Stuck on Stupid

Yesterday, the venerable Thomas Hopko gave a 20 minute speech to the Holy Synod and Metropolitan Council, asking them to “not give up the dream of the OCA.” Once my side stopped hurting from all the laughter (thank you Fr Tom, laughter really is the best medicine), I felt that it needed some sober reflection on my part. Clearly, it was a clear swipe against His Beatitude and his traditionalist view of Orthopraxy. My guess is that Fr Hopko still believes that the OCA was planted here to become a kind low-Church, semi-spiritual, quasi-hierarchical, congregationalist hybrid that has never existed in Orthodoxy. A kind of “hip” and “relevant” church that knows better than the Holy Fathers because We are Americans and Don’t You Know, We’re Special. Who needs John Chrysostom when you have Dr Phil?

Since we all think so highly of Fr Tom, we must give his “Dream of the OCA” serious consideration. In order to do that however, I’d like to know if he always felt that way. In fairness to the good reverend, and in the interest of historical accuracy, I’d like to publish this essay of his back from 2006, two years before +Jonah was elected Metropolitan. (My guess is that’s when the Golden Age existed before the Fall supposedly wrought by +Jonah.)

Fr. Thomas Hopko: Letter to the Metropolitan Council – April 12, 2006

Pretty harsh stuff if you ask me. Unlike his speech from the other day, when he talked about unicorns and rainbows and flowers busting out all over, I’ve got to wonder why he thought things were so bleak back then in the pre-+Jonah days. The words he wrote are sobering to say the least. (And lest we forget, he was always one of the leading lights in the OCA.) “Dream of the OCA”? Sounds more like nightmare. The fact that he views the ministry of +Jonah in such a harsh way shows to me that the other leading lights of the OCA are as equally dim. In this most recent speech we see the confluence of the Dumping Ground, Toxic Culture, and Deep Institutional Mediocrity forming a Perfect Storm of Continued Decline.

If that ain’t Stuck on Stupid, nothing is.


  1. Elizabeth says

    Another example: It appears that Metropolitan Jonah remains on leave until the 16th All American Council meeting. We, sadly, can guess what stupid thing will happen at this point.

    • Elizabeth, I’ve read both the news item you posted as well as the Synod meeting minutes several times, and I’m not sure where you get that Met. Jonah is on leave until the AAC in early November. Bishop Melchisedek will continue as interim OCA chancellor until the AAC. But nothing about Met. Jonah’s leave of absence continuing that I can find.

      • Elizabeth says

        I cannot find that exact wording either, but I believe it is implied as there is no statement about Metropolitan Jonah returning to his position/being allowed to return to his position. I hope that a statement regarding Metropolitan Jonah returning from his leave of absence was just overlooked.

        In his report, Bishop Melchisedek, Interim Chancellor, spoke of the work that was done during his two months, including specific issues dealing with the leave of absence of Metropolitan Jonah. He informed the Metropolitan Council that he will continue as Interim Chancellor until the 16th All-American Council.

        • Elizabeth, I don’t get Met. Jonah being on leave of absence until the AAC at all.

          And something as big as that would have been specifically spelled out in the minutes of the Synod meeting, as the Met.’s original leave was in the Santa Fe retreat minutes. It was not in these Synod minutes.

          • Elizabeth says

            I hope you are right, Marie, and announcing that the Metropolitan had officially returned from his leave of absence was overlooked.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Elizabeth, if +Jonah’s “leave” was extended to the AAC, I can assure you that Commisar Stokoe would have published it with screaming headlines. No, he’s still Metropolitan of All-America and Canada. Now whether there will be an OCA at that time is another question altogether.

        • Metropolitan Jonah’s leave expired during Bright Week, so there was no need for the Synod to address the issue of ‘releasing’ him from the leave or anything like that.

          Bishop Melchisedek is still interim Chancellor because Fr. Garklavs was fired at the Santa Fe meeting. I think you’re getting him confused with Archbishop Nathaniel, who was the administrator of the OCA while Met. Jonah was on leave. Archbishop Nathaniel should no longer be acting as such, although the OCA has failed to update the Synod’s page to this effect.

          • Doesn't Matter says

            “Following the Human Resources Committee report, the Metropolitan Council resolved to recommend that Archpriest Alexander Garklavs remain as consultant to the Interim Chancellor for his institutional knowledge and continuity of the work of the Chancery; that his compensation and benefits continue until he receives another appropriate appointment; and that his severance package of four months’ salary be deferred compensation.”


    • Those of you who are considering going to Antioch just wait until you have to deal with Metropolitan Phillip!
      There are gay clergy in every Church including the Diocese of the South and even at St.Seraphim Cathedral..

      • George Michalopulos says

        Stephen, can you name them?

      • Archpriest John Morris says

        Metropolitan Philip is an inspiring and decisive leader. H.e is what a Metropolitan should be not a weakling with no real authority. Under his leadership the Antiochian Archdiocese has entered a period of growth and prosperity. It was his vision that received the Evangelical Orthodox and which has led to the establishment of dozens of missions. He is by far the best leader of all the Orthodox jurisdictions in this country. We have no “lavender mafia” because he will not tolerate a priest who is proven guilty of violations of the moral teachings of the Orthodox Church.

  2. Chris Plourde says


    Where can we find this offending talk? Apparently you were there, you were laughing so hard, but the rest of us were working.

    • Carl Kraeff says


    • Chris Plourde says

      Still haven’t read/heard Hopko’s offending talk, George. Where can I find it?

    • Chris Plourde says


      You wrote:

      Clearly, it was a clear swipe against His Beatitude and his traditionalist view of Orthopraxy.

      That’s quite a characterization, but where’s the evidence of it? I’m not agreeing or disagreeing, but right now the only thing in evidence to all of us is your conclusion.

      A link to the talk in any form would be appreciated.

    • Chris Plourde says

      Hate to be a broken record, so let me ask you this another way:

      How were you hearing a talk that the rest of us are unable to access? Were you at the Synod/MC meeting? Was there a simulcast or internet broadcast that we missed? Do you have a source with a wire? 😉

      Don’t bogart that link, my friend, pass it over to me.

      • George Michalpulos says

        I’ll tell you my sources when Team Jokoe tells me their’s. Fair enough?

        • Chris Plourde says

          Sources? You wrote:

          Yesterday, the venerable Thomas Hopko gave a 20 minute speech to the Holy Synod and Metropolitan Council, asking them to “not give up the dream of the OCA.” Once my side stopped hurting from all the laughter (thank you Fr Tom, laughter really is the best medicine), I felt that it needed some sober reflection on my part. Clearly, it was a clear swipe against His Beatitude and his traditionalist view of Orthopraxy.

          But that’s not your witness, is it? It’s your sources’ witness that you are repeating.

          It’s hearsay. You could not testify to the truth of what you wrote in any court, spiritual, criminal or civil. That, it seems to me, is a real problem.

    • Chris Plourde says

      So George,

      I’m stuck on the Stupid notion that if you’re going to post a conclusion about something the least you could do is tell us where to find it so we can see if your conclusion is, or is not, justified.

      Why the silence? Did you actually read or hear the talk?

      • He is probably working so hasn’t had a chance to reply. He said he’s working 55+ hours a week.

        • Chris Plourde says

          I understand hard work, but to be honest out here 55 hour workweeks are known as “off production,” that is not working very hard and having plenty of time to see family and friends and etc. Then again, “on production” days are generally 13 hours long, and increasingly workweeks are 6 or 7 days, so mere 50’s (minus lunch time, of course) feels easy.

          • George Michalpulos says

            Actually Chris, I can only use the computer when I’m at work only and if I take a lunch break (which in my world is very rare). Plus I work chaotic hours. sometimes 9-9, other times 3-9, other times 8-4. There’s no rhyme or reason to my schedule.

        • Chris Plourde says

          Actually, George just posted a response to Harry. Just now. So nope, not because he’s working so hard.

  3. Nick Katich says


    Hopko was talking, although as an apparent ex officio member of the synod you were not listening, about Jonah wanting to give up the OCA’s autocephaly or anything else of value just to get himself his precious seat on a do nothing, going nowhere, Executive Committee of the Episcopal Assembly. It was nothing more and nothing less. But again the spinmeisteropoulous spins it into something else.

    By the by, you think that Jonah as primate has real power and that the synod needs to be obedient to him and not meddle in his affairs? Anyone reading anything you wrote since Santa Fe cannot escape that conclusion. Since you offer something that Fr. Hopko wrote in 2006, I would offer something you wrote in September 2009 (which can be found under the tab on this blog entitled “Michalapolous Essays” and in the essay entitled “”Reflections on the Recent Pre-Conciliar Meeting in Chambesy”. You said:

    One of the problems vexing Orthodoxy in North America has been a basic misunderstanding of the nature of the bishop. In all too many jurisdictions in North America, this ecclesial officer has been viewed as a subordinate to a national primate and/or a foreign holy synod. This same phenomenon is replicated in other lands whose Orthodox churches are the results of immigration. Rarely, if ever have episcopal appointments in these areas followed the authentic Christian practice of election or even popular acclamation. Worse, major ecclesiastical decisions involving dioceses, bishops, and even entire eparchies have been handed down by fiat, with almost no consideration for the subjects at hand or canonical protocols for that matter. Until very recently, diocesan seats themselves have been provisional in most jurisdictions.

    Up until now, you and I have been in agreement that all bishops are equal, that the synod is the “boss”, that, in line with Apostolic Canon 34, the metropolitan can do absolutely nothing without the consent of the synod, et. al. Since Santa Fe it appears that doubts have been festering in your soul as to what you have consistently believed in about ecclesiology. Now you want to turn Canon 34 on its head and require the synod’s obedience to the metropolitan rather than require the metropolitan’s obedience to the synod.

    It is a drehery day when you allow your soul to fester to the point of self hypocricy. Leave Hopko alone and focus instead on what you have done to yourself! Bring the old George back. The Monomakhos who fights alone; not one who fights on “Team Jonah”, “Team Anti-Stokoe”, “Team Whatever”. Fight alone George — do not become a cabalist!

    P.S. I trust that we are still friends and that I am not one of the jackasses referenced in your previous post under “Housekeeping”. If I am however, I would nevertheless still be your friend and not insulted since I note that the Lord rode on the colt of one of them jackasses in His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. So, I guess they are a favored animal of the Lord and serve his Will.

    God bless you, buddy.

    • George:
      From the PS of his comment, I surmise that Nick K. would feel honored to be included with the other two notables who have been thrown off of your blogsite by popular demand.

    • A Remnant says


      While raising interesting issues, I would suggest rereading the minutes of the Synod and Metropolitan Council. Then tell me the actions of either body were conciliar and respectful. If you have practiced law as long as you have stated, you should be more than capable of seeing the whole story in what is written. Yeah, I know you don’t prejudge a situation, at least until the retainer is paid.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        I thought that the Holy Synod and the Metropolitan Council minutes reflect wisom, compassion and decisiveness. Thank God that +Jonah got a second chance, that further action will proceed deliberately, and that everybody seemed to have put the Church above their own interests.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Carl, whether cooler heads prevailed or not is immaterial. The delusional talk of Hopko shows that the MC and some of the HS are well on their way to doing something uncanonical.

    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

      Nick, the very same canon 34 says the bishops can do absolutely nothing without the consent of the primate. So it would seem that from one extreme we have swung to the other extreme, though in truth we never actually got near the extreme of the Metropolitan ordering the other bishops about.

      • Nick Katich says

        Deacon: You are correct about Canon 34. Neither the bishops nor the primate can do anything alone. That is what has troubled me about most of the second millennial history of the Church. That tension is always there and we swing from one extreme to the other. Rarely is the relationship in balance. Unfortunately, human nature is such that it will be a constant struggle.

        • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          Well, last fall in St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly, I wrote that since the 6th century we have had too much “hierarchy” and not enough “archy.” For that, I have been reviled by traditionalists as a prideful modernist. See “The Problem with Hierarchy: Ordered Relations in God and Man,” SVTQ, Vo. 54, No. 2, 2010.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        I think that Canon 34 is more estrictive on the metropolitan than a diocesan, who has a fairly wide choice of unilateral actions available to him. It is only when a diocesan contemplates doing something of importance, that is, something that would have an impact outside his diocesan boundaries, that he must check in with the metropolitan. In his capacity as a diocesan, the metropolitan enjoys the same range of unilateral actions. However, the canon is explicit in saying that the metropolitan cannot do anything as metropolitan, that is as the leader and public face/voice of the local church, without the consent of his fellow diocesans.

        • And what of a synod? Can the other bishops of a synod resolve without the consent of the primate?

          I am trying to discern whether what the Chicago meetings have decided is actually Orthodox.

          As I have always understood AC34, it means to express the relationship between conciliarity and primacy. That is, both primacy and conciliarity exist in tandem. An excess of primacy to the exclusion of conciliarity results in the RCC’s model. But, it seems to me, an excess of conciliarity to the exclusion of primacy and primatial authority is similarly not Orthodox. This has always been a balancing act – as it is intended to be. But if we make the same mistake as the Roman Catholics, but merely in reverse, is that really Orthodox, or representative of Orthodox ecclesiology, or is it simply the embrace of the other polar extreme?

          • Carl Kraeff says

            The problem here is the historical reality that primates have led and the Synod followed docilely, without correcting the primate, with the outward appearance of harmony being more important than the substance of issues. Often, the primate was more powerful than any bishop, particularly in the churches with strong ties to the state. So, one can indeed say that the OCA praxis is different than Orthodox praxes in different churches at different times. You can also say that the OCA praxis is closer to truer, purer Orthodoxy as befits an Apostolic Church. The emerging OCA praxis is certinly closwer to AC34 than what we have seen in “active” or strong primacial regimes. On a personal note, I wonder why so many folks desire a strong leader. What is the advantage of having a strong primate?

            • Brendan says

              Okay, Carl, but I don’t think that’s really an answer.

              There is a point at one pole that is not Orthodox (too much primacy, not enough conciliarity), and there is another point at the other pole which is similarly not Orthodox (too much conciliarity and not enough primacy).

              I get that how one defines “enough primacy” is the key, but I think that is a dodge. We have thousands of years of history on how primacy is exercised. I don’t think it’s that “up for grabs”, really, at least when it comes to the poles. And it appears that the OCA is now approaching one polar extreme.

              The question I need to discern for myself is whether the ecclesiology of the OCA synod is Orthodox.

              I came to the Orthodox Church 11 years ago from Catholicism (and years in the Eastern Rite of Catholicism as well) and a main motive was my conviction that the Catholics had ecclesiology wrong (and had dogmatized their ecclesiology). Orthodoxy as a whole, I remain convinced, does not have its ecclesiology wrong, but I am doubting whether the OCA synod has its own ecclesiology right, in the Orthodox sense.

              EDIT: In response to your revised post, I would say that the advantage of a strong leader, properly anchored in conciliarity yet not shackled by it, is to be a prophetic voice for the Church. Not primarily an administrator (yet he should have oversight over that, in my opinion, as well, as it pertains to the Church as a whole), but the vision leader. That is very much lost by these decisions. We will have only a gaggle of disagreeing bishops, really, under this model, with no voice, other than the Metropolitan acting as the Synod’s press secretary. It’s hardly Orthodox, in my opinion, based on historical practice, and it strikes me as the utmost extreme of hubris to think that our small, troubled OCA has the better part of the argument about how this is supposed to work, given how our institutions are clearly flailing about and failing us.

    • Nick, you presumet too much. I for one never for once believed that a primate should ever interfere in the workings of a diocese. That goes both ways however. As far as the OCA Statutes however, there is clear verbiage which allows the primate to “restore order” if necessary. I’m not sure I like that but it’s in there and I didn’t put it in there.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        I thought that Nick’s plea was an honest one, one that echoes one that I had made on another thread. Also, that particular “pastoral discretion” power was put in there in case there was an urgent need to interfere, to prevent damage or further pain. That provision does not give anyone, to include the Metropolitan, the right to disobey a decision of the Holy Synod.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Carl,unless what the HS did or ruled was uncanonical itself. If the HS told me tomorrow that I had to run down the street naked for the good of my soul, I would disobey with glee. “Asking” +Jonah to check himself into a mental institution is sovietology, not ecclesiology.

  4. he was always one of the leading lights in the OCA

    Since his famous Forgiveness Sunday letter to OCAN, I’ve stopped listening to his podcasts on Ancient Faith Radio named “Worship in Spirit and Truth” and “Speaking the Truth in Love” no less. Because of that hypocrisy I cannot put any faith in anything he is trying to teach there (or anywhere else now for that matter).

  5. John, sorry. I did not reject this. I was sent into the spam bin because of all the links. I never check the spam bin and missed it.


    That’s the news out of Chicago. It’s a legal vote of “no confidence” in his leadership.

    If you read through the resolutions written and presented by Bishop Benjamin in acute legalese to the Synod, the intention becomes obvious, and the “it is resolved” part means they agreed on it.

    It’s done.

    Resolution 1 – LOCUM TENENCY
    the Metropolitan shall appoint a locum tenens from among the other hierarchs of the Synod and not himself, so as not to burden the Primate with supervision of multiple dioceses.

    Resolution 2 – the Officers of the Church
    The Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America is distinct and separate from the chanceries of the various dioceses, including the Diocese of Washington DC…. in the Statute cited above to mean and encompass the chancery staff and membership of the various offices and departments of the OCA which function under the authority of the Holy Synod, the Metropolitan being the presiding officer of the Synod. The officers of the Orthodox Church in America are confirmed by the Synod upon recommendation of the Metropolitan Council and are dismissed from service by the Synod upon recommendation of the Primate, as their service is to all the dioceses of the Church. Thus the chancery of the Orthodox Church in America is understood to be the Synodal Chancery, the other hierarchs, including the Metropolitan, having their own diocesan chanceries.

    ‘Resolution 3 – the Permanent Lesser Synod
    Be it resolved this day, May 3, 2011… Lesser Synod be considered the executive committee of the Holy Synod and empowered to meet every second month to exercise oversight of all matters except those excluded by Article II, Section 7, c, of the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America on behalf of the entire Synod.

    The Metropolitan, as the Chairman of the Synod, shall seek and receive prior agreement of the Lesser Synod for all programs and initiatives relating to the external and internal affairs of the Church.

    Resolution 4 – the Chancellor
    Be it resolved this day, May 3, 2011, …that the Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America is the chief of operations of the Synodal Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America and is accountable to the entire Synod of the Orthodox Church in America. He manages the day to day operations of the Synodal Chancery, the other officers, departments and offices of the Church.


    It is patently obvious from Bishop Benjamin’s resolutions that the chancellor appointed by the Synod is now the actual head of the OCA, not the Primate. The chancellor has to say yes and the lesser synod has to agree about “all programs and initiatives relating to the external and internal affairs of the Church” before the Metropolitan can act on anything. They have him on the tightest leash possible.

    The Metropolitan wears the white hat now but not the pants.

    And if the diocese of the West recommendation holds water (promulgated by the same Bishop), not much of a budget either. It appears that Bishop Benjamin – with the approbation of the Synod – has neutered the office of Primate and made the person who holds that office something akin to Vice-President of the USA. An extremely high office, but one that primarily deals in formalities, not nation-building, or, as in this case, church policy-building.

    See: Scroll to the bottom.

    • Pravoslavnie says

      Unfortunately for the OCA, this is also my take on the situation after reading through the abbreviated and very sanitized minutes from the meeting. +MEL is now effectively in charge, and HB has been marginalized into a figurehead role. We have heard many rumors about who on the Holy Synod is allied against HB, but almost nothing about those who are his supporters. It doesn’t appear that HB had enough support, but I would also say the minutes fall short of a vote of no confidence. I get the impression that the Holy Synod would like to chuck HB overboard, but that they are in damage control mode to prevent a complete meltdown of OCA, and worried about the possible reaction from other jurisdictions. This meeting has done nothing to end the OCA civil war, and the next crisis point will be reached at the AAC in November.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        agreed. Just the fact that they tried to get rid of +Jonah and failed is a loss for the Stokovites.

      • Pravoslavnie says

        Although I excitedly await the posting of minutes from the MC meeting, I know that I will not find the item where both Mark Stokoe and Faith Skordinski are suspended from the council and made action items for the Ethics Committee. This is truly sad for the continuing governance and survival of the OCA, and I don’t see how the HS and MC can accept an open homosexual and a person who is no longer an OCA member in good standing as MC members. I am terribly disappointed in the leadership of OCA, and clearly see that it is compromised by ethical problems of its own.

        • Hieromonk Joshua + says

          Dear Pravoslavnie et al,

          Shame on all of you for reading this comment by Proavoslavnie and not rooting out the evil in the above accusation of homosexual activity WITH NO EVIDENCE! You people are unclean and need to Confess!

          No one here has called you onto the carpet for your sly and cunning accusation toward baptized Orthodox Christians of a particular person, name NOT clearly given, but an insuniation that it is to be associated with Mr. Stokie as being involved with homosexuality! You are an underhanded manipulative person with no truth or fairness in you! I am ashamed of you! “Do unto others what you would want others to do unto you” seems to be sacrificed at the altar of your god of malishious unproductive and unprovable gossip! God correct you in a way that will root-out your sin to the very core of your being! All Baptized Orthodox Christians should be free from such wicked inuendo and with no evidence presented to a Spiritual Court you should be banned from Holy Communion! Your mind is NOT pure or ready to receive the King of Glory until you repent to your core from this accusation which you have made in infantile malice forgetful of the time you and all of us will stand before the Lord’s Throne on the Last Day! All of you are ruled by your worldly passions and not those passions focused on truth in love!

          You have sinned and sinned grievously! I was talking to a young impressionable man as a Spiritual Father just yesterday and he said that those who have a problem with Metropolitan Johan are all homosexuals! Astoundingly painful for my pious ears and a ugly public sin you have blatantly placed here! I asked him where he came across such a thing and it is this site! I see that this is what you wanted to accomplish — the political destruction of your enemies. Alas, you in your arrogance have soiled your Baptismal garments and all of those along with you if they were clerics on Team Jonah! There is no love in people who say these things and seek to distroy others with NO evidence presented to a Spiritual Court! If you have a problem with your brother then warn him and if he does not correct himself then take it to the Bishop and the Elders and present your evidence! That is the Orthodox way! To make accusations against your brother in Christ like this is DARKNESS!

          No, all who have a problem with what anyone does in the OCA or the larger Church is a homosexual if they disagree with Team Jonah or whatever is the prevailing issue of friction in the Church? There is no dignity in working out our differences and this is a sick example of this in Proavoslavnie’s post! You so flippantly and maliciously and intentionally passed this along in such a sly and cunning way with no evidence in your most evil post! I challenge you to call these persons you accuse not to the court of public opinion but to a to Spiritual Court and present your evidence!

          Until you have the guts to take it to a Spiritual Court you need to repent, shut-up and grow-up! God correct you and all the others that are making false unprovable accusations towards our brothers and sisters Whom Christ Saviour died for and who simply happen to be in the opposition opposite to you in this Orthodox Church of Christ!

          • Heracleides says

            “Astoundingly painful for my pious ears…”

            You’ve pious ears? Says who? You? A wee bit pretentious, no?

            As for Mrs. Stokoe-Brown, the evidence has been laid out ad nauseam; take the time to educate yourself by reading previous posts both in this and past threads before spouting such utter nonsense as you’ve done above.

          • Fr. Joshua, the evidence is abundant and all points in the same direction. As for applying the biblical provision for dealing with accusations, this church is run by a scandal-mongering blogger who has half the synod in his pocket. Sometimes you can go straight to the elders; sometimes you have to first embarrass them into being able to act.

          • Any Orthodox monk should be working on controlling his passions

          • Hieromonk Joshua,

            This blog on this subject has been going on for months-have you read it all? If not you have no idea how to read some of these comments. What are you doing judging us? Not becoming of a monk . . .

          • George Michalopulos says

            Fr bless, Christ is risen!

            First of all, you accuse me and the others on this blog without having the faintest information what we are talking about. If you would be willing to forward me your address, I will print out all my research on this subject and you could peruse it for yourself. Then if you still think that I’m in the wrong, you can call me directly and discuss it with me.

            in Christ,

            Geo, the sinner

          • Pravoslavnie says

            Fr. Joshua,

            As an admitted sinner myself, may God have mercy on my soul, but I stand by my earlier comments. There is ample circumstantial evidence on the matter, and Mark Stokoe’s silence on the subject speaks volumes. Unfortunately where there is smoke, there is usually fire. Aside from this, the root of the Stokoe problem has been explained for several months. We have a sitting member of the Metropolitan Council who is using a private blog, posing as a news site, to undermine the Metropolitan’s authority, and to engage in character assassination against those who support +JONAH, and by extension his leadership and vision for the future of the OCA. This is a fact, not conjecture. The homosexual question inflames the issue because it appears to reveal a motive for his recent conduct. If Stokoe were to simply announce that he is not homosexual, I would give him the benefit of the doubt. If he were to state that his business partner is simply a housemate, I could accept that explanation, but the weight of evidence appears to be against a simple explanation. I agree that it should be up to a spiritual court to deal with him, but despite the smell of smoke it appears that no one in a position to do so has the willingness to pull the fire alarm. This I find most curious. Why has the usually verbose Stokoe not settled the question on his blog?

            I don’t have a problem with homosexuals in the church in the hope that they come to repent their sins and seek redemption as with any of us. As repentent sinners they have my full acceptance and support. I don’t condemn homosexuals, or any sinner, as persons. I only condemn their sins. However, I do have a problem with practicing homosexuals in positions of administrative, legislative, and clerical authority in the church, most particularly when one sets up a bully pulpit to undermine the traditions, and hierarchy of the church. Despite the abuse hurled at +JONAH, nobody, not even Stokoe, has made a clear case against the Metropolitan. Someone please tell me what the man has done so wrong to warrant the treatment he has received since February? What we have been witnessing is an attempt to force him out because of a small group with ulterior motives.

            Last week’s meetings prove to me that Stokoe is supported and/or feared by a majority of the members of the HS and MC, and this leaves him free to influence OCA policy as a kind of parallel governance. He is allowed to continue to play OCA kingmaker without any restraint, and for some reason the MC and HS refuse to put a muzzle on him. To me, this implies that a lavender mafia exists or at least a group of lavender sympathizers high in the governance of the OCA who also maintain reformist agendas that will blunt Orthodoxy and turn the OCA into a shambles similar to what happened in the ECUSA. This position is cemented by Mark Stokoe himself who has openly boasted on his blog that he has the goods on certain people, and they won’t dare cut him loose for fear of what he may do once outside. I hear skeletons rattling in closets from San Francisco to Syosset.

            Aside from the Stokoe issues, there is still the matter of MC member Dr. Faith Skordinski who to my knowledge has not been seen in her parish of St. Mark Church for nearly three years, or any OCA parish for that matter. I would only wish that Dr. Skordinski explain her long absence, whether the rumor that she has been seen at a nearby Protestant bible church is true, or if she is now affiliated with another OCA parish where she continues to receive the Holy Mysteries. These are very simple questions that she needs to address, and which could be clarified with very simple answers that will settle the issue of her continued presence on the MC once and for all. In the meantime I remain mystified as to how these two people retain their seats in light of apparent conflicts of interest and ethical violations.

            • Stephen says

              Blessings and peace to all OCA members and friends!

              What Met. Jonah is doing, essentially, is misrepresenting the ecclesiology and future of the OCA. Most of his remarks are controversial for this reason. It is not up to Met. Jonah alone to define and decide the nature of the OCA’s autocephaly. This is an historic development that is owned by the entire church. In particular it is the HS and the AAC who need to be consulted by Met. Jonah to develop a consensus view which Met. Jonah is then required to represent to the other jurisdictions.

              @Provoslavnie: I do believe I see your own paranoia and desire to cast aspersions upon the ‘opposition’ when you refer to a ‘lavender mafia.’ Evidence?

