The Sons of Job vs Syosset


Well, it seems to me that the Apparat is caught between a rock and a hard place. They can’t (or dare not) depose Bishop Matthias Moriak but it’s clear that the Diocese of Chicago doesn’t want him back. The question is “why?”

Let us step back for a moment. We here at Monomakhos have viewed the episcopal career of Bishop Matthias in a largely positive light. He struck us as a liturgical reformer and very much a traditionalist. Plus, he stood up to Mark Stokoe and gave him a choice: either blog or administer. In other words, you can’t use your official position on the Metropolitan Council to fashion “news” to fit your modernist agenda. One or the other. This took courage and your’s truly commended His Grace for doing so.

Having said that, we’ve come to believe that since that he took that fateful decision, Matthias’ days were numbered. We don’t know the particulars of how His Grace got into personal trouble and it may be completely unrelated. It’s probably just a case of an older man smitten with a younger woman. I think he deserves a measure of forgiveness (would that the Synod extend the same courtesy to Metropolitan Jonah for not doing anything but that’s a separate matter.) Regardless, the standards expected of clergy are higher. And anyway, the people of the Diocese of Chicago feel differently. Your humble correspondent is not a member of the Diocese of Chicago so he has no say in this matter. If the people of that Diocese feel abused or wary, that is their prerogative.

The Sons of Job sent Monomakhos the following missive describing their most recent diocesan conference. In it they declare that the overwhelming majority of clergy and laity would rather that His Grace be given another assignment. The opposition to his reinsertion is not only wide but deep. Their arguments stand on their own merits and deserve to be taken seriously.

As to my earlier question –“why?” Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that the OCA as a whole is foundering. How many active, territorial bishops are there now left in the OCA? Given the modernist parameters of the Apparat, the episcopal bench is decidedly meager. Don’t get me wrong, good candidates exist but the Apparat has made the decision that spiritual monastics need not apply. They can’t take the risk of another Jonah. And anyway, if they tried to depose Matthias, then the skeletons would come rattling out of the closet. That’s probably why they haven’t deposed Jonah, even though they’ve done everything but throw the kitchen sink at him.

Not a pretty picture. Unfortunately, this is the only one that can be drawn based on the dysfunction unleashed on the OCA by the Revered Protosbyterians and their modernist acolytes. If anybody has any other ideas, please bring them forward.

From the Sons of Job

Glory to Jesus Christ!

A report about what happened at the Diocesan Council meeting in Chicago. Please be in fervent prayer for our diocese and for the OCA!

Without telling the attendees, not only was +Alexander and +Melchisedek there, but Metropolitan Tikhon was there. The official account reads, “Metropolitan Tikhon and the other hierarchs were present to listen to the Council members’ concerns.”

One attendee reported: “The meeting began with Bishop Alexander saying that…Bishop Matthias is not a predator according to the place that did his evaluation. So, one of the issues we’re dealing with is mis-perception.”

Having founded the discussion with the premise that +Matthias is “mis-perceived,” +Alexander then clarified the Synod’s conclusion that +Matthias committed sexual misconduct. As a participant put it, Bishop Alexander instructed the council that “The words ‘Sexual Misconduct’ are misleading. What Bishop Matthias did was a the lowest end of sexual harassment.”

After thus setting the stage, +Alexander said a second issue was the fact that clergy are afraid to speak because of possible reprisals, so the Deans were allowed to speak their minds to the bishops present. Every one of the Deans said +Matthias should NOT be reinstated, with only one exception: a Dean who admitted that he didn’t ask his brother clergy what they thought.

One Dean had read a letter expressing his concerns and the concerns of his deanery clergy:

“The allegation of sexual misconduct of which you are accused is accurate and has been confirmed by both the investigation committee and by the holy Synod. This sad truth has deeply hurt, scandalized, disillusioned, broken the trust and irreparably compromised the integrity of your Episcopacy for the vast majority of folk in this Deanery…

“The People of God will overlook many transgressions on the part of their clergy, but some things are just too much. When they observe that the Church has lower standards of consequences for sexual misconduct, harassment, and ‘Zero Tolerance’ than the U.S. Military or Corporate America – it is too much. Your Grace, the people have forgiven you, but that doesn’t mean they can accept you as their Bishop…

“What is at stake is this: Does the official OCA policy of ‘Zero Tolerance for Sexual Misconduct’ apply to bishops? Does the OCA want to say: ‘Sexual harassment will be tolerated by the Orthodox Church in America?’ How will I explain your actions to my Catechumens? This is not the message we wish to give to the women, girls, men and boys of our Diocese…

“We are asking you to step down, not because we cannot forgive you your errors but because we…believe the growth of our parishes and the future of the Diocese are best served by your stepping down as diocesan bishop.”

Bishop Matthias joined the meeting, and shared the difficulties this scandal has put him through. According to one first-hand account, “What Bishop Matthias said was manipulative, to garner the most sympathy for what he has had to go through. It was to move people to share in his self-pity.”

Along with eliciting sympathy, +Matthias said his psychological evaluation determined that he is not a “sexual predator” and is not a danger to the church “in this regard.” He admitted to crossing “emotional boundaries,” He asked the forgiveness of all, and said he has agreed to additional counseling.

The conclusion that one participant made was that +Matthias “pulled the wool over most of the Diocesan Council’s eyes. 4/5ths want him reinstated. Four of the members of the council said they didn’t think he should.”

Another priest summarized +Matthias’ presentation, “Instead of an honest appraisal of the pastoral implications of +Matthias’ actions, we get a stream of reassurances that it wasn’t fornication or pederasty and therefore is not predatory and therefore not grounds for dismissal… We had an archpastor with an immeasurable power differential of age, gender and office, who —according to undisputed testimony— attempted to isolate a vulnerable sheep in his flock, and usher her into a frame of mind explicitly tainted by secrecy, emotional intimacy and domestic proximity. Why is anybody wasting time talking about the fine points of what constitutes predation? The word is irrelevant.”

+Matthias’ testimony was described as, “a self-pitying report revealing that he sees himself as hounded from the chancery by ‘people who report you’… Instead of getting from him a robust and orderly readiness to resume a life of good order, we get the servile assurance that, ‘When I come back I won’t visit any parishes where I am not wanted’ …This (dysfunctional, self-pitying behavior) alone is grounds for dismissal from episcopal ministry.”

One priest pointed out that the person our Synod should be concerned about is the woman whom our bishop harrassed: “Whose pastor does the Holy Synod think they are if they do not think they are, above all, the pastors to this sheep? Why are they quibbling about Matthias and the degree of his transgression, his intention, his emotional state, his loneliness or his sincerity? IT IS THIS SHEEP THAT COUNTS, and it is this sheep to whom the bishops owe their pastoral care. Are we to take this sheep, already wounded and demoralized, and impose on this sheep a bishop who embodies exactly this behavior? …This is what our obfuscating, sentimentalizing Synod still appears willing to consider, six months on.”

In our (concerned Midwest clergy wives’) opinion, the admitted “misperception” of +Matthias is reason alone that the Synod should not bring him back to govern the Midwest. Whether the negative perception of +Matthias is exaggerated or not, he is no longer scripturally “blameless” in the eyes of the world or in the eyes of many of his own flock —by his own admission and by the conclusions of both the sexual misconduct investigation committee and by the holy Synod— and therefore he simply cannot function properly as the shepherd of the Midwest.

We (concerned Midwest clergy wives) wonder: Why is +Alexander parsing words —admitting that Bishop Matthias committed “sexual harassment” but didn’t commit “sexual misconduct”? We don’t care how it’s defined, what he did disqualifies him to lead the Midwest —especially to pastor the very woman he harassed. The point isn’t +Matthias’ degree of guilt; the point is, his conduct has scandalized the entire diocese, divided us, and that alone is reason he should never be returned.

It is said that Saint Basil the Great once deposed a priest because he committed adultery. After many years of fasting and repentance, both St Basil and this priest was at a funeral. The deposed priest approached the casket and touched the dead man and the dead man rose! The deposed priest went to St Basil and said, “Do you need a greater sign than this of the holiness that I have acquired in order to send me back to my flock?”

Basil replied, “Your holiness is between you and God, but I cannot return you to your flock because you scandalized them. It is not right for you to go to them again.”

We would like to reiterate our points from our original letter of concern: This is not about forgiveness (we “forgive all by the Resurrection,” but that does not mean reinstatement to holy orders). This is not about rehabilitation, or “second chances” (the integrity of the episcopacy of the Orthodox Church in America has been harmed). This is not about “mercy” (as if the episcopacy was a concession given out of pity). This is not about repentance (the Scriptures say a bishop must be above reproach, and have a good reputation in the sight of all; this does not mean he is perfect, but it does mean he cannot have ever preyed upon his spiritual child). This is not a matter of +Matthias never committing the same sin again (he has lost the moral authority to lead, not just by his inexcusable misconduct toward his spiritual child, but by his non-apologies, and his demonstrated greater concern for retaining his position than concern for his spiritual child).

If in the past year any Midwest priest was caught driving four hours to a college girl’s private apartment, taking her out to dinner alone, the two of them in his private apartment for hours until after midnight, telling her that she is his “favorite” and that he has a “crush” on her, telling her to keep their relationship secret, denigrating her confessor/priest, suggesting a boating date, telling her his attraction to her is stronger than her boyfriend’s, agreeing to spend the night with her, and manipulating her under the guise of “trust” and his lack of friends, Bishop Matthias would not have hesitated to call a spiritual court and depose that priest.

In other words, WE ARE SCANDALIZED, and the Synod’s reaction to this sexual misconduct only scandalizes us further. As one person put it, “I was embarrassed by the Bishop’s actions. I was ashamed of what he did. He brought shame on himself, my parish, deanery, and the diocese. We’ve had so much shame over the past decade – it is really demoralizing. I am ashamed to speak of him.”

Meanwhile, in other related news, one of the largest ecclesial insurers, a Church Mutual agent has responded to inquiries from concerned parish officers. His advice, based on documents and various accounts, is that Midwest churches which are insured by them follow this policy:

  1. Bishop Matthias should not be allowed to have personal contact with parishioners;
  2. His activities in any setting with lay people should be monitored;
  3. Should any claim against him of sexual harassment or misconduct come from parishioners of these parishes, Church Mutual would not provide any coverage for punitive damages, which constitute the most costly part of claims. This is due to the fact that clergy and officers of these parishes have had cause to protect their parishes from such recurrent actions.
  4. There is a possibility of personal liability for church officials who place Bishop Matthias in a position of authority, should there be a recurrence of sexual misconduct.

On the bright side, Metropolitan Tikhon assured the council that a decision has not yet been made. The Lesser Synod meets next week, the entire Holy Synod before Great Lent. To us (concerned wives), this means there is more time for prayer and writing letters of our own!

It’s time to pray, and act. Please write the Synod:

The Most Reverend Nathaniel
Archbishop of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate
PO Box 309
Grass Lake, MI 49240-0309
Office: 517-522-4800
Fax: 517-522-5907

The Most Reverend Nikon
Archbishop of Boston, New England and the Albanian Archdiocese
Locum tenens of the Diocese of the South
PO Box 149
Southbridge, MA 01550
Office: 508-764-3222

The Most Reverend Benjamin
Archbishop of San Francisco and the West
Locum tenens of the Diocese of Alaska
1520 Green St
San Francisco, CA 94123
Office: (415) 567-WEST (9378)

The Most Reverend Alejo
Archbishop of Mexico City and Mexico
Av Rio Consulado E Iruapato #53
Col Penon De Los Banos
Mexico, DF 15520
Office / Fax: 5784-5198

The Right Reverend Melchisedek
Bishop of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania
Locum Tenens of the Diocese of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania
PO Box 1769
Cranberry Township, PA 16066-1769
Office / Fax: 724-776-5555

The Right Reverend Michael
Bishop of New York and New York and New Jersey
33 Hewitt Ave
Bronxville, NY 10708
Office: 914-779-6580
Fax: 914-779-6581

The Right Reverend Matthias
Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest
927-933 N. LaSalle St.
Chicago, IL 60610
Office: 312-202-0420
Fax: 312-202-0427

The Right Reverend Alexander
Bishop of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese
519 Brynhaven Dr.
Toledo, OH 43616
Office: 419-693-9540
Fax: 419-693-9541

The Right Reverend Irineu
Bishop of Dearborn Heights
2535 Grey Tower Rd.
Jackson, MI 49201
Office: 517-522-4800

The Right Reverend Mark
Bishop of Baltimore
Administrator of the Diocese of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania
Synodal Liaison for Departments and Commissions of the Orthodox Church in America
144 St Tikhon’s Road
Waymart, PA 18472
Office: 570-937-9331

The Right Reverend Irénée
Bishop of Québec City
Administrator of the Archdiocese of Canada
15 LeBreton St. N.
Ottawa, ON K1R 7H1
Phone: 613-223-7780
Fax: 613-223-1931


  1. Disgusted With It says

    I wonder, what does the young woman in question think? Does she think +Matthias is a threat to the diocese? Since the incident happened, I have read a lot of other people talking about her and using her as an example for larger theories of what could happen, but nothing has really been reported about whether or not she thinks he could be trusted as a diocesan bishop. None of us were there to observe their interactions — just +Matthias and the woman. (Text messages on their own lack context.) For my part, if she told investigators “look, he’s crazy and can’t be trusted”, then I would strongly consider that testimony because she experienced this situation first-hand. On the other hand, if she says “he said some inappropriate things, but here’s why I think he can be trusted”, then I would consider that too. I hope that someone, anyone, is taking her opinion into account here.

    Certainly there are those people who have their agendas against the bishop and are using this situation as a weapon against him, while others mean well and could be getting caught up in the battle, and others who simply put their trust in those who are charged with evaluating the situation. Unfortunately, at this time it seems the OCA administration has zero credibility when it comes to dealing with clergy issues. So I am afraid that chaos will remain in the Midwest for a long time, regardless of what happens, thanks to our lack of trustworthy leadership at the top. As the old saying goes, this synod and administration have made their bed, and now they must sleep in it.

    • I would not put it past Mark Stokoe to be pulling strings behind the scenes in this situation. He suddenly left his parish in Dayton around the time this whole thing broke. Was he giving himself the appearance of being “out of the way” only to be fulminating actions against +Matthias? It would not be beyond him to get even with the one who stood up to him!

      • ip I couldn.t agree with you more! I remember when mark Stokoe had his evil website! that condemn people who didnt believe in his gay agenda! How he condemn the leaders of the OCA, along with St Tikhons Seminary! etc! I sometimes wonder if i did the right thing when i went to the parish in Dayton, and stood by the street, with my banner that read “make a choice” love and forgiveness or Mark Stokes website preaching hatred! In my heart i felt it was the right time to stand up to Mark Stokoe, and his evil website! was it right or wrong to do? Did it make a difference? or would i do it again. If I felt innocent people were being hurt, without a doubt i would do it again!

      • Jane Rachel says

        Are the Sons of Job named after their former beloved bishop? I think the article is very manipulative in an almost chillingly familiar style reminiscent of Mark Stokoe. I wonder whether he wrote it or tweaked it?

        • nit picking says

          I some how had the impression that the “Sons of Job” where named not after the Bishop but after the Prophet. As in sitting on a dung heap, scrapping sores off their body with a pot sherd and mourning all day long….of course, I could be wrong.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            Gee, “nit picking!” I thought that “Sons of Job” was the male version of (also Masonic) “Job’s Daughters!” Waddya know!

            • nit picking says

              Gosh, BT! I’m surprised you knew that, but also glad you let me know. It would appear that with white hair (maybe gray in your case?) wisdom does come.

              For those that don’t understand here’s what Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald was referring to:


              • nit picking says

                BTW, Your Grace as I wrote in my previous post, I could be wrong – but you make the implication that the OCA (particularly the priesthood and diocese of the Midwest) has been swallowed up by a masonic cult which is waging a war on Bp. Mathias and the Syosset apparatchik.

                This entire situation just took a U-turn towards twilight zone weirdness if it is as you imply.

                So my question to you is this: Why the masons and not the dung heap?

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  nit-picking: I made no implications. You are free to draw whatever inferences do it for you.
                  As for your question, I’ll bite: why the masons and not the dung heap? I might surmise that the only relationship of that group to a dung heap is its proclivity for using the dung heap as a supplier of ammunition.

                  • nit picking says

                    proclivity for using the dung heap as a supplier of ammunition

                    Syosset has also used the dung heap as their supplier of ammunition against +Jonah. Does that mean that the OCA administration and hierarchy is also a masonic organization your Grace, and if so, what is your rank in that organization? Just askin’ .

                    • Heracleides says

                      Is Mad-Hatter a masonic rank?

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      nit-picking: No. If Syosset, as you affirm, has been using the same dung heap against Metropolitan Jonah (“+Jonah”) as the Sons of Job against Bishop Matthias et al, that does NOT mean that either the OCA administration or hierarchy is also a masonic organization. And I have no rank in any such organization. Just answerin’.

      • Pere LaChaise says

        Wild Bill’s wild speculation has no bearing on any of the above. You need to get your epistemological categories straight here! The Midwest Clergy are speaking form their hearts against the opinion of the Synod. How can this be gainsaid? Where is there an ulterior motive? Bp. Matthias has no credibility since his indiscretion came to light. Simple.

    • The Sons of Job are right! says

      What the woman whom Bishop Matthias sexually harassed thinks, and her general spiritual condition considering what’s been done to her, was shared by her Dean at the Diocesan Council meeting. It is her welfare that is foremost in the minds of true shepherds in the Midwest.

      Also foremost in the minds of true shepherds of the Midwest, is that to bring a tainted bishop back –one who behavior has caused scandal and division– will be detrimental to the diocese. I agree.

      Those whom I’ve talked to are not using any agenda as “a weapon against Bishop Matthias,” but are deeply and critically concerned, as the clergy wives above. No agenda, just serious concern.

      What the Dean wrote is worthy of consideration: What do our bishops really mean when they say we have a “Zero Tolerance” policy for sexual misconduct? If our Synod says we have a zero tolerance policy, how can they justify not only keeping +Matthias –who has been found guilty specifically of sexual misconduct by the duly appointed investigation committee, and been found guilty specifically of sexual misconduct by the entire holy Synod of Bishops, publicly– not only keeping him as a bishop, but re-imposing him over the very diocese he scandalized despite protests –and even re-imposing him over the very woman he sinned against? Does “Zero Tolerance” mean one thing for priests and another thing for bishops?

      As one clergy wife put it, this was a “no brainer.” Syosset, however, is thinking only of legal techicalities (“+Matthias only committed harassment, not misconduct”), and not thinking at all about the harassed woman, or the scandalized diocese. I don’t question the motives or intent of our bishops, but they are thinking only from the perspective of episcopal self-preservation, thinking only from a bishop’s (Matthias’) perspective of self interest, and not from a truly pastoral perspective. A pastoral perspective would subordinate the “position” of a shepherd to the needs of the flock –even if the flock were wrongly scandalized (and I don’t think the Midwest is wrong in being scandalized, but even so, to bring the scandalizer back would only create more division and scandal). A pastoral perspective would first consider the woman hurt by her bishop, and the flock of the Midwest, and not first be concerned with trying to justify Bishop Matthias’ behavior as “not so bad.”

      • The danger of using worldly slogans (like ‘zero tolerance’) to set Church policy!

        • The Sons of Job are right! says

          The point is not what phrase is used. The point is, our bishops have said that they will not tolerate clergy sexual misconduct. Now we have a *bishop* who is investigated and found he committed sexual misconduct –by *the* *Synod* *themselves*– and yet our bishops are still trying to find a way to tolerate that bishop’s sexual misconduct –and worse, to impose that bishop back upon the very flock he scandalized and the very woman he harassed. It’s not about a “worldly slogan,” but about a commitment to stand for decency from our bishops, which they are openly seeking to violate.

          abercius, do you think that shows genuine pastoral priorities and the concern of true shepherds?

          • Where is the sex in the bishop’s actions? Where is the sex in his words? It is hard to see any sexual conduct or misconduct in this matter, though that there were foolish words and conduct is pretty much beyond dispute. Zero tolerance for fools then! And many of us would be gone…

            And why do we insist on using the worldly term “sexual misconduct’ for the thing that will not be tolerated? How about using the scriptural and canonical terms for specific sins: adultery? fornication? impurity? sodomy? Coarse jesting? Drunkenness?

            What scriptural or canonical offense would you pin on him? And what should be the penalty for it?

            • Fr. George Washburn says

              I think the scriptural citation you have requested is I Tim. 3:2, which in the NASV refers to a bishop being “….above reproach…temperate, prudent, respectable….” Or Titus 1:7.

            • The Sons of Job are right! says

              Abercius, whether you can “see the sex” in Bishop Matthias’ words and actions toward his spiritual child is not the point. The OCA investigative committee concluded he engaged in sexual misconduct, and the holy Synod of Bishops concluded he engaged in sexual misconduct. Now, Bishop Alexander wants to reduce it to “sexual harassment,” but either way it is conduct unbecoming a bishop.

              If by saying “many of us would be gone” you mean to admit to doing the following toward your spiritual child, then you, too, should consider your actions inappropriate and scandalous:
              — exclusivizing your relationship with a member of the opposite sex, and,
              — spending hours to drive to a college girl’s private apartment to spend time alone with her, and,
              — taking her out to dinner alone, and,
              — spending hours with her in his private apartment until after midnight, and,
              — telling her that she is his “favorite,” and,
              — telling her he has a “crush” on her, and,
              — telling her to keep their relationship secret, and,
              — denigrating her confessor/priest, and,
              — keeping her priest ignorant of your personal, private, one-on-one visits, and,
              — suggesting a boating date, and,
              — telling her his attraction to her is stronger than her boyfriend’s, and,
              — agreeing to spend the night with her, and,
              — manipulating her under the guise of “trust” and his lack of friends.

              You seem distracted (or is it seeking to distract?) by semantics, whether it be “zero tolerance” or “sexual misconduct.” By all means, use what you consider “scriptural” terms. But the point remains, Bishop Matthias spoke and acted in a way that was not only predatory toward his spiritual child (whether he consciously realized it or not), but directly scandalized and spiritually harmed his spiritual child, and as a result, scandalized and spiritually harmed his entire flock. Scripturally speaking, in Jesus’ words, “it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” As the priest’s letter stated, “Your Grace, the people have forgiven you, but that doesn’t mean they can accept you as their Bishop.”

              But abercius, you have not answered my sincere question. Our bishops have said that they will not tolerate clergy sexual misconduct. Now we have a *bishop* who is investigated and found he committed sexual misconduct –by *the* *Synod* *themselves*– and yet our bishops are still trying to find a way to tolerate that bishop’s sexual misconduct –and worse, to impose that bishop back upon the very flock he scandalized and the very woman he harassed. Do you think that shows genuine pastoral priorities and the concern of true shepherds?

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                “The Sons of Job are Right” keeps me going, helps me get up mornings. I haven’t owned a TV set for over even years, but I know there’s more than enough entertainment and popular fiction here on my PC to keep that old mucilage in my veins moving. Case in point: The Sons of Job are Right!
                They refer to the OCA’s Synod of Bishops as a MORAL (and not “just” canonical) authority!!!!!
                Oh, oh! “The days are just too short!!!!”
                When he (or she) goes “*the* *Synod* *themselves*”, my cup of humor runneth way over!

