Stokoe: “I Don’t Make up the News – I Just Report It.”

In an editorial comment posted yesterday, Mark Stokoe asserts, “I don’t make up the news – I just report it.”

Silly us. All this time we thought Stokoe liked to gin up conflict, walk off, double back, and blow his whistle! No wonder he was shocked!

But we like Stoke and want to see him succeed. We designed three spiffy new banners that he can use for free. He doesn’t even have to say he got them from us!


  1. LOL! Very good, George!

    Once in a while I think this crisis might be resolved with the least possible amount of tears, like, perhaps, during Bright Week they all hear the Paschal stikheron that says “forgive all by the Resurrection”, and they do, and all the bishops go back to where they were with lessons learned and not too many tears.

    Of course, that hopeful feeling ends every time that Stokoe updates his website with yet another dispatch from the ninth circle of hell.

    Thanks for giving me something to laugh at in spite of the carnage.

  2. I’m no fan of the OCA or Jonah, but just wondering how this guy Mark S. got to be any kind of moral authority within this church given the fact that he is an admitted homosexual who is married to another man.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Minas, you raise an interesting question. As I’ve said dozens of times, I’m not concerned with his lifestyle. I am concerned how his pastor gives him a pass to serve on the Metropolitan Council, and from that perch how he is able to direct the “reporting” he does. If there’s any concern about his homosexuality, it is most likely because men who travel in these circles tend to “have” things on each other. Otherwise, his threat to +Jonah from 2 years ago (when +Philip asked +Jonah to throw him off the MC) makes no sense. Of course, I could be wrong, the knowledge he has on people in the upper reaches of the OCA (HS/MC/Syosset) may not be of a sexual nature at all. They could be knowledge of a financial nature. Regardless, the fact that he actually knows things that are incriminating but refuses to reveal them, is what is the actual scandal here.

      • George Michalopulos says

        PS. I am not trying to imply that +Jonah is compromised, but that certainly many in the OCA are. +Jonah, for whatever reason, decided to buckle under Stokoe’s thinly-veiled threat. If so, it may have been in the vein of a tactical retreat, that he had to look at the broader picture. Plus, we can never forget the old maxim of giving a fool enough rope to hang himself. Stokoe’s arrogance has only gotten worse in the interim and he has indeed incriminated himself in ways that he couldn’t imagine.

        Personally, if I were one of his handlers (+Benjamin? +Tikhon? Bobosh?) I’d get to him right now and tell him to shut down his site. The damage he’s doing to +Jonah has all but dissipated and now it’s backfiring big-time. Based on three of the comments dredged up by Helga and OCAT, it’s clear that he’s lost all perspective and can’t understand that his own words are being used against him.

        This is what happens when you’ve been fawned on for years by bishops: you start to believe your own press releases.

        • R. Dreher says

          George, I have no idea whether Mark has any dirt on anybody, though that comment of his you posted not too long ago, in which he said that it’s better (from the point of view of OCA leadership) to have him inside the tent than outside it, suggests that he does have information that could be very damaging to them if released. As someone still fairly new to Orthodoxy, who came over as a refugee from the (ongoing) meltdown in the Catholic Church over sex scandals, I can’t help but interpret all this through the model of what I saw over there. I have tried to provide background in this way to my friends at OCATruth, none of whom came to Orthodoxy through Catholicism.

          Based on that, what I see is bishops who, if not personally compromised by sexual misconduct (and all sex outside of marriage is sexual misconduct), are compromised by a fear of scandal. I know of Catholic bishops who almost certainly were above reproach in terms of their own behavior, who nevertheless behaved with seemingly inexplicable tolerance towards priests under their authority who behaved with sexual recklessness — including, worst of all, sexual abuse. It is hard for ordinary Christians to wrap our heads around the idea that so many bishops have, that the authority of the Church depends on keeping the truth about the fallenness of some of her priests secret from the faithful. It’s not hard to understand why they would be tempted to think this, but it’s hard, at least for me, to understand why they think it serves the faithful better to have this stuff concealed.

          I suppose one answer is the Christian belief in forgiveness and repentance. None of us deserve to have our secret sins made public. It is a great mercy to receive forgiveness in the sacrament of confession, and to be able to repent. This model is naturally quite powerful. But I think bishops have been blind to the nature of sexual sin, especially as it expresses itself in a closed, authoritative circle like the priesthood. It is one thing when a businessman in the congregation sins sexually. It is another when the priest himself, the one who is the spiritual leader of the congregation, and a community’s foremost living icon of Christ, does so. Fair or not, it brings the entire Church into disrepute. That explains bishops’ concern for scandal, obviously, but it doesn’t explain why they continue to allow compromised priests to serve at the altar. For we painfully know that many of these priests do not turn from their sins, but instead use the protection of the bishop and their own moral authority to continue to sin. Men (and women) have always been tempted by sexual sin, in this culture and in all cultures, but there is something about the neopagan erotomania in American culture today that makes chastity especially challenging.

          I think in the best cases, well-meaning bishops have granted clerical sexual sinners a lot of leeway for repentance, even to the point of allowing them to work out their repentance while serving as a parish priest. In my opinion, this is a foul fruit of clericalism, because whether the bishop means it or not, it puts the parishioners in the position of being mere props in the real drama, which is the life of the priest. I think bishops in both the Catholic and Orthodox churches, in part because they are not married, get used to thinking of the priests as their “sons,” and of clerical culture as the most real thing of all. They lose sight of the fact that the sons and daughters of the lowliest layman in the smallest parish is every bit as important to them as the highest archpriest under their omophorions.

          Finally, we in the laity play our part in perpetuating this culture of cover-up and clerical corruption. An anonymous Canadian has published on Stokoe’s site a great reflection criticizing laity in that country for a petition they’re circulating calling on His Beatitude to restore Archbishop Seraphim to office while the criminal charges against him are being sorted out. I hope your readers will go to OCANews and read this reflection. It’s fantastic, and it’s important. The pro-Seraphim laity are saying they love Vladyka and can’t imagine that he’s guilty of the abuse charges against him, and so want Jonah to let him return to active ministry now. This is extremely wrong-headed. We must hope for the best in this case, and not presume the archbishop’s guilt. But he has been charged by the Canadian government, and because of that, we have to hold in our minds the painful possibility that he is guilty. In any case, it is highly inappropriate for him to serve right now, until these charges are resolved.