              If there is anyone who is leading the OCA down the path of protestantism it is Met. Jonah and many of the members of the diocese of the South. His agenda so well mimics that of the Christian right, he could soon have become their spokesperson. He needs to be more circumspect and less obnoxious in his approach to ‘his’ agenda. His agenda needs the support of the HS. Hopefully he has gotten the message.

              • George Michalpulos says

                Stephen, these are assertions you are stating, not facts.

              • From Wikipedia: Lavender Mafia has also been used to refer to a faction within the leadership and clergy of the Catholic Church that allegedly protects and advocates for the acceptance of homosexuality within the Church and its culture.[6]

                Wow. Sadly, it fits. It’ is true that homosexual leaders in the Orthodox Church have been protected (the proof is in the pudding), have been advocated for (look at the comments section on OCAN), and that there is an acceptance of homosexuality in the OCA, or our gay leaders wouldn’t have been doing it and getting away with it for so long. You want evidence? Just look.

              • Dear Steven,
                I think you are more worried about appearances (appearing to look like a right-winger) than worrying about what the Orthodox actually believe. You should not get hung up about “looking like them” and be free to accert what it is you are and believe without comparisons.

                Furthermore, the claim you have that Met +Jonah is bartering with the OCA’s autocephaly is unsubstantiated and frankly sounds like your own paranoia.

            • This is well written, Thank you!

            • Hieromonk Joshua + says

              I see that I have landed smack-dab in the center of a brood of vipers!

              If this were a civil court of law all of what you have presented as so-called “evidence” would be thrown out of court for being ignorant, arrogant, infantile and of no substance! I could care less what your so-called self-manufactured “evidence” is! You accuse a child of God of abomination so you can kill him politically! Herod would be proud of you because you are of his linage. What “pay-off” are you all getting from this garbage on this web site? You have no facts, whatsoever! You do no Church Court but you come to the Internet to sequel your baseless accusations as an act of politics and not of fact or reality! You are cowards! You have no evidence and in accusing your brother of abomination you manifest your spiritual leprosy and uncleanness all the more!

              This is a clique of darkness! You are working to pollute the insecure gossip-mongering people who come here with your factionalism, misrepresentation and sins against charity — and not a word here is about the truth and not a word is about actual evidence that is based on fact coming from real witnesses. I do not have the habit of consorting with vomit and wallowing in it! I will NOT subject myself to your so-called “accusations” and your public manifestations of your uncleanness as you are continuously unable to produce any evidence of fact against my brother Whom Christ died for.

              If you had fact you would do a Spiritual Court! Put-up or shut-up! You think you have something a Spiritual Court wants to listen to? Then go for it! I call your bluff! I will not come here again for I do not like wallowing in vomit at all . . . and what comes out of your mouths is evil vomit of the worst order.

              The fact of the matter is that it takes a fool of this world to confound the wise and I am God’s fool to even bother with you! However, I spoke the truth to you and called you to repentance out of love, if the truth be known, and for the sake of the young impressionable man I mentioned before whom you polluted with this trash you call a web site. So, you are under JUDGMENT if you do not repent, reform and beg forgiveness for this slander cast upon a son of God.

              If you do not repent you will be lost. Trivialize the gravity of what you have done and you will suffer all the more under God’s correcting hand – you think you are unlike the rest of us sinners but you are actually obstinate in your pride and arrogance. The choice is yours. God is good and you need to repent! I pray your life is a perpetual Great Lent from this point onward with the hope that you reform.


              • I’m sitting here in my own skin, with my own mind and soul in clarity of mind and joy and love. What I have been through would turn your hair white. What I am in the middle of is more songbirds at my feeders than I know what to do with. You are not even real. I know who I am and what is true and what isn’t. You have said nothing because your voice has no substance, it’s drowned out by clanging bells and sounding cymbals. I can add, however a big grrrr… and… you need to take a vacation or something and calm down.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Hieromonk, do you feel this strongly about the way HB has been treated? And unjustly? (And btw, what’s so wrong about being gay anyway?)

              • This post is a “clique of darkness”? What light are you bringing? If it’s so bad, why’d you come back? And furthermore, can we do a Spiritual Court? How does one go about that . . . by the way . . .

                ps. I don’t believe you love us.

              • Heracleides says

                I pity the poor fool who has you as a “spiritual father”. The man must be pickled by now – what with being immersed in your spewed ‘spiritual’ vinegar (although I’m sure you attempt to pass it off as wisdom).

                • If this Hieromonk Joshua is who I think he is, I wonder whose jurisdiction he’s under now.

                  • This “Hieromonk Joshua” seems to be in Guyana.

                    • I don’t know if it is the same Hieromonk Joshua, and I apologize if I am making an erroneous association, but there is one with that name who seems to be active in southern New Mexico with a Facebook page that says he lives in Georgetown, Guyana (but is from New Bern North Carolina). That Facebook page does not identify specifically which Orthodox Church and/or monastic brotherhood he belonges to although ROCOR (along with Gardening) is mentioned under “Activities and Interests.”

                    • Oh. Last I heard he was under the Bulgarians, on loan to the Antiochians.

              • Father, please try to calm down. It is not slander or character assassination to draw logical conclusions from publicly-available evidence. It is not judgmental to call the authorities to account for ignoring or neglecting their primatial responsibilities. And yes, I think we would all like to see this resolved in a spiritual court, not for our satisfaction but for the health and salvation of the people accused.

                The problem is that there are some political hurdles to clear before a spiritual court is even possible. The OCA is supposed to be a hierarchical church, and at the top of that hierarchy right now is a guy from Ohio, not because he was ever duly elected to the episcopate, but because he has a blog. Because people are afraid of what can be published on the blog, this person has not been subject to the typical consequences for his own actions or the allegations about his personal life. And because many people unwisely trust his blog as a news source instead of an editorial written by a member of the establishment, he can wield a measure of control over public perception and opinion.

                This situation should never have been allowed to develop. We cannot heal until we root out this cancer that has deepened and worsened over the years. The cancer is not Stokoe or OCANews, but the culture of complacency and failed discernment that characterizes the OCA today.

                • Right on, Helga! I wish we could plaster this comment (carefully, so as not to hurt the icon) in a big swatch so everyone would have to read it, right across Christ’s Gospel Book on the Pantocrator icon on the ceiling of every Orthodox Church in the United States. I believe He would agree, as I think about that arched eyebrow of His that says, “Don’t mess with Me.”

                  Don’t get mad at me for that one, okay, people who have it all together?

          • Dear Fr. Joshua,

            Thank you for your words. I have been deeply saddened and appalled to read the unchristian attacks written and published on this blog, be it on a layperson, on a priest, including the outrageous attacks on Fr. Tom Hopko, whom I know and respect, or on a hierarch. I think that these words of yours, Fr. Joshua, go to the core of the problem: “There is no love in people who say these things and seek to distroy others with NO evidence presented to a Spiritual Court! If you have a problem with your brother then warn him and if he does not correct himself then take it to the Bishop and the Elders and present your evidence! That is the Orthodox way! To make accusations against your brother in Christ like this is DARKNESS!”

            Christ is Risen!


          • Hieromonk Joshua + says

            “He who busies himself with the sins of others, or judges his brother on suspicion, has not yet even begun to repent or to examine himself so as to discover his own sins…” St. Maximos the Confessor (Third Century on Love no. 55).

        • Pravoslavnie, I agree. The evidence has shown that what you say is, as far as we can know it, true. If there is the slightest chance that it’s not true, then let someone say so. No one has said so. As for me, it’s tiresome beyond words to keep having to read it over and over (personally, I couldn’t care less what people do in their private lives). YAWN. Tell you what, let’s all sit back in our comfy zones and ignore it, shall we? Yes, I believe that is what the Scriptures tell us to do. Take is all in stride…. let it be…. don’t cause waves, don’t hurt anybody’s feelings. Just like St John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Apostles and all the Saints did as they tiptoed along the edges of scandal, walking on eggshells around the hypocritical religious leaders so as not to disturb the status quo. And look at the nice long lives they lived!

      • Carl Kraeff says

        I am surprised that as a member of ROCOR you feel free to insult a hierarch of another jurisdiction by using a nickname (+MEL) for his Christian name. BTW, why are you writing as if you are still a member of the OCA? I was under the impression that you left for greener pastures a few years ago.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Carl, if he did, thousands of others will soon join him. Also, your highmindedness regarding Pravoslavnie’s sarcasm would have some merit if you yourself had never displayed the same sarcasm towards HB. Sauce. Goose. Gander.

        • Pravoslavnie says

          You can stand down, Carl. I was simply abbreviating. No offense to His Grace was intended. As to your question, we left our OCA parish quite reluctantly, but I still maintain a hope and interest that a true “OCA” will happen someday and overcome the tragedy of Christian disunity on this continent, at least among the Orthodox. I just don’t think this OCA has a bright future under its current administration and in the direction it appears to be heading. As for our journey out of OCA, I was under the impression I was a member of a conservative and hierarchical American church, but we suddenly found ourselves in a Eastern-rite ECUSA. We have found much more spiritual fulfilment in our present situation than we did in our old parish. Whatever Fr. Thom Hopko’s issues are with Metropolitan +JONAH, one issue he raised in his famous 2006 essay resonates strongly with me.

          the virtual reduction of supra-parochial church life to liturgical services, ecclesiastical celebrations and social events

          Another blog run by a GOA priest down in the southwest correctly pointed out that too many Orthodox parishes of all jurisdictions are little more than ethnic clubs, restaurants, or folk dancing societies where a liturgy ocassionally breaks out.. I strongly believe that +JONAH has the right vision to transform OCA into an American Orthodox church that will attract and unify new members from inside and outside Orthodoxy who want to live according to traditional Christian principles and hear the teachings from the Holy Gospels. I hope and pray that will happen some day.

          • jacksson says

            “I strongly believe that +JONAH has the right vision to transform OCA into an American Orthodox church that will attract and unify new members from inside and outside Orthodoxy who want to live according to traditional Christian principles and hear the teachings from the Holy Gospels. I hope and pray that will happen some day.”

            That is exactly what Metropolitan Jonah wanted to do, bring about a transformation that would attract others who are looking for the ‘real’ church to arise. The hopes that I had in the primacy of Metropolitan Jonah are put on hold until the Lord moves in His inscrutable way and removes the obstacles. The tares are currently obscuring the wheat, but they cannot be pulled lest the wheat be uprooted; but, they will be dealt with. But, from what I read and hear about the recent Synod, there appears to be little if any fear of God among the hierarchs or the achichincles (Aztec word for ‘lesser lords’) .

          • nicole troon says

            Would you mind sharing the name of the GOA priest’s southwest blog? Thank you, Nicole in the southwest

    • I think #1 is quite reasonable whether one wants a powerful metropolitan or a weak metropolitan. A powerful metropolitan shouldn’t need to worry about all the administrative episcopal needs of 4 dioceses while meeting with the Patriarch of Moscow. That just leads to neglect. Let some other bishop bother with that nonsense.

      I definitely don’t think this means the Chancellor is the head of the OCA – that is an interesting reading.

  6. The Metropolitan has been reduced to a figurehead. That’s the news out of Chicago. It’s a legal vote of “no confidence” in his leadership.

    If you read through the resolutions written and presented by Bishop Benjamin in acute legalese to the Synod, the intention becomes obvious, and the “it is resolved” part means they agreed on it.

    It’s done.

    Resolution 1 – Locum Tenency
    “…the Metropolitan shall appoint a locum tenens from among the other hierarchs of the Synod and not himself, so as not to burden the Primate with supervision of multiple dioceses.

    Resolution 2 – the Officers of the Church
    The Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America is distinct and separate from the chanceries of the various dioceses, including the Diocese of Washington DC…. in the Statute cited above to mean and encompass the chancery staff and membership of the various offices and departments of the OCA which function under the authority of the Holy Synod, the Metropolitan being the presiding officer of the Synod. The officers of the Orthodox Church in America are confirmed by the Synod upon recommendation of the Metropolitan Council and are dismissed from service by the Synod upon recommendation of the Primate, as their service is to all the dioceses of the Church. Thus the chancery of the Orthodox Church in America is understood to be the Synodal Chancery, the other hierarchs, including the Metropolitan, having their own diocesan chanceries.

    ‘Resolution 3 – the Permanent Lesser Synod
    Be it resolved this day, May 3, 2011… Lesser Synod be considered the executive committee of the Holy Synod and empowered to meet every second month to exercise oversight of all matters except those excluded by Article II, Section 7, c, of the Statute of the Orthodox Church in America on behalf of the entire Synod.

    The Metropolitan, as the Chairman of the Synod, shall seek and receive prior agreement of the Lesser Synod for all programs and initiatives relating to the external and internal affairs of the Church.

    Resolution 4 – the Chancellor
    Be it resolved this day, May 3, 2011, …that the Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America is the chief of operations of the Synodal Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America and is accountable to the entire Synod of the Orthodox Church in America. He manages the day to day operations of the Synodal Chancery, the other officers, departments and offices of the Church.

    It is patently obvious from Bishop Benjamin’s resolutions that the chancellor appointed by the Synod is now the actual head of the OCA, not the Primate. The chancellor has to say yes and the lesser synod has to agree about “all programs and initiatives relating to the external and internal affairs of the Church ” before the Metropolitan can act on anything. They have him on the tightest leash possible.

    The Metropolitan still wears the white hat as before, but not the pants anymore.

    And if the Diocese of the West recommendation holds water (promulgated by the same Bishop), not much of a budget either. It appears that Bishop Benjamin – with the approbation of the Synod – has neutered the office of Primate and made the person who holds that office something akin to Vice-President of the USA. An extremely high office, but one that primarily deals in formalities and going along with the gang, not nation-building, or, as in this case, church policy-building.

    See: Scroll to the bottom.

  7. Here are some other excerpts from the OCA website:

    ” Following the Human Resources Committee report, the Metropolitan Council resolved to recommend that Archpriest Alexander Garklavs remain as consultant to the Interim Chancellor for his institutional knowledge and continuity of the work of the Chancery; that his compensation and benefits continue until he receives another appropriate appointment; and that his severance package of four months’ salary be deferred compensation.

    ” Father Alexander Garklavs addressed the Council, offering words of gratitude. A motion was made to acknowledge with profound gratitude Father Alexander’s service as Chancellor, which was accompanied by a standing ovation.

    ” Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky, Director of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations, reported on the external relations of the Orthodox Church in America. The report included an account of the relations, contacts, and correspondence with Orthodox Churches after the Holy Synod retreat at the end of February 2011 and the announcement of the leave of absence of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah.

    “After a long and intense discussion, the Metropolitan Council resolved to recommend strongly the cessation of any activity of Priest Gregory Jensen in matters pertaining to sexual misconduct, and that any candidates to fill a position in the Office for Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations must be vetted by the SMPAC. The MC also resolved to commend the SMPAC for its extraordinary work.

    “In his report, Bishop Melchisedek, Interim Chancellor, spoke of the work that was done during his two months, including specific issues dealing with the leave of absence of Metrpolitan Jonah. He informed the Metropolitan Council that he will continue as Interim Chancellor until the 16th All-American Council. He also outlined major concerns going forward.”


    These excerpts illustrate the repudiation of the Metropolitan in his role as a national leader and trend-setter. If there is work for him in the future, it will not be as an activist Metropolitan over the OCA, but as a regional bishop in DC overseeing a cathedral, 6 churches and 4 missions. Navigating the political waters of the OCA was not his forte. And the intention of those first mentioned in Bishop Tikhon’s email in late February has come to pass. It’s been a clean sweep. He is Metropolitan in name only now.

    • Isn’t the Synod stepping into the area of decision making of the AAC with some of these?

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      John, there are no “figureheads” in the episcopate, neither as a matter of statute nor operation. A bishop can only relegate himself to figurehead status should he decide to act in a dilatory matter.

      This matter is far from over. If I were the Stokovites, I’d put away the champagne.

  8. This is the worst-case scenario any of us could have conceived prior to Chicago.

    The Metropolitan is now an empty suit. The victory of his enemies has been total. I don’t see any way around that conclusion.

    Melchizidek still runs the chancery, as does, in effect, Garklavs, the man who, if the Metropolitan is correct, conspired to write the SMPAC report in such a way as to put the Met in the worst possible light. I thought there were e-mails documenting this. Did the Met not present them to the MC and/or the Synod?

    You might say, “Well, at least Jonah remains Metropolitan. At least they didn’t kick him out.” It would have been better had they moved to kick him out, because then that would have probably been uncanonical, and we would have had intervention from the Russians. They were smarter than that. They’re going to leave him as Metropolitan, so as to stay on the right side of the canonical line, but make his life such hell that he resigns by the AAC. And then we will have Metropolitan Melchizidek.

    There was a battle for the future of the OCA, and the good guys lost. Even men as good as Father Tom Hopko cared more about the OCA’s precious autocephaly than they did about anything else. Now he’s got what he wanted. And the OCA will die. What will the people and the parishes of the Diocese of the South do? How will they be able to stand this? What happened is not just a case of one side winning and the other side losing, and that’s just how it goes. Real and deep spiritual damage and injustice took place. It’s intolerable. My diocese is hopeless, and has been for years, but I looked to the South for hope and for leadership. And now it’s been conquered. Bishop Mark is busy “burning Atlanta” (destroying the Dallas cathedral parish), and +Nikon will oversee Reconstruction.

    I see the exit doors, and I’m going through them. I can’t have anything to do with a church run like this, by men like this. I never thought Jonah was perfect, but he was good. I have never been anything but OCA. I will have to learn how to pray in Greek or Arabic now.

    • Antionymous says

      Come to Antioch. We pray largely in English, even in the most ethnic parishes…

    • Fight against them. Write about this whole affair, keep notes. If it’s in writing, if it’s there for people to pick it up again and again, and if we have watch dogs in various parishes to keep account of people we now know need watching, we can bring them down. One by one. What ever is in writing will be remembered. Now the fight begins.

    • Prospective Nomad says

      Dear Esse,

      If your conscience tells you that you must now learn to pray in a foreign language in order to hold fast to the Truth, might I suggest that you consider Slavonic/Russian, as I may have to do (if there’s an MP or ROCOR parish anywhere near you)? I say this as someone whose background is exclusively Byzantine. If you come to Constantinople or Antioch, I’m afraid you will go through this vale of tears again before too long.

    • Pravoslavnie says

      see the exit doors, and I’m going through them. I can’t have anything to do with a church run like this, by men like this. I never thought Jonah was perfect, but he was good. I have never been anything but OCA. I will have to learn how to pray in Greek or Arabic now.

      After much soul searching, our family used those exit doors during the llast scandal a few years ago. While any church has its problems, we are very happy with our new ROCOR parish. Neither +KYRILL nor +HILARION tolerate any lavender influences.

      • Just a thought for (and certainly not a judgment upon) Esse and other like-minded commentators.

        What would you have done given a similar circumstance – of which there were many – if you lived in the first thousand years of the Church? What would you do if the Orthodox Church in the United States actually had canonical order and there were no other non-heretical or non-pagan options? Somehow, the faithful of that first thousand years found a way to be faithful in the midst of widespread corruption and heresy. How did they do it?

        These, I firmly believe, are questions worth a careful pondering and even serious study; for no matter where we choose to escape for the moment, large-scale apostasy is only a matter of time, as the Scriptures and numerous prophets of the last hundred years from within the Orthodox Church clearly indicate.

        • I would have to remain Orthodox, Brian. I will stay Orthodox in this circumstance, and I pray in every circumstance. I have other options in my area, and I will take them. For me, it’s not only that I am completely disgusted by the hierarchs of this Church, and can’t support them with my prayers or my tithe in good conscience. It is also that I now know I cannot trust my priest. Not that he is a bad man! It’s that I know that anything I write to him might be stolen by an enemy he makes within the Church, and put on Mark Stokoe’s blog — and that would be okay with the Synod. I could decide never to write anything to him, and to only talk to him with my concerns. But when you’re at the point where you are afraid to write to your priest, for your own protection and his, there is no point to staying in such a corrupt Church. Maybe I’m wrong and will think differently after Liturgy tomorrow.

          Despite all of this, I would stay in the OCA if there was no other choice. There are other choices.

          Even though I hate what happened in Chicago, I would not feel so strongly about leaving the OCA if it hadn’t been for the theft of Fester’s e-mails and the Synod throwing Fester out because of them. When not even the law protects private e-mails in the OCA, nobody is safe.

          I hope they find out how those e-mails were accessed and who leaked them to Stokoe. I believe all roads will lead back to the Diocese of the South and the chancery office.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Father Fester brought this on himself, as he himself acknowledged in his infamous letter of March 3rd. I do not know why the Holy Synod disciplined him and I don’t believe that anything has been published to date that would give us with an answer. However, I think that in that letter, he clearly slandered the bishops of the Holy Synod and he interfered in the affairs of another diocese. Here are two strikes already; did the Synod need another?

            • Mark from the DOS says


              Are you saying the ends justify the means? That because the e-mails were shocking and showed at a minimum extremely poor judgment, that the means of their acquisition is not an issue? I would hope we could agree that BOTH the content of the e-mails and how they were acquired should be of concern to us.

              • Harry Coin says

                Look across the history of the revealing of embarrassing true stuff.

                A fair few care more about how the leak happened, others about the content. Take ‘wikileaks’ for example, the press had a field day and there is no doubt many honest people working for the good our country is trying to do were put at personal risk.

                On the other hand, years ago there were ‘the pentagon papers’, where the public on balance wanted to know more and folk didn’t care who the leaker was.

                It’s a subject that calls for careful thought, the ethics involved have depth. The face value ‘ethics’ of the situation often has more in common with the hopes of those involved.

                • George Michalpulos says

                  Harry, except for the fact that when the Wikileaks thing happened, it very much endangered real soldiers’ and Marines’ lives in Afghanistan. Oh, and the guy who leaked the information, PFC Bradford Manning, is now living in solitary confinement on bread and water while he waits his court-martial. In the Army the punishment for treason (“transparency?”) is hanging.

                  • Harry Coin says

                    George, indeed so, which is why I wrote above ‘there is no doubt many honest people working for the good our country is trying to do were put at personal risk.’

                    Public opinion certainly on balance came out against the Wikileaks publisher. Yet, yet, the press didn’t restrain themselves and combed through everything leaked and gave the public quite the amazing education as to how things really are. I think on balance it did much to inform the electorate and generated support for the effort, in quite an unexpected way.

                    What the press didn’t mention much is the whole gay lover dimension and ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ as being a motivator for the leaker (according to reports).

                    Anyhow, you should check it for yourself but I’m fairly sure the Roman Catholic/Vatican model burned into US law as to what ‘hierarchical’ means essentially puts inside-baseball church misdoing outside the activity of the courts. It ought not apply to the Orthodox, but the judges appear disinclined to roll up the sleeves to accomodate a federalist style church as an in-between place from Congregational and Vatican Catholic hierarchical.

              • George Michalpulos says

                Carl, maybe we should play with the new, improved Stokoe Rules. Since you and Harry seem to think that as long as the information gets out, I suggest that we start bugging the Holy(?) Synod meetings from now on. You know, Sauce. Goose. Gander and all. Maybe while we’re at it we can hack into Irongate’s servers and find out if they have any dirt on any of the bishops. That would be a good thing, wouldn’t it?

                • Chris Plourde says

                  I suggest that we start bugging the Holy(?) Synod meetings from now on.

                  Is that how you heard Hopko’s talk? 😉

              • Carl Kraeff says

                Nope. I meant only what I wrote. We have proof of actionable offenses in Father Fester’s email that he sent to the DOS clergy after he had left DOS. As far as I know, this letter was first aired by OCAT, a group with close ties to father Fester. So, in the case of this one letter, I do not think that anybody can claim that it was obtained by illegal or immoral means. Apples to oranges; I have not made up my mind yet on the legality/morality of the publication of the Solodow, Stoke, Skordinki, Fester and Feser/Mark correspondence. I will grant you that they have a strong odor about them.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  “Proof” that was illegally obtained. Ever hear about the old “when the constable errs” rule?

            • Harry Coin says

              Some of the frustration folk feel I think has something to do with Mark Stokoe’s decreasing ‘transparency and accountability’ in his reporting owing to his position of authority being on the ‘inside’. For example, when he was not on the Metropolitan Council, a few years ago had he learned from someone who knew why Fr. Jensen’s work was ‘defunded’ , he would have reported it in due course like the rest.

              But now that he knows himself because he was there and participated in the decision in full detail: look how he handled it. We see the natural progression of a person who is migrating from reporting about events to participating in decisions himself.

              Suddenly the transparency and detail in reporting takes a bit of a hit, indeed ocanews has moved a tiny step closer to as it were. Now this is for perfectly understandable reasons as explaining ‘the why’ in public articles of one’s own decisions, and the others in a group taking them creates tensions among the group. So what do we see now? He reports that– ‘this outcome happened.’ But why? He knows but leaves us to guess. But just as naturally he reports his sense of the atmosphere there (note the remarks of the lackluster close re: Met. Jonah), the sense of which is in accord with the outcome he supported in his own voting.

              A step toward the bad old days of press releases reporting that people flew, met and took many decisions some very few of which might be mentioned, after participating in services and festivities.

              I’m not really complaining here about him understand, I don’t pay him to write and he’s done a lot of good writing in the past.

              I mention this as I think there is a certain habit of hiding that encroaches upon those in church decision making, and we see it’s a powerful force happening even to those who perfectly well, none better, saw the problems that sort of thing led to in the past.

              To the OCA’s credit I think is a remarkable job of posting on its own more details about decisions and choices than in any other Orthodox church I’ve known in the past. Yes it’s sanitized and so forth, but compare it to the others– it’s a blaze of light by comparison.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Well, if if you see nothing wrong with ECUSA then you’ll love what will happen to the OCA if it is being influenced by sodomites, secularists, modernists, globalists, etc.

      • OLd Testiment?-Try the New one and the Fathers and Councils and all the recorded penances we have throughout our 2000 year history. And by the way-it is any sex outside marriage that is not Orthodox not just homosexual sex. Please learn the Tradition you call yourself.

        • George Michalopulos says

          You are right. All have sinned and fallen short of the grace of God. That’s not arguable. No one sinner is better than any other sinner. The point however is the nature of some sins is more corrosive per se, especially if its practicioners are placed in positions of authority. Do you want a lunatic as president, with his finger on the nuclear button? Do you want your surgeon to be an alcoholic having the dry heaves? Do you want your lawyer to be a letcher angling for ways to put you in prison so he can have a go at your wife?

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          Yeah, but only the Homosexuals have an active agenda through the various LGBT organizations in our country and world. Also, the Russian Orthodox Church is currently ready to outlaw Homosexuality in Russia and not just same-sex unions.

          The law also has the unconditional support of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Patriarch of Moscow himself. That is OUR Orthodox tradition.

          So I agree with you in theory, but not in practice.


          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            all my life. My father’s side of the family has been Orthodox for over 300 years tracing our roots to Trebizod in Asia Minor. My mother’s side of the family has been Orthodox for longer than that according to Baptismal records and oral family history.

            In this modern age that is Pro-Gay rights you are damn right I am marking a line in the sand. Did you hear the President’s inaugural speech? It sent chills down my spine as it was the most pro-gay and anti-Christian speech I ever heard. President Obama and the secular atheist Left TODAY just declared war on us. My dear lady, for the sake of you family and OUR church that you claim to part of you better wake up and wake up fast because its not Guns necessary that the Left wants ITS OUR CHURCH! attending church services does not amount to a hill of beans if our beliefs are not rock solid.

            Wake up!


            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              I am not offended nor am I in a fury. What I do worry about it incremental compromises and having “compassion” used against us. Give a little here give a little there and the next thing you know there is nothing left to give. I unfortunately make it my career in knowing when I am being lied too and being used and abused.

              Here in Chicago Cardinal Francis George, who is not a man given to extremist or exaggeration stated given the present moral climate we are in that he will die in his bed but that his successor with die in prison and his successor will die in the public square.

