Stinkbomb II

ticking-bombThings must be getting desperate in Syosset. They’ve had another feces-hitting-the-fan moment with the revelations about the Director of St Luke’s Institute and so they had to do something else to detract attention from their inexplicable devotion to this odious institution. It seems possible that someone has used the offices of two of our more loquacious correspondents to leak (fabricate?) information about that Institute’s report about Metropolitan Jonah’s “evaluation.”

Rather than respond directly and separately in the commentary section to these ghastly speculations, I will simply point out the utter depravity of the continuing defamation against His Beatitude. Whether by design from higher-ups or by naivete, the nature of the latest slanders against Metropolitan Jonah equal in demerit those peddled by the Synod with the previous defamation. This earlier synodal bulla was immediately termed The Stinkbomb Letter. A sarcastic but apt appellation given the damage it has wrought to the OCA since it first saw the light of day. Not content to stop there, and thanks to these two lay commentators, we now have an amalgam of defamatory comments about His Beatitude the that can be nicknamed “Stinkbomb II.”

Where to begin?

Let’s start with Saint Luke’s Institute itself. As was broken on this blog the other day, the current Director of SLI — a priest in the Roman Catholic Church — was forced to resign pending allegations involving embezzlement and an “inappropriate adult relationship.” Unfortunately, he has been replaced by his predecessor, also a priest. The predecessor/successor in question has written extensively on paedophilia as befitting his clinical expertise. However he has done so in ways that are 180 degrees out of phase with Christian morality as well as common sense. You can read these inflammatory excretions yourself here and here.

To a reasonable person, this calls into question to the sanity and professionalism at SLI. It also gives the lie to any report that came out of this facility regarding His Beatitude. Put in the simplest terms, any such report is not worth the paper it’s printed on.

Let us enlarge on this. One of our commentators is a state-certified social worker. He has pushed back regarding the obloquy that has been heaped upon SLI because the malfeasance of the recently-fired Director. Let us fire back: why should we entrust any Orthodox clergyman or hierarch to the tender ministrations of an institute whose leading lights see nothing wrong with homosexuality and worse — ascribe paedophiliac tendencies to mothers’ changing their babies diapers? This is madness pure and simple. It would be like asking the recently-convicted Kermit Gosnell — a notorious abortionist/murderer — to be your wife’s obstetrician or gynecologist.

The information peddled by himself and our other esteemed correspondent are too neat, too pat to be the mere cut-and-pastings from Wikipedia, hence our not-unmerited suspicion that they come directly from the SLI report. If so, these are breaches of HIPAA regulations and could result in fines and legal fees for those accused of releasing them. Disciplinary actions could be directed against any professional entangled in this sordid food-chain. We shall see. Regardless, the desperate attempts by the other correspondent to extricate himself from his own increasingly shrill accusations by lashing out at others bring the opprobrium of decent people upon his own head. In short, his arguments refute themselves.

This latter individual (who has no clinical experience, unlike the other commentator) continues to engage in armchair psychiatry, accusing His Beatitude of all sorts of disorders. He assures us that this “diagnosis” is the reason that “nobody else wants Jonah.” Assuming that any of this is true, how would he know this except from the whisperings of Syosset? Is it possible that Jonah’s continuing ecclesiastical limbo is due to the fact that he is a Metropolitan and thus he outranks every bishop in every other American synod? This is not a small consideration. The Russian Church continues to uphold the fiction of the OCA’s autocephaly while the Greek-speaking churches hold to the view that the OCA is still a semi-autonomous archdiocese of Moscow. The acceptance of Jonah into another synod would upset the world-views of both Moscow and Constantinople but more so Moscow’s. Leaving aside Syosset’s massive missteps, the self-image of the OCA’s autocephaly would be significantly tarnished.

Regardless, these tactics are indefensible. Together, both tacks of argumentation against Jonah have slipped the bounds of all decency. I call upon their authors to look into their hearts and find a shred of Christian charity before they continue to descend this spiral of madness and anger. (A spiral I might add not created by them but by others.) If they are carrying water for those who have a stake in the continued defenestration of Jonah, then my own concern for their well-being compels me to tell them to tell their handlers to do the dirty work themselves. The spiritual danger is too great for laymen.

I say this not out of false humility but because I actually appreciate their lively discourse and hope that it continues to enliven this already-lively blog.


  1. Kentigern Siewers says

    Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
    George, if such information were leaked, it would indeed be grounds for legal action against all concerned, and parallels the invasions of privacy as intimidation seen in the national news in our secular technocracy.
    More than that, it raises alas even more concerns about the moral state of the OCA organization (note that I use the term term organization and not Church, as distinguished by Frs. Pavel Florensky and Sergius Bulgakov).
    As mentioned on another thread, I had the blessing of meeting and holding a long conversation with Metropolitan Jonah a few weeks ago while in DC (my only exchange of words, written or in conversation, with him apart from a few minutes at a coffee hour years ago). He is everything that Colette has said, and nothing like the implied false witness by those whom you reference, as other personal witnesses attest.
    In fact, as we talked in the apartment of Bishop Basil, who was also pushed out by the OCA, I couldn’t help but note the parallels with the latter’s situation as described in the “Everyday Saints” book.
    The twisted application of psychiatry in the Church by the two to whom you refer, and apparently by others with whom they may be affiliated in the organization, reminds me of the scientism seeking to erase Christianity prophetically described in C.S. Lewis’ parable “That Hideous Strength.”
    The OCA with its declining demographics and scandal, its non-traditional governance features, lack of a strong monastic ethos, and outrider position as an autocephalous church unrecognized by most of the Orthodox world, needs to demonstrate that it has the integrity and stability in wisdom to justify people entrusting their families to its jurisdiction.
    This type of politicized attack against a faithful hierarch by those with close connections to organizational leaders does exactly the opposite.
    Yours unworthily in Christ,

    • M. Stankovich says

      Prof. Siewers,

      Vladyka Basil was a friend of mine – which certainly was no benefit to him – on both coasts, and I honour him as a Saint of the Church. It saddens me each and ever time his name is “dropped” into a conversation for no other purpose than to bolster some self-serving, self-righteous claim or another. He loved the Orthodox Church in America and served faithfully and obediently until his last breath. While he initially was hurt by the Holy Synod’s request that he resign his diocesan position, he later admitted that it was his pride that prevented him from seeing that he was a very poor administrator, that it was not his calling, and this allowed him to pursue the most glorious, prosperous, and fulfilling years of his life, sourcing from the very apartment in which you sat: recording and broadcasting the Word of Truth to Soviet Russia and the entire Soviet Block. And nothing moved him more than the impromptu conversation he had walking on a country road outside Moscow with a man who told him, “I have a spiritual father.” Vladyka asked, “Oh, who is he?” The man replied, “Vladyka Vasilii from the Voice of America!”

      You are perfectly capable of presenting as outraged, intelligent, well-read, really Orthodox, and junkyard vicious without dragging the Saints into your discourse. Venerable Bishop Basil pray to God for us!

      • Kentigern Siewers says

        Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
        Archimandrite Tikhon, author of “Everyday Saints,” was a friend of Bishop Basil, and writes an account with a different emphasis than that of the Chancellor’s chief public defender and self-professed close friend and expert on psychology and patristics.
        It’s good to hear the latter publicly express friendship for a bishop, in any case, given his public disrespect for our former first hierarch, and his sarcastic disdain for the March for Life as promoted and participated in by the entire Holy Synod, led by Metropolitan Tikhon (about which participants he referred to mockingly as returning home for wine and cheese by 4:30 p.m.).
        Yours unworthily in Christ,

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Yes, he is very good that way.

      • Kentigern Siewers says

        Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
        Archimandrite Tikhon, author of “Everyday Saints,” was a friend of Bishop Basil, and writes an account with a different emphasis regarding Vladyka’s fate as an OCA hierarch than that of the Chancellor’s chief public defender. The story told by him here in fact is related in “Everyday Saints” from a witness. But it’s good to hear our advocate-for-Syosset-who-left-the-OCA express friendship for a bishop, given his past public disrespect for our former first hierarch–and his sarcastic disdain for the March for Life, as promoted and participated in by the entire Holy Synod led by Metropolitan Tikhon (as in publicly mocking its participants as returning home for wine and cheese by 4:30 p.m.).
        Yours unworthily in Christ,

        • M. Stankovich says

          Prof. Siewers,

          If you would wish to refer to a fundamental lack of moral authority, the resignation of the voice of conscience, and the abdication of the proclamation from the final harbinger of Truth and morality that would repeatedly and silently allow the heterodox, lawyers, and judges to determine the course of moral direction in our country then, indeed, I disrespect & and mock. And I continue where Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann left off: one march a year is not moral authority; it is not “didactic,” metaphoric, symbolic, or even creative. It is pitiful and simply something “to do” with a minimal amount of effort, put the banners back in storage until next year, and as Fr. Alexander rightly knew, “be back in time for wine & cheese.” Tomorrow is another day… Where are the Orthodox reproductive health and abortion alternative services, Professor Siewers? Where are the Orthodox adoption and birth-supportive programs and services? With the exposure & conviction of Kermit Gosnell for murder, why don’t you go back to the Orthodox Forum & ask Fr. Seraphim Holland if he believes one march a year is “morally sufficient.” Is there something here I should actually respect in your opinion?

          And let’s move on to the issue of same-sex marriage argued before the SCOTUS: I’ve watched both cases originate from here in California for several years, knowing where they were headed. Where was the Orthodox voice of moral authority, Prof. Siewers? Where were you? Where in heaven’s name was Jonah? I wrote on my blog that these cases were bound for the the SCOTUS more than a year ago when Gov. Brown challenged the constitutionality of Prop 8 . Silence. And you mocked me for seeing as foolishness a last minute “hastily assembled” handful of Orthodox who “marched” on the SCOTUS the day for the oral arguments? Sleep now in the fire. And draw up some new banners.

          Venerable Bishop Basil pray to God for us!

          You are the Orthodox Karl Rove.

          • Kentigern Siewers says

            Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

            Now the Chancellor’s chief public defender inexplicably appears to invoke Vladyka Basil of blessed memory as “the Orthodox Karl Rove.”

            This comes after already spinning his own version of Vladyka’s departure from the OCA hierarchy, different from that published in “Everyday Saints” by a friend of Vladyka’s, which states how that holy man ran afoul of a group in the OCA engaged in un-Orthodox practices.

            The Chancellor’s defender is admirably concerned with the urgent issue of an Orthodox voice of moral authority on marriage. So it’s fair to ask him where is his friend the Chancellor on this issue? Does the Chancellor support the Sanctity of Marriage Sunday proposed by many at the All American Council? What initiatives on the issue of marriage is Syosset now pursuing nationally? How many of the Chancellor’s near-daily “Chancellor’s Diary” have been in support of traditional marriage in many months?

            Metropolitan Jonah indeed was a significant national voice for Orthodoxy on marriage and other moral issues, as has been attested by Robert George of Princeton. Yet he was silenced in that role by machinations in the Online Church in America, indeed at a crucial time for our country, and was even targeted by critics for signing the Manhattan Declaration in support of marriage. That indeed involved Rove-like shortsighted church politics on their part.

            Hopefully Vladyka Jonah will again be such a moral voice of authority for Orthodoxy in America soon.

            Meanwhile, indeed, Blessed Hierarch Basil pray for us and for Orthodoxy in America! To which let us also pray for the intercession of all the saints of America, including St. John of San Francisco!

            Please pray for me a sinner,


            • M. Stankovich says

              Blessed Valdyka Basil wrote:

              Our relationship to God is described in a saying of the of the Fathers of antiquity, in Greek, “hesychia” – this means silence. But not only the physical silence, but deepening himself in a way that the person becomes calm (В этом смысле слово греческое исихи по-русски может лучше всего звучать какспокойстви). In the stillness we find ourselves not only subjectively silent, but also objectively, because there comes a silence all around us. What silence? Divine. Divine silence, which gives us the strength to fight with all the temptations of this world and enter into the way that leads us directly to Heaven.

              There is another expression of the Holy Fathers in Greek, which is “theosis.” What is it? In Russian it can be translated as deification (обожение. So this word means, according to Gregory Palamas means for us that we become children of God as we were in paradise. And, therefore, it is here now, at every Divine Liturgy, we may feel it, perceive this deification, this amazing way of hesychia, this amazing way to not only experience silence, but experience silence around us, heavenly silence, a joyful silence, silence, love and truth.

              You need to seriously back off and chill, Kentigern. Fr. Regan & others on the Orthodox Forum challenged you for accusing me of unsubstantiated and unsupportable claims of unethical behaviour in my relationship with the Chancellor of the OCA; you apologized to me before the members of that site, and you said it would not be repeated. I will find the archive of that post if you wish. And now you come here to begin again because there is no standard for truth. This is disingenuous, you are dishonest, untrue to your word, and you should be ashamed of yourself. And if I am a liar as to my relationship or discussions, or the wisdom I claim to have received at the feet of Blessed Vladyka Basil Radzianko, I will answer to Almighty God, and certainly not you.

              • Kentigern Siewers says

                Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

                The Chancellor’s Chief Public Defender has left a public trail here and elsewhere of disrespect for hierarchs and public speculation as to the mental health of others, delivered repeatedly in the most uncharitable of terms, which could can easily be re-posted here as well from past archives of the Forum and Monomakhos.

                Perhaps his personal relationship with the Chancellor is not so close, although he has both highlighted it on a webpage, and acts as the Chancellor’s most outspoken public supporter online. If that is the case, it still would not bode well for the Chancellor’s public persona online, given the trail of insults toward others, and disrespect of hierarchs, left by his Chief Public Defender.

                This latest flareup began when Cyril and he continued to stir the pot on alleged psychological evaluations in public of Metropolitan Jonah. Perhaps, given Cyril’s just-revealed high GRE scores, and the Chancellor’s Public Defender’s self-professed expertise in psychology and patristics, they now can both stand down online and take the road of quietude that they preach to others without practicing. Maybe a lecture tour on online ethics to Moscow and Constantinople would help give perspective on why the types of online disrespect for Metropolitan Jonah, in which they have become primary participants, is viewed askance in the Orthodox world at large.

                Please pray for me the worst of sinners,


                • M. Stankovich says


                  My expertise is documented by the Courts of CA & NY, who accept my testimony as such. As to my public speculation of the mental health of anyone, document it, or you are a liar.

                  Secondly, in my very last conversation with Fr. John Meyendorff, my confessor and mentor for nearly twenty years, as we walked toward the education building where he was teaching & I was leaving, he inquired if I was interested in a casual group he was thinking of assembling to consider translations from Migne’s Patrologia Graeca. Unfortunately, he did not live through the summer. Apparently he was confident I knew something regarding Patristics.

                  I have not disrespected the former Metropolitan, and I have said nothing beyond what the Synod of Bishops have said publicly to the Church at large:

                  We knew already from past experience with Metropolitan Jonah that something had to change; we had hoped that change would come about as the result of Metropolitan Jonah fulfilling his promise to comply with the recommendation given him by the medical facility to which he was admitted for evaluation and treatment last November, as he assured us he would do at our last All-American Council in Seattle. That promise having gone unfulfilled, when this latest problem came to our attention at the end of June, we felt that we had no choice but to ask him to take a leave of absence or to submit his resignation. The moral, human, canonical and legal stakes were simply too high.

                  We cannot stress enough that while the most recent events are likely the most dangerous for the Church, these represent only the latest in a long series of poor choices that have caused harm to our Church. We understand and agree that an ability to work or not work well with others, or a challenged administrative skill set, or Metropolitan Jonah’s refusal to comply with the recommendations of the treatment facility, while not the reasons for his requested resignation, were fundamentally related to the consequences of his actions.

                  I had come to the realization long ago that I have neither the personality nor the temperament for the position of Primate, a position I never sought nor desired.

                  Let me repeat myself:

                  Fr. Regan & others on the Orthodox Forum challenged you for accusing me of unsubstantiated and unsupportable claims of unethical behaviour in my relationship with the Chancellor of the OCA; you apologized to me before the members of that site, and you said it would not be repeated. And now you come here to begin again because there is no standard for truth. This is disingenuous, you are dishonest, untrue to your word, and you should be ashamed of yourself. I will post the archive of that post if you wish.

                  I pray for you daily, Pavlos, but you will argue alone.

                  • Kentigern Siewers says

                    Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

                    I think the anonymous “canihaveawitness?” on another thread put it best: “Nothing quite says ‘Christ is Risen!’ like gratuitious insults exchanged by two Orthodox Christians.”

                    My sins online are many, so I’ll struggle unworthily to reply keeping that sad wisdom in mind.

                    Our resident expert in psychology and patristics (a participant in that other discussion) has stated here that I am dishonest, disingenuous, and untrue to my word. While those sins are ones of which alas I’ve been guilty in my spiritual life as the worst of sinners, in this particular discussion they probably are superseded by obnoxiousness and lack of clarity, for which I ask forgiveness from all.

                    To clarify, I don’t consider it dishonest to refer to my prolific brother in Christ as the Chancellor’s friend, when he has publicly declared this, or as the Chancellor’s chief public defender online, when he has demonstrated this, especially on the lengthy recent “sexual minorities” thread here.