          In the Catholic Church right now, allegations — not criminal charges, which are obviously far worse — of sexual harrassment have been leveled against Fr. John Corapi, a very popular priest. Fr. Corapi’s religious order suspended him pending an investigation, which has thousands of his followers steaming mad. Fr. Corapi may be innocent — I certainly hope he is — but until these allegations are resolved, the prudent thing is to suspend his ministry. My friend the Catholic writer Mark Shea says that people get angry about the corruption in other priests, but they are sure that *their* priest is okay, and has been falsely accused. The allegations against our +Seraphim are backed up by criminal charges, which makes them more serious. We have to be patient and prayerful, and let the justice system work this out. What we can’t do is presume the archbishop’s innocence because we have an emotional need for him to be innocent. Bishops have a natural desire to want to give priests the benefit of the doubt when they truly don’t deserve it, and so do we laypeople, which is how we get ourselves into trouble, and do our part to perpetuate that system of secrets and lies that is metastasizing in the Church.

          Having said all that, I really do believe that there are some bishops who are personally compromised, and that some of this junk will be exposed sooner or later. I hope so. I am watching the Fr. Vasile Susan civil suit, which is due to come to trial in Chicago in December, with great interest. I think the only thing worse for the Church than exposure of a clerical culture of sexual misconduct and possible sexual blackmail is for it to continue unexposed.

          • Rod, this is fantastic. Perhaps the only answer I can give as to “why” the clericalism is allowed to proceed is because of the answer I brought up two weeks ago in “Cui Bono.” That is that the priesthood has become a dumping ground for men who couldn’t cut it in the “real” world.” Otherwise, it’s inexplicable, especially when the priestly vocation is compared to Europe where in pre-Industrial times, the priest was usually the only educated man in a village and even in the cities.

            If you don’t mind, I’d like to riff on this one: think of all the famous men in history who were clergymen. Men like Jonathan Swift, Luigi Spallanzani (who disproved spontaneous generation), Copernicus, Antonio Vivaldi, William of Ockham, Robert Grosseteste (who came up with the scientific theory) , Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, etc. These men made Western Civilization possible. Even Darwin studied for the priesthood. Other giants like Bach, Galileo, and Mozart were closely allied and/or employed by the Church. In more modern times we still had intellectual giants like Tielhard de Chardin, Reinhold Niebuhr, Richard Neuhaus, but the ratio of clerical to non-clerical eminences has dropped dramatically.

            I realize of course that in the middle ages all of the great universities were endowed by the Church and were created specifically for the formation of priests, but the esteem in which ecclesial vocations were held was much higher than it was in the immigrant cultures of early twentieth century America.

            And that’s a sad thing because I believe that the priesthood is needed now more than ever in America.

            • Your post strikes me as peculiar. Intellectual and/or academic prowess never have impressed me as hallmarks of a pious, spiritually-strong priest or bishop. Those are worldly, “decorative” elements and no more. (although the Church has included many examples of [Orthodox] men thus gifted) In addition, as much as the names you cited contributed to Western culture, not one of them would I consult about my struggle toward salvation. (Yes, I even knew who was Spallanzani, in that my undergraduate work was in intellectual history, with a concentration on the history of science.)

              I am not going to award any merit to your musing about the Orthodox priesthood being a dumping ground for failures. I can’t imagine what on earth has been your life experience to drive you to — forgive the strong opposition — so ludicrous an opinion.

              At any rate, I’ve been appreciating your general demeanour of patience with those who differ in viewpoint from you.

              • Antonia, I agree with you, I would rather have a Fr Arseny as my spiritual advisor than a Borgia Pope, but the point I was trying to make is that in the pre-Industrial age, it seems that the priesthood/ministry called out only the best and the brightest or at least a disproportionate share of them.

                Having said that, I feel that I must disabuse any people of thinking that I suggested that the priesthood was a “dumping ground” as a general rule, even during the hard-scrabble days of our immigrant founders. It was however so for a significant minority, which only weakened its prestige, which in turn led to a downward spiral of mediocrity.

                My main point was that some of the most mediocre wound up in the higher reaches of Syosset and even the episcopate, where they did real damage.

                • George,

                  Please remove my previous post. I don’t know you, so I have no business addressing you with some harshness as if we were well acquainted. Thank you.

          • Harry Coin says

            Rod wrote, in part, “I think bishops in both the Catholic and Orthodox churches, in part because they are not married, get used to thinking of the priests as their “sons,” and of clerical culture as the most real thing of all. They lose sight of the fact that the sons and daughters of the lowliest layman in the smallest parish is every bit as important to them as the highest archpriest under their omophorions. ”

            I add, the cost of this is dramatic loss in the parishes, which loss the higher clergy does not feel but those in the communities who lose contact with friends feel greatly. The clergy who do not live in community are insulated enough financially and surrounded by devotees enough to de-facto change nothing of importance as to the causes of the loss. Rod, so many of our so-called leaders might look on ‘their priests’ as sons— but their vision is limited to the objects of their affection only without the ability to see them as whole people, not being able so much as to identify who in a crowd are member’s of ‘their priest’s’ family.

            Look at how these so called leaders stress about prerogatives of administration, as if that category is what this is first all about. The mind games, the desire to get the story told from a point of view that serves the desired outcome, the self-absorbed puffery. People see this from the pews and simply quietly leave to devote what energy they’ve been given elsewhere.

            The only way to stop it is to restore the spiritually well formed clergy to be bishops and to reduce the size of diocese to actually be about a dozen to 20 parishes centered in regional population centers. The bishops have to feel essential parts of the community as they were when all this was important to the townsfolk.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Harry, you say:

              The only way to stop it is to restore the spiritually well formed clergy to be bishops and to reduce the size of diocese to actually be about a dozen to 20 parishes centered in regional population centers. The bishops have to feel essential parts of the community as they were when all this was important to the townsfolk.

              Titular bishops are not really bishops at all as they shepard nothing.

              Bishops who simply administer without pastoring a flock are dening the chrism they have been given.

              Even the ones who can, will and do pastor are put under tremendous burdens by the sheer size and number of their diocese. My bishop who is a real pastor has the following duties: A diocese that takes in the Louisana Purchase plus Texas and NM that includes (right now) 51 parishes and growing. He has other duties as well: Secretary of the EA; Vicar of the Western Rite and whatever else is dumped upon him. He has one assistant.

              If there are indeed 55 Orthodox bishops we have enough to have one in each state plus some. Trouble is, not very many would want to be the Bishop of South Dakota and the age of many makes such a change quite difficult. It would be much better if the South Dakotan Orthodox faithful could find a man such as you suggest that could be raised up.

              Lord have mercy on us all.