              I cannot begin to tell you how much of a scary and prophetic statement that is coming from a man of even temperament and reasonableness. The cardinal spoke the truth. Take this with the current inaugural speech given by our president and I am scared for our future in this country as Christians.

              So yes, I do draw a line in the sand even to the point of being rude because I do not want my children and fellow Christians to die in prison or in the public square. Compassion I s a wonderful thing and a main Christian virtue, but we cannot allow our compassion to be used against us.

              So whe you write that I an others “humiliate” gays or that mobs are waiting to attack Mark Stoke and other Gays that tells me that you do need to wake up because it not us attacking the Cheryl it’s the other way around. I am a deeply reasonably and caring person, but I am not stupid. We have been commanded by Christ to be as gentle as doves, but cunning as vipers.
              I attempt, as always, to strike a proper balance between both. Having compassion on the sinner, for I am one, but never to be seduced into accepting their iniquity.

              I wish you all the best and also thank you and your husband for you service and sacrifice to our country.


            • Maybe the way you write does not reflect what you actually mean . . . .?

              But also you need to be able to debate without taking things personally.

        • You know the Tradition you call yourself and yet you are unaware what our Tradition says about this particular sin. You think it is only in the OT-the OT that Christ Himself refered to as well as St. Paul-and all the apostles. Why? Because there was no NT yet. . . . But St> Paul’s letters make up the NT. Try reading straight through I Corinthians and Romans.
          Homosexuality is listed with the worst of sins. But it was also seen as an action and not an identity as we see it today. So I do think we need to treat people struggling with this kindly, but try to use the precepts of the church to deal with it and not the worlds misguided, ever changing ideas which in the end leave a person broken.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        Its posts like this that confirm George’s arguments and justify the existence of not only this Blog, but the very necessity for all the great Orthodox Monasteries we have and continue to have in America. Saunca I hope God opens your eyes to the great evil and destruction of Homosexuality and that we do need to fight it outside and inside the Church.


      • George Michalopulos says

        Madame, you sound very much like a “pearl of great price” and your husband is certainly to be envied. May I ask that you kindly suspend use of the term “homophobia”? It is a neologism that really means nothing (except literally, “fear of the same”).

        May I ask, how does your husband (active military) feel about the lifting of the military ban on homosexuals serving in the Armed Forces?

        • Artakhshassa the Great says

          George, George. You can’t control linguistic evolution. Your quixotic refusal to accept the American usage of the words “homophobe”, homophobia, ” and ‘homophobic” is such a quixotic refusal. Further, your “diagnosis” of the word is faulty Americans having been using “Homo” and “F’ing Homo” for decades and decades as labels for a homosexual man. Homophobia, George, as you very well know means fear of Homos. This reminds me of how Middlewestern spinster “grammar” teaches used to try and make people believe that shall and will “mean” the same thing, but that shall is to be used with the first person and will with the rest and if you reversed that this made them ’emphatic.” You can’t define words by their origins or “original meaning” alone.
          Know what a “bimbo” “originally” was? A kind of teen-age or younger boy flunkey who followed coal miners and helped police up coal that fell off the rail carts transporting it to the surface.
          But it someone says that Ann Coulter is an hysterical bimbo, no one gets all censorial and explains what bimbos “really” are!
          It’s very nice of Saunca to agree not to use the word “homophobia’ to please you, the honcho of Monomakhos, but no one has to accept the reasons for your objections. You just don’t want anyone to call you someone who fears homos.
          So much inanition.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Saunca, no one can tell you what to do. Those that are leaving are leaving because of real reasons and it is not just the issue of homosexuality although it is intertwined. Leadership that is ineffective, malcious, morally compromised and less than steadfast when it comes to continuing in the Holy Tradition are the reasons I hear. The first three failings are quite caustic in any organization or community, that last one is deadly for peoples souls.

        Those that are staying obviously do not believe the reasons are sufficient or do not believe the reasons exist.

        Fast and pray for discernment. Leaving is a difficult decision to make, and it should be. Leaving the Church altogether a catastrohic choice. Read the book of Romans, especially Chapter 1. Those who actively engage in homosexual behavior are quilty of greivous sins as are any who support such behavior in the Church as normal and equivalent to marriage in any manner of form. Not only does it corrode the teaching of the Church, it puts blocks in the way of all who are struggling with the temptation of same-sex attraction. It even makes it more difficult for everyone to follow the rest of the Church’s teaching on chastity, the holiness of marriage and fruit that marriage alone can offer (children and the incredibly synergy that results from the sacramental joining of a man and a woman in a marriage in the Church).

        Tolerance of sin in ourselves, or any where else is not a Christian virtue. Compassion for those who struggle with besetting sins, sexual or not, is a Christian virture. Do not confuse the two.

        Finnlly, if the choice is for you to stay with your parish or not continue in the Church, there is really no choice.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Esse, perhaps the best thing would be for the OCA to double down on mediocrity. Not only has it been relegated to laughingstock status but its existence outside the South will lead the rest of it over the cliff. As for the DoS, I wouldn’t worry too much (yet) about it. Mark has hopelessly compromised himself with the priests and deans there. Not a won will go to him for spiritual counsel, knowing that he’s the direct pipeline to MSNBC. That places him in an untenable position.

      Too bad MS didn’t foresee this when he used him to try and burn Fester. Oh well, this is Stokoe’s playbook: use people to destroy good people, and when the used people get burned, throw them under teh bus.

      Too bad for Bishop Mark. I though he was a standup guy.

    • I so agree. I will be learning to pray in Greek or Arabic…….and join team due process……………………
      but I also think I will investigate the possibility of joining the DC Cathedral by internet and tithing to them. Anyone else want to join me.? Maybe entire DOS?
      Put your money where your heart and principles are……… they will get the message.

      • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

        Now that’s an idea. We could use the support!

      • Since those silly DOW resolutions came out, I’ve thought of making all future contributions to the OCA in the form of checks made out to Metropolitan Jonah personally.

        The only problem is that I’m not sure what name he uses legally (James or Jonah).

        • This is a good idea! I wonder is there is a way to support the Church in this (canonical) way and still be able to claim a tax deduction? According to the canons, the bishop should be in charge of all church property. We have a very different situation where a non-profit organization calls itself “parish” or “diocese” and its board of directors (council=soviet) with occasional vote of the whole membership (dues-paying “club members”) decide what to do with the money, buildings, etc. Thus, we have effectively stripped our bishops of the ability to use church funds as they see fit.

          • Honestly, I have no idea if it would still be tax-deductible. My guess is that it would be considered a personal gift.

            In any case, my intent would be to give with no strings attached, simply so that he would be free to act as he sees fit, and not be held at the mercy of a threat of “controlled disbursement” of his compensation.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Esse, so what will the Stokovites have accomplished in the end? Maintaing control of a dying church? Let ’em have it! The South however will rise again.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Re: women covering their heads.

        If I may, the Blessed Virgin covered her head as well. Just sayin’.

        • Tumorous Baktos says


          All women wore long dresses in olden times. Hair was considered a woman’s beauty and she covered her head in church not to distract men praying. In public, a woman covered her head telling all men she was married or not interested. Women with uncovered heads were single. Today in Western society, none of this is applicable. Wearing a head covering and a short dress showing everything is ridiculous. We don’t live in 1800.

          • George Michalopulos says

            That wasn’t my point. My point was to importune on certain people the possibility that they are engaging in what C S Lewis called “chronological snobbery” but which also may be termed “pride.” The point I was trying to make was that the Blessed Virgin wore a head-covering. As such it behooves those who think the old rules don’t apply to think before they speak.

            Just so you know, in my parish some of the women wear scarves, others don’t. None of us seem to care. One reason I suspect is that regardless of their head gear (or lack thereof), they all evince a deep humility before the Lord and His Blessed Mother. Humility, that’s the point, not rationalizations about the running water, air conditioning, or marital availability.

            • Michael Bauman says

              George, Humility and modesty.

              TB: Your incessant chant that only the modern is good is decidedly un-Orthodox and reeks of the materialist/humanist belief in the myth of progress. A myth that is nothing more than an heretical eschatology.

            • Araminta Andrews says

              If we really want to reference time and place vs humility we need to go no further than nomadic tribes. Both women and men covered their heads and whole of their bodies in order to keep the sand and dirt out.

              If you have ever been wrapped up in this way you would certainly recognize the appeal of its protection especially for women. Hair was considered a mark of beauty and thus remaining wrapped up “on the street or in public was a protection against the barbaric nature of men’s sexuality during those times (and in some places today).

              We can see the connection between clothing worn at that time and monastic garb of all kinds of religious orders and our own practices today. Today it says nothing about ones inner state,or relationship to God. It says a lot about the need for symbols, for a lot of people. Not all of us. But some.

              • George Michalopulos says

                I see your point. As I said, in my earlier response: it’s wrong to be a legalist and observe only formalities. A woman who is covered can be licentious in secret. That’s not what vexed me. What bothered me was the chronological airs put on by those who think “they know better.”

                If I may make an observation. It has been my experience that those who consider certain customs to be passe are usually (not always) at the forefront of those movements that would harm the church and society. I mean things like clamoring for priestesses, gay marriage, etc.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Forgive the scattershot responses:

          “Of course She did. It was the custom.” Why was it the “custom”? Did you ever stop to think that it (feminine modesty) was a good idea? Especially since there was no “Muslim environement.” (Islam wasn’t founded until 6 centuries later.)

          Thank you for noticing the Bible mentions “women covering their heads.”

          Speaking for myself, I never wanted to go after one particular sin, especially since we have an abundance of extortionists, fornicators, embezzlers, drunkards, etc., anywhere and everywhere. (And fools if you count me.) However let us be honest: it is this one particular sin that ruins institutions faster and more completely than the others. That is the reason that St Paul warned against placing effeminate men in positions of authority.

          I’m curious, why do you call people who are trying to uphold Tradition “self-righteous”? I think if you took the time to talk to any correspondent on this blog privately you would find them self-effacing, humble, contrite, and fully cognizant of their own sinfulness.

          I personally hope you stay in the Orthodox Church.

          • George Michalopulos says

            I take your criticisms to heart, Madame. Please though: Westboro Baptist Church? Nobody here disrupts the funerals of killed Servicemen screaming “God hates fags!”

            As for my own site, I purposely and assiduously ignore other websites, making passing references only when it impacts something that is said or written by myself or other correspondents.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Staying in the Orthodox Church is not correct. Can you follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ? That Gospel only fully and truly resides within the Orthodox Church. OCA or ROCOR really makes no difference. Leaving the Church does. If you want to follow Christ no matter what and no matter where that road leads you will keep you within the Orthodox Church.

            If however, you cannot do that because of certain “Hard” teachings that’s a different matter all together. I strongly suggest prayer and fasting and discussing these matters with your spiritual father and not with us on a blog.


            • George Michalopulos says

              I will pray for you. As you probably know, JFK suffered from Addison’s Disease.

            • George Michalopulos says

              We don’t “publicly humiliate” homosexuals or any sinners here. What we object to is the elevation of homosexuals to special status. And of course the desire to subvert Christian teaching regarding sodomy (and fornication and drunkenness, and gluttony, and extortion, etc.)

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              They publicly humiliate us but we cannot take a stand and say that Homosexuality is a sin and abomination? Did I miss something. Listen I am reasonable and I am loving, but I know when someone or some organization has an agenda and is gearing up for a steamroll. The LGBT community have gotten “Tharos” as we Greeks say and they are coming for us head on.

              for those that know me on this blog i am very even handed and reasonable, but i just heard President Obama’s speech and was terrified as a Christian to my very core. The Gay agenda is now in full force and has now political power. Hollywood has been given the command to write and present more Gay friendly TV shows. That’s Propaganda and ITS NOT just Pro-Gay, but also Anti-Christian.

              This is not about humiliation its about taking a stand and fighting to preserve the Gospel and to start going on the offensive by stopping our in-fighting as American Orthodox and start evangelizing this Nation for Christ.

              The President’s inaugural speech was a declaration of war against the Church by promoting the Gay Agenda. We as Orthodox better stand up and give a clear defense of the faith and any give on this or any other moral issue is against our faith, OUR Faith.


            • George Michalopulos says

              Saunca, this blog is an open forum. Nobody here is a yes-man. I truly wish you’d reconsider.

              As for the Addison’s, treatment was very primitive when JFK was diagnosed in the early 50s. He nearly died. In the interim, he was given a “cocktail” of several drugs (corticosteroids, amphetamines) which were injected into him seven times a day to help him function.

  9. another anon says

    The dream of the OCA, whatever it was, is dead and the contemptible Stokoe and his cronies have prevailed. I weep for the OCA and its future.. I suppose one should admire his devious ways from a political management standpoint, but I do not. Perhaps he can get a position as a political operative and make a lot of money working in politics with his skullduggery and manipulative ways. He’s had a lot of practice.

    • I don’t weep for the OCA. Let the dead bury their dead. Weeping and mourning at this point is a luxury we can’t afford. We have to figure out where to go into exile to survive now that the Revolution is complete, and if we are in a position to do it in our parishes, figure out how to take as much of what we own as we can. The OCA is now run by robbers and thieves.

      Poor Archbishop Dmitri. God help him.

      • Another thing that gets me, is that so many people outside the ocanews blog have been speaking up and saying what you guys are saying. You’d think the others would catch on that you guys and all of us are not nuts or mistaken or wrong, not misled, not biased, and have no dishonest agenda. Not manipulative, not liars, not fools. We’re not dishonest, we’re not delusional, we’re not refusing to hear the truth. We’re just fallen people with thinking minds, who want to try to do what’s right and know the truth and we want our leaders to be good, and to lead. The meetings this week mock us, belittle what we are saying, treat us as if after all these weeks of speaking out, we never said a word (I knew this would happen and dreaded the end of the week when I would feel the way I feel right now).

        • Brendan says

          I don’t think it was specifically mocking the concerned people (including you and me and others here). I think that there have been some big wheels turning for many months, and this is merely the latest act in a fairly well-thought out plan. This has been in the works for months and months. Our own concerns would not have changed the general direction of the plan, although I do think that the level of discord in the OCA since the Santa Fe meeting may have led them to “tweak” the plan a bit by not removing HB outright, or trying to extend his LOA (which appears to have been the original plan, per MS’s leaked emails), but rather instead to leave him in place as the Archbishop of Washington but take away basically all power and vest it in the hands of the Lesser Synod and the Chancellor. I think this “tweak” may have been done to avoid the possibility of extreme rancor if they removed him, while at the same time avoiding placing the issue before the All-American Council and concentrating effective control of the Church in the hands of +Mel. HB gets to wear the white hat and have the title, but other than formal headship at synodal meetings, it would appear that the intent is to confine his day to day power to the tiny Diocese of Washington.

          It will be telling, I think, to see if his travel budget is slashed as well. That will reveal a lot about the intention here, I think.

          • Of course his travel budget will be slashed. That’s the logical conclusion to all of the aforementioned. Whatever will limit his support and his exposure to the general public, including travel, will be done. This is done in politics all the time – create a position, but then refuse to fund it. It is a form of non-denial denial.

            Remember, Bishop Benjamin has said HB cannot return for even a visit to his former monastery, the one that he built from scratch. Almost all of his prior contacts and formation were in the Diocese of the West, and they repudiated him recently with their resolution, also under Bishop Benjamin’s direction.

            The synod has done everything under the letter of the law BUT remove him. Canonical/Uncanonical, does it really matter? Did it ever? I think in terms of practicality, no. His Beatitude had become extremely unpopular and unwanted by those who were required to work with him on the national level. The man he fired was given a standing ovation by the Metropolitan Council. The journalist who unrelentingly criticized him is still there and might have led the cheers. The leadership is personality-driven, Canonicity has had little to do with this final outcome (and it is final) except to gingerly step around it so as not to disturb it.

            The Synod and the Metropolitan Council didn’t want to work with HB anymore. They were fed up. And now he has a few months before the AAC to reflect on that. There is probably some hope among the glitterati who pushed him out that he will consider resignation. They couldn’t canonically kick him out. They just didn’t want him around anymore.

            After all is said and done, you have to say, “What a soap opera!” Hollywood couldn’t have written a script better than this.

            The subtitle of the affair could be re-written, “How to rid a church of an unwanted Primate” That’s why Bishop Benjamin depended so heavily on such legal language to lock it up tight. Imagine speaking with someone you love(d) like that? All the words about wanting him to succeed were completely disengenuous. Maybe there was some desire to help him succeed at the very very beginning, but from what I have seen and read, that was never in Bishop Benjamin’s mind. I don’t think Fr. Fester’s meddling with Bishop Mark’s new position in the south helped HB at all. That was probably the last straw that sealed his fate.

            Look at all the Metropolitans and chancellors this group of ditherers have thrown under the bus. Each one was apparently for good reason, and in every case the cause pointed directly to the man, instead of to a culture that spawns backbiting, tattling, and outright persecution of its leaders.

            Yogi Berra once said, “It’s ain’t over til it’s over”, so we will have to see if something completely unexpected, something at the bottom of the 9th with no men on base, comes to pass. Anything’s possible, but at this point the fat lady is getting ready to sing.

            I have to say, from my own point of view, this has been one of the most fruitless endeavors I have ever embarked on. Maybe many of you feel this way. That after hundreds of hours of carefully picking through everything that occurred, and informing ourselves, in the end, nothing mattered. Those who had to work with HB wanted him out. It’s as simple as that.

            See Frank telling it like it is in High Hopes:

            We were kinda ridiculous and naive, huh? Who needs people like us when you have Mr. and Mrs. Stokoe to lead us into the future. I looked at the OCA Truth website ticker this morning. 290,000 hits in 2 months. That’s probably at least a 1,000 people. I wonder if any of them feel the same way.

            • So, anyone want to think about getting on the MC? Anyone want to make a complaint and demand an investigation to the ethics committee about a certqin journalist (not sure how one gets on that). And what about being a rep on the AAC? We may have lost this round, but as far as I can tell, the Synod changed the rules this time, they can be changed again. And I’m not sure all of the things proposed can be set in stone by them. Any one know? Anyway, suggestions only . . .

              • Oh man, if I was only 25 years younger.

              • A Remnant says


                You might want to consider who the chairman of the Metropolitan Council’s Ethics Committee is before you spend (waste) anytime on a complaint.

                Yes it is the certain journalist Priest!

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              John, excellent points all.

            • jacksson says

              “Remember, Bishop Benjamin has said HB cannot return for even a visit to his former monastery, the one that he built from scratch. Almost all of his prior contacts and formation were in the Diocese of the West, and they repudiated him recently with their resolution, also under Bishop Benjamin’s direction.”

              From what I hear locally (in the West), Bishop Benjamin muscled the anti-Jonah resolution through. Metropolitan Jonah still has plenty of friends in the West.

              • that is true.

              • that is right

                • Fr John says

                  Count me in, and many other clergy who know him out here as a sincere, honest, hardworking and traditionally Orthodox monk, priest, abbot and hierarch.
                  The support of His Beatitude, however, is not unanimous. I continue to hear critical voices who agree with the restraints now put on him.
                  His Beatitude’s unflinching support of Robt. Kondratik and continual recourse to Fr Joseph Fester cost him a lot of political capital. My guess is that they made them selves seem indispensable to him, and he relied on them for their seeming support of his agenda.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      You know, a thought just occurred to me. MS and his husband are in real estate. Perhaps they can make a tidy profit selling off the churches of the OCA one by one when it dies.

      • That’s called blowing off steam. Again you judge by not understanding what’s going on here. . . .

  10. And there is a man married to a man on the Metropolitan Council of the Orthodox Church in America. He is a favorite of Father Thom Hopko, who is the OCA in human form,. This has been affirmed and accepted within the OCA leadership. All that is true, right? Would anyone disagree?

    If I could ask my former priest what the heck he’s thinking, I would. But if I asked him, he would get busy correcting me. Sigh. Still, facts are facts, and my former priest, who can’t be wrong, is dead wrong.

    “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” (Paul Simon, The Boxer.) Listen and weep. “Lie lie lie…”

    From the oca web site:

    “To be an Orthodox Christian is to affirm the Orthodox Christian faith — not merely the words, but the essential meaning of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan symbol of faith. It means as well to affirm all that this statement implies, and all that has been expressly developed from it and built upon it in the history of the Orthodox Church over the centuries down to the present day.”

    “… and in one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church…”





    There aren’t any answers, are there?

    • Prospective Nomad says

      I am curious as to what forum members believe Metropolitan JONAH is morally obliged to do now. Should he seek release to Moscow? I don’t have an opinion on this question, because I am not a member of the OCA. I’m just trying to understand how the new landscape might be and should be shaped.

      • William Harrington says

        I think he should state that the synod can do nothing without the metropolitan. People will have to choose who to follow. Ultimately these decisions will rest with the laity. Who will you follow and who will get your money?

        • ….who will get your money?

          That is where it will hurt the most. Be tight with your money, spend it in your parish, your diocese, but nothing to the Lavender-Headquarters.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          William, you raise an interesting question. Personally, as much as the Four Bozos wanted to get rid of +Jonah, I think that they were pushed back significantly. They have to contend with several problems:

          1. “conciliarity” means that +Jonah doesn’t have to agree to things they want,
          2. major lawsuits are coming down the pike,
          3. they can’t trust each other because several of them have independent pipelines to OCAN,
          4. they can’t trust OCAN because MS defied them regarding his “journalistic” enterprise. Eventually, the issue of his being an executive as well as a reporter will come to grief for them.
          5. God is not mocked. Neither are the Russians.

      • I would hope that he would remain as head of the diocese of Washington DC and devote himself to building it and its cathedral up to the stature of the DOS under Archbishop Dmitri, and let it become another such example for the other bishops on the Holy(?) Synod to follow in their dioceses. With the Lesser Synod running the OCA, Met+Jonah should have a lot more time, energy and attention to do just that.

        • William and Nikos-both intereting ideas to ponder . . .

        • Jesse Cone says

          It’s hard to build up DC when your day-to-day office is in Syosset, NY.

          • It was said elsewhere and before that both Theodosius and Herman spent little time at Syosset.
            With the Lesser Synod effectively running the OCA, and he being a mere figurehead Metropolitan, he need to be there would be even less.
            Anyway, how could they interfere with him administering the diocese he is bishop of? I think that would violate the Church Canons and OCA statues.

            • Isn’t pulling the DC nuns meddling in +HB’s diocese?


              We don’t need no stinkin’ statutes!

  11. Volodya says

    I am not in Diocese of the West, but I have heard Vladyka Jonah is popular there. The people of the West have to see now what their bishop did to Metropolitan. How can you live with that? He destroyed Jonah, and because he hates Jonah so much he destroyed Metropolitan’s office. Do they like that in Moscow?

    I do not understand this Father Hopko’s point. He said he wants to preserve the “dream of the OCA.” But OCATruth linked to a talk he gave in 2006 talking about how the OCA is falling apart:

    What will acts of the Synod this week do to reverse such decline? Is Hopko believing that converts want to come to OCA because of autocephaly? OCA is Orthodox church for American liberals and gays. Now everybody can see it is obvious.

    • ….OCA is Orthodox church for American liberals and gays.

      Volodya, that is an unfair statement. Many here are OCA and we are fighting against a lavender-clique to prevent that from happening.

      Today we lost a battle. However, as several here said, the fight is not over yet. Things in the church go at a slower pace. The church is not a political party/assembly. If we are now running off, because we “lost” this round then we are to blame for what is going to happen to our church. In war there are many battles that can be lost, but the goal is the final victory…. that is where we should direct our attention and energies.

      So we got our noses bloodied today. Go and cry a little, then wipe your noses and get ready for another round-about. The AAC will be the next battleground. Prepare not to lose that one as well…

      There is no church without the bishops, however, there is also no church without the people. The bishops might think about that, so should we….

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Amen, Joseph! Personally, I see the OCA still at a precipice, the Stokovites have not won, but they have done significant damage. Today is no different than their past misdeeds. Look at what they unleashed on us in the South in the person of the former Antiochian bishop. I heard today that during Vespers he refused to come out from the Altar and say as much an “amen,” for fear of being confronted by an angry populace.

        But this is a digression. The Stokovite bishops (Mel, Ben, Tik, and Nik) are going to be left holding an empty bag soon, especially when the Vasile Susan case makes it to court. Then we’ll see how “supreme” the “Holy” Synod is.

        • jacksson says

          Interesting term, “Stokovite bishops”. Are all five, Mel, Ben, Tik, Nik, and MS, birds of a feather?

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            Jacksson, one has to wonder, doesn’t one? I was told by someone that the reason Maymon is probably the leaker of Fester’s e-mails is because he could be “coerced” into taking such actions. I tried to play devil’s advocate that Maymon did the same thing 2 years ago with his tussle with +Philip so this was already established. That doesn’t mean that MS didn’t have knowledge back then however. Hard to say. The Lord will judge. I guess everybody will fear God eventually.

  12. Southerners are pretty resilient people. I think that even though many people in the Cathedral feel beat down, emotionally exhausted, and angry that we are all going to move on and begin to rebuild what has been torn down. God help anyone who tries to get in the way of that. Thankfully we have the calming presence of Archbishop Dimitri here to pray for us and be an example to us. Protecting what he’s built over the years is pretty important to most down here.

    To quote Monty Python “I’m not dead yet!”

    • prophetessanna says

      I love your rebel yell. You represent the apostolic response to what amounts to persecution of the Church from some of its own leaders. Thank you for your post.

      At least now that the Synod has met and we know its position on the moral law, we no longer are dealing with rumors. We can speak out (or better yet, yell out) in objection to the path we have headed down. And down is the direction that was apparently chosen.

  13. Stokoe has something on Hopko.

    Something big.

    Why don’t people ask him? Why don’t all those who want to know ask? What did he do that has him so scared? Why don’t you, his former groupies, plead with him to come clean?

    • Is it possible that Fr. Hopko may be getting senile?
      Was not it he who proposed, before the last AAC, that we “recruit” +Hilarion of the ROC for Met. of the OCA?
      What would Hopko do now if that had worked out, knowing now that +Hilarion and +Jonah are so much “on the same page”?

      • Philippa says

        “Is it possible that Fr. Hopko may be getting senile?
        Perhaps due to long term frequent overindulgence of the fruit of the grape?

        We must keep in mind that what we read on the internet, even on the OCA webpage, no matter how detailed is not ‘all’ of the story. We cannot ever know all of what each Bishop is thinking or saying, even with Mr. Stokoe’s dissemination of information.

        The party isn’t over till it’s over.

        • Is it possible that Fr. Hopko may be getting senile?

          Philippa, people age. It is always considered wise to hold one’s tongue, but especially when one is not up to par any more. Unfortunately, we never really want to accept that there comes a time when our prime is eclipsed and it would be better to remain quiet. (I speak from my own experience 🙂 Many examples beside Fr. Thomas come to mind. Bp. Kallistos (Ware) among them…. all well respected and some holy men, who would be well advised to enjoy their respective retirements quietly…

          • I can personally identify with all that.
            Has anyone noticed how short and to the point my comments are?
            Well, that’s the reason.

            • Fr John says

              I’m 46 so I’m just coming into my ‘prime’ of loquacity…
              I concur. I just wish Fr Thomas had not issued his Clean Monday Sorrowful Epistle, especially after having been so hep to nominate a MP Bp. to OCA Primacy.
              The conundrum is stupendous. Why was he not confronted with this inconsistency?

              • You guys are ignoring that letter because it makes you uncomfortable. You can’t explain it. Fair enough, it defies easy explanation.

                Yet you ignore it at great peril to yourselves and your institution.

                For starters the letter almost demands a long essay analyzing it from different perspectives.

                And then someone needs to interview Hopko on the record and make the interview public. He has intervened in a church crisis with an intentional (not senile) act. He continues to act as a leader to determine outcomes and the direction of the religion you love and believe in.

                He made serious accusations in public to achieve a political (not pastoral) objective. In any functional organization he would be required to back them up and explain or recant.

