More from Russia, Not with Love

Met. Jonah & Pat. Kyrill

The recent Patronal Feast day of St. Catherine celebrated at the OCA Representation Church to the Moscow Patriarchate on December 7 displayed how far and how fast this Feast day has become an afterthought to the Russian Orthodox Church. At the 2012 Vigil and Divine Liturgy, not one representative of the Moscow Patriarchate was present. The OCA supplied a bishop, the Auxiliary bishop of Canada, Irenee (view photos).

A Brief History

One of the unique characteristics of the Russian Orthodox Church is the presence of Representation or Embassy Churches of the other autocephalous Orthodox Churches. However for the Orthodox Church in America, the establishment of a Representation Church in Moscow was important as a visible acceptance of the Russian Church of the Orthodox Church in America. According to the St. Catherine link on the OCA website:

OCA services were initially held in English in the bell tower Church of St. Symeon the Stylite at St. Daniel’s Monastery until a suitable church could used by the OCA in Russia. The lot fell on St. Catherine’s Church in-the-Fields because of its central location and size. On St. Catherine’s Day 1994 the first prayer service in the church in more than sixty years was conducted jointly by the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church His Holiness Alexey II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the primate of the Orthodox Church in America His Beatitude Theodosius, Archbishop of Washington and Metropolitan of All America and Canada. Fr Daniel Hubiak was appointed rector of the (recently) returned church.

Since that time, it was customary for bishops (if not the Patriarch of Russia himself) to be present for the annual Feast day. Often the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America would also be present concelebrating at the Divine Liturgy with the Patriarch. Patriarch Alexeii II of Thrice-Blessed Memory, made every effort to have this Feast day on his calendar each year. After his repose in 2008, His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill came to St. Catherine’s in 2009 and served with then Metropolitan Jonah, again showing the support of the Russian Orthodox Church for the Representation Church of the OCA, Metropolitan Jonah, and the Orthodox Church in America.

Since the assignment of the first OCA representative priest to the Moscow Patriarchate in the early 1990‘s, a deep and growing bond was established around St. Catherine’s Church. However in the past two years, the Feast of St. Catherine was not attended by any hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church. The 2011 and 2012 commemorations were a shadow of their former festive celebrations. There is no doubt that the lack of Moscow Patriarchate bishops the past two years is linked to the disappointing behavior of the OCA Synod of Bishops in their conduct directed toward their Primate, Metropolitan Jonah.

We know that Patriarch Kirill spoke in plain and unambiguous terms that the OCA bishop need to treat Metropolitan Jonah with respect and to provide for him as the former Primate of the OCA. He delivered that message in person to Bishop Alexander Golitzen and Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky last summer when they trekked off to Kiev to honor Metropolitan Vladimir of the autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate.

That same message was delivered three more times to the OCA directly or through representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, including Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of the Department of External Affairs of the Russian Church. The fact that no representatives came to this year’s St. Catherine’s Feast day was a signal that the Mother Church of the Orthodox Church in America is still upset with how Metropolitan Jonah is being treated.

Without the visible support of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Orthodox Church in America will be further marginalized within World Orthodoxy. It is already clear that the Russian Church is directly working with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) to plant new missions and give visible support to ROCOR. In years past, albeit before the reunification between ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate, Moscow would not make a move in North America without the consent of the OCA. Those days are over and the apparent snub Moscow has given to the OCA Church in Moscow the past two years is further proof that the relations between the two Churches are at best strained and at worst near a tipping point.

What Can Be Done?

If the OCA wants to improve her relations with Moscow she needs to deal with Metropolitan Jonah in a sincere manner. Moscow is willing to accept His Beatitude and so is ROCOR. They have asked for him to be released, however as of the date of this article, the OCA has steadfastly refused to release him. Rather, they are apparently forcing Jonah to accept a ridiculous assignment as the vicar bishop of Berkeley under Archbishop Benjamin Petersen of San Francisco. Further, Jonah would only be blessed to serve at the OCA Protection Cathedral in Los Angeles. This assignment has done nothing to convince the OCA’s Mother Church that her internal life is returning to normal. Recall the “congratulatory” letter of Patriarch Kirill to the newly-elected OCA Metropolitan Tikhon:

By the will of the plenitude of the Orthodox Church in America, a high responsibility has been placed on you for the future of the youngest Local Orthodox Church, which has experienced a difficult time in her history in recent years. I hope that through the efforts of Your Beatitude the American Church will restore full-fledged relations with other Local Orthodox Churches, restore peace and harmony within herself and make comfortable the further life of your predecessor at the Metropolitan See of Washington.

