Battle in Seattle? — Part 2

Part II in the continuing saga that is the 16th All-American Council, courtesy of Monomakhos and his band of merry men.

The sense of gloom that pervaded the first day seems to have lifted significantly. Many credit it with “the Speech” that +Jonah gave. Originally, some of his supporters felt that he had thrown in the towel. In its entirety however, it was far more uplifting and what we’ve come to expect from His Beatitude when the Spirit moves him. Clearly he’s a Christian gentleman of the first water.

This AAC is proving to be different in other ways as well. After +Jonah gave his speech, in which he accepted responsibility for certain administrative failures, one delegate (Maureen Jury of Dallas) rose up and asked which of the other bishops were going to take responsibility as well. Bp Benjamin of the West didn’t take too kindly to it but then Fr Chad Hatfield, the Dean of St Vladimir’s stood up and reiterated Maureen’s point. This was a bold move on both their parts but certainly Fr Chad’s as his employment is contingent upon the good graces of the Synod.

At that point, the two newest bishops of the OCA, +Michael of New York and +Matthias of Chicago, stood up and took responsibility. In fact, they said that they would join +Jonah during his respite while he worked on his administrative skills. This was a stunning development.

The New York Plan continues to gather steam despite the impassioned pleas of the Apparat. As of now, it may be defeated but the clear will of the people is increasingly on display.

For those who have been following Monomakhos and the analyses of the New York Plan, we would like to direct the readers’ attention to the following pie charts. On the top is the budget for the Diocese of the South; on the bottom is the budget for Syosset.

Notice again how much the Dallas budget allocates for Missions and Evangelism and how little for Administration.


  1. Actually, I think Fr. Chad’s employment is based on the good graces of the seminary’s Board of Trustees, which is chaired by Metropolitan Jonah and consists of a pan-Orthodox group of people, including Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) and Bishop Savas (Zembillas). I don’t think he has any reason to kiss any bishop’s behind.

    I say this in honesty, not in an attempt to cast aspersions on Fr. Chad’s bravery in forcing the Holy Synod to address that issue openly. Fr. Chad is an archpriest of unchallenged integrity, not to mention a proven track record of being able to work constructively with others, including Metropolitan Jonah. God grant him many years.

    I didn’t hear Bishops Michael and Matthias say that. From what I heard, it sounded like it could just as easily be the two of them taking Metropolitan Jonah by the arms and forcing him through the doors. I do wonder what will happen if this evaluation finds Metropolitan Jonah to be sane and healthy, though!

  2. Yeah, nothing like taking a great spiritual leader and transforming him into a bureaucrat, AKA Syosset Stooge.

  3. Benjamin may be a better administrator than Jonah, but when it comes to matters of the heart, where Jonah’s first impulse is forgive, Benjamin’s is to condemn. Would that Benjamin, as an act of charity and support for his brother, Metropolitan Jonah, also undergo an evaluation at the same facility. That might do more to begin the healing of the OCA than anything else.

    • Not just Bishop Benjamin; I think all of them should volunteer to do the same, including the auxiliary bishops.

      I’d vote for their stupid $125 assessment if they all agreed to do that.

    • Would that Benjamin, as an act of charity and support for his brother, Metropolitan Jonah, also undergo an evaluation at the same facility.

      Yeah, and Fr. Hopko, too, when “hell freezes over,” because it may reveal who is really “gravely troubled,” and then what?

  4. DC Indexman says

    George M. Do you have any sense yet as to how much authority and power the new Chancellor can or will be able to wield? Or how much do you think he will be willing to use his authority to push for his agenda? He said that he is not the Synod — but I take that as an appeasement to the crowd, — oh, sorry, I meant to assure the faithful. Now he is the man in charge of the mansion at Oyster Bay Cove — even if in the short term that is only 80%.

  5. Benjamin made his bed a long, long time ago. He’s not an administrator; he thinks he’s above not only civil law, but Church law. No rehab would help this “person.” He tried that, how many times (?), jee, where are we now?

