The Brum Doctrine

oca-logo-thumbAs you may remember, there were many complaints that animated Yours Truly about OCANews. Among them was its selective outrage; another was its desire to uphold “Accountability and Transparency” only when it suited its purveyor and his Syosset handlers. We made a reasonable case that Mr Stokoe was aligned with liberalizing forces within the OCA and that they would use any means necessary to maintain their hold on the OCA. We have seen little before, during, and after this assertion was made that would lead us to believe otherwise.

That is not to say that Mr Stokoe was not well-intentioned (at least by his lights). There is nothing wrong with Accountability and Transparency per se; if anything, we need more of it. We certainly don’t have it now, which is ironic given that his claque won the day against Orthodox traditionalism. In addition, we here at Monomakhos defended Mr Stokoe in his right to speak and publish freely. What we objected to was his duplicity. Simply put, while he was a legislator of the OCA at the same time he was also putting out press releases. Even in the corrupt world of American politics, journalists have to wait decent intervals before they become press secretaries and visa versa.

His seat on the Diocesan Council of the Midwest as well as his seat on the Metropolitan Council made the appearance of objectivity impossible. Thus Bishop Matthias Moriak of Chicago was well within his rights to offer him an ultimatum: either resign your seats on both councils or discontinue your blog. The irony of course is that he was forced to do both. (My hunch is that Kishkovsky forced him to stand down on the journalistic side because his musing were doing damage to the Apparat.)

All that aside, Monomakhos would have no qualms with the reemergence of OCANews or an outlet sympathetic to its liberal views, especially now since Mr Stokoe has no legal writ within the OCA or its dioceses. The Orthoblogosphere is open to many voices, even those who have diametrically opposite views. Free speech, the marketplace of ideas, and all that.

Ironically, our interests sometimes converged. As noted above, we also firmly believe in Accountability and Transparency. I imagine we also believe in the equality of bishops. Whereas I was comfortable with the Primate speaking for the entire Church, he seemed to promote the idea that the Primate is just a figurehead with all real power residing in the Apparat. This was proven for example in the incident with the so-called DC Nuns, who were under the omorphor of the Archbishop of Washington. As you may remember, Stokoe and his handlers made life miserable for Metropolitan Jonah because he deigned to tonsure a dying nun into the Great Schema even though her sisterhood was located within his archdiocese. The hypocrisy was so obvious a blind man could see it. At any rate, Mr Stokoe became alarmed several years ago when he came across an essay written by one Fr David Brum, which advocated for centralizing more authority in the office of the Primate.

Brum was a former Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Fresno who converted to Orthodoxy. A brilliant academic, he’s an expert in Catholic Canon Law. He was enthusiastically welcomed into the OCA several years ago and even though he had no Orthodox theological training, was vested as a priest and placed on the episcopal track. This lack of Orthodox education stands in sharp contrast to Fr Gerasim Eliel who willingly submitted to the dictates of the Synod which asked him to complete a year at St Vladimir’s Seminary. Eliel not only complied but stayed for the full three years and graduated at the top of his class.

None of this is troubling to me personally. I believe in getting the right man for the right job. More to the point, Brum’s ideas about the office of the Primate are largely unobjectionable in my (admittedly from an uninformed, layman’s perspective) estimation. What is worrisome however is the extremely secretive manner in which Brum he is being groomed by Archbishop Benjamin Petersen for election, presumably as auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of the West. And, once safely elected as bishop, will the OCA present him as the only viable candidate for an episcopal vacancy, once again using the excuse that there aren’t any viable candidates?

Brum recently met with a coterie of priests and laymen who are also tasked with drafting changes to the Statute of the OCA. These men met under the auspices of Archbishop Nathanael Popp in Phoenix, where Brum is rector of the OCA parish. This of course raises troubling questions given that Popp is the bishop in charge of the re-write of the Statute even though his semi-autonomous eparchate has only a tenuous foothold in the OCA and in fact, gave nothing to the Central Administration in Syosset last year. Then there is the fact that one of the priests that accompanied His Eminence to Phoenix has been disciplined in the past.

This is all very interesting but the question remains: why is Brum part of this process? What does he, with no Orthodox theological training, bring to the table (so to speak)? Given the extreme urgency for his election, the secretiveness of his meetings with these men, and questions about his past service in the Diocese of Fresno, alarms have been raised in many quarters of the OCA.

For this reason, we here at Monomakhos have dredged up a very well-written monograph composed by Brum which encapsulated his ideas regarding Primatial authority. Ironically enough, it was this essay by Brum which came to Stokoe’s attention and which was published on OCANews several years ago.

Please take the time to read the following essay by Fr David Brum for yourself on the Orthodox Christian for Accountability website.


  1. Todd Matisen says

    Mr. Michalopulos,

    You raise a couple of points about Fr Brum that I would like further clarification.

    1. I was under the impression that Fr. Brum was once a candidate for an auxiliary bishop slot in the OCA while Metropolitan Herman was the head of the OCA Synod. He was rejected by Metropolitan Herman because he had no Orthodox theological education. I believe there are letters proving this. Why is he now, still lacking any Orthodox theological education, now an acceptable candidate? Why has the OCA Synod changed its own rules?

    2. I am also aware that members of the Diocesan Council of the Diocese of the West were sworn to secrecy by Archbishop Benjamin when they nominated Fr Brum as a DOW auxiliary bishop. Why would they be swore to such an oath? Why would this nomination need to be so stealth? Why would they lie when asked by saying they had no idea about Fr. Brum’s nomination by the Diocesan Council?

    I hope that Fr Brum is not being considered for any vacant OCA See now or in the future. The hypocrisy of his possible election while Archimandrite Gerasim is ignored is troubling. Does the OCA think that a Roman Catholic educated priest is acceptable formation for an OCA Bishop?

    Further consideration of Fr. Brum for the episcopacy must include his gaining an Orthodox theological education. Is the OCA that desperate for another Orthodox uneducated or under education bishop on her Synod?

    • Fr. George Washburn says

      Thanks to what seems like a real person using a real name, Todd Matisen. Please don’t tell me this too is another clever, obscure literary allusion!

      I must question his unsupported pronouncement that it is “hypocrisy” to consider Fr. David for elevation but not Archimnandrite Gerasim (I do NOT know either man, and assume that they are BOTH worthy priests and candidates until proven otherwise.) I believe Todd (and I for that matter) largely lack access to the kind of information about them that ought to inform good bishop choosing.

      The “hypocrisy,” if any, (I prefer to call it “folly”) would seem to be in imagining that this kind of question can be dealt with intelligently over the internet by a group of people (dominated by a majority of the anonymous) who are short of real information and completely lack the experience or anointing of the Holy Spirit for this task.

      We are largely Americans here, I think. Ipso facto don’t we sort of assume by virtue of our training and experience in the political marketplace we are both qualified and obliged to second guess all decisions by all leaders at all times?

      Granted that is modern AMERICA! But is that really historic Orthodox Christianity’s teaching and practice? I doubt it. George truthfully observes in the headline piece that he and Mr. Stokoe had/have much in common, not the least of which is their worship at the altars of those three Great Gods, the Internet, Accountability and Transparency.

      If you ask me, these are American, democratic gods to whom all, especially the press and those running for election or re-election (or blabbing on the computer) MUST pay unstinting lip service. But really, folks, where *in the canons of the Orthodox Church or its history* has the idea of Transparency of the episcopate ever been a) defined clearly, let alone b) practiced in any way that the modern American mind would recognize as transparent (without or without a capital T)?

      I challenge George or anyone else TRANSPARENT enough (does the irony of worshiping Transparency from behind aliases strike anyone else as special pleading) to use his/her real name to do either of the following here: a) define episcopal transparency from the official canons of the Church or scripture, and b) describe to us the eras and specific places in church history in which this was ever practiced by the Orthodox.

      We could probably ask the same questions about Accountability, but let’s not bite off an extra mouthful until we have chewed and swallowed or spit out the first one. And then the third mouthful: whether public exchanges over the internet are a place where the Holy Spirit has any hope of competing with, let alone trumping, either the Spirit of the Age or individual Egos!!