This was another clear and very public “put on notice” statement by Moscow to the OCA Synod. But, again, it appears that the more extreme autocephalist elements inside the Synod are thumbing their noses in Moscow’s direction as the continue to punish Jonah with an untenable assignment.

The new dean of St. Catherine’s in Moscow, Archimandrite Alexander Pihach, is stepping into a very delicate situation as he takes up his duties. The very continued existence of the OCA Representation Church in Moscow may be at stake. Certainly it relevancy is on the wane.

However, things can improve, almost overnight, if the Synod let’s Jonah go to ROCOR. What is more important, a renewed and positive relationship with the OCA’s Mother Church or doubling-down against Jonah? An ecclesiastical cliff for the OCA is looming in the new year. Will there be a just and fair resolution or will the OCA go over the proverbial cliff? It is up to the bishops of the OCA and a chance for the new Metropolitan Tikhon to stand up and be counted.

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  1. Thomas Paine says

    This is just baloney! The OCA has a representative church in Moscow to represent the OCA. It’s not to acquiesce to what ROCOR wants nor even the MP. + Jonah is a dead issue. While Wood was leading this community, he destroyed what it was or what it was created to be. Now, it will recover. As far as relations with the MP, the OCA is just fine. Again, what ROCOR wants means little to nothing, as it should be.

    • “Jonah is a dead issue.” Such care, such understanding, such compassion, so OCA!

      Your understanding of the tenure of Archimandrite Wood is quite wrong, but then again, most of what you write here is ill informed. I am glad you think the “OCA is just fine.” With supporters like you, the OCA should really be worried.

      Nevertheless, you have no idea how beneficial your comments are here. They are so revealing and confirming to those who have stopped drinking the Kool-Aid being offer by Syosset. 😉

      • For ONCE I find Thomas Paine speaking the truth. It’s true what he said about Archimandrite Zacchaeus. The only reason he was allowed to remain there so long, despite his horrible reputation amongst Moscow clergy and others was because it was so important to E.Wheeler, M.Stokoe and some members of the Holy Synod that the creator of the (most problematic) clandestine electronic surveillance tapes NOT be publicly discredited. They thought of those tapes as a keystone to the whole crumbling arch of allegations against Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick. “Syosset” supported Woods for as long as they possibly could until matters reached a point where NO one could profess a defense of him without looking absolutely ga-ga.
        He did have a close relationship to Metropolitan Jonah, however, and that is the only thread by which his reputation still hangs in the air. Is it true, I wonder, that the Archimandrite has been sending out “feelers” (!) to the Carpatho-Russian Diocese? Have they perhaps succeeded? Has Berezansky gone back to Russia to take yet another stab at a successful “Bizniss” career?

      • Thomas Paine says

        Wood was the worst. He had no theological education in the U.S. and bought a degree in Russia. He virtually destroyed St. Catherines from what it was designed to be. Now it can get back on track as an American church in Moscow.

        • Fr. Vincent says

          “Now it can get back on track as an American church in Moscow”.

          Perhaps you meant to say “North American”. After all, their new Dean is Canadian. Just sayin’. 🙂

          • Guy Westover says

            Father Vincent, (bless!)

            Don’t you mean, “After all their new Dean is a Canadian,eh.”

            Just askin’ ;0)

        • TP,

          St. Catherine’s is a parish of the Moscow Patriarchate. It is not an OCA parish. It does some of it’s services in English but never was it an all English community. As usual, you show us how little you know about the internal workings of the OCA with your latest comment about St. Catherine’s.

          The vast majority of people who went to the St. Catherine Feastday in December were not the regular communicants of the parish. Those people, well of 100 didn’t show up. Those there were the usual local Moscow folk who go from church to church especially on a parish feast day, expecting a bishop to be there.

          Things are far from perfect at St. Catherine’s and reports that the community sent a letter to the OCA asking for their former dean to be returned are true.

          People leaving the OCA even in Moscow. Wait, everything is fine. A guess we have a new working definition of “everything is fine.”

          • Guy Westover says

            Well, in the words of someone parodying Bill Clinton, that all depends on what your definition of “IS” is.


            N.B. I’m just here to try and provide some comic relief. If I say anything that makes sense or causes you to think, please disregard it. You just didn’t get the joke.