              • Harry Coin says

                Since we look out over the landscape to see who fits the rules to be bishops, we see men who all know in their hearts would be GREAT bishops except for the failure of the wife to have died young like they once did. Instead we constrain the list to ‘monastics’ who never lived in a monastery and ‘celibates’ who nobody knows well enough to actually give that word any credibility whatsoever.

                So, we talk all about being ‘Orthodox’ and historic and whatnot while we pretend not to notice this grotesque diocese distortions going on. Well people who consider joining notice and they don’t join. And the ones that do join attracted by the theologic content and so forth are ‘in the rocky soil’ when they see what it is that happens in the high places all this is supposed to be lived the best and most visibly.

                All this fussing about what administrators who were once first pastors do. Until we restore the life experiences so that who they once were is once again who they are we are just going to keep talking about this until we are gone and dwindled to nothing.

                And I assure you the insular leadership will be the very, very last to notice the effects. Even if they then smell the coffee and try to change, who will surround them? Those that have been telling them all’s well these many decades.

                No, we are going to have to come together and right soberly and right soon.

                • Harry, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to your emphasis on the episcopate as it has evolved since the Industrial Age. I think that right now in the Orthodox Church, at least in America, things are at a breaking point. The quality of the majority of our bishops within the last century lead me to believe that the present system of episcopal “election” is unsustainable.

                  I must say that I think the OCA (despite it’s present turmoil) has somewhat of a jump on the other jurisdictions in that the selection of bishops by nominating committees, their election by the dioceses, and their ratification by the Holy Synod without having to kow-tow to some foreign overlord is the proper way to go.

                  Compare the current crop of the bishops in the OCA with the newer, post-2000 “metropolitans” in the GOA. Who selected these guys? Who elected them? What are their qualifications? I know that bishops are supposed to have advanced degrees from accredited seminaries, things like MDiv, PhD, or ThD, which means that they should have published dissertations and essays in theological journals.

                  I’m asking this in all honesty and would like to really know the answer to this question: of the newer crop of GOA bishops, can anyone point to any theological treatises which they have written? I remember when we were considering then-Abbot Jonah for the Diocese of the South, Archbishop +Dmitri culled several journals for +Jonah’s writings and did a document dump on the DoS website. I printed out his essays and devoured them. I was floored by the breadth of his historical and theological acumen! It really was astounding. It’s the same thing with +Hilarion of Volokolamsk, a true Renaissance Man if there ever was one. I thnk that the sheer genius of +Jonah’s and +Hilarion’s writings are what propelled the Phanar to put Lambrianides on the fast-track, because he’s highly educated himself. In fact, he may be the only one under sixty who is that educated.

                  Anyway, I’m going far afield here. I would rather have a prayerful monk as bishop than an over-educated dilettante (and as much as I respect Lambrianides’ educational attainments, his historical understanding of the history of the Patriarchate of Constantinople is clearly propagandistic at best). I would also love to have as bishop a married man of senior priestly rank who has loved one woman and who’s children are still devoted to the Church.

                  So yes, I agree with you, there are more than enough archpriests out there who could fit the bill as bishop for a newly created diocese. And we need a lot of new dioceses.

          • Prospective Nomad says

            Mr. Dreher,

            Thank you for your eloquent and thought-provoking post. To put a finer point on it, would it not be correct to say that clericalist cover-ups represent not merely bad judgment or even moral cowardice, but rather bad theology? Christ warned us that there is nothing secret that will not be made known, nothing hidden that will not be revealed. Numerous hymns in the Triodion make it clear that all of us will have all of our secret sins revealed at the Last Judgment. That’s why the harlots and the tax collectors can enter the Kingdom of Heaven relatively easily–their sins are already known. It is the hypocrites who will run headlong into the outer darkness. To perpetuate the secrecy is to perpetuate the hypocrisy and thereby raise the odds of the wayward priest’s (or bishop’s) damnation. No one who really believes in the Last Judgment would do such a thing, especially repeatedly and over long periods of time. However well-intentioned, such actions amount to a father giving his son a scorpion. Based on your experience, should we start questioning whether some of our bishops really believe that “He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead”? It pains me to ask this question. In a previous post, you had mentioned that the situation in the Roman Catholic Church had forced some there to ask that question. Are we there yet?

            • Harry Coin says

              Be sure to understand the shape of the whole forest and also the immediate group of trees! Only in the last 100 years have the clergy not been greatly composed of widowers. Women outlive men for the first time in human history and that means the end of working age widower priests for the first time. So very much of what we are seeing is a result of that change creeping up slowly upon us all. The backgrounds of who it is making decisions has changed and changed greatly and in historical terms very, very recently.

              And, theologically, the soundness of the Gospel calling for a the leaders to be ‘husbands of but one wife’ means a great deal more now than it did when the wives died leaving scandals and burdens of young widows and young orphans of clergy.

              Where it counted, in our history, in all the little places not in the big stories– it was the everyday clergy modelling and demonstrating by their own lives how to live and not just saying so from a pulpit that kept the church the church.

              Demographically, sociologically, the non-dogmatic, indeed the anti-dogmatic innovation of restricting clergy to those whose wives had died (the majority) or those who never had wives (the minority then) must be itself retired or we are toast and right soon.

              • Prospective Nomad says

                Mr. Coin,

                Thank you for your reply. I know that you are skeptical of the “young never married.” So am I. I wonder, however, whether we ought not to be paying at least as much attention to the “young” as to the “never married” piece of that formulation. Greater longevity means that we, more than any previous generation, have the luxury of requiring our elders to be old–one hopes with the wisdom that should accompany experience. At the very least, we could start strictly enforcing the canon that no one under the age of 30 should be ordained to the priesthood . This would mean that seminaries would admit no one under the age of 27. I would also require five years of secular, preferably for-profit, work experience. Some acquaintance with the real world should prove invaluable for any pastor. If they were forced to wait until age 27 to enroll, more seminarians would show up already married.

                Marriage is no panacea. Most of the priests I have known–including some very holy men–have seen their family lives turn into soap operas at one time or another. The risk of family dysfunction is greater if the priest has to moonlight.

                Although Ashley Nevins is wrong in her conclusions, she is right to make the Actonian point that, as long as we keep investing with power men who have not crucified themselves, we will keep getting corruption. Yes, family life can be a crucible of kenosis and self-denial. So can a proper monastic formation. What clearly doesn’t work is nominal monasticism–handing a mitre to a guy who has taken monastic vows without ever having lived the cenobitic life for a meaningful period of time. What, I wonder, would happen if we started enforcing the canon that candidates for the episcopacy must be able to recite the Psalter from memory? That canon is there for a reason: to ensure that prospective bishops actually have lived the angelic life and absorbed its lessons.