                “Exclusivizing (sic) your relationship with a member of the opposite sex!” Oh, oh, oh, Warning! Splitting sides!
                I think “The Sons of Job are Right” is doing what used to be called “projecting,” no? Oh well.
                The sexualizing of our moral/ethical priorities, in line with all the rest of Christianity in its mostly American manifestation is not so much surprising as it is disturbing. i feel that a lie by a Deacon, Priest, or Bishop is at least as bad as sexual abuse, but nobody cares about anything that does not involve sex or money. Everything else is “OK.”
                And I can’t imagine our God being more concerned about Bishop Matthias’s error here than about whether of not he cared for the sick, clothed the naked, fed the hungry, and visited convicts.
                I don’t think ANY of our contemporary OCA Bishops has done ANYTHING to compare, as proper Episcopal action, with Bishop Matthias’s addressing the scandal of and its proprietor. I feel that website committed daily more offenses against the Lord and His teachings than Bishop Matthias has done in succumbing to his own attraction to an attractive young ADULT woman. Please also remember the Saviour’s teaching which caused EVEN SOME CHRISTIANS to ridicule President Carter. I hope that ‘The Sons of Job are Right” doesn’t imagine that no other member of the OCA’s Holy Synod has looked at another woman OR man with lust in his heart! According to OUR Scriptures and OUR Teacher, then, they should all resign as moral cripples, right?

    • Disgusted With It says (February 27, 2013 at 12:16 pm):

      I wonder, what does the young woman in question think?
      etc, etc
      It’s my considered opinion — mine alone — that if Bp Matthias is returned to office, this woman will bring charges against him in civil law, since sexual harassment is a crime both in Illinois and Indiana.

      Our OCA, wounded as it is now in so many other ways, will probably collapse altogether if BpM is reinstated.

      We need a serious sort of housecleaning in our OCA’s Holy Synod, bereft as we are at the moment of suitable bishops, both those still shamefully in office and those eparchies who have none at the moment.

      ‘Lord, save Your people and bless Your heritage!’

      • Pere LaChaise says

        Monk James makes a reasonable conjecture here, without paranoid maundering – the OCA might be exposed to huge liability if Bp. Matthias is reinstated. I wonder why the Synod doesn’t see that threat. It looms ominous.

        • Fr. George Washburn says

          Well, Pere:

          The last time I was in Paris my son Greg and I tried to stop by to see you late one afternoon, but they were just closing the gates. It is a good place for reflection.

          From my perspective of 33 years as a member of the CA Bar I must take issue with your supposition that re-admitting Bp. Matthias to his see – a move I am not advocating – has any serious potential as such for exposing the OCA to “huge liability.” In my opinion your grave (pun intended) speculation has no basis in fact or law.

          Whatever His Grace did or did not do regarding the young woman was done a long time ago. The factual basis for any claim has been fixed. As I understand it a) the young woman is a pretty well-balanced individual who is not about to claim her whole life was derailed by the bishop’s communications, and b) there was no actual touching or other conduct (threats, coercion, etc.) which would give rise to the fear of substantial punitive damages. I could see his return to the see causing the victim to revisit her feelings and reconsider what seems to be her entirely reasonable choice so far not to make a legal mess of things, but not ipso facto to substantially increase the kind of damages she could claim.

          I write this not condone what he did or to suggest that he be restored, but rather to correct what I see as an ill-supported alarmism about punitive damages which is being used by his opponents as a make-weight argument against possible reinstatement. Like most make-weight arguments, it isn’t worth its, well, weight in words and only detracts from the force of the real arguments against reinstatement.


          Fr. George

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            Father George’s legal opinion is always welcome and important, especially when, as here, he eschews his customary knee-jerk moralizing. I would only add that such hyperbole as “huge liability” has become standard. This sort of hyperbole permeates the whole brouhaha engineered by Archbishop Job of blessed memory and his proxy, ‘Voices from Canton” . At its height, the partisans of the jealous attacks on Metropolitan Theodosius’s and Protopresbyter R.S. Kondratick’s alleged FELONIES, was simply smothering in its talk of the threat of IRS, FBI, CIA, etc. holding the OCA hugely liable if something were not done immediately. One Metropolitan Council member (and attorney, and co-author of the STINKBOMB) used to admonish readers of that if ANY prosecutor, like for example, Eliot Spitzer, would read the evidence against the Chancellor, he’d be behind bars in a flash and/or the OCA would presumably be subject to ruinous prosecution.
            As it turned out, the actions AGAINST the Chancellor came closer to putting the OCA’s financial well-being at risk than anything he ever did.

          • Mark from the DOS says

            I think the greatest risk of liability would be not from the current woman alleging the conduct, but the liability that would be faced if there were later misconduct of a more egregious nature. In that instance, the returning of a bishop to active service with known issues, could certainly be seen as conscious disregard/gross negligence sufficient to trigger liability for punitive damages. I don’t think that’s hyperbole in the least, especially given the awareness of clergy abuse in the public eye. It is however, premised on future bad conduct.

            I would agree that the present instance, with no prior record of abuse, would not appear to evoke huge fears of large actual damages, much less liability for punitives.

            • Daniel E. Fall says

              There is another liability the is much more subjective and possibly far more damaging.

              What about parishoners that just get tired of all the bullstuff about Bishops and their personal lives to the point they lose interest in the church?

              You all know what really happened in Syosset; the personal lives of at least two of the last three/make that four Metropolitans have overshadowed the right and proper functioning of the church. Some would argue 3 of the last 4, but that isn’t my point here.

              The gay man’s revenge was only revenge on the person that held the gay man, or should we say, men, hostage. And now you blame him, which is damn hilarious and twisted.

              Monk James rightly suggests Bishop Matthias should be done, but for liability purposes. Too bad Monk James is unwilling to recognize what unspoken liabilities existed between the other parties and how it was negative for the church, et al. He didn’t do anything wrong except hold unspoken matters above them Monk James.

              Given this misconduct matter is out in the open, it is far healthier than the prior scandal(s), but that doesn’t take away the fact that noone will respect Bishop Moriak.

              Bishop Moriak himself ought to ask for retirement. It would be the only way to earn the respect of others.

              The personal lives of Bishops can never be the highlight of churchlife.

              Let me know when they remember.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      What difference does it make what COULD happen? It DID happen.

      Let’s say a year or two ago you polled 100 people and asked them, “Hey, would you want a bishop who had a silly crush on a girl and acted on it?” What do you think they’d say? I’m guessing they would all say, “No, thank you.” They would not ask, “”Would he do it again?” or “Did we like him?” or “Do other bishops do worse?”

      One of my favorite bishops may point out that others have behaved much more poorly,. I don’t dispute that. If it were up to me, they would all be gone, But we’re not talking about them. We’re talking about THIS bishop and sadly, for him, and for all of us who believed in him, he blew it. The best thing he could do is accept responsibility and bow out.

    • Catholic Observer says

      I take it you do not work in a large corporation? In the corporate context, as the Sons of Job observed, sexual harassment is simply not tolerated, period — whether it is “on the low end,” “on the high end,” or anywhere in between.

      In this day and age, I cannot believe there is even a question about this.

      • Disgusted With It says

        There’s a question about this because only 2 people have first-hand knowledge of the truth of what happened. Thus, there needs to be a thorough investigation and a decision based on the testimony of the people directly involved.

        What I DID find helpful to understanding the situation was when “The Sons of Job are right” commented above that the dean reported on the woman’s status. That’s what matters to me. I don’t care what a bunch of matushki assume, or a bunch of bloggers, or anything other than what the woman herself believes when it comes to this incident. She knows best the dynamics of what transpired and the investigation should rely heavily on her testimony, as well as the responses of the bishop. And the people of the diocese should respect that too.

        “Zero tolerance” can be a bunch of baloney if it is applied in a way that ignores the truth of a situation as related by the people directly involved and affected. I’ve overheard bishops tell off-color jokes — should they be removed for that? Nobody there seemed to think it was a big deal (even though I think it’s in poor taste, especially for a bishop), but under “zero tolerance” they should be fired immediately, right? I’ve known people fired in the corporate world for that very thing, simply because they were overheard by a third party.

        I’m not saying the bishop is innocent. In the very least, he should not have sent such texts regardless of what he believed his intentions to be. If the young woman believes and shows that this was intentional harassment and is not anything else, and the bishop has no reasonable response, then I believe the bishop should be removed immediately. But it all goes back to a good, clean and honest investigation — something the current OCA administration is not trusted by many people to do.

    • The Church: Manning Up

      By Fr. Dale Matson ( Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin)

      “ When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11, KJV)

      It has been said often enough that the innovation in theology and decline in membership in parts of the church is a failure of the bishops in the church to be bishops. They did not do their duty to “…banish and drive away from the church all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God’s Word…” (1929 BCP) They failed to protect the sheep.

      Reflecting on this further, it seems to me that bishops are first and foremost called to be men of God. But what does this mean? What is a Godly man? For that matter, what is a man? At the most basic level, much of the church has become feminized and matriarchal. Is the church, still even a place for men?

      I have asked a few of my male friends, ranging from from midlife to old age, this question. “How many men have you known in your life”? Without exception, there is a long pause and in some cases a candid, “None”. Even older friends from law enforcement were hard pressed to name one person they could call a man. No one including me thought of their fathers as an example of man. Few men are fully developed and individuated.

      Sometimes it is easier to describe what a man is not. A man is not what a feminist tainted with misanthropy would want him to be; a dancing bear. A man is not a Hollywood self-absorbed metrosexual preening in front of the cameras. A man is not a hard core gang member that is only one dimensional; a man-as-warrior. A man is not a sports ‘hero’ who is tested only in a stadium praised by sports groupies and aging ex-jocks on ESPN. How many athletes have disappointed the hopeful and adoring fans, so willing to put them on a pedestal only to see them come crashing down once again. How many athletes have fueled their performance with drugs or were convicted of crimes? They were athletically gifted but morally corrupt. A soldier is only one aspect of manhood. Soldiers are the Wildman and Warrior needing a leader and a mission.

      Just as a bishop is required to ordain a priest, it takes a man to bring males to full manhood. It is like an apprenticeship in a guild. A fully developed man is a master craftsman in the field of man making. Real men are not just needed, they are necessary. It is a matter of testing, trial and time. The hero journey of Telemachus is the story of a boy becoming a man but he had a wife and children also. They were a part of his man making. So much of man making is sacrificial. Family or church or country requires sacrifice. It is not acquisition as much as divestment. It is not leading as much as serving. It is not being strong as much as it is being strong for those who lack strength.

      Even though men are a rare and threatened species, they do not need protection. Real men may become martyrs but are never victims. They are not clamoring for their rights because they are concerned about the rights of others. Real men are godly men. Christ is our ultimate model. He was fully man. The bishops that turned aside from evil, compromised with heresy and participated in innovation, not only failed to be bishops, they failed to be men.

      In my next posting, I will use Dr. Bob Wilson (1927-1999) my mentor as an example of a fully developed and individuated Christian man. We must never forget who real men were that we may know who real men are.

    • According to what we read on the internet, it looks like Bishop Matthias was totally out of line. The Church should deal with the situation according to the canons.

      But the above article is like a group of people standing around the coffee maker, making themselves into judge, jury and executioner, while simultaneously turning the “crowd” into the same. If anyone comments in a way critical of the Sons of Job, who “Can’t Be Wrong,” that person will be branded.

      We are not told in the above article what Bishop Matthias and Bishop Alexander actually said in the meetings. We are only told that others who were there said Bishop Matthis was “self-pitying,” “manipulative,” etc. I’m not disputing that he was, but I am questioning the way it’s being presented. It smacks of manipulation on their part.

      I still find it ironic that The Sons of Job name themselves after Ever Memorable Archbishop Job. Are they his legacy? It looks like the Sons of Job are from the Midwest, and many clergy and their wives are part of this group.

      Aren’t these the same clergy who signed their names to the letter supporting Bishop Job back in the day? Are they still in full support of everything Archbishop Job, Mark Stokoe and Eric Wheeler said and did back then? Do they support them to this day, even after all the testimony that has been written by those who knew them well, which goes against the rosy picture of old? This seems two-faced to me. Actually, to be honest, it makes me feel kind of sick and betrayed.

      I’m leery of the Sons of Job. I wonder what is going on when all these clergy and deans and wives of the Midwest speak out so anonymously; but I don’t expect them to clarify or answer my questions.

    • Jane Rachel says

      According to what we read on the internet, it looks like Bishop Matthias was totally out of line. The Church should deal with the situation according to the canons.

      But the above article is like a group of people standing around the coffee maker, making themselves into judge, jury and executioner, while simultaneously turning the “crowd” into the same. If anyone comments in a way critical of the Sons of Job, who “Can’t Be Wrong,” that person will be branded.

      Except for a couple of phrases, we are not told what Bishop Matthias actually said during the meeting. We are told that others who were there said Bishop Matthias was “self-pitying,” “manipulative,” etc. I’m not disputing it; but I am questioning the way it’s being presented. It smacks of manipulation on their part.

      I still find it ironic that The Sons of Job name themselves after Ever Memorable Archbishop Job. Are they his legacy? It looks like the Sons of Job are from the Midwest, and many clergy and their wives are part of this group.

      Aren’t these the same clergy who signed their names to the letter supporting Bishop Job back in the day? Are they still in full support of everything Archbishop Job, Mark Stokoe and Eric Wheeler said and did back then? Do they support them to this day, even after all the testimony that has been written by those who knew them well, which goes against the rosy picture of old? This seems two-faced to me. Actually, to be honest, it makes me feel kind of sick and betrayed.

      I’m leery of the Sons of Job. I wonder what is going on when all these clergy and deans and wives of the Midwest speak out so anonymously; but I don’t expect them to clarify or answer my questions.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Isn’t the problem really that Syosset got out in front of itself with this whole Sex Czar business?

  2. While I am sympathetic to those fine Midwesterners who expect their bishop to behave like a bishop, I cringed at some of the statements in this article, especially in the dean’s letter:

    When they observe that the Church has lower standards of consequences for sexual misconduct, harassment, and ‘Zero Tolerance’ than the U.S. Military or Corporate America – it is too much.

    Both the military and the corporate world are governed by mad leftist worms and by cowards who bow to them and to their demonic ideology. Sexual harassment “law” in the United States is an unpleasant reminder of how weak and pathetic money-worshiping bourgeois society has become. Don’t rock the boat, and you’ll keep your job and paycheck — justice and integrity be damned!

    And the language of the Sons themselves shows that they have adopted the mindset of feminism:

    We had an archpastor with an immeasurable power differential of age, gender and office . . .

    “Power differential,” “gender,” — these are ominous signs that the churchmen have fully adopted the Zeitgeist.

    The bishop appears to have poor judgment, where he is more concerned about his own desires than about the good of his flock. There is no need to borrow the contaminating values of the enemies of traditional civilization to call his fitness for the episcopate into question.

    • Catholic Observer says

      I see what you are saying, kinda-sorta, but would you really want to return to the era when there were no sexual harassment laws? As a woman, I sure wouldn’t.

      It’s not just leftist whiners who appreciate such laws. It’s any woman who has ever been humiliated by innuendo-laced questions at a job interview. Or who has attended an offsite sales conference that featured a “wet T-shirt” contest. (For female employees only, of course.) Or who has repulsed an attempted RAPE by her boss in the bowels of Widener Library and then received neither credence nor support from her employer, Harvard College Libraries. Or who has been fired from an ad agency after complaining to her superior about an influential client’s repeated sexual advances.

      All of the incidents I’ve recounted above are 100% true stories. The first two occurred in my own life; the last two happened to friends.

      You may want to go back to those days, before the “leftists” insisted that women have some protection and redress against workplace predators.

      As for me…thanks, but no thanks.

      (Yes, I am aware that there are male victims, too, but they are outnumbered by female victims, as you yourself seem to concede via your references to feminism.)

      • Joseph A. says

        Oh, absolutely. Those grievous dark days — you know, the 1950’s — when crimes were about transgressing clearly defined boundaries rather than about the subjective, perceived discomfort of “protected classes.” When standards for proper conduct were based upon the common, received morality of a Christian people rather than cowards’ fear of lawsuits by the Left’s designated pet victim groups. When society had the good sense to carve out spheres of sociable interaction for men and women and to regulate, through social force and through law, the necessary decorum and behavior required for a civilized society. After the deluge, when we live in an anarcho-tyrannical state of fear and mistrust, we have far more use, abuse, and degradation of women than existed in those intolerable years before the sexual and cultural revolution. Would I return society to civilization and away from barbarism? Definitely!

        • Catholic Observer says

          Oh please. I am a conservative in both politics and religion. I undoubtedly agree with you more than I disagree, on most topics at least. But this does not mean that I believe tolerance of sexual harassment is better than zero tolerance for sexual harassment. Not all social developments are eeeeeeevil.

          I was born in the early ’50s. I saw the Good Things about that era. I also saw the Bad Things. Appreciation for the Good Things does not mean that we should turn a blind eye to the Bad Things. The 1950s were not some halcyon Golden Age. They had their problems, too. Reality is always messy that way, inn’t it? 😉

          Bottom line: Sexual harassment must NOT be tolerated, period, either in the workplace or in the Church.

    • Pere LaChaise says

      Joseph, you write like a true zealot for a vague reminiscence of things that were better before women and people of color got involved. Welcome to the past, sir.

      • Joseph A. says

        Leftist regimes are unsustainable. For they misunderstand human nature (egalitarianism, refusal to acknowledge sex differences and roles, inconsistent awareness of the tribal reflex in man, and pretty much everything else characteristic of their insanity) and they aim for improper ends (autonomy of the individual will, fulfillment of the appetites, destruction of any hierarchy of values, priorities, or tastes beyond the individual’s choosing, overturning of all traditional, time-tested restraint, and the necessary, unavoidable contradictions of trying to impose liberalism – a glorification of the self – on others). And so they will not last long. The more successful they are in implementing their perverse understanding of justice, the quicker they will kill their host society. They are thus bad parasites (bad for the host and, in the long run, for themselves). One would think that so many who claim Darwin and natural science as unassailable authorities would apply the concept of fitness to their own political situation.

        It is fitting that you take the name of a graveyard; it reminds me of Dostoevsky’s famous line about Europe. In that lovely Parisian plot lies the corpse of Jim Morrison, whose own life manifests well the disorder of the new regime and of the new man. In it, also, are the bodies of Héloïse and Abélard, who dealt with the injustices of the old regime — though a regime capable of regularly producing such beautiful and noble souls that transcend the shortcomings of an unjust world. In any human society, comprised of fallen men, there will be ugliness and rot. Some societies, however, cultivate virtue and goodness. Ours gives us Sandra Fluke. I’ll happily remember (through cultural memory, not my own) the time before sluts as sluts became our society’s heroes.

        Do you blame the involvement of women and “people of color” [per Lou Grant — which color?] for the fall? Or is their lack of involvement all that matters? So, a strong, prosperous, socially (comparably) unified republic — 1950’s America, where, incidently, Americans of all “colors” and sexes were more involved in their communities and with each other than in our age of increasing alienation — is to be condemned because women still largely ran domestic and unofficial civic affairs rather than the corporate world and elected offices? Because American blacks lived, depending on their location, with state-sponsored or state-tolerated segregation? Behold the liberal’s true mind-set! He would rather everyone live in equal misery in a husk of decaying commonwealth than for people to live happily unequally in a stable and generally healthy society. For women and blacks are less happy now than in those terrible days before the 1960’s, but liberals can only process information with images of white cops with billy clubs and riot gear and the poor, eternally oppressed Negro. Where is the concern for blacks’ welfare as a result of the Orwellian named “welfare”? Where is the concern for blacks’ moral goodness? Where is the liberal’s self-righteousness when the lower end of American blacks now live in a culture so filthy and bleak that even the Hobbesian state of nature looks more human and ennobling by comparison? In the terrible days of Jim Crow, it was much easier to find intact black families, solid and packed black religious congregations, black neighborhoods where crime was low and trust was high, and individual black Americans of developed virtue and good sense. The civil rights movement was useful for the talented tenth, but things took a nosedive for everyone else once whites started “helping” the poor blacks of neverending victimhood. This should not surprise anyone honest about human nature, but liberals do not believe in human nature. Moreover, for liberals, blacks are not moral agents — not human beings who choose right or wrong like everyone else — but rather sacralized objects of devotion by which liberals may practice their substitute heathen religion on the altar of white guilt (not their own, mind you, but others’). Every misdeed by a black is not a sin, crime, or moral failing, but rather the collective responsibility of “racism” – particular or “institutional” and “systemic.” To blot out these transgressions, the white liberals atone for the sins – of others. They are like Christ — indeed, better than Christ — since Christians are such bigots, you know. Every lefty is a little John “more popular than Jesus” Lennon who glows in self adulation, knowing that he is the redeemer of the world. Verily, verily, he is the one that he has been waiting for.

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          All leftist regimes? Norway? Sweden? Denmark? Cuba? Unsustainable?

          • Joseph I says

            Mmmh, have you been to Norway, Sweden, Denmark or Cuba lately? Maybe you should retire there. You would be surprised… It seems your Grace doesn’t get out very often, out of California and into the real world that is….

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              No, Joseph, have you ever been to Norway, Sweden, Denmark or Cuba? You are the one that claimed that regimes like theirs are “unsustainable,” no? As for real world, where do you live? Detroit? I live in the second largest city of the greatest country on earth and it is more than enough “real world” for me, though I prefer Washington DC. There’s a zoo, though, just this side of Louisiana, where I’ve spent some time, also iin these places: Georgia, Louisiana, Labrador, New York, Michigan, Minnesota, DC, Virginia, Japan, and so on….
              Couldn’t answer my question? That’s all right. I’m used to that happening—no reason you should be exceptional. I read a lot too, Joseph. Ever try it?

              • George Michalopulos says

                Your Grace, I think we can all agree that Cuba at least is a rat-hole.

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  You’re right, much of Cuba is, as far as we know from our media (which otherwise is not to be trusted at all, right?) a rat-hole. I just objected to the absurdity of it not being sustainable! Why, look at all the sanctions, isolation, Bays of Pigs, and so forth that a real variety of powerful, imperial American administrations have visited on the place, and yet….! Unable to learn, our most recent administrations, under AIPAC guidance, have tried their darnedest to make Iran “unsustainable” as well, through similar sanctions, naval maneuvers, and so on! The only way to make a place unsustainable is to save it for democracy, like iraq and Afghanistan.
                  I wonder, is Cuba REALLY worse than Mississippi or Detroit, Michigan?

                  • Joseph I. says

                    I wonder, is Cuba REALLY worse than Mississippi or Detroit, Michigan?
                    Do not wonder anymore, your Grace. You can leave Mississippi, Michigan and Detroit any time. Not so much your Land of Dreams, the Workers’ Paradise of Cuba… Why is it that those Marxist havens have to always prevent their beneficiaries from leaving?
                    One, I am familiar with, even built a wall to keep them inside the Promised Land. Or was it to keep their envious, capitalist, western brothers out? I can’t remember…

              • Joseph A. says

                Your Grace, actually it was I, not Joseph I, who argued that they were unsustainable, as they surely are.

