Kinsey says

    The great Holy Father, St John Chrysostom wrote of gays, saying they are worse than murderers. They are like people who are dirty and naked, and say, they like being dirty and naked. They are being punished by God, and their punishment is, is that they like it. I believe this Holy Father and this tells me I am not being punished by God, because I really don’t like homosexual behavior and attitudes.It also points to a method to detect sincere repentance. If they arrive at the point, where they really don’t like the behavior, it will be safe to assume, God is no longer punishing them. This is the wisdom of a genuinely Holy Father.

    • Mike Myers says

      Some of Chrysostom’s more vile sermons are the output of a pretty sick and sinister mind; he was capable of being utterly demented from time to time. Some of the crap in “Κατά Ιουδαίων” especially is monstrous and despicable. Mere facts, hardly disputable. It might be quite amusing if anyone cared to debate me on this. If so, bring it on!

      Lots of fine stuff in his homilies, too, of course. Very mixed bag. But he was a mediocre theologian at his best, and he demonstrated little evidence of any penetrating, mystical insight into the Holy Scriptures. I can’t help noticing too how often he’s the father most beloved of unlearned Orthodox fundamentalists and other petty bigots and hate-filled ignoramuses. So many magnificent theologians of immense spiritual genius and truly God-bearing Fathers in the patrimony, but M. Kinsey fixates incessantly on the C-list Chrysostom. Not a big surprise to me.

      So, flame away, if you dare. En garde.

      • George Michalopulos says

        “Flame on!” you say. Interesting battle-cry, I dare say. Permit me instead to pick up the gauntlet:

        Your criticism of Chrysostom for the most part is uninformed and ill-considered. For one thing, he has long been regarded throughout Christendom as The Preacher par excellence. Even the Reformers and their desacralized descendants know and respect his name. For another, his insights into Scripture are the gold standard when it comes to understanding the mystical and allegorical meaning behind the narratives found in both Old and New Testaments. He surpasses even the great Origen with his insights in these matters both in volume and in penetration. The exegetical (and utterly wondrous) writings of Athanasius, Ambrose, and Basil combined approach him but do not surpass him. It is not for nothing that Chrysostom’s sermons remain de riguer in the study of homiletics in Christian seminaries throughout the world.

        As for his commentary on the Jews, they must be understood in the context of the times. Not only had Judaism devolved into a violent ideology which regularly preyed upon non Jews and exploited them (not unlike Islam today) but it had thrown off any post-Jonah universalist understanding of monotheism, choosing instead to believe in a tribal god. Prosyletism and conversion became dirty words and remain so to this day. In this newer, post-Jesus synthesis, gentiles were viewed as cattle who had been created by God for the express purpose of serving an elite Herrenvolk. Intermarriage came to be viewed with horror by tribal elders and to this day is viewed as a vexing problem. The Old Testament (or Tanakh) had become –and in fact remains–a formality in post-Second Temple Rabbinicism; its ethics particularized, that is to say, non-binding, when it came to non Jews. In the diaspora regime which obtained after AD 70, the commentaries that became the basis for the Talmud became the operating principle of what we now call Judaism (but is most properly understood as Jewish supremacism).

        Ironically, this peculiar doctrine was codified in the Talmud and was used to justify the repression of gentile populations by exacting onerous duties and taxes in the form of usury, often at the behest of the landed aristocracy, especially in Iberia, Poland, and other northern European countries. The Magna Carta for instance, contained two clauses which specifically addressed onerous Jewish money-lending practices, forcing King John to ameliorate the debts of Christian peasants and nobility. The Ramban (Moses Maimonides) also used these supremacist doctrines to justify Jewish domination of the African slave trade. In his view, black Africans were little better than sentient apes and no compunction was necessary in rounding them up and selling them in the great slave-markets of the Ivory Coast.

        These racialist principles remain operative today among the Haredim and the Zionists. Ironically, they found their logical expression in the occult theories of Madame Helena Blavatsky and the various mystery cults that gave rise to National Socialism –albeit in reverse fashion.

        Chrysostom understood this as did many other Church Fathers. If you insinuate that anti-Semitism arose first (and only) in the Church and that Chrysostom was its midwife, then your historical knowledge is sparse indeed. It’s pedigree originated among the pagans who were far more violent towards the Jews than the Christians ever were. (And no, the Nazis weren’t Christian, but neo-pagans.)