                St. John Klimakos entitled the first rung on the Ladder of Divine Ascent “On the Renunciation of Life.” There is no substitute for the experience of total loss. The widowers of whom you spoke experienced that loss through the their wives’ deaths. Real monks experience it by surrendering all of their possessions and all of their will–and that takes time. A guy who has known nothing but a middle-class life, even as a member of the clergy, doesn’t have that experience. Having a wife does not, by itself, change that.

                In theory, I agree entirely with you about the desirability of making dioceses much smaller. The spectacle of bishops with far-flung dioceses delegating their duties to deans–who have parishes of their own to run–demonstrates the wisdom of your proposal. I don’t know whether it’s financially realistic–assuming that we don’t wish to make Orthodoxy a religion exclusively of the metro-area affluent. If bishops had to be paid a “family wage,” the financial challenge to more organic and humanely proportioned dioceses would grow.

                • Harry Coin says

                  I like all your points quite well. If only. I’ve come to the view that any tweaking of the rules will just be greeted with much fanfare and then when it really counts quitely re-re-re-imaged and re-re-re-remembered to be of no importance and effect. It will be just another exercise in false hope-bait for the donor bubbas. And, it will still leave us un-orthodox with no actual fathers able to relate to the families.

                  P.S. Ashley is a dad.

                  • Prospective Nomad says

                    Mr. Coin,

                    Thank you for your kind reply. I probably will get myself into trouble with this, but I would appreciate your perspective on a darker and little-remarked aspect of episcopal celibacy.

                    The Byzantine Menologion is heavily weighted toward Martyrs and Confessors from the persecutions of Decius, Diocletian, and Julian. The percentage of these Saints who were married is quite low–not zero, to be sure, and the stories of those who were married with children are some of the most inspiring and heart-rending. Nonetheless, the monks and Virgin Martyrs from that era have been canonized in numbers out of all proportion to their representation in that society. I take that to mean they were less likely to apostasize. People who might be willing to suffer for the Faith themselves may not be able to bear seeing their children tortured for it.

                    One of the unspoken assumptions of American Orthodoxy is that the First Amendment trumps the New Testament and always will, although no one would phrase it that way. We implicitly assume that we have a permanent exemption from Christ’s promise that “a servant is not greater than his Master. If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you.” In all the controversy about whether Orthodox bishops should have signed the Manhattan Declaration, the most valid critique has been largely absent: It lacks the spirit of St. Ignatios. Political and cultural hostility are not things to be resisted. They are things for which we are commanded to rejoice and be exceedingly glad. That’s a lot easier to do if you don’t have children.

                    If Red Martyrdom comes to America–and the Scriptures seem to promise that it eventually will–I’m not sure we want bishops who have to choose between rightly dividing the Word of Truth and sparing their wives and children from the arena. Maybe it doesn’t make sense to worry about a future risk when we face a present crisis. Still, I wonder…

                  • Harry Coin says

                    So vast is the landscape of things to remember that in remembering well a part the temptation becomes to think of its boundaries as being wider than they are.

                    Lost balance needs recovering here if we are to be who we say we’re carrying forward. We don’t grow because while we say the right things we don’t look at all like people who say these things once looked — and they weren’t perfect then either let’s get that right.

                    Remember that the process of ‘canonization’ in Orthodoxy is a process of recognizing what is, not making anything. There are I am certain many tens of thousands of actual saints most probably more worthy of remembrance than the ones who made the books, worthy as those were. So, a diocese recognizes someone worthy along the way, they start looking at the saint’s life and tell people about it. Hopefully the church leadership catches on in due course, and a church or part of one recognizes what is already there. Then perhaps a nearby church agrees, and sooner or later someone writes it down in books that somehow manage to survive through history and not be burnt or destroyed a-purpose. And, here we are.

                    That the monks were the ones who knew how to write a preserve things is more a testament to why those are the saints in the books more than anything else.

                    Last, in the past there is the imperial and mafia-esque tendency to hold hostage the loved ones of those you wish to pressure into doing something awful powerful folk desire. The population in the world is such in this internet age that doesn’t work out at all well anymore for the bad guys. The messages that resonate will be said by enough folk that specific persecutions will be treated as the crimes they are, and whether they guilty are punished. The message will not be diminished in the ways personal attacks once aimed to do.

                    Please understand I have nothing but respect for those who live in creditable monasteries. I do not hold a two-person condo or a bachelor pad to be in the same category, nor any place led by a sexually exploitative cult leader who does like the new novices, oh yes, especially ones who feel they have no where else to go.

                  • Prospective Nomad says

                    Mr. Coin,

                    Thank you for your well-placed admonition. It is indeed a temptation to allow one bit of truth to blind oneself to other aspects of the truth.

                    You are, of course, entirely correct that the contours of the Byzantine Menologion reflect fourth- and fifth-century Church politics as well as the merits of the specific cases (or causes). Is the disproportion entirely attributable to political factors? I don’t know. What we know about natural human affection would suggest not, as would the fact that apostasy in those persecutions was sufficiently widespread to embroil the Church in the Donatist controversy for a century thereafter. A lot of people apostasized. A disproportionate number of the people whom the Church deemed worthy of eternally blessed memory for refusing to apostasize were monks and Virgin Martyrs. Is that entirely because the monks got to write the books and not at all because some people who would have gone to martyrdom themselves decided to worship an idol to save their children?

                    I must say that I do not share your faith in the Internet. It works only against oppressors whose bloodlust knows some limit. The Internet has done no discernible good for the Christian refugees from Iraq or for the vanishing Christian community in Palestine. It has done very little for the Copts, and if the Muslim Brotherhood takes over the country, it will have made their plight a great deal worse (to the extent that the Internet helped depose Mubarak). It has done no discernible good for persons of any faith in North Korea. A camera phone and a Facebook account are no match for machine guns, unless the person holding the gun is hesitant to pull the trigger.

                  • Harry Coin says

                    Well I suppose my confidence in getting the word out not dying as a result of pressuring one vocal person by holding his loved ones hostage has a historical basis starting from the printing press and more general literacy. The internet and broader literacy and a shorter distance between population centers makes the spread of the messages near instant, over against taking longer than a year as often happened in the past.

                    In the lands you mention, notice that where the US military is trying to turn things over to the locals they find widespread illiteracy, even to the point of Arabic numeral recognition, an obstacle.

                    While as you explain indeed it is possible to kill the messengers these days– that you and I and anyone who has access to the internet can know the message is, historically, new. Maybe it won’t win the sorts of battles that boots on the ground need to win, maybe locals can be oppressed by their immediate thug-oppressors — but woldwide there is no doubt anymore about who it is doing what to whom. The strong and victorious no longer write the history books.