                Take Sweden, for instance. Its ideology has reduced its birthrate, made its people into heathen hedonists incapable and unwilling to uphold their own nation, and invited alien hordes into its cities — an invasion that will lead to population replacement and to a very different cultural and social regime. In the meantime, when the less than leftist newcomers rape the women and assault the men, the society is voiceless and unable to address the problems (due to its ideology). Instead of identifying the causes behind the sharp spike in sexual assaults, the Swedes double down in their error and increase their estrogenized Orwellian policies, further emasculating Swedish men — the natural protectors of their compatriotes in a sane society. Similarly, when the newbies paint religio-ethnic slurs on synagogues and render some of the most Jew-friendly cities in the world dangerous to Jacob’s children, the elite worries about the rise of the “far right.” It’s beyond dystopic fiction, beyond farce. What has led those well ordered Scandinavians to such madness? Their autophagous leftist ideology, which will destroy their society, unless, as we hope, they will repent of it before it consumes them.

              • Joseph I says

                Yes your Grace, I have been to all four of these Marxist wonders, several times… and to an assortment of others of similar coleur. They are all not only unsustainable, but in fact utterly bankrupt, morally, spiritually and of course economically. The Nordic states are welfare states well on their way into Marxist Nirvana. Cuba however, has already arrived.
                It may also be news to you and Pere LaChaise that a whole bunch of these Marxist wonderlands have already bitten the dust… I can’t think of why. Maybe they were unsustainable?
                I am always amazed how the learn-resistant progressives again and again go through the same insane processes, never minding the dead bodies left on the side of the road, in the hope that the next round of general misery will finally bring their earthly paradise. I would not mind if they would live with the consequences of their lunacy, but unfortunately, they are into sharing and that part of the re-distribution will go to the poor souls who are living in the real world.
                I would also like to thank your Grace and Pere LaChaise for another excellent demonstration of progressive argumentation. I am always in awe about the elegance and ease with which the lack of fact is overcome by substituting insults. As a troglodyte-traditionalist, I can only dream of ever achieving this excellence in rhetoric.

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  Now, THAT is funny, Joseph i!

                • Nate Trost says

                  GDP per capita (World Bank, USD, 2010):
                  Cuba $4,495
                  Denmark $56,486
                  Norway $85,443
                  Sweden $49,360

                  One of these things is not like the others…

                  GDP graph (World bank, constant 2000 USD, 1970-2010):


                  Transparency International Corruption Rankings 2012:
                  Denmark (1st)
                  Sweden (4th)
                  Norway (7th)
                  Cuba (58th)

                  World Bank Ease of Doing Business Rankings 2012:
                  Denmark (5th)
                  Norway (6th)
                  Sweden (13th)
                  Cuba (Ha-ha)

                  It’s quite entertaining to read paragraphs of spittle-flecked invectives against a bunch of countries denouncing them as morally and economically bankrupt (not to mention Marxist wonders) when the countries in question in fact rank at or very near the top of the world charts for economic output per head, government transparency and lack of corruption, and ease of starting and operating a business. Just lump them in with Cuba!

                  • Joseph I. says

                    Nate Trost,

                    …and your statistics proof exactly what? Is related how, to what Joseph A. or I have said about the Nordic countries? If you would not mind taking off your rose-coloured glasses and have a look at the marode actuality of these countries (or for that matter almost all Western welfare states) you might not have to rely on irrelevant statistics of the World Bank. You know that World Bank: “Working for a World Free of Poverty”…

                    I hope I have contributed, again, a little, to your entertainment with some minor, spittle-flecked invective, about some countries and a bank both of which you probably have no knowledge other than what was taught to you at the progressive college of your choice…

                    • Nate Trost says

                      You have indeed contributed to my entertainment, because I think you are completely unaware, for all your blustering about Marxist this and progressive colleges that, just how much you sound like the stereotypical greybeard Marxist tenured professor circa the early 1990s. How long have you been at UC Berkeley? I mean seriously, your posts seem to judge everything through the lens of your political ideology, without any grounding in actual empirical data of the realms you are criticizing.

                      “irrelevant statistics” you say. How quaint. There are a great many things in life that can not be feasibly quantified or reduced down to numeric analysis for judgement or ranking. You proclaiming that a country is “spiritually bankrupt”, perhaps because they let their women serve in government, or wear pants, would be one such example. Knock yourself out with that. If you’re going to call a country “economically bankrupt”, you are going to face more criticism, because we generally represent the concept of money with a innovation called numbers. You not only appear to have no grasp of the numbers (yes, the country of less than 5 million people with a $650+ billion sovereign wealth fund is bankrupt), you apparently feel they are irrelevant compared to the political and social philosophies of the target of your criticism. You’re just one small hop step skip and jump from busting out the historical dialectic!

                      It’s also amusing that because you have an ideological axe to grind with the World Bank, you object to my use of their figures (they have a quite nice web-front end tool for quickly generating dynamically built reports with export to Excel, I’m not going to waste that much time on your silliness) on purely ideological grounds, not because the data itself is faulty, but because you think it’s irrelevant. Remind me again why you don’t sound like said stereotypical professor?

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Nate, there are other demographic factors that you’re overlooking, one that gives some socialist countries a measure of success. Here they are:

                    1. The four nordic countries cited are all homogeneous, northern European countries.

                    2. They were part of the Reformed movement which stresses Weber’s Protestant work ethic.

                    In contrast, Cuba is opposite in almost every other measure:

                    1. It had a Catholic manana ethos.

                    2. It was heterogeneous and socially stratified, with a white, Castillian overclass which was entrepeneurial ruling over a black, formerly-slave underclass.

                    3. The vast majority of exiles from Cuba come from the Castilian demographic.

                    • Nate Trost says

                      None of those factors you mention are remotely as relevant as the fact that the Nordic states are not socialist countries. Calling them such is an abuse of political and economic classification on par with say, referring to the “Gospel of Romans”.

            • Pere LaChaise says

              Joseph, you are what lefties would call a ‘creep’.

  3. +Matthias is shown the door, maybe for good reason, but +Benjamin who certainly scandalized his flock driving drunk, possibly endangering the lives of unknown number, defecates in the back of a squad car, verbally abuses the arresting officers and he continues as a diocesan bishop? He continues to abuse people with his vicious, disrespectful and mean behavior. Bishop Alexander is one of the bishops sent to speak to the Midwest diocese yet he was for decades was barred from becoming a bishop because of impediments?

    I am not saying that +Matthias should return to the Midwest but I find it hypocritical for the OCA to judge some while others do the judging who themselves are not blameless. It really makes me sick to see the OCA making a mockery of itself. I feel very bad for the faithful in the Midwest trying to do God’s work in a dysfunctional jurisdiction. Some things are beyond repair and I am afraid the OCA is one. Best those good clergy and faithful not look to Syosset to solve their problems and look elsewhere for a safe harbor away from the OCA sickness.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Are you in the OCA or are you one of those who delights in taking pot shots from the “safety” of another jurisdiction?

      Let me ask you another question: do you think thta yourself and others like you are as motivated by the shortcomings of the OCA as by a desire for certain realignments occur in the North American ecclesiastical landscape?

      • George Michalopulos says

        Carl, the same question could be asked about some of Jonah’s detractors who comment on this site.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          I think my question is valid and I hope that it is answered. I am starting to believe that it is the agenda of some folks to strengthen their own jurisdiction by weakening the OCA.

          • Disgusted With It says

            If the OCA could be weakened by some anonymous poster on Monomakhos, then the OCA is in much worse shape than we all thought.

          • George Michalopulos says

            You would be wrong Carl.

            My “agenda” has always been the strengthening of the OCA and its claim to autocephaly. As stated several times, the OCA had several gifts to bring to North America and for my money, has been the greatest missionary enterprise performed by Orthodoxy in America bar none. Yes, I know about the explosive growth of the AOCNA and its God-pleasing outreach to the Evangelical Orthodox (many years! for this Metropolitan Philip) but that was essentially a one-off. From its inception in Sitka some 200 years ago, the Russian Missionary Archdiocese has worked valiantly to evangelize Americans and sanctify the English language. It has likewise become independent and under Jonah, was ready to explode even further. (To say nothing about making immense progress in healing the wounds with the other jurisdictions and ROCOR.) These were no small things. Now this is all squandered. Our moral authority is kaput. Therefore the other jurisdictions will not (if they are sane) pay us any heed or try to learn any lessons from us.

            It’s a sad picture, Carl.

            In addition, due process matters. If Jonah were ill-suited by temperament to be primate (which I’m not sure what that entails as far as the Revered Protosbyterians are concerned), then a peaceful accommodation could have been found. Instead, a defamatory —and unsigned–letter was put out and since then, the Apparat has doubled-down almost weekly on their stupidity, thereby making the situation infinitely worse. To the point I dare say that –barring repentance (after all, with God all things are possible)–the situation in not salvageable.

            • George–You are wrong when you claim that “our moral authority is kaput.” First, you would have to believe in the Hegelian approach to history to think than any given man can change history all by himself. (I would submit to you that, even if that were the case, +Jonah was the wrong man). Second, I look around town and I see folks approaching our church because they do not agree with you that our moral authority is kaput. That is the case in the other parishes in the diocese, and I would not be surprised that this situation is replicated elsewhere. Third, the OCA has the only theological school that grants doctorates, a huge achievement by any means. Fourth, the moral and intellectual stature of our theologians, particularly Father Behr, is recognized far and wide.

              No, the OCA is far from having one foot in the grave. She continues to be a vital part of the Church in North America. At the very least, she is a pointed reminder to all that there must come a time when there is an administratively united and autocephalous local church on this continent. A local church whose mission is NOT to advance the state interests of Russia, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, etc.. A local church whose mission is not to advance the ethnophyletic interests of Greeks, Russian, Bulgarians, Serbians, Romanians, etc…A local church that that is truly missionary and that will convert this continent to Holy Orthodoxy. No other jurisdiction, except may be the Antiochians, is even interested in a local church. In short, all other options are barren and futile, barring dramatic changes in the outlook and mission of the foreign patriarchates. Let me run it down for you:

              The ROC (and inevitably the ROCOR) is becoming once again part and parcel of the Russian state. The Russian state is flexing its muscles and wants to reenact the Russian Empire. In the process, it is demonizing the United States. When push comes to shove, I think that the next Russian Empire needs the Ukraine much more than defending Orthodoxy against Constantinople’s novel interpretation of Canon 28. Can’t you see that the “maximal autonomy” gambit was part and parcel of this push? My feeling is that ROCOR will find it increasingly difficult to convert Americans to a church that is part of an anti-American state and simply does not care for the church in the United States. Thank God that the OCA has distanced herself from that foolish attempt to side with Putin’s dream of a new Russian Empire.

              Constantinople: The First among Equals continues to struggle for her existence, especially because the state of Greece is floundering and she must depend on overseas exarchates for support. My feeling is that the Assembly of Bishops’ solution will not result in an administratively united autocephalous church. I think that this eventuality will be supported by the other Patriarchates as they all are under severe political and economic pressures.

              The rest: There is no reason for any of the rest to support an adiminstratively united autocephalous church. Frankly, with the two elephants (Moscow and Constantinople) in the room, they better be ultra-careful.

              That leaves you with OCA and the Antiochians, who at this moment are understandably worried about the Patriarchate and the many thousands of fellow Orthodox who are facing a real existential crisis. I think that it is inevitable that these two jurisdictions will unite one of these days. Otherwise, they are much too small on their own to dance with the two elephants, neither one of which have the interests of this continent at heart.

              I have no idea how important this site is; however, even a small leak can eventually bring down the dam. It is therefore critical that we all build up, instead of tear down, the OCA.

              • George Michalopulos says

                As usual Carl, you overlook the rotting corpse in the middle of the room. The victim of a crime is not guilty of the crime but the perpetrators. If Jonah was guilty of succumbing to coercion, it means that that there was coercion and duress.

                two questions:

                1. Which is the greater crime? and

                2. Is the synod to walk away unmolested because of their criminality?

                Maybe a teenage girl shouldn’t have been at the party but did she deserve to be raped?

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  George–I think you replied to the wrong post. This one should have been addressed to my post of yesterday on the More from Russia, not with love thread, to wit:

                  “Once again, if +Jonah succumbed to coercion, he has violated his consecration oaths, as well as sacred canons, and should be deposed. George, I am astounded that you continue to think that this akin to a business contract, where succumbing to coercion would not be regarded as a fault. +Jonah’s contract was with the Lord and His Church, wherein he solemnly promised that he would not succumb to coercion–even unto death. Why is this so hard to understand?”

                  Once again, what exactly do you mean by coercion? It seems to me that you are not offering any evidence that the coercion was extreme (no one held a gun to his head or stretched him on a rack or any other torture that so many martyrs endured); physical (no one physically forced him to write and sign the resignation letter), or even through psychological abuse (folks did not continuously yell at him and called him vile names).

                  Now, it may be that his constitution was such that even a slight rebuke or raising of one’s voice may have hurt his delicate sensibilities. It may be that his world was shaken to the core when he found out that “These last three years have been the three most difficult years of my life. I have been under a relentless barrage of criticism for most of this time from every forum I am meant to oversee: the Chancery officers and staff, the Metropolitan Council, and — most troubling to me — the Holy Synod of Bishops.”

                  I do not see coercion but criticism and attempts to help him fulfill his promises at Santa Fe and at Seattle. You defend him as if he is not a man but a child, a very small and defenseless petulant child who is crying out: “They made me do it! They made me break my solemn oaths! Meanies!!!!”

              • Disgusted With It says

                There’s serious reason to believe there’s moral corruption in the OCA, but we’re supposed to focus our attention on others being ethnic? I don’t get it.

                What does Russian Church-State relations have to do with allegations of sexual and other improprieties among OCA bishops? What does St. Vladimir’s offering doctorates have to do with an OCA administration that ignores, or even possibly accepts, immorality among it’s clergy? To me that’s like a drunk driver telling the judge in his defense that his neighbor swears too much.

          • I am OCA Carl and I don’t think that. What I do think is that many of the posters here, especially those who are OCA have screamed themselves hoarse trying to make the ship’s captain and her officers realize we’re nuzzling a carrier sized iceberg that’s peeling the hull like a paring knife…but all we’ve managed to do is alert them to mounds of freshly shaved ice on the deck from which they have promptly made a fresh round of Peach Parma Daquaries for those dining in the captain’s wardrobe.

            It now appears, that it may well be too late, it’s all over but the sinking; time to locate a nice life boat while time remains for that…it looks like it is going to get crowded real soon. If by some miraculous fluke it is not yet too late, then if things continue much longer as they are it very soon will be. Right now, only some heroic measures will save the OCA from its own leadership and get us back to port for repairs. Sadly, I think we are fresh out of heroes. Who in our leadership has time to be heroic when the Peach Parmas are so cold and so delicious.

            I didn’t want the OCA to fail…I believed in the power of the gift of her autocephalacy…but that gift has been so abused and squandered, it is beyond even a fervent clapping of many hands to revive it. Under Met. Jonah, despite his newness as a bishop, despite the steep learning curve he would undoubtedly face, and despite detractors who did not share his God given vision for the OCA…there was a chance we might come through after all and begin to be what we were called to be.

            It would be great if the OCA could somehow survive as a genuinely Orthodox body in the years ahead, if it could find and establish true and faithful bishops to replace so many of the current crop, if it took up that vision again. It would be wonderful…like life from death….I just don’t see a path at present that gets us there….rather, I see the framing out of a sign that when it’s last stroke of lettering is finished will read Ichabod. And then the parishes and dioceses will have to take refuge wherever they can find it among the remaining canonical Orthodox jurisdictions.

            • M. Stankovich says


              The Orthodox Church in America has existed in this country for exactly forty years. I do not know how that translates in “dog years,” but I can tell you that according to Erik Erickson, developmentally, a man is not considered an “adult” until after completing the 24th year of life. My point? What, in heaven’s name, is forty years in the life of any local Orthodox Church? Pick any autonomous or autocephalous local Church, examine their primary half-century and what do you find? But wait! Find one that exists(-ed) in the multi-jurisdictional “diasphora” lunacy that is ours, where that local Church is not even acknowledged to exist. You have American born, American seminary trained men serving in ethnic jurisdictions in America, who comment, here & there, with a “respectful” but grateful detachment. I stood with such men in the seminary chapel 6 days a week, for the most part, and somehow never thought it odd that they were absent on Sunday, and Feasts, and Pascha, and for their ordination because they were in their ethnic church. Today I see the lunacy. And somehow, Seraphim, it was the “dis” of covert disrespect that hung over the OCA from its inception that was far worse to endure.

              I do not believe I’ve ever read since of the evening Archbishop Iakovos and his entourage, with very little warning, showed up with only minutes to spare to serve the the Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts. His photographer crept around in the Φῶς Ἱλαρόν, not so much because he was even interested in us, but rather our ecclesiarch, Elias (Wesley) Jones, a for-real African-American, even directing him to the Communion line of the Archbishop for photos. Fr. Alexander greeted the Archbp. magnanimously – wasn’t it all about tacit acceptance & approval? – and not a single word of support, or encouragement, or nothing from the man who walked the streets of Memphis with Martin Luther King. “Happy to be here.” Did he stay for the meal or even to bless the food? Umm, no. Did he come out with the Cross, distribute antidiron, greet or offer blessings to students, Let me think… that would be no, no, and no. Like today, they would not serve with us, they would not acknowledge us. Why did he come, under cover of darkness? Respect for Fr. Alexander? It wasn’t for the swag.

              And finally Seraphim, after enduring at least 35 successive years of lunacy, you’re telling me it all came down to Jonah Paufhausen and his “God-given vision for the OCA?” Mark my word: when his “vision” is made known, and it will be, you will think differently. Forty years is nothing, and this accusation of “squandering” autocephaly is empty and stupid. The Orthodox Church in America has never been allowed to exercise its autocephaly! At the time of the Tomos of Autocephaly, the ROC literally could do nothing to provide foundation,guidance, direction, or support for the OCA, and now they are able, and now they should be called upon.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Mr Stankovich, it’s an interesting progression, your jihad against Metropolitan Jonah. First we were told a year ago that there was some health issue. Then about six months ago we were told it was a psychological issue. Now were are titillated with –what exactly? A vague threat that someday his real “vision [will be] made known”? Why can’t you just say it now? Was he a heretic? A right-winger? An operative of the CIA? A regular attendee of the Bohemian Grove, Bilderburg, or the CFR?

                At least Mdme DeFarge has the audacity to state outright what s/he believes. What’s holding you back? Your spiritual mentor? Would this be the same bishop who wrote the glowing preface to Jonah’s book which was published by SVS last year?

                • jacksson says

                  Pardon me George but you have it all wrong. Metropolitan was castigated as a ‘poor administrator’; and now the OCA is being administered by a ‘reportedly’ worse administrator. I was around the monastery scene at Pt. Reyes and then Manton from the very beginning until 2010 and was of the opinion that then Fr. Jonah was a very capable administrator; shows how appearances can be deceptive. lol

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    I really like our new Metropolitan’s common-sense leadership that is informed with a deep and sincere love for the Lord and His Church, fidelity to the Holy Tradition, and conciliarity. He is the kind of leader who will surround himself with folks who complement him, giving them just the proper authority commensurate with their responsibilities, and making decisions after prayer, due deliberation, and coordination with his fellow bishops.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Mr. Michalopulos,

                  For the record, we have never met, you do not, in fact, “know me,” and have never even heard my voice (Unless you’ve heard me sit in with 3 psychiatrist friends of mine to jam the blues with my 1970 pre-CBS, jumbo-headstock Fender Strat with Clapton-style mid-range boost – cryptic? If you know, my friend,you know!) . I have acquired an appreciation for your ability, sight unseen, to repeatedly reduce me – my basic fund of information, executive functions, ego functions – including analytical examination & perspective – emotions, desires, gender-identification, and masculinity – to a “bot.” To a “water-carrier” and “agenda merchant.” And worse, Mr. Michalopulos, you frequently suggest I may be so ignorant, be so unconscious, and so mezmerized & entranced, I am even unaware! And imagine, I am allowed to operate a motor vehicle… Thankfully, as it appears you have watched a whole lot of TV, you are able to see through the craftily-applied veneer, and cut to the chase. While this is less sophisticated (no pejorative intended) than Fr. Ionnaes “high-handed” dismissals by virtue of “scolding and moralizing does not play here,” you are a solid second.

                  Thankfully, I am blessed with the ability to conduct my life without the added criterion of “What Would Jonah Paufhausen Do?” (WWJPD) Hmm… Now that’s vaguely familiar… Apparently your way of managing this fact is to continuously attempt to put me in a cage in the public square like Ezra Pound, and whomever comes to “rescue” me will necessarily reveal themselves and the plot. Aha! Monomakhos says: This just in: “J’ACCUSE!” Michalopulos as Zolla, Munchkins of the catacombs, come out! Witch is dead!” George, my friend, wake me when it’s over. It takes a real man to walk past the glaring sign in CA state prisons informing you that, when you pass this point, the state will not negotiate with prisoners for hostages. Gulp.

                  I know it’s hard for you to imagine, but on those rare occasions when I am able to spend time with my dearest friends & brothers of 40-years who happen to be in town, the last thing I wish to discuss is Jonah Paufhausen, the “Syosset Axis” (including Fr. Kishkovsky whom I have never met), or “Soviet psychiatry.” And by the same token, I am not asked to disclose confidential information regarding my patients. You live for this stuff, Mr. Michalopulos. Mr. Cone is still bitching about being doxed – a “righteous” complaint, however because of his protected “privacy,” not that it revealed that he lives for this stuff! I do not. The answer to your question regarding “cryptic” motivation has already been previously stated several times on this site. I was simply concurring.

                  In all sincerity, everyday I pray for you, Mr. Cone, & for Jonah Paufhausen, among many – for your well-being & for your salvation. Disagree with my opinion(s) as you will, but unless you have evidence to the contrary – and you do not, and you will not because it is untrue – I would appreciate you ending this personal insult of “collaboration.” It was offensive 18-months ago, and it is offensive now. I have no jihad & no animosity. The Church has moved on.

                  • Mark from the DOS says

                    Does this mean you aren’t going to reveal the secret true agenda? What a surprise.

              • Seraphim98 says

                Mr. Stankovich,

                You missed my point, which is essentially this, despite its very short history, the OCA has been rocked by scandal after scandal that have undermined it’s leadership to its own faithful and provided plenty of ammunition to those who disputed our autocephalacy. In that period the OCA’s leadership in some quarters has gotten in bed with social orientations and agendas inconsistent with the Christian faith and with the Tradition held by all Orthodox Churches. Met. Jonah was a chance…maybe not a great chance, but a chance for the OCA to right itself, to get clear (or clearer) of fiscal and moral scandal, to ease out the compromised leadership and put better suited men in their place, to normalize our administrative structures and paradigms, and to bolster the zeal and grow of the faithful like had been done in years past in the DoS by Archbishop Dimitri of blessed memory. It was a chance to pull away from the Syossett mindset that grows increasingly like that of the Episcopal Church (which now at its leadership levels is barely even recognizable as a Christian institution). The faith don’t want to see the OCA follow the Episcopal Church’s example…nowhere close. Metropolitan Jonah offered a bold, socially engaged, but theologically conservative and traditional vision for the OCA. He was not and is not the be all and end all of all things Orthodox. He was just a faithful bishop trying to be a faithful Metropolitan. We would have done well to have stuck with him. He could have grown in the skills needed to be a Metropolitan, the death grip Syossett has on administrative power in the OCA would have been broken, or at least loosened and put in check. In time he could have dealt with those bishops who have brought shame to the OCA and to themselves and the faithful by their deeds….cleaned house.