        • If my well-informed opinion about the inexcusableness and blameworthy nature of the more execrable bits in J. Chrysostom’s legacy was going to be challenged here, I had hoped it would be by someone who actually knew something substantive about John Chrysostom. Unlike you, evidently. This hackwork of delusions, non sequiturs, fallacies, baseless false assertions, astoundingly outspoken, blatant anti-Semitism, over-generalizations tantamount to lies, know-nothing bigotries and hypocrisies galore — ludicrously framing a few (a very few) solid points, which are no doubt present by accident, or maybe ghost-written(?) — is about what I expected would issue forth from you. I’ve been swamped lately and won’t have time until tomorrow or Thursday to give this thing the attention it doesn’t deserve but, like a filthy mess the dog made, must be dealt with.

          19 thumbs up, too. Instructive.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Thank you for not answering my critique of your slanders against Chrysostom. I guess they stand.

            • Mike Myers says

              Ignorant clown, I’ll answer your “critique.” Don’t flatter yourself. I’ve been inundated with lots of personal responsibilities and unforeseen developments for the past few days. Like I already told you. But I’ll be sure to get around to eviscerating this mindless crap in studied and footnoted detail. I ignore 99% of your excrement (due to one’s general distaste for such stuff and for the nausea inevitably involved in most contact with you) but you went way too far this time. Shameless tw**.

              I hoped someone at least semi-rational, semi-competent and semi-knowledgable would want to tangle with me on the issue — but alas, I end up netting only you and the semi-literate, off-his-meds bigot Kinsey. Unappetizing opponents, I gotta confess.

              I was hoping Hans or Herr Professor Doktor Oberst (ret.) Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster B.A. M.A. M.T.S. Ph.D. usw. would gallantly sally forth to defend the honor of the Golden-Mouth — if not his too often vicious and unjust rhetoric, directed at ever so many targets (how could even they stoop to that defense?). This guy who was one of church history’s most accomplished demagogues and, as His Grace noted, stone-throwers. After all, there’s an elective affinity at work here: Hans and Herr Professor Doktor Oberst (ret.) Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster B.A. M.A. M.T.S. Ph.D. usw. are among the modern epigones of this rhetorician and those like him down the ages, and similarly self-positioned, in the larger scheme of things, as imperial cult demagogues. If not similarly great cathedral orators and exemplary homilists, as such. I had thought it possible that their gratitude for his tuition and example might embolden them to get in the ring with me. A vain hope, it appears. So I’m stuck with holding my nose yet again with you.

              George, you’re quite like some pathetically masochistic bar brawler who’s puking drunk and bereft of the elementary wit to perceive that he’s getting serially KO’ed. Laid out on the floor and seeing stars. Your case is that bad. Engaging you makes me feel like a bully, and maybe I am. But I truly despise your phony κακά, and you bring out the worst in me. I doubt very much I’m the only one on whom you have such an effect. I’m guessing this is likely to be sort of a running theme with you in real life, too.

              But you’re not really the issue here. Chrysostom’s partly unwarranted reputation is. As I intend to prove.


              • George Michalopulos says

                I’m sensing anger issues. Is all well with you? I hope so. (I sense some coulrophobia.) Because taking on Chrysostom will prove to be a fool’s errand.

              • Michael Kinsey says

                I am a natural man. The idea of getting in a ring with you makes as much sense to me as participating in a cock fight with a real cock. St John is wise, you, Mr. Myers are a fool.

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          ” (And no, the Nazis weren’t Christian, but neo-pagans.)” George, many, many Nazis WERE professed Christians. The Christians of the Third Empire split into a new grouping in those years. Those with governmental blessings was registered as “Deutsche Christen” (German Christians). THOSE Christians, the Nazi Christians, were opposed by the ‘ die Bekennende Kirche” (the Confessing Church) And the Jews of pagan Rome were indeed persecuted as were the Christians, but your statement that the pagans’ persecutions “were far more violent towards the Jews than Christians ever were” is ludicrously or wickedly untrue. Until WWII, the violence of the persecution of Jews in Europe by Crusaders crossing Germany to wreak violence against the infidels in the Holy Land and elsewhere was definitely the Gold Standard for violent persecution of Jews until Hitler’s Third Empire came along. The “noble”, the “knightly” warriors were literally hell-bent on exterminating The Infidel” chief of whom was “The Jew.” They burnt up Jews alive from Mainz to Jerusalem!!

