The Keystone Kops Swing into Action

I guess the blowback against the uncanonical and illegal ousting of Metropolitan Jonah is not letting up. Syosset is now advertising for an “Executive Assistant” for the Metropolitan. (I know, I almost coughed up my coffee this morning when I read it.)

Please take a look at the job description.

Source: OCA

Applications for Executive Assistant position now being accepted


The Orthodox Church in America is accepting applications for the position of Executive Administrator.

Applicants are invited to submit a cover letter, CV, and three letters of reference to Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, Secretary of the Orthodox Church in America, at or PO Box 675, Syosset, NY 11791. The deadline for submitting applications is August 3, 2012.

A job description, which also is posted in PDF format, follows below.


Job Summary.  Serves as the personal secretary to the Metropolitan with responsibility for all matters of correspondence to and from the Office of the Metropolitan including logging in of mail and preparing responses for review to both postal and electronic correspondence, drafting of letters, scheduling and calendar maintenance, and follow-up work to Primatial visits. Serves the Chancery office as an accounts receivable specialist and a general clerical/executive administrator.

Supervisory and Job Controls: The Metropolitan, in collaboration with the Chancellor, Secretary and Treasurer, oversees the work of the executive administrator, sets tasks and desired results, and discusses anticipated unusual problems. The executive administrator refers deviations from Church policy to the Metropolitan before taking action. The Metropolitan, in conjunction with the Officers, review work for soundness of judgment and conclusions, overall technical adequacy and conformance with policy.

Major Duties.

  1. Assists Metropolitan in maintaining the Office of the Metropolitan. This includes maintaining calendar, dissemination of incoming and outgoing mail communication (electronic and postal), recording and responding to messages. Ensures that Chancellor and all appropriate personnel are informed of correspondence, activities and general office duties. Seeks advice of Chancellor (and other officers as necessary) on all Primatial correspondence and scheduling. Informs the Holy Synod and communications team weekly of the Metropolitan’s schedule and proposed future events.
  2. Prepares or facilitates the preparation of Archpastoral letters for major feast days and events.
  3. Prepares and sends follow-up communications after parish visits and other meetings at which the Metropolitan is in attendance.
  4. Prepares or facilitates preparation of articles on parish visits for OCA website together with appropriate photo galleries.
  5. Maintains the following databases: Patronal Feasts for Heads of Autocephalous/Autonomous Churches, important dates of consecration, major saints and major events within the Autocephalous/Autonomous Churches, Patronal Feasts for all OCA Hierarchs, Patronal Feasts for all hierarchs of the Episcopal Assembly, heads of churches/confessions represented at the NCC and other Faith traditions.
  6. Prepares Archpastoral Greetings for Patronal Feasts and anniversaries of consecration/enthronement of brother hierarchs, and other major occasions in the life of Autocephalous/Autonomous Churches.
  7. As the Chancery accounts receivable specialist, receives and processes a variety of money instruments (cash, checks, money orders, credit card contributions, etc.); determines propriety of each instrument; enters it into the financial database, and creates or adds new records as necessary. Uses specialized software to enter financial data and extract reports. Stamps checks for deposit, prints thank-you letters with receipts, and arranges for review, signature, and dispatch. Prepares and mails statements and reminders, including statements for mission, seminary, and charity appeals. Assists other personnel with budget preparation, reports, and other documentation.
  8. Performs an array of clerical/administrative tasks, including computer input, typing of correspondence and other material; filing correspondence and other documents; proof-reading outgoing correspondence; writing correspondence; assisting the financial assistant, and administrative assistant to the Metropolitan and Chancellor; coordinating service on copy, mail, and fax machines; maintaining supplies for office equipment; recording statistics, etc.
  9. As required, serves the Chancery by greeting visitors, determining the nature of their business, referring them to the appropriate official, and directing or escorting them to their destination within the Chancery. Receives and refers telephone calls. Answers routine questions about the Chancery, its personnel, times of scheduled events, etc. Maintains directories.
  10. Other duties as assigned.

Job Requirements.

  1. Proven ability to work confidentially as an executive secretary and accounts receivable specialist.
  2. Thorough knowledge of the structure, traditions, and key personnel of the Church.
  3. Ability to express and present information, ideas, and conclusions clearly, concisely, and forcefully both orally and in writing.
  4. Proven ability to work effectively as a team member.
  5. Basic knowledge of accounting and budget procedures in accounts receivable and budgetary assistance work.
  6. Ability to work accurately with figures and to reconcile differences and discrepancies.
  7. Knowledge of the various steps and procedures related to financial support functions.
  8. Typing and basic computer skills.
  9. Knowledge of one or more financial databases associated with financial assistance functions.

Personal Relations.  Interacts with a wide range of clergy, hierarchs, and laity and must have excellent organizational and managerial skills. Must be able to manage multiple tasks and communicate effectively with all levels of Church organizations and personnel.

If only Jonah had had someone to do these tasks for him. Oh but wait, I believe he did. He’s called the Chancellor. Too bad the two Chancellors he had were Syosset Apparatchiks who took every opportunity to stab him in the back. Now Syosset has to clean up their mess. I guess they think that if they put out a detailed description then they can rectify their abominable treatment of His Beatitude.

Here’s an idea, one that’ll save money and comport with good business practices and the good order of the Church: Have the Chancellor be the Executive Assistant.

Not that it really matters. All that’s going on here is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. “All Aboard!”


  1. M.Vasiliou says

    As I read George’s latest blog, one word key kept crossing my mind: spy.

    Okay, who is going to spy on this new Executive Assistant Spy to make sure that he doesn’t embezzle any monies or worse try to protect the Metropolitan? Who can the OCA Synod and the S-NY apparatus trust today?

    Why not set up a KGB to spy on the Metropolitan and the rest of the Bishops too?

    How far will people go? What ever happened to Faith, Hope, and Charity?

    Blessed are the Pure in Heart, for they shall see God.

    • “Blessed are the Pure in Heart, for they shall see God.”

      …but not in Syosset.

      • M.Vasiliou says

        Exactly. For the pure in heart, everything is good and pure.

        Lord have mercy.

    • Lil Ole Housewife from Virginia says

      Anyone know how much the grand estate on Long Island is worth even in this bad real estate market? Anyone wish to speculate hat would the sale of the estate do to help OCA finances?