      Fr. George

      • Sean Richardson says

        Fr. George; as a convert to the Church I admit that my knowledge is lacking, but let me be the first to say that I know of no canon nor scripture, nor do I know of any period of time in which full transparency, in the modern American sense, came anywhere close to existing. Having said that, I feel that a modicum of openness, transparency and yes, even accountability, seasoned with God’s love, forgiveness and humility would be most welcome in the Orthodox Church today.

      • William Harrington says

        I have always heard that Orthodoxy finds the good in each culture and baptizes it. One of the good things in American culture is that the people question there leadership. This tradition has been eroded by corruption in the political realm, but I do not see how it would be detrimental to the Church. Bishops were originally ordained by bishops who knew them, but also declared AXIOS by the laity who know them. Let me repeat, by the laity who knew them. We no longer live in relatively small communities where people were able to have familiarity with each other. Bishop candidates are often relatively unknown to the people they are being placed over. So, what is wrong with transparency in the choosing of bishops. Should not the laity have some role in determining that a person is worthy of being a bishop before proclaiming him so? It really did sound like you were saying sit down, shut up, pay your dues and follow orders. I know I will take flak for this, but Orthodoxy could learn from America. Not everything American is good, but not everything is bad and I have reached the point where I shut down when I hear someone trying to win an argument by saying things like “that’s a western way of thinking”.
        On the other hand, your point about the internet is not bad, but I think that this only makes it more important for there to be openness and transparency. Granted, I live in the boonies, but I have never even met a bishop or an episcopal candidate. How would I ever be able to declare someone Axios unless I had reliable information about them? There is only one solution, I think. More bishops in more cities.

        • Fr. George Washburn says

          Dear Mr. Harrington:

          Given the sheer geographic size of most dioceses and the hurry up way in which bishops tend to be selected and installed after the retirement, death or departure of the predecessor with little advance preparation, the sheer logistics and expense of attempting any timely and wide exposure of candidates to a diocese seems out of the question, practically speaking.

          And then in the contemporary Orthodox Church of North America, where sadly high percentages of the people are ignorant or scripture and tradition (and ignorant of their ignorance of both!), which members would you want to have the vote.

          And how much of a stake in the parish should a voter have: member of a founding family from the olden says? A jolly BBQer or pastry cook for the annual festival? Someone who actually gives to the Church a tithe ….of what he pays monthly for cable, internet, and cell phone package?

          How much Orthodox Formation will we demand of voters? A habit of arriving before the homily, actually listening to it, having a copy of the Bible on the shelf and an icon on the wall at home? A certificate of perfect attendance from at least one semester of Sunday School before the age of fifteen?

          And should he have read the candidate’s personnel file and a digest of the candidate’s confession, or is paying attention to internet rumors enough?

          So I agree in theory with the desire to have meaningful lay participation, but don’t see how it is liable to work to any good advantage …if we want a level of voting far more well informed than in our secular politics. And if out voters aren’t better informed than that, how are they going to participate to good effect?


          Fr. George

          • George Michalopulos says

            regarding who is qualified to vote I said:

            1. a diocesan priest (perhaps only a rector)

            2 a layman in good standing. In a Christ-filled parish, this would include one who regularly partakes of the sacraments, regularly attends services, and tithes.

  2. Brum is damaged goods. RSK hand-picked him to write canonical opinions in some events. He then made his way into Syosset and worked with + Herman. He was part of the gang that were thrown out during house cleaning at Syosset. He really shouldn’t be considered for any leadership role anywhere in the OCA.

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      Sammy, you don’t KNOW anything about Archpriest David Brum, but you have heard some deranged gossip by men of ill will towards him. Your witness is, therefore, false.
      1, He is not damaged goods.
      2. Indeed, Metropolitan Theodosius and Metropolitan Herman, and (most of all) Archbishop Peter welcomed him as a consultant and assistant in Eastern and Western Canon Law. After all, the OCA didn’t have ANYone else so qualified. H e did not “make his way to Syosset’ but was commandeered.
      3. He was never a part of any gang, coterie, clique, or claque.
      4. There has never been a housecleaning in Syosset—ON THE CONTRARY the expulsion of the Chancellor was part of an enormous COVERUP.. We all know what was covered up, because much of it came out with the resignation of Metropolitan Jonah and the schemes and conspiracies preceding and connecting to that. The Chancellor was barely out the door when the Protodeacon was in the building addressing the files there!
      5. Archpriest David Brum is an excellent, intelligent, knowledgeable, pious,and, above all, MODEST Archpriest. If you doubt that, ask anyone from SS Peter & Paul Church in Phoenix, or ANY of the elected Deans and other clergy of the Diocese of the West. I value his opinions, including any he would care to offer about me. I am ashamed of how he has been treated by some OCA types, especially a couple jealous instances at St. Tikhon’s. Perhaps they have something against anyone of non-Rusyn,or, rather, semi-aristocratic Brasilo-Portuguese ethnicityl He’s from the Da Silva Brums, I believe.

      • Sean Richardson says

        Your Grace: I welcome your words because they honor a priest that you know first hand. This is most welcome indeed. Thank you.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      When the “Sammys” of the world express themselves, they reveal themselves whether they use their names or not. They reveal how positively uniform they are.

      * * *

      And YOU, my dearest George, have some homework to do. Reach out to Father David Brum directly. Form your own opinions and THEN tell us what you think he “brings to the table.” He’s very accessible so there is really no excuse.