                It’s not that he was the latest and greatest…he was just right in his vision and in his aspiration for the OCA….and our leadership rejected even that small light given to correct their path; they would not have him, preferring their own “lights” instead. Now, they have had their way and it cannot be too long before we see just how high a price they will have paid to eject, humiliate, and internally exile their former metropolitan. I won’t say the situation cannot be snatched back from the brink, but that’s looking less and less likely everyday.

                Mr. Stankovich people are already leaving. That trickle will grow. The faithful have grown more hesitant to invite visitors and inquires compared to day’s past due to this ongoing and still deeply destructive and divisive scandal. Other OCA jurisdictions…even our Mother Church are distancing themselves from us over this. Giving is down. Weak members have been so disgusted they have just faded away in many places. In the DoS and Alaska, morale has been slipping due to the delays and game being played with getting us a new bishop. It’s a hot mess, and I for one am weary of it all…beyond angry…just tired and numb.

                So it wasn’t and isn’t about the great and mighty savior the OCA, the wise and wonderful Met. might say he was a test…a kind of trial for us to see where our hearts were…a bellwether of better things to come, or not. Right now, it’s decidedly looking like an extended forecast of not.

                • M. Stankovich says


                  I got the point. I mean no pejorative nor insult by saying it is “fool’s gold.” Read Fr. Alexey Karlgut again. I keep reading again & again & again that the “issue” with Jonah was that he was a “poor administrator.” That was not the issue. Fr. Alexey:

                  The Metropolitan has to accept full responsibility to maintain the unity of the whole, the Holy Synod of Bishops locally, and in relationship with Synods of other Orthodox Churches world-wide. The Metropolitan must be accountable to the Holy Synod of Bishops for his stewardship of the office entrusted to his care.

                  A courageous, visionary leader, faced with traitorist, defiant, even mutiny-intended subordinates does not just “carry on,” (“You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strewed” Matt. 25:26) but exposes the miscreants and resigns. That, Seraphim, is a moral champion and bellwether! “Bumbling” is not humility, it is denial and indifference – “magical,” in the sense that if I ignore it, it will resolve itself.

                  I will say this to you: I certainly share your sentiment. I have been here, present, from the very first day, for 40-years. Each and every time there is an election of a primate, I am again filled with hope and anticipation, and it has never diminished. Not once. Again you will pardon me, but your “prognostications” are silly and naive. Pick any 40-years in the life of Byzantium, in the life of the Church of Russia, long after their 40th year of inception, and we appear as rank “amateurs” in the school of scandal. I have to laugh in recalling Fr. Meyendorff’s passionate recounting of the day the entourage of Met. Isodore returned to Kiev after signing the Union of Florence: “And for three days, there was total silence in Kiev. Isidore had sold the Orthodox Church to the heterodox!” Aye!

                  “Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me.” (Jn. 14:1) and as our Father, Blessed Chrysostom comforted, “For 40-years the Jews wandered in the desert. But fear not, for you are no longer led by Moses, but by Jesus Christ.”

                  • Seraphim98 says

                    Mr. Stankovich,

                    You may be right. I may be naive in my prognostications. I agree with you the Church has dealt with scandal before of far greater magnitude than what we in the OCA face. When St. John Chrysostom in the 5th century said that the road to hell was paved with the skulls of priests and lighted by the skulls of bishops, he was not foretelling the future. However, I don’t think my prognostications are silly and baseless.

                    I have no fears for the continuance of the Orthodox Church; my concern is for one very small, very troubled jurisdiction of that Church. Nor do I question the accountability of a metropolitan to his synod, or his duty to maintain unity and provide leadership. What I question is that same synod treating their former metropolitan with every sort of disdain and contempt short of bodily injury, and allowing their administrative organs to show the way in the administration of that disdain and contempt…for no discernible reason except that he was apparently a bit too unilateral for their tastes…though the plotting and machinations against him almost from the beginning…well that’s just a quibble well within the purview of episcopal authority.

                    The sky is not falling. The Orthodox Church is in no danger of coming apart. The same cannot be said of the OCA. I think that danger is very real, especially given our size and the small number of bishops and the high percentage of them with too much baggage (the last one I trusted besides Met. Jonah is buried in Dallas)…and as strange as it is to say it….I am coming to believe that it may be better in the long run if it did come apart and cease to be as an autocephalous Orthodox jurisdiction…maybe even cease to be altogether at the administrative level. And it is here, in this potentiality, that ROC might prove most helpful….I agree with you they do need to do something, they are just about the only ones who can.

                    As for Met. Jonah being a bumbler. I am not convinced of that. Personally I think he was just a new bishop thrust into very high office who quickly discovered that many, if not most of those around him in the administration of the Church were actively seeking his destruction. He had little idea whom to trust, and too little experience to figure out what to do on his own quickly…so there were bumps, but given the circumstances, they are entirely understandable. Had he had better support and more time, I think he would done significantly better. On one aspect of this question though, I do agree with you, that Met. Jonah gave the impression at times that ignoring a problem might make it go away. Sometimes that works or appears to…which is why people keep trying it I suppose…hoping for that payoff once again.

                    From all I’ve read I have a feeling, a sense that at some point all the resistance and undermining was more that Met. Jonah wanted to deal with anymore. He had little if any emotional energy left. What had begun as an adventure had become a sisyphan nightmare…a joyless slog through a boggy minefield. And he withdrew to a great extent, pulled back body and soul as much as was possible and still function as a Metropolitan…hunkered down until he could either recoup or find a better defensible position. I don’t think Bishops are supposed do that or at least, not let it go on so long (but they are still human after all, and rejection by peers stings). I would agree it would have been better to go nova than flicker away. That’s why I had high hopes of his outburst in Stanta Fe…I thought then he was ready at last to fight and stand, to justify the hope we had placed in him as our Metropolitan. That didn’t happen. He is, I think, the sort of man confused and perplexed by controversy among those who, to his way of thinking, should know better. Perhaps I am projecting…I’m very much that sort of person…one baffled by those who ignore or manipulate the rules…it’s disorienting and one struggles to figure out what to say and do. That may be some sort of virtue, but it is a dangerous trait among those in leadership… one might as well dump bloody chum into the ocean and then dive in to swim with sharks.

                    So I may be naive, Mr. Stankovich. I don’t deny it. Yet, I don’t think my concerns are silly. I do believe I have sound reason to conclude the OCA is in a very bad way right now. It can recover, but that is not guaranteed. Orthodoxy will survive…but will the OCA survive in and with it…that, dear sir, I think is the question.

      • Mr. Kraeff,

        I am hanging on, barely in the OCA. It is a tragedy to see what it has become and how bishops treat one another and how a bishop with obvious issues, like Bishop Benjamin, is allowed to hurt so many people. My agenda, is to try and not be too contaminated by the ugliness of the OCA. I believe the OCA has surrendered to a more secular agenda and its leaders are more concerned with keeping their own positions than doing the right thing. I am grateful to have a parish priest who stays as focused as he can on the parish.

        I do not think the OCA has done itself credit in the past several years and many of her actions have been an over reaction based on personal agendas and not out of mercy. I see little short term hope for the OCA. It may survive in some form or in some constellation of parishes but I think that it will ultimately break apart. I just hope that when it does that my community can survive.

        I hope this answers your question. BTW, there are some posts by other James on this website that are not written by me.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Carl, I care deeply about the OCA, where I was baptized. I care deeply about the landscape of Orthodoxy in this country and saw the OCA as pivotal in showing the world that we could spiritually sustain ourselves, independently, from foreign rule. I was supremely disappointed to see how the leadership of the OCA elected to rid themselves of Metropolitan Jonah. I was scandalized by the implication that as a country, we were/are too immature to govern ourselves. I do NOT “delight in taking potshots from the ‘safety’ of another jurisdiction.” I care about one Church, OUR Church. For me, there are no jurisdictional lines.

        • ConcernedOrthodox says

          “I was scandalized by the implication that as a country, we were/are too immature to govern ourselves.”

          And this website is a great example of that immaturity.


      • Sweet Only with a Tube Amp says

        The closed door policy was broken a few times, and all online: with the publication of private emails to the dean of the OCA primatial cathedral, with the suggestion that an OCA chancellor misused funds; the suggestion that private emails of a church employee be published on; and with the letter accusing an OCA Metropolitan of harboring and promoting an OCA predator priest, among others.

        The seeming resolutions of these, in order, are: a transferred priest to the ACROD (victim punished), transfer of bishop to the Serbs (victim punished) and then back to the OCA in retirement (victim punished anew), a priest still suing and co-priest serving in the Greek Archdiocese (perpetrator still suing the OCA) with victim’s lawsuit finished (and her divorced), and a promising Metropolitan in limbo, unable to do much for the Orthodox Church (again, the victim was punished) with no apology from the perpetrators, supposedly the whole of the Holy Synod.

        How many of these perpetrators should be fired? How many of these victims should have the actions against them redressed? For the good of the Church.

  4. M. Stankovich says

    Wow. As the only ethical man in town, Arthur Kirkland said, “There’s something very wrong here…” This identical letter appears elsewhere authored by the “Midwest Clergy Wives,” the leverage being that females are intuitively more sensitive to future “dangerousness” than any existing methodology presently known. Finally, I am led to the conclusion that this “trumping-up” and padding of verbiage, blah, blah, blah, get-what-I-want overkill is characteristic of the I’ve-been-Orthodox-5-years, self-anointed мудрецов who don’t have the guts to look Bishop Matthias in the eyes and speak like Barry White. Now Barry was a man.

    And still, despite so many efforts, the theology of oikonomia is as foreign to this site as its underlying intention: the salvation of the individual. At the time, and on that day, those responsible before God to made such decisions decide “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us” (Acts 15:28). Do you disagree with the decision? Read Fr. Alexey Kargut’s postings on hierarchy, authority, sobornost, conciliarity, and that we are not a democracy. Read the Scripture to find that our God is a Just God and a God of Justice, unwilling to accept wrongdoing and oppression of the righteous. Look to our civil law, where we live by aggravation and mitigation: two men commit the identical crime on the same day, yet in applying the rule of law, we look for individual distinctions that might assist us in applying the “spirit” of the law. We refer to this as prudent, we refer to this as wise, and most of all, we refer to this as humane. It respects the offended, it speaks to the offender, and it acknowledges that, ultimately, someone most be responsible for the decision.

    It seems to me worth repeating that if there is no satisfaction in knowing that our God will remedy all wrongs and settle all wrongdoings, that He is, indeed, a jealous God for His authority as King & Lord, then something is amiss. St. John Climacus suggests it is pride and arrogance. Who am I to question the Saint?

    Mr. Michalopulos, as I recall, people lined up for blocks to dog Mark Stoke for “reporting in the 3rd person” as if ‘da bum waz CNN. There’s a rimshot in there somewhere… ta-da-crash

    • Damage Control says

      Are you kidding Michael, oikonomia is as foreign to this site as its underlying intention: the salvation of the individual. Where the heck have you been? There was NO oikonomia shown to +Jonah by the rigid postures of Benjamin who continues to abuse +Jonah. Demanding him to go for emotional help and then when he does the Synod ignores the results or cherry picks assessments, is not oikonomia. You really need to back off on this because all it does is make you seem like a blind follower who sees little beyond what you define as truth.

      The OCA may have won the +Jonah battle but they are suffering from the consequences of losing the war for the hearts and minds of their jurisdiction. They are losing members, money and there is no question they have lost confidence with leaders of world Orthodoxy.

      • Damage Control says:

        The OCA may have won the +Jonah battle but they are suffering from the consequences of losing the war for the hearts and minds of their jurisdiction. They are losing members, money and there is no question they have lost confidence with leaders of world Orthodoxy.

        First, the very concept of a war against a very good Metropolitan is horrifying. As for our hearts and minds being won by their actions, I would suggest that their reputations have been damaged by their war and that this war is also against us and our Church.

        I look at the OCA this way these days, that there are several bishops that seem basically all right, that there are no bishops, including the Metropolitan, that we could not judge adversely in the harshest of light, or think up some way in which they might become more Christlike, but the worst aspect of this is that we are wary, somewhat divorced from the counsel of the Church and too much associated with our own counsel. I see many people not really attending at the same level at all.

        Right now with Metropolitan Jonah’s voice silenced outside of the occasional recording, there is no one else among the bishops that we very much want to hear. Another aspect of not really trusting those who are voiceless is that sometimes the voiceless have acted against us and limited our participation in our parishes.

        When is the last time anyone worked hard to preserve a sermon of any of our bishops besides our silenced Metropolitan? Got any mp3 files you really truly want to share from any of our standing bishops? I’m counting as a standing bishop any bishop whatsoever who can regularly attend and stand at the Royal doors and get eis polla back at ’em.

        • A very good point. Reputation has been damaged. And, besides our not really trusting the voiceless bishops, we have another problem. How can we trust many of our priests? Most have remained silent, for various reasons. We can give the benefit of the doubt to the silent ones, regarding their reasons. Yet many priests have willingly jumped on the criminal bandwagon, participating in the slander against Metropolitan Jonah and actively supporting his ouster. How can we trust them now?! We thought of them as real Christians, pastors of their flock. Now – well, when we know that they are willing participants in the persecution of the innocent, are they blind leading the blind? In the best case, we can take them as “Do as I say, don’t do as I do” kind of pastors.

          • M. Stankovich says


            Your comfort & eagerness to comment on “our priests” is subjective polemic, which is your business, but should be properly labeled as such. “Crime” is a term dependent on “evidence,” not conjecture, convolution, rumor, gossip, or hoohah. You have have no more “evidence” of a crime than anyone else. Thus, referring to priests having “willingly jumped on the criminal bandwagon,” is a matter of pure conjecture if you are unable to substantiate a crime. It’s logic. Hmm.

            Secondly, your question, “How can we trust many of our priests?” could be issued from the mouth of the Governor himself (Jn. 18:38), certainly unworthy of those St. Chrysostom identifies as an order that

            “ranks among heavenly orders; and very naturally so: for neither man, nor angel, nor archangel, nor any other created power, but the Comforter Himself, instituted this vocation, and persuaded men while still abiding in the flesh to represent the ministry of angels… and entrusted [them] with the administration of things which are in Heaven, and have received an authority which God has not given to angels or archangels.”

            So, when when you extend your disrespect to many, did you have a number in mind? Or are you limiting it to those who think/feel/support a crime you cannot substantiate?

            I would note that St. Chrysostom likewise speaks the “silence of the priests,” by offering the analogy of Paul, “For he [Paul] had a greater power by far than power of speech, power which brought about greater results too; which was that his bare presence, even though he was silent, was terrible to the demons.” I would be happy, in fact joyous, Mitrich, in giving you the benefit of the doubt as well! But first you must be silent.

            • Mr. Stankovich,

              As usual, you base your reply on a denial that a crime of non-canonical removal, persecution, and slandering of Metropolitan Jonah has been committed. It is impossible to engage in a rational discourse with someone who denies well known and well described facts. This would be similar, for example, to discussing the effects and properties of Earth’s gravitation with someone who says: “What is this Earth of yours? You base your arguments on the existence of the so-called Earth, which you cannot substantiate.” Any further debate would be pure sophism, exchanging arguments for the sake of arguments, without any real meaning.

              • M. Stankovich says


                You are apparently confused. I was not soliciting debate or discussion. I was soliciting silence. Apparently unsuccessfully.

    • M. Stankovich says

      Soo of Job II,

      If you are are actually interested in what I said the day Mr. Michalopulos found fit to release Bishop Matthias’ text messages, you can read it here. If you would like to understand what I actually meant by using the term oikonomia,, you can read it here. You could have asked, you know.

      • Michael, regarding what you wrote when the text messages were posted on Monomahkos, well said. Using that same criteria then, you should expect Bishop Benjamin to retire and you should be calling for him to step down. Right?

        • M. Stankovich says


          If it were to occur today, absolutely, and unhesitatingly that would be my identical expectation. Re-read what I wrote: At the time, and on that day, those responsible before God to make such decisions decided “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us” (Acts 15:28). Well said you think? It is the way of the Scripture. It is the way of the Patristic & Canonical Fathers. It is the manner by which the Church is governed & directed. Did you devote as much energy to my essay regarding oikonomia & the canons, or re-read Fr. Alexey Kargut on sobornost, conciliarity, & governance? Or perhaps you might undertake a search of my comments to discover just how much I resent statements in the form of questions. Right? If you intend to question my integrity, man up.

          • Sorry Michael,

            That answer doesn’t fly. Benjamin gets a pass because that was then and this is now? But +Tikhon reacting on the prevailing mindset back in the SF HTC case doesn’t get a pass? Benjamin is a very troubled person, much more “troubled” than Jonah ever was. His latest escapades in New York at the meetings is just another indication of his instability. Many councils have invoked the “it is good to us and the Holy Spirit” like the Robber Council, Council of Trent, etc. We don’t believe in prayer as incantation.

            A wrong decision then is still a wrong decision now. Right?

            As for your essay, sorry, I did start it but it was so boring that I gave up on it (can’t wait for your superior snide remark to my admission.)

            • M. Stankovich says


              “It doesn’t fly,” you say. Your choice of the phrase, “gets a pass” speaks to your grasp of the concept. And by your need to preempt what you predict will be my “superior snide,”you have already handcuffed yourself. Nice touch. It somehow defies good reasoning & basic symbolic logic, but why quibble. Tango: officers, escort this person back to their own “Tartarus.” And leave some crayons, as they apparently are bored. Out

              • Nice non answer. Benjamin is a fraud and worse he is a scandal to the Church. But thank you again for displaying your tiresome attitude. You are becoming the gift that just keeps giving. All hail Stankovich the Superior!!!

            • James
              exactly what happened in New York with +Benjamin??

            • James says:

              Benjamin is a very troubled person, …. His latest escapades in New York at the meetings…

              James, would you please elaborate? We are ignorant of these events but interested.

              • robert, Mitrich, et. al.,

                What would you think of a person who blamed +Jonah for the death of his sister and declared that in public as proof of how +Jonah is gravely troubled? What would you think of a person who tried to score points and curry favor by saying such cruel accusations? Would you think that such a person is deserving of the office of bishop in the Orthodox Church. Heck, I wouldn’t think such a person would be deserving the office of bishop even in the Episcopal Church USA.

                Yet, this man is a bishop in the OCA, Diocese of the West.

                When will this man get the help he needs and stop blaming +Jonah for his own demons?

          • Sons of Job II says

            Did the Holy Spirit change its mind? Or is this just bad exegesis?

            • Ken Miller says

              I’m not a big fan of blaming the Holy Spirit for the mistakes of men.

              As I read the fathers, especially the mystical and monastic writings, the Holy Spirit is only present to the degree that we are pure. The process of becoming pure is the process of acquiring and submitting to the Holy Spirit. I will leave it to others to judge whether our current Holy Synod has reached full purity in motive and action.

              Now before I get accused of being a heretic, let me clarify that I do believe the Holy Spirit guides the church. However, I don’t believe that every decision of every local jurisdiction is infallible and in keeping with purity and holiness that the Holy Spirit desires. If one were to hold that, what do we make of elected leaders who have been deposed, or become heretics? Did the Holy Spirit make a mistake?

              It is perhaps also useful to distinguish between God’s will in providence, which allows people to make mistakes through free will, but ultimately God finds a way to “work it all for good” to those who love Him, and his moral will, which never includes sin, carnality or political motives. If we claim the result of the “robber council” was the will of the Holy Spirit, the most it could mean is a providential will that is working to make something good despite the failings of those who manufactured a false justification for Jonah’s removal. In fact, God’s providential working in the OCA could be a form of chastisement, to give the OCA the leaders it deserves and not the full blessings of what it could have had if dirty politics had not triumphed.

              • M. Stankovich says

                Mr. Miller,

                When has the Church ever depended upon the personal “sanctity” of the leaders for God’s providence & salvation, such that “the Holy Spirit is only present to the degree that we are pure,” and conversely, all of us must necessarily be chastized for the “dirty politics” of individuals chosen to lead us? Am I my keeper’s keeper? (cf. Gen. 4:9) Mr. Miller: “If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared.” (Ps. 129:3-4)

                If what you say is correct, then what are we to make of the parish, last Fall. where the priest of some years was arrested for soliciting sex from boys over the internet, and investigation proved it had gone on for years. Do we tell them “there was no Eucharist here,” or was it a “diminished” Eucharist to the degree the priest was more or less deviant? Do we re-baptize, re-marry, re-chrismate, and re-bury? And Holy Cow, what do we do about the former Soviet Union, with all the suspicion of collaboration of clergy to the highest levels? Actually, nothing because it is all ridiculous.

                I suggest you read and/or re-read St. Gregory Palamas, specifically his intolerance for any attempt, any argument, any “supposition” that would foolishly, through inadvertence or ignorance, limit the unstoppable and uncontainable Invigoration, the Movement, and the Power that is the Energy of our God. And secondly, the theological treasure of the “Kneeling Vespers” of Pentecost tasked to detail Fire from Fire, always acting, always moving, always inspiring, and in the end, Mr. Miller, as St. Andrew of Crete tells us, “He goes wherever He wishes.”

                I dispute your premise from the outset, Mr. Miller. Likewise, I find it nonsensical that an intelligent man as yourself would attempt to utilize weak scholarship as a “hair extension,” weaving it into some expository on “chastizement.” Oh, and don’t forget to read St. Theophan the Recluse’s advice on what to do if you have a bad priest. Then write.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Michael S.

                  Correct on all points. Good advice.

                • Mr. Stankovich, your dogmatic statements are certainly correct but your criticism of Ken Miller is misplaced. Don’t make him a Donatist. He is not. He did not question the validity of sacraments administered by bad priests. He questioned the correctness of collective decisions made by church bodies where the sins of men affect these decisions.

                • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                  Stankovich, you are confusing two ideas: 1) the personal sanctity of leadership on the life of the Church; and 2) the effect of personal sanctity on the efficacy of the sacraments. While it is true that personal sin does not affect the efficacy of the sacraments, it is not true that personal sanctity has no effect on the life of the Church.

                  Ever read “Beauty for Ashes”?

                  There can be no wisdom, discernment, or any other fruit of the Holy Spirit (which, for a leader, is always given for the benefit of the neighbor) apart from the struggle for sanctity. It just does not happen.

                  Ken Miller is correct, wrong decisions can have deleterious and long-lasting effects. To make decisions lightly under the belief that “God will work out it in the end” is rash and immature. Sure, the efficacy of the sacraments might no be affected but we should fear more the loss of faith of those who may not realize over time why the sacraments are even necessary due to the neglect of their leadership — or worse, scandalized, by the behavior of a leader that throws the believer into crisis.

                  I would also expand Ken’s point that the “Holy Spirit guides the Church.” Yes, it does but sometimes that guidance comes as judgment.