                    Look at Bill Clinton even, highly popular as he was. He’ll always be the one who fussed ‘is’ and deemed it wise to do the Monica thing. Compare that to Kennedy. Would JFK been the hero he was if there were cell-phone cams and the internet in his day? Doubtful.

                  • Harry, Michael, Nomad: excellent stuff! Just so you know, I wrote a monograph which was presented to the OCL in Oct 2009 on how to take the existing 55 bishops in the US and distribute them to almost every state in the Union.

                    So yes, I do believe in vastly smaller dioceses, way many more bishops, and direct election of local bishops (subject to ratification by the Holy Synod).

                    And also, I do believe in elevating senior, married clergy to the episcopate, or at the very least giving them extraordinary powers to govern small dioceses.

            • R. Dreher says

              Lots of good stuff already on this thread!

              Harry, I think you are exactly right about the effect of all this on the people in the pews. Most people don’t storm out like I did (and my “storming out” only constituted storming out because I had established myself as a relatively high-profile Catholic writer, so there was no going quietly); they just fade away. I remember once sitting in my Catholic parish realizing that the priest standing up there preaching had zero spiritual authority over me or anybody else. He could confect the sacraments validly, but I didn’t know a soul in the parish who took him seriously as a moral or spiritual guide. He was quite likable, without a doubt, but the thought that this coddled, sexually ambiguous mama’s boy could be our spiritual father was just silly. I thought too about how few priests I had known in my years as a Catholic with whom I would trust care of my soul. There were some, but mostly the priests I dealt with weren’t bad men by any stretch; they just didn’t seem morally or spiritually mature, or serious.

              I’ve seen much better among the Orthodox clergy I’ve met, but I should say that my experience here is much more limited.

              I do think, George, that your theory about the priesthood being a “dumping ground” for those who can’t cut it in the real world is problematic. You’re a cradle Orthodox, so you know a lot more about this stuff than I do. I have not seen that at all, though. I have thought about the priesthood, and concluded with no false modesty that I couldn’t cut it as a priest. I have “made it” in the “real world,” but I don’t have the patience, the prayerfulness, or, most of all, the love to serve as a priest. I make a much higher salary than most priests do, and you could double my pay and I would still fear to take up a priest’s responsibilities. Flannery O’Connor once answered a potential Catholic convert who complained about the low intellectual qualities of priests in her day by saying that it’s easy to pick out the faults of clergymen, but it’s a lot harder to discern what is it about a man that makes him devote his entire life to the service of God in holy orders, giving up the chances of wealth, worldly success, and (in the Catholic case) the comforts of wife and children. I think there’s wisdom in that. I remember what it was like to stand at the hospital bed of my sister, a day after she was told she had stage 4 cancer, and hadn’t yet told her little girls how bad it was. It shook me up hard. Priests and pastors not only have to deal with that kind of thing all the time, but they also have to find comforting things to say and do in those terrible moments. I know I don’t have what it takes to make it in the clerical world.

              Nomad, I would say it reflects bad theology to the extent it reflects an inability to understand that the Church is a means to an end, not an end in itself, and, more profoundly, that GOD EXISTS, and he will hold us accountable for our actions — especially those pastors, to whom much has been given.

              • Harry Coin says

                Rod, what you wrote about the Catholic priest many feel about the bishops and many ‘ordained young never married’ Orthodox. Suppose for argument that all the hopes about monastic and celibate are true (SO not in evidence, but let’s just suppose best case).

                For all our history save when women started to outlive men the last 100 years the widowers were counted predominantly among them. The monks were not ignorant and innocent of the wisdom of being actual fathers. Neither for the Vatican folk nor the Orthodox. The Apostles themselves counted many married.

                That’s the reason the monks and the priests received the affectionate and deserved title ‘father’. Because in fact they were, so many of them! And certainly when half of those born died in their 20’s any who made it to 30 were certainly worthy of ‘venerable’ having lived longer as an adult than many lived their entire lives. Does that mean the never married have no role? Certainly not. We had a balance of voices and perspectives then. Now, we do not. Let’s not pretend we are as they were.

                The Orthodox have retained the married parish priest. This has saved us from much that afflicted Rome, but I fear it has only delayed what has befallen them, if we don’t restore what we’ve lost.

            • Nomad, what you say brings up a very important point. If we in the Royal Priesthood (the laity) truly believe in the Last Judgment as well, then we have a corresponding obligation to hold sinners to account –even if they be bishops–to safeguard their own salvation.

              How many times have we heard about some miscreant who stated that “had I never been arrested, I would keep on doing what I was doing”? Or some alcoholic who said, “If my wife hadn’t left me, I’d be laying face down in a gutter right now”? Etc. In each of these cases, the men in question are called into account for their actions. There are real consequences to their misdeeds.

              Everytime the laymen in a diocese (or their representatives on the Diocesan Council) let the bishop get a pass because of some misdeed, we are encouraging him in perpetuating this behavior. Thus clericalism is the flip side of the coin of lay apathy. So why do the laity keep engaging in this dysfunctional system? My belief as I’ve stated over and over again, is because the priesthood was the first church office to lose respectability (actually the first was the diaconate, which was in abeyance for generations). It’s now bubbled up to the episcopate, otherwise how on earth did we in the OCA wind up with men like Methodius and Herman, or the late Peter L’Hullier?

          • Chris Plourde says

            I have no idea whether Mark has any dirt on anybody, though that comment of his you posted not too long ago, in which he said that it’s better (from the point of view of OCA leadership) to have him inside the tent than outside it, suggests that he does have information that could be very damaging to them if released.

            If I remember, Rod, Stokoe’s post was explicit that if he remained on the MC he’d be bound to honor the confidentiality of the MC, whereas if he were not he would not be so bound. I think his phraseology was “outside pissing in” vs. “inside pissing out.”

            Which is not a statement that he has information that would be damaging, but rather that he would be free to publish information the Metropolitan, Synod and MC might prefer remain confidential.

            By the way: I think your take on the issue of clergy misconduct is spot on. We all put greater trust in our emotional judgment about who is trustworthy and who is not than is warranted.

            • Chris, aren’t you making my point? What kind of “investigative journalist” would trade his integrity for a seat at the table of power?