  3. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    For Todd Matisen’s clarification :
    Your point number 1: Father David Brum was NEVER EVER a candidate for any auxiliary bishop slot in the OCA during the incumbency of Metropolitan Herman. Mr. Matisen, you assert “there are letters proving this.” On the contrary, NO letters on such a topic could prove anything: the only proof of such an assertion would be minutes of the Holy Synod. Further, Father David Brum has more Orthodox learning then many other members of the OCA’s Honorable Presbytery in Christ and than some of the members of the Holy Synod. If I were a gambling man, i would put my cash down in any contest relative to Orthodox learning, education, theology, canon law which would take place between at least three members of the Holy Synod, whom I will not name here, but will divulge to anyone who sends me a private email asking that. Further, the OCA Synod has changed NO rules.
    2. It is my conviction that Archbishop Benjamin did not and never would swear members of the Diocesan Council of the Diocese of the West to secrecy or administer any oaths to them. I defy Mr.Matison to prove that evil calumny. I am not known as a fanatic supporter of Archbishop Benjamin, but I know him VERY well from the time I arrived in Los Angeles in 1973 until now. He was my own Archdeacon and Administrative Assistant. The utter foolishness and lack of logic in Mr. Matison’s remarks are epitomized by his claiming that the members of the diocesan council were SWORN to secrecy by an oath administered by His Eminence and then saying, “Why would they lie when asked by saying they had no idea about Fr. Brum’s nomination by the Diocesan Council?”
    Mr. Matisen says that Archimandrite Gerasim “is ignored.” Ignored by whom? He’s never EVER been ignored; moreover, there’s no reason for him being transferred around the way he has been, if not to prepare him for candidacy for Dallas. I repeat, Father David Brum’s Orthodox learning is more than a match for that of very many wonderful Orthodox Priests today, including some who post here on Monomakhos. I believe that any test administered by, say, the faculty of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, to Father David and to Mark Stokoe and to Protodeacon Eric Wheeler would find Father David doing well. Those men have an MDiv from SVS. And remember, Archpriest Thaddeus Wojcik (also with an SVS MDiv!), wrote on someone’s ordination certificate that they had “repented of ALL canonical impediments!!!!!” You wouldn’t find Father David making such blunders. As for Orthodox Canon Law, ever-memorable Archbishop Peter, holding a doctorate in Canon Law from the Leningrad Theological Academy, RAVED about Father David’s knowledge of ORTHODOX Canon Law. Want me to swear an oath? I will. By the way, although these have no relevance to Father David’s eligibility, Archbishop Nathaniel had formally only a Roman Catholic theological education and experience as a Roman Catholic priest of the Romanian Byzantine Greek Catholic rite before becoming an Orthodox Priest in the Metropolia’s Romanian Episcopate and almost immediately its Bishop.
    From the tone and comments, I would be quite doubtful that Todd is an Orthodox Christian. I do know,however,that after I received Father David into our Church according to the accepted procedures of the Russian Orthodox Church as were followed in the case of SAINT Alexei Toth (who also had not a minute of CLASSROOM Orthodox Theological education)and as are stated in Bulgakov’s “Desk Manual,” he visited St. Tikhon’s and was received like a leper there by a Priestmonk who proceeded to “shun” Father David like the Amish do. I sense that some of this background informs Todd’s ignorant comments.
    As for “The Brum Doctrine” which seems to cause so many to go all to pieces, I recall that there was a concerted effort by the Chancery Office in collaboration with the faculty of SVS to “enhance the Office of the Metropolitan.” Father David, as the Metropolitan’s Secretary and as having EXPERTISE in Canon Law, Eastern and Western, was asked to prepare the best justification he could based on the Holy Canons and all the previous enactments which resulted in the OCA’s Statute. Faithfully, he did that, and he has been slandered as an ADVOCATE of a monarchical primacy. In connection with that CONCERTED effort to “enhance” the role of the Metropolitan (some members of the SVS faculty at the time were anxious to see this happen because they couldn’t get Metropollitan Theodosius to “reign in” hierarchs like Bishop Dmitri and Archbishop Peter who were distressingly aware of the fundamentally diocesan nature of the Church), a conference was held at St. Tikhon’s with delegates from all over as well as the members of the Metropolitan Council and Holy Synod. There, the famous (or “infamous”) paragraph amending the statute was drafted, granting the Metropolitan a right to “pastoral interference or intervention” into dioceses! This was a horrible idea, but with the addition of ‘in accordance with the Holy Canons” (at the initiative of Father David, as I recall), Archbishop Peter, Bishop Dmitri, and I heaved a sigh of relief, for such “pastoral interference” can NEVER EVER BE “in accordance with the Holy Canons! The prejudices and biasses and fears that DOG Father David Brum are despicable indeed, but almost all of them are based on not knowing any better, as in the case of Todd.
    I am glad that Father David decided to get away from the OCA bureaucracy and all the nonsense connected with it and its enemies and take a position of parish rector in an old-line “Metropolia” parish like SS Peter & Paul in Phoenix, Arizona, where there is a strong and even, one might say, democratically biased history, and where he has brought his kindness, intelligence and Orthodox learning to bear. Don’t anyone dare attack Father David around any old-line parishioners from there. I feel sad and worry a little bit since I first heard a month or so ago that Archbishop Benjamin has proposed, as is his right and as is authorized by the Holy Canons and the Statute, that Father David be considered for the position of Vicar Bishop in the Diocese of the West. I would recommend that scoffers and doubters of Todd’s ilk try and contact clergy of the Diocese of the West relative to Father David’s qualifications and abilities and potential for the Orthodox episcopate.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      I like that point about Fr. A. Toth……

    • Todd Matisen says

      Bishop Tikhon,

      You are mistaken regarding Fr David being considered as a candidate for the position of Auxiliary Bishop. The fact that Metropolitan Herman may not have discussed it with you or that it never made it to a Synod meeting does not change the fact that he was considered at one time. That attempt was scuttled by Metropolitan Herman for two reasons, his lack of Orthodox theological education and that he was only an Orthodox priest for 11 years at the time, less than what the Synod had decreed as 15 years (although the Synod ignored their own rule at least twice in elevating men to the episcopacy.)

      I will not quibble with you about Fr. David intellectual or pastoral prowess, albeit limited in the Orthodox Church, but if Archimandrite Gerasim was not suitable for consideration as an Auxiliary Bishop because he had no Orthodox Theological Education, what makes Fr. Brum acceptable? As for using Archbishop Nathaniel as a good example of a bishop without any Orthodox theological education, I believe that there would be not a few who would have preferred that he stay a Roman Catholic all these years.

      As for the clandestine manner in which Fr David’s nomination has been handled by your successor, one need only speak to members of the DOW Diocesan Council and to those who Archbishop Benjamin has spoken to about “keeping Brum’s candidacy quiet so that it doesn’t raise too many questions too early.” You may have been informed last month about Fr David’s candidacy but believe me it has been in the works for many more months before you first heard.

      Also, why does Archbishop Benjamin suddenly need a Vicar Bishop? He no longer is tending the flock in Alaska? You may call me a scoffer or doubter, but I very much doubt that Fr David, if elected by the Synod, will be an Auxiliary bishop in the West for long. Rather, this will be a back door way for him to be slipped into an open OCA diocesan See, another, one candidate, North Korean style diocesan election of a bishop.

      I am glad that Fr David has people like you advocating for him.

      • Fr. George Washburn says

        Mr. Matisen reminds me more than just a little of the children in the Gospel marketplace: “We piped for you and you did not dance, we played a dirge and you refused to mourn.”

        As I understand it Fr. David is being advanced toward service as an auxiliary when there is no emergency need for one! WOW! Why is it a bad idea to bring someone along gradually under a sitting Archbishop who has picked him when there is no emergency, no gap that has needed filling for months or years? Does anyone on this site recall the OCA bishop of Dallas doing that very thing several years ago…..?

        Am I imagining that much if not most of the snide criticisms of Fr. David’s RC education and background here are coming from converts who themselves largely come from “Bible believing evangelical” backgrounds and who themselves lack formal, graduate level Orthodox formation? Why should critics of a proposed leader’s theological resume be heard to comment, especially under false names, when they themselves lack the mature formation that the candidate is supposed not to have because HE didn’t take the right courses in the right place(s)?


        Fr. George

        • George Michalopulos says

          The problem with you argument is this: Arb Dmitri Royster of thrice-venerable memory wanted an auxiliary because he had been wanting to retire a good year or two before he did. The Arb of the West has no intention of doing so.

          • Fr. George Washburn says

            So can the ” Michalopulos Doctrine” be stated as follows?

            “It is only legitimate for a bishop to get an auxiliary like Abp Dimitri did, when he is ready to retire. He must not select one before he is ready to retire based on his own best judgment of such factors as the workload and/or the opportunity for training the auxiliary in episcopal service without putting him out there by himself, untested, on the firing line somewhere.”

            Don’t you argue for power to be kept decentralized in (or perhaps returned to) the dioceses rather than Syosset? But now that it is an Archbishop you disfavor who is doing essentially what you thought was a great idea when done by an hierarch you liked, you pretend there is a big difference between the two actions!!

            How can we say that the former of these two is fine and the latter bad: a) the judgment call that one is ready to retire and needs to train an auxiliary for a while first and b) the judgment call that the archbishop can use some help for a while and it would be a good idea to train a man as an auxiliary and see how he performs first before sending him out to serve on his own? It is what is known in law as a distinction without a difference.


            Fr. George

            • George Michalopulos says

              Not quite fair, Fr. I have written thousands of words and not a few essays for OCL in which I elucidated an electoral process for bishops which was local and open to the public.

              Monk James and I may disagree somewhat about the validity of vicar bishops but in each case I think that the priests and laymen in good standing should be able to convene in a regional assembly and select the man (or a tripopon of three men) for election by the Synod for bishop.

              In one paper, I wrote that the US should be divided into thirteen regional archiepiscopal assemblies and that the bishops which made them up should be the ones to elect a diocesan ordinary. Each regional assembly would be constituted by at least four diocese with each state having no more than one diocese. Some states(NY, IL, PA, TX, CA, etc.) being subdivided into at least two dioceses.

              For what it’s worth (and I realize this is off-topic from your criticism) the Episcopal Assembly came up with the idea of nine provinces, each one containing at least two dioceses. So I could say great minds think alike but it’s all water under the bridge now.

            • George Michalopulos says

              And now to your criticism: I am completely in favor of decentralized power. Unlike Monk James, I have no qualms about the concept of auxiliary bishops and wish HE well. I am concerned however about the utmost secrecy involved in this process, although I must say in order to be consistent, that how Benjamin runs his diocese is his business.

              Along this line, I wish that in the interest of diocesan autonomy, Benjamin would rein in Syosset and put a crimp in their centralizing schemes.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            And you KNOW, George, that Archbishop Benjamin would NOT like to retire BEFORE nodding off?