        • Archpriest John Morris says

          I strongly recommend Jesus in the Talmud by Peter Schafer. It shows how much the Jews hated Christians. The Talmud not only recognizes the role of the Jews in the crucifixion of Christ, but brags about it. According to the Talmud, Our Lord was an imposter who got what he justly deserved. The Talmud states that Our Lord spends all eternity in hell standing in a pool of feces. It also mocks the Eucharist. This book shows that Jews are hardly innocent victims of Christian prejudice, but brought it on themselves by their superior attitude as God’s chosen people and their fanatical anti-Christian teachings. One must put St. John’s comments in this context. One must also remember that in those Orthodox areas of Russia and the Ukraine that were conquered by Poland that Polish landowners would borrow money from Jews and pay it back by allowing Jews to charge the Orthodox fees for Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals. One sees this superior attitude today in the treatment of the Palestinians by the Zionists.

          • George Michalopulos says

            That’s interesting that the Poles used Jews as middlemen in the administration of the Sacraments. The Moors in Spain did so as well and this practice was also picked up by the Spanish Christian nobility. The dirty secret of pogroms against Jews was that they were always popular uprisings, never instigated by either the ecclesiastical or secular authorities, under whose protection the Jews flourished.

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        Thanks, MIke. I’m sure there are those who will be horrified at your temerity in criticizing one of the most popular saints in the Menologion. He was one of the biggest crowd-pleasers ever. There are, of course, no doctrinal points whatsoever that he is known for or preached. He was one of the biggest stone-throwers in history: his reference to the Empress as “Jezebel” (!) from the pulpit is classic. For Protestants who do not have the Eucharist, but who IDOLIZE the sermon, he is truly “The guy with the golden mouth!” And otherwise somewhat, i repeat, somewhat, conservative Christians are just thrilled that protestants and Roman Catholics venerate him, as if veneration by Protestants and Catholics is a sign of holiness! But this is a matter for hagiographs. How such characters as he and, oh, SS Constantine and Helen ever got into the Church Calendar would be a good topic for a doctoral dissertation. Emperor Constantine, for example, rejected giving up sin and being baptized until he was sure that death was at the door. And then he chose one of his beloved Arians to do the baptizing. The story of what happened to his first wife, Fausta, at St. Helena’s hands and what happened to his son Crispus at his own direction would add an interesting chapter to the Game of Thrones!!!!! One accepts, humbly, the place of these sorts in the Church Calendar, but canonization is not necessarily an indication of virtue, let alone the heroic virtue with which many vaunt such. Many modern American Elitists reproach Islam for the pedophilia of its leading Prophet and channel of God’s teachings, while conveniently overlooking how up until the 18th or 19th centuries substantial, upright members of the community in Christendom often took child brides. Why “Infanta”, is a title of honor, not horror. And some of our states still allow the marriage of 14-year old girls, with parental consent. While reproaching Muhammad, they blandly ignore how the Church blessed Constantinopolitan and Muscovian Emperors/Tsars with multiple divorces and remarriages, blinding and crippling of family members to try and control the future of their favorites. But I’m afraid there’s little hope of any contribution to Orthodox hagiography by today’s Orthodox scholars. Most people have converted to the view that the top priority of the Church is sexual purity…I mean, look how MUCH Sigmund Freud has given us and our leaders to study and absorb whole-heartedly! Why, if you mentioned to, oh, Philaret of Moscow, or Nektarios of Aegina (sp?)such matters as “sexual traumatization,” or ‘sexual harrassment” and so on, you’d be met with a look of puzzlement or complete incomprehension. They did not live in a world where the main danger to children’s souls was premature exposure to sexuality. We have Dr. Freud to thank for a lot. Sodomy, licentiousness and lewdness, yes, old stuff, but not a whole new (Tikhonovian?) Code! Far from keeping silent in the Church, women now are not only prosecutors in quasi-canonical diocesan courts, but are Czarinas of Sexual Misconduct! One thing about Chrysostom, though, I don’t think you can find him preaching about Church Growth, or Vision of the Church, or The Vibrant Parish, or How To Attract People to Our Church!!!!

        • Who knew that the OCA has their own Bishop John Spong? He’s loving his retirement too!

          • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

            Who Knew, sure was a laudatory piece on Spong — Courageous Progressive crusader and all that. Trouble is, once theology becomes liberalized, churches decline. Some facts about Spong and his parishes in the Newark Diocese:

            Between 1978 and 1999, the number of baptized persons in the diocese fell from 64,323 to 36,340, a loss of 27,983 members in 21 years. That’s a disastrous 43.5% decline. The Episcopal Church, by contrast, saw a decline in the number of baptized persons from 3,057,162 in 1978 to 2,339,133 in 1997, a loss of 718, 499, or a substantial 23.4%, according to the 1998 Church Annual.

            The Diocese of Newark under Spong, thus, has declined at a rate 20.1 percentage points higher than the rate for the entire Episcopal Church. This rate of decline is 86% faster than the Episcopal Church, whose losses are considerable in and of themselves.

            Source: Newark’s Disastrous Decline Under Spong: Post-Mortem of a Bishop’s Tenure

        • Bishop Tikhon,

          Are you the mullah that is to come, or shall we wait for another?

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          “Who Knew” and “Are You” is SUCH a deep thinker. Thank God we have him and not just another name-caller with an empty cranium…an irrational sheep!

      • Michael Kinsey says

        St John is considered one of 4 principle theologians in all Christianity for 13 centuries. Are we to assume you claim to be the 5th or are the synthesis of all 4, Mr Myers. Touche!!! Who are you???????????

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          No, Michael Kinsey, Archbishop John the Golden Mouth is not one of the “4 principle theologians in all Christianity for 13 centuries”, though he was indeed most popular. St. John (Mansur) of Damascus, St.Gregory the Theologian, St. Basil of Caesrea in Cappadocia, and St. Athanasios the Great might make the grade, if there were any one with authority (which there is not) to define “Great Theologians”, in any such grouping of four, St. John Chrysostom, as Mike might hint, is definitely a Fifth Wheel.

          • Michael Kinsey says

            It appears obvious, that this bishop holds homosexual clergy much more in his approval, than the complaints of a natural man, just in the laity. I wish to eliminate the problem of homosexual predation by any clergy in the OCA. I see no offense against the Truth and the Royal Law desiring to do this. If, it offends the bishop, so be it.

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      So…Michael Kinsey, did St. John Chysostom think that God made a mistake in including murder in the Ten Commandments and overlooking Homosexuality? Did Moses even KNOW that God was worried about Sex? Good thing this civilized cathedral orator, and politician came along to set us straight!!!!

  29. Since the newly revised PSPs were adopted 10/15/13, I wonder when they will be posted on It will be interesting to compare the revised ones to the ‘leaked’ ones.

  30. Michael Kinsey says

    Truth is Truth, any denial that God will punish homosexuality, and does punish homosexuality is anti-Christian. It will destroy spiritual life in the soul, and be a just sentence of eternal damnation by divine justice. This is a very clearly scriptural statement by St Paul and many Holy Fathers. Disobey them or refuse to believe the Truth and you will suffer the just consequences. This is the way of God’s creation, get over it.

  31. Fr. Peter Dubinin says

    All Concerned: I commend for everyone’s consideration the policy on sexual misconduct for the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, dated 1999. Why the OCA could not have followed this document of the AOCNA is a mystery. Their policy on sexual misconduct treats the matter with all the seriousness required; at the same time looking to the care of the victim as well as the care of the alleged perpetrator, even to the extent of recommending the alleged perpetrator obtain legal counsel and the offer of couseling/therapy as may be necessary. When allegations are made, the alleged perpetrator is informed that an allegation has been made. In the event there is no corroborating evidence, case is closed (unless corroborating evidence is discovered at a later date). The composition of the investigating committee and direction provided within the hierarchal structure of the Church is a very good reflection of the working ecclesiology of the Church living in a pluralist, secular society, IMHO.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Dear Father–I do not doubt that the 1999 AOCNA policy is a fine one. On the other hand, don’t you think that the passage of time make it a good idea for a review and possible revision in 2013?

      • Fr. Peter Dubinin says

        Policies and procedures need to be updated regularly and frequently, yes. The substance of how business is done doesn’t change; how it is expressed to reflect a present reality will need updated. The AOCNA document, IMO, would require little revision for 2013. In addition to the highlights I identified above, I was impressed that the Archdiocese was even willing to extend a loan to the alleged perpetrator to obtain legal counsel. If the investigation substantiated the allegation, then the priest was turned over to a canonical church court to determine the right and proper discipline. I could live with this due process.