      Three properties adjacent to St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington, D.C. are for sale or potentially for sale in this down market. Is these could be added to the parish house (former residence of Father Grigorieff) and the Annex adjacent to the cathedral where the cathedral has its offices, this would amount to a huge expansion of the cathedral’s potential to actually function as a national Orthodox center. Together with a nicer climate in terms of jurisdictional infighting between the OCA and the GOARCH, the combination of the expanded St. Sophia (uniquely in the DC area among Greek Orthodox churches under the Direct Archdiocesan instead of New Jersey Diocese of the GOARCH, see ) as “primatial” cathedrals would render the combination of their proterties and functions an international force for Orthodoxy. Both cathedrals manage to preserve unique cultural traditions (Russian and Greek, old and new calendar and new calendar, chant and choral traditions, a reasonably full complement of church services) while still remaining primarily American and with services intelligible to English speakers and church events primarily in English. I don’t think any of us should give up on the ideal of an American Patriarchate while giving up the false sense of being members of a Diaspora. To that end, I think I’ll drive into Maryland and attend services at St. Mark’s in Bethesda tomorrow. May God continue to bless the OCA, the GOARCH and the ROCOR in their efforts on behalf of American Orthodoxy!

      And may God, who is perfect, bless us all, each and every imperfect one of us sinners, as we struggle toward holiness in Orthodoxy and let us not reject anyone in our Orthodox families who can help effect that purpose with the grace of the Holy Spirit.

      • Lola J. Lee Beno says

        I don’t know. But here’s the gallery:

        And if you go to and plug in the zip code 11791, you’ll see that homes range from as low as $499K to as high as $2.9M, or more. That’ll give you an idea of the property costs in that area.

        And as for your idea, that’s exactly what my husband, who isn’t Orthodox, has been saying for a long time, but since nobody’s picking up this ball and running with it . . .

        • Lil Ole Housewife from Virginia says


          Your husband is a real sweetie. He is so nice that I always assumed he is Orthodox, btw.

          The 11791 beautifully apportioned estate still named “Westwood” on 15 secluded acres is located in one of the most favored zipcodes near NY City on Long Island, an area affectionately termed “The Gold Coast”. It’s neighbor down the street on 2 not so private acres with an ordinary McMansion + big tennis court is on the not so flat local market for 3 million bucks. Could we assume someone would like to pick up the historic Griswold estate for, say, the bargain downmarket price of 21 million?

          Metropolitan Jonah is not the first head of the Metropolia / OCA to choose not to live on premises. Metropolitan Ireney, may his memory be blessed, choose not to live there and resided in NY. Thus, the 11791 Griswold estate was the palatial residence for the Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in America during the period October 11, 1958 – May 14, 1965. Its next Metropolitan chose to continue living in New York and moved only some office functions to Westwood in June of 1974. The Tomos was signed there four years earlier. A convent of convert women monastics occupied the premises from 1977-82 during a period in which the OCA had a larger membership than today. The sisters are currently happy and well housed in Otego, NY.

          An anomaly was created when Metropolitan Theodosius, while residing in Westwood, made St. Nicholas cathedral in Washington, D.C. into his “primatial” cathedral when he created the Diocese of Washington. While understanding the need for a strong OCA presence in D.C., he only visited it from time to time. Metropolitan Herman visited it even less, one notable last time for his Town Meeting there. So, in the scheme of things, especially if we add the Metropolia’s to the OCA’s history, the utilization of Westwood as the residence of Metropolitans is extremely short. Two of the three Metropolitans who resided there were retired under a cloud. One of those actually preferred life at his former monastery at a place legally chartered as St. Tikhon’s Greek Russian Orthodox Church.

          The Antiochian, the Greek, the Russian through the ROCOR and the OCA American Orthodox all maintain cathedrals in Washington, D.C. This does not differ from any other national church like Serb Orthodox in Belgrade, Palestinians and others in Jerusalem, Bulgarians in Sofia, Russians in Moscow, Romanians in Bucharest, or Greeks in Athens or Istanbul. And their Patriarchs, Metropolitans and Archbishops reside in the same capitals as their cathedrals. A potential Patriarchate does not reside on 15 acres of essentially residential property in a village of 4.3 square miles and 725 households on a private road surrounded by a screen of trees.

      • Maybe I don’t have this correct, but I thought they mortgaged up this property to do some of their payoffs on legal blunders of the last decade. Does anyone have the facts on this?
        But in any case, Fr. Jillions syrup and honey description of the sweet Greek orthodox gardener loving this property and his grass cutting, and the cute romantic comments including,that he gets to take lunch in a million dollar garden that “we” definitely need to keep paying for is so lame.Perhaps we should all fly to NY and have lunch with him and on the way pick up a couple of real Estate moguls to oooh and auhh over it all.
        I can’t believe over and over how foolish these men think we are. It really astounds me. Who writes his material?
        Perhaps it is an high school grad applying for the position of Executive Administrative Assistant.?Doesn’t this kind of thing make anyone else sick and wonder for “How deeply troubled this man must be”?

  2. Clare Voyant says

    I find it highly unusual that the primate of an autocephalous church, cannot handpick his own assistants. TRUST is the key element here. This is a recipe for disaster as the assistant has to answer to TRHEE bosses!

  3. Between the new “Sex Czar” and this newly created position, it is clear that Syosset is not implementing the All-American Council’s mandate to reduce the size of our national juggernaut and give greater Diocesan sovereignty –which, after all, is our ecclesiology.

    According to our Tradition, there is no such thing as a “national church” governing the dioceses. There may be major cathedrals, whose leaders the smaller churches and missions may seek help, wisdom, and guidance from. There may be an administration –under the Metropolitan and the Holy Synod– where resources and charity may be coordinated. There may be a Synodal center or Patriarchal center, where joint statements can be made to and for the American people. But the Syosset administration is not and cannot be our “national church” over the dioceses. And even if St Nicholas Cathedral in Washington D.C. became all of the above, it still would not be a “national church” over the other churches. Even if St Nicholas Cathedral became the seat of both the Metropolitan and our administration (moved from Syosset), and even if St Nicholas became the center of a major movement of monasticism and spirituality as Metropolitan +JONAH wished (and as should be), and even if St Nicholas became a place of pilgrimage and Christian renewal for the faithful of the OCA (and I hope St Nicholas DOES become all this!), it would still not be, theologically speaking, our national church over the other churches. This is papalism, not Orthodoxy. The only way, if we are faithful to our teaching, for there to be a “national church,” is if the entire United States was one diocese.

    The proper term –and words are important, for they both embody and shape concepts– for Syosset is our coordinated national administration, not our national church. Please, folks, stop calling Syosset our national church. It is not, and to call it that only feeds the problem.

    We all knew that as soon as the resolution to reduce Syosset’s cut was amended, it was actually gutted, and would never be implemented as intended. Now Syosset is adding to its staff, defying the All-American Council’s clearly stated will. Anybody willing to bet that at the next AAC, rather than having implemented our 2011 assessment resolution, they will be saying they must have another increase?