            • One can only hope that Ab. Benjamin retire TODAY. He should have been retired when he got his DUI. Metropolitan Herman made a big mistake being talked out of his wish to retire +Benjamin. Having “got off” on that big scandal seems to have only emboldened +Benjamin to bigger offenses in the OCA such has being the ring leader in the ouster of Metropolitan Jonah, not to mention his efforts to stab Metropolitan Herman who saved him but got le sabot by +Benjamin when he was forced to retire.

              It is also interesting to note that +Benjamin has been instrumental in making sure that Alaska and Eastern PA had only ONE bishop to consider. Is this the plan for Fr David to be the ONE candidate for the Midwest or the South? Is this now how the OCA Synod is going to operate, not allowing any other candidates to be nominated by a diocese? If so, then why doesn’t the OCA Synod tell us?

              Big mistake not retiring +Benjamin when they had the chance and the OCA has paid dearly since.

              • DOW Member says

                If we had a choice between Archbishop Benjamin and Fr. Brum as our bishop, personally I would consider Fr Brum a vast improvement over our current bishop.

                If that is Archbishop Benjamin’s plan, I vote YES.

    • oliverwendeldouglas says

      Is all this stuff appropriate during Great Lent (or at any time)?

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        Vy is you here, den, Ollie?

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        Todd, ypu first wrote this: “I was under the impression that Fr. Brum was once a candidate for an auxiliary bishop slot in the OCA while Metropolitan Herman was the head of the OCA Synod.”
        When I called you on that, this was your comment: “The fact that Metropolitan Herman may not have discussed it with you or that it never made it to a Synod meeting does not change the fact that he was considered at one time.” So, Todd, Archpriest David Brum was neither publicly bruited as even a potential candidate for “an auxiliary bishop slot in the OCA, nor was his name ever put before the Synod as a potential candidate. Of course, you are free, as is George and as is Helga and as is Heracleides Pompikos to consider various persons for episcopal ‘slots.” But your post gave the impression that someone (totally unknown person) nominated Archpriest David Brum for a vacant see or other episcopal position.
        I also see, that Metropolitan Herman has conferred with you on this topic, but not with me or the Holy Synod. OK. I didn’t think he was “that kind.”
        So, you have dropped your calumny that Archbishop Benjamin made members of the Diocesan Council SWEAR AN OATH OF SECRECY? You NOW tell something closer to the truth; namely, that Archbishop Benjamin (wisely) advised discretion, no doubt because he knew, as anyone acquainted with the machinations of the jealous would know what the result would be of a premature disclosure. That’s not reprehensible, it’s smart, decent, and orderly.
        By the way, Father Gerasim, whom I first met in the late 80s or early 90s,and whom I respect and have great affection and even admiration for, has as many enemies in the rat holes and snakepits of the OCA grapevine as does FAther David. The jealous enemies of both of them claim they’ll do anything humanly possible to become bishops, for example, going so far as to leave a jurisdiction and monastery which one swore on tonsuring not to leave until one’s last breath and go off to SVS…to do “whatever it takes,” including also campaign trips throughout the South and now act as an administrative assistant, or even going so far as, Father David Brum’s case, giving up his longed for hopes of serving in an Orthodox parish to go off to Syosset and assist the bureaucracy there with his expertise in eastern and western canon law and his expert administrative experience in the Diocesan hqs of the RC diocese of Fresno. YOU have no idea how happy Father David was and is to be an Orthodox PASTOR. Both these admirable men, however, are despised for their humility and OBEDIENCE. That’s what it comes down to.
        I pray, “Almighty Lord, God, and Saviour, deliver Thy servants, the Archimandrite Gerasim and the Archpriest David, from the modern Colosseum into which they have been dragged and protect them from the reptilian and egotistical assaults of the power-obsessed clergy and people amongst the membership of the Orthodox Church in America. If possible, keep them from being elevated to the Episcopate, but not my will, but THY WILL be done.”
        By the way, I do not blame Todd for his views; he’s prey to the gossip of his spiritual mentors. I pray he will be delivered from their delusions and meanness.

        • Monk James says

          Clearly, Bp Tikhon — among other things he doesn’t know about Fr David Brum — doesn’t appreciate the significance of someone’s writing here about him with the pseudonym ‘Todd Matisen’ (misspelled as it is).

          But, without getting into anything relating to FrDB’s personal and private history, I think that we ought to acknowledge an important aspect of authentically orthodox catholic christian ecclesiology: there can be only one bishop in an eparchy.

          Apart from the primatial thrones in any given patriarchate, such as, say, that Krutitskiy-Kolomenskiy has long been the title of the Moscow patriarch’s vicar bishop for local affairs, the idea that any bishop not his church’s primate needs or should have a vicar bishop is unknown in our ecclesial structures.

          In fact, in accordance with the canonical tradition of The Church, when it becomes evident that any eparchy has become too large, whether in terms of geography or population, for one bishop to serve his people, then that eparchy must be divided, each of its sections served by its own bishop. Abp Benjamin’s attempt to have an assistant bishop is merely a move in a cynical game of church chess. I hope he loses the game.

          Abp Benjamin is not one of the good guys. His promotion of FrDB to the episcopate as his assistant bishop is merely a ploy to get FrDB episcopated long enough for him to be sold to another eparchy, probably Dallas, and AbpB can then continue to control FrDB Look what happened to poor Philadelphia!

          Lord, have mercy on us and on Your Church, and save us from our evil bishops. Lord, bring them and all of us to true repentance.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            [That was pretty arrogant and disgusting, even for an aspiring monk!
            One wonders if Monk James has control of some secret NSA device monitoring Archbishop Benjamin’s intentions in nominating Archpriest David Brum for the position of Auxiliary Bishop that is provided for in Article 6, Section 5 of the Statute of The Orthodox Church in America? (“Vicar” Bishops are no more anomalous in the Orthodox Church than his “idiorrhythmic” monasticism!!!) Archbishop Benjamin hopes that Archimandrite Gerasim will become Bishop of Dallas; further, I believe that Archbishop Benjamin is preparing for RETIREMENT and feels that an Archpriest who belongs to the Diocese of the West and who is known and liked there not only by his own parish, but by the clergy and people of the Diocese that know him and have, at Diocesan Assembly, elected him to the Diocesan Council, is a good candidate. I received Father David into the Church, after all, because of the urgings of senior clergy in the Diocese of the West who originally introduced him to me, clergy still active in the Diocese. He is a known quantity and quality here. It’s true, as I told Archbishop Benjamin, that there are “people out there” who want to eat BOTH Archimandrite Gerasim and Archpriest David Brum ALIVE. He said he knew that.]
            Now, Monk James, hardly any American or British Orthodox persons refer to “eparchies,” however,almost all American Uniates do that. Why, “eparchy” raises many more questions than the use of a word like”vouchsafe” (which is used by, e.g., both ex-President Bush’s speechwriters, not to mention that model communicator of American English, Rev. Billy Graham. It’s nice to know what “diocese” once meant historically, but useless as any kind of guide to changing today’s colloquial English usage!
            “Episcopated,” whether or not it appears in the O.E.D., is a little precious. I fear you may be jealous of Archpriest David Brum, and his learning and piety and, especially, his candidacy. I pray that the Lord God Whom you pointedly asked to save us from “our” evil bishops in your letter to me, may strengthen your faith and enable you to progress to some level of real monasticism, perhaps even in a monastery, a cenobium, where you can associate often with fellow strivers, fellow monks, and not continue to pursue an individualist perversion of monastic existence, mingling and trying to exert spiritual power in the world.


            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              Yeah, Pete, that’s why you just gotta love ’em, those Greeks! And I do love them, but not on your terms. They are such lovable, unorganized, enthusiastic, and colorful mavericks! By the way, thanks for identifying yourself. “GOAPruest’ is ashamed of herself. Perhaps she’s not only not a priest, but not Greek, either? Or a two-percenter?
              Oh, and thanks for re-reading so MANY of my many contributions here!