              But let’s just examine his own words. There are roughly three themes here:

              1. that Mark has dirt on people (how he got it is anybody’s guess) and he’ll spill the beans if he’s not given a seat at the table,

              2. he has nothing on anybody but he won’t pursue the matter if while seated on the MC, he sees something, or

              3. he knows something is wrong somewhere but he plays like he knows more in order to leverage this implied knowledge for a seat on the Council. All of which lead us to:

              4. assuming that either one or two is true (that he had real knowledge of real misdeeds), then why did he not do the honest thing and investigate them? Why did he pick only on certain men (Kondratick, Herman) but not others? After all, we have to assume that there were others because he implied it in his answer, and also because he was granted a seat on the MC, precisely to purchase his silence from bad actors in high places.

              Regardless, there’s no way that any of the above paint a picture of a man driven by conviction.

              • Chris Plourde says


                I think my point was not to agree nor disagree with anyone, but rather to make clear that the notion that Stokoe’s statement indicated that Jonah must be being blackmailed is unsupported by the evidence at hand. My note was a reply to Rod, who I know to generally be more careful a writer than he was here.

                Beyond that, my 2c:

                Stokoe is not a reporter. Were he a reporter he’d have a conflict of interest. But he’s not a reporter, he’s a commentator with sources. I think of him as a kind of Robert Novak, a cranky columnist with lots of insider sources and an axe to grind.

                OCATruth is much the same as Stokoe, albeit from a different point of view and with an unfortunate name (reminds me of Pravda) an anonymous staff and no comment section.

                You’re a commentator, also. You have clear views, clear opinions, and you don’t hesitate to air them.

                And contrary to your last line about having no conviction, I think the problem for all three of you (and I don’t read the “tranny” blog Rod refers to) is that you’re driven by your individual convictions. Not one of you is dispassionate or objective.


                And please take this in the spirit in which it is offered, one of concern for you, readers and the Church.

                Orthodox Christians survived the Catacombs without their Lent being ruined, they survived the Ottomans without their Lent being ruined, they survived the Gulag without their Lent being ruined. The problems for the OCA are so much less than any of that. We are not close to facing Monophysites or Arians, Iconoclasts or a fake Unia with Rome.

                As troubling as things seem to us in the present moment, in reality they’re simply not that bad. This is an ecclesial issue, not an existential one.

                We are personally responsible for our own Lenten journeys, not even Romans, Islamic Hordes, Communists, heretics or Bishops can ruin this journey for those who went before us. We should not allow something this small to become our stumbling block.

                The Sunday of St. John Climacus is as good a time as any to refocus on needful things.

                • Chris, your point about Lent is well-taken.

                  The Church will survive this. As to your points about Stokoe being a commentator a la Robert Novak, that’s not really true. Novak never served on any governmental commission or body. Neither did Walter Cronkite for that matter. I mean, they didn’t even serve on ad hoc quasi-governmental groups like the Warren Commisssion.

                  Also, I did not mean to imply that it was +Jonah who was being blackmailed. However Stokoe’s very words indicated that

                  1. he had beaten back his predecessor who in the process was ruined (i.e. removed from office), and

                  2. that as long as he was on the MC he couldn’t not report other things, that he would be “bound by rules of confidentiality.”

                  As to the last point, it’s clear that he’s never really held up that part of the bargain, has he?

                  • Chris Plourde says


                    I’ll take your Novak correction, though in fairness I was intending it as a likeness more in style than in who did what when.

                    (If we had to name a commentator who’s also a player, perhaps Gingrich, Palin or Huckabee. And if it needed to be someone who played while working, we need look no further than McCain.)

                    It was Rod who implied the Metropolitan was being blackmailed, which is why I responded to his post and not yours.

                    There are more than enough knives sharpened for Stokoe that my guess is if he violated the confidentiality of the MC he’d be bounced pdq. If nothing else we’d hear all about it from Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald), who seems to be Stokoe’s most potent nemesis.

                    Finally, it is my sense that the reason the non-retired Bishops are largely silent is that they really want this to work, that they’re not preparing to dump the Metropolitan but preparing to work with him. Every public statement of the Synod creates that impression, as does the Diocese of the West resolution.

                  • Chris, neither Palin, nor Gingrich, nor Huckabee hold elective office at present.

                  • Chris, it was not the Metropolitan who was being blackmailed. It was the Metropolitan who was being defied. Big difference.

                    As for the “knives being out Stokoe,” I beg to differ. If they could get rid of him, they would. They won’t because they can’t.

                    As for the bishops who want to “work with the Metropolitan” to see that “this things works out,” I’d put +Nathanael in the category as well as (probably) +Michael, +Mark, and Bishop-elect +Matthias.

                    As for the petulant resolutions of the DoW, well, they stand on their own. Trust me, there’s bad blood between +Benjamin and +Jonah. Sad but true. Let’s see how many other dioceses put out similar resolutions.

                  • Chris Plourde says

                    Chris, it was not the Metropolitan who was being blackmailed.

                    You and I agree on this, it was the only point I made in my first post on this topic. You seem to think we disagree when in fact we are in agreement on this.

                    As for the “knives being out Stokoe,” I beg to differ. If they could get rid of him, they would. They won’t because they can’t.

                    Again, how can you “beg to differ” when we agree about this? Those who would like to see Stokoe off the MC can’t make it happen because they don’t have the evidence of a violation of MC confidentiality. The moment such a violation was clear, they’d have what they needed to get the job done. And the moment Bishop Tikhon, retired, had such evidence it would be all over the internet and thus impossible to ignore.

                    Trust me, there’s bad blood between +Benjamin and +Jonah. Sad but true.

                    Which is precisely why the DOW resolution is a sign that Metropolitan Jonah is staying put. To put it bluntly: That resolution wouldn’t be approved by someone who thought he had a shot at the job in the near future.

                    Three times here you have explicitly agreed with my points, but seem to wish to disagree with me. What’s up with that, George?

        • +Jonah, for whatever reason, decided to buckle under Stokoe’s thinly-veiled threat.

          Keep in mind, Stokoe wasn’t the only one making threats. Met. Jonah had a choice between Stokoe or Metropolitan Philip. Met. Philip’s threats mostly amounted to withdrawing Antiochian seminarians from the OCA seminaries. But silencing Stokoe would have caused a huge scandal, because it would have given the appearance that Met. Jonah was trying to hide something.

  3. Lurker, first time poster.

    Great stuff George. Thank you for your work.

    I have a question related mainly to Rod’s excellent post. Pardon me for my Protestant background and asking about a simple verse, but it seems pretty relevant. I Timothy 5: 19-20:

    “Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.”

    Regarding the first part of this verse, I think it may contradict the statement: “None of us deserves to have our secret sins made public.” Or maybe not. I don’t know. I’m sure there’s room for degrees. I am personally torn over whether the SIC report did a good job of this. In one sense, two Metropolitans were “rebuked publicly” (as the second verse I quoted requires), and you don’t see this happen often in any religious circles so that’s good.