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Fr. Ioannes,

                    Ever hear of these two liturgical examples:

                    “Therefore, most Holy Master, we also, Your sinful and unworthy servants, whom You have made worthy to serve at Your holy altar, not because of our own righteousness (for we have not done anything good upon the earth), but because of Your mercy and compassion, which You have so richly poured upon us, we dare to approach Your holy altar, and bring forth the symbols of the holy Body and Blood of Your Christ. We pray to You and call upon You, O Holy of Holies, that by the favor of Your goodness, Your Holy Spirit may come upon us and upon the gifts here presented, to bless, sanctify… ” The Anaphora of the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great

                    “O compassionate and merciful God, who tests the heart and the reins, and who alone knows the secret thoughts of men (for no deeds are hidden from You, but all things are naked and manifest before Your eyes) ; As You know all things concerning me, regard me not with loathing, neither turn Your face from me ; but disregard my iniquities at this present hour, O Lord Who disregards a man’s sins unto his repentance. And wash away the vileness of my body, and the pollution of my soul. And sanctify me wholly by Your all-perfect, invisible might, and by Your spiritual right hand ; lest, while I proclaim liberty unto others, and administer this rite with perfect faith in Your unutterable love toward mankind, I myself may become the base slave of sin. Yes, O Master, alone good and full of love toward mankind, do not let not Your humble servant be led astray ; but send down upon me Your power from on high, and strengthen me in the administration of thine impending Mystery, which is both great and most heavenly : and create the image of Your Christ in him {her) who now desires to be born again through my unworthy ministry.” The Order of Baptism (The first prayer of the blessing of the water).

                    It would seem evident that the Fathers were concerned in “reminding” the celebrant that Grace, Operation, & Salvation itself were of God, and not the celebrant, as opposed to providing euphemism for “get your BI Business together, pal,” or your church shall not “flourish like the palm tree: [or] grow like a cedar in Lebanon.” (Ps. 192:12) This is all tantamount to suggesting God is dangling meat before hungry dogs, rather than pouring out His “desiring us beyond desire” for Himself for all eternity. Secondly, good reasoning & basic symbolic logic would likewise seem to suggest that believing this “tempering” of the flow of the Divine Spirit is conditional upon the “degree that we are pure” is absurd, kind of like, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” (Lk. 16:31)

                    And please, don’t you shoot me in the foot. Most certainly I agree “to make decisions lightly under the belief that “God will work out it in the end” is rash and immature.” My point has been that endlessly bitching & moaning over decisions already made, rather than relying upon the promise that God is a God of Justice & a Just God is arrogant & prideful. Should we ask Mr. Michalopulos to post a new survey as to whether posters believe our Father, Blessed Gregory of Nyssa should be condemned and removed from the list of the Saints for believing & teaching the heresy of apokatastisis? [Mr. Miller, please develop the syllogism: Blessed Church Father held belief; belief is later declared heresy and anathema; Blessed Church Father is a heretic & anathema.] The Fathers… ignored that Blessed Gregory held and openly preached this belief. WAT!

                    Why again (καὶ ἔτι, καὶ ἔτι, καὶ ἔτι, καὶ ἔτι, καὶ ἔτι) stir the waters with these ludicrous, “Hey, I was just thinking…” moments Met. Anthony (Bloom) referred to as “religiosites,” hearing the music, but missing the words.

                  • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

                    Fr.Hans,I bought the book.Thank you for reccomending it!

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      What chlldren? i thought we were talking about a grown man and a grown woman. Or are adult women a weaker sex?

  5. Orthodox Conference says

    a Pan Orthodox special conference and meeting of the minds


    We are pleased to announce Doxacon-Where Faith & Truth Meet Science-Fiction & Fantasy. This conference is designed to provide an Orthodox Christian exploration and examination of popular culture, specifically sci-fi/fantasy film, television, and literature, on the weekend of July 19-21 at the Hilton Hotel in Springfield,VA. Our Keynote speakers include His Eminence, Metropolitan Savas Zembillas of Pittsburgh


    (Subject to change)

    Friday, July 19

    5:00 p.m. Vespers at St. Mary Orthodox Church (St. Elias)

    6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. at Hotel

    Registration / Meet & Greet

    Vendor Sales

    Special Presentation


    7:30 a.m: Divine Liturgy at St. Mary in Falls Church, VA (St. Elias)

    At Hilton Hotel

    9:00 a.m: Akathist- Glory to God For All Things

    9:45 a.m: Opening Remarks by Rev. Fr. David G. Subu and Daniel Silver

    10:00 a.m: Keynote Address


    11:00-11:45 a.m: Session 1

    11:50 a.m. -12:35 p.m.- Session 2

    12:45-1:30 p.m.: LUNCH

    1:30-2:15 p.m. Session 3

    2:20-3:00 p.m. Session 4

    3:00 p.m. Panel Discussion

    4:00 p.m.-BREAK

    5:15 p.m.-Great Vespers at St. Mary Orthodox Church

    6:00 p.m.-Closing Keynote METROPOLITAN SAVAS OF PITTSBURGH

    7:00 p.m.-“Fellowship of the Geeks” Reception and Dinner at St. Mary Orthodox Church (Costume Optional!)

    • Totally random. haha

      • conference says

        Michael sez

        Totally random. haha

        I sez heh!, o perspicatious 1

        Laity and clergy of the Midwest totally welcome but we will be wary as with all non eastern extraterrestrials. Wear yer rabbitears. Take ’em off during services Carry yer light swords (bring yer own batteries) but no brandishing in church. Bring yer own esperanto / klingon / anglish lexica.

  6. Being a city boy, I am a bit confused by the situation. Perhaps there is someone out there who can enlighten me – someone who has real experience with real sheep.

    How many lambs do you allow a sheepdog to kill and eat before you put him down?

  7. A reasonable concern is what kind of liability Vl Matthias represents in the future. A worry in the past on the part of different Patriarchs in Jerusalem and the Russian Church was the extent to which a clergyman is subject to blackmail after being caught up in a sexual scandal. If Vl. Matthias stays on, could a future temptation and fall lead to blackmail, secrecy, and decisions that protect the misdeed but hurt the Church? There may also be worries regarding one’s insurance carrier who may deny coverage in cases where misconduct results in a civil suit. Sexual harassment, to my knowledge, falls under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and concerns employers and employees in the workplace. As such, from what I understand of this case, there is no way the woman involved could bring a sexual harassment civil suit against the OCA or Vl. Matthias: she’s not in the employee of either. That being said, what should really be of importance is whether or not Vl. Matthias is worthy of his position given his actions towards this woman. For the reasons given, he should step down of his own accord — being a bishop is not a career opportunity.

    The problem with worthy bishops in the OCA seems directly linked to the strength — or lack thereof — of its monasticism. If it can’t draw on a well of strong, spiritual monastics, it will continue to have problems. It seems strange, however, that Orthodox jurisdictions are now resorting to psychology / psychiatry and asking for psychological evaluations of their bishops — consciously or unconsciously, this seems like something out of the Soviets’ playbook. When ROCOR unceremoniously removed Vl. Vitaly, they too, sought psychological evaluations in the hope of leveraging legal power in the event he was determined “incompetent.” When Vl. Alypy of Chicago encountered problems, the same MO using a psychological evaluation came into play. As I understand it, Vl. Jonah was subjected to the same thing. When did the Orthodox Church decide to use the DSM IV of the psychological profession as a supplement to its Canons and as part of its therapy? Thank goodness everything isn’t pathologized by our father confessors or otherwise we’d all probably be on medication —

    • The use of places like St. Luke’s in MD or other facilities to evaluate the emotional fitness of clergy, or in the case of Bp. Matthias in the OCA, I believe has more to do with covering their legal behinds and less to do with rehabilitation. The OCA now uses these outside experts as a default which is alarming. In the case of +Jonah, his brothers called him crazy therefore you must be committed to a secular institution rather than saying, you are crazy so you need to go to a monastery and work out your issues.

      Another side of this OCA legal approach is having secular insurance companies weighing in with threats that if this priest is reinstated we won’t cover you if something happens in the future. Such threats play well to the administrative crowd (Diocesan Councils, Metropolitan Council, etc.) who get all frantic when they hear such things.

      The playing out of all of this, (Jonah and Matthias) in public, while trying to be more open and transparent, also makes it that much harder for the Church to do its own work of rehabilitation since the threats of lawsuits, being compared to the Roman Church that tried to cover up its sick clergy seems to push the OCA into posture of thinking in a secular way first and spiritual second. To me this is a sign of internal weakness on the OCA’s part and even to the point of doubting the ability of the Church to heal the afflicted.

      Allowing the Church to be led around by secular therapists and not relying on those who have fought the spiritual warfare and are recognized as doctor’s of the heart leaves me cold. Such an approach may work for the more secular minds in the Church but it certainly is not what attracted me to Orthodoxy.

      • M. Stankovich says


        I am a secular therapist, and I am not looking for a fight. Two points:

        If you were to look for St. Luke’s actual contribution to the body of literature, for example, used to assist in criteria determining whether a priest (and they are an institution sponsored by the RCC, though they are by no means a “religious” institution) who has been identified & convicted of a sexual crime (nearly always child sexual abuse) is an acute risk to the community, they are significant. Relying on what is referred to in research as an “h-index rating,” which measures the number of times your research is cited in other research by your colleagues & peers, St. Luke’s is very respected and influential. I will leave the discussion for another time, but in certain situations, where the OCA needs rapid, demonstrated expertise in providing guidance to protect the most vulnerable – not to “cover their behinds,” but driven out of moral courage – I say be led around by the best. If that leaves you “cold,” but on a sweater; eventually you will see the wisdom.

        Secondly, not to belabour my argument ad infinitum, but our humanity is “symphonic,” – many sounds (biological, psychological, environmental/social, and spiritual) that result in a single “voice – and addressing “an issue” simply as a matter of spiritual warfare, or “best dealt with” in the realm of spiritual warfare is naive. And before you hastily conclude I am of the “secular minds in the Church,” consider this point: some individuals, consistent with this Patristic notion of a “symphonic” humanity, will greatly benefit from the insight gained from structured psychotherapy and perhaps adjunctive medications, thereby providing them the ability to utilize the fullness of the Church and the Physician. Mental health professionals in all disciplines assess for “protective factors” in an individual’s life, and the love & practice of one’s Faith is one of them.

        • All valid points. And, it’s certainly not controversial to find a way to bring in psychiatry and the like where clearly someone has mental health problems. There seems to be a whole literature on the topic — a book on Patristics and Aaron Beck’s Cognitive therapy being one of the more recent. Even so, given the political uses psychology and psychiatry have been put to, how can we be sure these kinds of evaluations are not simply being used to further certain agendas? I think that’s the worry. But lastly, I’m curious how today’s Orthodox therapist regards some of the stories from the monastic writings of the past. For example, I’ve always been struck by St. John Climacus’ description of “The Prison” in Step 5 of his Ladder of Divine Ascent. How does the therapist determine what is spiritual warfare from what is mental illness?

          • M. Stankovich says


            Sorry I missed this, as it is very significant question.

            I admit to having significant ambivalence in regard to your statement that understanding “the political uses [of] psychology and psychiatry… how can we be sure these kinds of evaluations are not simply being used to further certain agendas?” In the course of history, and I believe markedly in recent history, the examples of the manipulation by “religion,” by comparison, far outweigh the “consequence” of psychiatry into insignificance.

            Unlike an objective change such as a measured lowering of blood pressure in response to an antihypertiensive medication, the measurement of “relief” in mental illness and spiritual warfare are a combination of the subjective report of the one who seeks guidance/treatment, and the observation of the one who guides/provides care. In other words, “Surely by their fruits [καρπός], you will know them” (Mt. 7:20). Since you mention Beck, and he is best known for describing the diagnostic criteria, the “natural history,” and the treatment of clinical depression, use this as an example.

            In a “symphonic” approach, I would be concerned about your family history for mood disorders (including success & benefits of any medications), all bio-psycho-social diagnostic criteria established by Beck and included in the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria, AND your spiritual history. If, based on what you present to me, I arrive at a determination that you meet the diagnostic criteria for clinical depression pursuant to Beck & the DSM-IV, I would determine it is mental illness and it is spiritual warfare. And my prognostic projection would be that the best outcome would be achieved by addressing this as a bio-psycho-social-spiritual disorder. And in my opinion, so should your confessor or spiritual director. And I would go a step further in saying that if your confessor/ spiritual guide does not take the initiative to pick up the phone and contact me to determine if I am an ethical & moral provider serving your best interest in such an intimate capacity, shame on them. Hear that, gentlemen: Shame on you. And ignorance is no excuse:

            How then can any one apply the remedy for the disease of which he does not know the character, often indeed being unable to understand it even should he happen to sicken with it himself? II, iii

            The devil knows well how to introduce his own assailants through any one spot which may happen to be unguarded, and to carry off the sheep. But not so where he perceives the shepherd coming equipped with accurate knowledge at all points, and well acquainted with his plottings. IV, iv

            St. Chrysostom, On the Priesthood

            So, it begs the question: can the treatment of mental illness be accomplished by spiritual warfare alone? “And when he was come into the house, His disciples asked him privately, ‘Why could not we cast him out?’ And he said to them, ‘This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.'” (Mk. 9:28-29) Blessed is God Who delivers any of us, by any means at His disposal, and who would be fool enough to limit Him! Some say, “Well, where was your god when…” or “So much for your million dollar science when…” I say “Shut up, both of ‘yez.” It is called discernment. When one sees a suffering patient or charge, there is is only a whole person, a “symphonia” and icon and likeness of the Creator.

            • Thank you for your reply. It’s always been an interesting area to me since I first read Met. Hierotheos’ book, “Orthodox Psychotherapy.” If I understand you correctly, there would seem to be a — what, “constant?” — combination between the psycho-physical world and the spiritual. As such, spiritual warfare is part and parcel of our fallen state AND a token of our “psycho-spiritual infirmity/illness?” — is that right or have I misunderstood your view? Since we are a psycho-physical-spiritual being, I suppose it shouldn’t surprise us then that use of certain drugs may in fact open doorways to the spiritual realm. I’ve never used drugs — never had the interest or desire — but plenty of my friends used mushrooms or LSD in the heady days of the 70s. Many of them reported having had what in retrospect seem like out of body experiences. I can only assume that shamans and those that look for ways to manipulate the psycho-physical-spiritual organism through yoga are engaging in activities that do precisely this: they “tweak” or “hack” the system and tap into the spiritual world by activating latent noetic capacities we have that were darkened or damaged after the Fall.

              Regarding psychiatry and the state, that psychiatry has been abused by the state shouldn’t be construed to mean that I think psychiatry doesn’t have a use. Those adopting the mantle of religion have certainly used religion to manipulate others — as have others who have used education, science, and technology. But whether one thinks Foucault is a genius or a fool, I was thinking more in terms of some of Solzhenitsyn’s writings rather than the question of the validity of the science itself.

              • M. Stankovich says


                To clarify: while saying a medication is psychoactive and mood-stabilizing is significantly different that saying a drug is mood-altering and intoxicating. With the notable exception of Peruvian anthropologist Carlos Castaneda and his writings regarding “Yaqui Indian spiritual leader don Juan Matus for his knowledge of psychotropic plants” (Oh my!), and his detractor, UCLA anthropologist Richard DeMille (son of Cecil B.), who “convincingly demonstrates, that with his series of bestselling books Castaneda perpetrated “the greatest anthropological hoax since the Piltdown Man,” I haven’t been particularly interested in the “assisted” mystical experience, nor “alternate states of consciousness” achieved by the mystic saints. The point is that, while I am prepared to discuss with you the astonishing damage perpetrated on the dopaminergic transport system of the brain by the chronic ingestion of near-toxic levels of methamphetamine over a protracted period of time, by saying a psychoactive medication may assist you in experiencing the “fullness” of the Church, my suggestion was that you are simply “available” and as attentive as you wish be. Back to the Beck example, if you are not clinically depressed pursuant to the Beck/DSM diagnostic criteria, you will not be more insightful, nor engaging, nor wise by taking an antidepressant medication!

                • I guess, having read recent missives, that it comes down to the fact that we are Orthodox Christians, not Scientologists


                  or practitioners of the Native American Church.


                  We Orthodox take medications cautiously, while we hope and pray to take as few of these as possible as the Church heals through prayer, contemplation, chant, prayers of others, and miracles. We try to keep the Temple of the Holy Spirit as undefiled as possible. We pray for others. But we don’t disdain physicians of the body for ourselves or for others. We have physician saints like St. Panteleimon and Saints Cosmas and Damian as examples that there are two complementary kinds of healing.

                  When medications are necessary, we cautiously take them. Neither are we expecting to medicate ourselves to a religious state nor are we experimenting to see if we can defy dementia like those on death wish desires to abuse methamphetamine.

                • I don’t have any interest in the use of drugs to achieve any kind of “spiritual” effect — real or otherwise. And, I’m certainly not saying that there aren’t legitimate medical uses of drugs; I’ve seen the usefulness of benzodiazepines in a number of people’s lives.

                  However, I wasn’t really thinking of Castenada’s Don Juan but instead of what Mircea Eliade reports in his book, “Shamanism.” I brought up the issue because I wonder if the Church’s prohibition against the use of certain kinds of drugs, or things like yoga, are tied to the fact that we are psycho-physical spiritual beings. Thus, while our bodies bear the consequences of the Fall, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t certain dormant or degraded spiritual abilities associated with them. And this, I take it, is what hallucinogenic drug use and esoteric practices are manipulating when they effectively open the door to what would seem to be the demonic realm. In some cases, those that abuse LSD or mushrooms probably experience things that “bubble up” from their own psyche. On the other hand, especially in light of what Eliade describes in his book, there are instances where it seems like something more is happening and the user of a hallucinogen has “tapped” into a spiritual — albeit, fallen — realm. I don’t know — it was just a thought.

                  A friend of mine who spent time on Athos as a novice and had been given a very rudimentary form of the Jesus prayer, mentioned the importance of breathing when saying the prayer — at least this is how his spiritual father taught it to him. He was warned, however, to report anything he experienced, no matter how unimportant he thought it to be, regarding his physical and mental states. While I don’t know for sure, but it seems that these exercises, or the use of certain kinds of drugs, tap into the body’s ability to facilitate certain noetic capacities. In this way, the use of drugs or other kinds of practices outside the Church, can’t provide you with the “fullness of the Church” but, rather, a portal to the fallen spiritual realm. That was all I meant. But, thanks for your reply.

                  On a separate note in regard to what Yo says about Scientology and medicine, it’s ironic that Hubbard was initiated into Alistair Crowley’s OTO by Jack Parsons. Crowley was an abuser of drugs who believed in the use of them in part because he believed they had a mind-altering effect that could open doors to the “spiritual realm.”

        • Michael Bauman says

          Michael S:

          You didn’t pick a fight, refreshing.

          I agree that humans are symphonic. Basic Orthodox. However, unless I am mistaken, modern psychology is not trained very well and in some cases has a deep suspicion of the deeper parts of the symphony that the Church understands as the goal and the foundation of our humanity.

          While we can use some of the insights of modern psychology, they must be in sycronicity with the understanding of the Church. Where there is opposition or disagreement, the wisdom of the Church should prevail.

          The difficulty with the use of St. Luke’s being expressed is over the seeming reversal of the two approaches.

    • Vl. Vitaly was not “unceremoniously removed”. He retired.

      • I suppose that depends on one’s interpretation of events. The link below records the major details as I remember them at the time.

        Vl. Vitaly’s age and supposed questionable competence led to the attempt to later forcibly remove him from Mansonville, part of which is seen here:

        It’s a bit more complicated than “he retired” — regardless of the mistakes of those that followed Vl. Vitaly afterwards.

        • Fr. John Whiteford says

          It’s actually not more complicated than that. The complications only came when those around the Metropolitan (who was senile) convinced him to unretire himself:



          • From what you say, I suppose this much is uncontroversial (since you don’t dispute the claim): certain interests within the Synod decided to subject Vl. Vitaly to a psychological evaluation (not to mention what would later happen to Vl. Alypy). Why? Because “proof” was wanted that he was senile, as you allege. You say he was senile. What was the conclusion of the psychological evaluation? Was he determined to be senile? And, I remember being in church when the decision was made not to read the statement Vl. Vitaly had asked to be read. Why wasn’t it read? Had he resigned? Retired? There are plenty of English and Russian sources available on the Internet that provide a narrative quiet different from the now official history of those who were favorable to the MP and union. And there’s the rub: Vl. Vitaly did not want to pursue union — hence, the psychological evaluation and the removal. On a related note, the incorrupt relics of Vl. Philaret were very inconvenient in this regard. The revisionists want nothing to do with these facts. Of course, from the prospective of the union and the secret discussions Mr. Putin had with Vl. Laurus, one shouldn’t be surprised. It’s almost like Beria has been erased out of a photograph or Bezdomny writes again for MASSOLIT —

  8. Gregg Gerasimon says

    Is this real, or is someone making things up? Once again, I can’t tell.

    In the above, it states that Bishop Matthias said that “When I come back I won’t visit any parishes where I am not wanted.”

    How is this statement at all in line with the role of a bishop? The bishop guides his flock, and where the bishop is, there is the church. The priest serves at the parish level in place of the bishop. In true Orthodox ecclesiology, the bishop *must* play a role in the life of his parishes (I don’t think this is optional — he can’t be a bishop for some of his parishes and not a bishop for other parishes). He cannot be a “bishop in name only” or a bishop who won’t visit certain parishes, for whatever reason. Honestly, where do we come up with this stuff? Did the Apostles even think of saying to their early church communities, “I won’t visit you if you don’t like me?”

    It is alarming (to say the very least) that Bishop Matthias says that he is fine not visiting any parishes that don’t want him to visit — and it is even more alarming that others on the OCA synod seem to be OK with this!

    The bishop is not simply a figurehead, along the lines of the Queen of England. He has a role, he has a purpose, his life must be integral to the church. It’s not optional. If he cannot fulfill that role for whatever reason, then he won’t be effective and cannot be a bishop. End of story.

    What have we come to when we think that absentee bishops are OK? What would our forefathers in the early church think of this? I know that the OCA suffers from a significant shortage of bishops now, but man, it’s better to change the OCA structure to only 1 or 2 large dioceses with 1 or 2 good bishops, than to have a diocese like the Midwest with a “bishop in name only” who thinks it’s fine if he doesn’t visit some parishes!

    I know that many OCA parishes haven’t have a bishop visit or otherwise be involved in their parish life for many, many years — but at least there is sort of an excuse, that there is no active bishop in that diocese now, or there is a locum tenens who is thousands of miles away and not able to travel. (But again, here you could argue: why not assign a locum tenens who can travel, who can be a true shepherd to the diocese while they are waiting for a new bishop? Why are we so enamored with the idea of absentee bishops or “bishops in name only?”)

    Or, on second thought, maybe it’s time to visit Bishop Peter in Chicago or Cleveland and talk about the Diocese of the Midwest merging with ROCOR. I pray for Bishop Matthias and the Holy Synod and the faithful of the Midwest, but prayer can also be a call to action. Enough is enough.

  9. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    Sons of Job (or “Wives of Clergy”) share my disappointment with each new turn of events. Things looked SO promising, too! After all, the Diocese of the Midwest now had an obviously HETEROSEXUAL ruling bishop—one, moreover, who was not afraid to confront the Birthgiver of Voices from Canton (! And now, Sons of Job are getting ready to go to after that other heterosexual ruling Bishop, Michael! It’s a bad day for the home team and promises to be another victory for Dorothy’s Friends!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Does being heterosexual give a bishop a passing grade?

      • George Michalopulos says

        In an ideal world it wouldn’t but silliness aside, the fact remains that one of the Pauline proscriptions was against effemninate men serving in leadership capacities.