                He continues to function as a central voice in your organization. If you really cared about your organization, you would resolve this ASAP. Whatever the truth, you need to know it, so that you and others can take appropriate action.

    • Elizabeth says

      MS is a pushy salesman with decades of experience. Fr. Hopko needs a new unlisted telephone number, email address, and IP number.

    • Stokoe has something on Hopko.

      That’s what I was suggesting. Obviously, Stokoe has something one someone–possibly, several someones–that much is clear. That’s why I believe it was madness to put an active homosexual in a position of power. You can’t defeat him without creating a disaster.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Um, personally I don’t think Stokoe has “anything” on Hopko. That’s just plain senility if you ask me. However, in my posts “Cui Bono” and “The Dumping Ground,” I posited the thesis that whenever you have enough homosexuals in an institution, they do have “enough” on certain people that effectively neutralizes them. This is how MS works, he as much as admitted that as Helga and I have posted on this blog several times. Remember, these were MS’s own words, not our supposition.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Then again, I could be wrong.

        • Yes, you are wrong.

          Now what?

          This is not a bishop, nor anyone’s pastor in the fray.

          So …

          Someone has some work to do.

  14. Heracleides says

    I am saddened but unsurprised by this weeks outcome in Chicago.

    Prancing power-hungry fools (and I mean that in the true sense of the term) like Benjamin and the others on the Synod who drape themselves in glittering rags are a dime a dozen in our history and for all their pretense to greatness they are barely, if at all, remembered to this day. Their scheming for ever greater power and the underhanded political maneuvering they employ to obtain it are brought to naught in the end. Like Judas, may God grant mercy to their wretched souls.

    +Jonah, however, stands in good company. The history of the Church is replete with many examples where godly men stood virtually alone in their witness of the true faith once given. St. Mark of Ephesus and St. John Chrysostom spring readily to mind. Like them, may +Jonah now persevere in humility to continue bearing witness as a living example of a true successor to the Holy Apostles. +Jonah has now been given a golden opportunity to devote considerably more time and effort in nurturing his diocese – may our God grant him a rich harvest in the season of labor to come.

    We, the insignificant faithful, love and support you +Jonah; you are ever in our prayers.

    • Geo Michalopulos says


    • jacksson says

      Another Amen. And you can add Sts. Photios the Great and Gregory Palamas to your list. Also, St Maximos the Confessor; to shut him up up they pulled out his tongue.

    • Don’t forget St. Nektarios. He was only bishop of Pentapolis for a little over a year before he was removed from office. He lived out his life in humility and died in poverty.

  15. I’m a fan or our Metropolitan, but I also believe in synodal, not papal, church governance. Best I can tell, the synod had at least a few good reasons to feel ++Jonah was disregarding the synod’s prerogatives. Eg, was there any good basis for ++Jonah to think the Synod should have no say as to the staffing of the chancellery?

    I agree with the commenter who read these minutes as reflecting the synod putting ++Jonah on a tight leash. But in my view, by definition, a synodal approach to governance means that every bishop is likewise on a tight leash, not able to take significant actions without gaining the consensus of the others.

  16. Veteran says

    Some things can be mended, but not flawlessly.

    Wounds can heal, but scars remain.

    There are no safe places. Don’t run to another jurisdiction, thinking all will be well.

    Stay where you are, take the long view, and concentrate on being and doing what you can there.

  17. Sometimes, even though you’re not certain because you weren’t there in person, you compare the sense of what you read, and your inner person says, “Here is a Christian man.” I’m taking this opportunity now and posting my support for Father Joseph Fester. On his Facebook page he wrote: “Thanks for all your prayers and offers of help. It is a very confusing time right now. We are hanging in there and know that God will lead us out of this current desert. Stay close to one another, “trust not in princes and in sons of men, in whom there is no salvation.” Glory to God for All Things. I love you all.”


    • Shoot. Now I’m crying.

      • So sad. He is a talented priest. I hope he will not be up in the air for long and that someday he will have justice.

        • Hey, maybe St. Nicholas Cathedral can hire him back as a “consultant”. It’s happened before. 🙂

          I said before I hope Matushka Kathy can keep her job somehow; I think she stayed behind in Dallas to finish out the school year or something, and was going to join Fr. Joseph in DC. I hate to think of both of them being jobless in this economy.

          • Lola J. Lee Beno says

            I do hope so, too, Helga. It’s just not fair to have them make huge sacrifices to give up their status in Dallas and move into a strange area, and then be dumped like this. And lets face it, older people have a harder time finding jobs.

          • no, Mat. Kathy came to DC about a week ago. They don’t know where they will go . . . .

  18. Gregg Gerasimon says

    The OCA is not dead and is not dying. There are thousands of us keeping it alive every day, and we will continue to do so.

    But I continue to be curious — what proof is there of a gay marriage? A video of the wedding? A marriage certificate? Some document filed with the county? I’m not trying to be insolent or impertinent — I honestly don’t know. It’s taken here as a foregone conclusion, but I have yet to see any proof.

    Is the “proof” the death announcement from the Seattle newspaper a few years ago that alludes to the marriage? Many years ago, never-married men and women used to live together frequently as friends. (Even reference Sts. Sergius and Bacchus from the 3rd century, and no, I’m not saying that they were gay. But I’m sure our modern society would have smacked that label on them.)

    But it’s true that it’s a modern phenomenon that our sex-crazed society has concluded that all or any never-married, good/close same-sex friends who are living together must have been and all must be actively gay or lesbian. But I put forth that this is not always true. And there’s often more than meets the eye in a situation. It’s quite possible the death announcement was written from a perspective reflecting the sex-crazed attitudes of 21st century America and may not have reflected reality.

    Again, I’m not trying to cause problems, but I’m sure that I will be vilified here as one of those who simply wants to make the OCA into an ultra-liberal, modernist church (i.e., essentially not Orthodox). But I’m not, I don’t want that. I would simply like to know the proof or evidence that there is a gay marriage, or if it is simply heresay or a conclusion based on logic/deductions that have been drawn from perceptions.

    And please limit the personal vilifications against me to only 5 or 10 — I don’t think I can take any more than that. Thank you. Christ is risen!

    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

      Gregg, you sure are dumb for a doctor. In what other way are “in-laws” made?

      • Gregg Gerasimon says

        Deacon Brian Patrick,

        Amazingly rude for a deacon. Unbelievable.

        Yet again, shooting the messenger, but dodging the question and offering no proof. Proof of a marriage?

        • Heracleides says

          Amazingly and refreshingly open & honest for a clergy member, deacon or otherwise.

          As for your being a messenger – hardly – you’re just someone who appears willfully ignorant as to how “in-laws” come about in family settings. To continue your theater of the absurd, perhaps you should simply ask your question in the comment section of Stokoe’s rag. I guarantee you Greg that it will never pass Mark’s screening process to see the light of day, much less receive an answer.

          • Gregg Gerasimon says

            “you’re just someone who appears willfully ignorant as to how ‘in-laws’ come about in family settings.”

            Um, no. I’m simply stating that despite all the rhetoric, there has been no proof offered that a marriage has taken place. If a child calls someone “Aunt Sally,” does that always mean that Sally is mom or dad’s sister by birth or marriage?

            But whatever. I do realize that there is probably very little motivation here to find out if indeed there has actually been a marriage. Enjoy your discussions.

            • Mark Stokoe and Steve Brown share a house, and have for many years. Stokoe’s family identified Brown as the late Mrs. Stokoe’s “son in law.” Gay marriage isn’t even legal in Ohio, where they live. It doesn’t matter that no official marriage ceremony was held. For all intents and purposes, they are a married couple. If it looks like a duck…

              Gregg, you are being weird about this.

              • Mark from the DOS says

                They also apparently have some community funds, as they are listed jointly as donors to some organization. Community funds are usually an indicator of common law marriage . . . of course maybe they are just a holy lay monastic community. Yeah . . . that’s it!


                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  That’s the ticket! A lay community. (Oops, I didn’t mean for that to come out the way it did.)

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    If you ever read Mark’s site you would understand that what George said was no where near crude as compared to MS. Now that you have decided to leave, which I greatly regret, please still find time to pray and fast and come back to Christ’s Church when you have reached the end of your journey.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    George never behaved dishonorable, EVER!

                • I googled him five years ago and then I said to meself, “oops, he’s gay.”

                • Yes, a lay monastic community with no feast or saint, under no bishop’s supervision. 🙂

                  If he and Steve were just good friends, I think Stokoe would emphatically deny that they are gay. Instead, there are all these cagey comments about people bringing his ‘personal life’ into the equation.

                  • jacksson says

                    Good points. Seems to me that I read somewhere, something, about avoiding all appearance of evil (in our personal lives, I assume).

            • A. Rymlianin says

              Continue to willfully ignore reality.

              • Lucy Bennett says

                I have been a lurker here for a while but feel the need to post.

                I’m Byzantine catholic but have an interest in what’s going on in orthodoxy.

                I’m in my late 40s, never married, and live with a close friend. We are not gay but I suppose some people think we are? Who knows. I have a brother who is convinced that I’m a lesbian and refers to my friend who I live with as his sister-in-law. She isn’t!!
                I would have liked to have gotten married but it never happened.

                So are we gay/lesbian until proven otherwise?

                As far as I know Stokoe has never said that he is married. You all have dubbed him so, and then leave the burden of proof on him to prove that he’s not?

                Crazy world.

                Please forgive me,but I don’t like the judgmentalism that I see here.


                • Elizabeth says

                  You stated that you and your roommate were not gay. Have you witnessed MS doing the same? Nope.

                • Hello Lucy and yes it’s a crazy world. The evidence is right here: Seattle Times.

                  As people have written over and over and over, it’s the fact that he’s on the Metropolitan Council, and that he has been running a very powerful, dangerous web site for five years, and that his housemate, Steve Brown is named one of three sons-in-law in Mark’s mother’s obituary. There are many rumors that may or may not be true, but what we do know is true is bad enough.

                • The issue is not homosexuality–the issue is that priests and officials of the church are actively homosexual. That is not ideal behavior in a spiritual leader. It actually undermines a fundamental ethic of the church: a true Christian is the personification of God’s will on earth. Orthodoxy is a very ascetical Church.The laity is called upon to observe a degree of control that is almost monastic. All members of the Orthodox Church–straight or gay–are called upon to control their bodily desires. A straight priest or official who was shacked up, or committing adultery, ore prostituting himself– and was still in a position of respect and responsibility, giving the eucharist–would be just as upsetting.

                  • Well said. Giving even the appearance of doing so is also unwise and unbiblical and unorthodox. Especially for Bishops and other clergy.

                  • Why is it hate to observe behavior and want to preserve the practice of ones church? These are people in leadership roles, do not confuse him- Stokoe-with the regular guy in church. I’d say you are just as spiteful towards those who do not think as you. You chose rather to follow what the world teaches and not what Orthodoxy teaches. Great, knock yourself out but don’t judge others who know why they believe this faith and want to do the very things in which it calls us to. . . .

                    Also understand that the OCA has had from it’s birth, a direction that has separated it from the rest of the Orthodox world. Over the years that gap is more and more noticeable and now even some raised in the OCA can no longer relate to the rest of the Orthodox. What does that say about the OCA?

                  • Saunca-no one is born Orthodox. . .

                    But of course my statement prior to your question was encouraged by you yourself-

                    “that I have found that walking into the southern Orthodox Churches ….Antiochian, Romanian, Greek, and ROCOR…..has been unpleasant at best and downright cold at worst. Large Ethnic Orthodox churches WANT to keep their language and other traditions to themselves. Smaller southern missions tend to be heavily convert based and place emphasis on the oldest, most ancient traditions they can find. These churches are nothing like the OCA parishes I grew up in. Instead, The women all cover their heads, sometimes the men and women are separated on different sides of the church, Byzantine chanting has made a comeback and often replaces the hymns, there are no pews,”

                  • Archpriest John Morris says

                    What is wrong with Byzantine Chanting especially in an Antiochian or Greek Church because that is our tradition?

                • If someone asked you point-blank if you were gay, would you say no or avoid the question? Mark has been asked point-blank in a private email if he was gay and he didn’t give an answer. So what would you then believe?

                  • A “yes” would mean either that he step down from his position, which happened or that the OCA admit their true direction and that would mean schism.

                    “a mob”? What thinking. You are very judgemental and naive.

                  • Couldn’t respond so I put it here . . . .

                    “Yes, Colette, a mob at his doorstep. Group/Mob mentality is noticeable even when it’s just writing on a blog.
                    ie. a disturbing previous comment of yours…..
                    colette says:
                    May 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm
                    “Fight against them. Write about this whole affair, keep notes. If it’s in writing, if it’s there for people to pick it up again and again, and if we have watch dogs in various parishes to keep account of people we now know need watching, we can bring them down. One by one. What ever is in writing will be remembered. Now the fight begins.”

                    I have probably expressed some things in a judgmental way, it is something I personally have to work hard at not doing. But to claim I’m “naive” to propose that if Mark admitted to being gay there would be a mob at his doorstep….based on your own words above, I don’t think so.”

                    LOL Talk about not understanding what you are reading and pulling it out of context!. . . my comment which you quote has to do with the bishops attack on +Jonah and their abusive lackies in Syosset, a few on the MC and others in various churches. You are naive, which is why I said it. You do not understand what people are responding to here. Many many people have been verbally and emotionally abused by these particular people, misled in their faith, had their reputation and vocation destroyed by these people and that is why people rose up to try and expose them-to make them stop. That was what that paragraph you so easily twisted was about.
                    Now, As far as our other conversation–You’ll need to show me the hords knocking down Mark Stokoe’s door because he’s gay, which is what you proclaimed.

                • So are we gay/lesbian until proven otherwise?

                  In your situation I think you are a “jewell”
                  and don’t have to prove anything to any others no matter what they may think

                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  Lucy, when I was in college, I lived with a man as well. He was my roomate. Nobody batted an eye. I see lots of middle-aged single-sex roommates such as yourself and would never think anything out of the ordinary. I even see dual-sex roommates living together and never pick up a sexually active vibe from them.

                  This is not judgmentalism that’s going on here. I am willing to entertain the option that given these two blades they aren’t even sexually active anymore (just like many elderly married couples). Even if this was the case, his clear homosexualist leanings and propaganda are what make him unacceptable for the MC. That’s all.

                  I would say the same thing about the vast majority of ECUSA clergy who are not, never have been, and never will be engaged in homoerotic acts. Just the fact that they preach a “different gospel” makes them unfit for the clergy. Their private actions are between them and God.

                  So no, none of us here are gay-bashers, gay-baiters, etc. We just see the very real damage that unchecked homosexuality in the clergy does. There’s no getting around that. Repent? Of course. Serve at the Holy Table? Never. Not because it’s a scandal (it is) but because it damages their own salvation.

                  Think of it: we are told by St Paul that we can get sick and die because we partake of the divine Gifts unworthily. What about the priest or deacon who has to consume those same gifts at the end of the liturgy. When I take communion, I get a little less than half a teaspoonful of the Body and Blood of our Lord. When the deacon or priest consumes the Remnant, he swallows about 6 oz. That’s a whole lot more condemnation that he’s drinking unto himself than the paltry thimbleful I take.

                • Harry Coin says


                  The difference is you haven’t accepted a decision making job at an organization where how people see you live makes a difference to the success of the organization.

                  Nobody wants to live in a society where privacy can be invaded to the point photos of actual sexual activity can be taken. So what people say about what they do in private is not falsifiable. If a very important statement can’t be shown to be true or false, then the responsibility falls on the organization to choose requirements that can be shown to be true or false.

                  Recognizing this, the church has set higher standards that those in leadership are not allowed to generate the plain and obvious appearance of impropriety. We are ignoring those standards, and not just in Mark’s case.

                  Moving in with an adult blood relative, living alone, in a monastery or in a senior-living arrangement with more than one other adult, or married in the church, these all do not have any appearance of impropriety. It’s just one among many sacrifices people who take on the mantle of church leadership and decision making have got to accept in this current cultural situation — if they really have the best interests of the church organization at heart.

                  And, you know, seriously, if nothing is going on what’s the big deal about getting your own place for the time you’re in church office? People have to move all the time. And if something is going on, what better way to use the weak spots in all the rules to get into a place where you control the rules to some extent. It is a serious challenge.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Gregg, when you were about twelve, didn’t your dad every tell you “a little story”? You know about how babies were made?

            • Jesse Cone says


              If he isn’t, why hasn’t he just denied it?

              A lot of people have known about this claim for years. One of the very first things we noticed about our site was that people were always searching within the site for the terms “Mark Stokoe Gay” and “Mark Stokoe Homosexual”. This is WAY before we showed the obit.

              But if you are not convinced yet, that’s fine. Do you think the Synod/ MC Ethics committee would be justified in launching an investigation?

              • Harry Coin says

                Only if the standards the committee uses can be shown to be true or false independent of the statements of the people involved.

                It would be this Clintonian conversation: “I never had sex …”

                Reminds me of this reality TV show where a car gets pulled over coming in from Mexico and they find huge bails of marijuana concealed between the back seat and the trunk. The driver said he just rented the car for the week to go visit friends in LA, had no idea what was stuffed in places he couldn’t see. So, I don’t know what to make of it, but I’m not thinking “Aha– qualification right there for high church leadership”.

    • Look, he has been asked privately point-blank about weather or not he was gay or held the gay agenda. He refuses to answer.

    • Gregg Gerasimon, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck….. you figure out the rest, being a doctor and all

  19. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    Hi George & Company:

    I am not surprised this happend. This has happend before and it will happen again. That’s just how the Orthodox Church is and will be for the time being in this country and other countries. Deacons, Priests, Bishops, etc., come and go, but Jesus Christ and his Gospel will always remain no matter what.

    There are alot of thing I do NOT like in the Orthodox Church that the Orthodox Church is doing. For example:

    1. Ecumensim. I hate it, I hate that the EP, MP and other Orthodox clerics are a part of it and negotiate with people in the NCCC and the WCC. I believe our involvement is pure and utter hearesy and our actions purely heretical. Even where individual Orthodox Jurisdictions drop out, there is still an Orthodox, and specifically Greek Orthodox, presence that is disgusting IMHO.

    2. The New Calendar. I hate that we as Orthodox Christians had to lose our ecclesiatical (Julian) calendar, and go with the New (Revised-Julian/Gregorian) calendar. We could have very easily had both, but did not for other reasons.

    3. Tacit Acceptance of Homosexuality. I hate this with a passion. I see it in most (not all) GOA bishops, and some priests. We all know who they are, but say nothing because we have no direct proof, until the abuse is revealed and their names appear on Living in the Chicagoland area we knew who these people were and said nothing. Then the molestation occurred, and their names appeared on the website and the lawsuits started and eventually were settled.

    4. Orthodox Ethnicity. I hate that we put our various ethnicities before Jesus Christ and his Gospel. Jesus should be and must be first and foremost. That is not the case on the GOA or in the AOA. I cannot speak to the OCA. However, for many years many of us in the GOA believed that it was and greatly admired the OCA for it. I, unfortunately, do not believe this anymore.

    5. Jurisdictional fighting. I cannot tell you how many people in the GOA literally hate the OCA and just want it to implode/explode and disapear. They do not tolerate it one bit. Orthodox hating other Orthodox. This is a disgrace. It reminds me of the Greek Orthodox not recognizing the Macedonian Orthodox Church. I understand the ethnic hatred, I don’t as far as Hating the Macedonians, but we did not need to take it out on the MOC. Unfortunately, as Greeks we did. How do we explain this to Christ? For both our ethnic hatred and our ecclesiastical non-recognition? This is a very big disgrace as well as disgusting.

    6. Appathy & Disbelief. I think this one speaks for itself.

    However, as I stated in one of my previous posts, I stated all the GOOD the Orthodox Church has done and continues to do, and the GOOD that it has and will always have. The GOOD in Orthodoxy always outweighs the BAD. No one should be leaving, and no one should stop going to Church. The priest that was caught as a practicing homosexual and pediphile that was from Olympia Fields, IL or the Priest caught as a practicing Homosexual from St. Nicholas’ Greek Orthodox Church in Oak Lawn, IL were spiritually bad priests and people. George Michalopoulos has already written about this and he is spot on.

    However, they gave valid communion and conducted valid Divine Liturgies all the years they were in service. so truly they really hurt themselves and the people they directly abused and molested. For the Church at large they just gave it a black eye. Yet black eyes heal, and we continue with the Lord’s work. I do NOT mean to justify their actions, but merely to say this has happend and regrettably will happen again in the future. Just look at as proof. The list of sexual and moral offenders grows.

    Mark Stoke and the other “Lavanders” in the OCA, GOA, AOA, etc., eventually come to justice, and I mean GOD’S JUSTICE, not man’s. We may not like, or, like me, hate, what has happend, and what will continue to happen, but we are the ones that allowed this to grow, and grow and grow to the point that the church now is, to borrow a popular phrase, “too big to fail.”

    So now we do what all Orthodox people do. We lead a life of covert resistence, and in some cases overt resistence as the situations demands. It is because of that quite resistence on the part of the laity that the rot of ecumenism never took hold in the Orthodox Church, why female priests have not and will not take hold, etc.

    However, the “Lavanders” will always be there in Orthodoxy. Unless the EP, MP, etc., adopt the same type of policies that the Roman Catholics adopted to curtail the Gay Mafia’s precense, we will always have the “Lavenders” with us. It will and they will be spoken of under our breaths. There will probably be no “Official” change in belief like the ECUSA, but only time will tell. George Michalopoulos and Fr. Reardon make very good points and arguments on this issue, and vigilence is needed. Time will tell.

    In the end all we as regular Orthodox Christians can do is Pray, Fast, read Scripture and live a truly Christian life and let God deal with the corrupt bishops and the Mark Stokes of the World.

    As much as I love the GOA, with my stated disagreements above and the recent Canon 28 debacle of the EP, I love Jesus Christ and His Gospel even more, so I stay in the GOA. I stay in my local parish where I Baptized my kids and support my priest. As much as many in the OCA love the 1970 Tomos that granted Autocephalacy, you have to love Jesus Christ and His Gospel more. You have to stay and support your local parish and local priest.

    So let’s all let go and Let God. As the old yiddish saying states: “Man plans and God laughs.” Let Mark Stoke, the HS, and the MC do what they want, in the end if what they did is right God will honor it. If what they did was wrong then God will not honor it and will punish them. Only God knows and only time will tell.

    Take care George, OCAT and Company, as I am officially done talking about this issue. For me its over. Take care and God Bless.

    PS Keep in touch George and I’ll do the same.

    Peter A. Papoutsis

    • Ashley Nevins says


      You forgot to mention the monastic cult of elder ephraim who was sent from the Mother of God to the GOA in a vision to return the GOA to Mt. Athos monastic Orthodox correctness. He is a man that cannot visit a zoo for the one time that he did the animals all went wild wanting a blessing from him and so he decided to leave for the good of zoo.

      I will meet the guru cult leader elder at the Phonex, Az zoo anytime to test the truth of his claim put forward. We can video it for GOA solution to its failed, corrupt, irrelevant and dying state that he came to the GOA to be its solution. You have no idea what I now know about the elder and what I will one day expose. It is sure to reveal more good than bad in the GOA giving you more good reason to stay. I have that good outweighs the bad thinking about the GOA. Ask any ephraimite.

      The GOA is a circular without solution church that is dying a slow, ugly and painful sin death. It has a monastic cult at the center of its church and its church leadership is corrupt and apathetic and indifferent to the corruptions. I know what its true trend of demise will be over the next generation. It will be fortunate to survive itself. It is erasing itself. That is the good overcoming the bad and that is why you stay? Sounds like you want to go down with the Titanic to me and that you are in denial that it is sinking. Sinking is better than floating and because that is the good that outweighs the bad. That is what I heard you say when compared to the reality of the GOA situation.

      This is the true spiritual character of the GOA:

      1. Corrupt and incompetent EP
      2. Corrupt and incompetent GOA Archbishop
      3. Sexually corrupt and/or incompetent bishops who enable corruption
      4. Fearful, powerless and misplaced loyalty priests
      5. Cultism as monasticism
      6. Apathetic and indifferent laity.

      The GOA is a closed system of secrets, hiding, cover ups and lies. It is as sick as it secrets. It is as corrupt as its lies. Yet, it does more good than bad?

      Let’s be objective. Is it in good shape or is it in bad shape? Is it growing or is it dying? Is it alive or is it dead? Being alive to you is not it being alive to what is outside of it. Being relevant to you is not it being relevant to what is outside of it.

      Let’s be objective. The GOA parish in my city of 200K has been here for 55 years and on a good Sunday maybe 90 show up. In far less time than that 4 other churches in my city have grown to an avg. Sunday attendance of at least 2K each. The GOA in my city has done more good with mission and evangelism than bad? Is the GOA only about the fortunate few inside of it or is it all those outside of it who do not know the Lord?

      Let’s get real. It is the church of irrelevant insignificance that is really only relevant and significant to itself. It provides no way of escaping its corrupt and failed state and that is because it it all about top down totalism religious dictatorship power and control that is your only hope of salvation by its power and control over the minds of its members. That is the truth of the GOA for which you stay and it is the truth of the mind control it has over you to keep you staying.

      Let’s get real. You rationalize the truly BAD state of church by what you believe is good in it. That does not solve the bad. It just rationalizes it so you can stay. The bad is not really as bad as it looks and the good looks better than it looks. That is how you rationalize to stay. It can’t be more bad than good or you could not rationalize to stay. It’s as bad as it looks unless you are in denial of what its state of church truly is.

      Let’s get real. Your rationalizations for staying only enable its corrupt and failed state. You live in a love/hate relationship with your church and your rationalizations for staying do not provide one solution to its corrupt failed state that you both love and hate. You stay because you have no way of escape. If you go to any other jurisdiction you find the same or worse. That is the truth in the reality of that.

      Let’s be objective. Has the good of the GOA outweighed the bad of the GOA and that is why it is found in a corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying state? Yes, please explain how you came to your conclusion of good over bad by the state of the GOA. Good outweighs the bad and the outcome of the GOA proves that? Help me out here, I don’t get it. The reality of its outcome is more good than bad? Ahhh, am I missing something here?

      Let’s be objective. America’s two largest and most corrupt jurisdictions are doing more good than bad? The state of both tell the truth of that answer. Of course, it does more good than bad or how could you rationalize staying if the opposite were true? The truth is the bad is over taking any good left in it. Yes, leave the bad in with the good and let’s see which one wins over the other one in one generation. What will be your rationalizations to stay then?

      Let’s get objective. The objective truth and rational sane thinking fact of the matter is that the GOA is out of rationalizations like it out of excuses for its state of coruption and failure. All the jurisdictions in America are in a state of corrupt failure and all in them rationalize the good over the bad to stay and when their state of church proves the bad over the good leaving you with only delusional rationalizations to stay.

      Let’s get real. When you run out of rationalizations the only way to keep rationalizing is to become ever more delusional in your rationalizations to be able to stay. You have to compromise the Gospels, the NT and God’s morality and ethics to stay. You have to rationalize them away to stay and thus giving you all the good over the bad reasons you need to stay. Truth is, you will never leave the GOA no matter how corrupt and failed it becomes. Even if you did, where would you go in the EOC and not find the same or worse?

      Ashley Nevins

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Peter, I agree with all you said except point #2, I’m not really so hopped up about the calendar issue just how it was pushed down our throats by the Arch-Ecumenist Meletius Metaxakis.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        Yeah, I agree with you as well about the Calendar issue. I’m not an Old Calendarist in the modern psyco sense. I listed it because it was our calendar and it was, like you said, forced down our throats by the Arch-Ecumenist Meletius Metaxakis (I agree on this as well as to who and what he was). It was part of our Orthodox identity, and it was stripped away and caused and unnecessary schism within the Greek Church that exists to this day. That’s the said part that I truly dispare.


        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Sad, isn’t it? I still owe you a thoughtful piece on +Spyridon. Haven’t forgotten, just working 55+ hours a week. (Plus my first son graduated from college yesterday!)