                    I’m also not asserting or suggesting collusion between our correspondent and the Chancellor, but highlighting a contextual bias in our correspondent’s vigorous and disrespectful criticisms of Metropolitan Jonah and others via his asserted expertise. (But I am surprised that, if they are friends, the Chancellor does not ask him as a friend to cease, given that his comments only would seem detrimental to the Chancellor’s own image online when given by a declared friend of his who defends him so vigorously–and knowing firsthand that items here do circulate among OCA leaders.)

                    Since he has offered to re-post here my Aug. 5 response on the Orthodox Yahoo Forum, to a note in which he complained of what he considered to be insinuations that he and the Chancellor were in collusion, which I disavowed, I’ll save him that bother and re-post my words here:

                    “Then I must ask your forgiveness and apologize. You write often on Monomakhos, still, with such great assurance and what seemed like certain knowledge about the OCA former Metropolitan’s need for psychological treatment. I will take you at your word here, of course, that that drew only on your general professional expertise. I have not seen any other Orthodox psychologists and psychiatrists in North America (of which there are a number) similarly jumping into the fray on Monomakhos or elsewhere in public fora, and you have been very insistent and persistent. And, being ignorant as you suggest, I still can’t understand how you can (if I understand your note below rightly, please correct me if not) publicly say that someone meets diagnostic criteria for treatment without engaging in some kind of public diagnosis, and without knowing particulars beyond what has been provided to the OCA laity (which is not anything specific). And you apparently are not a member of the OCA.”

                    Subsequent to that, on Sept. 10 on that Forum, as an example of his negative discourse regarding Metropolitan Jonah, he wrote (unasked) that he would take on his case if he lived nearer to him:

                    “I see a relatively young, morbidly obese man – red-faced and appearing to be experiencing some mild respiratory distress simply from vesting for the liturgy – who is at great risk for a cardiac event and every known co-morbidity associated with stress and obesity. The former Metropolitan is in need of some form of help, and he certainly deserves it. If I were anywhere close, I would take him myself.”

                    His comments have extended to hierarchs more generally here this spring. On May 1, on another thread here, he alleged moral dilettantism on the part of those who participate in the March for Life, in which the members of the OCA Holy Synod are the most prominent Orthodox participants, citing their supposed desire to “be home promptly at 4:30 p.m. for wine and cheese.”

                    Further as an example of disrespectful discourse towards a lay person, in comments on a sister in Christ who had given her perspective on issues of sexual assault, he wrote on the Forum on Sept. 17:

                    “I find the idea that, despite your obvious ignorance, you would claim ‘standing’ in this matter because you have listened to ‘woman’s painful stories’ so repellent, that part of me, ‘just sayin’,’ wants to humiliate you for what you are trying to do. But my greater sense of charity is simply asking you to drop it.”

                    In relation to his expertise in psychology and patristics, it is related elsewhere here that he is a state-certified social worker. What are his terminal degrees and practice as a scholar of psychology and patristics, or what is his ordained or monastic rank in the Church, or his affiliation and standing as a layman (which apparently is not in the OCA but otherwise unmentioned by him), which enable him to cite such expertise to stand in judgment on the situation of an Orthodox hierarch and others? I ask this genuinely, because his expertise in psychology and patristics (and on Orthodoxy in America) has become part of this thread and others, and it is unclear to me in my own ignorance.

                    I’m sure that the writer and I would have many positive things to discuss in a friendly way in person if we did not disagree so fundamentally online about how to engage in discourse about a hierarch, and what if any expertise justifies the type of discourse and criticism cited above.

                    Please pray for me the worst of sinners,


              • Carl Kraeff says

                Dear Mr. Stankovich–I just wish to say goodbye to you. As Barry Goldwater used to say, Illegitimi non carborundum!. In Christ, Kyrill

                • Kraeff – you are NO gentleman. Sit down, shut up, and stop sinning…as Metropolitan Jonah said.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            RE: “Where are the Orthodox reproductive health and abortion alternative services . . . Where are the Orthodox adoption and birth-supportive programs and services? ” M. Stankovich

            I’ve wondered this myself, although I don’t see this as an indictment of those who “march,” but rather an indictment of our entire Faith. – If we do nothing, pay nothing (not saying this is true of you Mr. Stankovich), we should not be critical of those who “march,” simply because it’s not enough. Forget the banners! WE are the ones who “go back into storage,” because we don’t put our money where our mouth is.

            • Pravoslavnie says

              RE: “Where are the Orthodox reproductive health and abortion alternative services . . . Where are the Orthodox adoption and birth-supportive programs and services? ” M. Stankovich

              RE: “Forget the banners! WE are the ones who “go back into storage,” because we don’t put our money where our mouth is.” G. Sheppard

              I’m reminded of the criticism of environmentalists as people who would rather organize rallies and protests than bend over and pick up a chewing gum wrapper.

              There is no need to indict all Orthodox Christians. For while we American Orthodox could certainly be doing a lot more to combat abortion, the Orthodox brothers and sisters in this film demonstrate what can happen when you take matters into your own hands. Leading by example is what creates moral authority. The film may deviate slightly from the topic under discussion, but the message is thoroughly Orthodox and pro-life showing the viewer that all human life has value. For as long as I watch it, I can’t help but be smacked in the face with moral authority associated with the Orthodox church.

              I think the film is in Ukrainian, but it really needs no translation.



              • M. Stankovich says


                It was not my intention to disparage the March for Life or “indict” those who participate. My words were taken out of context and used for another purpose. Likewise, anyone with any common sense understood Fr. Schmemann’s comment – originally broader: “Let’s feed the poor and be back by 4:30 for wine & cheese” – as an “indictment”t of the pro forma, American “text-message-a -donation” form of “charity” mocking what the Lord asks of us (cf. Matt. 25:37).

                I have seen this video before and it is beyond inspiring. It typifies what is missing in our American experience: a lack of creativity & encouragement which leads to the freedom & confidence to undertake what you described as taking “matters into your own hands”; what Fr. Alexey Karlgut so wonderfully described on this site as the sobornost which delineates leadership & organization, but as you described, the mutual responsibility to “bend over and pick up a chewing gum wrapper”; and the joy where, logically according to the reasoning of this world, there should be sorrow, as Fr. Michael explains, for those who really and truthfully trust God. Hopefully we are again on that path and we certainly have living witness to the possibility.

      • The woman who owns the apartment that +Bishop Basil lived in, who supported him especially in his last days -is the woman who now supports +Jonah in his ministry as he serves regularly in this apartment. She draws the comparison between the 2 men. if anyone knows these 2 men it is her.

        • M. Stankovich says

          Vladyka always spoke very fondly of Marilyn.

          I was shocked & scandalized to be informed that this same apartment/chapel/recording studio was lent out to the alcoholic, gun-carrying Archimandrite at the center of the scandal so disturbing to the Synod of Bishops, as well as the neighbors and the DC Police Dept. I beg to be corrected that Vladyka’s home was not utilized in such a manner, colette.

          • George Michalopulos says

            You are wrong on so many levels (thanks Collette). The Synod ruled on this affair and found the charges in question baseless. Jonah recused himself from this investigation as well.

            On another note, one reason I support His Beatitude is because of the sterling character people like Marilyn who vouch for him. She also vouched for Vladyka Basil who was drummed out of the OCA and is now being considered for sainthood in the Russian Orthodox Church.


            • Amazed in the Midwest says

              Blessed Bishop Basil drummed out of the OCA synod by Stokoe and Kishkovsky, Stokoe just cutting his sharp teeth while working in the San Francisco chancery office during the demise of +Basil and Kishkovsky doing his dirty work in Syosset.

              Fast forward 30 years, Stokoe and Kishkovsky work their black magic and help remove +Jonah.

              Full circle and in those 30 years, the OCA is doing better? No, it is dying of internal wounds and bleeding.

          • ChristineFevronia says

            Michael, I’m not Colette but since you were “begging” to be corrected, I will happily oblige. Yes, you are wrong. Bishop Basil’s apartment was not utilized in such a manner. Hope that helps set your scandalized heart at ease.

            • M. Stankovich says


              I very much appreciate the the correction and I accept you at your word that the Archimandrite who was serving the so-called “DC nuns” and at the center of the scandal was not living in Vladyka Basil’s home. It most certainly eases my heart.

              • ChristineFevronia says

                Michael, you stated that you were under the impression that Bishop Basil’s former apartment had been lent out to an alcoholic, gun-toting priest-monk. That is your error.

                The apartment was temporarily the home of a visiting monastic from Greece, who came to America with the good will of his Spiritual Elder and Metropolitan Jonah. The very good and kind people of the OCA cathedral in DC opened their hearts to him and to the DC nuns, and in following the example and direction of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, opened their hearts and homes to these visitors, sharing old-fashioned Christian hospitality. Metropolitan Jonah, upon hearing that the priest-monk had been engaged in two instances of drunken behavior after his arrival in DC, did everything in his power to assist this visitor. He acted quickly and he acted justly.

                Your statement implied that you were under the incorrect and false belief that Metropolitan Jonah knowingly lent out Bishop Basil’s apartment to a drunk, gun-toting priest-monk. I hope I have helped to clear that up for you, Michael. I also hope that your Syosset sources have shared with you that the alleged rape (the one our Metropolitan was accused of covering up but in actuality did not know of) did not occur in your beloved Bishop Basil’s apartment either.

                • M. Stankovich says


                  I accepted you at you at your word, and now you seem to have “amended” your word. Likewise, in your “amendment” you have validated my original concern which was to question whether an alcoholic Archimandrite with firearms was living in Blessed Vladyka Basil’s home/chapel/recording studio. Now, two others mention “questions about his drunkenness,” and “admittedly, they were big ones.”

                  Most importantly, I did not post this question to you to begin with, as you have a history of “spinning” timelines & history which are absolutely of no concern to me. Further, you seem to have conveniently “connected” me with “Syosset sources,” when the fact of the matter is that I was informed of the living arrangement by several members of Vladyka’s family and several individuals that had traveled with him to Russia & the the Holy Land who were outraged.

                  colette said the woman who owns the apartment draws a comparison between Vladyka Basil & the former Metropolitan, “If anyone knows these 2 men it is her.” I am not interested in your spin & polemic, ChristineFevronia.

                  I repeat myself:

                  I was shocked & scandalized to be informed that this same apartment/chapel/recording studio was lent out to the alcoholic, gun-carrying Archimandrite at the center of the scandal so disturbing to the Synod of Bishops, as well as the neighbors and the DC Police Dept. I beg to be corrected that Vladyka’s home was not utilized in such a manner, colette.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Even if we accept for the sake of argument that the priest in question was resident in Bp Basil’s apartment, what of it? Is he still there? No. Who removed him? Jonah.

                    But let us take this further. If the possibility that he was resident there bothered the Synod, then were they equally bothered when another young man actually died from alcohol poisoning in another (living) bishop’s residence?

                    Let us at least be fair and apply the same standards in our respective critiques.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Michalopulos,

                      You are not asking me a question. You are making a statement. I have stated on numerous occasions that I resent this form of manipulation. You are the second person to inject yourself into what I considered to be a very simple question.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      OK, lemme ask a question: Did the Synod investigate this incident? A simple “yes” or “no” will suffice.

                  • ChristineFevronia says

                    I am not amending my statement when I say that your supposition is wrong.

                    Let’s say your nephew comes to visit you for the summer, and you plan for him to use your guest room. He comes from a good, upright family with good morals. He arrives and all is going well. Suddenly you hear that he has gotten drunk a couple of times, purchased a small pistol which he showed off to one of your neighbors and fired it into the ground while drunk. You kick him out and tell him to get sober and get help, to go back to his family members who would be responsible for getting him to and from AA meetings. So, would it then be fair for the word on the street to be: “Michael Stankovich lent out his guest room to an alcoholic, gun-carrying man”? To say that implies that you had prior knowledge that your nephew was a drunk and carried a weapon but you still allowed him to stay in your home, and doesn’t take into account the actual events–as well as the all-important fact that as soon as you heard about your nephew’s behavior, you took immediate action.

                    You don’t want my polemics. And I don’t want to hear your bloated testimonies of your professional credentials or the nauseating who’s-who in the Stankovich Seminary Experience of a bygone era. I don’t recall anyone asking you for your recent “spinning” regarding Met. Jonah’s non-existent personality disorder, yet you gave it anyways. “Only speak when you are spoken to” will likely never be accepted practice by the Monomakhos Tribe.

                    But Sister Colette, take it away!

                    • M. Stankovich says


                      Months ago I told you that you are in my prayers – that God would grant you comfort and “relief” from this seemingly endless, circular argument that leads nowhere. I promise you, to this very day, you and your family remain in my prayers.

                    • What a relief! Oh this is in response to Stankovich praying for Christina . . . Now she will understand your dizzying intellect and good will to all . . . .

                    • ChristineFevronia says

                      Your prayers must be working, because I have had much, much peace in my heart since learning that a member of the synod communicated that my Open Letter was “99% correct”. I am unworthy of your prayers, Michael, but I thank you with all my heart for your charity.

                      There is a path we choose to walk through this situation which has affected each of us so differently. Many of the OCA faithful have come to terms with the synod’s actions leading up to and following Met. Jonah’s resignation from his position. Many are still struggling. I hope your charity can extend to your Orthodox brothers and sisters who have witnessed the slander, false witness, and tearing down of their leader–and who might–just less than one year later–still be testing the waters of their trust in this group of seven men who are administering the OCA.

                      After the years of scandal that came prior to Met. Jonah’s elevation, the synod convened the Reconciliation Commission. Town hall meetings were held in which the faithful could talk over their perceptions of the scandals (financial, sexual, etc.), ask for spiritual guidance, provide creative solutions, and most importantly, to pray for divine intervention. Even Met. Herman attended town hall meetings and heard the petitions of the people.

                      There is no Reconciliation Commission now for the faithful to come together and be unified after a time of reconciliation and healing. And when raising these questions with the Church in legitimate ways, people have been bullied into silence. Even the esteemed Dr. Joel Kalvesmaki was removed as his parish’s AAC delegate by his bishop after he wrote a series of intellectual essays trying to make sense of the synod’s letter of July 2012. There is no forum other than George’s Monomakhos and a couple of other websites in which people can discuss their views. It sure would be nice if we didn’t need to be having these conversations, but these issues haven’t precipitated themselves out of thin air.

                      And this “argument” is not “endless” as you wrote above. You brought up Met. Jonah’s diagnosis issue. You initiated conversation about Bishop Basil’s apartment. If you’d like the argument to end, you perhaps might want to consider not starting it.

                      Met. Jonah is being refined in the Refiner’s Fire. The process is brutal and terrible to behold. Can we not but praise our Heavenly Father for the gift of His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who pours out his mercy and love on all of us sinners without measure? Each of us… Met. Jonah, the synod, Mark Stokoe, Archbishop Benjamin, Father Fester, Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald, George Michalopulos, the Sons of Job, Fr. Alexander Garklavs, Chancellor John Jillions, the DC Nuns, the “drunken, gun-toting priest”, the “lavender mafia”, the ladies of Pokrov, you Michael Stankovich, and me Christine Fevronia–those we love and those we hate, those we believe right and those we believe wrong, those who don’t like Met. Jonah and those who love him–all receiving God’s love equally, without measure. What a beautiful Savior we have! And what a profound mystery we are part of in the history of God’s people. Let’s give ourselves a bit of room to be ourselves, uniquely created and expressing different perspectives on our experiences this past year in the OCA.

                      Thank you.

                    • M. Stankovich says


                      I do not disagree with you other than to say I entered this discussion for principle, not personality. I am beyond interest in these matters related to persons because, if we are honest, there will be no resolution and “reconciliation” until this is admitted. The “difference” in our perspectives and opinions is otherwise known as the “truth.”

                      I wrote on Orthodox News shortly before it closed about a phenomenon referred to “Wurther’s Effect,” whereby simply writing publicly about the topic of suicide – even informing of a statistical drop in the instance – had the paradoxical effect causing an increase of suicide. I won’t bore you, but I discussed the factors necessary to avoid “information cascades” – a dysfunction whereby decisions are made by presuming others are correct; by loosening community connections & intimacy; and diminishing thresholds for honesty & integrity – would be prevented in the OCA. I argued that rather than censoring such sites as Orthodox News, they should be promoted as bastions of transparency & accountability. And now, what is there to possibly say: “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand.” (Job 42:3)

                      The threshold of truth has been so ravaged, so disparaged, and so corrupted that in most cases a single person alone knows the “truth,” and there is silence. And since the All-American Council in November, I believe it is an inspired course of action: “For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yes, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That You might be justified in Your sayings, and mightest overcome when You are judged.” (Rom 3:2-3) I resigned, ChristineFevronia, and I am not interested in what strikes me as the obsessive details of a Star Trek convention.

                      I did not defend SLI the institution; I defended the science, medicine, & need for treatment facilities. I did not speculate, conjecture, or poses any position or commentary as to diagnosis of the former Metropolitan Jonah; I offered commentary as to the diagnostic process generally. I did not defend the Chancellor of the OCA only because he is my friend of longstanding & I love him as my brother; I defended the Chancellor of the OCA – any Chancellor – who is unscrupulously, unfairly, and with cowardice ascribed intentions without corroboration. I objected to the name of someone dearest to my heart & whom I consider a Saint of the Church pulled into a self-serving, pseudo-pietistic emoji-punctuated insult; I had no intention of making some grandiose “attack” on the former Metropolitan – let me repeat – I am not interested. I merely would like to know that this memorial is kept with respect. Period.