    But apparently there were some pretty scandalous sexual escapades that were kept under wraps, along with alcoholism, that was only mentioned by Jonah in passing. In light of the Catholic scandals, you wonder if so much trouble would be avoided if the sins of elders were made public, as the scriptures charge.

    Related, I wonder if Seraphim in fact should be suspended based on the government’s charges. Was there more than one? Are they credible? If so, suspend. If not, protect his reputation. It seems the Apostle Paul was interested in giving elders the benefit of the doubt on the accusation end and wanting swift, tough love action if accusation turned into fact.

    • If I remember correctly, the allegations against Archbishop Seraphim involve two alleged victims and a single incident.

      According to a comment left on OCANews, his suspension is without pay, and he has exhausted his retirement savings on his lawyer. That strikes me as unfair as no charges have been proven, and if acquitted I assume he will return to active episcopacy.

      No other similar accusations or charges have ever been made against Archbishop Seraphim.

      As to your question about revealing private sins and so forth, remember that Noah’s sons were blessed for covering him with a blanket. The one who divulged Noah’s sin had his son enslaved.

      • Helga,

        When the “sin” is hurting thousands and tens of thousands of people, it is different. We can use another verse from St Paul, who made the sins of one man in Corinth so public, and spoke so strongly on the subject, that it has been in print for two thousand years: 1 Corinthians 5

        1It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.

        2And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

        3For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,

        4In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

        5To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

        6Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

        7Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

        8Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

        9I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:

        10Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

        11But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

        12For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?

        13But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

        • R. Dreher says

          Helga, I agree with Rachel.

          I once asked to interview a well-known Catholic layman who had direct personal information about the sexual corruption of a powerful archbishop — a man who ought to have been exposed because of the damage he had done to others re: abusing his authority to compel others to do things that violated their consciences, and things he might yet do by virtue of the power of his office. I knew for a fact that this layman had spoken out behind the scenes to try to get this issue resolved in a morally responsible manner, but the Vatican wouldn’t budge. I asked him to please talk to me about it. He gasped when I asked — he was shocked that I knew — and said nervously, “If that were true, I wouldn’t tell you about it for the same reason Noah’s sons covered their father in his drunkenness.” In other words, “I’m going to be quiet to protect the archbishop’s reputation.”

          But the archbishop had no right to his good reputation, because he was using that reputation as a cloak to hide behind!

          If Abp Seraphim is innocent, then what he’s suffering is a terrible tragedy. But an archbishop has to be above reproach. If the charges against him are serious enough that the government of Canada — which is not a dictatorship — is bringing him to trial, then he should not serve until this is cleared up. It’s not like the life of the Church is paralyzed because the archbishop is out of commission temporarily.

          • I understand the points you and Rachel were making, but I’m not so sure what you’re wanting that to translate to. It does make me shudder to think someone used the story of Noah and his children to excuse concealing ongoing, unrepentant wrongdoing. The context I was thinking of was that one should not use a human weakness to continually humiliate someone and undermine their leadership.

            I saw this happen to a Protestant clergyman who was far from perfect, but the strain of having people in church constantly bring up his spiritual failures and embarrassments, which had been triggered by something outside his control, killed his ministry and his faith. “If you did this, then what right do you have to judge me?” He may have started falling down the slope on his own, but gawking at his nakedness did not help him back up.

            I have seen a prominent OCA figure going to confession when he and I were visiting the same place. Does he not have a right to confessional privacy? I would think he at least deserves privacy for anything that doesn’t relate to his continuation in the clergy (like heresy) or the safety of others (like touching children).

            I definitely agree that Archbishop Seraphim should remain under suspension until this is adjudicated, with deposition if guilty and restoration if innocent, although I wonder what would happen if the Winnipeg court and the OCA investigation reach two different conclusions.

            • Helga, I never thought about that. I wonder what would indeed happen if there were two opposite findings? Clearly, we’ve got to do things differently because even if we in the OCA have the best procedures in place for dealing with sexual abuse, the fact remains that if there are a significant number of unqualified, unstable men with maturity issues (or as Rod stated: “sexually ambiguous mama’s boys), then one of them is going to fly under the radar and escape detection until it’s too late.

              Now it must be said that the marital status of the priest is no guarantor of rectitude. Look at the case of the GOA priest in Dallas. He was married and had five kids. There’s no fool-proof mechanism that would anticipate any possible scenario. However in an essay I’m presently working on, I am going to suggest that a man cannot enter the seminary unless he’s thirty years old AND married and that even his wife has to take some classes is parish management and pastoral counselling. Both would have to be vetted before he got accepted.

              Now that may sound unrealistic but think about it. If there were endowments which would pay for the tuition and board for a young man and his growing family, and while he was studying another fund could be established (by his parish perhaps?) that would put money away in an IRA (because a man’s 30s are the prime earning years), then the priest-candidate would not be burdened by crushing debts and start out parish life with an already-established pension.

              Think of what this rather later-in-life scenario entail: a man with some experience in the workaday world, a wife, and the other intangibles of young adulthood. What would it suppress? How about careerists, permanent students who don’t want to face the real world, and those who don’t really like women.

              Just some thoughts. Any takers? I’d really like to know what the priests out there think.

              • Most seminarians nowadays actually fit your standards, George. They’ve worked in the ‘real world’, they are married, and often have kids by the time they even get to school. SVS had to go into debt to build more married student housing so they could take more students: that’s that “Lakeside” project they are so keen to get paid off. (They also have a spouse’s program that works on parish stuff!)

                I agree that more needs to be done to support seminary families, because I’ve been told a lot of them struggle to make ends meet. As a church, I think we need to do better by future priests and church workers than giving some token funds out of the church coffers, and otherwise leaving them to the mercy of the government’s loans and social programs.

                The Antiochian Archdiocese gives full scholarships to male seminarians getting M.Divs, in exchange for your spine. I’m not sure if that’s the model the OCA would want to follow. 🙂

                I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with going to seminary in your twenties, though. Metropolitan Jonah *and* Mark Stokoe both went to SVS when they were in their twenties. (Stokoe’s about 4-5 years older than Met. Jonah, and I don’t think they were there at the same time.) Met. Jonah, for example, wasn’t ordained to the priesthood until he was in his mid-thirties and had been out of seminary for several years. He had some experience in the regular working world, and he’d had plenty of time to discern whether he wanted to be married or celibate.