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                It’s my conviction that Peter A. Papoutsis went off and began reading all my old messages in an effort to find something to prove his unfounded claim that I hate Greeks, and failed, but came up with another old quotation instead. I have never ever clicked on the “View all comments” of Peter A. Papoutsis.

            • Monk James says

              Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald (March 13, 2014 at 2:02 am) says:

              [That was pretty arrogant and disgusting, even for an aspiring monk!
              One wonders if Monk James has control of some secret NSA device monitoring Archbishop Benjamin’s intentions in nominating Archpriest David Brum for the position of Auxiliary Bishop that is provided for in Article 6, Section 5 of the Statute of The Orthodox Church in America? (“Vicar” Bishops are no more anomalous in the Orthodox Church than his “idiorrhythmic” monasticism!!!) Archbishop Benjamin hopes that Archimandrite Gerasim will become Bishop of Dallas; further, I believe that Archbishop Benjamin is preparing for RETIREMENT and feels that an Archpriest who belongs to the Diocese of the West and who is known and liked there not only by his own parish, but by the clergy and people of the Diocese that know him and have, at Diocesan Assembly, elected him to the Diocesan Council, is a good candidate. I received Father David into the Church, after all, because of the urgings of senior clergy in the Diocese of the West who originally introduced him to me, clergy still active in the Diocese. He is a known quantity and quality here. It’s true, as I told Archbishop Benjamin, that there are “people out there” who want to eat BOTH Archimandrite Gerasim and Archpriest David Brum ALIVE. He said he knew that.]
              Now, Monk James, hardly any American or British Orthodox persons refer to “eparchies,” however,almost all American Uniates do that. Why, “eparchy” raises many more questions than the use of a word like”vouchsafe” (which is used by, e.g., both ex-President Bush’s speechwriters, not to mention that model communicator of American English, Rev. Billy Graham. It’s nice to know what “diocese” once meant historically, but useless as any kind of guide to changing today’s colloquial English usage!
              “Episcopated,” whether or not it appears in the O.E.D., is a little precious. I fear you may be jealous of Archpriest David Brum, and his learning and piety and, especially, his candidacy. I pray that the Lord God Whom you pointedly asked to save us from “our” evil bishops in your letter to me, may strengthen your faith and enable you to progress to some level of real monasticism, perhaps even in a monastery, a cenobium, where you can associate often with fellow strivers, fellow monks, and not continue to pursue an individualist perversion of monastic existence, mingling and trying to exert spiritual power in the world.



              It seems that Bp Tikhon has been saving up a whole long list of gripes against me. I doubt that he’s exhausted his supply of them in this note, but I can say for a fact that I’m even a worse sinner than he thinks I am.

              So I take his observations about me seriously, although I reserve the right to disagree with his opinions about language, and translation, the area of my education, training and experience. As an aside, I’d like to point out that, while ‘vouchsafe’ is a perfectly good word, it just doesn’t mean kataxiOson as found in our service books.

              While I don’t think of BpT as an enemy and I don’t hate anyone, God bless me, I was reminded of a prayer composed by St Nikolay Velimirovich when I noticed that he’s on today’s list of saints. I hope it will be of some comfort and help to him and to all to read it here.

              BLESS MY ENEMIES
              Saint Nikolai Velimirovich (died 1956, commemorated 18 March) was a Serbian bishop who courageously spoke out against the NAZIs until he was arrested and imprisoned in the Dachau extermination camp. After his liberation at the end of the Second World War, he came to the United States where he taught at St Tikhon Orthodox Theological Seminary.

              Bless my enemies, Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.
              Enemies have driven me into Your embrace more than friends have.
              Friends have bound me to Earth; enemies have loosed me from Earth and have demolished all my aspirations in the world.
              Enemies have made me a stranger in worldly realms and an extraneous inhabitant of the world. Just as a hunted animal finds safer shelter than an unhunted animal does, so have I, persecuted by enemies, found the safest sanctuary, having ensconced myself beneath Your tabernacle, where neither friends nor enemies can slay my soul.

              Bless my enemies, Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.
              They, rather than I, have confessed my sins before the world.
              They have punished me, whenever I hesitated to punish myself.
              They have tormented me, whenever I tried to flee torments.
              They have scolded me, whenever I flattered myself.
              They have spat upon me, whenever I filled myself with arrogance.

              Bless my enemies, Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.
              Whenever I have made myself wise, they called me foolish.
              Whenever I have made myself mighty, they mocked me as though I were a dwarf.
              Whenever I have wanted to lead people, they shoved me into the background.
              Whenever I have rushed to enrich myself, they prevented me with an iron hand.
              Whenever I thought that I would sleep peacefully, they woke me from sleep.
              Whenever I have tried to build a home for a long and tranquil life, they demolished it and drove me out.
              Truly, enemies have cut me loose from the world and stretched out my hands to the hem of Your garment.

              Bless my enemies, Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.
              Bless them and multiply them; multiply them and make them even more bitterly against me:
              so that my fleeing to You may have no return;
              so that all hope in Man may be scattered like cobwebs;
              so that absolute serenity may begin to reign in my soul;
              so that my heart may become the grave of my two evil twins, arrogance and anger;
              so that I might amass all my treasure in Heaven;
              ah, so that I may for once be freed from self-deception, which has entangled me in the dreadful web of illusory life.

              Enemies have taught me to know what hardly anyone knows, that a person has no enemies in the world except himself.

              One hates his enemies only when he fails to realize that they are not enemies, but cruel friends.
              It is truly difficult for me to say who has done me more good and who has done me more evil in the world: friends or enemies.

              Therefore, Lord, bless both my friends and my enemies.
              A slave curses enemies, for he does not understand. But a son blesses them, for he understands.
              For a son knows that his enemies cannot touch his life.
              Therefore he freely steps among them and prays to God for them.

              Slightly edited from Prayers by the Lake by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich, published by the Serbian Orthodox Metropolitanate of New Gracanica, 1999.

      • Monk James says

        oliverwendeldouglas (March 11, 2014 at 10:01 pm) says:

        Is all this stuff appropriate during Great Lent (or at any time)?


        People keep saying things like this, that we shouldn’t bring up painful subjects during the fasts, or during the feasts. Well, then, WHEN?!

        As a priest, a dear friend, recently observed to me: ‘So, are we limited to maybe two days a year?’

        ‘If I am for only myself, what am I? If I am for only myself, who will be for me? If not us, then who? If not now, then when?’

        These are the words of rabbi Hillel the Elder, a contemporary of our Lord Jesus Christ.

        So, dear friends, ‘If not us, then who? If not now, then when?’

        My philosophy is in good order, I think, but my eyesight is still poor and getting worse. Please remember me in your prayers.

    • Abbouna Michel says

      I can only respond to Syedna Tihkon’s comments with a hearty, “Hear, hear.” As one who is not OCA, I don’t have a dog in this fight. However, I know Fr. David as a friend, interlocutor, and colleague, and it’s from that vantage point that I speak.

      1. Fr. David is one of the finest priests I’ve known at any time in any jurisdiction. He is much loved in his parish (not an easy bunch to please) and in the wider Church. Additionally, he is highly regarded as a senior priest in the Diocese of the West.

      2. Fr. David is highly knowledgeable in both western and eastern Canon Law, and adept at analyzing things from that perspective. He, in fact, has forgotten more ecclesiastical law than most priests and more than a few bishops of my experience ever knew, IMHO.

      3. As one who serves, as a penance for his sins, as a bishop’s canonist, I can testify that in setting forth the so-called “Brum Doctrine,” Fr. David was doing what any good counselor-at-law does; viz., trying to make the best possible case for his client. I’m not always in agreement with a given stance that my bishop takes, but I try to build the best possible case that I can, because that’s my job. If I ever were asked to do something flat-out wrong, I’d resign, but it hasn’t come to that. I suspect that such would be Fr. David’s position as well.

      4. You’re right is saying that Fr. David didn’t receive an Orthodox seminary education. He is, however, one of the most learned men in Orthodox theology that I’ve ever encountered. And, while I’m sure that he’d never be able to hold a candle to such illustrious Orthodox seminary educated bishops as Soraich, Moriak, and Storheim, I’m sure he’d try his very best to “hold up his side!”