                      Finally, in each generation, we are blessed with fathers & teachers who have re-articulated for us the Truth we hold. This our Tradition, and it is a dynamic and living Tradition; never “voted” upon by any Council, or declared by any Father, but revealed to us by time and the Holy Spirit. My initial reaction to your comment that you were tired of hearing about my experiences of “days gone by” was to be very hurt & sad. This was followed by the realization that Orthodoxy in America came by way of the sacrifice and brilliance of great men who stepped into the roles left before them, and who paved the way for the men who will next lead us. This is our Tradition, this is the way of the Councils, and this is the way of the Patristic Fathers. Already there are next to none to tell us of the generation prior to mine, and slowly, my generation will diminish to tell you of the last. In both cases, you are left with “stories,” biographies, some videos. But not their thoughts, their failings, their individual wisdom. Imagine, Vladyka Basil Radzianko in 25 pages! Perhaps you were angry, ChristineFevronia, but you need to re-think this statement. It is absolutely no benefit to me that God put me in the path of a handful of astonishing human beings, and I was certainly not alone.

                      Keep me in your prayers.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Dr Stankovich, you always write reasonably and lucidly and for this I thank you. Permit me a quibble however: You write that you “did not defend SLI the institution,” merely the “science of medicine and the need for treatment facilities.” No one here that I know disagrees with the “need” for science in pursuing medical care and establishing treatment facilities. I certainly don’t. That’s how I make my living. What I and other have disparaged is SLI. Why this treatment facility? Our suspicion is that it was corrupt from the get-go (which has been largely proven), that Jonah’s incarceration was a put-up job, that the diagnosis was already decided, and that people within the Syosset Apparat had been assured of the desired outcome by compromised Orthodox clergymen who had contacts within it.

                      So far, nothing that has come out has dissuaded me from this broad evaluation of the events.

                    • ChristineFevronia says

                      Dear Michael, thank you for your response. I am grateful.

                      The other day I was catching up on the threads on this blog, and there was the funniest comment by someone whose name, if I recall correctly, was Ivan. He wondered if the authors of the posts on that thread had been either drugged or had suddenly developed whacky senses of humor because he wrote that it felt like he was falling down Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole while reading that thread.

                      For me it’s more like “The Simpsons” episode in which Homer’s frustration with not knowing what his middle name is sends him on a “quest for truth”. For his entire life, Homer J. Simpson has only had a middle initial, “J”. So he goes off to dig around in his family history, and at the end of the episode his true middle name is revealed to him: “Jay”.

                      I stumbled upon this blog last summer while trying to figure out what had happened to Met. Jonah and my friends at St. John’s Monastery. It’s a fascinating cross-section of perspectives and personalities, and I sometimes think we are all tumbling down that rabbit hole at warp speed arguing about whether it’s “J.” or “Jay”. (You say potato, I say potato; you say tomato, I say tomato…)

                      You wrote of being sad and hurt by my comment, above. My immediate response was to mentally recall the callous and borderline cruel comments you’ve made on this blog. But I just can’t go there, because through reading the “View All Comments” link next to your name, I have grown to cherish you and your writing. I’ve had to wade through your swear words, name calling, and even curses, but you have openly shared your personality and experiences, and we are brother and sister united in love for Christ. And love keeps no record of wrongs (even though the internet does). You have always been exceptionally gentle and even tender-hearted with your comments to me directly, and I am thankful for that.

                      I took what you wrote above to heart, and please believe me when I tell you that I cherish your stories. Truly! I think we all would encourage you to write MORE about your experiences with the Fathers as you have a treasury of stories that we need to hear! You have a depth of history and first-hand knowledge that few of us have. My frustration comes when it seems like you use those stories as leverage to win an argument or tear someone down. Forgive me, Michael, if I am wrong in this regard.

                      Please accept my love for you and your family, and I hope that you will continue to keep me in your prayers. St. Michael and the Bodiless Hosts, pray to God for His servant Michael! Amen, amen, amen!

                  • Disgusted With It says

                    Were you also “shocked & scandalized” when an alcoholic archimandrite was elected and consecrated to be an OCA bishop?

                    • Looks like we just skipped over that little detail. I wonder if the OCA was under Moscow if said bishop would still be in place?

                    • Disgusted With it says

                      Of course it was “skipped over”. People with such selective moral outrage can never be assumed to be honest. The hypocrisy is sickening.

                    • Kentigern Siewers says

                      Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

                      Certainly the Chancellor’s friend and defender seems like the Forrest Gump of American Orthodoxy, and that is not meant derogatorily but with genuine admiration for the audacity of his posting.

                      Here he is reading through Vladyka Basll of blessed memory’s correspondence, and then discussing it online while apologizing for doing so; there he is relaying information to us from secret contacts in international Orthodoxy on the use of Vladyka’s apartment; over there he reminisces about his place in the halcyon days of the OCA at Rivendell, er St. Vlad’s, decades ago; here he is developing an Orthodox anthropology of sexuality while defending the dissertation of his friend the Chancellor; there he assessed Metropolitan Jonah’s alleged need for help…

                      Yet, in acting as general reviewer-in-chief of hierarchs and online Orthodoxy, speaking from an authoritative expertise on psychology and patristics, what again are his terminal degrees and professional practice to justify his asserted authority? More deeply in Orthodox terms, what is his standing in the Church, since he’s apparently left the OCA and never mentions a current church affiliation?

                      We must take his word against that of Archimandrite Tikhon’s regarding Vladyka Basil’s fate in the OCA, but much remains appropriately a mystery! 🙂

                      Please pray for me a sinner,


                  • “colette said the woman who owns the apartment draws a comparison between Vladyka Basil & the former Metropolitan, “If anyone knows these 2 men it is her.” I am not interested in your spin & polemic, ChristineFevronia.”

                    Yep that’s what I said-what of it? She knows, you think you know . . that’s the difference. Funny how you jump to a situation not even mentioned- looking for a fight . . . so good and kind of you . . . .
                    You are very skilled at twisting. I am wondering why you can’t see the good in anyone you have decided “doesn’t see the world as you do”. I do believe you are too damaged inside to see anything differerntly. This is why I stopped reading you all together and now wonder why I ever started again . . . .

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Alright, then. The circling of the wagons would suggest that the question will not be answered.

                      I did not know of this situation until very recently, and those who informed me do not reside in the US – let alone Syosset – and have no interest in the OCA. They suggested the owner must be a “poor judge of character” or she was seriously taken advantage of. Regardless, they all insist that despite considerable complaint & embarrassment, there most certainly was no quick and decisive resolution.

                      I will now await a wordy, 3rd-person chastisement of you by Prof. Siewers & Mr. Michalopulos for the outrageous inappropriateness of your diagnosis of my “damaged inside.” I will not, however, be holding my breath. And a special note to FYI: in that you do not seem to grasp the concept, “feed the ego,” presumably as some sort of “lustful” attention-seeking affectation gained at the expense of others? Dude, do you see the insults of jamokes as fitting the bill? Seriously?

                    • nit picker says

                      Dr. Stankovich –

                      You write:

                      I did not know of this situation until very recently, and those who informed me do not reside in the US – let alone Syosset – and have no interest in the OCA.

                      I will ask you to take several things under consideration, because these individuals, whomever they may be, do have a dog in this fight, and with your own statement, you have just proven that you let this dog sink his teeth into you even if you don’t realize it yet. In short bro, they be playin’ you.

                      I’m not demanding that you “go at it” with me “hammer and tongs,” that would be a waste of time and foolishness for both of us and everyone else. I would like for you to protect yourself from these individuals and the spiritual and emotional damage that they might inflict on you.

                      1. How is it that these individuals came to know that you would be interested in this information?
                      2. How do these individuals know (as you refer to him) the drunken, gun-toting, Archimandrite?
                      3. What was their relationship to him? What is their relationship to him? How did they become aware that you would be interested in this information?
                      4. How do they know [some of the people who live in DC]?
                      5. What was/is their relationship to [them]? How did they know that you would be interested in this information?
                      6. Do they have any relationship to [any of the people associated with] with Bishop Melchizedek, Archimandrite Dionysios, or any of the monasteries under the spiritual supervision of Archimandrite Dionysios, or any of the monks and nuns that were or currently residing in those monasteries? What was and is their current relationship with these individuals. Again what is their motive in seeking you out to provide you with this information?

                      Why you? Why not Mr. Kraeff? Why not Mr. Michalopulos? Why not me? Why not Collette or her husband or Christine Fevronia or Kentigern or Michael Bauman? They could have found out all our emails quite easily, if they wanted to. Why you? How did they “just happen” to encounter you and give you this information that caused such turmoil in your heart; or are you normally not so inquisitive?

                      Your informants do have a dog in the fight. You’re being set up bro’….and once that dog has gnawed all the meat from your bones and chewed them up, it’s going to piss on whatever is left.

                    • Stankovich,

                      It’s her apartment, she can have whoever she wants stay there. Or are you now telling us how to manage our possessions? No-She didn’t know him, but offered him as a kind gesture to stay there, as he had no where else to go-she’s a very caring lady. Why? because he just appeared. The guy appeared and disappeared at will. +Jonah’s house was full so he couldn’t stay there.

                      You tell me why is the single most knowledgable person about this whole issue one of +Jonah’s greatest supporters? I’ll tell you, It’s because he knows +Jonah’s involvement and place in the whole thing– Very little. To have this mess put on him was out and out wrong. He knows it, we all know it –those of us who actually know the players. . .

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      nit picker,

                      Tell me you’re kidding me. Seriously. Tell me you were drinking Red Bull at 1:19 am watching the Conspiracy Channel.

                      Dude, these are not “informants.’ No one “sought me out.” Why “me” as opposed to anyone else? These are my friends since the 1980’s. Where do they get their information? They use this new technology called “email.” And, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but for a few dollars more, the internet is now “world wide.” Holy Cow! Even in French! There was one simple, singular issue alone: Vladyka’s home is for many a memorial to him & him alone. Not a photo opportunity likened to taking your children to be photographed with Santa at Macy’s; not Fan Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium; not “put-your-head-in-the-cut-out-and-be-equal-to-Vladyka-Basil.”

                      Anyone who believes they “know” the story of the “retirement” of Vladyka Basil from the chapter in “Everyday Saints” is ignorant and silly. The unspecified “behaviour” mentioned in “Everyday Saints” and even discussed on this site and various similar sites is supposedly homosexuality, and it was supposedly run riot at Vladyka’s cathedral in San Francisco. In this gloriously apocryphal tale, Vladyka nobly and righteously takes an unassailable and unbending stand against the “sodomites.” The “Lavender Mafia” of Syosset assembles a much more influential force to unjustly convince those in power that Vladyka is “gravely impaired” and must be retired in a Sovietesque process forever referred to as “Rodziankoed.” The same process would be utilized to whack the immediately-former Metropolitan. Pardon me for yawning… Hopefully I may settle this, as I will now “piss on whatever is left.”

                      I had the “opportunity” – and Vladyka forgive me! – to read binder after binder of Vladyka Basil’s archived official and unofficial communication with clergy and others in his official capacity as Diocesan Bishop. Vladyka Tikon alluded to it once on this very site: it was lunacy. Chaotic, reactive, disorganized, lunacy. These were not issues of grave moral consequence, and in my estimation should have been delegated. Lunacy. I have no reasonable explanation. You don’t trust me? Ask the priests who were suddenly “uprooted” to accommodate a non-nonsensical “transfer” to solve a non-nonsensical “problem.” Or the parishes order to provide a dog house & pet accommodations…

                      And yet, this led to the greatest years of his life. And that memorial should have been protected from scandal, and it was not. Now, hopefully, the names of the Saints may be kept from these sad polemics.

                    • nit picker says

                      Dr. Stankovich,

                      Tell me you’re kidding me. Seriously. Tell me you were drinking Red Bull at 1:19 am watching the Conspiracy Channel.

                      Too weird brah!!! You managed to sneak a hidden camera into my apartment!!! I’m changing the locks!! (lol).

                      BTW….another question why where these parties interested in giving you this information NOW?

                      Many of us who actually know all the relevant parties already knew this information from the git go. What are they hoping to achieve by causing scandal in your heart?

                      Bishop Basil was so humble, so spat upon that he shared in our Lord’s crucifixion and resurrection with his every breath. Yes, I also know him. It seems wrong to speak of some one like that in the past tense as though they cease to exist when the reality is they exist in the place of their heart’s desire, the Kingdom of Heaven.

                      Dr. Stankovich, I repeat, these people, who ever they may be are playing you. They are using you. Please, use your discernment and protect yourself.

                    • Kentigern Siewers says

                      Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

                      Now the Chancellor’s friend and defender offers his definitive critique of the blessed Vladyka Basil, based he says on having read the late bishop’s archives, aspects of which he shares with us publicly in his analysis.

                      Truly we must appreciate him for his bravado, with genuine admiration not disparagement, as the Forrest Gump of American Orthodoxy. He seems to have been with or among every important figure in its history, and has combed archives. If we look carefully enough we undoubtedly will find him in historical illustrations on the boat with St. Herman landing in Alaska.

                      But even if we take his word over Archimandrite Tikhon’s with regards to Vladyka Basil’s fate in the OCA, the basis for his asserted expertise and standing in psychology, patristics, and American Orthodoxy is mysterious here. What are his terminal degrees and professional practice as a basis for authority in those fields? To what canonical parish and jurisdiction does he currently belong, having apparently left the OCA?

                      It remains an Online Church in America mystery, wrapped in an enigma inside a pierogi, to paraphrase Churchill.

                      Please pray for me a sinner,


              • Heracleides says

                “It most certainly eases my heart.”

                We can now all rest easy knowing the Stankovich’s heart has been eased… for all of five seconds at least… ok, enough of that.

                Met. Jonah is a humble and saintly man.

                There, that should have restored Stankovich too what for him passes as normality. Let the temper-tantrums resume. 😉

                • Met. Jonah is a humble and saintly man.

                  You said it Herac. I don’t know why the religious people always attack the really holy ones? Didn’t we learn anything with Christ?

          • Please, PLEASE, stop feeding this man’s ego. You do not assist him.

      • Please try a little harder to get your facts straight. Bishop basil was not walking beside a street, he was driving along a street and came upon an accident involving a truck and motorcycle. The Dead Man’s son told Bishop Basil, when asked if he was a believer, that the dead man had never met his spiritual father, never the less he had one. His name was Father Rodzianko. At this Bishop Basil kneeled, crying, and began his prayers. This is documented in the book mentioned.

  2. Carl Kraeff says

    I guess I am the second person attacked by your latest. What an honor!

    While I am not a counselor, I am quite familiar with HIPAA regulations. I assure you that I have not seen the SLI Report. I also have not communicated with any person from Syosset. What I have posted on this forum is simply my analysis from the facts before us. My credentials are simple: two bachelors degrees (summa cum laude), GRE scores of 99 and 98 percentile (to provide context), 15 years of work as an intelligence officer, and almost 20 years of work as a project manager and planner in social and health services. I am also an incurable optimist who does perhaps overreact when grievously disappointed. I have a very good analytical track record and, despite my age, I do not think that I have lost enough of my capabilities to have a mistake on this case.

    My argumentation against +Jonah is well documented, so is my push back against those who are waging war on his behalf. i will not repeat them. Furthermore, I remain unconvinced of the sincerity of Team Jonah’s approach or the reliability of this unholy team’s accusations. Frankly, this latest libelous and unsubstantiated attack on Mr. Stankovich and myself reeks of desperation; perhaps what we have said came close to the truth?

    • George Michalopulos says

      When I graduated back in ’81, the MC would announce honors in this way: “Joseph Smith, with honors!” When he got to me, it was “George Michalopulos, by the skin of his teeth!”

  3. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    George remarks, “One of our commentators is a state-certified social worker.”

    This explains a lot.

  4. Stan Poulos says

    Another posting filled with misinformation and pure baloney. What is this constant agenda you have with + Jonah? His brother bishops, unanimously, decided he could no longer be the Primate of the OCA. End of story. Psychiatric evaluations or no evaluations; he’s gone and a very humble, good Metropolitan is now leading the OCA. Why this on-going thing you have for + Jonah? He’s gone for good reasons, next case. Let him go back to his monastery and live out his life praying for the world as ALL monastics are called to do. Not so-called monks participating here or involved with all kinds of activities outside any monastery. So George, give this + Jonah thing a rest and move on.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Please tell me on what criteria you base your assertions on, specifically that the OCA is growing? As for giving the “Jonah thing a rest” and moving on, it’s not me driving this thing, it’s the events themselves. The ongoing implosion of the OCA will ensure that things will continue to heat up. The frittering away of American autocephaly is what is driving the narrative at this point.