    If one is not supposed to show support for Jonah, then, I assume (Benjamin) he would prefer we not wear a cross, wear the American flag on one’s lapel or a bracelet or pin for cancer, parkinsons, etc., He doesn’t deserve the respect that is afforded to an ordinary humble individual. Oh, right, he might need to learn the definition of a) respect; and b) humble.

    • Jane Rachel says

      The OCA needs to go to Al-Anon.

    • Geo Michalpulos says

      very much agree with you Madam. I for one desire not the destruction of anybody, Benjamin included. I pray he, Bobosh, and Jillions turn to repentance instead of self-justification. it’s sad. When Rod and Ian said that “this wasn’t going to end well,” we should understand this to mean that this won’t end well for the perpetrators as well. I’ve seen it happen in my life in the GOA, whenever a priest was run out of town for whatever reasons we came up with, well…let’s just leave it at that. Indeed, few will be spared. I pray for the Lord’s mercy for myself as well.

  6. Listening to the second half of Plenary IV – it was a pleasure to hear someone compliment Metropolitan Jonah’s leadership for a change! God bless you, Audit Committee guy!

  7. Everyone, please pray tomorrow during Plenary Session VI, since this is when they will be doing resolutions voting, including on the resolution to reduce the assessment. It will start tomorrow at 10:30 AM Pacific time, which is 1:30 PM Eastern time.

    • and 12:30 Central time for us Dallas-ites

      • I’m using this, with the typical adaption for laypeople (replace the triple kyrie eleison litanies with 40x Lord Have Mercy, etc). I hope people will see this and at least say a few of the prayers from it. “Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.”

        • Do we have a count …269 Yes, 178 against … so it’s passed. $105 first year, then reduce at discretion of MC.

          Discretion of the MC? So, basically we’re probably going to be keeping the $105 indefinitely.

          • Discretion of the MC. Huh. I would have only agreed to that if the current MC priest and lay members all agreed to tender their resignations and new elections were held.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Ah, so most of the delegates like the MC. As somebody told me earlier on another matter, live with it!

          • Elijah says:
            November 3, 2011 at 2:27 pm

            so it’s passed. $105 first year, then reduce at discretion of MC.

            To me that says that the Diocese of New York and New Jersey will continue to suffer financially “at the discretion of the MC!”

  8. I should have mentioned yesterday that it was Vladyka Dmitri’s birthday. Happy birthday in heaven, dear Vladyka! Pray for us, and especially for our Metropolitan Jonah.

  9. This is great news for the DOS. 2013/14 is locked in because they are already on a proportional system. $50 will be about 23% of budget but the DOS has already committed to a 25% level to the OCA. This means that least $100K more for the DOS use on diocesan growth.

    Mission accomplished. Who cares what the MC does.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Jacob, thank you for pointing that out. I didn’t realize it until you said it just now, but the DOS has already gone to the New York Plan.

  10. Pravoslavnie says

    It seems that the result of the AAC is shaping up just about the way I thought it would, but with a few interesting twists along the way.

    The OCA is still split between two factions with nothing really having changed as the result of this conference. The old guard in Syosset is still entrenched, and they have brought in one of their own as chancellor. The “New York” budget proposal may have passed, or it may not have, depending on how one interprets the confusing wording of the resolution that was adopted. Metropolitan Jonah continues to be sniped at in public by members of his own Synod, and apparently by the new chancellor who has been alleged to have made uncharitable remarks. Furthermore the Metropolitan has again been compelled to undergo an “evaluation” for reasons, motives, and potential consequences that are unclear. About the only thing we have not heard about is the proposed changes to the OCA Statutes that would effectively neutralize the office of the Metropolitan by removing his right of initiative.

    On the plus side, the Metropolitan remains in office, some visible dissent has been publicly voiced from the floor, and at least two bishops have seemingly come out of the shadows and expressed a measure of solidarity with the Metropolitan.