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        Galina, being heterosexual does not insure a passing grade. You know that being heterosexual alone does not insure a passing grade. What was the question you wanted to ask, really? Bishop Matthias and Bishop Michael and Archbishop Nikon were each husbands to one wife. Saint Paul indicated that more was required for a passing grade. “Being heterosexual” would, seemingly rule out such conduct as.for example, a Bishop who would regularly get drunk with his clergy and invite one of their sons to strip and allow the bishop to spread, tenderly, shaving cream all over him, no?
        PS, I think that some of the (72 was it?) OCA Archpriests who signed a stone-throwing letter “back in the day” were and are fully aware of that example, but (virtuously?) left that stone unthrown!

        • BOO HOO BABS says

          Your Grace,

          You are going to make Babs Drezhlo upset with you publicly talking about Archbishop Job that way. Of course what you say is known, common knowledge in the Midwest Diocese and part of this unwritten history of St. TIkhon’s Seminary. Job was no saint in living his double life of being the pious bishops in public and something quite different in private. His last attempt to somehow redeem himself by playing the courageous hero against Syosset, I suppose counts for something, if you believe what he said, but it is time to stop hoisting him up as some sort of hero and let him fade away.

          • Jane Rachel says

            Like I said, BOO HOO BABS, it makes me sick. I had no idea until now that it was common knowledge he led two lives. Trusted priests LIED. Innocent people have been hurt.

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              Yes, Jane Rachel. History shows, probably, that Galina was a little off when she intimated that being heterosexual might give a bishop a passing grade. It might be the opposite, no? I always thought it amazing that a certain fake whistle-blowing site would give out so many passes to Bishops and Archdeacons, etc., practicing rather brazenly a kind of, oh, ‘non-heterosexuality” for a long, long time. Just think, mothers giving a man involved in a same-sex relationship for decades a free ride, not only to him, but to those whose protege he was (and is) for his term as Youth Director of the OCA. They should put out a flyer: *if you’re what we call a pervert AND we don’t like you, watch out; otherwise we know NOTHING.”

          • dear boo boo says

            Y R U obsessed with Ban the Stan?

            also, if’n U got the goods on archbishops of Blessed Memory, Y the selective silence & ingratiating innuendo?

            • BOO HOO BABS says

              Obsessed? Hardly. I find VfR to be a blog to read for comic relief more than any real content, besides how could anyone take such a person seriously when he/she is not “man” enough to allow comments off his/her blog? It is nothing more than the one-way musings of a transsexual with an axe to grind. As for the reposed former archbishop of the midwest diocese, he has been judged as we all will, but of blessed memory? I think not.

              • Also Anonymous says

                This is massively inappropriate and needs to stop. You should not make vague insinuations about people in a public forum without providing specifics and supporting evidence. It helps no one and is just sinful gossip. This is worse than saying nothing at all. What are you trying to accomplish?

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  “Also Anonymous”, do you make a difference between direct accusations and “vague” insinuations? What’s vague about shaving cream?

        • Vladika, bless!

          In the interest of the Church and its holy history, would you care to go beyond innuendo and state who this bishop was who in your words was a

          Bishop who would regularly get drunk with his clergy and invite one of their sons to strip and allow the bishop to spread, tenderly, shaving cream all over him, no?

          And who was the bishop concerning whom (

          72 was it?) OCA Archpriests who signed a stone-throwing letter “back in the day”

          And what was the problem so serious that Bishop Basil of blessed memory had that caused his Holy Synod to demand either a hearing or his resignation. (The other bishop you mentioned I never heard of who was asked to resign) Surely this was no ordinary despised bishop, archbishop or metropolitan with a simple purported lack of administrative skills. The dude was extremely organized to the point of saving every recording to Russia made from his corner radio station in his efficiency apartment in DC. People are converting these into Mp3 files for posterity and working on his canonization as we speak, the anniversary liturgies from the date of his repose are already being celebrated in important places by important individuals (for an example of the same, see and many personal reminiscences highlighted on the St. Nicholas website at )

          It is important to know about the leaders of our church and to decide wisely when we make our individual parish choices. As a celibate, I wonder if you understand how critical such revelations are to the decisions of parents? Our children are caught between the multiple focused pulls of secular society and their membership with us in our Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. There is little on the side of our Faith to help us help our children. Children are pulled constantly by the world and the world is nurtured by hypocrisy.

          We need to keep our Church clean and pure and trustworthy and all good things while at the same time we understand that we are all sinners who fall short and need also to practice forgiveness.

          So, please clarify your statements and forgive me for expecting you to be brave.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            Yo, answering your questions requires no bravery. Why would it?
            I think you’ll find that a poster named “BooHooBabs” aleady identified by name the first bishop you ask about.
            The letter of the 72 or so Archpriests was not ABOUT any bishop, but almost all of them were in the diocese of the first one you ask about.
            I’m not sure how “important people’ such as those you cite (and who are THEY? Be brave!) figure in to the process of any Holy Synod glorifying someone as a Saint.
            My experience of Bishop Basil (Rodzianko) of blessed memory is limited to his active service as a diocesan bishop in the OCA. I was a parish rector and a district dean during his disastrous incumbency out here. I had no direct experience of his gadabout and media-wooing days in DC and Russia at all.
            I should think that any responsible process considering his possible glorification would include a documented examination of the history of his rule of the Diocese of the West. I believe that there is at least one Chancellor (Very Reverend Thaddeus Wojcik) and a couple deans from that time still around. I’m sure that the files of the Holy Synod and of the Primate from those days must be available from the Archives of the OCA. They would contain perhaps SOME of the complaints that caused appeals to be made to the Holy Synod to have him corrected or removed.
            Having said that, I want it to be plain that I don’t CARE if the present Holy Synod of the OCA proceeds to canonize Bishop Basil. I’m sure that the Church of Russia is capable of effecting a local canonization based solely on Bishop Basil’s visits to Russia in his latter years and ignoring his active service in the OCA and his active service in the Serbian Church in England. To my knowledge, not even any hints have ever been dropped about any sexual improprieties or tendencies on Bishop Basil’s part EVER. In an ideal world, this would be normal. In our world, it’s rather extraordinary and even, I’m sorry to say, ;perhaps DECISIVE!
            In my opinion, which is no better than yours or anyone else’s, it would be astonishingly unjust and foolish and shallow to proceed to canonize a man of Bishop Basil’s stature, while NOT proceeding in the case of a much more obvious candidate, Metropolitan Leonty (Turkevich), of blessed memory. But I think the PRESENT leadership of the Church of Russia would rather swallow ground glass than encourage that!
            I wonder why Archpriest Victor Potapov has not arranged for Archpriest Leonid Kiskhkovsky to ***enlighten*** him and ROCOR about Bishop Basil Rodzianko, by revealing his “case files”, as he has done relative to other instances?

            • M. Stankovich says

              Venerable Bishop Basil pray to God for us!

            • Heracleides says

              “I’m sure that the files of the Holy Synod and of the Primate from those days [Basil’s episcopate] must be available from the Archives of the OCA.”

              Still upset that Basil’s ‘case file’ has not made the rounds while your file has?

              “…his [Basil’s] disastrous incumbency out here.”

              Pot, meet kettle; kettle, pot.

              ” I had no direct experience of his [Basil’s] gadabout and media-wooing days…”

              As opposed to what – your gadabout and internet-trolling days?

            • Dear Vladika,

              As for important people, see video link I provided. Of course, who is and is not important is a matter of personal and perhaps fleeting feeling. Still waiting to hear what was the problem so serious concerning Bishop Basil that caused his Holy Synod to demand either a hearing or his resignation that you mentioned.

              As for his canonization, that need not occur first in the OCA. The impetus to canonize St. Nikolaj Velimirovic came from the Serbian Orthodox. The impetus to canonize St. Herman of Alaska came from the ROCOR. The impetus to canonize St. Nektarios did not come originally from the Constantinoplitan Patriarchate nor from the Church of Greece. The impetus to canonize St. Kosmas Aitolos did not come from the Albanian Orthodox Church either here in the OCA or in Albania. At this point, I cannot remember who first tried to canonize St. John Maximovich.

              As for Metropolitan Leonty, it seems there is an impetus to canonize him, begun in 2008


              Whatever happened to that commission and who are its members? You were an active bishop at that time, were you not?

            • To +Tikhon says

              Your Grace, the request is to furnish facts, dates, and evidence for your outrageous accusation against Archbishop JOB, of blessed memory. Again, please go beyond innuendo and state when/where/with whom His Eminence “would regularly get drunk with his clergy,” and what son of a clergyman he would “invite to strip” and be coated with shaving cream, as you charge. This is way beyond the pale, even for you. In my opinion, which according to your comments is equal to Your Grace’s, Archbishop JOB should be canonized –not for being perfect or even a great bishop, but for standing up to Syosset/Kondratick pressure when the Church needed defending, and asking the simple question, “Are the allegations true or false,” which is the whole content of that letter you characterize as “stone-throwing.” (Included in his unjust suffering was his endurance of your attempts to depose him.)

              When. Where. With whom. Either present your case or repent.

              When did what you say occurred happen?
              Where did what you say occurred happen?
              With whom –what clergy and what clergyman’s son– did the shameless act you say occur happen?

              When. Where. With whom.

              • Back at To +Tikhon says

                Dear To +Tikhon,

                You should address your questions to St. Tikhon’s Seminary, Syosset and to the Midwest Diocese. They are in possession of the late Ricky Ozacky/Archbishop Job’s files, if they have not been purged yet to cover his checkered past.

                The statements by Bishop Tikhon are outrageous but they are also true. The outrage is how the late Archbishop Job needed others to cover for him so his proclivities would not come to light. Ask his former chancellors in the Midwest. Ask one A. Litton who left the Orthodox Faith after dealing with +Job’s antics. Job was no saint but he was a very troubled man dealing with serious demons which the OCA did nothing to alleviate or help him correct. Rather they were too busy chasing down others and ignoring the ill one in their midst, not unlike they are now doing with Bishop Benjamin.

                And to answer your question regarding +Job and his original questions vs. Syosset, the allegations were FALSE. +Job even knew this because he refused to be the accuser in the OCA spiritual court against the accused. Why did he refuse, because he knew that his own credibility would be challenged if he was cross-examied in a spiritual court.

                So your outrage is misplaced and your homage to Archbishop Job while laudable is also myopic.

                Have a nice day!

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                Hi, “To + Tikhon says:”
                Want answers? Then Identify yourself. I’m not going to build up a case against said hierarch for you to prosecute on your own. . That’s a terrible idea!!! He’s no longer with us. I realize that one Ecumenical Council anathematized a dead man, Origen, but that is a notorious mistake.
                Or, if you disagree with something I wrote about ever-MEMORABLE Job, an Archbishop, you should identify yourself, if, that is,, you care enough to really stand up for him! Surely, you’re not too ashamed of your message to identify yourself! Or?
                First, though, why not form a new S.I.C. and begin your sincere investigation of said hierarch’s deviations by having all the clergy of the New England diocese that served when said Hierarch was the ruling bishop there (before the Holy Synod, in the nick of time, provided sanctuary for him in the Midwest Diocese after his buddy in the hierarchy, Bishop Mark Forsberg turned out to be such a flop there) be interviewed?
                However, if it turns out that you identify yourself as one of these (typically?) delicate, fragile 22-year old American women I’ve just heard of, I wouldn’t want to risk abusing you by going into great detail…I know that at that age you’d have fine, delicate, shell-like ears which would be shocked, shocked, even by hearing the Rolling Stones singing “Let’s Spend the Night Together!”
                I repeat: Want details? Give us your real full name. “No tickee, no laundry.”
                And….what is your real standard? You speak of my effort to depose that hierarch. On what evidence, or record, or minute to you base your anonymous charge? WHAT effort to depose that hierarch? It’s true I accused him before witnesses of campaigning for Bishop Nikon in the New England diocese; i.e., anti-canonically touring the diocese and politicking when he was not even an administrator or locum tenens of it! But I NEVER tried to depose him. Are you giving evidence that he was somewhat paranoid and thought others were bent on deposing him? Poor man. And I know that he made a deep reverence to Bishop Nikolai when the latter pointed out his uncanonical interference in the Diocese of Alaska, but, again, no one tried to depose him! (And Bishop Nikolai was made to PAY for that reverence and repentance! And how!!!

              • M. Stankovich says

                To +Tikhon,

                I will presume that by referring to Bishop Job as of “blessed memory,” your intentions are worthy of a blessing, and with that in mind, I would offer you a comment in such a spirit.

                For those who “celebrate” Bishop Tikon’s “moral courage & frankness,” you are jackasses. When did the toothless, clawless posturing over the cold remains of a man who can neither defend nor repent of anything pass for “courage?” Wow. Flee demons, you might be next. And for the sake of argument, let’s assume every scurrilous rumor he proposes is true to the detail, and perhaps worse. Is anyone edified? Does anyone read these “historical bits” provided by Bishop Tikhon as intended to “build up [οἰκοδομή] the Church?” (1 Cor. 14:12) Salacious appetizers these “When. Where. With whom.”

                I presented the story of my “encounter” in NYC, not because I lack the “filter” necessary to distinguish propriety, prudence, and appropriateness, but simply to demonstrate that where there are men gathered in this fallen world, sinfulness and depravity will follow. Regardless of rank, regardless of position, and regardless of appearance. And I recall when my officemate, fresh after receiving licensing as a psychologist, told me about a sex offender she had interviewed the day previous: “Why do you think he was so descriptive and detailed in telling me about his crimes; like he was talking about a really great meal?” I laughed so hard before telling her, “He was bragging! He seduced you and was aroused by the ‘telling!'”

                The point? If your memory of Bishop Job was blessed, it is founded in a reality you experienced. I suggest you not allow those aroused by the “stories,” true or false, to destroy your appreciation. In my heart I believe that God will richly bless you for believing the best of a man and then be proven a fool, then to scorn & excoriate a man by conjecture & innuendo and be proven correct.

                • Too Late For That says

                  Mr. Stankovich,

                  You who have championed transparency and accountability along with your pals Stokoe and Wheeler are now saying that we should avert our eyes regarding the late Archbishop Job because he is dead?

                  I believe that history is replete with the examination of people’s lives after they are dead. In some cases our impression of the man or woman is radically changed because people are willing to talk after a person dies. This, I am sure you will agree helps us to have a more truthful understanding of history and personalities we hold up as great or even blessed.

                  Does the truth destroy these people? No, it just illumines them in a more complete light and people then can draw their better informed conclusions. Maybe you will brand some as psychopaths for believing what they want about a person no matter what. I think that there are those who will never think beyond their own comfort zone when it comes to Archbishop Job and that is their choice but for you to say because he is dead he gets a pass on an inspection of his life is not credible.

                  Shall we simply leave it that the earth is flat or should we strive for more information and knowledge so that we can finally see that it is not flat? The same goes for a public figure like Archbishop Job. You may question the motives of those digging deeper, that is fair and their motives should not be to destroy but to illumine. Those doing the digging can’t force people to believe or accept their conclusions and their conclusions then become open to further investigation and criticism.

                  Your mantra – “In my heart I believe that God will richly bless you for believing the best of a man and then be proven a fool, then to scorn & excoriate a man by conjecture & innuendo and be proven correct” has one flaw, you assume conjecture & innuendo is the basis for what is being said about +Job? That is not true and your assumption is wrong.

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  Thank you, M. Stankovich, for finding my intentions worthy of a blessing. Even if PhD’s in Psychology are as plentiful as crackerjacks or lice, their blessings are by no means to be scorned!
                  By the way, you quoted some persons as saying they celebrate me (“For those who ‘celebrate’ Bishop Tikhon’s ‘moral courage & frankness”) and my moral courage and frankness. Could you please point to the origins of your quote?
                  Also, so I can repeat this in a way “worthy of a blessing,” please, explain to us what “clawless” and “toothless” posturing is and what significance it has for any Orthodox persons posting here.
                  For some reason, you won’t face the idea that anyone but you can “demonstrate that where there are men in this fallen world, sinfulness and depravity wlll follow. Regardless of rank….?”
                  My contacts with ever-MEMORABLE (the other pro forma label for the Orthodox departed) Job, an Archbishop, were mostly cordial on a personal level. The last communication I had from him was a polite note about a comment I had made on, characterizing him as a convert from Uniatism. He set me straight by telling me that he was a convert, but not from Uniatism, but from Roman Catholicism (i.e., Latin Rite Roman Catholiism), and that what motivated him to look into and then convert to the religion of his mother was his disgust with Vatican Council II. I now wonder why the proprietor of “Voices from Russia” doesn’t refer to him as a “konvertsy.”
                  Perhaps your anecdote about your “officemate” could get two stars in the cheap shot contest, but I feel bad you didn’t consider your audience here before dashing it off, which tends to make it look more like a bilious attack than a bona fide contest entry!
                  By the way, in MY experience, no such total of eye-witnesses of said Hierarch’s dallyings or alcoholic blackouts in the New England diocese has ever originated from the Midwest Diocese. I believe the first one I ever heard of was at the Feast of the Epiphany, the first or second Epiphany he served in his New England Diocese. I wonder if the successor to Hugo Chavez will be as protective of Chavez’s memory as Bishop Nikon has been of ever-MEMORABLE Archbishop Job’s reputation (and a couple others)?
                  Finally, M., I don’t believe God particularly blesses anyone for believing the best of anyone. What’s the source of that belief of yours? Did you see the grief-stricken look on Ahmadi-Nejad’s face as he embraced Hugo Chavez’s mother? No doubt, then, many Iranians will be blessed for believing the best of Ayatollah Khomeini, and many Germans for believing “the best” of Adolf Hitler, Cubans of Castro?
                  “The point?” You’re no “elder”, M.Stankovich, and neither am I. I’ll try not to pose as one in conversation with you.

                • Michael Stankovich writes, “In my heart I believe that God will richly bless you for believing the best of a man and then be proven a fool, then to scorn & excoriate a man by conjecture & innuendo and be proven correct.”

                  You never gave this much credit to Metropolitan Jonah. Actually, you scorn and excoriate him with conjecture and innuendo on a fairly regular basis.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Helga, you forget: Jonah is the scapegoat. His unreasoning critics have heaped all the blame of the sins of the commonweal upon him. He is beneath forgiveness in their eyes.

                    Interesting tangent here: I wonder if Tikhon will go next door this Sunday after Forgiveness Vespers and ask HB for forgiveness? Wouldn’t that be swell?

        • oliver douglas says

          I don’t care who you are–try that with my kid and the police will be trying to figure out who recently rented a front loader (and dug a really deep hole with it.)

        • Gail Sheppard says

          I so wish people would get my name right. My Church name is GAILINA, i.e. Gail with a “lina” on it. It truly is. THIS is what my priest put on my baptismal certificate. If it had been up to me, I might have chosen something more exotic like Alexandra, Sophia, or Giovanna, but GAILINA was the name I was given and I accepted it.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            Sorry, Gail. Galina is a variant on Helena or Halyna, or Helen, and I think some of us imagined (wrongly, apparently) that you were named after St. Helen, which is Galyna, Galina, Halina, Halyna, etc., in varied Great and Little Russian colloquial usage.. I didn’t realize there was a Saint Heilena, or Hailyna, or Heilen or Gaylena or Gailena. Priests make mistakes, even on baptismal certificates. in Bulgakov’s encyclopedic guide to clerics, he provides an approved way of correcting such mistakes made by baptizing priests. The main thing is to use the correct name in imparting the Mysteries at the first available opportunity and never use the mistake again. Bulgakov gives the names of Rimma, Pimma, and Inna as names of male saints bestowed under the false impression that those were the names of female, rather than male, saints!

            • Just so Ya Know says

              Dear Vladika,

              Galina is a saint on her own, St. Galini (calm or still, an adjective, in Gk, Martyr of Corinth, April 16 on the Orthodox calendar. Halina is the Ukrainian pronunciation of Galina but spelled the same in Cyrillic. Gail is also Gael, and Gaelic (surprise, surprise) from an ancient Celtic root a meaning a Celt in medieval times, but originally in old Gailic gwydd means wild or original. For ano9ther discussion of Gaelic roots and peoples, see

              The Greek adjective Irini, Irene, meaning peaceful and may be related in some form of early Greek root to galini, but galini is peaceful in terms of motion and eirini is peaceful in terms of spirit or intent. St. Irene was an iranian. St. Galini was a Greek.

              I’m not going to discuss the meaning of the word Gaul, il.e France, and its relation to the above.

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                Thanks. For the record, that martyr is also commemorated on March 10.
                Still no “Gailena” “Guylena” “Gailina”, etc.

  10. Abbouna Michel says

    Please note that I NEVER proposed transferring a predator to another diocese or jurisdiction. A careful reading of my earlier posting (which was carefully written), especially the second paragraph, puts paid to the notion that I’m proposing passing off a predator on an unsuspecting diocese or jurisdiction. What I AM proposing is that there be a genuine process of spiritual discernment with respect to +Matthias, rather than mindlessly returning him to his diocese or equally mindlessly consigning him to the ash heap. If the Church isn’t capable of operating in a spiritually deliberate way, rather than by emotional reflex, one way or the other, what does it say to the rest of the world? Whenever the Church operates from a base in pooled ignorance, as is all too often the case, it betrays both the Gospel and its venerable ascetic and spiritual traditions. The treatment of Met. Jonah, in my judgment, is a case in point.

    Just for the record, by the way, I’ve had a significant hand in the defrocking of one predatory priest, and the incarceration of another. I wonder how many of the posters of the “shoot from the hip” school of thought speak from comparable experience.

    • I can’t help thinking of the story in Everyday Saints that tells of the difficult abbott Gabriel who becomes a bishop, mistreats his flock with his temper and is removed from being a bishop for a period of 5 years. During that time he had to get a secular job and even take communion as a lay person. Of course this was communist Russia so not sure if they were prohibited from giving him further church work or his removal from church work was part of the penance but from the story teller, the bishop later said that time very significant for his salvation and he cherished it. After his period of repentence he evenually was made bishop of a different see. Not every situation has to be an either/or situation (depose or reinstate immediately), it seems.

  11. I have seen up close and in person a distraction technique that Syosset likes to employ: that of suggesting there’s an antipathy against a clergyman and then defending the cleric against the assumed antipathy. This isn’t done as a means of repairing relationships but, as the SoJ point out, curry pathos for the cleric. As far as I’m concerned this is all a shameful and manipulative breed of red herring.

    Questions: How can a bishop lead a diocese when he won’t visit parishes that don’t want him? How can a bishop be a shepherd when he’s not supposed to interact with the sheep, even according to the church’s insurance?

    It seems to me that someone in this role would not be, in function and reality, a bishop; regardless of their title and liturgical gear.

    • Experienced says

      It’s an old ploy and shows how they misuse their authority. Another common ploy is remove a priest, then come back later and imply he was removed for reasons they have to keep secrete out respect for the priest.