          • Thomas Paine says

            You’re just wrong. The OCA wanted to open a “representative” church of the OCA in Moscow. (Write to Fr. Danial Hubiak about all of this). The MP gave the OCA a very small, run-down church called St. Catherines. The church was established to be an ENGLISH community serving those working in Moscow from America, Australia, England, etc. seeking English services and a priest who could service such a community. Woods destroyed this vision. Now, it can return to what it was created to be.

            • Thomas,

              Again, you are wrong. Totally. Check the other representation churches in Moscow. Sure they use the language of their own national churches but they use a majority of church slavonic in their respective services. Why? Because neighborhood Russians walk to those churches for services.

              Also, the MP did not “give” St. Catherine’s to the OCA. The MP permits the OCA to use St. Catherine’s. It is still an MP parish that represents the OCA in Moscow. Sure the idea of english speaking people going to St. Catherine’s was one if its founding ideas, but never was it to be an english only for english speaking only faithful.

              Don’t talk about things you don’t know. You just look more stupid.

              • Quite right, Nikos! These representation churches are usually called “podvorii” or pied-a-terres” or metokhia as well. I believe Mt Athos has one, as well as other Local Churches, such as the Antiochian one which had a Bishop Nikon as its’ rector recently, no? It would be totally inappropriate and even UNorthodox and Phyletistic, to designate it as a “national”. Paine is typically at sea in the area of Orthodox life and polity. Why, what Paine envisions, mistakenly, is the same thing as the “Bulgarian Church” established in Istanbul which so exercised the EP that they broke communion with the Bulgarian Church for decades, and came up with the idea of that heresy called “phyletism.”

              • What is it exactly this ‘representation church’ does tor real people? As I understand it the language used is old Slavonic as the other churches in the town. Clearly they have enough parishes to be getting along with in Russia as it is, what’s this one for?

                • Mariko Hishamunda says

                  It’s entirely pointless and no doubt just another example of the era of Metropolitans Theodosius and Herman, when our little American Orthodox Church tried to parade around as though it had a few million members and state funding behind its paltry activities like the other Local Orthodox Churches…

          • ulysses lorenzetti says

            THE ESSENCE OF GOD
            “THE ESSENCE OF GOD” is composed of all the “PHYSICAL SPACE OF THE UNIVERSE” occupied by a “INTELLIGENCE” of the highest degree of perfection, to give the origin in time and space, all forms of “ENERGY “, which move, since the atom, with its structures tiny dimensions, until all the celestial bodies, which composes the cosmos in perfect harmony and balance in their movements, and the purity of their feelings of “LOVE” composed of “Piety”, “Justice” and “Mercy”, gives us, the existence of life.
            I await your response

            • ulysses lorenzetti says (February 27, 2013 at 4:58 pm):

              THE ESSENCE OF GOD
              “THE ESSENCE OF GOD” is composed of all the “PHYSICAL SPACE OF THE UNIVERSE” occupied by a “INTELLIGENCE” of the highest degree of perfection, to give the origin in time and space, all forms of “ENERGY “, which move, since the atom, with its structures tiny dimensions, until all the celestial bodies, which composes the cosmos in perfect harmony and balance in their movements, and the purity of their feelings of “LOVE” composed of “Piety”, “Justice” and “Mercy”, gives us, the existence of life.
              I await your response

              That’s a lot of gnostic gnonsense, probaby acceptable only to the Rosicrucians and heretics of that ilk.

      • My nephew (though not a faithful Orthodox Christian) dates a woman who’s sister lives in Moscow and goes to St. Catherine’s according to her they all universally miss and love Archimandrite Woods. They even wrote a petition to the Patriarch in favor of Woods and against Syosset.

        • BM Psevdomudacheva says

          Its true that father Zacchei is much loved in St. Catherines church.