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Congradulations. Now that’s the stuff that matters. That was good to hear.

            • Everything said here also matters because we are trying to prevent our Church from becoming “Eastern Rite Episcopalians” as George so apply stated it.

  20. A. Rymlianin says

    Welcome to ECUSA (Byzantine Rite)

  21. Ashley Nevins says

    The OCA Homosexual Agenda

    The OCA is following a path to self destruction by moral corruption of the church that is the systemic sexualization of the church and that is a diobolical sex addiction agenda for the church.

    One aspect of that sexual addiction agenda is the homosexual agenda now clearly exposed.

    The homosexual agenda demands the following:

    1. Homosexuality in the church is to be treated equally to heterosexuality.
    2. Homosexual marriage is equilvelent to heterosexual marriage.
    3. The morality of church is to be changed to include homosexual morality.
    4. To twist Scripture context to justify homosexuality in the church.
    5. To change the basis of healthy sexuality in the church from hetrosexual to bi-sexual.
    6. To change the thinking of how the church views God’s morality to a secular humanisim view of morality (moral relativism).
    7. To make anyone who objects to the homosexual agenda out to be anti-God’s grace and love.
    8. To convert vulnerable youth to its agenda and to lead vulnerable youth into a homosexual life.
    9. To make homosexual sin not a sexual sin in the eyes of God by changing who God is.
    10. Me, myself and I have rights over Gods right over me by salvation and I am therefore GOD.

    The homosexual agenda wants gay priests, monastics and bishops to rule in the church right along side the hetrosexual leadership of the church. It wants to reach out to the youth of the church that may be struggling with their sexual identity and help them find their Godly state of Gods moral mind that will lead them into Gods moral plan for their lives. Homosexuality and God are one in the same morality from God in the homosexual mind of its moral thinking. The OCA needs gay Christian youth camp counselors and youth leaders to reach out to those childern at Christian camp and in church youth groups struggling with their sexual identity. It needs a network of homosexuals in the church to make sure the church stays on its gay agenda course. The tail wags the dog in the OCA.

    The homosexual agenda for the church is a cult of immoral sexualization in the church. A cult warps the definition of God to gain power and control over all as God. It makes you the foolish Galatians of Galatians chapter one. Paul stopped Peter from turning the early church into a cult. It was a cult of penis works as salvation that the corruption of Peter was advocating. Yes, I know, you have never heard it discribed quite like that before. What is your excuse OCA for not stopping a cult of sex corruptions dominating your church? Are you a cult of sex or a church of God?

    Are the laity men of God in the OCA hearing this? You determine the leadership of the church and its morality. You determine your church future. You determine how safe your church is for children.

    Anyone who follows a homosexual leader in the church is following a path of destruction for the church. The homosexual mind is the mind of a world view, a philosophy of thinking and morality that is based upon its own definition of who God is, what Gods morality is and what God allows as sexual behavior. Homosexuality is an idol that claims to be God that determines who God is by how it views God through its homosexual sexualized thinking and resulting sexual behavior. Its sexual thinking is how it thinks about God. God is not God apart from how it views God through its homosexual sexual thinking. God thinks homosexuality is of God in the homosexual agenda for the church.

    It is an agenda of sexual addiction for the church by lowering the morality of the church to become as sexualized as the world outside of it. The more sexualized the church the more sexually addictive the church becomes by its system of sex corruption that rules over it. The homosexual agenda is just the beginning of its agenda for the church. The homosexual agenda wants sexual liberalization of all sexual behavior in the church. It wants to lower the morality of sexual behavior in the church down to it level of morality and sexual behavior to justify itself as from God. God is the morality of homosexuality in the homosexual agenda. Homosexuality wants to determine and/or define the truth of Gods morality for the church and its youth’s morality that are its future.

    Homsexuality tells the church that Gods grace and mercy are tolerant by God being gay. We were not created in the image of God as both masculine and feminine in the holy union of marriage. We are no longer one as man and wife with God in that union. No, now there is a second couple added and he or she is a homosexual in union with his or her same sex. That lifestyle is now the new definition of Gods creation and union as one with us in gay marriage. A gay couple was present in the Garden when God walked with man and woman. God took out another rib to make the gays and we just didn’t know that until the gay agenda arrived. Who knows, maybe Adam and Eve were really gay.

    I am confused Gods only alone right and one true church, is God gay? Please by your church role model and example tell me either way. I want the truth from Gods only one true church. The state of your church is my clear answer.

    OCA Men of God I did not know that the OCA was a bi-sexual church that supports homosexuality and homosexual marriage. What’s next, the homosexuals can adopt children and all of you all right with that? Yes, OCA move from gay marriage in the church to gay families in the church. That is exactly where you are going if you allow this to continue. Gay rights over the church is not Gods ownership right of His church. Immorality drives the OCA agenda. Period.

    Homosexuality allowed into the church as a legimate lifestyle in the eyes of God is pre-martial sex as the morality of the church. That is the message it clearly sends to the youth of the church. You can have what ever kind of sexual relationship you want outside of hetrosexual marriage. That is the sexualization of the church that leads to out of control sex addiction in the church. It will open the door to other sexual sin and if it is considered a legimate lifestyle by the church other sexual sin is taking place in the church that justifies its sexual behavior too. The sexualized mind now becomes the Orthodox Mind by changing your minds about the morality of God.

    The sexualization of a church results in sexual sin in rule power and control over the church. The mind of carnal flesh sexual lusts rules over the church and not the holy mind of the Holy Spirit.

    I would encourage the laity MEN OF GOD reading this to read further on this subject:

    There is a Christian solution to homosexuality. You find that in a Google search. No, it will not be the EO who provide that Christian solution. The problem can’t provide the solution. God is smarter than that last time I checked in with Him. He really can only use Christian relevancy to solve a problem such as this.

    Now, OCA laity MEN OF GOD do the predictable. Talk about the problem and provide no solution to the problem. Let the sexualization of your church morality run wild and out of control. Let men of sexual corruption rule and lead in your church and let’s see if it can survive that over time. Let idolatry of sex be your character, maturity and the future vision for your church. I personally believe you are living in your future today for what you failed to do in your past. The future is your church RIGHT NOW. The agenda of sin cast its vision for the OCA and look at it today as the outcome of its vision.

    OCA laity MEN OF GOD your children are your church future. Do you want God leading them into that church future or a sexually corrupt sexualization of the church agenda? It is your clear choice if you let any sexual sin lead in any capacity in your church. If you do you have made that decision. Your children will pay the consequences for your SIN. Your church, if it survives, will generationally transmit your sin and the sin of the sexualized agenda of Satan well into future generations of your church. One sexual bondage leads the church into other sexual bondages and that is a little leven levening the whole church. It is the systemic corruption of the church by a sexualized system of church and what is systemic spreads to all parts of the church system. Oh, yes, it does too.

    I promise, and all of my promises to the EO come true. All of them.

    Ashley Nevins

    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

      Lots of insight in your post Ashley. Sometimes I have to sift out the anger you have towards Orthodoxy to find it, but what I find is often accurate. I read the pdf and the first few sections are very good (Socarides, NARTH, Heritage foundation on the family, absent fathers and homosexual pathology, and so forth; anyone familiar with the problems recognizes the quality immediately). Clearly the author knows his stuff.

      The theological section didn’t reach deep enough because the Law-Grace distinction simply is not sufficient to the theological task at hand. It’s unique to Protestantism although Protestants tend to expand it to form the basis of Christian doctrine and thus read it back into history and also give it a prescriptive (future) character and thus a therapeutic power it just does not have. I don’t want to get into arguing this with you however because the Spirit of God is not bound to one particular Church. He seeks men willing to serve (be obedient to) God. They are the ones who bring healing into the world. On this I think we can agree.

      You are also correct in asserting that homosexual ideology is an all-consuming world view. That Jesus is gay (as offensive as this is to our ears) has been a sub-text of the ideology for years. Remember La Cage Aux Folles, the movie that came out almost 30 years ago? Everybody raved over it at the time, but there was one scene that really troubled me. The French minister of morality who represented the character of traditional morality (and portrayed as a hypocritical buffoon of course) was forced to carry a Christian cross. I was a lot younger then and it took me about a week to comprehend what it really meant but eventually it became clear: this was a war against culture and in the end Christianity. Later in the movie a statue of Christ on the cross morphed into a moving man. You can figure out the rest.

      About five years later I was in New York at seminary and was invited to dinner by an older friend at his sister’s house. Their son had just come out as gay. They were Orthodox (although secularized). The son was interested in talking to me, to challenge me actually, on his homosexuality. We are eating dinner and he asks the question. I tell him it’s a sin. The guy yells back I am wrong. The husband was dominated by the wife, she was interested in wealth and status, and the son grew up in a spiritually vacuous home. They were silent during his tirade. I never got invited back but I knew the world was changing.

      Two weeks ago I was talking to four friends (Orthodox) in their 70’s. The son of one couple came out as gay last year (we knew but it was still hidden). The grandson (24 years old) of the second couple just came out as gay. What was a trickle in New York is turning into a running stream. This will become much more common than we think. They really can’t comprehend it since their life experience is so different although they still love their son and grandson of course.

      There is a difference between resisting homosexualization and dealing with the person conflicted with same-sex attraction. You can deal one on one in the way I described in an earlier post. You can’t hold the confused young man I described for the ideological advances of the homosexual lobby. On the other hand, leaders who promote homosexualization either through their life-styles or complicity must be held accountable. If they aren’t, more young people will conclude the tacit moral acceptance that their actions convey is moral policy and will become ensnared in this very debilitating vice.

      Healing is possible, but there will be no possibility for healing if the moral prohibitions are relaxed. Morality, properly understood, is an occasion for healing. That’s what the author of the pdf is trying to get at (he knows that God can heal not only the body, but soul and psyche as well) and he has probably witnessed it with his own eyes, if not affected some of God’s healing himself. Orthodoxy can make a great contribution here (it has a healthier and fuller comprehension of human anthropology because the theology is better developed), but that light remains under a bushel as long as our house remains in disorder.

      You mentioned the Church of Galatia and how, in leaving Christ (while thinking they were serving Him), devolved into biting and devouring each other (Paul’s words, not mine). You forgot to mention that the only antidote to the apostasy was a recovery of the Gospel. That is the reason Paul wrote the epistle and what is needed here as well.

      • Chris Plourde says

        You mentioned the Church of Galatia and how, in leaving Christ (while thinking they were serving Him), devolved into biting and devouring each other (Paul’s words, not mine). You forgot to mention that the only antidote to the apostasy was a recovery of the Gospel. That is the reason Paul wrote the epistle and what is needed here as well.

        I couldn’t agree more, or more strongly.

        Today, right now, the Church is threatened far more by an abandonment of the Gospel on a day-to-day basis by those who believe they are most dedicated to the Church than by any political agenda.

        What I see from both “sides” is delight in the errors of others, anger, outrage, fear and despair. It saddens me that good people are embracing these passions while thinking they’re defending the Church.

        I often think of my own situation as a layman in the Church as being like a passenger in a plane, and I recall the safety instructions the flight crew gives before every takeoff. They say in case of depressurization *first* we have to make sure our own mask is properly seated and working, *then* we might attempt to help the person seated directly next to us with theirs. Most of us have a role is that limited and constrained on a plane, and I think also in the Church. This is obedience.

        Let us say that today’s is such a crisis for the OCA. The vast majority of us help the church more by making sure our life of prayer, fasting and mercy are in place, that our sacramental life is in accord with the direction our regular confessor and/or spiritual father, and by resisting the urge to further “help” until directed to do so by the pilot or crew than by getting caught up in the maelstrom at the risk of our lives. And, as on the plane, making loud desperate noises only makes things worse, only adds to confusion and fear.

        Anger, outrage, fear, despair, etc. are sure signs that we need to recheck our own condition before we do anything else. We need to ensure that we’re not abandoning God even as we seek to serve him, and we need to trust that God will not abandon us if we are faithful to Him.

        Christ is Risen! Let the Peace of Christ which is beyond all understanding reign in our hearts, on our lips and at our fingertips.

        • Ashley Nevins says

          …and, let action and not words be your change of the corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying state of the EOC or it will not happen no matter how much anyone agrees or disagrees with me. Words are only worth what action follows them. You can pray, fast, reverence Icons, read your Bibles, have food festivals, conduct true and right church on Sunday, go to monasteries, etc and it makes no difference if what all the Orthodox do in church and in their personal lives with God does not result in change away from the state the EOC is in. Reverent ritual is not reverent action. Right belief and right worship results in right action if the right belief and right worship are right before God. You wrote a good post now follow it up with real world practical application of the relationship with God you speak too that calls us to action OVER forum words.

          If the Orthodox do not realize that the words of their claim of being Gods only alone right and one true church mean nothing without relevancy that is ACTION you will be found as hollow as your claim and your words will only show hypocrisy as your witness and when action is to be the witness of the Gospel. If you truly are who you claim to be then live up to it by being the role model and example of what Christ relevancy in the Gospels is. ACTION and not claims or words from a corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying church is your proof in claim and nothing else in the real world outside the Orthodox world.

          Either your claim is true or the state of your church is true. Which one is it? You can’t be corrupt and be your claim at the same time. That is pure hypocrisy. You can’t make the claim and be in the state of church you are in and believe the claim has integrity or crediability. It can have all the crediability and integrity you believe it has, but you don’t count. The reality of the real world is what counts. That is the real world church that lives up to what it says it is.

          That is exactly what Jesus told the Sanhedrin who also believed they were the only true and right salvation from God with the only God right and true theology and resulting structure and system of God on earth. The too were tradition and orthodox based and Christ was in their FACE. They were a corrupt, irrelevant, dying and failed religion and their traditions and orthodoxy led them into that. Of course, since the EOC is who it says it is by claim it could never ever be found in this state by its traditions or orthodoxy. The claim says it can’t. Oh, yes, it does too.

          Christ is alive relationship and not dead religion. The state of a church tells the world which one it truly is. The claim does not tell the world that. The state of the church does. True church is the church with the living and alive relationship with God that is the relevancy of God. It is not a church that makes a claim of relevancy and is found in a corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying state.

          Claiming to be Gods only alone right and one true church on the planet is the claim that you are the most relevant church on the planet. I see right through the claim. I see your true state of church compared to its claim. The claim is your comparison and not Christ in the Gospels. I take it step further than the Orthodox do. I can compare you to both the claim you make and Christ in the Gospels. What do any of you think I see in the comparison? I see how both reveal the state of your church.

          Welcome Orthodox to the real Christian world outside of you that sees you in comparison to your claim and Christ in the Gospels. How do you look in the comparison?

          Ashley Nevins

          • Chris Plourde says


            It was David who most clearly laid down the test: O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

            Jesus Christ died to the cross while praying to God, there is no Gospel which finds Christ on Golgotha voicing anger, outrage, fear or despair.

            The martyrs throughout the ages have gone to their deaths praising God.

            This is what it has always meant to be Christian, from the very beginning.

            When we open our mouths (or hit our keyboards) and what pours forth is anger, outrage, fear and despair, it wasn’t God who opened our lips.

            And so when we find ourselves in that mode, and we all do, it is critical that we attempt to regain what we’ve lost, to return to the Gospel and reorient ourselves on Christ, let we drive ourselves into the pit.

          • William Harrington says

            Ashley. Christ said he would let the wheat grow up with the tares before harvest. You want a perfect, uncorrupt church? You wont get it. that’s part of the Gospel. Now, how are you going to deal with that? Keep telling people to leave the church because its not perfect? There is nowhere to go to. None of the heterodox churches are without their problems and the Holy Orthodox church has not been overcome after a couple of millenia of internal corruption and outward persecution. The gates of hell shall not overcome her. That is gospel as much as the parable of the wheat and weeds.

      • Ashley Nevins says

        Yes, I am angry at sin that abuses, lies, keeps secrets, covers up and rationalizes its sin. I am zero tolerance about such things. The Orthodox laity men of God are my lastest anger. They allow it all to go on and then stand around and wonder why it all goes on.

        Maybe if the Orthodox men of God got angry about sin in the church that abuses the church would change? Do the Orthodox hate sin or do they love sin? Are they angry enough over the sin to stop the sin? When is enough really going to be enough for them? The state of the church is the answer to the questions.

        If you had a son or daughter abused it would not make you angry. Why you would just Orthodox roll over, lay down and take it like all of you do in all the other corruptions revolving around the circular without solution church. I will say this. Your church is in this state because no one is angry enough about the sin state that it is in to do anything about it. My only conclusion is that you all must be HAPPY about its true state or you would change it. At times all of you talk angry, but talk is only worth the breath it speaks. In reality, all of you are powerless to stop the corrupt and failed state of church and none of you are angry enough about that to change that to enpowerment that does change the state of your church.

        Yes, I know if you all get too angry that might cause a revolution in the church and the church then might make a giant paradigm shift leap forward into church relevancy to our generation. That’s just too big of a risk too take. You might sin in your anger if you change the state of your church. Yes, let cooler heads prevail and let’s see where you end up as a church in 25 years. Everyone just stay all Orthodox calm and collected and the hierarchies will figure it all out for you and just like they have since you arrrived in America. Nothing to get angry about. The hierarchies of God are in power and control leading the church into relevancy to our generation. Is my sarcasim showing through yet?

        Don’t you just love how the OCA hates the GOA and the GOA hates the OCA. Why, just think what all that hate energy could be turned into if it was anger at the state of their jurisdictions. Why, they just might start to hate sin like God hates sin instead hating each other. They might even be able to work together to stop the self destruction of the EOC in America that no one seems to be angry enough about to stop.

        Is love of sin EOC unity or is hate of sin EOC unity? Is the systemic corruption of the EOC hate or love ruling in the church?

        Shhhhh, keep this a big Orthodox hidden secret. If you hate sin in the church you might have to get angry about it to change it and so don’t get angry to change anything. Remain the Orthodox same.

        Sin hates and it destroys by hatred. That kind of makes me angry when I see sin destroying Christians and then Christians just stand around and let it abuse and destroy other Christians, but that’s just me. I admit I do not have Orthodox tolerance for sin. I don’t have Orthodox grace and mercy towards it in its unrepentance. It makes me angry. I am highly sarcastic towards it.

        Figure out why Jesus in the Gospels was REALLY sarcastic in the Gospels and it may help you with my sarcasim towards what is very much the same as what He confronted. He was highly sarcastic towards them and because they refused to listen and they refused to change. He was pissed off to put it mildly. He called them out over it. He was a revolutionary and a warrior who did not mince words. Humiity is anger at sin. It just hates it and it got angry enough to come here and deal with it in person. Christ in the Gospels is that.

        I can see how revoluntionary and warrior for God the EOC in America is by how it hates the sin self destructing it. Why all of you are so angry over that you are all ready to walk and just like Jesus walked on the Sanhedrin and left them in a corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying state of self destruction. Christ did not go down with their sinking ship. He walked away from them by paradigm shift to relevancy in His generation. They were not relevancy to His generation and can you tell me the Orthodox explanation of why and how they were not? You will not have to look very far for your answer. Get my drift? Oh, but that is just my anger showing through, right?

        I am a relentless pit bull with the DNA of Patton when I come at this issue in the church. If you do not understand the strategy of the evil to destroy a church by the realization of what that strategy really is and you don’t get angry over what it is really doing to your jurisdictions, then stay Orthodox shinny, pretty, nice and polite as he destroys your church by ugly, dirty, ruthless and diobolical hate. He is angry at God and so He is angry at you. Be Christian nice back to him as He destroys your church right in front of your eyes. Don’t get angry. Be happy. Think happy thoughts to defeat his evil thoughts of ruthless murder destroying your church.

        Oh, and don’t get angry at the evil one when he walks in and takes over to turn you into corruption and failure as a church. Let’s not get mad about that. Someone might think we have an attitude problem with the church authority being corrupt to it core. That is an authority problem with corrupt authority and you just can’t have that, now, can you? Why Orthodox unity might just fracture to pieces if you did that (LOL). The authorty of the church might think you are angry about that and we all know that kind of anger is not of God and just like Jesus was never angry like that in the Gospels. He never applied action to His words and so Orthodox follow His example.

        Don’t clean out the house of God with anger. Do it real nice and polite and so no one notices the radical changes to your morality and ethics. Subtly change and be sure to take centuries to do it. That is what Jesus would do if He was alive and real walking in the flesh among you, right? He would not get angry at what He finds. He would bless it and all the hierarchies and laities that created it, right? Why Orthodoxy would become the premiere form of mission and evangelism in this world by His blessings and just like it is today. Yes, let’s let Paul loose in the EOC and let’s see his response to what he finds. Me thinks me knows what his reaction would be. In your face confrontation that was like a pit bull coming for you at full run speed. Do you think hierarchies would tremble in his presence and do you believe he would not be angry at what he finds?

        Do you know that Jesus was sarcastic with those He confronted because He hated their sin but He still loved them. Interesting how God can be angry at them and love them both at the same time, is it not? He loved them enough to tell them their outcome if they did not repent. Did they listen? Did their refusal to listen cause Him to become sarcastic with them?

        Shocker!!! Jesus in the Gospels confronted both a cult of tradition and an orthodox cult. Oh, yes, He did too. Cults do not listen. Is the EOC based in orthodoxy and tradition? OOPS. I really stepped deep into it now! Oh, my, am I in trouble or what now? I said it outloud and on purpose. I would really be in big trouble if I started making real world comparisons between them. Don’t want any Orthodox ANGRY at me. Better just leave that one alone. The Orthodox get angry in defense of their church, but I have yet to see them really get angry by offense that changes their church. Sounds rather like those Christ confronted in the Gospels, do you think for yourself think so too? OOPS. There I go again. It’s my anger showing through.

        Let the corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying church be the church of your childrens future Christianity and their children too. It will not be here for your grandchildren if you do or what is left here will be nothing anyone would want their children or grand children involved in. Don’t get angry about that outcome for the EOC. Think happy Orthodoxy thoughts.

        Have a nice Orthodox day! Don’t get angry. Be happy!

        Ashley Nevins

        PS: Excellent reply on your part.

        • Elizabeth says

          One must CHOOSE to forgive to be released from the anguish of anger, Mrs. Nevins. I hope that you will make this choice to resolve your anger.

        • William Harrington says

          I didn’t get very reading your post. The basic flaw is right up front. If we were unhappy about the sin in our church we would end it? I don’t have any power to end any sin but my own and I’m not very good at that. The solution you look for will not happen in this life except in a very few people who do attain theosis. If your goal is to make yourself angry because you enjoy it, that is a problem. If your anger is righteous then temper it with compassion, not condemnation. Right now you have a fantasy that can’t and wont be attained anywhere before the judgement and you compare reality with it and get angry. What does this accomplish. By the way, you keep referring to the Orthodox church in a way than leads me to conclude that you are not Orthodox. What is your faith, if I may ask?

    • Ashley, we already know all that. What do you think all the talk on this blogsite is all about?
      The only thing we would absolutely disagree with you is your very last sentence

      I promise, and all of my promises to the EO come true. All of them.

      because the 2000+ history of our Church proves that you are not a reliable “prophetess.”

  22. Former Canterburian says

    I just saw this conclusion at the end of Stokoe’s latest post:

    “That is what was done in Chicago. After two long days of questions, discussions and reports, Father Garklavs, upon leaving, received a loud, long and heartfelt standing ovation from all present. An hour later after a energetic singing of “Shine, Shine”, to conclude the meeting, the Metropolitan turned to bless the Assembly. Heads bowed. The weak “Eis Polla” that followed quickly faded into silence.

    – Mark Stokoe”

    Is that really a true picture of the full OCA today? If it is, we are done for. What about the rest of the church? I fear that many of us have counted on a “silent majority” behind Jonah and opposed to the liberalization of the OCA. If there is no outcry now, then I conclude that there is no majority, silent or otherwise. Probably good to have done with that illusion, if illusion it be. We shall see in the days to come what the OCA is made of.

    I would be curious to hear from fellow counterrevolutionaries how we can best express our strong displeasure over what has transpired. As grateful as I am for blogs like this one, the bishops can afford to ignore them. They cannot afford to ignore the redirection of our tithes to IOCC, but we must not fail to write our bishops and tell them exactly why we are redirecting our tithe.

    • prophetessanna says

      Can anyone advise the best way for one of his faithful supporters (me) to get a message to him?

      A snail mail handwritten letter to Syosset marked *personal?*

      Or should I send it to His Beatitude at St Nicholas Cathedral?

      Or an email through the hand of the Chancellor? Would that actually be forwarded?

      I have known him for many years now, and I would like him to know that my prayers are with him.

      • jacksson says

        I would say snail mail is the best and that is what he told me to do. It is still a federal offense to interfere with the delivery of U. S. mail. I too am close to him, he is my spiritual father and I am the first person he baptized as a young priest in Merced, CA.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Snail mail definately. Also, every believing Christian in the OCA should also think of sending him a personal check to help offset his expenses. Assuming that there are over 50,000 people in the OCA, if every one of these sent him $5.00 that would come to 250,000.00.

          • I guess that means use the Washington address?

          • I don’t know that he needs money at this time – his salary as Metropolitan is something like $100,000 in pay and “benefits”. I don’t know what that translates to in real world terms, but provided that the OCA keeps paying him, he should be fine. He’s a monk, anyway, not the kind of man who would want to turn his rectory into a tribute to Graceland.

            My concern is with the possible withholding of his salary if that DOW resolution is ever adopted (whether formally or… informally), as well as the undue criticism being given to his travel budget. My intent would be to help provide for his needs in such an event, as well as help him refund the OCA for travel expenses if it was demanded. The Metropolitan Council determines the budget, which is why you don’t hear anyone complaining about them overshooting their budget.

            He did overspend on travel in 2010, that’s true, but the truth is that the OCA overspent in other areas, too, and he didn’t overspend by such a large margin that it would warrant such scrutiny. In 2009, the Metropolitan’s travel was way, way overbudget, but I don’t recall anyone complaining because the Metropolitan was locum tenens of half the country by the end of the year.

            • Pravoslavnie says

              HB lost big time last week, and the DOW resolution is now defacto policy for OCA though I think that the OCA will find that it is illegal to withhold salary.

              The Holy Synod is now busily undoing everything that HB has done, including sending the DC Nuns packing, reaffirming Syosset as the Chancery, effectively reinstating Fr. Garlavs, tossing Fr. Joe out of St. Nick, undoing HB’s resumption of locum tenens duties, and putting a leash and muzzle on HB. The Metropolitan is now a mere spokesman for the Holy Synod with the Bishop Melchizedek having become the church’s COO until a new Chancellor is named.

        • prophetessanna says

          Thank you. I will send it asap. You are blessed to have been baptized into Christ at the hands of Metropolitan Jonah.

    • Former Canterburian, I think the “silent” majority is silent, because they have not been informed or have not informed themselves about what is going on. If my parish is any indication, I would say not even 10% are aware of all this. And my parish is of an average age of about 33 years, well supplied with all the modern gadgets of interconnectivity….
      I have not made any attempts to inform, because I am reluctant to “stir the manure.” However, I will consult with my priest about what to do….
      I must admit a caveat, we are all “nice” Canadians and quite allergic to American “noise and turmoil”….. so, what to do. There is also a danger that all of the Canadian OCA Archdiocese will just get the idea that we are maybe better of with a Canadian Church…. maybe even get warmed up and cosy with ROCOR, the Ukrainians and the Greeks, Romanians, Serbians and Antiochians of the Great White North….

  23. Heracleides says

    Just read Mrs. Mark Stokoe’s latest BS spin on the happenings in Chicago – the man truly has no shame, as witnessed by his closing dig:

    “That is what was done in Chicago. After two long days of questions, discussions and reports, Father Garklavs, upon leaving, received a loud, long and heartfelt standing ovation from all present. An hour later after a energetic singing of ‘Shine, Shine’, to conclude the meeting, the Metropolitan turned to bless the Assembly. Heads bowed. The weak ‘Eis Polla’ that followed quickly faded into silence.”