      • Stan Poulos says

        No George, the majority of the people in the OCA could care less. YOU and your ROCOR cronies here wish to continue to make this an issue when it isn’t. The autocephaly of the OCA is healthy and doing well; OCA parishes are healthy and growing yet, YOU and the ROCOR nuts here want everyone to believe otherwise. Just like the GOP; lies, disinformation, rumors, etc. And why, to push your own agenda of undermining the American Church. Moscow isn’t the answer; the Greeks aren’t the answer; the Arabs aren’t the answer; the ONLY answer for Orthodoxy in America is the OCA. + Jonah was just a minor side show and it’s over.

        • Sub-Deacon Gregory Varney says

          So Stan let me understand this. The OCA is the answer for all Amercians of the Democratic party. So Republicans are not welcome. You sound as if you speak for the OCA. The christianity in your message frightens me. To refer to any bishop as a side show. Is indeed remarkable. I thought the church is for sinners. Democrats, Republicans and all people. Its job is to save sinners and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Not to follow the latest agendas of political parties. As for the people in the OCA not caring you ought to look at many how card carrying OCA members there are left. I now have to go to a OCA parish because there is no other church. I can tell you that a lot of people follow the church news more than you think.Some have left. some are deeply disturbed about some of the social issues comming from the OCA. Your message was stokoeite and extremely distasteful.

        • George Michalopulos says

          These are interesting assertions Stan. I hope they are true, mainly because, unlike some of Jonah’s most vociferous critics on this site, I’m still a member of the OCA. May I ask a few questions so we can get to the truth?

          First, are you a member of the OCA?

          Second, have you personally seen any church growth in any parishes? I realize that’s a hard thing to quantify but we can start with new missions being opened. Do you know of any? On the other hand, do you know of any churches and/or missions that have closed and/or been released to another jurisdiction?

          Third, if our autocephaly is in fact “doing well” then why are so many of our dioceses vacant? Are there any worthy candidates to replace them? If not, why not? (I’d venture to say that if there are no worthy candidates then our autocephaly isn’t doing so “well” after all. But that’s a fight for another day. I personally think that there are many qualified men to become bishop right now, it’s just that they may be “too qualified” and present a bloc against our Mighty Chancellor and his minions.)

          How are our seminaries doing? Are the incoming classes full? Have any men dropped out of them for whatever reason?

          We can start here.

          • Stan Poulos says

            1) Yes, I’m a member of the OCA, but I attend a Greek Church and Antiochian also.

            2) Yes, I have witnessed lots of growth within the OCA all over N. Am. Get in your car and take a tour!

            3) Diocese aren’t vacant. It’s a scandal to look under every rock for a celibate and then require him to take monastic vows when he has no inclination toward monasticism. ALL the Orthodox Churches need to get “REAL” and elect the best man as their bishop, celibate or married. The entire idea that all bishops MUST be monks is ridiculous and isn’t Orthodox Tradition. 11 of the 12 Apostles were married. Time to return to married bishops and in fact, OCA dioceses with married administrative priests might as well be married bishops.

            4) Give it a rest in picking on Fr. Jillions. He’s a very good man and in reality, Fr. Garklavs should still be the Chancellor. Glad + Jonah got the boot.

            5) OCA seminaries are doing well. Go see. SVS & STOTS should have merged years ago and maybe we’ll see that soon. Keep the Pocono’s property as a monastery, clergy retirement community, youth camp, conference center and cemetery.

            • Merge the seminaries? Met. Jonah proposed that in 2009! The reaction from you people was that he was crazy for even thinking of such an idea.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Thank you for answering one of my questions at least. Although here it seems like your “membership” in an OCA parish is very tentative, what with “attendance” at an AOCNA and GOA parish as well.

              Regardless, you very carefully don’t answer my other questions, instead choosing a diversionary tactic, in this case talking about the celibate episcopate. That is not in question here, the vacancy of 4-5 dioceses is the question and the vapid insistence by some that there are no “qualified” men to oversee them.

              I am troubled about your insistence that Fr Garklavs is a “good man.” He may very well be. But kindly tell me if in your estimation “good men” enter into conspiracies. If you find me that verse in the Bible and/or Patristics where it is indeed good to do so, then I will start engaging in conspiracies of my own. Perhaps others will join in as well and start their own conspiracies.

              Also, do “good men” like to see it when other men “get the boot”? Have you ever been laid off or fired? Do you know anybody who has? Are you happy when this happens? Maybe we should reevaluate the careers of leveraged-buyout specialists and award them Legions of Merit when they buy a company and lay off hundreds of workers.

              Just sayin’.

              • geo michalopulos says

                Also, I forgot to mention, five of the Sees of the OCA are indeed vacant, otherwise they wouldn’t need a locum tenens.

                • Stan Poulos says

                  There is a shift going on. In the Russian tradition, mitred archpriests were indeed at the same level as any bishop and therefore, married bishops. They became Deans of dioceses and returning to this idea is what is happening. Using the term “married bishops” may not be appealing to some, but pragmatically, that’s what they are. A strong “Dean” in a diocese many times can be better than a celibate running around causing chaos and issues.

                  • Kentigern Siewers says

                    Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

                    Perhaps this is the basis for the protopresbyterianism cited by George in the OCA? But then do we also (assuming the report of this tradition is true) adopt the strong patriarchal model and strong monastic element of the Russian Church in the OCA as well?

                    I was just reading one of Douglas Dale’s excellent books on the early English Church (pre-Schism), regarding St. Dunstan’s abbacy at Glastonbury in the tenth century, and suggesting that it was the presence of married clergy amid the Glastonbury community that opened it more directly to family politics among the clans of the Anglo-Saxons.

                    That would seem to be one of the drawback to the system described above, especially with regard to the OCA–not that there are not exemplary married priests, whom I unworthily know and admire,but because of the way social networks can be a Trojan horse in our hyper-secularizing American society today.

                    Yours unworthily in Christ,


                  • oliverwendeldouglas says

                    Mitred archpriests the same as bishops?!? Wow. From your lack of knowledge, you have just identified yourself as a longstanding member of a parish council. How about pointing out a single instance where a mitred priest participated in a synod? That should keep you busy for a while.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      For what it’s worth, the concept of mitered archpriests is one of the more ridiculous concepts that modern Orthodoxy came up with, right up there with every bishop of every village in Greece being a metropolitan. Is that the same as “crowned archduke”?

                    • George, I don’t think the distinction of mitred archpriest is ridiculous. Stan’s misappropriation of it is what’s ridiculous.

                      The OCA has very few if any mitred archpriests left. Fr. Alexander Schmemann was one, and one of the last, if I remember correctly. ROCOR and MP, on the other hand, have kept granting the distinction. One of the mitred archpriests of ROCOR is Fr. Victor Potapov, who I think we both agree is eminently worthy of the highest honors of the priesthood. AXIOS!

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I would go further Helga and state that Fr Victor is worthy of the actual episcopal distinction. He is indeed, AXIOS!

                      I guess I stepped in it but one reason I feel queasy about it is because I was told that Catherine the Great created this concept out of thin air in order to grease the skids for married men to eventually replace celibates. Although she was a capable rule, the damage that she did to the Russian Orthodox Church was significant.

                    • Sub-Deacon Gregory Varney says

                      George you and I both know the hell that most priests have to go through. They go to seminary get a good education. Except the seminarys do not teach what really goes on in the parish. The priest is introducted to the parish council, the sisterhood, church warden, the diocese and the laity. The priest has ideas and soon there is conflict and out right fighting. Heaven help the priest if he tells a parish council member no. Now he even has to go out and make extra money for his family. A mitre is small consolation for 50 years of priesthood. I remember a old priest who has long since passed. Every first Tuesday was a parish council the Sunday before he would be nervous and throwing up even worse for the parishs anual meeting. He used to council me if you are going to study to be a priest study for something else in case it does not work out. The day he received his mitre I saw for the first time how truly happy he was. He was worthy of it because when he passed they tried 5 different priests and the bishop finally closed the parish.

            • lexcaritas says

              Stan, you are a “member” of the OCA, but you attend a Greek Church and an Antiochian also.”

              Are you two people? Or do you mean you attend a Greek parish regularly and an Anthiochian one occasionally . . . or periodically? Why not an OCA parish regularly? Not one nearby? So much for growth??? In any event, you have a quirky definition of membership. Do you mean, perhaps, you were baptized and chrismated in an OCA parish?

              At any rate, why not become a member of the Greek parish if that’s where you attend?

              You say you have seen “lots of growth” and recommend we “get in our car and take a tour.” I daresy, if we do, we won’t see many. Orthodox churches of ANYtype are hard to come by except in large metropolitan areas on either coast or in the rust belt.

              Finally, you assert “Diocese (sic) aren’t vacant”

              ?????? You’ve got to be kidding. Dallas, Chicago, Alaska, Canada . . . Are there others? It’s hard to keep track, there are so many and the vacancies go on so long. 4 years in some cases.


              • George Michalopulos says

                Lex, as usual you hit the nail right on the head.

              • Lex,

                Don’t forget Eastern PA. and the wannabe OCA bishop +Mark Maymon who is trying to do his best to fly under the radar, but there are enough of us in the Antiochian Archdiocese and the OCA who know what a washout Maymon has proved to be.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Stan, this is a sideshow. You and I both known celibate parish clergy who are more than capable of fulfilling the Pauline requirements for the episcopate. The Synod/Syosset Axis is merely playing a cute game of interviewing men then sending them on their way for show-and-tell purposes. It shows the people that they care while at the same time allowing them to furry their brows in worry while they self-justify the old immigrant directed towards celibate men.

            • Ohh-you are schismatic according to Carl . . . .

        • ChristineFevronia says

          Excuse me, Stan, but to refer to the former Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church of America as a “minor side show” is disrespectful. He was elected by the All-American Council, and the synod and all assembled declared him to be the Metropolitan through the Grace of the Holy Spirit itself. He served as the head of the OCA for four years, and was not a minor side show. He held a sacred office as the “first among equals” of the synod, and his anointing by the Holy Spirit was profoundly holy.

          As a former Metropolitan, now retired from his episcopal duties, the OCA synod has given him the title “His Eminence.” While one may agree or disagree with the former Metropolitan’s tenure (which is, of course, one’s personal free will to do), he was not a “minor side show”.

          Thank you.

          • Stan Poulos says

            The bru-ha-ha surrounding + Jonah is the side show. He created issues and problems from the beginning of his tenure. Now, even after his dismissal, some people here wish to continue the “side show” as if the majority of the OCA cares; they don’t. The proclamation that ROCOR is the savior of Orthodoxy in America is just ridiculous. The idea that the GOA is the answer is equally ridiculous. The answer is a united, autocephalous Orthodox Church in America as SCOBA outlined in 1961. Not under Moscow; Not under Istanbul; not under Damascus or other. The American Church devoid of foreign bishop interference and not pretending to be 18th century Russians, Greeks or Arabs. An American Typikon reflecting Orthodoxy in America.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              I wonder. I would have thought so, once. And it does seem odd to have foreign heirarchs of all stripes but North Americans in ultimate “charge” of various jurisdictions here.

              But what has helped keep the American Roman Catholic church from going completely over the cliff? A foreign heirarch who does not share American presuppositions.

              I see some merit in the situation as it is.

              • oliverwendeldouglas says

                Yes-recent events and the clear threat to Orthodox theology and doctrine as espoused in this country demonstrate the merit in maintaining the current situation, as stated by Mr. Mortiss.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Stan, if the brouhaha surrounding Jonah is such a side show then why is it still roiling the waters?

              Having said that, I ask you again for answers to my questions wanting to find out if indeed the OCA is increasing. Specifically why so many of our dioceses are still vacant? Your excursion into the mitered archpriesthood was a diversion, nothing more.

              I do agree with you that the “answer is a united, autocephalous Orthodox Church” but given the massive missteps of the OCA over the previous 10 months, there is no way that the other jurisdictions are going to join and form such an entity. Not gonna happen. And not because Mama in Ruritania/Slobovia/Lutonia/wherever won’t let go of the American ATM machine but because few ethnic-American Orthodox really want to see it happen. The wishes and hard work of good people in the OCL and others was nothing but a pipedream. The ACOB is nothing but a false-flag operation to appease the agitators.

              Things might have been different had the OCA proved itself to be a mature body but that’s all been thrown out the window now. It’s sad, really.

              So does that mean that we won’t have a unified American church? Maybe in 30 years. In the meantime, Orthodoxy will continue to atrophy here in America. Central America is another issue.

              • Serpahim98 says

                With respect to rolling sideshows.

                Correct me if I am mistaken. When it comes to controversy in the Church we know truth has prevailed when peace has been restored to the churches. If things continue to fester and boil…something is still very wrong. Case in point. Acts 15, the news of the council of Jerusalem’s decision is met with rejoicing and peace is restored…those who don’t repent of Judaizing are no longer considered part of the Church. Case in point, the iconoclastic controversy…they had their council to declare icons as forbidden…but neither icons nor their supporters went away…for the next 150 years many of the iconodules became confessors and martyrs and it was only when icons were affirmed in council that peace was restored.

                Granted the business of the church moves on a much larger time scale, and granted we may be far too close to events in time to see clearly…but the very fact that our Holy Synod met, made a decision (and have yet to make others in need of making) and the outrage and dismay continue to seethe, and given the massive frosty reception we are being treated to in the rest of the Orthodox world…is suggestive at least that the issue of Met. Jonah, and what he represented in the OCA is far from settled…even though we have a new metropolitan…the issue just won’t die….All that suggests to me is that the Holy Synod is getting significant signals from the Holy Spirit in the Church that it’s time to start making better decisions and to fix what it has done badly…otherwise, it’s not going to get better…indeed as a discrete Orthodox body in North America the OCA may well risk the Lord’s words with respect to the Church at Smyrna in the Apocalypse. I could be mistaken, we may yet be too close in time to make a good assessment…but this is just how its looking to me at present.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Brilliant analysis. I’ve been thinking of the Iconoclast controversy lately. What was significant about it? Several things: 1) it lasted for at least 200 years, 2) it was instigated by the “good guys” i.e. the Christian state acting in concert with a co-opted church.

                  Are we in the midst of a replay here? Yes, but I think that this may be a dress-rehearsal for a more widespread tribulation, one in which the State and corrupted churches act in concert to institute a new spiritual regime.

              • Stan Poulos says

                “Things might have been different had the OCA proved itself to be a mature body but that’s all been thrown out the window now. It’s sad, really.”

                This is a ridiculous statement. Close to the argument of + Bart regarding autocephaly in the U.S. “You aren’t mature enough.” Just silly and an invalid excuse. The Canons of the Orthodox Church call for each “territory” to have a “local church” run by “local bishops” without ANY foreign bishop interference. This is what the OCA is. The Greeks (under Istanbul), ROCOR (under Moscow), the Arabs (under Damascus), etc. are all non-canonical according to Orthodox ecclesiology and canon law. In fact, their “model” is anti-Apostolic. “Foreign bishops have no authority outside of their own territory.”

                The OCA is doing fine; contrary to what some here want everyone to believe. Installing any celibate as a monk/bishop in every diocese is also a silly idea. Rather, good, strong archpriests running dioceses serving as “married bishops.” Practicality and a pragmatic approach is what the American church dictates, not models imposed from overseas.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Stan, you keep evading the question and making assertions. OK, I’ll play it your way: I assert that the flamboyant self-immolation of the OCA will negate any gifts that the OCA could have brought to the table.

                  As for the whole mitrered archpriest thing, it is nothing but a pipedream. Even if this title becomes an American reality, what will be accomplished? Will they be able to sit on the Synod? No. Will they be allowed to ordain deacons and priests? No. What good would they be other than as an auxiliary to an existing diocesan ordinary.

            • ChristineFevronia says

              Stan, thank you for your explanation of where you are coming from. I think it’s safe to say that we shall just have to agree to disagree on probably just about everything. Peace and love.

            • Michael Bauman says

              As it stands now, “foreign” hierarchs give us roots in the Apostolic faith that we don’t have otherwise. These days , IMO, the one’s who scream the loudest about American Orthodoxy seem to have little respect for either America or Holy Tradition.

              • Interesting how the only “local” Church here in the USA is the one in the most trouble. Just sayn!

            • geo michalopulos says

              OK, now we got something (finally!): “He created issues and problems from the beginning of his tenure.”

              Please enumerate. I’d like for you to list something concrete like “he preached this heresy” or “he committed a moral transgression” or “he pilfered money from the alms-box” etc. In other words, did he preach heresy, commit a felonious act, or behave in an immoral fashion. It shouldn’t be that hard (unless of course he did none of these things).

              But I’ll accept even an insinuation at this point.

              • Amazed in the Midwest says

                “He created issues and problems from the beginning of his tenure.”

                At this point, again, we must recall the efforts of people like Leonid Kishkovsky, Mark Stokoe, John Reeves, Faith Skordinski, and other members of Syosset and the Metropolitan Council to:

                “Look into the file of Bishop Basil Rodzianko and see how he was removed and that is the way to get rid of Jonah.” (I paraphrase but the thrust of the email reveals this motive.”

                This email was the backdrop and the atmosphere in which the OCA was working behind the scenes to deal with +Jonah. This atmosphere was being cultivated at the top of the OCA within the Synod and promulgated by others in sympathy with casting a shadow over +Jonah. What shadow? The shadow of a hierarch who was unstable. That was the underlying approach used against Blessed Bishop Basil and was the same tactics used against +Jonah. The “fruit” of this is therefore the statement,

                “He created issues and problems from the beginning of his tenure.”