  32. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    George, you began Part One with these words “A Dearth of Vision In previous essays regarding the new Sex Squad Regime…” I feel you should have referred to the United Sex Squad Regime (USSR), no?

    • George Michalopulos says

      LOL! I like it! Everybody, give me some help here. Ubiquitous Sex Squad Regime? Unclear SSR? Unfocused SSR? What say ye all?

  33. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    The new policy seems to be a kind of pot-potpourri of ideas culled from the crania of various members of the Nomenklatura and their advisors, such as a couple former members of the SVS faculty and from culling of random musings of entities like “Pokrov” and the ever-Memorable Ellen Gvozdev and some MBA types now enshrined as first-line advisors of the bureaucracy. I think they confuse their Joint thinking with sobornost and their opinions with scholarship. I believe Bishop Alexander and Professor Paul Meyendorff may have been able to escape being identified in any way with that depraved document by being away at the World Council of Churches meeting somewhere in Asia…

  34. Michael Bauman says

    Met. Jonah was never in the HOOM.

    It has been almost 15 years since the last priests, monastics and lay people from the successor to the HOOM, the CSB, were received into cannonical Orthodoxy.

    To continue to obsess about that and demonstrate such fear, one has to believe several things very strongly none of which are healthy:

    1. The Holy Spirit has no power to draw people to the truth
    2. The Holy Spirit has no power to transform
    3. The Church and all of her bishops are incompetent in their ability to preceive and guide those who are received. Folks from the HOOM and CSB are in ROCOR, OCA, Patriarchal Bulgarian, Serbia, Antioch and the GOA. There are priests all.
    4. One does not particularly care for converts at all.

    I’ll tell you frankly, I was in the HOOM but never a priest. My experiences there were of quite a mixed bag but I learned several things: heresy is harmful; hierachical abuse should not be tolerated, Mary is real and accessible, as is Jesus Christ. Love of the Truth will bring you through everything. Witch hunts get everybody burned. God is no respecter of persons. The Orthodox Church is beautiful and the Pillar and Ground of the Truth. She is merciful as well in receiving sinners and, by God’s grace, healing us if we are humble enough to allow it.

    If a handful of folk, maimed and prodigal, can overturn or seriously impact the Orthodox Church, she is not what she claims to be.

    Whoever you are, you owe and abject apology to every person against whom you hold such anger. You need to let it go for your own sake.

    Certainly, we could easily be considered harlots, arrogant and without virtue, but those of us in the Church have repented, are repenting and paid a heavy personal price for our arrogance and pride.

    I for one am deeply grateful that so unworthy a person such as I would be received into the Orthodox Church. But I was received as were my brethren who I shared a part of my journey with. We came to the Church seeking Jesus Christ and the opportunity to participate in the scaramental life of the Church.

    Yes, we led people astray and none of us will ever forget that as we still bare the scars of our own forays into the untruth. I ask your forgiveness, but enough is enough.

    Neither I nor any others of us want to harm the Church and our Lord who brought us out of such darkness. If you cannot accept that, then you are in a deeper darkness than we ever were.

    There was never a pattern of sexual abuse or misconduct in the HOOM although instances did occur from time to time that were not appropriate. There were consequences.

    Of one thing I am sure, Jesus Christ led us out of that desert into His promised land. There is no reason why we can’t feast together.

    God forgive us all.

  35. Carl Kraeff says

    I asked our esteemed host a long time ago to correct the record on the slander committed by IP against my priest. George continues to ignore my repeated explanations of why IP’s post is slanderous.

    IP has not posted since I posted my condemnation of his slander. Folks who have answered me have been George, as well as other Internet anonymous regular posters on this site–folks who are ardent supporters and defenders of the resigned and retired former Metropolitan of the OCA, +Jonah.

    The problem is that they are misconstruing my objection to IP’s post. I think they are doing so perhaps because I do have the ability, the will and the means to pursue ecclesiastic actions against George and the anonymous posters for condoning and abetting slander against a priest. I consider that my postings to date satisfy the requisite preliminary steps before I elevate my complaint to George’s priest, dean, and bishop.