    Stokoe obviously couldn’t resist. Honestly – what a loser.

    • unbelievable. If anyone who supports Mark Stokoe is reading this, read that.

    • I can only conclude that the Metropolitan Council is a lousy singing group.

      Next time, they should have the SVS Octet instead. They could do an Eis Polla that gladdens the heart, causes heaven’s angels to rejoice, and literally extends the bishop’s life by eight minutes. And I bet they would do a better job running the OCA, too.

      • Chris Plourde says


        That one made me smile! 😉

        • Carl Kraeff says

          I was disappointed that MS took that parting shot. Even if it reflected what happened, he did not have to report it. OTH, the rest of his report seemed remarkably free of personal opinions or spin. Finally, a standing ovation for Helga! Brava!

          • :curtsy: Thank you, gentlemen, thank you.

          • Elizabeth says

            Carl, I was saddened to see that you missed the passive aggressive attacks (spin), so I’ll point them out for you.

            1. Metropolitan Jonah was motivated by greed to become the locum tenens of the DOS.

            “This is no minor adjustment; for in +Jonah’s case, it means he will permanently lose the $3,000 a month stipend he was receiving, until recently,from Dallas.”

            2. Metropolitan Jonah is a scammer.

            “This is in direct response to the Metropolitan’s assertion that although he agreed to a Leave of Absence in Santa Fe, as witnessed by the Minutes of the previous meeting of the Synod, he never signed anything, so he felt it was not binding.”

            3. Metropolitan Jonah seeks flattery.

            “Ahab did not like Micaiah because he never prophesied good concerning him, but evil; probably he liked the sycophant son of Chenaanah better; yet might Ahab have escaped…. had he but stopped his ears to flattery, and opened them to faithful counsel….”

            4. Metropolitan Jonah’s participation in discussions are not frank, open, respectful, honest serious, professional, or disciplined.

            “The Metropolitan Council meetings were overwhelming characterized by very frank, open, respectful, honest, serious, professional, disciplined dialogue between the bishops, the Council and the staff present. The Metropolitan spoke little.”

            5. The final passive aggressive bash came with this statement:

            “The weak “Eis Polla” that followed quickly faded into silence.”

            • Heracleides says

              You’ve nailed it Elizabeth. Well done.

              • Geo Michalopulos says

                Well said. MS is great for using the passive voice and of course for not giving context.

            • One more: Metropolitan Jonah demanded that everyone else adhere to his own schedule by postponing the meetings.

              “The Synod of Bishops of the OCA met in a delayed Spring Session May 2-3 in Chicago, followed immediately by a delayed joint meeting with the Metropolitan Council on May 4; which in turn was followed by a scheduled second day of meetings between an expanded Lesser Synod and the Metropolitan Council on May 5th. The delays were caused by the postponement of the previously scheduled meetings by Metropolitan Jonah. To accommodate his schedule all sessions were held at Christ the Saviour Church, which is adjacent to the Midwest Diocesan Center, in downtown Chicago.”

              So, we have:

              – Three mentions of the word “delay” in two sentences

              – Attribution of the responsibility for the delays to Metropolitan Jonah alone instead of to the Synod collectively

              – Presentation of the postponement as an arbitrary decision on Metropolitan Jonah’s part by saying it was to “accommodate his schedule”, when the Santa Fe minutes clearly state that it was the rest of the Synod’s idea for him to go on leave and to have it begin right after their meeting.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Helga, the Keystone Kops could do a better job. It’d be more amusing at least. Really, we need to pray for HB right now, that he knows that he is loved and admired and respected by thousands of good, honest, Christian folk. That God is not mocked and that he will be vindi.cated in the end. I really believe that. To believe otherwise would mean that in normalizing Stokovism, then the gates of hell hath indeed prevailed against the Church. Not possible.

        • I should mention that SVS’s choir director is one of Met. Jonah’s monks who came from St. John’s. I thought that was pretty cool.

          When I read the minutes from Santa Fe, the part where they sent him out of the room in order to discuss his ‘health’ really got to me. I could only imagine how it felt as they made a show of casting him out of the room, and then broadcasting their “concerns” to the oikoumene via the public minutes. Maybe it didn’t affect him too badly, since he’s a much better person than I am, but it turned my stomach into knots with worry and anger on his behalf.

          I’d do anything to be able to personally tell Metropolitan Jonah I love him, that I’m praying for him, and that he has my confidence, like by sending him a note or something. I’d just want to make sure I sent it somewhere that he’d actually be able to read it at some point, not have it screened and junked.

    • a loud, long and heartfelt standing ovation from all present

      for a Chancellor who was fired for doctoring a very important report to the Holy(?) Synod to suit his own purpose

      The weak ‘Eis Polla’ that followed quickly faded into silence.

      because most were so appalled by what was happening before their very eyes that they couldn’t carry tune?

  24. “Get the Bishop’s blessing,” I am always told. “Vladyka, bless,” I ask.

    Now, I can only think of Hamlet who loves his mother but wishes she would return to her former ways:

    “And when you are desirous to be bless’d,
    I’ll blessing beg of you.”

    For her to actually be and act “bless’d” again, for Hamlet, would be for her to love what is good, to love properly what is proper. He saw she was capable of that before she switched teams:

    “So excellent a king; that was, to this,
    Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother
    That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
    Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
    Must I remember? why, she would hang on him,
    As if increase of appetite had grown
    By what it fed on.”

    St. Gregory of Nyssa describes true eros as this kind of desirous striving for God, ever reaching towards the Logos yet never reaching it. Yet ever increasing our efforts to do so because our appetite for the Light of God grows by what it feeds on.

    We eat and drink the Body and Blood and desire to do so again and again. We desire to be more worthy of this sacrament next time, to be able — someday — to commune truly, with tears, discerning the bread and wine as what they truly have become. We are filled, yet our appetite is as infinite as what fills it.

    What blessing can I get from, and how bless’d are, they whose appetites are set upon the mere things of this world?

    I would that these men were desirous of being blesséd, and worthy of being begged for a blessing.

  25. O Hamartolos says

    Dear faithful of the DOS, deans, archpriests, priests, deacons, brothers and sisters,

    It has been reported that Fr. Gerasim is no longer a candidate for the episcopal throne in Alaska. Fr. Gerasim, is a genuinely Christian man, full of zeal and love for the Lord. He has a proven record of faithful service to his monastic community and to the Orthodox faithful in the vicinity of the the monastery, around the country and around the world. I strongly urge you all to seriously consider Fr. Gerasim as a candidate for our bishop in the South. Fr. Gerasim is a man not bound the trappings of jurisdictions, as seen by his many friends, and spiritual children from around the world. His love of different cultures and languages reminds me of our beloved Vladyko Dmitri. If I am not mistaken, Fr. Gerasim is fluent in English (of course), Russian, Serbian and Spanish. In a diocese as diverse as the South, such a man would do much, I am sure, to reach out to all the various ethnicities represented in our parishes and unify us even more. If you want a man with a missionary spirit and vision, Fr. Gerasim should be our choice. If we simply want a polished bishop, a good administrator and a maintainer of the stats quo, we already have our man in the administrator of the south. I am saddened by that frigid prospect, but would welcome the warm and fatherly embrace of Fr. Gerasim as our bishop.

    Who is with me!?

    • I’m with you! Alaska’s loss should be the South’s gain!

    • Axios!

    • Carl Kraeff says

      We will nominate a bishop for our belowed DOS this year. It may be difficult for Fr. Gerasim to become a candidate as he reportedly withdrew from consideration for Alaska because he wants to finish his last year at SVOTS. Let’s not make things worse for this outstanding priest by putting him in an awkward position.

      • Trust me, Fr. Gerasim would be worth waiting for.

        • O Hamartolos says

          Fr. Gerasim is a humble man and I am quite sure obedient to his bishops. But, actually, I don’t know who his bishop is. I don’t think he is officially OCA yet, but I might be wrong. He was a priest in the Serbian Church prior to starting at SVOTS. So, I don’t know what, if any, relationship he has with Bishop Benjamin.

          • If I’m not mistaken, Fr. Gerasim is currently attached to the altar of Three Hierarchs Chapel, which is a stavropegial parish. That would make Metropolitan Jonah his bishop.

    • I read somewhere that BB was pushing for Fr. Gerasim to be bishop of Alaska. Anyone have any idea how dependent Fr. Gerasim is on BB?

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      count me in!

  26. Scott Walker says

    I am so enjoying the angst over here.
    The bishops met, the bishops decided.
    The bishops are not nearly as threatened by the “homosexual agenda” as you people are.
    Maybe it’s because there’s no such freaking thing.
    I’ve read what you have to say, and I don’t buy it.
    Too many of you posting here are right wing crazies, talking trash amongst yourselves, rubbing one another’s sores, bitching endlessly that the fags are coming. Been there, done that, got the T shirt, and wound up becoming Orthodox in an attempt to flee the madness enveloping the Evangelicals. I thank God for His Church, where I found beauty and sanity and Truth, which apparently is not enough for some of you. No, what you guys really seem to want is to open up another front in the Culture War.
    You want a schism? Really?
    Please, be my guest.
    Go hang with the Sanctified Brethren of the world, where you’ll feel right at home.
    Your gay-loathing and raving paranoid friend Ashley Nevins will be waiting to applaud you as you flee Christ’s Church, looking for someplace pure, just like Montanus and his pals were when they bailed on the Church in the 2nd century.
    Meanwhile, I’m sticking with my bishop, Benjamin. If he’s such a wicked man, bring three witnesses and charge him with something specific. Otherwise, quit with the slander.
    And George, you are a bully and a boor. And a bore.
    No wonder you fight alone.
    Now accuse me of being queer or something.
    I’m not, but that won’t matter to you.

    • Scott, I am so happy for you. Do you feel better, now that you dumped here?
      I didn’t catch it, but what, besides insulting everyone around, was your point again?
      Go in peace, but, really, go….

      • Scott Walker says

        I’m gone. Visits to the asylum are draining.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Scott, on your way out, please let us know if you’re still in the OCA. Because if you are, then you have some room to talk. And of course, if you remain, then you can open up the old checkbook and give to the various legal defense funds that are created when the payouts to the victims of abuse happens.

          As for me, I remain in the OCA in the Diocese of the South. We’ll keep on fighting the good fight in due time.

          • Really? Do you know if there are victims of abuse? If we wait, will we hear? If there are, and if you who are (silent) victims are reading this, I want you to know I care more than I can say, and I know there are many who care. We want you to be okay.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Saunca, please check your sources. While heterosexuals commit most pedophilic acts, that’s understandable given that heterosexuals make up 96% of the population. Homosexuals commit 36% of all molestations. Given that make up only 4% (at most) of the population, they are several times more likely to molest children than heterosexuals.

            • She should be telling you to check your sources. When you say “Homosexuals commit 36% of all molestations”, you give away the game, that you are basing your figure from a single study of limited scope widely circulated in anti-gay advocacy circles because mainstream studies won’t back up their conflation of homosexuality and pedophilia.

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              Agreed. The link has always been there between the two.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Saunca, again the statistics (Batelle, Guttmacher) indicate that homosexuals are around 3% of the population for males, 2% for females. Kinsey’s number of 10% was discredited long ago. However, even if we accept for the sake of argument a higher number (10%? 20%), that still indicates that those who are exclusively or mainly homosexual are a minority. This still does not obviate the fact that they engage in the sexual abuse of minors to a greater extent than homosexuals.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Scott, I don’t know you from Adam. What I do know is that you don’t understand cause and effect. Ciao!

    • Meanwhile, I’m sticking with my bishop, Benjamin. If he’s such a wicked man, bring three witnesses and charge him with something specific.

      Bishop Benjamin is the one who forbade Metropolitan Jonah to return to the monastery he built. I don’t need to convene a spiritual court in order to think Bishop Benjamin is a jerk.

      • Good point. Here we have truth. That did happen and it doesn’t make sense. I haven’t figured out what to think about Bishop Benjamin. But there are bishops about whom not much negative has been said, and there are those about whom some negative has been said and bishops about whom a heap of negative has been said, and bishops about whom lovely things have been said by some, and horrible things have been said by others. It’s not going to be easy to find three witnesses, etc…. Stick with him, but remember not to put your trust in princes, in sons of men, in whom there is no salvation. Oh, I forgot, you left this blog. I suppose Mark will publish your remarks. Nice place to go, if you keep your eyes firmly shut. On second thought, you don’t need to shut your eyes on that site because it’s so dark you can’t see properly whether they are open or shut.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Helga, ask your correspondent what spiritual court would that be? As the present Holy Synod has two factions, one of them being a Stokovite Synod, then what kind of a court would that be? A kangaroo court if you aks me.

      • jacksson says

        I have been wondering about the ban of Metropolitan Jonah from visits to the West by Bishop Benjamin. Does that mean that he can’t even visit his parents in San Diego?

        It seems to me that Bishop Benjamin and then Abbot Jonah were good friends a few years ago. I must have missed something, what happened that has caused Bishop Benjamin to turn into a real creep in his relationship with the Metropolitan? Healing needs to take place and I am sure that my spiritual father is praying for Bishop Benjamin every day; I state this by remembering the anguish in his words (we were visiting the monastery in Pt Reyes then) when Fr. Nicolai, then the priest of the Las Vegas parish when he stopped to help a stalled car and got beat up on the freeway on his way to work, asking us to pray for the future bishop. Also, later when Bishop Benjamin was ill (after his bout with alcohol), Abbot Jonah asked us to keep him in our prayers (something that I need to go back to doing, but for different reasons (or maybe the same reasons??)).

    • Nicholas Verdi says

      Scott, ask your righteous bishop what exactly he has against Bishop +Nikolai?

    • Meanwhile, I’m sticking with my bishop, Benjamin. If he’s such a wicked man, bring three witnesses and charge him with something specific. Otherwise, quit with the slander.

      The same should go for +Met. Jonah, don’t you think?
      But your bishop + voting majority of the Holy(?) Synod are refusing to do just that.
      So, meanwhile, many of us here are sticking by our +Met. Jonah.

  27. Solovej says

    Reading this sorry narrative is most dismaying. One is given to wonder where the Church leaves off and Christianity begins.

    Shortly after his installation, Jonah (the use of the supererogatory plus sign as an epistolary episcopal proboscis is nothing less than gelastic) remarked in a notable address (prior to the one in which he excoricated the Oecumenical Patriarch referring to the “American Orthodox Church” to “leave it alone”), he pontificated, “if we wanted a pope, I suspect we would have the real one.”

    This is telling in its irony. He was, despite his brusque rhetoric, very much on point. The OCA ought to be allowed to develop organically and naturally. This was Moscow’s intention. And it needs a pope, or at least a patriarch. Jonah, despite his reputed natural humility and gentleness of soul, is the man for the job. He needs the stiff spine and the wrath of Christ to expel the temple parasites. The cabal of corrupt inverts that seek to control the OCA, seize its revenues and turn it into a caricature of the Atellan farce that is the ECUSA must be ostracised. They are the smoke of Satan entered into the temple of God and by their sulphurous stench in the nostrils of the faithful they shall be known.

    On a personal note, I was, in my youth, drawn to Orthodoxy for the same reasons that Prince Vladimir’s envoys were. Did Heaven upon earth cease to exist with the mohammedan-raped shrine of Hagia Sophia? Many long years later, I have again felt its attraction, its sublime beauty, its eternal truth. But the current state of the OCA is repugnant. Is this the earthly Heaven? Or a sewer in an exurb of Hell?

    Metropolitan Jonah, fight the good fight, run the race, keep the faith. Или может быть, я должен научиться арабскому языку?

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Methinks you would be at home in the RCC.

      • Brendan says

        Total nonsense of a response Carl. How do the other national Orthodox Churches work?

        You know what pisses me the most? It’s that whenever someone raises the quite rational point that having a primate makes sense, that person is predictably and immediately denounced as a papist. This is a crap response. The reality is that one pole is the Roman one (which we as Orthodox do not accept) and the other is a radical conciliarist position, which it seems the OCA synod endorses currently. The interesting point is that other national Orthodox Churches have real primacy and real conciliarity, whereas we can’t seem to manage that. I suspect this is because, as Americans, we have an overwhelming bias against authority, which we then read into the canons. This is representative of neither Tradition (as practiced) nor of Orthodoxy (as practiced), and is a great American Orthodox shame, in my opinion.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Brendan, that is an astounding analysis. Well said.

          All, that’s one of the glories of this blog. With the wealth of talent that it brings forth, it makes it so easy to write. In fact, that’s to y’all, the American Orthodox Narrative is almost writing itself. And believe it or not, the Stokovite Narrative has been pushed back. Significantly in my opinion.
          This will be explored soon.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          When someone puts forth a rational argument, I do not immediately condemn, as you well know from our discussion earlier on this thread. To tell you the truth, my initial reaction was to tell him that he was one of the most pompous asses that I have ever read. I thought that what I ended up saying was a relatively mild remark in response to his inane statement that we need a Pope. Good grief!

          Added: When you had earlier written that we needed the Metropolitan to be the prophetic voice for the Church, I did not say anything but had wondered which Church Father gave you that idea. It could not have come from the Holy Scriptures or from the father of Orthodox ecclesiology, Saint Ignatius of Antioch, the third Bishop there after Saint Peter. Would you care to enlighten us? Or will you just make statements without any backing, as our host is sometimes apt to do (Still waiting for Father Hopko’s talk, George).

          • (Still waiting for Father Hopko’s talk, George)

            That sounds just like ASIATR

      • Solovej says

        No, not in the RCC. Not since the Roman Reformation of Vatican II. The theology has gone protestant, the liturgy gone masonic, the clergy gone queer. Maybe after the schism and Benedict’s “smaller Church”. But only if they revive the Old Roman chant.

        I would actually be more at home in the ROC (MP).

        I agree with Brendan’s point about real conciliarity and real primacy. You have mistaken my reference to “pope” as a longing for a Roman style papacy. I don’t think that is what Jonah was arguing for; but he recognised the need for a strong primate to purge the Augean stables and avoid defiling them with the same ordure. There’s a lot to be said for a boss with testiculos bene pendentes. May His Beatitude succeed.

        And I pass over your sophomoric ad hominem. I’ve been called worse. I bear you no grudge and hope your attainment of обожение is accompanied by a more charitable mouth.

        • jacksson says

          It is very hard to clean the Augean stables when the inhabitants vote on whether they want cleanliness or the filth that they are used to. The dog does have a tendency to return to that meal that it just regurgitated, licks it lips, and dives in.

    • supererogatory plus sign as an epistolary episcopal proboscis is nothing less than gelastic

      I wondering what that means or implies.

      • Solovej says

        Sorry, Nikos, I was just being a pompous ass (really).

        It is my understanding that the use of the + sign in front of a hierarch’s name is reserved to his signature only. When discussing him in another context it is not necessary to prefix the + to his name every time he is mentioned. Perhaps the custom is different in different locales.

        Being myself a defective Christian, I suppose I should prefix a minus sign in from of my name.

        God bless.


        • I was just being a pompous ass

          Solovej: I really didn’t take it that way.
          I thought the + sign before or after a hierarch’s name meant he was living,
          and a + after his name meant that he was deceased.

          • I didn’t know that. I’ll definitely look into it. Thanks, Nikos — it’s good to learn something new.

  28. Heracleides says

    George – not sure if you will mind or not (please delete if you do), but thought I’d repost Bp. Tikhon’s latest post to the Indiana List (I found it interesting and thought others might as well):

    Subject: What goes around
    From: Bishop Tikhon
    Reply-To: Orthodox Christianity
    Date: Sat, 7 May 2011 16:20:13 -0700
    Content-Type: text/plain
    Parts/Attachments: text/plain (76 lines)

    I remember that at one of the last Holy Synod meetings (or the very
    last) I attended, “under Metropolitan Herman”, we had to sit and listen
    to a couple of business administration wannabe experts lecture us on how
    they felt the administration/chancery of the OCA should be organized and
    what was so wrong with the present one. Their most important and
    purposeful effort was to repeat, iike a mantra, that the core problem in
    the present administration was that too much power was concentrated in
    one person, the Chancellor. When asked, a presenter said he had no idea
    what a chancellor did in other Local Churches, e.g., the Greek Orthodox
    Archdiocese. He thought it was irrelevant to his expert opinion.
    Adding tremendous “weight” to the presentation were flow charts, meant,
    no doubt, to stupefy the hierarchs, who were, of course, ignorant of
    ‘real’ administrative principles. I think that both Bishop Nikolai (with
    his MBA degrees and administrative experience “in the world”) and I,
    with over four years on the Air Staff in the Pentagon and a few months
    long ago as an administrative assistant to a Ford division head) were,
    indeed, stupefied by that presentation.
    I write of this because the Holy Synod with the cooperation of the
    Metropolitan Soviet has approved a kind of overlay on the Statute of the
    OCA which designates the Chancellor as being independent of the
    authority of the Metropolitan except that the Metropolitan is head of
    the Holy Synod, to which the Chancellor now reports.
    In fact, the present Holy Synod, with the Metropolitan Soviet, has
    bestowed power on the OCA Chancellor beyond anything enjoyed by previous
    Chancellors: Frs. Kondratick, Hubiak, Pishtey, for example. Those
    Chancellors all reported to the Metropolitan as their immediate
    supervisor. This is a return to the very system that the would-be
    business administration experts decried and deplored!
    There are, it must be admitted, some aspects of the reorganizations
    approved just now by the Holy Synod which would appear to make the
    administration more canonical than it had been. As in most of the Local
    Churches, the administration at “the center” is now designated a Synodal
    Administration, rather than a “Central Administration.” The Serbian and
    other Local Churches are organized that way. Office and administrative
    tasks for the entire Church, that is, all the dioceses, are not
    cluttering up the First Hierarch’s job description. He is completely
    “freed up” to LEAD the Holy Synod and to interact with the First
    Hierarchs of all the other Local Churches (as well as truly
    administering his own diocese). The main task remaining to sweep away
    what is not canonical would be to replace the Metropolitan Soviet (which
    is an anomaly left over from the time when what is now the OCA was just
    one Archdiocese with its Archdiocesan Council (which was re-named
    “Metropolitan” Council only because the new First Hierarch was in the
    rank of Metropolitan (Metropolitan Platon, former Exarch of Georgia).

    I understand that the FBI is now investigating the apparent invasion of
    Archpriest Joseph Fester’s password-protected Google email account by an
    unknown hacker, and the theft of those emails as well as all other
    materials from his personal computer. This is something new. No one has
    indicated or even hinted that until now anyone else’s computer or email
    accounts had ever been hacked into, invaded, copied, or ROBBED. It
    should be said that just as J.Edgar Hoover in the old days used to
    insure that FBI agents routinely/automatically inspected WASTEBASKETS of
    persons under investigation in order to uncover suspicious conduct, so,
    too, someone got hold of copies of several emails produced by several
    members of the anti-Jonah Cabal, and gave me copies which I promptly
    proceeded to publish here on this List. I published them in order to
    harm no one; rather, I published them to prevent harm to someone,
    Metropolitan Jonah. No one who published material stolen from Father
    Joseph Fester’s computer had any other intent but that of harming and
    discrediting Father Joseph Fester (as if the knife in the ribs from a
    retired Protopresbyter had not done its job of assassination).
    I suppose that publication of the Holy Synod’s and Metropolitan Soviet’s
    recent activities have been given to Mrs. Steve Brown, as usual, for
    publication on Mrs. Steve Brown’s blog.
    Sometimes the days are just too short!!!

    Bishop. OCA. retired

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Heracleides, I have a feeling that this is far from over.

    • Looking to +Tikhon (Fitzgerald) retired, the delusional bishop of the West, for any balanced and truthful insights into this situation is like going to Bob Kondratick for advice on ethical management practices or Lady Gaga for a lecture on family values.

      Many of +Tikhon’s (Fitzgerald) previous public statements with regards to several key issues in the past were proven to be not only be incorrect, but really delusional and absolutely false.

      Here are just a few examples:

      Bishop Tikhon regarding the OCA Financial Scandal and Weeler’s Allegations
      Posted on Sat, 11 Feb 2006 15:20:12 on Indiana Listserv

      “All allegations of criminal conduct and financial malfeasance are false.”

      OCA SIC Report – 2008
      Dcn. Eric Wheeler’s allegations where proven true!

      Bishop Tikhon regarding Robert Kondratick Deserving a Mitre
      Posted on Sat, 11 Feb 2006 15:20:12 on Indiana Listserv

      “I would add that the Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America, Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick, has devoted his life to The Orthodox Church in America. He is a devout Priest, fulfilling in every respect these admonitions of Saint Paul to Timothy: “Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” as well as “Blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach, Not given to wine, no striker, NOR GREEDY OF FILTHY LUCRE; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in all subjectivity, with all gravity…”

      In the normal way of things, Father Bob should have been awarded the Priestly Mitre long ago.

      OCA SIC Report – 2008

      7. The Former Chancellor Robert Kondratick
      (a) misused hundreds of thousands of dollars from OCA accounts;

      (b) created unauthorized and unaudited “discretionary account,” funds from which are either undocumented or untraceable and apparently were used for payment of personal expenses;

      (c) submitted and received reimbursement for unauthorized personal and family expenses from the CA;

      (d) lived rent-free in a home owned by the OCA while receiving a housing allowance;

      (e) willfully ignored OCA procedures by seeking and receiving reimbursement for undocumented credit card expenses;

      (f) created a culture of deception, deceit, and covertness, which permeated the Chancery;

      (g) used OCA resources to develop personal loyalty, dependence, and silence an the part of hierarchy, clergy, and laity through gifts, which included cash, jewelry, meals, travel, lodging, and incidentals;

      (h) authorized numerous undocumented cash withdrawals just under the $10,000 United States Treasury reporting limit; and

      (i) imported religious and other articles for resale without proper documentation and accounting.


      Bishop Tikhon regarding Deacon Wheeler’s Allegations
      Posted on Sat, 4 Mar 2006 15:22:49 on Indiana Listserv

      “Our Holy Synod recently held a special meeting to address the unimpeded, unhindered, free-wheeling, irregular, shameless and disorderly allegations which became the source of so much totally unnecessary and uncalled-for disorder in our Church and which were even bruited on the internet and in the press, finally leading senior clergy to cry out for someone to address the lack of control at the top. Most of the allegations had been made by those who followed that canon for scoundrels: ‘Start at the top and work your way up!'”

      OCA SIC Report – 2008
      Dcn. Eric Wheeler’s allegations where proven true and accurate!


      Bishop Tikhon regarding Fr. Thomas Hopko Comments on the Crisis
      Posted on 4/4/2006, 3:34 pm on

      “I am perplexed by the role of faculty members, clergy members of the faculty of Saint Vladimir’s in advising Your Beatitude and/or fomenting greater disorder and chaos. I’m especially perplexed by the irrational advice gratuitously afforded me and others by Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko, who may be having some kind of stress incident. He first wrote us that the ONLY solution was his advice. No sooner had he done that, than, after the sensational and scandalous and arbitrary discharge of the Chancellor, he generously afforded us copies of the wisdom he has dispensed to the Metropolitan Council!

      I have my own diocesan council, and a Presbyterium second to none. What do I need with a dogmatic theologian’s, (I should say, ‘popularizer of theology for the educationally challenged’) kibbitzing advice? Any matushka and many other ladies in all my parishes have as good a grip, as advanced piety, and as many brains as Father Thomas Hopko. His letter to the Metropolitan Council is an unconscionable and mob-inciting RANT. What arrogance and self-delusion! He and that Protodeacon Danilchick, former Exxon or Enron accountant are, I understand, among Your Beatitude’s most favored advisors, though why anyone would curry their favor is way beyond my ken.”

      Most of the OCA and All of Us Living in the Real World – 1980-2011
      Fr. Thomas Hopko is a trusted and respected priest, teacher, writer, preacher, and theologian, with a proven track record of speaking truthfully and righteously.