    • ForcedANON’s post has his ecclesiology in order and it should be printed up and mailed out to everyone. However, I feel the matter of the Griswold Estate in Oyster Bay Cove, donated to the Metropolia in the days when the Metropolitan and Synod were headquartered at the Bowery Cathedral of the Protection; the Metropolitan living, I believe, up three flights of stairs, does not bear directly on the faulty ecclesiology of the OCA’s governance, even indirectly. The question of holding onto and maintaining a very valuable property is a difficult one and today’s real estate market is too unsettled to allow for a sensible resolution to the problem of its use. It might be a very grave historical mistake to dispose of that gift without a great deal of study.
      But this idea of “the national church” is indeed pernicious. So much nonsense is attributed to St. Tikhon and the revelations in Church governance he allegedly enlightened the Russia Church with, as well as to the Hyper-Pentecost of the Council of 1917-18, that it’s almost impossible to have a calm, sober discussion of “what’s to be done.” What developed in the Metropolia and then the OCA was an irresistible drift (always couched in and justified with concepts like ‘Sobornost” and “Conciliarity”) towards a governance completely in line with and molded after the rigid template of an American DENOMINATION. One of the core characteristics of the American “denomination” is the periodic “church-wide” convention. Call it a Sobor or whatever else seems enlightened: it’s still a big, typical convention. One must give a grudging and half-arsed salute to the Roman Catholic Church in America for (mainly during their big “American Catholicism’ controversy in the 19th century) having resisted the drift toward “acceptable” American denominationalism and the periodic convention. Some literally curl up their toes when they hear the words, “All-American Council;” it’s become almost a Golden Calf. If EVERYTHING that transpired at the Seattle AAC didn’t wake up an Orthodox sensibility, but, rather allowed a kind of sinking into self-celebratoriness, this is a tragedy..What is missing, it seems to me, in my dotage, is imagination and an Orthodox world-view. The totally mistreated, unjustly-treated Metropolitan Jonah, too, lacked imagination while holding to a true Orthodox world-view. He also lacked one of the fundamental concepts of leadership/management: the delegation of authority WITHOUT delegation of responsibility. Responsibility can not be delegated; the leader MUST delegate authority.
      An intelligent Metropolitan like Jonah might better have sought out a very strong, dominating type leader as his Chancellor who would use the authority delegated to him by the Metropolitan (and not some god-awful management committee or council of aldermen or house of commons) himself to implement what the Metropolitan knows is the right course. Then he’s free to do all the “primatial stuff” himself: meeting people from government, representing the Holy Synod in meeting other First Hierarchs, coordinating the efforts of the Synod to assist the dioceses (and not dominate them). And so on.
      I had ONE contact with Metropolitan Jonah. I called him not long after his election and begged him to use his position as Primate and his advantage of theological expertise to start off by doing just one little thing (actually, it’s not little, but huge): come out with a Synodal statement clearly defining “conciliarity”, which was not defined clearly anywhere, and which seemed to be grab-bag concept of away to overcome the hierarchical principle at worst and, at best, to encourage common effort toward a specified goal. I think he tried that, but the whole idea alarms the “power elite” in the OCA (sounds grand, but it’s just a kind of “in-group” used to having its way and striking out like a cobra when opposed; producing letters signed by scores of archpriests then and much later crafting knee-cap breaking Statements of the Holy Synod.

  4. PelagiaMB says

    So what does the Met. do? Stand there look pretty and let the CHANCERY EXECUTIVE ADMINISTRATOR put their hand up their back and control the words coming out of their mouth?

    Can we take a look back and see what the hierarchical set up was in Acts? Get rid of the Met Council.

    The Administrative Aide helps the Met. carry out the Mets. policies he does not set them.

  5. I do not speak fluent OCA, but is the key in this that Syosset gets to go back to the future? The headquarters gains power and personnel, while the idea of breaking with the past and moving to Washington, D.C., (perhaps even being a voice for Orthodoxy on the national issues of the day) is dead, dead, dead?

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      Looks like you got it. Unless the canonical mess is resolved, somehow. In which case we can then start thinking about emulating Moscow, Athens, and Belgrade . . .

      • Lola,of the three (Moscow, Athens, and Belgrade), Athens, i.e., the autocephalous Church of Greece, (and NOT the Ecumenical Patriarchate) is the most canonically organized and administered one.. it is true that theologically the Russian Church is the undisputed leader, but administratively the Greek Church as administered today holds out the most hope for the future. In Russia, it seems almost in the Church’s DNA that its Patriarch be a Co-Monarch of the earthly reflection of the Heaveny Realm. That’s just a lovely, lovely idea and almost makes our toes curl with enjoyment of it, but it ain’t canonical, and it ain’t Orthodox. Given that distortion of canonicity in the monarchical governance of the Russian Patriarchs, we should recognize that the leaving vacant of the Office (in this case, the most acccurate name) of Patriarch by Peter the Great was not entirely detrimental to the Church of Russia and her mission. The fantastic missionary accomplishments of the Russian Church were not patriarchal initiatives at all. One may, in fact, speculate as to whether those missions, particularly the foreign ones, would have even been born if the Patriarchate had survived!! I feel that the All-Russian Council of 1917 would have done better to have started a reorganization along the lines of the Church of Greece, with an Archbishop of Moscow as First Hierarch of a Synod of Archbishops and Bishops, rather than a return (motivated by nostalgia and a kind of hankering after past glories) to the most problematic ideal of Patriarchal governance. Without a Moscow Patriarchate, moreover, the legendary “pentarchy” could be seen for what it was (except in Antioch), the Original Potemkin Village: small towns with fantastic names, and their Patriarchs rather resembling the Maharajahs of India under British rule: glorious titles for the impotent. Even the Antiochian Church, which is almost as substantial as the Melkite Church of the same name, holds on to a fantastic and totally imaginary hegemony over “All the East!!!!”! Funny, I don’t think the average Chinese, Japanese, or Indonesian or Afghan or Uzbek or Mongol has ever heard of Antakya or Antioch. “All the East!!!”
        How wonderful that the Church of Greece has lived without such grand embellishments to its name and that of its First Hierarch, the Archbishop of Athens!

    • That was always dead in the eyes of Syosset. There is no interest in moving the CA and so on to DC. It’s preferred, apparently, that the Archbishop of DC live on Long Island close to the CA insiders who work in Syosset. One of the “black eyes” that +Jonah suffered from was raising the issue of doing away with Syosset and reincarnating a much smaller CA in DC, while devolving power to the regional dioceses. That went over like a lead balloon, as one can well imagine.

      • M.Vasiliou says


        Less is best.

        Less government leads to less bureaucracy and lower tithes (taxes) on the people.