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        “Experienced.” Here’s an anecdote from real life that illustrates the difficulty of observing Christian reticence.
        As you may or may not know, in the Russian tradition, caskets are left open during funerals. A long time parishioner here in L.A. a monstrously obese woman, died in her Long Beach apartment and was not discovered until she had lain dead in her apartment for quite a while. Her church attendance was always sporadic and not regular. Unfortunately, her apartment was not air-conditioned and she lay there during a record-breaking heat wave. Accordingly the undertakers brought her remains (in a casket) encased in a large, rubbery, sleeping-bag type bag. Touch the bag and the contents moved! I decided the casket would remain closed for all the services. When we had taken her to the cemetery, done the Litiya, and her casket had been lowered, a bystander came up to me and said, actually nudging me, ‘Come on, Father Stephen, N. died of AIDS, didn’t she! That’s why you didnt allow anyone to look inside her coffin, right? ”
        My old reflexes and the old Adam in me almost succeeded in getting me to deck that jerk. I did not; however, in the future, whenever some prissy relatives of a departed parishioner tried to get me to have a funeral with closed casket, I discouraged them by saying “Oh, you know how people are: they’re apt to say X. had AIDS or Syphilis or whatever!” This always worked.
        It seems there ARE a lot of people in the OCA who are like that jerk. “Nudge! Nudge!…we all know what REALLY happened, even though THEY are covering it up!”

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      Jesse Cone. Archbishop John (Shahovskoy) used to spend up to six months a year abroad. He was also known to announce at, say, a Diocesan Assembly “I may not have visited you often, but i was always with you spiritually.” He felt,too, that his “Apostolic Ministry” (a phrase he loved) involved more than the parish operations in one diocese. St. Tikhon of Zadonsk got very disenchanted with diocesan administration and retired, early, to a monastery whence he produced most of the inspired teachings which resulted in his glorification. St. Theophan the Recluse, likewise, was not noted for relentless adherence to rules, but for being a Recluse, no? We all thank God for his episcopate. None of what I have just written pertains in any way to me. I am, as I’ve stated before, a complete shit and lazy to boot. I could go on, but, well, Diogenes, Heracleides, Fr. George Washburn the Moralizer, CQ, Saunca, M. Stankovich, Mmes. Jula-Sakoda and Larson, Fr. Morris, etc., etc., are much better at it than I.
      Perhaps the OCA’s Department of Religious Education (DRE) or some new organ of the Bishops Assembly could foster a Report Card Project. This would be a document given to all new members upon their entry into the Church and to all present financial supporters. It would provide a check-list for every member (of “The People of God”) to use in evaluating and correcting their individual hierarchs. Rather than call it a “Report Card”, “Accountability Invoice” would be less oldl-fashioned sounding. It would be overweening of me to even suggest items for this grading system: All Orthodox Christians, chrismated with the Seal of the Gift of the Holy Spirit are (thereby, apparently) authorized and enabled to produce such) are as capable as I in that area, to be sure! Why, it’s obvious! Look at how much just ONE internet site has been able to produce, laying out the behavioral parameters for the Orthodox Episcopate! And everyone is more than willing to demonstrate “This is what WE (or “OUR Bishops”) do!
      Here’s a third question for you, Jesse, it comes from Saint John Chrysostom. I think it’s pretty well ignored, though in all our seminaries; What should a new hierarch do to the mediocrities whom he inherits from his predecessor as elders and clergy/ Should he risk firing them al? “The soul of the bishop is like a vessel in a storm, lashed from every side, by friends and foes, by his own people, by strangers.” And “As for the fear of God, it does not influence people about their bishop in the slightest degree.”

      • Heracleides says

        Hmmm… would Transvestite be one of the items to check off on the episcopal Report Card you suggest be created?

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          Why not, Heracleides? And, I’m pleased to have you confirm that you are one that likes the report card idea. I’ve only come across one transvestite Orthodox clergyman since becoming Orthodox in 1960, though. I was told, after receiving an Antiochian priest into the Diocese of the West, by my then-Chancellor, that he had personally seen that Priest on the street in San Francisco in a mink coat and a tasteful little hat with a veil and spectator pumps. Not long after I learned that, though, the Priest developed health issues (NOT AIDS) that eventually led to his death. Is Heracleides reporting a transvestite amongst the episcopate? Has he been keeping it a secret? How contrary to what we consider to be Heracleidish behavior!!! Such a tease!!!

          • Fr. George Washburn says

            Dear Vladyko:

            How are you edifying and building up the Body of Christ by recently sharing internet-wide all these sad stories from long-bygone days: a troubled priest in a mink coat, a priest’s son stripped and smothered with shaving cream, etc.?

            Is this how you taught your clergy to converse with one another when leading the DoW? Is this how bishops talked with each other in private while you were still seeing to a See?

            How is this sort of story-telling to be distinguished from the sin of gossip?. Just questions.

            Fr. George

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              Fr. George, once again you get the Golden Palm for Moralizing.
              I’m not sure I or any bishop I know taught clergy how to converse with one another. Do you know of a bishop who teaches his priests how to converse with one another?
              As for Bishops talking with each other, you obviously have no idea what salacious gossip and dirty jokes were de rigeuer amongst my brethren at Ligonier! Then there was that Bishop’s conference at the Marriott in DC!
              Father George, were you ever in the service? Did you ever hold down a “real” job, as Harry Coin might call it? You need perhaps some experience in Iraq or Afghanistan to understand what kind of Orthodoxy America needs to be brought to!
              Our Lord did not become incarnate in order to make the world nice or polite. This site is not a ladies’ seminary or Sodality meeting.

              • Fr. George Washburn says

                Hello friends:

                Vladyka dodges all four questions at once and tries the old switcheroo to see if he can divert my attention – or yours – onto my relatively irrelevant employment history.

                My questions in short form, which I hereby reiterate, remain:

                1. how do his stories of long-past clergy sleaze build up/edify the Church today?
                2. is this how he taught the priests who served under him to converse?
                3. is this how the Synod conversed in his day, trading such anecdotes?
                4. how are we to distinguish his storytelling from the sin of gossip?

                His Grace does dignify one of the questions by seeming not to quite understand it, namely how a bishop might teach his priests to converse about others. The answer he does not want to hear is “By example Vladyko, by example.”

                While service in the Middle East battle zones might possibly help one ” to understand what kind of Orthodoxy America needs to be brought to,” Vladyka reminds us daily on this blog that the kind of Orthodoxy characterized by seamy stories of yesteryear about others is exactly the kind of Orthodoxy America does NOT need to be brought to. That kind has already been tried ….and found wanting.

                Fr. George

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  To “Fr. George Washburn”:
                  1. Stories of long-past clergy sleaze do NOT build up/edify the Church today. What an idea!
                  2.I”ve never taught any priests who serveD “under” (sic) me how to converse. What an idea!
                  3. The Synod never conversed. Individual members’ conversations at the times of Synod meetings were very much like bishops’ conversations everywhere, Ligonier, for example. They were not always morally exemplary, either.
                  4. Story telling and gossip are two different activities, Father George, although they sometimes overlap. A professor of mine once said the all history is gossip. Story telling, then, in answer to your apparently urgent and SO perceptive question, poorly put, may be credible or completely incredible, fantastic, even, not expecting or seeking “belief.” Gossip, or chatty talking, though, may be benevolent or malicious, and involves reality.
                  I apologize for referring to your insular life, attempting to allow others to have some insight into what informs or does not inform your writings here (and even in order to excuse that)..
                  Was this helpful? Did I do a “switcheroo?”

                  • Fr. George Washburn says

                    Many thanks to Bishop Tikhon for giving his answers to the four questions. I think our group dialogue is vastly improved when we regular participants especially make the effort pay close attention to what others write and respond to such questions. comfortable or not.

                    Let me take my own advice and now and respond to Vladyka’s questions by mentioning some of the jobs that seemed real to me at the time. A summer driving Chicago Transit Authority buses out of 52nd and Cottage Grove on the South Side on regular routes like the State St. Projects, and 43rd St. There were two killings on S. Greenwood. where I lived, that summer. Or two years as a construction laborer in CA and MN, some of it as a union member, some non-union. Mostly as a mason’s laborer putting up scaffold, mixing mortar, and carrying blocks, brick or stone for the trowel men. Or 27 years of full time law practice in the state and federal courts of N. California, mostly in real estate and construction law with side gigs as judge pro tem in the Santa Cruz courts, chair of a county nuisance abatement commission, and a 5 year appointment by the federal court to represent an indigent prisoner.


                    Fr. G

                    • Fr. George is too modest. He omitted his time involved in application of his legal talents towards the overturning of his local EOC/AEOM/Antiochian parish in Ben Lomond, CA. But by now that’s ancient history.

                      Oh the humanity.


                    • Heracleides says

                      Yes, amazing how he totally overlooked that infamous chapter of his life.

                    • Fr. George Washburn says

                      That’s me all right, Elias and Heracleides, but you have your facts backwards. It was the departure of the majority faction for greener pastures …locking out the Antiochian minority from the church buildings …that threatened to “overturn” the BL Antiochian parish. I was actually preventing the *overturn* or disbanding of the parish, rather than causing it, by using legal means when entreaty failed.

                      It is just this sort of bypath that we always find ourselves on in these discussions when we accept BT or anyone else’s invitation to go down the bypaths. I should have stuck with my initial decision that it was irrelevant, and refused to bite.


                      Fr. G

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Look at the size of that “Switcheroo!” Generated by only one word of mine: “insular!”
                      The ego is a marvelous machine…so dependable and sensitive.

                      Was it not Montesquieu who quipped, “What makes the vanity of others unbearable is that it wounds our own?”

                      I’m so sorry that I so typically (and successfully) tempted Father George Washburn! It was SO unkind of me to allude to Father George Washburn’s life as an insular life. Obviously that was a totally unjustified characterization of a life far-famed for its generosity, tolerance of the quirks of all men, humility born of being a true man of the people, and MODEL FOR US ALL. Rather than an insular life, it would be called better “The Protoglobal Life.”
                      Let’s follow his great example of never displaying himself ostentatiously as taking the high road and never stinting on putting us all on the right track.
                      I confess to total embarrassment by my constant attempts to drag down the high tone established by Father George, and to go down the slimey, demonic road of what foolish men term “calling a spade a spade.” That is LOW.

      • Jesse Cone says

        Your Grace,

        Thanks for the comment. To your first question: absolutely we are blessed and grateful for the episcopate of such men. I was blessed to be around +Dmitri during the past years of his life, and he was a remarkable spiritual leader to his community, even when he couldn’t move around much or remember people’s names — much less administer. Policies and Procedures, while important, will never affect holiness. They can’t even make an episcopacy effective; though they may help avoid a bump or two in the road, they insufficient means upon which to construct an episcopacy.

        Secondly, I think the “report card” idea would be effective considering (1) the decision to do so occurred at the diocesan level, and (2) that the bishop, in good will, took the exercise seriously. Without that it’s a waste of paper.

        As to the third question, I don’t see how it can be answered as a blanket statement; and certainly not by a relatively young layperson as myself. To be sure, a particular example of this dilemma springs to my mind, but I’m unwilling to share specifics and unable to extrapolate any truth worth sharing from it.

        One final thing: I know at least one priest in the DOW who has a higher view of Your Grace than you expressed for yourself.

  12. Bruce Wm. Trakas says

    My two cents, while I reside within the territory of the Midwest Diocese, I am not in the OCA, but I am involved in local Pan-Orthodox activities. The OCA parishes locally contribute to our Pan-Orthodox witness and are active parishes, led by talented priests and devout laity. The OCA Midwest Diocese Bishop is routinely part of our Pan-Orthodox activities. I’ve known and respected the proceeding diocesan hierarchs, Archbishop John, Bishop Boris, and Archbishop Job. I’ve met Bishop Matthias too.

    I had respect for Bishop Matthias. As a youth, he worshiped in my parish, while his ACROD parish was being constructed. There is, however, no way he can overcome those text messages to the young lady, not-with-standing his background, character, and persona otherwise. His interaction with the young lady is outrageous behavior for an Orthodox bishop, who is called to have adopted the “angelic life,” and live a life in celibacy, (not to imply that he had physical relations with her). How possibly can a congregation listen to him preach, and take him seriously, without thinking about his text messages? How can a congregation, with him as celebrant, participate prayerfully, knowing what he wrote to the young lady? He cannot be taken seriously as a ruling bishop of a diocese, no way. He would be subject to uncontrollable snickering from the faithful, both in church and elsewhere. I know of a few friends, who, if we were sitting together while he was speaking, would not be able to control murmured commentary. And how much respect could his parish priests have for him after these revelations? Can you imagine their words and actions, behind his back, especially when he would take actions they oppose? And what would secular society think of our Orthodox Bishop and his diocese, if he were reinstated? Could the public media control itself from commenting about his actions “again and again,” so to speak? Recall that our Orthodox theology deems the bishop as the “Icon of Christ,” and our priests are Icons of Christ, through their bishops.

    While he may not necessarily be a sexual predator, he has acted wholly inappropriately for a cleric, let alone a bishop. And he is too young to retire. I would suggest he be given a teaching assignment at St. Tikhon Seminary, where he could also live and grow spiritually into adopting the angelic life. Perhaps he has a talent to publish. Or, perhaps such an assignment at the St. Herman Theological School. His inappropriate behavior, while wholly inexcusable for a bishop or a parish priest, may not be as offensive as a professor. His bishop, in this scenario, would not permit him to serve as a bishop, but he wouldn’t need to be unfrocked. Perhaps after a number of years, his fully appropriate behavior could potentially earn him a return to episcopal service. Time will tell.

    I recently asked a local Orthodox priest, if there were any developments in the matter of Bishop Matthias. He responded, while rolling his eyes and smirking, “No.”

    The Midwest Diocese is an active diocese, with problems as any church entity could have too; prolonging the inevitable, keeping the diocese without a Shepard, hurts the diocese significantly—lots of outstanding issues, many routine, remain in limbo.

    And can you imagine, with the criticism of the OCA administratively attendant to a financial and moral scandal that ran wild for 19 years, followed by the forced resignation of its subsequent primate, what maintaining +Matthias, a bishop who “hit on” a parishioner, in the episcopal seat of the OCA’s largest diocese, will do to its already harmed reputation?

    The Holy Synod must do the right thing and find an assignment for him that would not bring more shame to the Orthodox Church in America, Holy Orthodoxy, and to the clergy and faithful of the OCA’s largest diocese.

    • Disinterested Observer says

      You talk of your and your friends’ “uncontrolled murmurings” during this sinful bishop’s homilies. If this is a genuine struggle, maybe you could ask help from your priest’s wife–maybe also your priest’s youngest child (–no, really, the very youngest child able to comunicate) and they might be able to tell you how to handle the sins of their cranky/irrational/and often sinful father. Frankly, they do it every week and every day of every year of their lives. To put it simply, they love him.

    • Harry Coin says

      Bruce, I feel the same way about a drunk driver bishop. Drunk is the first offense, putting lives at risk by then driving is the second. Just drive past a little cross planted by an ordinary city road where a person was killed because a drunk driver crossed the center and — dead. Not the drunk, the innocent. Just left their home and didn’t make it across town. I suppose the powers at the ‘sacred center national church offices’ don’t care so much because they don’t get sued by drunk driving victims, but do for misconduct.

      Morally though, I’ll take bad text messages and mutually denied relations over a drunk driver as bishop any day. Can I forgive him, sure if he tries to stay sober. Can he stay a bishop in charge of clergy who for decades have managed to not drive drunk? A stretch.

      Zap the bad text guy and keep the drunk guy who but for police would have probably gotten in a serious wreck often resulting in death? Really?

  13. Stepan Hatting says

    You know… if 2012 has taught me anything, it’s to never trust an abbot. Better yet, never trust a bishop. Actually, parishioners are probably just better off using their own judgement and steering clear of anyone in leadership positions.

    Why not, after all, if your conscience is God-given?

    If anyone had any sense these days, they’d demand release by the OCA and sue for damages if they refused. They only need to point to the behaviors of their own Syosset. The problem is that priests have been taught to be subservient to their bishops. While in monasticism, it’s ideal, when you are a parish priest, it’s a problem, because now you are not only responsible for your soul, but also your family and your parish too.

    Also, not to minimize the issue here, but it seems these days that the Syosset has blown up the smaller problems in order to maybe cover-up the bigger ones. Strikes me as utter and complete hypocrisy. I’m sure if they had a wife and family to answer to they would be a little more sober-minded. Isn’t that what Paul points out in 1 Timothy 3:2? Bishops were the husband of one wife? Yes? Seems the Orthodox Church has strayed quite a bit since 681… Before unmarried bishops was an exception; now it’s mandatory.

    In all honesty and with all due respect, I’ve seen better functioning Protestant churches when it comes to corruption and scandals. At least the pastors there have the decency to resign most of the time and oftentimes admitting their problems publicly followed by an apology (genuine or not).

    If the public got wind of such scandalization as this in a Protestant church, they’d be making signs and picketing the churches calling them out for being in a cult. And let’s not forget about the even bigger fish to fry… Abp. “Gay Mel Gibson” Benjamin? Bishop “Child Molester” Seraphim? Metropolitan “I Stole Your Money” Hilarion? Where to begin? My, the press would have a field day, and the public would be up in arms!

    • Fr. George Washburn says

      Well, Mr. Hatting, perhaps that is the “lesson” you have *imagined* from 2012. Others of us have learned or re-learned the lesson of not trusting the word of tyros (people lacking in sufficient knowledge, factual basis, experience, and discernment to make judgment-call charges against others) without a VERY careful examination of the person making the charges and the influences, biases and blind spots he or she might bring to the table ….whether innocently or not. Or the lesson that in these modern times of suspicion and instant internet brouhahas, few if any in leadership are safe from the blame-caster’s firestorm-creating reach – whether or not said caster is actually correct. And by the way, of what church precisely are you presently a member?


      Fr. George

    • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

      As a ROCOR priest,I take great exception to what appears to be a reference to Metropolitan Hilarion of ROCOR.Who has made any accusations towards him?

      • V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says:
        March 1, 2013 at 6:07 pm
        As a ROCOR priest,I take great exception to what appears to be a reference to Metropolitan Hilarion of ROCOR.Who has made any accusations towards him?

        He clearly was referring to Met Herman. It was an unfortunate error in a shameful post.

      • Stepan Hatting says

        Sorry. I meant Met. Herman of the OCA. I know of no scandals concerning Met. Hilarion of ROCOR. My statements were merely to make a point of how ridiculous everything is seeming in the OCA because of the leadership. Please forgive me for any offense I may have committed in this mistake of identity.

      • Stepan Hatting says

        Sorry. I meant Met. Herman of the OCA. I know of no scandals concerning Met. Hilarion of ROCOR. My comments were merely meant hyperbolically to make the point of how ridiculous everything is seeming in the OCA and it starts with a lot of the leadership, imo. Please forgive me for any offense I may have committed in this mistaken identity.

  14. Abbouna Michel says

    I find Fr. Alexey’s comments on, and citation of, the canons regarding the untranferability of bishops interesting. It would appear that these are more honored in the breach than the observance in contemporary Orthodoxy. Let me cite just two cases:

    Case 1. Bp. Mark (Maymon). Consecrated (2004) [AOCA], enthroned as Bishop of Toledo (2005), transferred [transfer refused] to the Diocese of Eagle River (2010), received into the OCA (2010), appointed Bishop of Baltimore (2010).

    Case 2. Met. Hilarion (Alfeyev). Consecrated (2002), appointed Vicar Bishop of Sourozh (2002), transferred to be head of ROC representation to European Institutions in Brussels (2002), appointed Bishop of Vienna and Austria, and Administrator of the Diocese of Budapest and Hungary (2003), transferred to be Bishop of Volokolamsk and head of the ROC Department of External Church Relations (2009). Subsequently appointed Archbishop and then, Metropolitan.

    It seems that travelocity is being consulted more than the canons!

    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

      “Case 2. Met. Hilarion (Alfeyev). Consecrated (2002), appointed Vicar Bishop of Sourozh (2002), transferred to be head of ROC representation to European Institutions in Brussels (2002), appointed Bishop of Vienna and Austria, and Administrator of the Diocese of Budapest and Hungary (2003), transferred to be Bishop of Volokolamsk and head of the ROC Department of External Church Relations (2009). Subsequently appointed Archbishop and then, Metropolitan.”

      Fifth Ecumenical Council:

      Εἴ τις λέγει ἢ ἔχει, πρόσκαιρον εἶναι τὴν τῶν δαιμόνων καὶ ἀσεβῶν ἀνθρώπων κόλασιν, καὶ τέλος κατά τινα χρόνον αὐτὴν ἔξειν, ἤγουν ἀποκατάστασιν ἔσεσθαι δαιμόνων, ἢ ἀσεβῶν ἀνθρώπων, ἀνάθεμα ἔστω.

      If anyone says or holds that the punishment of the demons and of impious men is temporary, and that, at a certain time, it will have an end, or that there will be an apokatastasis (i.e., a return to their original state) of demons or of impious men, let him be anathema.


      In an amazing, even surprising ecumenical moment in the Catholic Church’s first World Congress on Divine Mercy, Russian Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev, bishop of Vienna and Austria as well as temporary administrator of the Diocese of Budapest and Hungary, took Divine Mercy to its logical conclusion. God is Love, all He created and sustains is always loved by Him. Even the creation that rejects Him continues in existence by His love. This unfathomable Divine Mercy can even make hell* “Gehenna,” temporary, according to Bishop Hilarion, who spoke on Day 3 of the Congress (Friday, April 5) at St. John Lateran Basilica.

      After Bishop Hilarion’s presentation, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, who is presiding over the Congress in the name of Pope Benedict XVI, chatted warmly with Bishop Hilarion, shaking his hand and thanking him for his “courageous witness on the absolute mercy of God.”

      The congress had found its electric moment.

      * The Eastern Church holds that two states exist — heaven and hell — and that sanctification is more process-orientated. Thus, hell is where this process takes place.


      The Bishop continued:

      All of God’s actions are mysteries that are inaccessible to human reasoning. Gehenna is also a mystery, created in order to bring to a state of perfection those who had not reached it during their lifetime. … Thus, Gehenna is a sort of purgatory rather than hell. It is conceived and established for the salvation of both human beings and angels. … According to Isaac, all those who have fallen away from God will eventually return to Him because of the temporary and short torment in Gehenna that is prepared for them in order that they purify themselves through the fire of suffering and repentance.

      Hell, therefore, according to Bishop Hilarion, is transitory.


      +Hilarion in blog comment:

      Friends, I came accross your blog by accident. Thank you for your interest in what I said in Rome. However, I must state that what some of you take as my position is in fact that of St Isaac of Nineveh. It is his views that I tried to present as faithfully as I could in my paper and in my earlier book “The Spiritual World of Isaac the Syrian”, on which this paper is based. Please read the text of my paper here:

      As you will see, I clearly state: “The teaching on universal salvation, which is so explicitly preached by Isaac the Syrian, has never been approved by the Orthodox Church. On the contrary, Origenist idea of the apokatastasis ton panton (restoration of all), which has certain resemblance with this teaching, was condemned by the Fifth Ecumenical Council”.

      Then I try to explain the difference between St Isaac and Origen: “However, we would not completely identify Isaac’s idea of the universal salvation with Origenist ‘restoration of all’. In Origen, universal restoration is not the end of the world, but a passing phase from one created world to another, which will come into existence after the present world has come to its end. This idea is alien to Christian tradition and unknown to Isaac. The latter is more dependent on other ancient writers, notably Theodore of Mopsuestia and Diodore of Tarsus, who also developed the idea of universal salvation, yet in a way different from Origen’s. On the other hand, it would not be fair to say that Isaac simply borrowed the ideas of his predecessors and inserted them into his own writings. Isaac’s eschatological optimism and his belief in universal salvation are ultimate outcomes of his personal theological vision, whose central idea is that of God as love. Around this idea the whole of his theological system is shaped”.