          • “BM, etc!” You declared that Archimandrite Zacchaeus (“Zacchei”, as you spell it) or Zakkhei, is much loved in St. Catherine’s Church.
            Very Reverend George Benigsen of blessed memory (I’m sure you’ll recognize the illustrious name from Russian history), used to re-tell this Russian bit of wisdom. “It’s well-known that if anyone would go out into the woods near Moscow, find a tree-stump, and put a Violet Kamilavka on it and leave it there, he’ll discover, if he returns to the spot a week later, that the tree-stump is surrounded by adoring women wearing headcloths!”
            So no one doubts that Archimandrite Zacchaeus was much loved by SOME in St. Catherine’s Church.
            Metropolitan Theodosius was the same…He was much loved, especially by grandmothers. We all have our admirers and they are sometimes embarrassing. I can’t imagine ANY priest or deacon who does not have some people who love him, a lot. I’m always a little embarrassed or dismayed when I find a priest or deacon whose main fear is of not being LIKED! Yet so many of us spend a lot of effort on just that, being liked!!!
            Take Mr Wheeler, an ordained Deacon. I (and many, many others) was astounded when Metropolitan Theodosius took him as his Deacon and then Protodeacon! of all the Deacons in the Church to take someone so…problematic…it was a shock. There is a semi-humorous way, in Russian, of summarizing the cardinal qualities of a good Russian Deacon, since the middle ages: “Golos, Volos, Ukh i Briukh” (Hair, Voice, EAR, and Belly)! I asked around and no one could explain this odd choice. Deacon wheeler was kind of little squirt then, with a reedy voice, and a stiff, wooden, unnatural way of moving about and executing the requirements of Diaconal liturgizing. On top of that, he had a slight, very slight, but noticeable speech defect, which occluded his ‘Ls” until they were almost “Ws” or Polish L’s printed with a stroke through them. It was not “wet us pway to the Ward”, but close to it. I still don’t know why Metropolitan Theodosius chose him, unless he was concerned with not being eclipsed by a more, oh, manly sort of Deacon with bearing, voice and liturgical competence. But, later, the Metropolitan did it again; he selected Archbishop Job’s petite little archdeacon, Zacchaeus, who, admittedly, was a lot more competent than Wheeler, but, still, not what in the OCA’s tradition was your customary Arch- or Protodeacon and then he promoted him. It could be also that when when Wheeler needed to find a place after being let go bySVS, the Metropolitan (and “Father Bob”) came to the rescue, giving him an enviable position as Deacon and then as Treasurer, exceeding all expectations based on talent or competence.

            • Thomas Paine says

              Well, you continue your lies. Dn. Eric never had any speech impediment. Dn. Eric was very well liked at SVS and Dave Drillock wanted Eric to replace him as the financial head of SVS. RSK approached him to not only be the Treasurer of the OCA, but because of his EXCELLENCE in serving as a deacon with many bishops worldwide, to be the Metropolitan’s deacon. Dn. Eric accepted this opportunity although it was a blow to SVS. Dn. Eric excelled in every way at Syosset and his wonderful, sacrificing wife reluctantly went along with Dn. Eric’s great service to the Church.

              BT, are you jealous of Dn. Eric because he saw through your phony facade and your evil character?

              • George,

                This latest flight of fantasy writing by TP is so full of misrepresentations and outright lies it borders on questioning the sanity of the writer. However, he has written enough to conclude that with every word he writes he uncovers the spiritual bankruptcy that is not lost on those who read this site.

                I must protest again that he has no right to call a bishop of the Church as having an evil character. It is clear that his hero, Dn. Eric Wheeler has led someone like to to write such things when he boastfully calls this same bishop an “old fool.”

                The facts remain and those who were at SVS at the time will concur that Wheeler was on his way out and to try and misrepresent those mentioned as believing otherwise is another feeble attempt to rewrite the real history of those days.

                It appears that the OCA is convinced that people like Bp Mark Maymon, a self-admitted thief of private emails and the author to the clergy and faithful of EPA of a very sad letter about the events that took place in CT. are the caliber of people they believe are their leaders. Talk of Dn. Eric being a possible candidate for the office of bishop in the OCA is another indication of their ultimate direction and destination.

                If these are the people they want to lead the OCA, then let them have them. The result we be clear in years to come as the OCA continues to wither and further embrace the values of this world and not the long-held Traditions of the Church. I can’t imagine was less qualified person to even be a priest, let alone a bishop than TP’s hero. But, that will be up to others to decide, but for us laity, we too will need to decide if this jurisdiction is still our home. Actions have consequences. We know that the recent actions by the OCA have left serious wounds which will take decades to heal. But if TP and others think these people will lead the OCA out of its current malaise, they now have their chance.

              • Paine! The great Persian poet, Sa’di, uttered a line which is made immortal and contemporary by its aptness to your secretions on this blog: “The best thing for an ignorant man is silence, and if he knew that was the best thing for him, he would not be ignorant.”

            • BM Psevdomudacheva says

              Well Bishop, I and many others found fr. Z to be quite a fine spiritual father and advisor. I don’t know any deacon Wheeler to compare.