        With the proposed OCA Chancery Executive Administrator (CEA), more employees will be needed to handle the extra workload as the job requirements for this new position are certainly more than one person can handle. Worse, this CEA will be accountable to three persons, and ultimately to the S-NY Apparatus, and to the OCA Synod. How can three bosses agree on anything? No doubt, the Peter Principle will cause this job to be a revolving door.

      • lexcaritas says

        My bet is this was THE cardinal sin that got everything going. OCA News was certainly critical of it–branding it unilateral action–when JONAH never actually took any action on this–he couldn’t. He merely suggested it.

        It’s not a bad idea to consider with due care, is it? The mansion in Syosset is quite impressive, grandiose even; but way out of the way and not easy to get to. DC, of course, would every bit as expensive, but putting the CA in MD or VA might not be too expensive with better access to the capital and Dulless and Reagan airports.


  6. Lordsave says

    Call it speculation or call it logical deduction. It becomes clearer and clearer as the days go by since His Beatitude was resigned, that the model of the OCA is the corporate American model. Think about it: you have your Board of Directors (the Synod,) you have your officers (in the Metropolitan Council,) you even have the elite who can dictate company policy to the Board (in the senior most ingrained clergy,) and you have the plebeian share holders, the laity of the OCA.

    I was just in a meeting with a fellow whose wife is in an almost identical situation as His Beatitude, and she is in a corporate American situation. She was in the corporate model in “upper management.” When she began calling co-workers and the company to account they accused her of an undisclosed deep seated mental issue and had her removed. I think this is a common way of doing things in corporate America.

    I know that some have accused the OCA of being to much like a corporation, but the reality of this consideration suddenly was brought home to me. The question I have is: did Fr. Schmemann implement this model, or did his model morph after his repose? The other question I have is: how long has Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky been functioning with the authority of a Metropolitan? I ask because he sure seems to have that authority.

    One thing also seems clear; the people of the OCA did not like this old experimental OCA model, and nominated His Beatitude to usher in a more Orthodox model. It was definitely under the old model in which, among other things that should be impossible for an Orthodox Christian, let alone a hierarch, was deep moral bankruptcy, missing millions, and flagrant coverup, and which also made the Metropolitan a figurehead, not a leader, as seen in traditional Orthodox models. The old model also seems to keep certain ingrained ethic cliques and individuals in seats of power, prestige, and profits (the p-p’s as Fr. Hopko calls it.) The old model seems to have naturally caused the employees of the “central church” to become out of touch with “average Joseph Orthodox.” One calls to mind the Roman turn of phrase “princes of the Church.” On might be led to think that the response (or lack thereof) to the concerned OCA people, especially regarding Jonah’s resignation among other things, shows that the Synod and the staff at Syosset are out of touch, if not blatantly disregarding the voice of much of the wider Church. This is a problem!

  7. Do “other duties as assigned” include keeping one’s lips still as one makes the Metropolitan’s jaw go up and down? Or hacking and monitoring e-mail accounts?

  8. This is rich. I’ve been saying for over a year now – echoing my bishop, His Eminence Archbishop Justinian – that most of these so-called “administrative” failures of Met. Jonah’s would go away with a good staff. If the whole thing weren’t so tragic, I would find it funny that, on top of the chancellor and Syosset being in place, they have reassigned Met. Jonah’s responsibilities to three bishops, and now they want to add an Executive Assistant.

    Perhaps it is too hard of a job for one bishop to do. Hmm…

    • Rod Dreher says

      most of these so-called “administrative” failures of Met. Jonah’s would go away with a good staff.

      A trustworthy staff, anyway.

      • But a good trustworthy staff requires that someone by there to oversee it. It appears this is where Jonah failed.

        This doesn’t make Jonah a bad person just a poor administrator. Therefore, its hard to justify keeping him in an administrative position.

        • James S,

          Your basic premise is flawed when you declare “a good and trustworthy staff.” That was and is one of the big issues facing Syosset and who ever will be the next Metropolitan. Who does the Syosset staff work for in the new OCA? The past two chancellors were not working nor were they trustworthy when it came to the Metropolitan. They were working for the MC and the Synod. Jonah was isolated, one man against the Syosset staff. It is clear from the intercepted emails of Fr. Garklavs that he was not working for the Metropolitan but for those bishops and the MC who were against Jonah. It is next to impossible to lead a staff that is against you. Every move, word, action, that Jonah took was under the scrutiny of these other people. They had already made their choice to run every move of the Metropolitan through the prism of him being the problem. He was the only problem.

          Again, if you believe that these people were “good and trustworthy” then you made your choice to accept all of their versions of events and thus I can see how you can blame Jonah as they did.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Yeah he failed when those who were his ‘staff’ were not chosen by him and, according to numerous reports, felt free to denigrate him publically and to his face. Not only that, but as diocesan bishop he chose to live in his diocese as is, I believe, canonically required rather than in a far removed corner of the world which at the best of times is a really insular place. It would be sort of like putting the Pope in Sicily or the Patriarch of Russia in Valdivostok.

          He failed because of his own shortcomings and a total and complete lack of support from his ‘staff’, many of his senior priests and his ‘brother’ bishops. The latter two categoies owe him obedience at least to some degree.

  9. Monk James says

    It seems to me that the tasks assigned to the ‘executive assistant’ position could well be handled by the OCA’s chancellor and secretary.

    But if a new person is to be brought in, it would be better for the metropolitan himself to make the selection, since the position functions mostly to support and assist HIM.

    • Monk James! I think this is all so the Chancellor can check out at four- o’clock and have more time with the missus,Denise. It’s not like Protopresbyter Rodion and Bette Kondratick who worked from dawn to dusk or later. These are the new accountable times. What’s the salary of this new executive? No doubt it will be subtracted from the salary(-ies) of those NOW doing this indispensable work? No doubt, the Chancellor, the Secretary, and the Treasurer will, as good stewards, give substantial portions of their compensation for the sake of the Church.

      • lexcaritas says

        Who authorized the creation of this new position? at what salary? Is it in some approved budget?


  10. Thanks, OCA. I’ve never before seen a job announcement that made me laugh so hard I cried, and cry so hard I laughed.

  11. George, I liked the film! Is that an actual film of the investigation of rape that the Holy Synod promised to do themselves? Do you know how far they’ve progressed? Surely, they are not procrastinating in such a vital matter that caused the Metropolitan to lose his position!!!!!!