      Bishop Tikhon regarding Robert Kondratick (Ode to Kondratick)
      Posted on Sat, 4 Mar 2006 15:22:49 on Indiana Listserv

      “I know of single human being alive in our Local Church today who has done more for more people in this Church than “Father Bob.” Before we had a program (often considered the answer to this or that problem) to assist the Clergy when there seemed to be no possible recourse at hand in the Church, there was Father Bob. Even though we now have a very good “Pastoral Assistance” program, I know that recourse to Father Bob personally remains the best possible solution in some cases. I would hesitate to estimate the unwieldy inundation of paper that would load down the Syosset Post Office at some future date if, on the occasion of his retirement, a call for personal testimonials to being helped by him or Bette by letter were to be solicited!”

      “That and the loving image of our Local Church as exemplified by both Father Bob and Metropolitan Theodosius, would not have taken place as it did, without their preparing the way for it.

      I hope that our Church leadership will find a way, perhaps after the Spring Session of the Holy Synod, to cite this outstanding model of a Christian Priest and his wife. I’m only writing this now because I feel that SOMEONE should do so, especially during a period when Father Bob has been the target and focus of most of the egregious behaviour being tolerated on and on and on and on, and and Bette both have endured ***unimaginable” calumnies and abuse”

      OCA SIC Report – 2008

      7. The Former Chancellor Robert Kondratick
      (a) misused hundreds of thousands of dollars from OCA accounts;

      (b) created unauthorized and unaudited “discretionary account,” funds from which are either undocumented or untraceable and apparently were used for payment of personal expenses;

      (c) submitted and received reimbursement for unauthorized personal and family expenses from the CA;

      (d) lived rent-free in a home owned by the OCA while receiving a housing allowance;

      (e) willfully ignored OCA procedures by seeking and receiving reimbursement for undocumented credit card expenses;

      (f) created a culture of deception, deceit, and covertness, which permeated the Chancery;

      (g) used OCA resources to develop personal loyalty, dependence, and silence an the part of hierarchy, clergy, and laity through gifts, which included cash, jewelry, meals, travel, lodging, and incidentals;

      (h) authorized numerous undocumented cash withdrawals just under the $10,000 United States Treasury reporting limit; and

      (i) imported religious and other articles for resale without proper documentation and accounting.

      • Heracleides says

        Yes, yes, Chris. We all know of your personal antipathy towards Tikhon – no need to constantly trot forth your out-of-context excerpts. Of course Tikhon is biased and has an agenda – but then so do you. As a former OCA insider and someone still plugged in behind the scene to the OCA power-structure, I simply find Tikhon’s postings interesting, not gospel truth. They certainly shed an opposing viewpoint on the spin of your favorite OCA insider, Mrs. Stokoe-Brown.

      • Can you disprove the substance of what Bishop Tikhon said in that posting? That the OCA once had a problem with concentrating too much power in the chancellor’s office, and here they’re doing it again? Because I started feeling that way without Bishop Tikhon’s help, thank you very much.

        Mark Stokoe likes to throw out insinuations about Metropolitan Jonah’s consorting with alleged Kondratick cronies. But if I ask myself who really appears to be imitating Kondratick’s alleged methods and practices, I’d have to say it’s the Stokovites.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Chris, I can’t dispute the substance of what you are writing but it’s all rather tangential if you ask me. I can’t say that I know anything about the retired bishop except what’s written by you and others, and though I’m inclined to give y’all the benefit of the doubt, the fact remains that what +Tikhon posted here seems right on the money.

        I mean no offense to you at all nor do I wish to wreck a friendship over this, but in order to get to the bottom of this matter, I must know if the retired bishop is wrong and where he’s wrong.

        Please note, that I and others in +Jonah’s corner have criticized him for this, that, or the other so we aren’t a bunch of Koolaid-drinking cultists. I’m afraid from my own critique of +Tikhon’s most recent posting, that as usual, OCAN is putting out propaganda, not news.

      • Monk James says

        Christ is risen! Truly risen!

        Dear Friends —

        I’m not sure why, except to disparage Bp Tikhon Fitzgerald, that Chris Banescu published this screed here, but it’s clear that Chris Banescu, like many others, continues to believe the Big Lie about Fr Robert Kondratick.

        This is a lie generated by Proskauer, Rose & Co. at the behest of Met. Herman and Fr Paul Kucynda for reasons as yet unclear to me (at least), but it’s still a lie. Perhaps it was intended to protect Met. Theodosius from the consequences of HIS stealing $3M from the OCA, so as not to let the OCA look bad no matter how hard FrRK tried to protect it from scandal.

        Or maybe it was something else. Whatever it was, it wasn’t FrRK who stole anything.

        Listen, friends, and please get this: If FrRK were guilty of even half the things alleged against him by our OCA’s incompetent lawyers, he’d be in prison now.

        As it is, a high-ranking judge determined that those nincompoop lawyers and Bp Benjamin’s Special Investigating Committee HAD NO CASE, and therefore strongly recommended that the OCA settle with FrRK. This is not to mention that some perjury and other irregularities in the SIC’s proceedings eventually came out in the civil process’s disclosure/discovery protocols.

        Again, please get this: Our OCA will not ever be healed from the scandals of these last thirty or so years unless and until FrRK is given a legitimate trial in a properly constituted spiritual court in which he is not only allowed to hear the charges brought against him, but also to defend himself.

        Please, folks, spare me and all of us any nonsense about that FrRK was tried in absentia because HE chose to walk out. NO! He was excluded by Abp Nathaniel (on the bad advice of OCA attorney Jim Perry) because FrRK — on competent civil and canonical advice — would not proceed unless a record of the trial were made, a reasonable convention which was denied him. The fact is, though, that Jim Perry did indeed make a record of the proceedings, and so excluded FrRK and his defense team on false pretenses. I was there. I bear witness to this, and my witness is true.

        What happened afterward was a travesty of justice and virtue. FrRK’s putative deposition from the priesthood was and remains a perfect example of our OCA’s being held hostage to (my phrase) ‘the culture of mutual embarrassment’ among the bishops.

        Please take away just this: Our OCA will not be healed unless and until Fr Robert Kondratick is treated justly, fairly, and christianly.

        Peace and blessings of the Lord’s resurrection to all.

        Monk James

        • First to say YAY! Hello, glad you’re here, Monk James and I’ve been hoping you would post. I want to add that I’ll sleep better tonight knowing the truth you’re speaking is coming out in a safer place than before, and that here, people will hear you. I’ve been pulled across the coals myself and I could hardly stand what happened to Father Kondratick and his family.

        • Our OCA will not be healed unless and until Fr Robert Kondratick is treated justly, fairly, and christianly.

          This is true and no one can deny it. Monk James, or anyone else who can answer: What needs to be done, and what can be done?

        • “Monk” James, the monk without a monastery, a known cheerleader and apologist for Kondratick, is once again spreading lies and telling us that black is white, and white is black. The entire “conspiracy” of trusted, ethical, honorable, and trustworthy priests, hierarchs, and lay men and women in the OCA who helped with the SIC report are wrong and Kondratick is right. If you still believe that then rational argumentation and logical discussion is impossible.

          • Monk James says

            Christ is risen! Truly risen!

            Dear Friends —

            Chris Banescu’s disagreement with my position is no more valid than that of all the people who disagreed with Sts Cyril and Athansios: the majority is sometimes mistaken.

            In this particular situation, there are many people — Mr Banescu among them — who’ve decided to believe The Big Lie. Please remember, the heresy of Areios was a big lie, too, and still had many adherents.

            There is no more reason for Mr Banescu to believe The Big Lie than that are many others who believe it as well. That most certainly NOT does make it true.

            The facts in evidence, corroborated by a fully competent civil court, prove that all the accusations against Fr Robert Kondratick are false and are incapable of litigation (basically, theyand the attorneys who put them forth were thrown out of court).

            As it stands, I have the feeling that people (including bishops) who are still intent on persecuting FrRK are doing so because they’d rather pursue this evil course than admit that they might be even a little bit wrong. In other words, their sense of personal embarrassment in the face of the truth tempts them to perpetuate the lies they’ve swallowed, and on which they now think their reputation depends.

            But, honestly, christian friends, it’s not so.

            There’s always forgiveness if we repent and confess or sins.

            Peace and blessings of the Lord’s resurrection to all.

            Monk James

        • Nick Katich says

          Mr. James Monk or is it Mr. Monk James or is it Just Plain James–whatever:

          Did you see the Moscow tape. Yes or No?

          • Monk James says

            Christ is risen! Truly risen!

            Not only have I seen the ‘Moscow Tape, I have a copy of it, clumsily and ridiculously edited as it is by Fr Zacchaeus Wood and his ex-KGB friends. Fr ZW shook this edited recording in FrRK’s face and claimed that this was his (FrZW’s) ‘insurance’. and well he might have done, since his embarrassing behavior in Moscow would have caused a functional church (our OCA is not functional at this point) to recall him and discipline him. The Moscow patriarchate knows all about FrZW, and they hold their noses while they tolerate his presence among them.

            In any case, as far as I can tell, there’s no longer an original and unedited recording of this meeting in existence any more.

            Anyway, then, so what?

            Please, people, let’s try to build our opinions on facts, not on theater.

            Peace and blessings of the Lord’s resurrection to all.

            Monk James

  29. A. Rymlianin says

    The выпердки in the anti-Jonah cabal think that they have done a neat end-run around Moscow’s threat to de-recognize the OCA if they tried to get rid of him uncanonically. Now let’s wait for the other shoe to drop.

  30. O Hamartolos says

    Here’s an idea for a special section especially for the DOS: have a special section where we can have an open and frank discussion about the episcopal candidates currently available. I must admit that I don’t have the foggiest idea of who they are, where they’ve been and how they might take in the DOS. I hate the feeling that we are being rushed into selecting somebody who will not be a good fit. The South has it’s own particularities that a possible candidate needs to be aware of. The most important is open, honest, loving communication between the hierarch and his priests and by extension, the faithful. This is an extremely important decision for us and we need to be as informed as possible. This could be a very good thing, but it could get really ugly and nasty, so respect and courtesy should rule the day. Just an idea, but would love, love, love to get a discussion going on the candidates.

    Christ is Risen!

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Hamartolos, something of this sort may be necessary. I am waiting for confirmation of something big, but it seems like the bonds of trust between a bishop and his clergy have been irretrievably broken in the Diocese of the South.

      More to follow…

  31. Matt Redard says

    George said:

    My guess is that Fr Hopko still believes that the OCA was planted here to become a kind low-Church, semi-spiritual, quasi-hierarchical, congregationalist hybrid that has never existed in Orthodoxy.

    But George, don’t you know? according to recent sermons at the Dallas cathedral, we are Congregationalist! At least here in Dallas. We should “stop being divisive” and simply “accept our new bishop and learn to love him.” The phrase “arranged marriage” has also been used. (Last I checked, the title on his letterhead says “Administrator” of the DoS and not “Bishop”.)

    Fr. Tom should come to Dallas and see his vision come to life!

    Can’t wait for this morning’s word from the pulpit.

    Considering the treatment of Metropolitan Jonah by Team Jokoe, one could cut the irony with a knife.

  32. Fr Mark says

    I’m still trying to understand the use of quotations from the second preface to Bronte’s Jane Eyre.

    Is this some new, post-modern journalistic practice? Or is it a code?

    It had the jarring sense of random disconnection that you might experience in a scene from a David Lynch film…

    • He couldn’t bring himself to quote something from the Fathers, I guess.

      “And thus I clothe my naked villainy / With odd old ends, stol’n out of holy writ; / And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.” (Not Jane Eyre, but Shakespeare’s Richard III.)

  33. Seraphimista says

    Bishop Mark allegedly admitted today in the presence of several St. Seraphim’s cathedral parishioners that he accessed Father Fester’s e-mails, and believes he had a right to because they were on a computer belonging to the Diocese of the South.

    I did not hear this myself, but I talked afterwards to others who heard it from the bishop’s own mouth.

    Here is a question for lawyers in this group.

    Father Joe Fester stopped being an employee of the DOS when he left in February for Washington, DC. He became an employee of that diocese. Mark accessed e-mails that were sent by Fr. Fester on his gmail account from Washington, not from the DOS. Fr. Fester was not his employee. I assume that Fr. Fester left his log-in information, and maybe his account open, on the DOS computer … but as far as I can tell, Bishop Mark had no right to that information, because it was not “on” a DOS computer, and those e-mails were not written by an employee of his.

    How is this not felony theft?

    And, given that the e-mails that got Fr. Fester fired by the OCA for conspiring against Bp Mark were sent by Fr. Fester from Washington, as an employee of the Washington archdiocese, if they were accessed illegally by Mark, then the Synod and Met. Jonah terminated an employee based on information that might have been feloniously obtained.

    I see one whopper of a civil suit in the making, and maybe criminal charges against Bishop Mark.

    • Mark from the DOS says

      There are at least two reported cases where an employer used stored log in information to access e-mails of an employee stored on a google or hotmail type service. Both instances were found to be violation of the Stored Communications Act. This is a federal act that prevent access to stored electronic data without authorization.

      The fact that log in information may have been LEFT on the employer’s computer does not mean the employer has authorization to USE the log in information. This is quite disturbing if true. A good analogy is this: if you leave your online banking information on your employer’s computer, do they have the right to use it and move your money around? Clearly not. The answer is no different with other “property” such as e-mails or electronic data stored offsite.

      • Elizabeth says

        Section 16.02(b)(1) of the Texas Penal Code creates a second degree felony (punishment range 2-20 years) for interception of voice, wire or electronic communications.

        Section 123.002 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code provides a mandatory $10,000.00 fine for each occurrence. The penalty is applicable to the person who acquired the documents, as well as any person who disseminates them.

        • Seraphimista says

          That’s great, Elizabeth. I like this part:

          (b) A person commits an offense if the person:
          (1) intentionally intercepts, endeavors to intercept,
          or procures another person to intercept or endeavor to intercept a
          wire, oral, or electronic communication;
          (2) intentionally discloses or endeavors to disclose
          to another person the contents of a wire, oral, or electronic
          communication if the person knows or has reason to know the
          information was obtained through the interception of a wire, oral,
          or electronic communication in violation of this subsection;
          (3) intentionally uses or endeavors to use the
          contents of a wire, oral, or electronic communication if the person
          knows or is reckless about whether the information was obtained
          through the interception of a wire, oral, or electronic
          communication in violation of this subsection;

          It looks to me like our dear adminstrator is liable to have violated Texas law not only by breaking into Fr. Joe’s e-mail account, but by passing them on to Stokoe.

          Bishop Mark is about to learn a very important lesson: DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS! He’d best hope he’s brought up on federal charges, not state ones, because federal prisons are nicer. I look forward to being present at Mark’s installation as the new Bishop of Big Spring.

          • Elizabeth says

            Yes, it appears that bright orange could become one of the Church’s liturgical colors.

            • George Michalopulos says

              As a preceptor, one of the first things I tell my interns is that no matter how much you want to help your patients or feel sorry for the interminable sob-stories you’re gonna get, always keep in the back of your mind, how you are going to look in orange. It’s very sobering and it keeps your emotions in check.

              I’ve long come to the conclusion that most of the people on the MC and HS don’t have a fear of God. But as Chrysostom said, some burglers don’t have any qualms of breaking into a person’s home because they have no fear of God; usually the only thing that restrains them is fear of Dog. Maybe they need to see more barking snouts than clapping hands.

    • O Hamartolos says

      Oh man, this will very likely lead to an increase in his popularity at the cathedral where Fr. Joseph was much loved. Listen up, all of DOS, if you want a bishop with a direct pipeline to Mark Stokoe and admittedly not afraid of publishing your personal emails on, then choose Bishop Mark. What a shame for a bishop to play such games with the lives of his flock and then expect them to love him. A man of integrity and with an ounce of dignity would first have contacted Fr. Joseph and requested an explanation. If he refused he should have gone directly to his bishop, Metropolitan Jonah and presented the case to him, and if that did not produce any explanation, then it should have been presented to the Holy Synod. But no. He was out for blood. And for what? for being called a turd. To publicly humiliate a priest in public for a calling him a turd in private? and that do only one individual? Fr. Joseph did not publish that for all the world to see. In my opinion, it was an outburst of his righteous indignation for the turmoil he was causing in the DOS. It doesn’t make what Fr. Joseph did right, but for the love of Christ and his Church, revenge? Really, revenge, bishop Mark, for one lousy 4 letter word? Let me remind you that the priest is now effectively homeless, jobless, and on the brink of loosing his priesthood, because of your vendetta. What about the emails you sent with the lives of the saints where one monk covers the sins of his brother monk? If you believed that even a .9999 of an ounce, why would you send those emails to Mark Stokoe? Because you have the right? First you humiliate Fr. John, then you ruin Fr. Joseph, what next? Will you crucify our beloved Archbishop Dmitri? I’m afraid that is next. Mark my words, Bishop Mark will draw blood from him. Sad, sad, sad.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Where is the justice? Oh I know, the secretive clericalist cult that is our “holy” synod will continue to play their mendacious little games and say that “we don’t know the full story” and “the Lord calls us to obey our bishops” or some such nonsense.

        The real dream of the OCA –not the hallucinatory delusion described by Hopko in Chicago the other day–was in the Diocese of the South and its sinus node was St Seraphim’s Cathedral. But we can’t have that can we? We’ve got to be like the elite people, not like those icky Christians who take the Gospel seriously.

        • O Hamartolos says

          I am sure Vladyko Dmitri wishes to meet the day of his repose in peace, surrounded by Christians in unity and harmony. That is what we had at the Cathedral. Was it perfect? no. But, when problems arose they were dealt with. Several years ago when the two priests had a falling out, Metroplitan Jonah came to the Cathedral and cleared that whole thing up, dispelled all rumors and innuendo from the ambon, and probably pastorally corrected the priests and….moved on.

          Bishop Mark, for the sake of the health of the cathedral community and the DOS, please act honorably and leave. Allow Vladyko to enjoy the fruits of his labor and not have to be witness to the pain and suffering you are causing.

        • Ivan Vasiliev says


          Do you have a link to Fr. Hopko’s speech? I may have missed it. Would you repost it, if you have it?

    • Seraphimista says

      Thank you for that information, Mark. I used it to find an article that sheds light on what happened in Dallas. Here is the article:

      Look at this part of the article:

      “A significant risk you face if you exceed your authorized access to an employee’s Web-based account is liability under the Stored Communications Act. The SCA creates a criminal offense and civil liability for whoever “intentionally accesses without authorization a facility through which an electronic communication service is provided” or “intentionally exceeds an authorization to access that facility” and by doing so “obtains, alters or prevents authorized access to a wire or electronic communication while it is in electronic storage in such system.” 18 U.S.C. §2701. The SCA has been used to prosecute e-mail hackers in the past — such as the college student who allegedly hacked into Sarah Palin’s e-mail account — and there is also a portion of the statute which creates a private cause of action through which a plaintiff can recover damages, including punitive damages if the violation “is willful or intentional.” 18 U.S.C. §2707(c).”

      (End of quote)

      The attorney who wrote the article cites a “Van Alstyne” case where the federal court imposed punitive damages on a company for accessing an employee’s personal AOL account, even though she used it while she was at work. The article says that if a company says up front in its email policy that employees can expect no privacy, they might be fine. Remember though that Fr. Fester was not Mark Maymon’s employee when Mark Maymon allegedly broke into his e-mail account, read those messages and forwarded them to Mark Stokoe.

      The OCA better lawyer up.

      • Tiresias says

        Mark (not +Mark) of the DOS’s analysis is, as usual, excellent. We should distinguish between emails and chat between Fr. Fester and Bp. Mark, to which +Mark was a party and was entitled and email sent from DC and housed on gmail computers to which +Mark was not a party and had no right to possess even if he stumbled on them through Fr. Fester’s inadvertance in leaving his password around or account open.

        +Mark might be excused for reading the latter and would have been entitled to question and rebuke Fr.Fester about them but he had no legal right to release them the Mr. Stokhoe for publication. The former, he may have had a legal right to release, but to do so would have nonththeless amounted to a betrayal and breach of confidence it would seem.

        I am distressed to hear Lydia’s report that Fr. John has been summarily transferred. It was unconsciouanble to suspend his authority to hear confessions at the expense of the scores of people who look to him as their spiritual advisor. Now to transfer him without warning is a further wrong to the same people who’s interest appear of little importance to those who are supposed to put their interests first. This is the act of a hireling and wolf in sheep’s clothing and not a good sheperd and I fear it could not be done without the complicity, nay, approval of the locum tenens. ++Dimitri should not have resigned before his see was duly filled and should have resumed the office when +Jonah accepted the appointment as Metropolitan (which it appears he should not have done in light of what we now know about the powers that be in the national church).

        As for the failure to announce the upcoming visit and meetings, it is par for the course in churches run like polictical organizations and controlled by means of the new media. Was theis the real reason that ++Philip decided it best to release +Mark to the OCA and why Mr. Stokhoe himself was glad about it, suggested it and pusehd for it as I recall?

        So this is the Church that Jesus Christ Who thought not equality with God something to be grasped but made Himself of no reputation, emptied Himself, and taking on the form of a slave and being found in fashion as a man humbled Himself to death on the Cross and who said that he who would be a leader amongst us must become as the servant of all and follow His example to wash others feet? Is that what all the titles, crowns and croziers cry: and imperial institution rather than an apostolic vocation? No wonder our Lord Jesus Christ said to call no man father or rabbi. This kind of self-deceptive pride and arrogance, the very leaven of certain Pharisees, is what he warned us to beware of. Have we? No. We actuall eat it up.

        Now, good Christian people of the DOS and St. Seraphim what will be your response to those who are in the process of making the Lord’s temple a den of thieves to serve their own purposes and ecclesial careers or those of their buddies?

        Better vote with your $$ and your feet. Words mean little; determined, forthright, swift, and perservering action means everything. Choose this day, whom you will serve . . . And the failure to choose is itself a choice.


        • Lydia Paraskevas says

          Out of respect and love for Archbishop Dmitri, as long as he is with us, we will stay at the Cathedral. I don’t want to leave him among the wolves.


        • The people in the parish and the parish council need to write a petition outlining what happened, sign it, and then publish it online. The leadership needs to be fully aware of the situation and the devastation being done to the sheep. Then they can never say that they “didn’t know.” Our own parish went through a similar nightmare years ago and many innocent Orthodox suffered at the hands of a derelict and uncaring hierarch, +Tikhon (Fitzgerald) of the West (retired, thank be to God!) who acted without any care or concern for the people or the parish. All of our pleas and cries for help were met with silence, and then insults and smears.

          • Chris,

            Your empty words of Pharisaical “support” mean nothing to us here at SSOC. You have no right to piggy back your flaccid legal opinions on us. We know a carpetbagger when see one. Stay out of our battle here down South. We can fight our own battles. Your history with Tikhon is your history, not ours.

            • ….Your history with Tikhon is your history, not ours.

              I see, you are thursting for your own history, with +Mark.
              May your wish be granted….
              What was the title of this thread? Oh yeah, stuck on stupid…! I think it fits.

            • Please don’t be too hard on Chris. His parish truly suffered under +Tikhon’s misrule. He doesn’t agree with you about Jonah, but that doesn’t mean he is wrong about Tikhon.

              • Geo Michalopulos says

                Amos, Esse is right. Chris is a good guy who’s parish suffered horribly. He’s on the side of the angels on this one and we would be wise to heed his counsel.

                Chris, don’t be too hard on Amos. We in the South are suffering from a horrendous kick in the balls right now. Tension are running high. Mainly because it’s all so unnecessary.

                The ultimate carpetbagger is Mark Stokoe who like the Radical Republicans of the Reconstruction era, had a high-minded, self-satisfied, sanctimonious view of themselves. All the while making themselves rich while grinding the faces of the poor in the dirt. It was MS who’s clever reportage inflicted the current Admnistrator on us.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      I reread the minutes and they do not state that (a) Father Fester was fired and (B) why he may have been fired. We have no official information; therefore, everything else speculation. My thought was that Father Fester should have been fired for the letter that he had written to the DOS clergy, but that again is speculation.

      Added: Just read the following at OCA News, from a puprted letter from the Parish Council to the parishioners of the SAint Nicholas Cathedral: “In the spirit of obedience, Father Fester accepted the decision of His Beatitude to be removed as Dean of St. Nicholas Cathedral. His Beatitude accepted the determination of the Holy Synod.”

  34. Lydia Paraskevas says

    Can anyone help me understand this? How is it that at the Cathedral of the DOS this morning that the administrator of the DOS (Mark) did not in any way announce that the locum tenens of the DOS (Nikhon) is coming to Dallas this week to meet with ? parish/parish council members/members of the DOS? Did he not think this was important to communicate? How are we supposed to communicate our concerns, frustrations, and brokenness? How about Fr. John Anderson? Did Bp Mark not think that it was important to tell the Cathedral parish that their pastor of 15 yrs is now transferred to St. Maximos mission in Denton? What are we to think? How can he stand there and preach the sermon that he did this morning and then treat us like this? Treat Fr. John like this? It is so gut-wrenching to have enjoyed the past 30 yrs at the Cathedral with the ministry and life-work of Archbishop Dmitri and the building up of the Cathedral and DOS only to have it torn down and its faithful broken and scattered in a matter of 3 months. The Devil and his army are alive and well. May God have mercy on all of us and grant us His strength, courage, and love to get through all of this mess.

    Struggling in Christ,

    Lydia Paraskevas

    • George Michalopulos says

      Lord have mercy.

    • O Hamartolos says

      From what I have been able to gather, Fr. John wasn’t necessarily “fired” or “transferred” by Bishop Mark. Perhaps because of the stress of all the turmoil at the cathedral he sought relief from it and requested a temporary reassignment. I hear Matushka Lydia is in a bad way because of this. Neverthesless, bishop Mark’s hand is in this. He has created a culture of fear and retribution. As for the meeting, I am told the meeting is on the 12th.

    • From several people I have spoken to at the Cathedral it seems that Fr. John was not “transferred” not “fired” but simply asked to attend at St. Maximos for a short time. My guess would be the toxic environment and stresses at the Cathedral prompted this.
      All should return to mostly normal in the next few weeks I hope.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I’d like to think you’re right Elijah, but with the Stokovite Synod in place, I would not be surpised if St Seraphim’s is turned into a Temple of Inclusivness or some such nonsense.

  35. O Hamartolos says

    The picture and title on the home page of St. Seraphim’s is very apropos.

  36. Just “thinking out loud”-
    I quoted and commented before:

    a loud, long and heartfelt standing ovation from all present

    for a Chancellor who was fired for doctoring a very important report to the Holy(?) Synod to suit his own purpose

    That tells me that the present membership of the Metropolitan Council is too corrupt to continue, and must be completely cleaned out and replaced with completely new members not beholden in any way to the present Holy Synod’s and Syosset Adm.’s members “old buddy network.”

    Well, for whatever that idea may be worth.

    • A Remnant says

      Nikos says:
      May 9, 2011 at 5:12 am

      Just “thinking out loud”-
      I quoted and commented before:

      a loud, long and heartfelt standing ovation from all present

      for a Chancellor who was fired for doctoring a very important report to the Holy(?) Synod to suit his own purpose

      Remember this information was provided by I urge you to call your Metropolitan Council Members and ask for their report of the events in Chicago. They owe the Diocese a report! If they don’t mind sharing their report ship it off to George for posting here!

      Ya know it might not be the same as the infamous internet scribes version! But then again who knows. At least according to him, he is transparent.

      • Lola J. Lee Beno says

        Is there a list of who are the Metropolitan Council members? That would go a long way in asking for such a report from them.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        And accountable too! Seriously, I don’t care if what he wrote is 100% accurate in this regard. We must remember that the Sanhedrin were chanting psalms with gusto as Jesus was being flogged within an inch of his life and then being dragged to Golgotha.

        ICHABOD on the MC for their performance!