                We know now that the accusations against +Jonah was he acted unilaterally, yet other bishops also acted unilaterally (+Benjamin taking a political stance and putting himself and the Diocese of Alaska on one side of environmental issue.)

                +Jonah’s mental capacity questioned by Thomas Hopko that +Jonah is “gravely troubled” (like Bishop Basil). Amazing.

                Those who believe that +Jonah was the sole source of OCA dysfunction, as he “admitted” in Seattle pass over the fact that +Jonah was given an ultimatum that if he did not insert that section into his Address of the Primate in Seattle, that he would be put on an LOA by the Synod.

                It is also a fact that calls for the Synod to also take responsibility for their dysfunction and seek help, have been to this date ignored by the Synod. It appears it was enough to blame +Jonah for all things ill with the OCA and for the rest of the Synod to ignore the calls by the Church in Seattle for them to do the right thing and for the sake better running of the Church to seek appropriate help as a brotherhood of bishops and as a Synod to be responsive and responsible that they could do a better job as leaders by working together with their Primate and one another.

                As late as the last Metropolitan Council meeting, the same bishop who acted unilaterally in Alaska publicly defamed +Jonah by accusing him of being the cause for his sister’s death from alcohol related diseases. So, it still remains clear that within the Synod at least one bishop continues to pin the problems inside the OCA on +Jonah and him alone.

                Because of this the wound perpetrated on the OCA continues by the ham handed methods used to remove, pardon me, encourage +Jonah to resign, remain. Yes, +Jonah admitted in his resignation letter that he neither had the skills or the stomach for being the administrative head of the OCA, but it is also clear that little or no effort was made to shore up that weakness in his leadership, but rather it was exploited. It was exploited by the first chancellor and it continued under the current chancellor.

                As others have commented here, +Jonah worked to create a true brotherhood amongst the members of the Synod. He held retreats (until the one in Santa Fe turned into just the opposite of a spiritual retreat.) By that time it was clear that the Synod was no longer interested in coming together as brothers but rather a Synod dedicated to working to cast +Jonah as “gravely troubled”, even an alcoholic (why else send him to an institution (demanded by +Benjamin) that primarily functions as a center to treat this disease).

                Finally, +Jonah goes to SLI and it is used to further undermine his leadership and not seen by the Synod as an act of humility, obedience and a desire to help the OCA and his working relationship with the Synod, but the final nail in +Jonah’s coffin. None of us know exactly what was in the SLI report on +Jonah but by then the “gravely troubled” label was firmly in place.

                “He created issues and problems from the beginning of his tenure.”

                I too would like to know “what issues, what problems?”

                • Michael Bauman says

                  It has always been obvious to me that the issues and problems that Met. Jonah created was challenging the centers of power in the OCA to change all at once: 1. He challenged those who worship autocephally to reconsider; 2. He challenged the MC to give up most of their power to become, primarily, a money raising organization; 3. He challenged Syosset to give up a great deal of their power by creating a true diocesan frame-work for the OCA allowing the Synod to be just that, a Synod who co-ordinated the work of the various dioceses and maintained continuity and order when necessary; 4. He callenged the moral laxity of the OCA, the Church as a whole and our culture–calling all to repentance.

                  Met. Jonah saw these moves as entirely positive, totally obvious and necessary to move forward and rebuild the vitality and witness of the OCA. What he did not understand at all ever was/is the entrenched power brokers who did not want to give up their power. He expected everybody to be on board but lacked the support, the political savvy and the willingness to play hard-ball when his vision was not immediately aaccepted. He got *****-slapped right out of the box and never recovered his equilibrium.

                  No body wanted to give up their power and even if these factions don’t particularly get along with each other, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. As true in all such fights, the target is scape-goated, which seems to be the pattern of the OCA, IMO. When things go wrong, find someone to pin it on and drive them out.

                  How many times has it happened now? I have lost count and keep hearing of others when I try to catch up. It’s at least 5 or 6. It’s still going on. Whether it is Bishop Benjamin the entire Synod, or other specific bishops, the attitude is still around even though the carriers of the disease seem to have changed.

                  It will eventually destroy whatever good the OCA could have offered if it hasn’t already.

                  That attitude is a disease that is quite difficult to erradicate, like a virus it grows in seemingly healthy cells, reproducing until it kills the host. It feeds on the idea that the hierachy in the Church is one of power, influence and accomplishment rather than humilty, repentance and forgiveness which give genuine authority. Unfortunately, power and authority are easily confused by we fallen and sinful people.

                  We Americans are really prone to confuse the two. We mistake the authority of the Church and the Patriarchs and even our own bishops and priests as intrusive and unneeded power over us. Sometimes it may be, but it does not have to be that way. We need to discern the difference.

                  What it it we pray during Lent? What particular sins do we implore God to deliver us from: Lust of power, sloth, idle talk and meddling isn’t it? What virtues do we entreat God to grant us as antidotes: chastity, humility, patience and love in the context of not judging our brothers isn’t it?

                  Guess what folks, if healing is to come to the OCA, all must repent, just as our own healing follows on our own repentance, a daring trust in God and participationin the sacraments of the Church as we attempt to live a sacramental life.

                  Hard to do. I fail at it all the time. It is harder to do in the midst of real malfesance, personal hurts and a history of judgementalism.

                  But think what has been endured and overcome by our fathers among the saints (known and unknown) over the centuries and at present in the Arabic lands, in Greece, Russia and Africa.

                  We can and should draw strength from that by recognizing and drawing on the Apostolic authority than the Patriarchs of Antioch, Russia and Constantinople (weakened though it is). Obedience does not mean subserviece to power, it means freedom in grace.

                  Until we in the Americas recognize the reality of hierarchical authority and are willing to be obedient to it, we cannot be self-heading. We will always cut off our own head in the name of a spurious ‘freedom’.

                  I did not use to feel that way. I was adamant about getting rid of the control of ‘foreign’ bishops so we could have OUR church. (silly isn’t it?) . The tempests and troubles over the last several years, plus some personal challenges have begun to teach me the necessity of obedience and a litte of what obedience actually is and how little I care for worldly freedom which is, at best, a shadow of a shadow.

                  Glory to God for all things. Rejoice in the Lord always. All things work toward good for those who love God. And not least: Psalm 118 (western numbering).

                  This is the day of resurrection!

    • M.Vasiliou says

      Christ is Risen!
      Truly He is Risen!

      Apparently, the OCA Synod is not forgetting Met. Jonah, so Mr. George Michalopulos is right on target with his editorials. Has this unholy synod schemed yet another way to silence or bribe him?

      A brief statement with regard to the retirement of His Eminence, Metropolitan Jonah was issued by the Office of Archpriest John Jillions, Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America, on Monday, May 27, 2013.

      The text of the statement reads as follows.

      “At the invitation of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, His Eminence, Metropolitan Jonah met with a number of members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America at Saint Tikhon’s Monastery, South Canaan, PA and reached an understanding with the Holy Synod concerning his retirement. Following their meeting, Metropolitans Tikhon and Jonah, together with hierarchs of the Holy Synod and guest hierarchs, including His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, concelebrated the Divine Liturgy marking the 109th annual Pilgrimage to the monastery.”

  5. M. Stankovich says

    Mr. Michalopulos,

    What’s next? Will you be rating thoracic surgeons for Orthodox Yelp? Stick to throat lozenges on aisle 6. That way nobody gets arrested. “Dr Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard.” WAT!

    • George Michalopulos says

      I’m not the one doing the diagnosing.

      • M. Stankovich says

        Mr. Michalopulos,

        Certainly you have mistaken my comment to refer to your ability to diagnose. In fact, I was referring to your ability to fabricate. And heaven forbid I ask for any substantiation for the fabrication that constitutes the premise for this post, because I know better. Likewise, I note the “careful” descriptions of your “Syosset-enlisted” loquacious protagonists, thinly veiled to serve your purpose, but anonymous so as not to openly charge the two by name. Because to do so in order to fit your your fabrication, you would be forced to accuse a compromise of personal integrity, professional integrity and ethics, violation of the law, and a willful choice to jeopardize vocation, professional licensing, income, and the ability to support ones family. And for what? To “win” an obsessive, dead-end argument with you that ended nearly a year ago? You are a “traditionalist” coward, and apparently are willing to backstab your own supporters. This is a personally disappointing turn of events.

        The Synod of Bishops could care less about what happens to an administrator at SLI and you know it. This is contrived and fabricated by you for your own purpose. Jonah Pauffhausen will never be restored, never: “I had come to the realization long ago that I have neither the personality nor the temperament for the position of Primate, a position I never sought nor desired.”

        It is over. Stop the fiction and the divisiveness. You are running out of tangents.

        • George Michalopulos says

          I think we can dispense with such high-minded concepts like “personal integrity” when talking about Syosset. Unless of course men of “integrity” engage in fabrications and conspiracies. I’m always open to this possibility.

          • M. Stankovich says

            I was not talking about Syosset, I was talking about you and your lack of conscience in backstabbing your supporters.

            • George Michalopulos says

              I’d compare my conscience to those of any functionary in Syosset any day. At least I never bore false witness against one of my brothers.

              • M. Stankovich says

                Mr. Michalopulos,

                Fair enough.

                You began this by stating:

                It seems possible that someone has used the offices of two of our more loquacious correspondents to leak (fabricate?) information about that Institute’s report about Metropolitan Jonah’s “evaluation.”

                There is no way this could be accomplished except by violating federal & state law regarding the confidentiality of patient medical records – and for the one you identify as a “state certified social worker” – violation of the ethical canon of practice. The only way to demonstrate you have not borne false witness against your brother is to name your “loquacious correspondents and prove your accusation.

                Personally, I have nothing but time.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  I said “it seems possible.” I stand beside that. I think it very possible that elements from the report have been given to others. In fact, I was told by a source I trust that it was shown to a layman. I would go further and propose that given the lack of moral fiber as evidenced by the credible allegations against the Director of SLI that it is probable that something along these lines could have happened.

                  • As you’re defending the basis for this entire posting I thought I’d point out this:

                    “It seems possible” is testimony to your thought process, not reality. Two of the three words there are about how things appear to you and how your view is possible, regardless of how plausible or not it might be.

                    There is stark difference between the testimony of what “…seems possible..” and “…which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled…”

                    I take on faith the testimony framed in the latter manner. The testimony framed as you have is mere gossip, disclaimed by you as such. As testimony to your state of mind this is quite interesting, actually.

                    As testimony to the truth of anything it fails to meet even the weakest standard of evidence.

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Is this your card, Mr. Michaopulos? Yes! The Jack of Spades! And that is your signature? Yes! And what is written at that bottom? “Cowardice becomes you.” Yes! And written at the top? “Et tu, Brute?” Yes! Thank you! Thank you, ladies & gentlemen. It’s not magic or illusion. It’s simply the laws of the probability.

                    “From now on I call you not servants; for the servant knows not what his lord does: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known to you.” (Jn. 15:15)

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    George–I wanted to say goodbye to you too. I thank you for allowing me to post on your blog. In Christ, Kyrill

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Dear-to-Christ Kyrill, you are always welcome to post on this blog.

                    • I feel for Carl, trying all these many months to justify the indefensible actions of the OCA against +Jonah. After awhile, you just have to fold your tent and admit that you were wrong and call it a day.

                      So long Carl and best of luck to you trying to live in the OCA.


                      just kidding! 😉

                    • To Kiril says


                      You over credentialed yourself. Made you seem momentarily like you might have a narcissistic personality disorder. The “damnI’mgood, I’m ok and you’re not”disease that infects our uncivil society out in the world gets to us all from time to time. Ask forgiveness and live to post another day. I almost posted that one of my kids had higher GRE scores than you, but then I just laughed instead. We’ve all read DSM criteria. Doesn’t mean, however bright or dim we might be, that we can discern among those criteria. Diagnosing is difficult and always subject to a second or third opinion, and that’s the way it ought to be. Certainly, attempts to diagnose in other than a careful and caring (catch the second part?) clinical setting are inappropriate.

                      However, getting back to the matter at hand. We have a very sane but very humble Metropolitan who was encouraged to seek psychiatric guidance from an institution lacking a good reputation. Who even made such a suggestion specifically? And was whoever made the suggestion in a position to diagnose such a thing. You have been posting negative posts about the Metropolitan for over a year. How about actually getting to know him. I’m sure someone with half your IQ and GRE potential would be able to understand that a lot of your opinions about the Metropolitan are waaaaaaaaaaay off. Matter of getting to know him.

                • emmmmmmmm, something was being passed around at church- I never saw it and don’t know if it was credible or not.

                  • nit picker says


                    You tease!!

                    What are you referring to?

                    • Yeah . . don’t mean to, but that is all I can remember. . .. Who are you?

                    • nit picker says

                      colette wrote:

                      Yeah . . don’t mean to, but that is all I can remember. . .. Who are you?

                      I could tell you, but then matters of national security would force me to erase your memory. Oops! Told you too much. Alright, since I let the cat out of the bag, I’ll give you a hint. I’m wearing a disguise in this video.

                    • replying to Nit picker May 23,

                      I thought that was you.

                    • Heracleides says

                      Isn’t that Stankovich at the 1:20 minute mark?

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      No, you simple ass. It figures that of anybody, you would miss me at 3:11. How many times have I said, “The law is my delight?”

                    • nit picker says

                      This is in reply to Stankovich:

                      you would miss me at 3:11

                      so you are trying to tell us that you and Michael Jackson have the same plastic surgeon? 😉

  6. nit picker says

    If the “salt for their wounds” article that you posted above and that sue provided a link for is even slightly true, it is beyond terrifying; yet, yes, in retrospect, I have seen similar things like that happen and worse. I just didn’t want to believe what I was seeing. It’s too horrifying.

  7. Tim R. Mortiss says

    Will time not tell with Met. Jonah? Many early heirarchs underwent serial depositions and restorations. Think of St. Athanasius– he was formally exiled 5 or 6 times by several emperors, and “run out of town” a few other times besides, in a near-50 year episcopacy.

    Met. Jonah should probably keep doing the Lord’s work to his utmost, and the Spirit will provide, and that will show where the truth may lie. This concept does not fit a blogging schedule, though…..

  8. Jamesthethickheaded says

    If I may, the predictability of this site is unfortunate and the continuance of protest long past relevance suggests an illness equal to that which the site alleges against those behind the events it bemoans. Time moves on. The Church is perfect but the people in it are not. I weep for those to whom this seems a new revelation. Is it painful? Yes. Is it a sorrow? Yes. Has an injustice taken place? I leave that to God, but it seems to me it may have, and yet at the same time, I have no doubt that both Metropolitans are good men in the sight of God.

    But to paraphrase the words of Metropolitan Jonah himself from the speech which led to his elevation, “We have to stop at some point not because the events weren’t without consequence or because they weren’t evil and shouldn’t have happened, but because by continuing to bemoan them in this way, they are consuming us. This, too, is evil.” And so it seems to me the time for ceasing and moving on has long past… it passed in November. Facts are facts and in November, as in July, the ground shifted. We have to deal with the facts as they are rather than as we wished them to be. This is God’s challenge to us. And I make not pretense to knowing what is right, only that I’d caution that it seems to me as though continuing the rants here just doesn’t amount to hill of beans. Having served with Metropolitan Jonah in the interim, I do not sense in him the sort of spirit with which this site is consumed. He is a good man, and he sees us for who we are… the good and the bad. I think he’s a good man. I also find Met. Tikhon is good and humble man. I think you do both wrong and underestimate them by continuing as though the rants here matter. And yes, protest against injustice can pass the point of being good… as many write, there is righteous indignation… but most of our rants are just rants. We’re not half as righteous as we think we are.

    And so you’re free to continue and disagree. I respect that. Fact is, I have no hold on truth, I claim no special insight, but simply suggest that it seems to me that it may be unbalanced and if I may, unOrthodox to act as though the rest of the world really cares. Indifference is far greater than supposed. Attribution of some sort of silent consent to disdain the OCA is ludicrous. I suppose few other jurisdictions seriously have the time or inclination to intentionally slight someone here or there for some sort of picadillio of the sort they all practice in their stead. Reading the lives of the saints and elders of the church provides ample evidence that what comes ’round goes ’round. And boy has it. So if you will forgive me, is it not time to move on?

    Personalities… we all have them. I would think that Met. Jonah himself would wonder where is the focus on Christ? If we’re about Jonah or someone else… have we not lost our focus on Christ in this? I love Jonah. I love Tikhon. But mostly, I love Christ. Christ is risen! Risen Indeed!

    • M. Stankovich says

      He who has ears, let him hear.

    • Michael Kinsey says

      I get it. They murdered JFK, and laid the rap on a patsy. They got off scot free. Can we just move on, at perhaps the risk of being called unorthodox. After all, we did get LBJ. It will work out fine, like Vietnam did. Get over it, is not actually in the scriptures.There a great big, IF YOUR BROTHER REPENT , FORGIVE HIM. iT HE JUST GETTING AWAY WITH AND RUBBING DIRT IN YOUR FACE, HE’S GOT A LONG, BRING YOUR LUNCH FIGHT COMING..THE WIDOW BEFORE THE UNJUST JUDGE IS THE ORTHODOX RESPONSE.