  12. Bruce Wm. Trakas says

    Didn’t some long term employee of the Central Administration recently retire? I thought I read that somewhere. Also, Metropolitan Jonah had a subdeacon or some other assistant in D.C. who probably did (or was supposed to do) much of what is discussed in this job description. Although I don’t see why this position should be involved with finances, unless the account clerk in the finance office is overburdened. I didn’t comment before, but the so called Sex Czar is needed because of claims, lawsuits and other actions, residue from improper clergy behavior inherited from past administrations, are overwhelming the Chancellor, obviously. In my opinion, since the reorganization of the Central Administration in ’07 (Was it?), the staff level was probably appropriate, but time has shown it needs some adjustment. I’d bet that many of the responsibilities in the job description are not being fulfilled, and probably the new Chancellor, Fr. John, has asked for this assistance so that these responsibilities are fulfilled. I would also recommend that the reorganization team’s efforts to ensure that no Chancellor would again have the authority that Kondratick had, took away his supervisory duties of the Central office, but now, there are 3 other national officers essentially functioning without supervision—the Chancellor should fill that role, with a dotted line to the metropolitan, who from time to time should ensure that their communications are not being stifled by the Chancellor.

    For the Central office positions related to those that are involved with this position, the GOAA has a Chancellor; Assistant Chancellor–though he handles the Direct Archdiocesan District in New York’s responsibilities too; Secretary to the Archbishop (with at least 2 assistants); Secretary to the Eparchial (Provincial) Synod, and Director of Administration, along with 2 deacons. While the GOAA has far more members, the OCA has at least 30% more parishes. I agree that probably the next metropolitan should have had a strong voice in the selection of this position, but probably Bishop Michael who is running a diocese while serving as Temporary Administrator has asked for this type of support, along with the Chancellor, and isn’t this a clue that the Synod doesn’t intend to arrange for an election of a new primate any time soon?

    Accordingly, I don’t see what is wrong with hiring some secretarial support for the Primate and the Chancellor.

    • Just Guessing says

      but now, there are 3 other national officers essentially functioning without supervision—the Chancellor should fill that role, with a dotted line to the metropolitan,

      Why would there be a dotted line to the Metropolitan when the Chancellor should be reporting to the Metropolitan (as should the other officers)? That doesn’t make sense at all.

      • lexcaritas says

        Exactly. These people should report to the Met.

        Put another way: the one to whom they report is the person pulling the strings of the organization and with the real power.


  13. MartyOlson says

    I want to echo the opinion/suggestion that the position not be filled until the new Metropolitan is chosen. The new Metropolitan needs to feel comfortable working so closely with an exec. asst. Most people who have exec asst do interview and choose the person to fill this position themselves. Not knowing how this person is to interact with the other leadership positions, s/he will be forever in the cross hairs of blame if there is any deviation from the script. RE: the larger question of the national leadership group and how they were intended to function, can’t comment.

    Being America, the style of the administration is going to reflect the operations mechanism of corporations because almost all entities have to file for incorporation, especially non-profit ones.

  14. Michael Ryan says

    See the verdict in the Msgr Lynn case. This is what Syosset is afraid of and why they moved so quickly and hastily against Jonah. They wanted to be in a position to say, “see we know how to deal with this stuff…” Unfortunately the OCA, thankfully, is not the Roman Church and our bishop did not cover up a rape which he only learned about AFTER it was taken to the police.

    • Just Guessing says

      Did you happen to read (after the 15,000 times that it was posted) that the alleged rape was already reported to the police? Oh, and the priest was not in the OCA? Or are these just meaningless details?

  15. Catherine says

    For all of you who are bloviating about the new position, I believe that it is actually the position that belonged to Helen Detke. Helen worked at the chancery for many years and was responsible for keeping track of all of the appeals, helping with the metropolitan’s and the chancellor’s correspondence, answering phones and greeting guests, and many other duties. For the record, it was the former Metropolitan Jonah who ridiculously chose his cell attendant, Brother Gregory, a young man of approximately 25 years old to be his original church secretary. Brother Gregory had absolutely no experience in administration and spent most of his time galavanting around with the former metropolitan. And as we can all see, this created unbelievable chaos because there was no one to take the former metropolitan’s phone calls, answer messages, or write correspondence.

    For all of the obvious experts on this site who know what the chancery needs, I suggest you go and visit the chancery before you conclude what the church does or does not need. For the record, back in around 2006/2007 Deacon John Zarras and a team of other people was assigned the task of reviewing every position at the chancery and eliminate every one that was not essential. Helen Detke’s position was not eliminated because it was deemed essential. Now the chancery is simply trying to replace a vacant position and people on this site are opining with certainty that they “know” that the position is not necessary or can be combined with the duties of other staff members.

    For the experts that believe that the chancery is becoming “too corporate,” who exactly do you think is supposed to write the thank you letter to the little old lady who sends $10 to the church? Who exactly is supposed to go to the post office and get the mail? Who exactly, is supposed to take the phone call from the angry dentist who wants to call and complain? Who exactly is supposed to open the door and turn the lights on when, God forbid, a hierarch from another jurisdiction might actually want to visit the OCA? Who, exactly, is supposed to get in touch with the metropolitan (who might or might not be in Washington) to tell him that a tragedy has occurred? Who, exactly is supposed to coordinate, faxes, emails, letters, and face to face meeting with church departments, clergy, and the faithful of the OCA who would dare to contact the central administration of the church?

    • Just Guessing says

      Serves as the personal secretary to the Metropolitan with responsibility for all matters of correspondence to and from the Office of the Metropolitan

      Helen was a general Administrative Assistant for the entire Chancery and had very few administrative tasks related to the Metropolitan. And do you think she was writing the festal encyclicals? Really?

      So no, this expert does NOT believe that Syosset is becoming too ‘corporate,’ only because such inept structures and thinking would never survive in the corporate world. It’s interesting that when Syosset was gutted, all of this was deemed unimportant. And when Met Johah was around, communicating with other churches was verboten (unless there was permission from the Star Chamber), but now, all of a sudden, the Saviors of Syosset want it all back. They want to hire an Administrative Assistant for the Metropolitan that does not exist. What corporation would hire an Administrative Assistant for their non-existent CEO? And when they did get one, wouldn’t let him or her hire their own choice?

      Too ‘corporate,’ right. How about “too stupid”?

    • There’s nothing wrong with the ideal you describe.

      But what we are seeing is the Metropolitans servants becoming the Metropolitan’s masters. It seems that the bureaucratic staff who should be serving and protecting the Metropolitan have decided instead to rule him,

    • Okay, we seem to have two Catherines here, a nice Catherine who identified herself as a new reader a few days ago, and a mean Catherine. One or both of you should differentiate your name to avoid further confusion.

      I venture to suggest that a lot of the criticism being levied at this job posting is reflecting the tragic irony of dumping a Metropolitan for issues related to his allegedly poor administrative ability, then posting a job announcement for an executive administrator for “the Metropolitan”.