      5. Once again, I find the conspiracy theories simultaneously paranoid, frustrating and entertaining. Not arbitrarily is “Byzantine” also lower-cased as the pejorative adjective “byzantine!”

  4. Would someone please explain to people outside certain OCA circles what the Brum doctrine is, why this doctrine is wrong for Orthodoxy, and why this Father Brum is a better Canon Law expert than Father and former Dean of St Vladimir’sJohn Erickson, whose knowledge is respected and extensive. I went to the defunct website that was mentioned (although the link did not work) and could find nothing substantial to illuminate the Brum Doctrine..

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      There is no “Brum Doctrine.’ The term is an invention of a certain clique in the OCA, one that most recently was involved in a concerted plan to oust Metropolitan Jonah, beginning with a Synodal meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As for Archpriest David Brum’s relative expertise in the area of Canon Law, if ever-memorable Archbishop Peter (who had an earned doctor in canon law and has appeared as a canon law expert in American courts of law) reposed great confidence in FAther David. Archpriest John Erickson’s academic and church specialty was by no means canon law, Yo. SVS never had a Canon Law scholar, although ever-memorable Archpriest John Meyendorff was once consulted in that area by default, although Canon Law was never his forte either. I once found it amusing, but now tiresome, that some wave this slogan: “the Brum Doctrine” like some shaman rattling his wands while never being able to say what it is and whose it is. The document giving rise to this superstitiously feared idea, is merely a talking paper, summing up what actually was on the record of the OCA relative to the competence of “Primates.” It is an accurate paper, but it puts forward no doctrine or teaching whatsoever.
      As to “why this Father Brum is a better Canon Law expert than Father and former Dean of St Vladimir’sJohn Erickson,” I suggest you contact Father John Erickon in Arizona where he has retired, and ask him yourself. I’m sure he can enlighten you.

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        I made a mistake. SVS DID once have a credentialed canonist; Professor Alexander Bogolepov. He, like Professor Nikolai Arseniev and others, is long gone and belongs to the pre-Hopko era, when the faculty and seminary were dirt poor financially, but incredibly rich spiritually and intellectually. Now, the conditions are exactly opposite.

        • Dear Vladika Tikhon,

          Thank you for explaining who this archpriest is, and why he is considered important. I see from his self written biography at


          that you yourself both ordained and chrismated him in 1997, a couple years after he got a two to three year license in Roman Catholic Canon Law from the Catholic University in Washington, D.C. The program is here

          After you ordained him, he was given on the job training in Orthodox liturgics at two churches in your diocese. So you are to be congratulated on his formation! Were you also instrumental in his conversion?

          And his Licentiate paper, The Participation of the Lay Christian Faithful in Canonically Established
          Consultative Bodies
          would seem to have uniquely prepared him for service at both Syosset and at the three AACs of the OCA for which he consulted.

          Father Professor Dean John Erickson, on the other hand, only converted in 1964, has his Orthodox Canon Law background from the likes of those same St Vladimir professors and the considerable Orthodox faculty at Yale in his time. His honorary doctorate is in Orthodox Canon Law and although I haven’t a clue how he prepared himself for the same at Harvard before he showed up at Yale (and concurrently at St. Vladimir’s) already well read and conversant, he also continued in the study of Canon Law at Dumbarton Oaks, a part of Harvard, in the early 70s where he was a fellow and already considered accomplished in his field. He taught canon law at St. Vlad’s starting in 1973 and continued teaching the same kind of coursework for many years. Here is a conference that he attended with Father John Meyendorff

          Mind you, I’ve been a bit alarmed at Father John Erickson’s ecumenism over the years, but here we’re talking Orthodox canon law expertise, no? Which is enhanced by an extensive and world renowned ability in Byzantine History, no? I know which one of these two priests I would call if I had a question on either topic.

          As for Father Thomas Hopko, he studied with essentially the same professors as did Father John Erickson, studied at St. Vladimir’s a couple years earlier, was ordained the same year he married one of his professors’ daughters, and has been thriving every since. His training is partly like that of the Father you chrismated and ordained, at Roman Catholic institutions, but unlike Father David Brum, he, like Father John Erickson, concurrently studied at St. Vladimir’s.

        • Hyperbole says

          Vladyka, I’m not sure if you’ve been in the loop with SVS recently- we most certainly are not rolling in the cash around here.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            Not rolling in the cash? The word can’t get out OUT of the loop because SVS NEVER can get enough. I was speaking relatively; I didn’t mean to suggest that SVS figured they had enough money.
            Compared to Emperor Justinian, I am rich: I change my underwear daily, and what I put on has been washed in pure drinking water, which i myself get from an automatic faucet, and I bathe in it and excrete all my bodily wastes into it. I have detergent soap and do not rely on cow’s urine to bleach out my white clothes. I also have some air conditioning and wall heaters. I have my own auto mobile. i can watch wrestling at home while drinking claret or irish whistkey and water and so on. That is how today’s SVS compares to the SVS when Fedotov Arseniev, Bogolepov Florovky and also the 2nd generation, the chidren of emigres, like Schmeman, Verkhskoy and Meyendorff came along. They’ve got grants now, property, spousal housing and so on. It’s like night and day.. But some like to poor mouth; “Oh, we’re STILL struggling to make ends meet…” The rich are always struggling to make ends meet: that’s what they tell the I.R.S. and that’s what SVS says when there are any donors around.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              Or, like Danny Devito said in the movie Heist: “Everybody wants money. That’s why they call it money”.

            • Do you mean, Your Grace, that SVS is somewhat like the British Treasury as depicted in “Yes, Minister” (assuming you got that satirical TV show in the US on cable or public television): “Minister, the Treasury does not work out what it needs and then think how to raise the money. It pitches for as much as it can get away with and then thinks how to spend it” ?

            • Centurion says

              TMI, TMI, TMI! Way TOO MUCH TMI! What is it with Bishop Tikhon and his many references to bodily functions that should be kept private?

    • Abbouna Michel says

      Because the very capable Archpriest John Erickson is a Yale-trained historian, and the very capable Archpriest David Brum is a university-educated canon lawyer. Something about “shoemakers sticking to their lasts.” As far as I know, divinely-infused knowledge only is predicated of saints, not we all-too-flawed academic specialists, appropriately operating within “narrow bandwidths.”

  5. Michael Kinsey says

    Your lying stone prick, Your refusing to post my comments. Stalinlike, hypocrite. You are my enemy, and an enemy of honest discussion. A man is know by his enemies as well as friends. It’s your site, you have the ability to censor me. But don’t pretend to yourself, Jesus Christ considers this honest discourse.I know you won’t be able to censor HIm.Run on for a long time, and reap what you sow, it is you who have no choice but to reap it..

  6. Michael Kinsey says

    I have posted my abomination of desolation definition on this site, and the Vision given so the people do not perish. Receive my witness, or no. Those who refuse to understand what I wrote, are receivers of my dust, which I kick off AGAINST YOU, as instructed by the Holy Scriptures. This is my last post, I will not be censored by the likes of you.It’s later than you think, you will see the mark of the beast soon. Let’s see you lie your way out of that.

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      Somebody put that kid in the drunk tank until he sobers up!

    • Michael
      Have you stopped taking your meds?

      • Unlike the thumbs downers, I’m going to charitably assume StephenD’s comment was serious and add my voice of concern to it: Michael, are you taking your meds? Everyone, please pray for Michael.

    • Thomas Barker says

      Michael Kinsey,

      After reading your Vision in the ‘Savas Strikes Again’ thread (thank you for reposting your thoughts), I am beginning to understand your assertion that the Holy Sepulchre will be the locus for the abomination of desolation, rather than the Third Temple of the Jews. Your words imply that Revelation 13:13, “And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,” is the beast’s counterfeit to what we call the Holy Fire. How did you obtain the Vision? Was this taught to you by man, pieced together in your own study of the scriptures, or given to you directly as a vision? It’s important to examine the origin of these ideas when considering their merit. Michael, I would like to know.