    • Theodore says

      When does the time for standing for truth pass? Perhaps when a single issue AAC with a predetermined outcome occurs?

    • Jamesthethickheaded says

      “When does the time for standing for truth pass?”

      Understand: I get it. But without due care, pursuit of earthly truth becomes relative and no more than another misguided passion we tell ourselves is somehow justified. Comforting perhaps…. but all too readily it can become a shield to protect our anger. Been there, done that. Didn’t get me anywhere. Didn’t even the pharisees whom Christ said had an awful lot right… see themselves this way and fall into this trap? Allowed to become a passion, it readily becomes partisan and predictable, demeaning actual experience and truth through a misapprehension. We’re better than this… and yet we all also do this (me too), but if we listen to ourselves – particularly here, the continuation sounds very much like 1 Corinthians 1:12 that Paul rightly continues by asking whether Christ is divided, has someone other than Christ been crucified for us, and have we been baptized in a name other than Jesus Christ?

      I’d add that after the crucifixion, the Apostles didn’t blog for months bad mouthing the Romans, Jews, Gentiles, but instead set about converting them out of love to the mission that Christ sent them on in the first place. Took them 40 days to figure it out, and here it’s already been far more. Yeah… we both claim to have the same teachers… but they had Him in person while we’ve got… I don’t know… “virtual”? online? in-Book? To their credit, their sort of agitation turned outward in a way that spread the True light. Did they moan about those who killed Christ? No. Did they pass it along as if it didn’t happen? No, didn’t do that either. But more importantly, they didn’t sit around cheering each wave of the flame of Christ’s love in the wind…. as if… were the flame to snuff out it would somehow have “proved” the evil of the Romans, Jews and Gentiles.

      One reason I am Orthodox-by Choice is that it has always seemed to me the last thing we can let the Christian life become is some sort of a (mental) syllogism rather than a shared experience of and communion in Christ. Nothing can snuff that flame out faster than this. This is the evil we do ourselves by not measuring our response against the Gospel. And seriously… who can pass it’s test ?… unless we put down our swords in the Garden first.? For without Christ’s outward presence… we need an inward experience of Him to orient us. Yeah… so “…the world did not receive Him.” News? Don’t think so.

      And no, I’m not comparing Jonah to Christ, but only noting that Christ our prototype did not condemn the world or those who condemned and killed him. Rather He loved them and sought to change from within – one person at a time – even from the cross… and he succeeded. This is a lot harder. And we hate it, but the hard truth seems to be that until we prove our love for Jonah with deeds by building the schools, hospitals, and all the rest he spoke of… by firing up the conversions of youth into the Church as he wanted to pursue…. and embodied the love he wished the OCA would present to the people of this nation… then perhaps we haven’t proved our love to a point where we have really earned the right “forgive” either him for his failure to endure or his accusers for short-circuiting and undermining him in a way that would be any more “just” than the turn of events as unfolded.

      If the point of this site is to call for better, I’m all for it. And yet we sit on our hands and grumble as if waiting for someone else to do all this stuff. My point is the temptation seems to have stagnated into a focus on a person… who is now gone. He’s not the first, nor the last. This is the nature off life here in the church where folks mean well…. but make mistakes. Where folks have great intentions, but flag in their energies. Question is now what? How do you change the organization at an organic level? Surely with more than words.

      If Jonah had continued…. at some point he would have put the hard call on each of us to do the program of living the Christian life as we see it rather than as we talk about it. We bemoan as though somehow this were threatened by – and ONLY by – his departure. Aside from Christ’s comment that this can’t happen… I think that when you speak of the truth, you have to admit that for most us, when the call would come… we disappear. Am I wrong? Some would rise… but not many of us. “Ummm…. love to be there, but Tuesday’s really not good for me.”

      So why not pick ourselves up and begin doing something positive? Go ahead: Pick something within his wheelhouse of ideas and accomplish something. This begins with us…. it was going to anyway. Changing the people at Syosset or fixing the “Jonah mess” wouldn’t have made a difference… and wouldn’t have really done anything to change this. It’s all “Let’s pretend the central administration’s failures give us a free pass.” Really? Fine for a moment’s pause perhaps… a nice rest in the Christian life, but not as a long term strategy.

      So what my real point is… and then I’ll leave you…. is that you have a great vehicle here. You have a platform. If you are really serious… start raising funds to put Jonah’s visions in place, start organizing lay folks to carry forward his commitments. Build a school, hospital, foundation, or amplify one…. like starting an enhancement of OCF, a domestic SAMP (suppor a mission priest) or domestic OCMC… whatever it is that gets you fired up. Surely a priest and bishop will bless these efforts if they spring out of love for Christ and Christ’s flock… both within and without the Church… if they build or build up the flock. Drive it through FOCUS…. or on your own. If we’re afraid of this, if we’re really afraid that these efforts won’t really spread Christ’s love… or a can’t find a way to push them in that direction… then we may have all the negatives in us I see written of here over and over.

      Remember the old line: “If not us, who? If not now, when?”

      • Theodore says


        Why not do both? That is, why not fight the evil among us AND spread the gospel? That’s what the Holy Apostles did. Remember Saint Paul calling Peter to account for his hypocrisy?

        I have posted here previously my own efforts to divert my tithes toward known good works, including FOCUS. Recently I became aware of a special need of the OCMC which I will be supporting also. I would encourage others to do the same.

        At the same time, we should not relent in demanding leadership from the Holy Synod in every way. They can begin by apologizing to Metropolitan Jonah for their blatant dishonesty and to the OCA for the damage they have done and bringing forth fruits worthy of repentance.

        They can clean house of the morally compromised among them and within Syosset thereby showing their real commitment to Orthodoxy as opposed to being committed to a 21st century zeitgeist. They had no problem requesting Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation over alleged administrative differences. Requesting resignations of priests, bishops, and even chancellors because of their acceptance of immoral sexual practices should be even easier, though somehow it is not.

        Barring acts such as these, they have lost the moral and spiritual authority to lead the Church. We want to be led. We are willing to embrace Bishops whose feet are made of clay. We are not prepared to embrace apostasy for the sake of peace.

        I do not know you, but I love you, brother. Your words are eloquent and strike to my heart, and for this I thank you. Let us go forth together to do the work of Him Who saved us.

  9. Michael Kinsey says

    Can’t we all just get along,Rodney King.

    • Sure we can all get along, especially when Syosset comes clean and tells the truth. The truth is always a good first step, second, and last step.

      We can all get along when Syosset stops playing favorites, just like previous OCA administrations played favorites.

      We can all get along when Syosset stops shielding homosexual clergy (are you listening bishops). On this last point I will give credit where credit is due, not that Syosset has finished its business in this realm, but +Tikhon has made a start. He has removed …[one priest and]…marginalized…[another priest]… St. Nicholas is a bit less lavender this week than it was last week. Kudos!

      • George Michalopulos says

        If it is true as you say that Tikhon has removed and/or marginalized two priests at St Nick’s, then this is a good start towards repairing the pro-gay reign of error that has driven many fine families from its precincts. In fairness to Jonah, this is no different than what His Beatitude attempted to do in upholding the moral tradition last year when he issued two encyclicals to his archdiocese. The strategy was the same the tactics may have been different.

        Be that as it may, I am worried though that in doing so, Tikhon has placed a target on his back. How will this play out? My guess is that if “married” gay couples are turned away from the Chalice then things could get really ugly for Tikhon really quick for two reasons: one, the Liberal elites in Syosset and other pro-gay clergy on the East Coast will turn on him; second, the bulk of the remaining people at St Nick’s are indifferent at best to the pro-gay agenda.

        This is significant: St Nick’s has lost over half its congregation and these were people who have decamped for other jurisdictions. Barring a dramatic turn of events it’s going to be hard to win these people back. My hunch is that the rump faction that remained will allow Tikhon’s tepid reforms to continue then bide their time. When things don’t get better financially and membership-wise, then they’ll revert to form and Tikhon’s actions will be largely forgotten.

        I’ve seen this type of entropic collective behavior happen again and again in parishes.

        The sad thing is that Tikhon has a window of opportunity to clean house within the entire OCA, as even the ultra-concilialists/ultra-liberals have no stomach at present for another bruising fight. The question is does the putative Primate have the resources to do so? My guess is that based on the lethargy evident in Philadelphia during his tenure there, I’d say probably not. And even if he did, my very real fear is that the internal rot in Syosset is so widespread and geared in a continuing secularist fashion, that he could not reform the OCA even if he wanted to.

        I pray that I’m wrong.

  10. Jeffery Erickson says


    I just found your website and I hope I am not writing something that has already been covered in the past.

    Is anyone else sick to their stomach reading the inane pablum by the Orthodox Church in America Chancellor John Jillions?

    Today’s is a head spinner. He spends the day fishing in Alaska. Why would he post that story?

    I can’t figure out exactly what Fr. Jillions is trying to prove. Just wondering if anyone can shed some light on what I consider a silly section on the OCA website.

    Thanks and especially to George Michalopolus for his website.


    • nit picker says

      Hi Jeffery-

      Maybe Fr. Jillions wants us all to be insanely jealous that he got to go fishing in Alaska? Or maybe something like “how I spent my spring break”?

      Your guess is as good as anybody’s I suppose.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Can you say “cult of personality”?

        • Dear George and “Nit-picker”,

          Christ is Risen!

          Those ideas crossed my mind too but another also has belabored me. I am sure Fr. Jillions is paid an appropriate salary, etc. for his important position, not exactly sure how much, but I would venture to say more than the average OCA or ROCOR priest. He also doesn’t have to pay for his travel to Alaska, for example, again that is an assumption on my part, but probably true. I don’t know exactly how many Orthodox clergy and their families are in a position to travel on someone else’s dime, I know of many priests who can’t afford to take extensive vacations, and of course Fr. Jillions trip to Alaska was work-related, but going fishing on the Church’s dime and then posting it seems a bit insensitive.

          Am I over-reacting? It just seems as if we are told things that really are not necessary but when we are informed it comes off as elitist and condescending?

          • Dear Jeffrey,

            I went to the OCA website and could not find the article you were talking about. Could you provide the URL? Searching there is very difficult. As it was a public message, couldn’t you copy his message here ?
            I don’t know why a chancellor would be in Alaska, but it would seem appropriate for a Metropolitan to make a visit once every few years. The Alaskan people seemed to really love visits from Metropolitan Jonah which you can see on some videos. My recollection may be wrong, but Metropolitan Jonah went up there as part of looking into the indebtedness of the Diocese of Alaska, to help in the continuing accreditation of the St. Herman’s Seminary, to right a few other irregularities besides the financial like the firing of Father Michael Oleksa ( see ), and to lead worship at some of its holy places.

            The Diocese has a locum tenans at present. Please post the Father Jillions article so we all can read what is going on with Alaska Diocese. I don’t know why a Chancellor as opposed to a Metropolitan or its locum tenans, Archbp. Benjamin of the West, would make the visit. And I have no concept what the Chancellor is paid, the Metropolitan, or any others in our spiritual or administrative hierarchy. I’ve personally found it strange that the Chancellor is posting a daily diary as opposed to our Metropolitan. I think it would be nice like other jurisdictions for us to have a schedule of where the Metropolitan is going to be, too, rather than a summary of what happened at some event already passed.

            Christ is Risen!

            • Jeffery Erickson says


              Here is the article and picture the Chancellor fishing. He was in Alaska for the graduation ceremonies for St. Herman Seminary. I don’t judge the trip for that official business but why does he think it important to tell us he went fishing? Or went back to Canada to pack boxes, or strolled the grounds of Syosset and looked and the flora?

              Is he trying to prove something? To us? To himself? Just seems totally unnecessary and not the best use of his time since he is always letting us know how busy he is with being the Chancellor.



              • Dear Jeffery,

                Thanks for the link. I see what you mean about the emphasis being on fishing. It seems that the Chancellor was there for the meeting of the Lesser Synod. I don’t know why the Synods are called greater and lesser by the way or why the Chancellor is a part of a Synod of Bishops, but it seems, like having a business convention, the convention site chosen for the holy synod was Kodiak, Alaska. We got to hear about a Bulgarian patriarchate school initiative, though it would have been nice to hear about our OCA initiatives there. As for the seminary, the Chancellor’s diary mentions a quick drop off on the way to the airport. The photo gallery elsewhere shows the Chancellor in a photo op or two

              • M.Vasiliou says

                Vanity of vanities.

                Bishop Benjamin has boasted about the large salmon he caught in Alaska.

                How big was the fish that Chancellor Jillions caught?

                More important, how many fish have both of them lost?

  11. Amazed in the Midwest says

    Maybe some of you saw the OCA website “report” on the Lesser Synod’s meeting this week in Syosset. If you didn’t, it is copied below. For fun, so is the OCA website report from June 1997.

    Transparent? Accountable? Things actually happening? Working with other Orthodox? You decide.

    “May 24, 2013
    Lesser Synod members receive updates from OCA officers

    Members of the Lesser Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America received updates from the Church’s officers during their meeting at the Chancery here May 21-22, 2013.

According to Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary, “the purpose of the meeting was to continue the work of the Holy Synod between sessions, address critical concerns, and plan for upcoming meetings.”

The meeting was chaired by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon.  Also in attendance were His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel; His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin; and His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek, who attended some of the sessions in the absence of His Grace, Bishop Michael, who was unable to attend.

Archpriest John Jillions, OCA Chancellor, updated members of the Lesser Synod of the status of the review of updated Policies, Standards and Procedures (PSP) for Clergy Sexual Misconduct and reviewed various clergy and pastoral issues and upcoming events.

Father Eric reviewed preliminary plans for 18th All-American Council and legal issues, as well as some outstanding procedural matters.

Melanie Ringa, OCA Treasurer, offered an updated financial report and briefed the Lesser Synod on the preliminary 2012 audit report.

Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky, Director of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations, updated the Lesser Synod on recent occurrences in world Orthodoxy and upcoming external affairs events.

Before adjourning, the hierarchs began to plan and prioritize agenda items for the Fall Holy Synod Meeting, to be held on October 15-17, 2013, and the Fall Metropolitan Council meeting, to be held September 24-26.

“There also were a number of closed sessions on clergy matters, including ongoing work on vetting procedures for episcopal candidates,” Father Eric added.”

    “June 16, 1997
    Lesser Synod Meets

    The Lesser Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America convened here at the Chancery for a one-day session on June 10, 1997. The Lesser Synod is a smaller body of four hierarchs appointed by the larger Holy Synod to meet regularly in order to oversee the on-going work of the Church.
    The following reports and presentations were made:

    Metropolitan THEODOSIUS informed the hierarchs of recent canonizations in other Orthodox Churches. His Beatitude was informed through official channels of canonizations from the following churches: in Georgia, the parents of St Nino; in Russia, Metropolitan Peter Polyansky, Metropolitan Seraphim Chichagov and Archpriest Thaddeus Uspensky.

    The OCA Primate spoke about the recent bi-lateral effort between the OCA and the Patriarchate of Antioch to move forward on the canonization of Bishop Raphael (Hawaweeny). His Beatitude also informed the Synod of a letter he received from Metropolitan Petru of Besarabia, Patriarchate of Romania, regarding the harassment of the Autonomous Metropolitan of Besarabia by the Russian Orthodox Church of the Republic of Moldova.

    In the Report of the Treasurer, Protodeacon Eric Wheeler expressed his gratitude to the hierarchs and diocesan treasurers for their cooperation this year in remitting assessments. He also reviewed parishes with outstanding assessments due to the central church. Special mention was made of the Diocese of Western Pennsylvania, which has outstanding assessments owed to the central Church Administration.

    In his Report on the Office of Development, Fr Joseph Fester informed the hierarchs that contributions to the Fellowship of Orthodox Stewards exceeded by $20,000 the amount received last year at this time. More than 50 churches have joined the fellowship as Parish FOS Members. Furthermore, the Metropolitans Special Appeal netted more than $35,000 in contributions and pledges, which are earmarked for the on-going work of our Church’s ministry units. In September an Outreach Appeal will be conducted, in order to carry out a resolution of the 11th All America Council, in support of the Budget and FOS projects.

    The Inter-Church Relations Report was presented by Archbishop PETER and Fr Leonid Kishkovsky. They reviewed developments in the Patriarchates of Constantinople, Moscow, Bulgaria, and discussed the upcoming visit of His All Holiness, Patriarch Bartholomew in October, where OCA hierarchs will participate in certain events. Patriarch Bartholomew will be greeted by Metropolitan THEODOSIUS at St Vladimir’s Seminary on October 25. A special event of his visit to America will be a historic meeting of the Ecumenical Patriarch with all canonical Orthodox hierarchs on October 24 at Holy Trinity Cathedral in New York City. In other action, the future of the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops was considered, in view of recent hierarchical changes in North America.

    A report on the-12th All American Council was given by Protopresbyter Robert Kondratick, OCA Chancellor. As was announced previously, the Council was re-scheduled for July 18-23, 1999. Fr Kondratick updated the hierarchs regarding site locations and hotel availability.