      Ah, Syosset.

      • Just Guessing says

        This is an outstanding point that Helga makes, and readers here should not miss it.

        Series of events:
        1) Metropolitan has series of adminisrative failures.
        2) Metropolitan gets fired for administrative failures.
        3) Job posting appears for Administrative Executive for non-existent Metropolitan.

        I hate to sound like a broken record. But if this isn’t “ready, fire, aim,” I don’t know what is. Shouldn’t it be 1, 3 and then avoid 2?

        • ‘Just Guessing!”
          Here is, as von Ranke, the German historian, would say “what really went on:”
          1. They elected someone they didn’t know without thinking.
          2. They learned they elected someone whose purposes are at odds with their own purposes.
          3. They are punishing the person they elected for their election of him.

        • Yeah. You are right. Clear as day . . .

          • Alice Carter says

            Colette, this blog is not healthy for Orthodox iconographers. You need to stay way away from this negativity. Leave it for those who have no liturgical, choral or iconographical duties. It really is for people who think they know what’s good for the OCA, who can’t serve at the altar, sing in the choir, write icons or clean up after coffee hour. They are having a lot of fun, leave them to it.

            • Joseph A. says

              Dr. Carter,

              That was a bit snippy. I looked you up because I thought that I recognized your name (different Alice, though), and I found that you signed a petition five years ago asking that Met. Herman resign. So, you evidently know what is best for the OCA but not commentators on Mr. Michalopulos’ blog. I suppose that your PhD gives you special insights on ecclesial direction, eh?

              This blog functions in part as a sort of bitch session. That can be productive to an extent as cathartic release. Of course, it can also be unhealthy when people focus on the negative and engage in mean spiritedness, but pretty much anything can be abused. Still, having folks discuss these matters of import openly and honestly seems like a better system than having the flock just shut on, show up, and pay up all the time. Let us remember that we are rational sheep, as Saint John put it. Rational sheep can be expected to question the bizarre actions of their vicarious shepherds.

              PS) When I looked you up, I found that you have done research on TS. Thank you.

            • Dear Alice,
              It is my duty as an Iconographer to speak the truth, which is why I come here. I have been told by several persons that their bishops felt sorry for +Jonah when he was elected because the OCA Bishops have a reputation of being seriously nasty and underhanded. Clearly that’s true. I don’t suppose all are bad, but can you imagine not going along with them whilst being one? No, for anyone not to be outraged by what has happened here means apathy or that you simply don’t agree with the message this Metropolitan brought and you too want him gone so the OCA can continue down the garden path. . . . My family and I will leave the OCA before ever going along with this-and I’ll take my friends with me!

      • Catherine P. says

        Hello, Helga,

        I’m the new reader Catherine, and I’ll also happily take the other, kind adjective you applied to me. 🙂

        In any case, I noticed the confusion as well, especially since the “view all comments” doesn’t distinguish been my comments, the other Catherine’s comments, and perhaps the comments of any other Catherine that might ever have commented on the board.

        So, to clarify things, I’ll begin posting as “Catherine P.”

    • Sorry, Catherine, the track record of the reorganization of the OCA is clear. The Syosset has never been at such a low ebb. The new Secretary to the Metropolitan will do Mrs. Detke’s job which was primarily receipting of funds. Her job certainly took a turn when FOS money dried up and the need for those $10 gift letters also disappeared. Now the already hand picked new Administrative Assistant, the old job of the Secretary to the Metropolitan and the work of financial receipting is being combined into one position.

      The organizational restructuring done by the late Dn. Zarras, the late Robert Kornafeld and the late Alexander Whitemore has proven to be a colossal failure which has only proven to pit the Metropolitan vs. the chancery staff and the MC now the HR department for the OCA. You may chose to disagree but the track record does not lie. The OCA financially supporting membership continues to decline and the recent events surrounding His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah does nothing to change that decline in credibility. Even the former Chancellor Garklavs objected to the reorganization as it pertained to his old position.

      However, you are correct, the OCA did set a new course back in 2006/2007 and the results are out there for people to judge. It is certainly true that the AAC in Seattle told Syosset that they should shrink so that the dioceses can expand, but all we have seen since then is their attempt to add more staff (Sex Czar and Sex Cop) so that they can plead that there is no way the assessment can be reduced. They are trying to control the narrative and there are many people out here who are answering that they are ignoring the will of the Church that met in Council in Seattle.

      Nice try, Catherine, but accountability and transparency are what you all wanted. Now you have be held accountable. The only thing that has changed in Syosset is that there are a new cast of characters trying to hold on to the money and power, just like the old administration prior to 2006/2007.

      • DC Indexman says


        I did not know lthe ate Robert Kornafeld ord the late Alexander Whitemore. I did know the late Deacon Father John Zarras. As I know he claimed to be a management expert on reorganization based on his career in a aviation company that acquired and merged with other companies, I seem to recall he was involved with the OCA strategic plan. What ever happened with that? He was a big supporter of transparency. He wanted a governance structure with competing power centers. What happened with this? You said this plan has proven to be a colossal failure — why is this so.

        On the other hand you mentioned Deacon Father Peter Danilchek. I do not know him, but heard he had a long career at Mobil Oil where he rose to be a VP. However, Exon Mobile is known for having a very ruthless corporate culture. Father Peter is now a consultant with the Assembly of Canonical Bishops – presumably he has become a big shot with them, What did he do for the OCA?

    • lexcaritas says

      The little old lady should be giving her $10 to her parish, not to the “national” church. Then the parishes tithe to their Diocese and the Diocese tithe (or pay their assessment) to the CA.


  16. Michael Ryan says

    Two postings of interest on FB:

    “One question pertaining to the recent очередной бардак in the OCA: by Article IV.4 of the Statutes, if there is no Primate, 1) the Synod should declare the see vacant and 2) call the All-American council _within three months_, i.e. by October 9, 2012. Why neither of these things has happened yet? Not that it is any of my business, but just wondering, why it seems that nobody cares to follow canons or statutes…”

    the second from a Matushka in New England:

    “My bishop sent me an email at 3:30AM. I think we need An Intervention. Someone kidnap that man and take him to the Caribbean for two weeks.”

    • The Albanian Diocese had a Bishop who was a “Friend of Dorothy”, and he was replaced by Bishop Nikon. The New England Diocese had a Bishop who was a “Friend of Dorothy”, and he was replaced by Bishop Nikon.
      Of now Archbishop Nikon we may only say with conviction that he’s a widower and as far as “Friends of Dorothy” go, he doesn’t get it at all, but he feels that the former Bishop of the Albanians was surely “a good guy”, and the late former Bishop of New England was surely “a nice guy.” With him there’s no scheming. It’s something a lot more SIMPLE.