              • I wish someone would have the courage (and respect for Archimandrite Zacchaeus) to stand up for him without shamefacedly hiding behind the duck-blind of a pseudonym to do so. Surely, someone besides this BM Pseudomudacheva (obviously a female, going by the ending of the pseudo family name. If I, for example, would say, I hear that someone found “fr. Z” to be quite a fine spiritual father and advisor.” They might say “Oh? Who said such a thing?” What could i answer? “BM Pseudomudacheva?” I don’t think so. Nice try, though, even if a total flop.

    • George,
      I was going to comment that the powers that be in the OCA simply won’t “get” the significance of Moscow’s snub, and there was Thomas Paine’s comment confirming it. Their “everything is fine” narrative just goes on regardless; meantime, they’re persona non grata with the only Patriarchate that gave them credibility in the Orthodox world. What do you American’s say? Oh yes: that’s called living in denial!

      • Talk about “everything is fine” going on regardless…

        Does anyone else simply loathe the stupid, trite, and sappy Chancellor’s blog/diary on the official OCA website? Am I the only one who feels like vomiting after reading that “Diary”? You want to read an Orthodox “diary”, read Nun Gavrila, Fr. Arseny–heck, give me Thomas Merton’s diary entries from “The Sign of Jonas” about how he taught himself to drive a jeep through the muddy backwoods near his monastery. I’ll take those true reflective journals any day over Jillions’ drivel. I keep on hoping and expecting to see something… well, relevant… but it has yet to happen.

        But after reading the entirety of Fr. Tom Hopko’s and Fr. Alexander Garklavs’ “homilies” from the un-American Robber Council of Parma, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

        I am more and move convinced that the OCA is the dumbing-down of Orthodoxy.

      • Speaking of Basils... says

        Dear Basil,

        Your name got me thinking about Bishop Basil, mentioned from time to time on this forum, and then I remembered something. He was Archbishop of Washington during the year I baptized one of my children in his cathedral. That particular child was baptized at the cathedral in DC. Theodosius was the Metropolitan at that time and yet there was an Archbishop of Washington, Bishop Basil Rodzianko.

        What this means is that the office of Archbishop of Washington was not umbilically attached to the office of Metropolitan of the OCA within eleven years of the OCA’s very existence. Can anyone remember when that attachment occurred? I remember that the diptychs for Theodosius eventually listed him as both, but even under Theodosius they were separate for periods of time. The cathedral in D.C. has been for forever as long as I can remember, the National War Memorial Church in the OCA. You can read about it here, from and

        National War Memorial Shrine Press Release

        Press Release
        Saint Nicholas Cathedral
        National War Memorial Shrine of the Orthodox Church in America

        In 1947 the Federated Russian Orthodox Clubs of America (F.R.O.C.) (now the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America or F.O.C.A.) established a War Memorial Shrine Fund. At the 1948 FROC convention a resolution was adopted favoring the construction of a shrine in Washington, D.C. This was blessed by the Council of Bishops of the then Russian Orthodox Church in America (now the Orthodox Church in America or OCA). With the decision to have the shrine in Washington D.C., the St. Nicholas parish (still the only OCA parish in the District of Columbia) gladly took on the responsibility for the honorable and difficult task of constructing the memorial edifice. The National War Memorial Shrine was completed in 1962 and dedicated in 1963. With the construction and dedication, names of Orthodox soldiers, fallen in battle in defense of country, poured in and have been read annually at the Divine Liturgy held on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend each year. In recent years no names have been added to the list of fallen Orthodox soldiers. We now find ourselves at war again, and daily we hear of fallen soldiers. The Cathedral parish would like to remember fallen Orthodox soldiers from recent conflicts so that they may be honored along with those of the earlier conflicts. Please send names of any loved ones and the conflict they were killed in to: Saint Nicholas Cathedral, Attention War Memorial Shrine, 3500 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007 or to:, with War Memorial Shrine in the subject line. If you are unsure if your loved one has been included, please send the name to the Cathedral and we will check our list.