  7. Dear BT:

    In academic theological circles, those who say their expertise is Canon Law, are usually those who cannot excel elsewhere. Why, because canon law without a strong church history background is useless. This is why both Protopresbyter John Meyendorff and Prof. John Erickson were both very good in Orthodox Canon Law. Brum is good from a Roman legalistic canon law perspective, but quite lacking in strong Orthodox Church History. Again, Brum is damaged goods regarding the episcopate. Really time to return to married bishops.

    • Thomas Barker says

      Sammy said:

      …Brum is damaged goods regarding the episcopate. Really time to return to married bishops.

      Please explain how your “married bishops” remark is germane to the discussion.

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      “Sammy,” shame on you! You said “in academic theological circles (sic) those who say their expertise is Canon Law are usually those who cannot excel elsewhere.” What do you know of academic theological circles? You don’t write like anyone from such “circles” at all. Do you include Professor A. Bogolepov and Archbishop Peter among such? Do you really profess the outre belief that you stated, namely: ‘canon law without a strong church history background (sic) is useless. Even if that bizarre and uneducated thesis were true, what would make even a dunce or ruined Protodeacon think that Archpriest David does not have a strong church history “background?” Please try and express whatever you mean by ‘damaged goods regarding the episcopate”. There are at least two known alcoholics alive in the Holy Synod today and a third recently expired in a motel parking lot. Are they not “damaged goods regarding the episcopate?” Married bishops? Like some of the Borgias? Like Metropolitan Alexander Vvedensky? Like Montanus? Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Orthodox Churches in the Councils/Synods have changed much in the polity of the Church. Confessions, for example, once public (for a couple hundred years) and subject to general discussion, became secretive only after the churches were opened up by Constantine and his successors to unbelievers and adherents of other religions, as is the case in America today. I think you may be the one who is weak in Church History. I hope you are not Metropolitan Herman or someone on St. Tikhon’s faculty! Oh, maybe you’re not male at all or connected with any seminary, but a novice sister in one of our monasteries/sketes for the fair sex?
      +Bishop Tikhon

    • How do you know that Father David Brum is not knowledgeable concerning Church history? He has been an Orthodox priest since he was brought into the church as a priest by Bishop Tikhon at Pt. Reyes about 15 years ago; I know that because I was there wondering who the stranger was in the Altar. Bishop Tikhon vested him and my question was answered.

      Father David had been the priest in Merced, CA as a Roman Catholic about the same time that Metropolitan Jonah was serving the Orthodox Mission Parish of St Mary Magdalene. He was very involved in the planning of the new church that the RCs were getting ready to build there; Father David was planning for the new church to be very traditional; you could say Orthodox. But, it appears that Father David’s plans did not sit well with the RC power structure, he was sent off for some kind of training and the priest who stood in for him built a nice new modern RC edifice that looks like First Baptist, i.e. no cross behind the altar, no stations of the cross, a nice new assembly hall, almost a basketball gymnasium. Father David soon left the RC church and then became Orthodox. He is a good man, a good priest, and would make a good bishop. And, I am sure that he has learned Orthodox history in the past 15 years and whatever else is necessary to be a bishop. Concerning Father David, Axios.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Jacksson, these are good questions. I’ve heard from many quarters about Fr David and heard wonderful things about him. My concern is the lack of consistency on the part of Syosset, one set of standards for Fr Gerasim and another for Fr David.

        Also, doesn’t Brum’s philosophy strike one of “unilateralism”? The dreaded U-Word that so agitated the unreasoning critics of Metropolitan Jonah?

        I can honestly say that in my conversation with Jonah’s chief antagonist some three years ago, he waxed eloquently about the Synod being supreme over the church.

        This is all very incongruent to me.

        • Fr. George Washburn says

          Hello friends:

          George exemplifies the utter folly of so much internet blogging (not to say braying) about candidates (successful and unsuccessful) for the Orthodox episcopate by the way he frames the foregoing pronouncement: he sees one set of standards (or more accurately educational preparation) for one candidate and another set for another, assumes that the two paths must be identical or there is skulduggery involved, and then descries it as “lack of consistency.”

          This arises from George’s obvious predisposition (not to say prejudice) against anything done by the official government of the Church. Sad but true; he made not admit it to himself, but the real and perceived problems with Orthodox leadership, whether in or outside the OCA, have turned him into someone who is fundamentally a critic and opponent.

          He makes the unwarranted assumption that the path must be identical for both. Fr. Gerasim and Fr. David, from my VERY limited exposure, are very different men with very different educational backgrounds and prior service. Different personalities, upbringings, past ministries, and areas of talent, gifting and experience. It is silly, pig-headed to suggest that two such different men must be run through the exact same set of hoops to prepare them fro possible service. In the “children in the marketplace” atmosphere in this corner of the internet it is not at all hard to imagine what the Georges would post if there were some sort of rigid set of procedures to be followed – it would be like their comments on the new procedures for sexual misconduct allegations.

          George writes “my concern is lack of consistency on the part of Syosset,” but I believe it is only because it is treating the two as individuals and he wishes to pound on Syosset every chance he gets. Had they run both men through the same lockstep procedures and educational hoops George would be complaining about too much faith in procedures and not enough wisdom about individual differences.


          Fr. George

          • George Michalopulos says

            Fr George, I don’t know if you’re purposely being obtuse or unable to see distinctions. I have heard wonderful things about Fr David. I also know that he does not have an Orthodox theological education. This doesn’t actually bother me.

            What does bother me is that the Apparat picks and chooses which of the statues and policies and procedures of the OCA it wants to enforce.

            May I give you an example?

            OK, here goes: When Arb Dmitri retired and the locum tenency was taken from Met Jonah, Bp Nikon came to Dallas and said: “We need to get a bishop elected ASAP” or words to that effect. Why did he say that? Because the plain text of the OCA statute demands a quick election, that’s why.

            We’re now into our fifth year without a bishop.

            As for the theological requirements, those are in the plain statutes of the OCA as well.

            • Fr. George Washburn says

              I am not being obtuse, my friend. I am calling attention to some seeming anomalies in your positions and the underlying commitments and assumptions behind them.

              For example in this post you seem to invest OCA policies and procedures, including its “statute,” with virtually Sinaitic stature, but on other occasions you love to poke at their inadequacy. Are they inspired of God? Are they vested with scriptural or canonical authority, or just the best efforts of people to write regulations and rules …in situations where you otherwise believe a diocesan ought not to be fettered by rules and regs?


              Fr. George

              • George Michalopulos says

                So, let me get this straight: the OCA has spent thousands of man-hours and several All-American Councils drafting up some pretty decent statutes (overall) but we don’t have to abide by them when we don’t want to? Isn’t that like making things up as we go along?

                Why don’t we have the same attitude with the Constitution? I guess it’s because the gummint is more important than the church.

                Isn’t the Parish Council which pays you regularly likewise “fettered by rules and regs”? (And the electric company, water & gas company, which provides your parish with electricity, heating/AC and water?)

                I get it.

                • Fr. George Washburn says

                  Hello friends:

                  Let me reply to George by asking that we first review a little so we stay focused on what I am trying to discuss …and why. All this stuff about utility regulation and what the Parish Council pays me – gas money only, by the way,and not because any rule requires it – has a tendency to muddy the waters.

                  I am discussing the fundamental question of whether or not the bishops of Christ’s Church ought to be constrained to impose one uniform set of educational criteria upon all candidates. That stemmed from the critiques voiced by George and others in which words like inconsistency, hypocrisy, etc. got tossed around because Fr. Gerasim was sent down a different educational track than Fr. David.

                  My position was that bishops ought not to have their discretion fettered in such a fashion, but rather (as is the historic norm in Orthodoxy) have unfettered discretion to pass upon each person or situation as he sees fit. I am also saying that I find George’s position criticizing this idea inconsistent with his oft-repeated opinions generally favoring decentralized administration by diocesan bishops over centralized, regulation-dominated bureaucracy.

                  Any human institution in which some people exercise power over others winds up having to answer the same fundamental question: in the final analysis are we going to have rules dominate the people who hold office and power, or will we have a system in which the rules guide the office holder but ultimately yield to that person’s exercise of discretion. The United States was founded on the rejection of the latter view and the King George who tried to enforce it, opting instead to have the rules (from the Constitution on down to the local animal control ordinance) trump all office holders.