      Ladder: St. Isaac was outside the Roman empire and may not even have been aware of the 5th Ecumenical Council. Instead of promoting the ignorance (which should be the Orthodox assumption here) or even a possible error of a saint, and trying to find subtle disinctions between forms of universalism supposedly explicitly ruled against by the 5th Council and those supposedly not. +Hilarion seems to be of the mind that the 5th Council only banned the universalism of Origen and only because Origen’s “universal restoration is not the end of the world, but a passing phase from one created world to another” so that wouldn’t apply to universalism developed by “notably Theodore of Mopsuestia” (whose writings and whose very person where declared anathema by the 5th Council) who he thinks St. Isaac is developing upon.

      Anyway, whatever +Hilarion said greatly pleased the Latins, whose head Benedict/Ratzinger who had been openly teaching universalism for decades by the time of this false ecumenical event.

  15. Henry Chinaski says

    Yes, Father George I agree with your message along in a legalistic way, but in a pastoral way it is lacking. One should dig a little deeper less confrontationally and more discriminately by removing ones own bias.

    Mr. Hatting was a personal witness to the break up of the Monastery of St. John. Perhaps, if you really wanted to know what happened, instead of instinctively defending your good friend Archimandrite Meletios Webber, you could not only heed your own advice, but also help guide other souls to forgiveness and reconciliation.

  16. Henry Chinaski says

    Yes, Father George I agree with your message in a limited legalistic way, but in a pastoral way it is lacking. One should dig a little deeper, less adversarially and more discriminately by removing ones own bias also.

    Mr. Hatting was a personal witness to the break up of the Monastery of St. John. Perhaps, if you really wanted to know what happened, instead of instinctively defending your friend Archimandrite Meletios Webber and attacking Stephen, you could not only heed your own advice with contradictations and supplementation, and help guide another soul to forgiveness and reconciliation.

  17. Henry Chinaski says

    Yes, Father George I agree with your message in a limited legalistic way, but in a pastoral way it is lacking. One should dig a little deeper, less adversarially and more discriminately by removing ones own bias also.

    Mr. Hatting was a personal witness to the break up of the Monastery of St. John. Perhaps, if you really wanted to know what happened, instead of instinctively defending your friend Archimandrite Meletios Webber, you could not only heed your own advice with contradictations and supplementation, and help guide another soul to forgiveness and reconciliation.

    • Fr. George Washburn says

      As usual I want to thank Henry for having the courage to post under what looks like a real name. And yes, Fr. Meletios was and is a valued friend and teacher.

      I don’t see Mr. Hatting as so much a witness to as a promoter of the breakup of the monastery, and that is NOT just a semantic difference. He was used by people who should have known better, and probably did but gave themselves a special “pass” on the norms of Christian conduct because they were so sure they were doing the work of God. I disagree with their evaluation and their self-conferred exemption from those norms, and ask God to be merciful to whichever of us is wronger.

      I take your point, which I think is that perhaps by being nicer to Mr. Hatting I could win him over to spiritual sense and maturity through this forum. Please correct me if i have it wrong.

      While the tone and content of what I wrote is far from above criticism, I think you are looking at the pastoral potential of both this blog and public exchanges with Mr. Hatting through several pairs of rose colored glasses at once. When one is to be guided by “a soft answer turneth away wrath but grievous words stir up anger” as opposed to “smite a scoffer” is by no means a simple litmus test choice. Reading this young man’s sadly confused thoughts once again, and noting how chock full of himself he still seems to be, I thought that one fairly gentle smite might be the ticket. But maybe not. Probably nothing is.

      Doesn’t mean I don’t like or respect you though, Henry, and probably all three of you! You come across as a good sport really try to understand others and make a contribution nobody else is making. We all benefit.


      Fr. George

      • Stepan Hatting says

        Fr. George Washburn wrote:
        “I don’t see Mr. Hatting as so much a witness to as a promoter of the breakup of the monastery, and that is NOT just a semantic difference. He was used by people who should have known better, and probably did but gave themselves a special ‘pass’ on the norms of Christian conduct because they were so sure they were doing the work of God.”

        Fr. George, Thank you for voicing my frustrations so that I don’t have to. Looking back in retrospect and knowing what I know now, I should have never gotten involved with anything dealing with that whole situation. Unfortunately, though, that doesn’t solve the issue of everything that I have learned as a result and some of the apathy and bitterness that has gone along with that.

        • Fr. George Washburn says

          Thank you Mr. Hatting for your reflective reply. It is so hard to understand and interact with what is unique and deeply personal to one another in this setting. Please excuse me to the extent I seemed to misunderstand you. Some of what you had posted just seemed so reactively off base that it needed rejoinder, but my reply was not meant to trivialize you or your feelings.


          Fr. George

  18. JamesMiller says

    Has anyone been reading or talking about what this guy’s written: ? Any reactions? I can think of some of my own rejoinders, but have not (in my infrequent visits) seen his writing posted or referenced on this monomakhos site.

    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

      “Has anyone been reading or talking about what this guy’s written… Any reactions?”

      Ok, sure, these parts jumped out at me.

      “…the texts were of the sort that close friends and I exchange daily when teasing each other.”


      “It emerged that Vladyka Matthias had been trying to cover up his plans to visit this woman because they had close mutual friends of each of their families at her parish who would have been offended if he’d dropped by and not seen them too”


      And briefly examining the rest of the website, this person can’t distinguish between Monophysitism and Orthodoxy (which I’ll summarize briefly as, “they use the term ‘Orthodox’ and claim never to have been heretics, well then, they must be Orthodox and have grace filled Mysteries”).

  19. Harry Coin says

    Are the rules only to be applied when those ‘we don’t like’ have crossed a line?

    Assuming all agree no improper relations occurred— How can a person who actually drank booze to the point of impairment, actually chose to drive drunk and so put lives at risk until the police stopped him, sit in judgement of one who sent off color text messages and created the appearance of impropriety?

    I’m all for higher standards for those given to be in positions of decision making authority over parish clergy careers. Why should one join a church when clergy who have led stable ministries, who for decades managed to not drive drunk and to not relax sexual restraint, are caused to follow the decisions of those not capable of the same?

    Let’s not have double standards here– putting actual lives at risk by drunk driving and even actually drinking to the point of impared judgement makes off-color text messages and the appearance of impropriety seem petty by comparison.

    • M. Stankovich says

      Mr. Coin,

      Is the fact that you received the $10 smackdown for this on the Orthodox-Forum cause to shop your weeks-old fish here? Perhaps you’ll get a better answer here by “slumming it” down to Monomakhos? What is about Mr. Coin? Are you itching to string somebody up? You looking for an army to rise up for you, even though for more than a full month you don’t seem able to man up and type your “intended’s” name?

      The only suitable answer to anything I ever read by you is: Yes, Mr. Coin, you are correct. If Matthias, then Benjamin. If Benjamin, then Nathaniel (the friend of the retired Mark); and if Nathaniel, then Melchisedek (same outfit), blah, blah, blah; Mark got those emails… And hey, if we’re playing pick-up ball, I’ll tack on some old-timers (somebody I saw coming out of the gay showclub at 42nd & 8th). And should I forget your personal favorite, Mr. Coin, any and all celibate male monastics simply on GP because it rubs you the wrong way, which invaribly leads to… monastic bishops in general! And we’re almost finished: Stalin was truly misunderstood, and DRUMROLL ===> Hitler did no wrong!

      Let’s be honest, Mr. Coin, even when I have been respectfully respectful, there is no nice way of saying: there is no justice in this life, Mr. Coin. And justice is not yours.

      “And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, do you not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given to every one of them; and it was said to them, that they should rest yet for a little longer.” (Rev. 6:10-11)

      • Harry Coin says

        Above we see one of the best examples of both ‘projection’ and ‘steering by one’s own wake’ possible.

        In what world were Hitler and Stalin bishops?

      • Harry Coin says

        John, I think so as well. How do we get past noticing whether ‘the rules’ get strictly interpreted, loosely interpreted, or flat out ignored appears to have nothing whatever to do with the facts and the canons/rules and everything to do with whether one is ‘liked’ by ‘friends’.

        It wouldnt’ be so bad if this was a country club. But not just a church — but one with ‘Orthodox’ in the title?? Here we see see those in high positions misdo extensively then retain such positions — then go on to make career decisions about of those who have managed these many years to do well without gross misdoing. Perhaps the reason folk join and folk stay is aspirational, we like the vision of what it could be. Plainly what we are given to see has major problem.

        Really, so many parish clergy are saints just for showing up and working under such conditions.

      • Jane Rachel says

        Michael wrote: “…(somebody I saw coming out of the gay showclub at 42nd & 8th).”

        Did you use binoculars? Were you on your way to somewhere else when you just happened to see him, or were you waiting for him, or what? If so, why? Did he have his arm around another man? Did you ask him why he was in there?

        • M. Stankovich says

          Jane Rachel,

          As Albert Collins sang, “I don’t care what you been thinkin’. I ain’t drunk, but I been drinkin'”


            and for His Grace +BT


            I suggest not clicking on the links.

          • Jane Rachel says

            Michael Stankovich, now that I’ve read through your longer comment describing what you saw, which you addressed elsewhere to Michael Bauman (which I missed because I have a life and I’m busy), I don’t doubt you for one second.

            It takes a lot of time to read through all comments, and my screen is small, so to HECK with “nit-picking” for condemning me. JEEZ! That HURT.

            Michael, I know exactly how you felt, I know the agony, the hurt and shock, and I know inside how knowing it has affected you all these years. I have experienced it too, and it concerned a very highly respected person, not clergy, in the Orthodox Church (not the OCA) and absolutely no one did anything about it, though I told them. I commented about that horrifying experience right here a few months ago.

            Thank you very much for the link to “Cold, Cold Feeling.” “The Boxer” has always been my favorite song. This one’s for you:


            • nit picking says

              It was intended to hurt Jane Rachel. You are not the first to make allegations (extremely unfair ones at that – even if they were unintentional as you claim) at M. Stankovich and others. To HECK with me and have a life do you? LOL. Full of your self much? Is he sure he saw it? Really? That is also yours to ask…wow. I hope MS rips you to bits. You deserve it.

              • Jane Rachel says

                Nit picking, wherever the heck “heck” is, I’m sorry I wrote “to heck with nit-picking!” I didn’t see your apology until the “to heck” thing had been posted, so it was too late to withdraw it, and at the time I was trying to figure out whether I was in the wrong, as you said I was, for having missed MS’s post. No “allegations” of anything by me were ever intentionally or unintentionally directed at Mr. Stankovich and that’s a fact. Except for wondering, asking, and getting answers from him, or trying to understand, or understanding his answers, eventually, sort of.

                I explained why I didn’t get a chance to read Mr. Stankovich’s full explanation until you mentioned he had written one, when I did go back and find it and read it. I didn’t have a chance because I am busy and have a life, you know, no big deal, it’s just a life. I’m sure you have one, too. Enough of that… We need to relax!

                Also, yes, I wanted to know if he was sure the guy, who he says was a very high official in the OCA, was … gay… frequenting gay bars… living two lives… or whether the guy might have been walking past the place, or went in to get somebody out of there that he cared about, or whether there was some other explanation. That’s why I asked, “are you sure?”

                • M. Stankovich says


                  For what it’s worth, I took no offense to your original statement. I also am an advocate of decaf.

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          I’m so OUT of it! What in the world is a “Showclub?” And what is the name of the “gay showclub” that our so scientific observer mentioned? Do they have ‘gay showclubs” in other cities? Are there any here in L.A., I wonder? I thought gay bars and nightclubs were outdated, now that those types are welcome almost everywhere, no? I too, Jane Rachel, wonder if the old geezer so well-known to M.Stankovich had ‘struck out’.
          Wasn’t it that crusty old widower of blessed memory, Archbishop Kiprian, who used to ask “And you know this how? Were you holding a flashlight or a candle to see them at it?”
          And for mixed metaphors, I think, Jane, that M. Stankovich gets today’s prize for his “If you’re playing pickup ball, I’ll TACK ON some old-timers!” (That last was for Saunca’s benefit, “word semantics” always get her goat, whatever those are.)

          • M. Stankovich says

            Vladyka Tikhon,

            If you’re looking for directions, alas – Rudolph Guilianni wiped them from the face of the earth. They are, however, fondly recalled. I was all of 18-years old and this was not “Wonder Years” titillating to me. It was shocking. Right out of Fellini. Seriously, Vladyka, you imagine I have some motivation to fabricate what sickens me to this day?

            Brighten the troops: tack on a few more mixed metaphors & word semantics and get today’s prize. Stew for all my friends!

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            Saunca! Let’s leave Kundera for a minute and reflect on the Gospel account of the healing of the man born blind. When the man healed was continually badgered by the Jewish religious establishment about “WHO” healed him and so on, he finally mocked them sarcastically and said, “Why do you keep at it? Or do YOU perhaps want to become his Disciples?”
            Then there is our Saviour’s favorite: “Thou hast said.” In plain English, that’s “You said it, not me!”

        • nit picking says

          Jane Rachel,

          You obviously have lousy recollection. It is also apparent that you are lazy and do not bother to use the “View all comments” link. You make yourself appear purposefully malevolent and deceitful or, at the very least, just plain “ol’ an’ decrepit.”

          M. Stankovich made reference to being scandalized by seeing someone come out of a gay showclub at 42nd and 8th when he was a student at St. Vlad’s in one of his previous posts. I remember that post so well because I was touched by it. I was touched by his visceral honesty and openness and that he chose to share his personal and spiritual pain here with us making himself vulnerable to a plethora of strangers who are not worthy.

          There is no love lost between myself and M. Stankovich. There are moments when he infuriates me. However, I respect him. I respect his openness. I enjoy his humor on those rare occasions when I can understand it. I am grateful that he challenges me and others. Every honest dialogue needs a M. Stankovich like dynamic.

          How dare you have the audacity to try to turn it around and cast aspersions on him and his character.

          What gives you the right? What gives you the authority?

          In short: God rebuke you.

          • Jane Rachel says

            Oops, got to clear this up, I’ve been slammed twice today and it’s just not my style to be lazy, decrepit or hateful, whatever, and if you knew me you would know it. But it is easy to be misunderstood. I also have respect for Mr. Stankovich and I do believe he is honest and straightforward. I was misunderstood before by him because I missed what he was saying. If you had read my other comments to him, you will see that we have gone back and forth often. I am sorry this last comment was misunderstood.

            I’m trying to find a way through this just like a lot of people here, and it’s painful, but it seems necessary.

            Mr. Stankovich, if the person you are talking about was in that bar as a participant, so to speak, then he too, was leading a double life. I would have been scandalized too. I wasn’t implying that you were part of that. My questions should have been: “did you really see that?” and “are you sure?” “does this mean he was leading two lives and are you sure about that?” and “how did you happen to see him?” because it’s beginning to look like no one can be trusted anymore. The questions are honest ones. I’m asking because I want to understand, it’s the way my brain works. I am not casting aspersions on you.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            Anybody know who it was coming out of that “gay showclub?” Was it Metropolitan Vladimir (Nagossky), who, llke Fr. Benedict DiSocio, claimed he liked to visit homosexual bars in order to observe and be equipped to deal with homosexuality? Or was it ever-memorable Archimandrite Alexander (Doumouras) who eventually perished from AIDS? I’m sure there were other such clergy KNOWN to M. Stankovich who could have been seen in or going into or out of the place! Or maybe it was an ordained Chancellor of the Antiochian Archdiocese? Or does M. Stankovich have one particular favorite target whom he hopes will be readily identified by his own set?

            • Fr. George Washburn says

              Vladyka virtually begs for A NAME to add to the treasure trove of trash and troubles of times past. If we recognize this request as a continuing aspect of the Church’s malaise, and the battle for a better future, it is in part because I, and perhaps most of the rest of us, have even caught ourselves doing the very same thing.

              Is it “moralizing” to name this for what it is and hope to do better and encourage others to? Maybe so, but I doubt it. Life – or the Spirit – doesn’t always send us messages about ourselves in the dulcet tones of privacy, deference and decorum to which we can imagine ourselves entitled.

              By coincidence here’s the “thought for the day” that was sent out to the LA Antiochian Diocese’s e-mail list yesterday:

              “How can we say that we adhere to the meek and All-pure Christ if we daily poison the air with tales about the sins and shortcomings of others? To conceal your own virtue and the shortcomings of others – in this is pre-eminent spiritual wisdom.” St. Nkolai of Zica

              This is hard advice to follow in a public forum that consists of sharp debate with one another over what is good and right for the Church, and perhaps I fail to follow the saint’s advice by publicly disagreeing with the retired Bishop’s public and inveterate approach here.


              Fr. George

              • Jane Rachel says

                Is it better that we think of our leaders as they are presented to us rather than as they are?

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                Tell Fr. Johnson i think a name would be better than a carefully aimed insinuation. If Fr. Johnson’s witness here is that I was “virtually begging for a name,” that witness is false. I actually was begging for M. Stankovich to be more forthright and less reckless.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Vladyka Tikhon,

                  Apparently we will simply disagree over the difference between “carefully aimed insinuation” and using a painful example for purposes of illustration:

                  To me, this history is a painful, wrenching lesson that where there are men, there will always be sinfulness and depravity. And yet, “by the wisdom of men and the Grace of the Holy Spirit,” the Church speaks again in Council and we move on to a new day, reinvigorated and with hope. Our God will right the injustices of this life where we fail, and it is time to move on.

                  You didn’t even need to read between the lines.

                  Recklessness, however, is another matter altogether. As I described, I cannot imagine how I could have been more forthright in reporting my experience and expressing my reaction. I am not alone in that respect. I was merely attempting to suggest to those “smartest guys in the room” that God is Just & a Just God, and I am able, in good conscience, to leave the responsibility for that justice with the proper Judge.

                  I would note, Vladyka, that if you, or anyone, would wish the entire sordid story, it can be had for a price: “thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value.” (Mt. 27:9) That seems a fair price for my adolescent “lesson” in existential reality, no?

                  • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                    M. Stankovich, you chose to try and teach through a very very specific example, but left out a most important, perhaps vital, ingredient in that example: the identity of the person whose appearance so discombobulated you. Did you NOT mean to imply that most others would have reacted as you did? You want us to accept your example as an oracular teaching, NOT from life, but through imagination. By the way, I do not accept the common and shallow assumption that an All-American Council is a ‘Council of the Church.” It is, rather, a council of those who attend it.

  20. Philippa Alan says

    Hi George,

    I was wondering if you could tell me what happened to the comment that was on the blog earlier today but seems to be gone now. It contained a list of the Midwest priests following Fr. Bobosh’s charge to get rid of Bp. Matthias. I thought it was good that someone had posted the names. If I recall correctly, some of them were the Deans of the Diocese.


    • Jane Rachel says

      Yes, George, please re-post the names. Oh, I forgot. They wish to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal. Who do they fear? God? The people? What do they fear? Getting fired? Being criticized publicly? Come to think of it, I don’t blame them for being afraid to have their names published… On second thought, George, never mind.

      Oh, the dust is FLYING off my feet!!!

      • Philippa.alan says

        Oh that’s okay Jane Rachel. I read them listed on someone else’s blog.

        I wonder why they fear reprisal? If they believe what they are saying is true then they should have the…cough…guts enough to say their names aloud. The author of fear and cowardice is the devil. They should fear God’s reprisal more than anyone else’s.

        And by the way, don’t let the door hit you on the way out Jane Rachel.

  21. Newest Videos says

    Spiritual Study, Metropolitan Jonah, March 3, 2013

    Sermon by Metropolitan Jonah, March 3, 2013

  22. cynthia curran says

    True, George unlike the European countries mention there have been several books written about the imprisonment of politcal opposation in Cuba as well as labor camps. Many on the left favor gay rights but Castro threw homosexuals into labor camps. Why the left things Cuba and Sweden are the same I don’t know.

  23. A Chicagoan says

    I have not spoken out on the matter of Bishop Matthias, and now I wish I had done so earlier. The Diocese of Chicago does not necessarily want his resignation. Some outspoken members of the Diocese want his resignation. The Cathedral where he has frequently been since his leave of absence most definitely does NOT want his resignation.

    • Jane Rachel says

      “A Chicagoan,” thanks for your comment.

      There has so much two-faced pontificating going on around here regarding bishops lately, that I find your straightforward comment to be a breath of fresh air.

      I’m willing to bet that those who don’t want Bishop Matthias’ resignation know all about the situation and have given it careful consideration. Still, they want him as their bishop. There must be good reason for that.

  24. It seems wrong to me that the OCA’s Sexual Misconduct Policy Advisory Committee and the Synod’s public decision regarding Bp Matthias are so selectively used as “proo” His Grace should not return to active duty. That is, the public finding of “sexual misconduct” according to the Guidelines by the Synod and the investigative Committee is held up as authoritative while those same experts’ caveats and findings in the very same document regarding His Grace’s actions not precluding him from continued episcopal ministry (even in the DOM) are ignored. This has led to Bishop Matthias being tried online, in headlines, and snippets of information rather than by a fully-versed Committee of experts advising a ruling Synod of Bishops taking into account the totality of the facts. Bad PR alone should not scuttle a person’s calling and career. The arguments that any bishop who brings scandal should be removed simply opens up character assassination and feigned scandal as a extra-canonical way of removing bishops – and intimidating them into submission in the meantime.

    We all have to admit it is impossible for those of us not involved in the details of the investigation to truly know what Bishop Matthias did or said, much less what his intentions were, and what that means regarding his service in the Church. We do not have enough information concerning the text messages in question, about the accuser or those who advised her to make the formal complaint, about patterns of past behavior by any of the parties involved, or other relevant information. We cannot even be certain the transcript of text messages posted online is fully accurate and unedited. We do not know what prior relationship, if any, Bishop Matthias had with his accuser, with her family, with her priests, etc. We are all well aware how easily comments can be misconstrued and/or misstated, especially in electronic communications. In short, anyone not on the Committee or Synod are making decisions based on sound bites and headlines, and filling in the gaps as they see fit one way or the other.

    To a certain extent, we the faithful have to rely on the independent investigation into the allegation, that it was conducted according to previously crafted guidelines and best practices, and that its procedures balance the presumed innocence and veracity of both the accused and the accuser (and all those involved). Given our lack of information from the investigation, we also have to trust the Holy Synod is properly exercising its pastoral discretion regarding both the letter and spirit of Holy Tradition and the OCA’s Sexual Misconduct Guidelines, balancing what is best for the accuser/victim, justice and truth, faith, mercy and forgiveness, the Church, Orthodoxy in America, the OCA, the DOM, Bishop Matthias, and all who are involved in or aware of this complaint. Unfortunately, it seems as if the Synod has decided to remove Bp Matthias based on pastoral reasons that have been almost wholly manufactured online and without the benefit of facts.

    Here’s the lesson, make a bigger stink next time you want your way and then the Synod will act pastorally in your favor. The lesson of “economia to the biggest whiner” won’t have any adverse consequences in the future, I’m sure.

    the truly ironic thing is that the priests who were most upset about the Bishop’s lack of economia regarding their local traditions and practices are the ones screaming for akriveia when it comes to the Bishop.