        From the Beginning

        History of St. Nicholas Cathedral

        by Marilyn Swezey

        “This parish was founded in 1930 for the purpose of religious worship and to perpetuate the memory of all Russians who gave their lives for their country and their faith during the tragic years of World War I and the Russian revolution”.
        From the dedication plaque at the entrance of the cathedral

        Like so many American stories, St. Nicholas Cathedral was born of the vision and dedication of a small group of émigrés fleeing persecution in their homeland. Following the war and revolution in Russia, a small band of refugees reached Washington in the 1920s and settled in the capitol. Most of them were Tsarist officers and members of the nobility who were forced into exile to escape the Bolshevik terror. Along with diplomats of the Russian Embassy here, they managed to find a new life and work. For most of them, it was in sharp contrast to the richness of their former existence. Baroness Elizabeth Heiden listed books and magazines in the library of the Smithsonian Institution. Peter Eglevsky, a former Cossack colonel, prepared Russian dishes in his restaurant on Connecticut Avenue. But they brought with them their most treasured legacy, their Orthodox faith. About twenty in number, they would gather in private apartments to pray for the liberation of their homeland.
        In 1930 the small congregation was officially incorporated in the District of Columbia, dedicated to St. Nicholas, one of the most popular saints in Russia and the patron saint of the last tsar. The new parish was officially known as “The Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church of St. Nicholas”.

        At first, services were held in the home of one of the founders, Boris Timchenko, on Riggs Place, NW. But by 1936 the small congregation was able to purchase a row house at 1768 Church Street, NW. A small chapel was arranged on the first floor, which could accommodate 30 to 35 persons – standing. The basement was used for church meetings and lectures on Russian culture as well as for tea after the services. A few parishioners lived on the upper floor, including Baroness Heiden and her sister, Mme. Marie Bobyrikine, a former maid of honor to the last Empress. Their father and two brothers had been shot by the Bolsheviks. Rev. John Dorosh was the first pastor of the new parish, followed by Rev. Paul Lutov, whose family is still active in the parish today.
        In the 1940s, following World War II, a second and much larger wave of Russian émigrés arrived in Washington. Drawn by government job opportunities necessitated by the Cold War and the need for trained personnel who could read, speak and teach Russian, they worked as researchers, translators, interpreters and broadcasters for the State Department, the CIA, the Library of Congress and the Voice of America. With the gradual increase of the Russian Orthodox population, the facility on Church Street became inadequate to meet the needs of this growing congregation. A building fund was established and a search began to look for property on which to build a church. In 1951 a site was purchased on Massachusetts Avenue at Edmunds Street and blessed by Metropolitan Leonty (Turkevich), head of the surviving North American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church.

        By this time, there were over 100 members of the parish of St. Nicholas and the concept of building the new church as a memorial in the Russian tradition, to “those who gave their lives . . . during the tragic years of World War I and the Russian revolution”, began to take hold. Later that year Metropolitan Leonty appointed the first Orthodox Bishop of Washington, the Rt. Rev. Jonah (Stahlberg), a former Tsarist officer who undertook theological training late in life.

        Bishop Jonah took up residence in Washington and became head of the parish as well as director of the national campaign to raise funds for the building of the St. Nicholas National War Memorial Shrine. With soil from Russia in its foundation, the basement of the church was completed in May 1955 and blessed by Bishop Jonah just a few months before his death. Services were held there for the next seven years. Bishop Kiprian succeeded Bishop Jonah as the second Bishop of Washington from 1955-1967.

        In 1961 construction of the church was begun under the spiritual guidance of Archpriest Arkady Moiseyev, beloved pastor of St. Nicholas from 1952 until his death in 1986. Under the energetic and dedicated lay leadership of Col. Boris Pash, a leading figure in US Army military operations during World War II and son of a previous Metropolitan, Theophilus, the congregation decided, after much discussion, to build an enduring architectural monument – something that “would bring people in” as Col. Pash insisted.

        Anatoly Abramov-Neratoff, a specialist in Russian medieval church architecture, was engaged and prepared a design patterned after one of the architectural treasures of Russia, the 12th century Cathedral of St. Dimitry in Vladimir. With faith, prayer and sacrifice, the members of the parish dedicated enormous efforts and resources to build the church. Russian Orthodox communities across the country contributed to the fund-raising efforts of the local congregation. On November 25, 1962 the $260,000 structure was consecrated by Metropolitan Leonty assisted by Archbishop Iriney of Boston (later to become Metropolitan), Archbishop John (Shahovskoy) of San Francisco and Bishop Kiprian (Borissevich). An overflow congregation of 600 was present. “Without the opportunities presented to the Russian Orthodox by the American system, the church could not have been built”, the Metropolitan said at the end of the service, speaking in both Russian and English.