                  My understanding of Orthodoxy is that we try to strike a balance, with no bishop having power to change the Creed or the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils, but having plenty of discretion to decide who is fit for ecclesiastical office and what kind of preparation suffices. So I am not offended in the least that Fr. David and Fr. Gerasim would not be forced to follow the identical cookie cutter process of preparation for higher office.

                  George’s confusion is evident in a( his references to all of the other rules and procedures with which OCA bodies may have busied themselves in contexts besides bishop selection, none of which are in play as far as my comments go, and b) his allusions to public utilities and the US Constitution. We are talking about the Traditional, Orthodox way to prepare, evaluate, and select people for episcopal office, and making the principles and practices of our government a yardstick by which to publicly judge and criticize bishops attempting to govern Orthodoxy seems very confused and wrong-headed to me.

                  I hope George does get it.


                  Fr. George

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    I very much do get it Fr. Two years ago, we had no fewer than five men being considered to be Bishop of the South. Even Arb Nikon told us that he was there only for a very short time –90 days he actually said. Really Fr, Syosset hasn’t been serious for a long time.

                    I’ll stand by principles any day, especially when there’s no valid reason to lay them aside.

                    • DOW Member says


                      I applaud you for being so patient with Fr Washburn, a full-time lawyer and a part-time priest, being just attached to the Ben Lomond parish. He knows next to nothing about the OCA yet he presents himself as some sort of expert.

                      Honestly, I find his lawyer ways tedious. His “pronouncement” that “I am not offended in the least that Fr. David and Fr. Gerasim would not be forced to follow the identical cookie cutter process of preparation for higher office” falls under the category, “who gives a $#%@ what you think!

                      Again, George, allowing this lawyer jerk to pontificate about things OCA is to your credit but a pain to the rest of us?

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      Well, I’m a lawyer, and while I often emit gaseous pomposities and purple puffs of portentious rhodomontade, I never pontificate!

                    • Fr. George Washburn says

                      DOW member typifies a certain type of commentator here.

                      1. There is no substance to what he says. Not one single tiny issue where he quotes facts or Orthodox authority on an issue where he disagrees with me or anyone else, or even sheds light on any subject we are trying to discuss.

                      2. There is an unpleasant tone to what he writes, ad hominem and scatological ….or when it lacks rational substance but contains a reference to dung, should we say scatoillogical?

                      3. And misinformed factually. I have not had a full time law practice since Aug 2006, and not even a 1/20th full time practice since Dec. 2006. Strike three. Out.

                • DC Indexman says

                  Dear George M. There use to be several bloggers who contributed to your discussions here. I seemed to recall a Jacob and an Amos who use to give good insight and had historical knowledge about the OCA and in particular about the ins and outs of the Chancery in New York – Long Island.

                  I understand people come and go, and this is based on interest. But hopefully these or others will again get interested. These two I mentioned seemed to have knowledge about the inside personalities.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          RE: “I’ve heard from many quarters about Fr David and heard wonderful things about him. My concern is the lack of consistency on the part of Syosset, one set of standards for Fr Gerasim and another for Fr David.”

          George, how is this germane? If we don’t like Syosset, and the general consensus seems to be that we don’t, why would we measure the merit of either man based on what Syosset does or doesn’t do? THAT seems in-congruent to me. – As they say in the Wizard of Oz, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” In other words, pay no attention to Syosset. Reach out to Father David, directly, and THEN tell us how you feel. I am genuinely interested in your opinion.

    • Abbouna Michel says

      Several of the comments of Sammy and Yo remind me of the aphorism ascribed to the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.”

      Having been associated with several theological faculties in the U.S., U.K., and Middle East over the last 30+ years, I’ve never heard anyone in the “academic theological circles” in which I regularly participate make a comment of the sort that Sammy mentions. Not once, ever. Perhaps he would be so good as to give us particulars to bolster his assertion. Lawyer jokes (sigh), yes; pejorative comments, no.

      I’m not sure what being “good in Canon Law” means. Did Prof. Meyendorff of blessed memory know some canon law? Sure. Was he a canon lawyer? Nope. His work on Gregory Palamas is regarded as path breaking, having redefined such study. But, that doesn’t make him an expert on canon law. Prof. Erickson has done wonderful work, especially on the history of American Orthodoxy. But, that doesn’t make him an expert on canon law, either. I’m curious, BTW, what makes Sammy so competent in assessing expertise in Church history, historical theology, canon law or any other ecclesiastical discipline. Nothing in his postings indicates a whit of conversance with any of these.

      These posters seem to have a proclivity for investing any serious Orthodox scholar with universal knowledge about pretty much everything related to the Christian East. Not true, I’m afraid. People have particular academic specialties, and ought to be taken seriously IN THOSE DISCIPLINES.

      I have a good friend who’s a GI doc. Great man, good physician. But, if I had a brain tumor I’d prefer being worked on by a neurosurgeon. Just color me crazy for that. Same thing holds true for ecclesiastical disciplines.

      One closing thought. “Stan the Man” clearly, for a long time, has regarded Archpriest David Brum as the spawn of Satan. Surely that should count in Fr. David’s favor!

  8. Francis Frost says

    I cannot speak to the office politics / rivalries among the OCA clergy, nor to the relative expertise of the various clergy.

    I can however, speak to the warmth and kindness that Father David has shown on the few occasions that I have had the pleasure to meet him.

    Two years ago, when our “Oma” Vera died, Father David served her funeral and was most kind to our family. His warmth and compassion was a great comfort. Indeed, Father David and Deacon Isaiah have both proved to be most welcoming to our relatives in the “ Valley of the Sun”, even those with a tenuous connection to the church. May the Good Lord reward them for that!

    Their kindness reminds me of their predecessor in office, the late Archpriest Iwan Karateew, whose simple kindness changed the entire course of my life. May the Lord give him rest in the mansions of the righteous!

    It seems to me that of all the qualities one might wish for in a bishop, kindheartedness is the one most under-appreciated these days.

    On the other hand, George considering your penchant for excoriating the OCA’s bishops and senior clergy with criticism, innuendo and malicious gossip; why do you think anyone would want the job of bishop in the OCA?

    Perhaps if you spent half as much time praying for your bishops as you do criticizing and scandalizing them, the OCA would find itself in a much better place.

    Repentance like charity begins at home; phile mou

  9. Allow me to interrupt this argument to wish Fr. Patrick Reardon, my former pastor, a very blessed name day.

    Many years, Father! I know it’s Lent, but perhaps a pint of liquid bread is in order.

  10. Steve Knowlton says

    As a very occasional observer of this site, I occasionally check in and am amazed.

    I can’t say yeah or nay about Fr. David Brum. I was on the Diocesan Council for three years; his term overlapped with mine for perhaps a year, and he was so quiet I didn’t notice him until he sent me a gentle email to encourage us to conclude the diocesan audit.

    A man has a right, especially as he’s learning his way in a big, complicated, and … political, or shall I say politicized, institution like the OCA to make a mistake, if indeed he made a mistake at all. He got involved, he tried to pitch in, he worked at Syossett, he was identified as a talented individual, and in the mix may have associated with the “wrong side” in some battle that few of us ever really understood.

    So he wrote a single document that could be construed, in the context at the time, the wrong way… is this enough data with which to lynch the man?

    I’m not taking sides here in the Debate of the Two OCAs, or three or four OCAs (although I do have a side), I’m just wondering if we’re not being a bit too hasty to label every one as a Hatfield and a Mccoy.

    If we blacken every man’s reputation based on such limited data, what kind of people are going to want to be a bishop? Yikes.

    • Fr. George Washburn says

      Thanks, Steve.

      The blogosphere is another example of how secular, not to say pagan, culture ALWAYS tends to squeeze the Church into its mold. It was happening in Rome in the days of St. Paul, who urged them (Rom. 12:1-2) not to be conformed to the world but transformed by the renewing of the mind. Who here in the anonysphere imagines that s/he is being conformed to the world by the trading of pseudonymous poison and innuendo?


      Fr. George