    In that 1997 in the Year of Saint Innocent. Metropolitan THEODOSIUS updated the hierarchs on events and activities throughout the Church centered on the bicentennial of Saint Innocents birth . The main celebration will take place at St Tikhon’s Monastery, August 25-26, 1997. Throughout the entire Church, however, dioceses and parishes have already planned major celebrations for this bicentennial observance. The entire Holy Synod of Bishops will be present for the main celebration at St Tikhon’s in August.

    Deacon John Hopko updated the Synod on the Personal Assistance Program. The hierarchs authorized him to prepare a contract for the re-negotiation of the program. He stated that a full report on utilization of the program will be given to full synod in the fall.

    In his report on our Church Ministry Units, Fr Kondratick spoke at length about this summers Parish Life Conference at St Tikhon’s Monastery. Keynote speakers for this international conference, which will draw participants from Canada and the US, will be the Very Rev Sergei Glagolev, Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko, and Deborah Belonick.

    This four-day event will include the following workshops and seminars: Christian Education for Children and Adults; Family Life Ministries; Parish Life Ministries; Youth and Young Adult Ministries; Outreach and Community Life Ministries; and Senior Life and Ministry/Women in Church Life. To-date, more than 120 registrations have been confirmed.

    Parishes are encouraged to send representatives to this major event in the life our Church.
    Participating in this session of the Lesser Synod of Bishops were the following hierarchs: Archbishop PETER of New York, Diocese of New York and New Jersey; Archbishop HERMAN of Philadelphia, Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania; and Bishop NATHANIEL of Detroit, Romanian Episcopate. The entire session was chaired by His Beatitude, Metropolitan THEODOSIUS, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America.”

    • nit picker says

      Bishop Tikhon?

      Is this you? Amazed in the MidWest.

      Should I be singing “welcome back“?

      If this isn’t Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald (even if it is), I missed something. Please help me connect the dots and understand why the information you provide is significant. First there is information provided from 2013 than a time warp to 1997. I got whip lash trying to follow your reasoning. Thank you.

      • Amazed in the Midwest says

        Dear Nit,

        I posted it by way of a comparison. It is up to the readers to draw their own conclusions based on the questions I posed. Sorry you got whip lash. Was not my intention. 😉

        • nit picker says

          Dear Amazed in the Midwest,

          okey dokey!! Gotcha. Thanks. Got over the whip lash…no problems. 🙂

        • Seraphim98 says

          Correct me if I am wrong but I’m suspecting your impressions of the first example might run something like this.

          We met and stuff and talked about important stuff and heard reports on other stuff some of which we talked about in private because it was really important stuff we didn’t want other people to know because of stuff we don’t feel free to go into right now. We just wanted to let everyone know we’re busy doing stuff and be transparent about it and all.

          • Amazed in the Midwest says


            Exactly. Look at us, or with our Lord Chancellor, LOOK AT ME, I am busy, busy, busy. Reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw once, “Look busy, Jesus is Coming!”

  12. Who are those [other bishops] with Hilarion and Jonah?

    • Ivan Vasiliev says

      OCA website states that His Eminence Metropolitan Jonah and the Holy Soviet have reached an agreement about his retirement and then went on about him serving with Metropolitan Tikhon, members of the Politburo and “and guest hierarchs, including His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia” (note that only First Hierarch Hilarion is mentioned by name). Voices in My Head from Russia is saying that OCA priests think he is going to the Antiochian Archdiocese (which is totally out of left field).
      George, it may be time to start a new thread. “Whither Jonah?”

    • nit picker says

      Mr. Pappas,

      In response to your question:

      The mouse-over caption of the photograph you posted states the following:

      “Bp Michael, Abp Benjamin, Met Jonah, Met Tikhon, Met Hilarion (ROCOR), Bp Melchisedek, Bp Mark. Mets Hilarion & Jonah were invited by Met Tikhon to serve Divine Liturgy.”

  13. Whatever is up, it did not appear in Fr. Jillion’s assessment of the highlights.

  14. Jeffery Erickson says

    Here is the long and short of it about +Jonah appearing at St. Tikhon’s this Memorial Day weekend.

    +Jonah prevailed. The OCA will pay him $3K a month for life.
    +Jonah prevailed. He is not under house arrest any longer. He can go anywhere in the OCA to serve, lead retreats, start a monastery.
    +Jonah prevailed. His honorific title has been restored. He will not be referred to as Archbishop but as “His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah.” And he gets to wear the white hat!

    The Holy Synod prevailed by holding on to +Jonah. He will not be released. Ever.

    Sadly, all of this could have been done the day he retired, but the OCA in its typical form had to tear the Church apart with stupid envy. But do note that +Nathaniel, +Nikon, and +Alexander were not present for the reunion-lovefest festivities at St. Tikhon’s. Coincidence?

    For the OCA, they sued for peace. The attendance at St. Tikhon’s was miserable. Even worse than last year. A major distraction has been eliminated. +Jonah from now on will be a good boy and sing the praises of the OCA and the other bishops.

    Now I for one am glad it is over. Turn the page. Close the book. The OCA is still in a bad way but they can’t blame +Jonah any longer. They will sink or swim on their own.

    • Stan Poulos says

      Well, you know the old saying, “Give a man enough rope and he’ll hang himself.” We’ll see how long this takes!

      • George Michalopulos says

        That’s an extremely graceless things to say.

        • Stan Poulos says


          “That’s an extremely graceless things to say.” Typical ROCOR thing to say. As if only YOU know where the Holy Spirit will go and act and will not.

          By the way George, is this your real name or are you someone else?

          • Exasperated says

            Stan, you should drop the hatred of ROCOR. They’re in communion with Moscow, let by-gones be by-gones.

            • Stan Poulos says

              We’ve been hoping they would “be gone,” but sectarians don’t die easily. They’ve now aligned themselves with the Russian fantasy of 18th century Czarist Russian Orthodoxy that was totally corrupt.

          • geo michalopulos says

            “Greet success like a gentleman, disaster like a man.” –Winston Churchill

        • Stan, that’s like another old saying, “Give an immature diocese a tomos of autocephaly, and it will turn into a travesty of an Orthodox church.”

          • Stan Poulos says


            That’s not a very intelligent comment. Sounds like the Bishop of Istanbul talking out of jealousy. The OCA is doing just fine. All the scandals in the GOA, ROCOR/MP & Antiochians are far worse than a crazed Metropolitan or a Met playing fast & easy with monies. The difference is that they work full-time at hiding their scandals. The OCA has been pretty open. You should do your homework before making dumb comments.

      • Stan = BMD? says

        “Barbara Drezhlo (BMD)”, 5/26 on Voices from Russia re: +Jonah:
        “If he goes to the Antiochians, he’ll put his neck in the noose… so much for his love of Russian praxis. What a fucking phoney!”

        “Stan Poulos”, 5/28 on Monomakhos:
        “Well, you know the old saying, “Give a man enough rope and he’ll hang himself.” We’ll see how long this takes!” and 5/30: “What a phony!”

        Stan, are you Barbara? Barbara, are you Stan?

        • George Osborne says

          Well, Barbara is always Stan whether it happens to be this particular Stan or not!

        • Stan Poulos says

          If you look at Barbara’s IPS you will see she is in upstate NY, Albany area. I am not!

          • nit picker says

            Mr. Stan Poulos,

            It doesn’t matter where you claim you physically are sir, your comments concerning Metropolitan Jonah are boorish, without merit. and mean spirited.

            • Stan Poulos says

              Nit Picker,

              Not at all. When a monk takes a vow, they take a vow. He is no longer the Met and should retire to a monastery and pray for the world. A real monk doesn’t ask for $3,000 a month to live on. Phony!

              • BOO HOO BABS says


                At least you and Babs have one thing in common, a twisted hate and a misguided need to be right. Both you and Babs delight in the affliction of another person. You post here with gleeful satisfaction behind the security of cyberspace and type away your own therapy.

                I won’t suggest that you go to a priest because nothing you have written here would lead me to believe that you are an Orthodox Christian.

                Your hatred for +Jonah is nothing special, I am sure you have spewed your hatred against many others in the Church. Even if +Jonah has personally hurt you, betrayed you, or done something else to you personally, all you display here is your inability to forgive. We have all read enough to know that you have judged him and shown no mercy.

                Whether you continue to write here or not, you and Babs have another thing in common, zero credibility.

              • nit picker says

                Mr. Poulos,

                You can insist all you want. This does not give your statements any merit and does not change the fact that they are boorish. Provide the proof of your argument please on how you are an expert of what a monastic bishop “should” be. Because there are also the examples of Bishop Basil, Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald, any number of retired Bishops and Archbishops in the GOA, any number of retired Bishops and Metropolitans in the Church of Greece, same from the Patriarchate of Alexandria, the Patriarchate of Antioch, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, all of whom are not retired to a monastery but receiving a modest stipend/pension, living quietly, prayerfully, thoughtfully, humbly, serving once in a while when needed and as strength permits in their private residence. So apparently, Mr. Poulos, you are mis-informed.

                • Stan Poulos says

                  Nit Picker,

                  Your examples show just how far we have fallen from the Truth. Monastics are monastics. We elevate one of them to bishop and we dress them as a Byzantine Emperor. Do you know that REAL Orthodox bishops never wore a crown? This was for the emperor. They never wore the sachos (outer garment) which was the garment of the Emperor. Orthodox bishops never lived as an Emperor with 10+ dachas like the MP along with wearing $3,000 watches and a fleet of 10 limos. Orthodox bishops lived simply, dressed simply and acted like Christ who “served” and washed the feet of his disciples. Bishops don’t live in large homes with big expense accounts. And in retirement, they return to a monastery and live out their life simply praying for the world. Thank you Nit Picker, for showing all of us how these bishops have corrupted our own Orthodox faith.

                  • I don’t know why you think +Jonah is living high on the hog. He lives rather simply. Also you don’t know what he is planning. Hold onto your panties and just see what is going to happen. . . .

                  • nit picker says

                    Mr. Poulos,

                    I know many retired Orthodox bishops. I don’t know a single one that lives the way you described. I don’t know a single one that has a fleet of limos or expensive watches. Not one. If you do, name them, provide the receipts, put up the photos, provide the proof. Own up to your claims…’cause Lord knows I been hanging out in the wrong circles. Apparently, you circulate in a sphere where retired bishops have a fleet of 10 limos. Not one for every day of the week, but more than one for every day of the week. I need to find out who you have been hanging out with and go hang out with them. I’ve been kissing up to the wrong people all this time!! 😉

                  • Stan,

                    Why don’t you enlighten us to exactly how a bishop should live and act according to your expectation? What about parish clergy? I would be interested to discover what the ideal bishop and priest would be in your estimation.

      • FideDefensor says

        You seem to have no decency, Stan Poulos. May God illumine you and have mercy on you.

        • Stan Poulos says


          I believe it is you and others here who need enlightening. You want to be Orthodox yet, you have no idea what Orthodoxy is. Like Nit Picker who thinks that when Greek bishops retire to a Greek island live simply. Go see. The Bishop of Istanbul owns more than 30 palatial estates on the Greek islands with servants and access to young boys & girls. When certain Greek bishops retire, they live in luxury and debauchery. And all are treated like “little Byzantine Emperors.” The ROC and the Bishop of Istanbul et al, are very corrupt. Here in the U.S. we need to return to what bishops really are and how they should really live; not like “little Byzantine Emperors.”

          • George Michalopulos says

            Stan, I actually agree with you in the main. Where we disagree is your implication that we don’t need (or have) any real monk-bishops. We do need them and we actually have some of them already. The scandal is that all bishops are tonsured as monastics during their ordination but 90% of our bishops don’t actually live like monks.

            The answer? More monasteries.

            • Stan Poulos says


              No, not more monasteries where more evil & corruption can breed as we’ve seen. What we need is a return to how bishops acted, dressed and related to their communities as in the 3rd through 10th centuries. Humble, good men, married mostly, who came from local area churches and were dedicated to act like Christ. Not Byzantine Emperors.

    • M. Stankovich says

      M. Stankovich says:
      February 23, 2013 at 7:09 pm

      It truly saddens me to see you ascribe any sense of war, let alone “victory” in a situation that undoubtedly has caused weeping among the angels. If that is how you see it, you truly need to reconsider what it is you are thinking. The former Metropolitan is a talented man, leadership not being one of them. While no one of consequence has solicited my opinion – and why should they – I say let them ask nothing more of him than what is edifying to ChristineFevronia: preaching, teaching, inspiring, and being a spiritual/pastoral/monastic leader. My point was simply to say he will be cared for, and time will prove this as correct.

      I’m no prophet, Jeffrey Erickson, and it appears you are no genius. Somehow, looking at the photo of the gathered hierarchs, I felt the warmth of the Troparion of the Midfeast, “If anyone thirst, let him come to Me and drink!” And when you are drinking, Mr. Erickson, you are not speaking. And we are all better people for it.

      • Jeffery Erickson says


        I feel very sorry for you. You sound like a very conflicted person. One minute you quote Scripture, Fathers, then the next minute you call people “asses” stupid. I think you need some help. Maybe not writing here would be of spiritual benefit?


        • M. Stankovich says

          Mr. Erickson,

          The only “conflict” I am currently experiencing is how, at the Mid-Feast of Pascha, and after but a short introduction, you have managed to set a course of dogging nearly every hierarch & official in the Orthodox Church in America. While admitting this is hardly an Herculean task – given the sheer limited numbers and the practiced, half-wit mimicry – you, pal, have set a record for efficiency. And while it certainly is none of my business, ““Where have you come from?” “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” (Job 1:7) Alrighty, then.

          So let me guess… your series of mean comments & gossip were burning holes in your cub scout pants and you just couldn’t wait for the end of the Feast? You looked at the picture of the bishops standing together smiling, read that they had celebrated the Eucharist together as bothers – which they have not done in a very long time – and you could not find it in your heart to say something positive? Or exercised the wisdom to say nothing? And you feel “sorry” for me, suggesting I be silent here for a “spiritual benefit?”

          What do plan to do for an encore, Mr. Erickson? Levitate?

          • Jeffery Erickson says

            Dearest Michael,

            It is enough that I get under your thin skin so that you must rush to the aid of your Syosset pals! 😉

            BTW, not gossip at all. Why would I waste your time with gossip? That would be too easy.

            I almost have the levitation thing down.


    • Ivan Vasiliev says

      How do you know this? Has this information been released elsewhere? Is this the “agreement”? If so, why isn’t it stated clearly?
      Oh, silly me! How could I forget my own upbringing. Of course. The Party would never tell us anything so direct. Simply, the leadership would appear in a picture with so and so again and all would be well (except that not ALL the leadership is in the picture as Mr. Erickson points out. And the two of the three who are not in the picture are leaders of ethnic minority dioceses. It seems that simple is never simple and a picture really is worth a thousand words. As in the days when Pravda and Izvestia were not low grade porn tabloids (or at least not THAT kind of low grade porn) a picture is worth a thousand questions and words are meant to obfuscate as much as they are meant to clear the air. Yes, something has changed and an agreement has been reached. For now. But that has been the case before. We need to know more about the current rehabilitation and whether the missing Politburo members have signed on before anyone can be sure about anything.
      For those in the old country who are ridiculous enough to miss the USSR, you can’t find much better than this.

    • M.Vasiliou says

      Dear Jeffrey Erickson,

      What is your source that Jonah has prevailed and that he has been granted $3000/month?

      Obviously, Met. Jonah is shown wearing the white hat and has been allowed to travel and to concelebrate at St. Tikhon’s Monastery. However, that Met. Jonah will never be granted a release still seems like imprisonment, and $3000/month still leaves him at poverty level. Will he be able to get speaker’s fees or find other sources of employment?

      A check of the OCA website at shows that his title has been restored:

      The Most Blessed Jonah
      Former Archbishop of Washington,
      Metropolitan of All America and Canada

      However, cruising over to his biography at,
      instead of “The Most Blessed Jonah,” one finds “The Most Reverend Jonah.”

      • Jeffery Erickson says


        Can’t reveal my sources, but they are rock solid. Considering that the Synod was giving him $1K a month, the $3K is an improvement, don’t you think?

        I am sure he will be allowed to receive speaker’s fees. Don’t know about other sources of income, but I do not believe there are any restrictions on that point.

        As to your point about his biography on the OCA website, just sloppy on the webmaster’s part. Considering there are like 20 levels of bureaucracy before anything can be posted on that website, such a hanging chad is not surprising.

        • Stan Poulos says

          So much for a “REAL” monk. Parading around in regalia pretending to be a monastic on $3,000 a month. What a phony!

          • For Stanley says

            Stan, he isn’t merely a monk. In case you missed it, he was elevated to the Bishopric, then he was the Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in America for a number of years. As a monastic, he did not pay into the OCA priesthood pension plan, and the compassion of the Holy Synod in giving him a monthly stipend is praise-worthy!

            As for your comment regarding “parading around in regalia”… do you have something against the holy and sacred traditions of the Orthodox faith? Every priest parades around in regalia. To call the sanctified men of God who wear holy vestments “phony” is just sad. And for the author of the throwback blog “Voices of Russia” to say such a thing, is very telling.