        The new church was formally dedicated on May 19, 1963 as the National War Memorial Shrine commemorating Orthodox servicemen and women who lost their lives in World Wars I, II and the Korean War. This was the Sunday closest to the May 22nd Feast of St. Nicholas according to the Julian calendar. As reported in the Washington Post, General Jacob Devers, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander during World War II, was present as one of the speakers. Under the direction of Nicholas Borodulia, the renowned choir director of St. Nicholas for more than 25 years, an augmented choir sang both “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Kol Slaven”, an ancient Russian hymn that was traditionally sung in the presence of the tsar. By coincidence, May 19 was the birthday of the last Tsar, Nicholas II.

        With the appearance of this architectural gem on the Washington landscape, the parish of St. Nicholas entered a new phase in its development, taking up the mission of the North American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church before 1917, which was to bring the Gospel and Orthodoxy to America as well as to serve Russians in the US.

        Services in English began in the 1950s and by 1965 Divine Liturgy was served in English once a month. Since 1971, there have been two services every Sunday, the first in English, the second in Slavonic. This has enabled the church to bring the Liturgy to a growing number of American converts as well as the younger generation of émigré families, still preserving the best of the Russian spiritual tradition of the Mother Church. On major feast days there is a single service conducted in both languages.

        Through all these years, the growing parish of St. Nicholas was part of the surviving North American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church which, having lost communication with the church center in Moscow following the revolution in 1917, had become a temporarily independent metropolitan district known simply as the “Metropolia”. This ambiguous status lasted until 1970 when the Metropolia was officially granted autocephaly – or autonomous status – by the Moscow Patriarchate and became the Orthodox Church in America – the OCA. Bishop Theodosius (Lazor) became the first Primate of the OCA in 1970.

        Many church leaders have given spiritual inspiration to St. Nicholas parish over the years. In January1980, Bishop Basil (Rodzianko) was the first bishop to be consecrated at St. Nicholas Cathedral. He served briefly as Bishop of Washington and auxiliary to Metropolitan Theodosius. At that time, St. Nicholas became the National Cathedral of the Orthodox Church in America and Metropolitan Theodosius became Archbishop of Washington. The following year, the newly consecrated Bishop Basil was then confirmed as Bishop of San Francisco and the West. Following his retirement in 1984, Bishop Basil returned to Washington where he continued his special mission of religious broadcasting to Russia until his death in 1999. Reaching millions of listeners, these broadcasts played an important role in the rebirth of Christianity in the last decades of the Soviet Union. Bishop Basil often served at St. Nicholas Cathedral, where his sermons would be recorded for broadcasting. Grandson of Michael Rodzianko, President of the last Imperial Duma in Russia, Bishop Basil became a well known teacher of Orthodoxy in Russia and also at St. Nicholas Cathedral where his spiritual legacy is still preserved.

        V. Rev. Dmitry Grigorieff, Dostoevsky scholar and Chairman of the Russian Department at Georgetown University for many years, was ordained to the holy priesthood at St. Nicholas Cathedral in 1969. Following the death of Fr. Arkady Moiseyev in 1986, he was appointed Dean of the Cathedral until his retirement in 1998. He remained Dean Emeritus until his death in 2007.

        V. Rev. Constantine White, now the current Dean of the Cathedral, is the first American convert to become a pastor at St. Nicholas. Fr. Constantine first came to St. Nicholas in the 1970s, while a student at American University, and converted to Orthodoxy. After graduation, he attended St. Vladimir’s Seminary and was later ordained to the holy priesthood at St. Nicholas Cathedral in 1985 where he has been serving ever since, succeeding Fr. Dmitry as Dean in 1998.

        Although English is now the official language of the Orthodox Church in America and services are observed according to the Gregorian calendar, there are still close spiritual ties to the history and culture of the Mother Church of Russia.

        In 1988 the bell tower was built in honor of the millennium of Christianity in Russia. Dedicated to St. Prince Vladimir and the baptism of Rus’ in 988, the bell tower was blessed by hierarchs of both the Orthodox Church in America and the Russian Orthodox Church, assisted by cathedral and diocesan clergy. In his sermon at the dedication on December 4, 1988, V. Rev. Sergei Glagolev spoke of the missionary vision of the Slavic legacy as part of the American dream. “The bell tower is raised not simply to remind people from whence we came . . . but for the hope of America’s bright future bathed in the Light of Christ.”

        It was in 1794, during the presidency of George Washington, that the first priests and monks arrived in Alaska from Valaam Monastery and began to preach the Gospel not only among the Russian fur traders there, but also to the native Alaskan peoples. Many were baptized and became followers of Christ. This was the beginning of Orthodoxy in North America.