                As for the question of Archbishop Seraphim, and what happens if there are two different conclusions, the OCA can’t compel testimony, but it doesn’t have the same burden of proof as a court system, either. My guess is that if the court finds him innocent but the OCA finds him guilty, they will at least defrock him, and confine him to a monastery far away from children. If the OCA finds him innocent but the court finds him guilty, I would hope they could help the archbishop make an appeal.

                • Helga, excellent points. My take about not even starting til 30 was just to weed out the careerists. +Jonah is an exception to this rule. He did go to seminary as a young man but then went out into the business world and then became a monk in his mid-thirties. But like I said, he’s an exception.

                  Instead, if we look at all the careerists who have brought us to this point (and made the GOA the old boys club that it is), we’d find that 98% of them took the “ordaine young/never married” route with no real-world experience (and no actual monastic experience either).

      • The rumour that Archbishop Seraphim is not being paid is false. The Archdiocese of Canada has continued to pay his salary.

  4. I think we ALL need to stop this back and forth arguing, mud slinging, etc. about Metropolitan Jonah–especially during Lent.

    Who is going to be Christian enough to call a truce first?

    At least why cant we wait till the 60 day rest/leave of absence is over–let both sides set forth their facts, and make and have an honest discussion then?

    The only thing the multitude of websites, announcements, resolutions, etc. are doing are turning people OFF of Orthodoxy.

    Please, for the sake of the Church, have a cooling off period. At least from this Sunday, April 3rd to Paskha, April 24.

    • George not-Michalopulos, I take your point. The problem is that too often, people fail to remember the Lord’s example when he stood silently before his accusers (Mark 14:61). Silence is taken as concession or an inability to mount a defense, and therefore proof of guilt.

      Stokoe does not take his traditional break from publishing until Holy Week. And, sadly, there is precedent for using holy days to catch one’s enemies with their pants down, like when NATO bombed Serbia during Holy Week, and Israel was attacked on Yom Kippur.

      • R. Dreher says

        I would love it if George, OCAT, OCANews, and Stan the Tran’s site would take a breather during Lent. But that’s not really possible, considering that very important things are going on behind the scenes on this story, things that are potentially consequential for both sides of this story. I don’t blame George, Mark Stokoe, or anybody who takes this story seriously (I don’t count Stan the Tran in that group) for continuing to publish.

        • Harry Coin says

          Rod, thanks to you I will no longer be drinking anything when I read these posts. Gotta towel off the screen….

          • Harry Coin says

            “Stan the Tran”. Holy Buckets!

            • R. Dreher says

              I think it was my old Internet pal Chris Plourde who thought I was insulting Barbara-Marie (ne’ Stan) Drezhlo by calling her a pro-Soviet transsexual. I told Chris no, I was simply describing her — and I pointed him to her blog, in which she is exactly that. She’s also a vicious crackpot.

              • …but vastly entertaining, no?

                • Entertaining if you’re a glutton for punishment and have strong intestinal fortitude. 🙂

                  • Chris, whenever I think of the “operation,” I am reminded about that hilarious scene in The World According to Garp, that uber-absurdist movie which shocked the hell out me some 30 years ago.

                    Anyway, Stan the Tran’s site is truly a spectacle (in the every sense of the word) but I wonder how much of his/her reportage of the bad ole’ days in Syosset is true? According to him/her, the bad blood that exists between Stokoe and Kondratick had to do with the fact that Kondratick took an interesting look at Mark’s “relationships” with certain hierarchs and fired him.

                    Does anybody have any confirmation of this?

                  • This is the same Stan who thinks Bishop Melchisedek is going to take over the OCA and bring it back under Moscow.

                    I think that any relationship between Stanny-boy and reality is purely coincidental. 🙂

                • R. Dreher says

                  Yes, vastly entertaining, in the way that the Jerry Springer Show used to be disturbingly compelling to watch. The Troll from Transsexual Transylvania (a little “Rocky Horror Picture Show” reference for you fellow old-timers) is not a reliable reporter, shockingly enough. She denounced me as a known associate of Gleb Podmoshensky; when I read that, I had to look up on the Internet who Gleb Podmoshensky was, or is (is he still alive?). She also lumped into that same condemnation my friend Frederica Mathewes-Green as a Glebnik; I would be startled if Frederica knew who Gleb was, or if she knew much of anything about the Russian side of American Orthodoxy, as she came in through the Antiochian door.

                  I also found hilarious S.T.T.’s fulsome encomia to the recently departed ACROD patriarch, of blessed memory, in particular his supposedly earthy, blue-collar sensibilities. Admittedly I know exactly zero blue-collar Orthodox men of Carpatho-Russian stock, but I find it difficult to believe that they are enthusiastic about other men who lop off their own todgers and put on frocks. I could, of course, be wrong, and Vladyka Nicholas was a voice for Carpatho-Russian progressive Christianity. But I doubt it.

                  I only wish S.T.T. knew how to format photos for online presentation, so the daily car wreck that is her site would be easier to view.

                  • I keep images blocked from Stan’s site. Although some of them are rather beautiful, having them turned off just makes it loads easier to get to the daily dose of crazy.

                    Also, it’s funny how Stan got on his high horse about Met. Nicholas when he himself continued ranting as usual after news of the Met.’s death was announced, until he suddenly decided to take a break out of “respect”. And he continued to harangue the OCA about how soon they announced his death (a matter of hours), even though they were the first jurisdiction (besides ACROD itself) to actually say anything.

                    And Stan also harangued Met. Jonah for not going to the funeral, although I think most people would understand that Met. Jonah had some personal issues to cope with that week. That was the week Met. Hilarion came to town. Also, according to his critics, Met. Jonah was supposed to be “resting” and letting other bishops take care of things, which Bp. Melchisedek did.

                  • Thank you John. I can’t remember if it was Natalie Wood or Raquel Welch who first convinced me that the funny feelings I felt growing up were normal.

              • Thank you Rod, for speaking the truth about Drezhlo. She has insulted +Jonah without basis and I personally take offense. Thanks again for getting to the root of some of this.

                • Everyone with a heart and soul takes offense at Drezhlo, but nobody with a brain takes him seriously! 🙂

                  Met. Jonah seems to get it worse from him than anybody, though.

                  • R. Dreher says

                    I wonder if he would have bobbitted himself if he had had any idea that he wasn’t going to turn into Greta Garbo or Elizabeth Taylor, but rather into a crazy old cat lady …

  5. That’s fantastic! I hope Mr. Stokoe uses one of your banners! My personal favorite is “I’m shocked!”
    For a short break from the whole mess:

  6. Very great visual appeal on this site, I’d rate it 10 10.

  7. I like this web blog very much, Its a real nice spot to read and obtain information.