            Stanley-Barbara, you are the phony. You have mutilated your body to the shame of your soul, pretending to be a woman when you were born a man. You can cross-dress in your own version of phony regalia all you want, but the brutality of what you have done to destroy your body–the very body that God Himself created–is on display for all to see. No amount of cross-dressing vestments can cover YOUR phoniness. None of us here would have dared to mention it, however you decided to raise your finger in cackling, whorish judgement against Metropolitan Jonah. It’s only fair that you are asked to take a deep look into the mirror and ask, “Who is the REAL phony?”

            Sadly, Stanley-Barbara, it is you.

            • FideDefensor says

              Better to ignore Stan – if in fact this is who posted – than to respond with such heat. You come off as hateful. It would serve your soul better and you would not disturb your peace.

          • George Michalopulos says

            But Stan, aren’t all bishops “monks”?

            • Stan Poulos says


              Don’t you get it? The Orthodox Church has become as corrupt as the Pharisees of old. Read what Christ says about the Pharisees and those in the Sanhedrin. A “MONK” is supposed to live like a monk. A monk in the Orthodox Tradition says good-bye to all their earthly family and enters a monastery to “pray for the world” for the rest of their life. Monks were chosen from monastics for pragmatic reasons, no children to claim church property. There is no reason to continue looking for only celibates and forcing them to take monastic vows to be a bishop. When their bishopric is finished, they return to their monastery. They don’t get a retirement package of $3,000 a month. They took the monastic vow, now be a real monk. They are all phonies like the Pharisees of old.

            • Jeffery Erickson says


              The only real monks on the OCA Synod/Episcopate are:

              1. +Tikhon
              2. +Melchezedek
              3.+ Jonah.

              The rest never were formed monastically. They became Archimandrites as the pro-forma step to becoming bishops.

              That is not uncommon in Orthodoxy. So technically all Orthodox bishops are monks but not all Orthodox bishops are monastic.

          • George Osborne says

            Barbara/Stan, your erstwhile “hero” which you style as “HH” on your blogsite is also supposed to be a monk.

        • $3K per month is better than $1K, yes. $1K would have left Met. Jonah very close to the federal poverty level, and made him eligible for food stamps, Medicaid, and Section 8 housing.

          However, the salary Metropolitan Jonah should be earning as our Metropolitan is much greater than that, so he is still getting cheated out of quite a lot of money.

          • The correction of their public libel and slander against Jonah should be a precondition for any such agreement.

            Neither this dollar amount nor Jonah’s continued submission to the “authority” of the OCA establishment can ever be moral until those who lied to destroy Jonah repent and do everything they can to repair the damage done by their sins.

            How can anyone pretend that “all is well” when the sin that broke the relationship remains for all the world to see?

            Step one should be for the Holy Synod to repent, publicly and sincerely. It is the only way forward. If they remain committed to their own sin and self-destruction, not even the $3K/month that they are promising to Jonah can be assured. Within a few short years there will have to be a renegotiation for a smaller amount. Even before Jonah stops working, the money will completely dry up. That’s the actual path that the OCA is on. But with repentance, death could be transformed into life. If the OCA would start acting like a Christian entity of some kind, not only would the OCA be able to honor its “agreement” with Jonah, but the “agreement” would actually become unnecessary.

            • Jeffery Erickson says


              It is interesting that you should bring this up since Bishop Michael of NY/NJ is frantically asking all his clergy to delete an email he sent to them after +Jonah’s retirement. It was akin to the +Matthias hack job letter posted on the DOM website. It may be a good faith effort to cover his tracks, but once something is in cyberspace it never really goes away.

              As for the Synod making a public apology to +Jonah and the Church – when Hell freezes over. That will never happen if past performance is any indication of future results. To admit that, their lawyers are telling them, would open them to possible litigation. Of course, doing the right thing, showing humility, asking for forgiveness does have a higher price and calling.

              You are right, the wounds are still there and they are not being addressed. But, John Jillions is singing in the Spirit of Orthodoxy Choir!!!!! So, all is well!

              • Confessing to slandering Metropolitan Jonah might open the OCA to litigation, but do the bishops really think Metropolitan Jonah would sue if they did? All I can picture him doing is embracing them like the overjoyed father of the Prodigal Son.

                Poor Synod. Even in what is undeniably their proudest moment over the last eleven months, they still find a way to disappoint me.

          • Philippa says

            “$1K would have left Met. Jonah very close to the federal poverty level, and made him eligible for food stamps, Medicaid, and Section 8 housing


            And that dollar figure is EXACTLY what His Grace, Bp. Matthias is receiving from the Synod (which I will not dignify with the word ‘Holy’) for a significantly shorter period of time than the ‘lifetime’ support His Beatitude will be receiving.

            Everyone has their curlers twisted about His Beatitude, but I don’t read nor hear the same outrage for His Grace, Bp. Matthias’ financial situation. Why is that, do you think? Because of the difference in ecclesial rank? His Grace has far more years of Holy Service than does His Beatitude. Or is because His Beatitude has more supporters than His Grace? I don’t know. And I guess it truly doesn’t matter.

            And do I see anyone willing to drop a few bucks in the mail to His Grace to supplement his poverty level income like has been happening for His Beatitude? If anyone is willing to help His Grace, please email me and I will provide information on where to send a check. Philippa[dot]alan[at]yahoo[dot]com.

            Forgive me George and all. I feel this is a double standard, once again and I continue to be quite distraught at the unbrotherly and hypocritical way His Grace has been treated by the Synod. I didn’t mean to hijack the thread.

          • Philippa says

            $3K per month is better than $1K, yes. $1K would have left Met. Jonah very close to the federal poverty level, and made him eligible for food stamps, Medicaid, and Section 8 housing. However, the salary Metropolitan Jonah should be earning as our Metropolitan is much greater than that, so he is still getting cheated out of quite a lot of money.

            Though I posted this last night, I don’t see it so will try again. (Help, George.)

            If it can be said that $1,000/month put His Beatitude very close to the poverty level, the same EXACT thing can be written about His Grace, Bishop Matthias because that was what was promised him. A significant difference is Met. Jonah’s is for life and Bp. Matthias’ is for 18 months (I think). His Grace also would have earned more had he not been ousted.

            Since George permitted donation information to His Beatitude, I hope he will permit the same for His Grace, Bp. Matthias which I posted before. If anyone finds it in their heart to make a small contribution to His Grace’s living expenses, you may do so by contacting me privately at philippa[dot]alan[at]yahoo[dot]com. I will provide you will a mailing address where a check may be sent to assist him. May God bless you abundantly for your generosity.

            • nit picker says


              Are you saying that after 18 months Bp. Mathias will receive nothing? Not even a pension?

              That is disturbing beyond measure.

              Could somebody please call the NY DA’s office and tell them to take a look at the financial accounting of Syosset? They can’t seem to afford to pay the bishops they keep kicking out of office.

              In fact, I bet if someone from Bishop Matthias’ household called the NY DA’s office, his situation would be resolved very quickly Phillipa. Just a thought.

              • Philippa says

                Nit Picker,

                I do believe he will receive a pension, but as I mentioned in a previous thread the full pension he paid 40 years into with the Carpath-Russians was not permitted to be carried over to the OCA. Only a small portion was permitted. So as to the amount of monthly pension he’ll receive I cannot say.

                Knowing His Grace as I do, I suspect he would not go a legal route to solve this. He’s just not that kind of man. His brothers (so called) determined his fate and he is now living that out.

                • nit picker says


                  If the Carpatho Russians have any conscience at all they will stop playing business games and own up on the FULL pension to Bp. Mathias. What is happening is criminal.

                  • Nit Picker,

                    What makes you think that the CR won’t give +Matthias his pension. He has earned it and when he turns 65 he can collect it. But he first has to be age eligible. What criminality are you talking about?

        • Seraphim98 says

          So, if as you say, your sources are solid, and since you said the Holy Synod was not going to release Met. Jonah, ever, does the subtext to that mean that they do not intend to tap him to be bishop of a vacant diocese, now, ever (or at least for the foreseeable future)?

          • They cannot do that without first repenting of their public sins, which they seem to think most people are too stupid to notice or understand.

          • Jeffery Erickson says

            Not now not ever. They would rather dioceses be vacant.

            • Heracleides says

              Agreed. Although the money to live on was important, the main issue remains that Met. Jonah continues to be a POW.

            • FideDefensor says

              I’m afraid that you are mistaken on one end, Jeffery. I am someone very close to Metropolitan Jonah. The OCA has agreed that if another jurisdiction requests Metropolitan Jonah’s release (read: ROCOR or thr MP), the OCA will not contest it. Obviously if he goes into another jurisdiction, the very cash-strapped OCA won’t have to worry about paying his small monthly stipend.

    • Heracleides says

      When all is said and done, Met. Jonah remains a POW of the living-dead OCA.

    • Older But Wiser says

      I don’t know why the three bishops you mention were not present at the pilgrimage. I do know that Abp. Nikon has been ill.

      Probably it is not well-known how the former Met. Jonah got into trouble, apparently bit by bit, not as a result of any one thing. It is true that probably his first offense against the Synod took place right near the beginning of his term, when he allowed himself to be lobbied by a private party, and then to go over the head of one of the bishops, interfering in the business of that diocese, to transfer a priest, against the judgment and wishes of the diocesan bishop. The priest was never given a release, and the whole matter did not end well. Even if it had, it was not an auspicious event in Met. Jonah’s tenure. I am aware of the arguments of his defenders, and less aware of the details of the arguments of the Synod who decided to remove him. It is, ultimately, a sad saga, a lose/lose situation for the OCA and for all who were personally involved.

      • As Primate, Metropolitan Jonah had the explicit right to intervene in other bishops’ dioceses when he deemed necessary. You don’t have to like or respect the decision he made, and it may or may not have been the right one, but he was not overstepping his authority.

        • Helga,

          You are correct; and it is also true that diocesan bishops who are not the Metropolitan do not have the right to interfere in the internal life of another bishop’s diocese, which they did routinely, especially within the Metropolitan’s own diocese.

  15. Photo caption! “Anaxios, anaxios, AXIOS, anaxios, AXIOS, anaxios, anaxios.”


    OCA is bleeding money in Q1 13. 1000 membership drop from 2012 to 2013.

    Read all the gory details here

    • To James says

      If I am dividing Melanie Ringa’s numbers correctly, the OCA has just 20,000 members. That can’t be right, is it?

      • To James,

        You got the math right. There are only 20,000 supporting members of the OCA. That number does not count those diocese who don’t have to pay the assessment, (Alaska, Canada, Bulgarian, Albanian and Romanian) diocese. So when the financial backbone dioceses of the OCA report 1000 less members, that is a 5% decline in financially supporting members. Remember, that is after a reduction in the assessment of $10. However at least one diocese took that reduction and added it to their diocesan assessment. That diocese reported fewer members. So whether the assessment goes up or down, the OCA is losing members.

        I will be interested to read, if they ever report it, how much money was lost on +Tikhon’s enthronement in DC?

        • Magdalene says

          James, the Enthronement figures are in the balance sheet link you posted. It cost $38,806, and they made $8,550 from it somehow. So, that was $30,256 down the drain.

          The money from the banquet tickets (which wouldn’t be more than about $4,000-5,000 due to low attendance and having to comp most of the tickets) was supposed to be donated to the national OCF. I don’t see the line item, do you?

          For comparison purposes, the money they spent on this enthronement was $2,000 more than Metropolitan Jonah’s new stipend for an entire year.

          • Magdalene,

            Thank you for finding the enthronement figures. Another interesting item from Melanie’s figures is that the OCA departments didn’t spend their budgeted amounts. That usually means that the word has gone out to them, “don’t spend any money.” Will be interesting to see if that trend continues in the second quarter. Of course external affairs will spend the most money while the others very little.

      • lexcaritas says

        Looks like about 20,604. We’re smaller than we thought, aren’t we? I had though about 70,000.

        Maybe there are a bunch of delinquencies in assessment payments?


    • Ivan Vasiliev says

      The OCA has 20,000 members? Most likely, but why sweat it? The Turkish Village, aka, the “Phanar” is about one quarter the size and it has a Patriarch. It all depends on how one paints the picture, or how full/empty one judges the glass to be: Is it 1/10 full or 9/10 empty? Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

      As to the agreement with his now restored Beatitude, Jonah, if he is happy (or mostly so) and the Supreme Soviet and Politburo are happy (or mostly so) then everyone else should be happy (or mostly so) and at last be at peace about the whole matter. Perhaps for once the Party is telling the truth (or mostly so) and Jonah has been rehabilitated (or mostly so). The glass then is to be seen as tending toward full (or mostly so) rather than empty. If this is not cause for celebration, then it is at least cause to find something else to complain about, Da?

    • Philippa says

      Did you read Melanie Ringa’s preface to her financial report? There is a total “operating” deficit of over $86,000 and a total budgeted deficit of over $144,000!! And do you know why? One reason is because there is a deficit of revenue assessments of over $30,000. And why is that, you ask? Because there is 1,000 LESS PEOPLE that in 2012. Yes, that’s right. 1,000 less people in the census numbers. That’s a pretty significant downward adjustment, wouldn’t you say?!

      AND expenses were over budget by a whopping $52, 000! Really??? Of which over half were legal fees for the the suit against Archbishop Nathaniel and the Romanian Episcopate.

      Somebody needs to do some SERIOUS house cleaning! Talk about fiscal irresponsibility.

      • Philippa,

        And don’t forget, we now pay for a Sex Czar, while no figures on how much money was lost or spent enthroning +Tikhon, while +Tikhon and Tosi have a Roman Holiday, Jillions goes fishing in Alaska all the while OCA clergy are paid like beggars, having to work outside jobs or rely on their wives working.

        Recall what Treasurer Ringa said a couple of Metropolitan Council meetings ago, that if the OCA continues to lose members it will not be a viable entity in a few years. Looks like Ms. Melanie is no prophet of doom but just calling it as she sees it.

        Besides being clueless, there is something not right with John Jillions.

  17. The correct term is STINKBOMB. One word, all caps. A noun, not adjective. Not Stinkbomb, not Stinkbomb letter, not Stinkbomb statement.

    We honor the good Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) and his refined poetic sensibilities by using the term correctly 🙂

  18. Tommy Thompson says

    Nice to see so many of you here have written off the OCA. So, I’ll play the devil’s advocate. Let’s say the OCA goes bankrupt. So do you people really think that people like me would go to the MP/ROCOR? NEVER! Go to the GOA? NEVER. Go to the Antiochians? NEVER. The autocephaly of the OCA will NEVER go away. The central org. may shrink, but never go away. A “local church” isn’t measured in $$$, but in the “TRUTH” is teaches. In fact, churches that are “cash rich,” following the ways of “THIS WORLD” usually aren’t following the ways of Christ. Christ did not tell His disciples to organize churches and raise uber $$$ to support them. Poor churches, rich churches it doesn’t matter. The “SPIRITUALLY HEALTHY” churches are what counts!

    • We are not talking about money. We are talking about a church that has been in existence for over FIFTY years and only has 20,000 members! There is something rotten in the kingdom, Tommy, and it’s not just the fish recently caught by the Chancellor during his trip to Alaska.

      The OCA is the brand new player on the block teaching this “TRUTH” you talk of. You don’t think the Antiochian Church has this same truth? The Antiochian Church can trace its roots back to Jesus Christ himself! You don’t think that the Greek and Russian Churches have kept the flame of the Faith burning brightly for centuries? The OCA hasn’t existed for even ONE century.

      You think the OCA is “SPIRITUALLY HEALTHY”? It’s lost over one thousand members this past year alone! For a small group of only twenty thousand, a departure of one thousand is significant.

      Why else do you think the synod is now publically embracing their forced-to-resign Metropolitan Jonah? After one year of allowing their slander against him to stand in the public arena as if it was credible, and one year of treating him disgracefully, their members are leaving. People are withholding their tithes. When the data came out very recently that indicated membership was dropping and that the OCA was in a huge deficit—well, what other choice did they have but to bring back Metropolitan Jonah into the public eye yet again to try to calm down the faithful? “See, look at us–we aren’t so bad! Look, here is your former Metropolitan, and we are finally going to take care of him and give him a title and prop him up in pictures with us so it looks like everything is back to normal.” They are hoping people will start tithing again, that people will return to the OCA again. SPIRITUALLY HEALTHY? Far from it.

      • Lola J. Lee Beno says

        Don’t think that is going to happen, that people will return to OCA anytime soon. They’re going to be on a lengthy probation period by the laity. There’s still bishop-less dioceses that need clear directions. And other issues to clean up as well. Before people will feel they can trust to give their tithes again.

    • My hope Tommy is that the OCA, ROCOR and the MP merge into a single organisation. And while they are at it, I hope Antioch, the Serbs, Ukraine and so forth . . . will also come under the net of a united Orthodox Church in America-hey there is a new name . . . . . And Hope beyond hope would be for the Greeks to unite too-all NOT under the OCA, but something new.
      We could then all put away our divisions, clean up our Churches and get busy reaching the nations instead of infighting. If you insist in staying in the OCA organisation, you will be no different that the Greeks, who insist everyone MUSt come under them and any of the ethnic groups that want THEIR ethnicity over another. My advise-ask for the will of God and see where it takes you, do not become ridged or you’ll snap rather than bend.

      • Lola J. Lee Beno says

        My hope if that this will happen as well. That would make life a LOT easier, on so many levels. As well as ensure more accountability and transparency.