    I have long been puzzled as to why Metropolitan Jonah has been so quiet since the failed coup d’etat in February and in the following months. I was hoping that he was simply keeping his powder dry in order to come out swinging in front of the delegates at the AAC. However, to date he has not, and apparently will not become aggressive. It’s simply not in his character. Lately it has become clear to me that the Metropolitan is demonstrating Jesus’s teachings as found in the Gospel of St. Luke, the Sermon on the Plain, the lessons of which include:

    • Love your enemies and turn the other cheek
    • Treat others the way you want to be treated
    • Don’t condemn and you won’t be condemned
    • Forgive and you will be forgiven
    • Each tree is known by its fruit. A bad tree cannot produce good fruit
    • Whoever builds upon these words…builds upon rock and will survive. Whoever does not, builds upon sand and will perish

    I may be wrong, but in the end I think Metropolitan Jonah will triumph because he is a good and holy man, a fine example, and a great teacher. Bishops Matthias and Michael rising to accept some synodial responsibility, and the election to the MC of the vocal Fr. Hatfield and Mrs. Jury may also signal that a new day is dawning. Whether the OCA itself survives as an institution remains questionable as it continues to bleed members and descend into irrelevancy. People are waking up and beginning to recognize the “bad fruit” (no pun intended) that grew in the OCA and has governed it for so long. Hopefully the tree can be saved by pruning a few branches, and will not have to be cut down.

    • Pravoslavnie, much of what you say is true but the situation with Syosset, which I think is less “entrenched” than “challenged.” Also, in re-hearing +Jonah’s speech, I came to the conclusion that it was a brilliant shout of defiance at the Jillions/Wheeler/Stokoe wing of the OCA. Listen to it again –it’s a tour de force of unapologetic Christian tradioinalism. It was militantly defiant in a Churchillian sense.

      Now please understand, I don’t think that the Old Guard will go quietly and do the right thing, sell Syosset, and become Traditionalist. But the fact that they failed in “killing the king” means that +Jonah is still in charge on the level that counts. Remember, the strength of the Christian message is in the spoken word, not in the trappings of power or how many limos the primate drives. +Jonah burst onto the American scene and by sheer power of his words, he has changed the landscape. People come from all over to listen to what he has to say. The Jillions/Wheeler/Stokoe/ABV paradigm is nothing but a huge echo chamber.

      I’ll go even further. By listening to what I heard about Jillions, I can tell that he’s a poor man’s Hopko and that his moral authority is virtually null and void. From what I’ve heard from his supporters, he ain’t that great an administrator either, so what kind of counterpoint would he be to +Jonah when the latter is invited to speak with great fanfare at some Traditionalist outpost (like Acton)?

      And then, let’s not forget, that the bishops will start looking more favorably at the South and the way +Dmitri and Konjevich grew that diocese, so that the issue of the assessment is not that big of a deal to us. I believe that a bloc of bishops will now be applying the pressure on the MC to reduce the assessments. And you know what? Once these bishops have a little bit more money in their hands, they’re going to want more.

      Keep you eye on the ball. it’s the MC where the pressure will be applied. Syosset is merely the real estate. Increasingly lucrative real estate.

  11. M. Stankovich says

    Mr. Michalopulos,

    In my estimation, you are quickly inclined to speculation, but you undoubtedly could make a case that so are we all. My frequent objection, however, is your willingness to make the leap from speculation to “truth” without any additional information. If I were to say, “George Michalopulos, from what I’ve heard, lacks moral authority,” you would be quick to respond, “but look what I’ve written and said here, here, and here!” This would be an appropriate demand in my estimation. And so, I conclude you have not shown Fr. Chancellor the respect nor the opportunity.

    Here’s a thought, and hey, call me outrageous: present Fr. John with your concerns and/or questions directly. Not, “You are welcome to comment on my blog,” but write him man-to-man, directly and specifically, with all the respect that is due of the Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America.