    • Carl Kraeff says

      You are being foolish, too caught up in the witches brew that this blog has become. For the umpteenth time, Father Garklavs, as the chair of the committee, had the right and the duty to edit the report. Furthermore, the only accusation made against him, apart from the fevered imaginations of the OCAT crowd, was that he might have been making the report milder, that is, less severe against +Jonah. I guess when one is caught up in the big-lie riptide, it is hard not to be swept out to the sea of foolishness.

      • Then why was he fired????

      • George Michalpulos says

        No Carl, he’s not being “foolish.” It’s your opinion that Garklavs made the report “milder.” How do you know? It’s just as possible that he made it “harsher.”

        It’s very probable that the HS didn’t look kindly on his actions whatever they were. Because after +Jonah fired him, so did the HS.

  37. Pravoslavnie says

    On a lighter hearted note, I read elsewhere that some wag in the DOS has offered to print up buttons saying “Don’t Monkey with our Primate!”

  38. A Remnant says

    I was wondering where our “Leadership Expert” has been of late. I though I might get a quick tutorial on how leadership’s uses purloined and published emails in making landmark church decisions! And what are the canonical, moral and ethical standing for church leadership invading the private email of a priest?

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Remnant, don’t you know, the rules are only for the Little People. The Smart Set can do whatever they want.

  39. The Reasonable Expectation of Privacy in a Workplace

    The unauthorized access of Fr. Fester’s emails probably violated his 4th Ammendment Rights, but the corporate culture of the last 25 years has strengthened the employers’ hand in these matters (especially post 9/11) to such a degree that an employee has almost no privacy rights in the workplace. The laws are there, but they were written before the Internet (1986), and there’s not been enough case-law to determine the privacy rights of individuals.

    In the current political environment, if it comes down to Corporate America vs. the Individual’s right to privacy, the current administration, the Congress, and the Supreme Court generally align with corporate interests. The Do Not Call Act is one of the few examples of individual citizens over corporate interests.

    As recently as a month ago, the Supreme Court found in favor of a plaintiff with regards to 4th ammendment violations, but not with regards to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

    From, When Can an Employer Lawfully Spy on Employee’s Personal Emails?

    The Court likened the principles applicable to a search of an employee’s office to employer searches of e-mail. Nevertheless, the Court held that “when a search is conducted for a non-investigatory, work-related purpose or for the investigation of work-related misconduct, a public employer’s search is reasonable if it is ‘justified at its inception’ and if the measures used in the search are ‘reasonably related to the objectives of the search’ and not excessively intrusive in light of the circumstances giving rise to the search.”

    Further, Fr. Fester’s expectation of privacy could only be objectively reasonable if the OCA’s company communications policy did not address the use of personal, web-based e-mail accounts accessed through a company computer. If it did address it, if there is something in the acceptable use policy of the OCA about it, then the case is closed, especially if he signed it when he first began working for the organization. Employees have very limited rights to privacy in their e-mail messages and Internet usage while using the employer’s computer system.

    For those of you would cry foul, the definition of a corporation as an individual began in Oliver Wendell Holmes Supreme Court a century ago. A corporation receives many of the same benefits and protections a living person would have, except, of course, it’s not alive. The security of the company and the protection of its assets are foremost in the mind of the law. That could include undermining management’s effectiveness (Bishop Mark) with spurious emails (Fr. Fester).

    Here’s a review of the current state of affairs from Employee Workplace Privacy Rights. Sobering to say the least.

    Some highlights:

    Employee workplace privacy rights are virtually nonexistent in private-sector employment. That’s because up to 92% of private-sector employers conduct some type of electronic surveillance on their employees, according to estimates. Most may do so even without the consent or knowledge of their employees.

    “Using sophisticated software, hidden cameras, phone-tapping devices, “smart card” security badges and global-positioning technology, employers may electronically snoop employee:

    •Computer keystrokes and files
    •Internet, Web and email usage
    •Locations, movements and activities
    •Phone conversations and numbers dialed
    •Job performance

    ” Employers may spy on their employees in those ways and then some, because they have the right to protect their buildings, office equipment and such. Subsequently, security legally trumps employee privacy rights in the workplace.

    ” Employers also have the right to thwart potentially-damaging employee behavior, such as sexual harassment, and ensure employee productivity; but, employers can get away with unreasonable employee electronic surveillance too, because there is no Federal “employee workplace privacy rights law” that universally prohibits it across all states.

    ” Most states don’t have so-called employee workplace privacy rights laws either. Even in the few that do, such as the examples listed to your right, the laws have no “teeth”. In a nutshell, they require only that employers give employees prior notice of electronic surveillance and/or avoid surveilling employees while they’re changing clothes. In fact, the state laws essentially legalize electronic surveillance, because they don’t universally prohibit it.


    So that addresses the legal issue. But how about the ethical one? There is a “street definition” of law in the former Soviet states that goes something like this, “It’s only against the law if they catch you.”

    In other words, if there is no one there to force the ethical situation, anything goes.

    And this is where our current saga begins. Fr. Fester has been gone from Dallas for months. He has unwisely left his Google account “open” with an automatic password on a workstation at the Dallas chancery. Someone (Fr. Morretti ?) is clicking around on the computer to orient himself, or maybe he just needs to access his Google account. He clicks on Google (without any intention, let’s say, of spying on Fr. Fester) and lo and behold the entire Fester account opens up. His curiosity is aroused. The moment of truth comes.

    ” Should I or shouldn’t I? “

    His Grace, Bishop Mark comes over. Takes a peek. A few moments of angst follow, and then, “I really shouldn’t, but on the other hand, how can I resist?” The bishop downloads the whole treasure trove and sends it off to for worldwide publication.

    Several days later, after the Synodal meetings have concluded, Bishop Mark admits to some parishioners at the Dallas Cathedral that he indeed did the deed. He had accessed Father Fester’s e-mails (on Google), and he believed he had a right to do so because they were on a computer belonging to the Diocese of the South.

    The timing is perfect. The purloined emails are published the day before the Synod meeting, and it becomes the last straw for the Synod regarding His Beatitude, Fr. Fester, and the OCATruth website defending Metropolitan Jonah (Imagine! the audacity of defending that man). The three of them are pilloried at the synodal meeting. Fr. Joseph is fired. Hierarchs who might have been willing to seek a comprimise somewhere in the middle are driven to the sidelines in shock and surprise by the latest act in the ongoing soap opera. The Metropolitan is mute. A perfect ending comes to the perfect storm. Total defeat.

    • Seraphimista says

      John, what do you think about the fact that Fr. Fester was not an employee of the DOS when +Mark accessed his e-mails? I don’t see how he had any right to access to those documents.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        “Employee of DOS” as opposed to a priest of the Orthodox Church in America?

        • Seraphimista says

          Who paid his salary? Who was his superior?

        • George Michalpulos says

          Carl, the Hopkoist/Stokovites can’t have it both ways. If every diocesan bishop is to be the Chief El Supremo of his diocese then the buck stops at his desk, not some nebulous Grand High Council or a neutered Primate.

          That means that the diocesan ordinary is the guy who signs the checks for his diocesan functionaries. That means he’s their employer. However if St Garklavs of the Standing Ovation wants to take responsibility for this mess, then Fr Joe can direct his lawyers and the Feds in his direction.

    • Mark from the DOS says

      John –

      Nice article. Irrelevant to this issue because the e-mails were not on a DOS computer, but a cloud based platform. Laws written before the internet? Really? Try the Stored Communications Act. Look it up. Then find the two reported cases holding that an employer’s use of stored login information to access cloud based personal e-mail services constitute a violation of the act. And by the way, you won’t find a single case saying it is permitted. It is as clear a violation of the act, as I can see, in the absence of a signed authorization or consent as part of an Acceptable Use policy. I am going to bet the DOS doesn’t have one.

      There is a HUGE difference between an employer tracking keystrokes or monitoring in-network traffic, and an employer using stored login information to access a third party’s website and retrieve stored data that is not on your network. As I mentioned in previous posts, the employer could certainly obtain any cached copies from their own computers quite legally. One problem though, Fr. Joseph was not at the DOS when most of these were sent. If you can’t see the difference, I can’t explain it to you, but suffice it to say, to the extent the existing case law settles the legal issue, it settles it very much in favor of Fr. Fester.

      The bad thing about the internet is that people take a preconceived notion (“your employer can read your e-mails”), extrapolate it outside of the context in which it is correct (an employers right to monitor its own network) and then google some keywords to try to support their theory. IF the e-mails were accessed by using a stored login at the DOS without Fr. Fester’s authorization, there is a big fat legal issue sitting out there, apart from the ethical issues, and people should be outraged and worried about the legal ramifications to the Diocese.

      • Mark,

        I want to agree with your reasoning. It makes perfect sense. But I read through the Stored Communications Act, and two of the most recent court decisions, one with the Supreme Court in March, 2011 and another with a lower appellate court ruling. As long as the investigation is specific to a particular act (on the employee’s part) which the company finds injurious to its prospects, and does not extend beyond that time period (in other words, it was not ongoing); and if the OCA had an acceptable use policy in place for employees which mentions something like this in fine print, Fr. Fester would be hard-pressed to pursue his case successfully.

        I am also assumming that he is legally considered an employee of the OCA as a national corporation, rather than the hire of a local parish council, and thus the justification. At least, this is how I read this. And this is probably why Mark Stokoe said that if the FBI wanted to discuss the matter with him, even if he was in a Metropolitan Council Meeting, go right ahead. Send em over. It would only take a few minutes to clear things up.

        Going forward? It is hard for me to see how something like this will continue to be justified by law. It works against consumer protection (someone who will be spending money into the economy). The cloud is ubiquitous. We all use it as a matter of course. Computers, cell phones, and pads are just means to the end of accessing the cloud. This is very different from the Microsoft world of the 1980s and 90s when information was primarily stored on local computer or company network.

        If there was to be a test case which would truly test this law, specifically tieing it to cloud access, it could be Fr. Fester’s. But we’re talking about the ACLU taking up the case, four or 5 years of working its way through the courts, and several million dollars in fees. To my mind, the organization owns the access device, they don’t own the Google account. But did he write those emails on company time? And even if he didn’t, was it injurious to the company’s management? Because as long as he is considered an employee of the OCA as a national organization, then the stuff he wrote can be skewed as injurious.

        This raises another can of worms about free speech in the workplace; job discrimination (losing your job because you called someone in management a name, “turd”). Where do the courts draw the line? Thus far they have drawn them overwhelmingly on the side of the corporation, not the individual. The same justification that was used to thwart terrorists after 9/11 has been used with impunity by corporations and government agencies to ferret-out undesirable employees. If he WAS NOT an employee of the OCA, then it is clearly theft. If I drop my keys on the street in front of my house, and someone picks them up, goes in to my house, and walks away with my intellectual property, that’s theft.

        The unique quality of this incident is the calculating way the information was used, and the tragic self-undoing of Fr. Fester. A single oversight, just several letters of a login and password, brought down a career. It seems pathetically harsh to me, but this is the kind of hardball the OCA plays with its administrators. The bishop gave Mark Stokoe quit a coup, a blogger bonanza so to speak, and I am sure they consulted a legal expert before they pulled the plug.


        What I have seen in my brief purview of this never-ending tit for tat tale, is what Jesus said about those who live by the sword dying by the sword. Beginning with Bishop Innocent in Alaska, and extending through Bishops Nikolai, Seraphim Storheim, Benjamin and now Mark; Metropolitans Theodosius, Herman and Jonah , plus the hard-working chancellors who assisted these men, Fr. Alexander, Fr. Joseph, and Fr. Robert; even to the widely-acclaimed and beloved theologian, Fr, Hopko, a pattern of political reprisals and victimization which continually re-visits those who persist in it. Our Lord’s comment about agreeing quickly with one’s adversaries “whilst thou art on the way with them” seems to have completely escaped these men of God. The reason Jesus put the ear back on the high priest’s servant was the buck was to stop with Him.

        Their inability to work out their differences, respect each other as colleagues, come to common ground, and work for the greater good of the church, is shamelessly put on display for the OCA laity year after year. We pay a national circus tax, a tithe on our hard-earned incomes during a severe economic depression, so these guys can stab each other in the back and whine about it to their audience.

        • Mark from the DOS says

          John –

          Of course you are aware that the OCA has successfully taken the position in other litigation that priests are not employees of the OCA and are not subject to their direction and control.

          There are only two cases on point that I have found discussing USE of stored login information to access cloud based personal accounts. Both turned out badly for the employer. One of them I believe involved a claim of investigating theft of trade secrets. Still not good enough. Clearly the employer owns the data on the computer. They legally acquired the username and password. But acquiring the data and using it to access a third party site are different things.

          I have said several times, these are fine points that a layman may not grasp. It is entirely possible that whoever did the deed thought they were entirely within their rights. It would be tough for me to attribute knowing malfeasance (in a legal sense) to whoever did it. Ethically, well, that’s another story.

        • I want to agree with your reasoning. It makes perfect sense. But I read through the Stored Communications Act, and two of the most recent court decisions, one with the Supreme Court in March, 2011 and another with a lower appellate court ruling. As long as the investigation is specific to a particular act (on the employee’s part) which the company finds injurious to its prospects, and does not extend beyond that time period (in other words, it was not ongoing);

          That part is problematic, though. What “particular act” did Fr. Fester commit? This was not one email, or a handful relating to one thing (not even OCAT), it was “scores”, on wide-ranging subjects. As to whether OCAT is injurious to the OCA’s prospects, all they have to do is show them OCANews and that OCAT was formed in response to that.

          and if the OCA had an acceptable use policy in place for employees which mentions something like this in fine print, Fr. Fester would be hard-pressed to pursue his case successfully.

          Fr. Fester is not an employee of “the OCA”; he was an employee of the Diocese of the South, and then of St. Nicholas Cathedral.

          I doubt he has a wrongful termination case, because Metropolitan Jonah can move his clergy around at will, and his removal as dean may have had less to do with the emails as the Synod encouraging Met. Jonah to cease associating with Kondratick’s former associates.

          However, I do hope Fr. Fester pursues a case against Bishop Mark (if he is indeed the leaker) and Mark Stokoe.

    • George Michalpulos says

      The problem with the new Stokovite Rules of Engagement is that now “anything goes.” Anybody can do anything they want to destroy their enemy. Now that’s a recipe for church growth!

  40. John Cassian says

    I am struggling to wrap my mind around all this. A ::::bishop:::: of the Church broke into the private e-mail of a ::::priest::::, which included correspondence between the priest and his spiritual children (as well as less edifying material, let’s admit), and leaked those private e-mails to a website.

    If Bishop Mark broke federal law, I hope he has to trade in his cassock for prison orange. I also hope he and the OCA have to turn their pockets inside out in a civil judgment in Father Fester’s favor (this will be a good lesson to the rest of the Church: you want to lie down in bed with such dogs, enjoy the fleas). No matter what happens on the legal front, the most serious (from a spiritual point of view) violation here is the violation of :::trust.:::

    No priest or parishioner could trust Bishop Mark now. Not now, not ever. And who could trust the OCA Synod, which wanted to get rid of Fester so badly that they didn’t even stop to get a legal opinion about whether or not those e-mails were legally acquired? We can see now that the Synod ended a man’s priestly career based on private information ::::stolen by a bishop!::: I can’t defend everything Fr. Fester said in those e-mails, based on what Stokoe released (we know how selective that can be), but Lord have mercy, those e-mails were private and privileged. Any of us could have written to Fester to share with him our spiritual struggles — and now, thanks to Bishop Mark, Stokoe could have all of those e-mails, ready to share them with the world if he decides it’s in his interest.

    :::Think of what that means!::: The danger that puts lots of people in who had nothing to do with this warfare within the OCA, and who just happened to write to Fr. Fester for spiritual reasons. Father Fester’s two adult children might have written him on that e-mail account. What if they discussed intimate things between a father and a son? Now they have to worry that Mark Stokoe, who hates their father, has all those e-mails and might make them public anytime he wants.

    Send +Mark to jail!

    I agree with A Remnant — I want to see Priest Basil defend this kind of “leadership.”

    • Harry Coin says

      I believe you will hear in due course that the answer is that there is no illegality or wrongdoing on the basis of being a subordinate in a hierarchical church, in light of the content in question regarding specifically church matters, and obtained in a way involving only church equipment on church property and so forth.

      • Except, Fr. Fester is not subordinate to Bishop Mark. You might be able to make the case that Bishop Mark was his boss for the six weeks or so that their time in the DOS overlapped, but these emails were sent well after that ended and Fr. Fester moved to Washington. Try again.

        • Harry Coin says

          “Helga” : I’m no apologist here for anyone, let’s get that right first. Second, I’m only suggesting to you how I expect things will turn out based on previous experiences, without any suggestion of ‘should’ or ‘ought’.

          I In the end, whatever the internal lines of authority in the hierarchy, the Roman Catholics have enshrined in to US Law the idea that churches are either Protestant/congregational (in which case I think it likely those upset with the allegations as to the emails have a case)— or

          — hierarchical meaning — what ‘is’ means ends somewhere upstream with a king or pope or whatnot. It matters not who whose immediate superior is in that world. In fact, nothing church specific legally means anything other that what the highest leader they can find says it means as that may or may not change from moment to moment– no matter his promises or representations seemingly to the contrary at any previous point in time.

          Really there is no capability in that system for anyone to make a promise capable of being enforced by the civil authority regarding church affairs generally.

          You note that our church is sort of ‘federal’ in appearance, sort of as per the diocese/states and central admin/Washington D.C. So the fact that there is tension as to who is whose immediate supervisor in that case matters. Just as ‘states rights’ matters.

          However, the US law has not evolved to understand how to manage that within legal understanding to churches. So, the EP and friends very much like the ‘hierarchical’ mode as it means 0 accountability and 0 transparency are acceptable. I think the Protestants laugh at us as they afford us with all the rope our leaders need to do exactly what we like, and if we want to live there well you know, what more could they do to us than we’ve allowed to happen to ourselves? Except, except… they don’t allow for the Orthodox church model in that thinking. So, here we are. The civil authority looks upon us, wrongly, as Vatican style and allows the law to treat us in that way. Our leadership, such as we find it, prefers that as it helps to allow not getting fired in the context of astounding misdoing.

          We don’t want to be entirely congregational/protestant since well, we never were. Neither however were we ever hierarchical in the sense meant and applied by US law. And as you see, we suffer the consequences.

          • Mark from the DOS says

            Heirarchical, congregationalist, conciliar, all have not the first thing to do with the issue of whether access to the e-mails was proper or not. Those e-mails were not on a DOS computer. They were on a Gmail server. If they were accessed using a stored log-in from a DOS computer, case law would suggest that action is a violation of the Stored Communications Act. Whether the parties involved are churches, corporations, or individuals, the Act applies on its terms.

            • I believe Harry may have a point, however. I talked to a lawyer acquaintance earlier today about this case, and he said that federal courts have been reluctant to get involved in Stored Communications Act cases involving religious organizations. To me, it seems outrageous that a bishop might get away with behaving this way, but it might happen. If the courts don’t want to get involved, what can you do?

              • Mark from the DOS says

                I am interested in that, because the only church related case I found, where a church accessed a Hotmail account of an employee by guessing the password, refused to dismiss the claims against the church. (Fischer v. Mt. Olive Lutheran Church).

                I found absolutely no reported cases where the federal court abstained or dismissed the claims in deference to internal church governance concerns.

              • Harry Coin says

                ‘When the courts won’t get involved, what can you do?’ — yes indeed that’s the issue. Now, in Orthodox history, the environment the church operated in was one where the civil authority would affirmatively step in and adjust bishops behaving badly. Indeed the locals would be supported by the civil authority sending the misdoers, as it were ‘on a one way ticket on a boat up the Crimea’.

                The church folk who didn’t like the civil authority’s interference (though well paid by the civil authority in exchange for political support… cough, cough…) passed all manner of internal rules and canons that laws and habits and whatever else they could get away with to try to restrain the civil authorities, indeed any other than their own activity within the church. It was by way of a counter-balance, some weight on the other end of the teeter totter as it were. All those rules and so on.

                Then, what happened? The civil authority more or less lost interest in the project entirely. Let the church do whatnot, they won’t interfere. So, CLUNK went the teeter-totter — the civil authority will enforce against the laity criminal rules to do with riding the offending cleric out of town in a photo finish with an irate congregation. But doesn’t provide any manner of relief for those in a Vatican style hierarchy other than— the ability to leave and not be oppressed by the church.

                Add that to the change in demographics so the church leadership is no longer mostly local widowers (ah, you know ‘FATHERS’) but instead those needing, shall we call it, legalistic protection in order to preserve in office those whose preferred form of celibacy-challenge tends to not result in children. As it were. And, here we are!

                So, while running hard and fast toward the Vatican’s way of protecting the leadership ours criticise the ‘Protestantizers’. Just so you can tell who is a ‘Protestantizer’– you are if you point out that a clergyman living together with one other man for a long time neither of whom spent more than a year in an actual multi-monk monastery looks more like a gay marriage and is occasion for growth killing appearance of impropriety.

          • Well put, Harry. Less words than me, but to the point. It’s this way because they want it this way. It allows the church organization enormous leeway.

    • A Remnant says

      When I was a little kid… (uh young kid) I was taught a few things in church, granted it was not an Orthodox church so it might not apply here. I was taught:

      If it ain’t lost – you can’t find it!
      If it ain’t yours – don’t take it! That is stealing!
      Justification for finding something that isn’t lost or taking something that isn’t yours is just lying!

      Just saying, might apply, might not!

    • Chris Plourde says

      Which of you would tolerate having a third party’s recitation of an anonymous source’s report of what you allegedly admitted be the standard for judgement against you?

      Bishop Mark allegedly admitted today in the presence of several St. Seraphim’s cathedral parishioners that he accessed Father Fester’s e-mails, and believes he had a right to because they were on a computer belonging to the Diocese of the South.

      I did not hear this myself, but I talked afterwards to others who heard it from the bishop’s own mouth.

      This report is quite literally hearsay. Note the words “allegedly admitted” and “I did not hear this myself, but….”

      And even you, John, qualify your comment “If bishop Mark…” Because somewhere deep down you know that while you think you know bishop Mark has done something wrong, you don’t actually know that bishop Mark has done anything wrong.

      Everyone needs to get a grip. No-one is being helped by spreading rumors, no-one is assisted by making their judgement based on such flimsy evidence crystal clear, and one need only read the expressions of dismay and distain to see that many are being harmed.

      IF those who actually heard an admission from Bishop Mark’s mouth really heard what they think they heard, they should take that information to both ecclesial and civil authorities, and if they choose to “go public” because they don’t trust either then they should go fully public, names and dates and make their witness public. Not anonymously through third parties who know only what was repeated to them.

      What’s really depressing about the state of the OCA is that many of its members are so eager to believe the worst about each other that hearsay is readily embraced as Truth.

      • Nick Katich says

        Chris: I could not have said it better myself. And, given my ego, that is quite an admission on my part.

  41. gregory varney says

    If the central administration does not listen to the people….Why not just stop giving to it and tell them the reason why. If enough people just support their local parish and refuse to give to New York. I am sure they would take notice. When the plate comes around for Syossett instead of a ten dollar bill. A little note how u feel. nothing gets more attention than money…..

    • Nick Katich says


      You said: “When the plate comes around for Syossett instead of a ten dollar bill. A little note how u feel. nothing gets more attention than money”.

      Where do you go to Church? There is no Syossett plate. There is one plate for the parish. The parish in turn has to pay assessments to the diocese and the central church administration. I found your comment — odd.

      • gregory varney says

        odd it I because thats how long I have stayed out of chuch politics. I just light my candle and pray and go. From what I am seeing now it was good I stayed in oddness. I never knew how far the cancer has gone. For years I went to the rocor church because it was closest. But I was raised in the Metropolia. Ever since I moved to Alaska. I have no other church to go to. So now all this concerns me very much…..

  42. Janet Kirby says

    Heart-felt prayers for the priests and parishioners of St. Seraphim’s Cathedral in Dallas.

    (P.S. Website says that it was posted at 9:51 p.m. but actually posted at 4:52 p.m. C.T.)

  43. Dean Genes says

    The OCA will remain strong and it’s mission toward a REAL American Church. + Jonah will be dumped in Seattle.

    • Heracleides says

      I doubt it. Not with Moscow looking on.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Dean, I dare the Stokovites to act in such a criminal manner. They don’t have it in them. Not only do they have a caterwampus view of Orthodoxy, they’re cowards as well.

    • Metropolitan Jonah is our last hope for rooting out the corruption and contempt for good canonical order that has festered in the OCA for so many years. If the OCA ‘dumps’ Metropolitan Jonah, Orthodoxy will dump the OCA.

      • George Michalopulos says

        You’re absolutely right. If +Jonah goes, then the OCA will wither within 3 years, 5 years tops. The ranks of ROCOR will swell.

        • DC Indexman says

          Hey George, what about pushing for Bishop Mark M. to be the OCA’s next Chancellor. If the Synod proposal goes through, the Chancellor would have to serve the entire Synod.

          It seems to me in that situation, anyone in that role would need to be on the good side of at least 7 or possibly 8 of the bishops, at all times, in order to maintain a tenable position and job security. That means the chancellor would then be busy most of the time trying to obtain and then keeping that level of support.

          At least in the short run, in this case, the chancellor would not be able to acquire the level of power gained by Robert Kondratick. Again, in the short run, this would also guarantee that the Syosset Mansion stays in use as Bishop Mark could live there. He could also then be the Priest in Charge of St. Sergius of Radonezh Chapel to ensure it provides a full set of services and he could then use what ever style of liturgical music he likes.

          It is a thought to try and solve a problem.

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            DC, the problem with that scenario is manifold: while it would take care to emply Bp Mark (who is unemployable as things now stand), the fact remains that he has an open conduit to Stokoe. I’m not sure the other non-Stokovite bishops would like that very much.

            Moreover, the scenario you describe of a Chancellor with 12 bosses is inherently untenable. I’m not even sure it works in theory. Even if a bare majority vote against a specific action, the others can provide enough cover for him to go on doing what he’s doing.

            In reality what will happen if such a scheme becomes statutory is that the Stokovite faction (2 bishops, Syosset, 1/4 of the MC?) will have enough power to keep things going down the present path. That is towards extinction.

            How so? Remember, Lavender Mafias work not because everybody within them is corrupt but because enough of them are –a critical mass in other words. This percentage can steer the debate away from things they don’t want so that what they don’t want on the agenda won’t be there. We see this presently with the resolution that says that the Primate has to run everything by the Lesser Synod. In theory that’s fine –if the Lesser Synod is made up of well-intentioned men. If not however, then the Primate would be forbidden from even speaking out on things that are slam-dunks. The shibboleth that constrains him would be “conciliarity.” In reality it is corruption that would stay his hand.

            • Aside from the metropolitan, who are the non-Stokovite bishops? What have they said or done to demonstrate that they do not tolerate if not support the Stokovite faction? Just because a bishop has not acted as egregiously as the Stokovites does not mean he is not a silent ally or a least a pragmatist.

            • DC Indexman says

              George, can you fathom what the Interim OCA Chancellor means by this recent statement posted on OCA,org just today. His quote below is in answer to this question — to what extent are the actions of the OCA Holy Synod and Metropolitan Jonah in accord?

              In theory, we would seem to be mostly in accord. According to the OCA Statute, the Holy Synod is the highest canonical authority of the local Church. The Primate, as the chairman of the Holy Synod, has the task of perceiving and building consensus in the whole. In this way, there is mutual accountability and mutual obedience, of the Primate and the other members to each other and to the decisions of the Holy Synod as a whole. One essential concern of the Holy Synod is that agreements, which reflect the consensus of the entire Synod and have been ratified by the entire Holy Synod, following our Best Practices, should be carried out by the Holy Synod as a whole.

              • Geo Michalopulos says

                I’m getting ready to write something about it, but the Reader’s Digest version is “look at me! look at me! I’m important too!”