    • “очередной бардак ”

      PLEASE! Some of us here really do speak Russian! ROTFLMAO!

  17. My hope is that a better vetting process will be adopted so that things that might be an impediment to someone’s serving as a Bishop will be identified. A good start would be to solicit from the church at large, input re their strengths and weakness, from anyone who cares to submit a letter with facts and under their own name. I’ve never seen any such invitation on any Diocesan website when candidates were being considered and I know that has never happened in my own Diocese. I’ve read statements on blogs by people saying they had experiences with certain Bishops and Metropolitans when these men were priests (ex. meanness of spirit, biting sarcasm, sexual and/or alcohol problems, inability to take constructive criticism or disagreement, responding to criticism with retaliation, impulsiveness) that would seem to be important to know about someone who was being considered, or in the case of someone with inadequate adminstrative skills, at least they’d know what kind of organizational support someone would need. I’d imagine, if the brotherhood at St John’s were asked, they would have been able to say what his Beatitudes’s weaknesses and strengths were. Were they ever asked? Opinions from encounters during retreats and “visits” or interviews by a couple of Synod members or even a diocesan committee doesn’t seem to be enough. Of course people would have to feel secure that whatever they wrote would be held in the strictest confidence. With the “leaks” by individuals that regularly occur here and on other blogs (the latest being the leak of Met. Jonah’s resignation before the official OCA annoucement), I doubt that anyone would feel comfortable being so open with the Holy Synod.

    • I think we’ve had too much experience with “the church at large” already.
      Each diocese should elect its own Bishop from amongst the members of that diocese. Period.
      Such a requirement in itself would preclude the election and installation of an “unvetted” stranger, or incompetent, or re-located pervert.
      That simple requirement would obviate the constant re-invention of the wheel and the root cause of a whole lot of the destructive turmoil resulting from the present-day system. i could not comprehend how an allegedly finished Diocese like that of the South had to go scouting abroad to find a hierarch to replace its declining Archbishop!
      Dioceses are getting relative STRANGERS as their bishops in some cases. When I was elected, i was a well-known parish priest and the other candidate was even born in the diocese! That’s as it should be. How is it that no one in the proud Diocese of the South had been mentored or even considered capable of being mentored to succeed His Eminence?

      • M.Vasiliou says

        Each diocese should elect its own Bishop from amongst the members of that diocese. Period.
        Such a requirement in itself would preclude the election and installation of an “unvetted” stranger, or incompetent, or re-located pervert.

        His Grace, Bishop Tikhon, has simply restated the ancient Orthodox canon, where each diocese elects its own successor from within its ranks, and then contacts three bishops from surrounding dioceses to affirm and consecrate the new bishop-elect.

        Does anyone see the parallel between the Papal Supremacy of the Vatican bureaucracy and that of the Syosset-HS Apparatus?

      • Michael Bauman says

        The pool is small because of the general giving into the world when it comes to sexuality.
        Celibacy is looked upon as, almost, a perversion in and of itself. No mature monastics.

  18. Ken Miller says

    I have come to the conclusion that the OCA does not deserve to continue to exist in its current form, both for structural and personnel reasons. Regarding personnel, the corruption, dirty politics, and modernistic agendas in Syosset stinks to high heaven. Many of the same players who forced Bishop Basil Rodzianko into early retirement in 1984 are still there and are still up their dirty tricks, most recently engineering the downfall of our Metropolitan based on lies and faulty information. There is no movement to clean house, and if there were, Syosset would crush it like a bug. Structurally, the OCA was set up based on a non-Orthodox ecclesiastical model including a nonsensical puppet metropolitan, a Metropolitan Council gone wild, and a Holy Synod. Even Schmemman had second thoughts before he died about the structure he had architected. Our autocephaly has not worked, as autocephaly is meaningless if it is not recognized by most of Orthodoxy.

    So what is the alternative? I have previously posted that I believe that being part of a state run foreign church is not an acceptable situation for native born Americans. However, someone recently took the time to explain to me the idea of “Maximal Autonomy”, and it really is a good model. Americans would truly have independence to operate their own church affairs. The only control the mother church has is, when a new Metropolitan is elected, the mother church has to bless it. Issues of church-state entanglement overseas does not become an issue, and the best part of it is we would have a real Metropolitan with the powers that an Orthodox Metropolitan is supposed to have, and the corrupt bureaucrats in Syosset would be without a job. Now that is an idea worth considering!

    An insignificant parishioner like myself has about as much influence over the Moscow Patrarchate as a flea on a rhinocerous, but I’ll offer my thoughts anyway. I think the MP should revoke their recognition of autocephaly from the OCA and they should create a new maximally autonomous American church with Jonah as the Metropolitan to give a home to all previously OCA parishes that desire to adhere to the ancient Spiritual faith without modernistic innovation. Through this rebirth rooted in spirituality rather than the rotten, carnal power politics of the old guard OCA, we will quickly grow to be far more influential on the American spiritual landscape than the OCA ever was.

  19. First and foremost, THANK YOU for your posts on the uncanonical and unjust forcing out of Metropolitan JONAH. You are one to go to for information who is speaking the truth to power and exposing the lies this forced resignation was disingenuously “based” on.

    As I’m sure you know, Archbishop NATHANIEL has issued an encyclical for the whole OCA on the start of the Dormition Fast. (I wrote this entire commentary the same night +NATHANIEL released his letter, 7/26/1012, though I posted it much later.)

    First of all, I was relieved that the letter did not further slander Metropolitan +JONAH, or further justify the Synod’s shameless slander of him.

    However, it seemed revealing to me that a Dormition Fast letter is released when we are not in the Dormition Fast. In fact, the Fast is nearly a full week away, and usually such letters are released the day the fast/feast starts (or even after). I don’t think this is entirely the result of “newly efficient, proactive archpastorship.” Syosset introduces this letter as “concerning the Dormition Fast,” but it isn’t about Dormition at all. We may give +NATHANIEL a nod for issuing a letter well ahead of when parishes need to print their bulletins for Sunday, but in reality, I suspect this comes because of the “blowback,” as you describe it, over +JONAH’s mistreatment.

    Perhaps I’m being overly critical, but it seemed interesting to me that the letter was addressed to the “worthy” clergy, and the “pious” monastics of the OCA. Does this not imply that there are “unworthy” clergy and “unpious” monks (who are raising questions of the Synod)? In all fairness, this is may be overly cynical, as the same line could be interpreted as universal respect, that all the OCA’s priests and monastics are viewed by +NATHANIEL as “worthy” and “pious.”

    +NATHANIEL’s letter says, “At the end of the prescribed time of fasting and reflection, we shall joyfully celebrate the translation of the Theotokos.” Indeed, the feast comes and we will celebrate it, but it seems to me this is overeager, in light of our shameful situation brought on by our Synod, to ignore the international slander that our bishops have made against their/our brother. We will celebrate the Theotokos, but we certainly will NOT “celebrate” our leaders until they repent –and repent to the same width of audience that they slandered JONAH: the international Orthodox community, the worldwide media, and seek to correct their slander against +JONAH in the eyes of the millions of people around the world who read a newspaper, or watch TV or internet news.

    +NATHANIEL’s line (and I attribute it to him, knowing that it was composed *for* him, as was +MATTHIAS’ letter, but nevertheless he is to be held responsible for it), “The Church in North America is also in a time of fasting and reflection in anticipation of the Descent of the Holy Spirit on our special All-American Electoral Council,” I take as nothing less than a dishonest diversion from the circumstances at hand. First of all, any election is at the very least several months away, and a period of fasting and prayer before an election this winter or spring or later is premature. They haven’t even scheduled, or announced the DATE of an electoral council! In all likelihood, it will be after the Nativity Fast –so will +NATHANIEL then be issuing the same letter, using the Nativity Fast as additional cover for the issue at hand, the Synod’s slander? Secondly, it conveniently takes the focus away from the concern of the faithful for their Metropolitan, who –and this is, horribly, NOT an exaggeration– who has been slandered in criminal fashion before the entire world. The obvious topic to speak to the faithful about, if anyone is pastorally concerned, is the ousting of Metropolitan JONAH. So I call this dishonest, because to speak about ANYTHING else, because of the import of worldwide slander by the Synod, is to INTENTIONALLY divert attention away from the topic at hand. Thirdly, and perhaps most grievously against the Holy Spirit, I see this as a shameful USING of a holy Fast of the Church to cover up the sins of bishops. Again, like +MATTHIAS’ first letter (“The Lord continues to guide us…The guidance of the Holy Spirit will care for us as we discern the path on which we are to embark”), this letter, by using the holy Fast to divert/cover up sin, may be blasphemy.

    The entire world, literally, quoting our bishops, is saying:
    “Leader of U.S. Orthodox Church Quits Amid Rape Claim”
    “Orthodox Church in America Head Metropolitan Jonah Dismissed Over Alleged Rape Cover-Up”
    “Orthodox Church in America Exec Fired for Not Removing Rapist Priest”
    “Metropolitan Jonah Ousted: Leader Of Orthodox Church in America Dismissed Over Alleged Rape Cover-Up”
    –and we are going to talk about an ELECTION???

    Indeed, more people in the U.S. and around the world know now about the Orthodox Church, because of +MATTHIAS’ letter, than have ever heard about Orthodoxy before. And they associate their newly acquired knowledge, they associate THE ORTHODOX CHURCH, with RAPE. Additionally, because of +MATTHIAS’ and the Synod’s slander and lies, they associate the Orthodox Church with Jerry Sandusky, and pedophilia. Thank you, bishop Matthias, and whatever Syossetite wrote Matthias’ letter. Thank you, Synod of bishops. Thank you, Kishkovsky. Your coordinated effort to oust Metropolitan JONAH by whatever dishonest and devious means you can employ has not only revealed you to be betrayers of your brother (who is Christ), but destroyers of evangelism in America for this generation.

    There is so much diversion in this letter (“the Church in this period of fasting and spiritual reflection is preparing for the Electoral Council,” “You are fasting and praying for the ‘peace for the Church'”) that it seems its true message is the command to drop concerns in the interest of “peace.” Well, that is a false “peace.” We had that kind of “peace” a few years ago, while five million dollars was “lost” and orphans and the poor were stolen from. Through Ezekiel, God said He will reject those leaders who call for “peace,” when there is no peace, “because they have misled my people, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace” (Ez 13:10). And through Jeremiah, God rebukes such leaders, saying, “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush, says the LORD.” “Peace,” in the sense of the silencing of correction, is a betrayal of the Faith. The holy Apostle Paul tells us that “There must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.”

    The avoidance of the issue at hand is obvious when the letter admits that the Synod is “aware” of the “sadness” of “some in the Church.” Baloney. +NATHANIEL’s letter then immediately –in the same sentence, even the same phrase– associates this “sadness” with curiosity about an election. Again, shameless diversion. The assurance that the bishops “are working to change that sadness into joy,” and that, “after the election, ‘we shall rejoice in the Lord,'” ring hollow, because the issue at hand, the resolve of which is a prerequisite to genuine peace and joy, is avoided and completely ignored.

    But all this isn’t my greatest concern with +NATHANIEL’s letter. My greatest concern is what His Eminence DIDN’T say –the most obvious, most Orthodox, most appropriate exhortation he should have said, but to mention it would be damning to himself and the Synod: REPENTANCE. The Dormition Fast, as all the fasts of the Church, are not about praying for an election, but about repentance. It is repentance which we are to pray for, to fast for, to seek personally and to call for throughout all the Church of Christ. In our Divine Liturgy, we proclaim that God “has appointed repentance to salvation.” There is no more central theme in Orthodox Christianity than this. No more appropriate topic for exhortation anytime, most of all for a major Fast. And yet, in this letter, there is not a hint of repentance, the most important thing in all of Christianity and the focus of every Fast. Why? Because to mention repentance, the central requirement for all Orthodox, would reveal that our Synod is also in need of repentance. It’s obvious, and is only made more obvious by its omission. What is “the one think needful,” is for this public, worldwide, false slander to be repented of publicly, worldwide. The Synod needs to repent. This letter avoids the very thing –the only thing– which can bring about peace, or joy, or stability.

    Repentance is the “one thing needful,” for all of us, and, in light of the global slander of Metropolitan JONAH by his brother bishops, repentance is the one and only thing needful right now, to come from the Synod. “Each hierarch in his own diocese” may be “going about his apostolic labor,” according to Archbishop NATHANIEL, but without repentance that apostolic labor is in vain. Even the “Most Holy Birthgiver of God save us,” as +NATHANIEL’s letter begins, will NOT happen, if we do not repent. The OCA will never be at true peace, there will never be trust, until her bishops repent of this false slander. And repentance must be concrete, with Metropolitan JONAH restored, or else it is a false repentance.

    • Jesse Cone says


      You nailed it.

    • F.A. says, “In all fairness, this is may be overly cynical, as the same line could be interpreted as universal respect, that all the OCA’s priests and monastics are viewed by +NATHANIEL as ‘worthy’ and ‘pious.'”

      Isn’t that exactly the sort of attitude that is supposed to have gotten Met. Jonah into trouble? 🙂