        To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Orthodox Christianity in America, it was decided to complete the interior of the cathedral with iconographic wall paintings. In 1990 Henry Sawchuk, long time President of the Cathedral Board of Trustees ( now the Parish Council), led a special delegation to Russia to make an arrangement with the Moscow Patriarchate and select a team of iconographers.

        The artists arrived in Washington in October 1991 to begin the work of painting the cathedral. In keeping with the style of the Cathedral of St. Dmitry, architectural model of St. Nicholas Cathedral, they designed a program of iconography in the Russo-Byzantine style of the 12th century. Their work was completed in 1994, in time for the official celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of Orthodoxy in America. His Holiness, Patriarch Alexy II, arrived from Moscow to participate in the anniversary celebration at St. Nicholas Cathedral. The iconography has added a remarkable spiritual and artistic dimension to the church and St. Nicholas is now considered one of the cultural treasures of the nation’s capital.

        With the political changes in Russia in the 1990s, a new wave of émigré families has come to Washington and become part of the St. Nicholas community. The fall of communism has also opened the door to a new and cooperative relationship with the Russian Embassy, no longer a silent neighbor up the street. The annual galas held at the Embassy for the benefit of the cathedral are elegant affairs hosted by the Ambassador and his wife. The founders of St. Nicholas Cathedral could never have imagined this.

        There are now many baptisms of Russians who have discovered Orthodoxy here. Fr. Valery Shemchuk, Associate Pastor of St. Nicholas, came to America from Belarus in 1993 on a scholarship to an Episcopal summer camp in Annapolis. He was baptized there and later was taken to visit St. Nicholas Cathedral. Not long after that, he was received into the Orthodox Church by Bishop Basil. This was the beginning of a new life of spiritual education under Bishop Basil that eventually led him to St. Tikhon’s Seminary. He was ordained to the holy priesthood there in 2002. Now Fr. Valery is bringing Orthodoxy to Russians in America.

        On September 8, 2002, the first enthronement of the head of the Church took place at St. Nicholas following the election of Metropolitan Herman. It was attended by hierarchs of Orthodox churches worldwide as well as the Catholic Archbishops of Washington and Baltimore, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick and William Cardinal Keeler.

        The parish vision is once again expanding with the dramatic election of Metropolitan Jonah, the first American convert to become head of the Orthodox Church in America. He is also a spiritual child of Valaam, having spent more than a year there as a novice – a unique spiritual link with the legacy of the first Orthodox missionaries to North America.

        His enthronement took place at St. Nicholas Cathedral on December 28, 2008. He inspired all who were present with his deep spiritual understanding and vision for the future of Orthodoxy in America. Speaking at the enthronement banquet, he described a broad vision of unity “that transcends any human division . . . we are called by God”, he emphasized, ‘to a unity in which diversity is respected and loved – as an enrichment”.

        As Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan Jonah now lives near St. Nicholas Cathedral where he frequently serves and participates in the life of the parish. He is the first metropolitan to reside in the nation’s capital.

        Looking back over the years and the remarkable growth of St. Nicholas Cathedral from a home church to the Primatial Cathedral of the Orthodox Church in America, the parish itself has become an icon of unity in diversity – an icon of Orthodoxy in America.

        Finally, in case the word primatial and attached to the office of Metropolitan get confused in your head with Washington, D.C., please remember that the OCA started with its cathedral in New York, that New York is where other primatial cathedrals are located and there is no reason why such a designated cathedral might be in any location.

        Here is a nice brochure to bring the point home about Washington, D.C.’s war memorial:


        Now, what is this I hear that Metropolitan Jonah did not resign his office as Archbishop of Washington? Why can’t we keep him? What kind of rewriting of history is going on here in these times by the Holy Synod? Even during the time of Metropolitans Herman and Jonah, various titles got added and subtracted. Does Archbishop of Washington and New York ring a bell? How about a separate Bishop of Baltimore? Wasn’t there a diptych that had North and South America?

        • I edited the above but it did not work, I remembered that Bishop Basil had left for California by the time I baptized that particular child at St. Nicholas and I found in another booklet that Metropolitan Theodosius was the first to make his residence Syosset and to visit the national war memorial on occasion as both Metropolitan and Archbishop of Washington. I know this much. At the beginning, Theodosius was Vladika but by Herman, the OCA had already moved to this Most blessed Master business. Anyone know when we started aping the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s self retitling of hierarchs in papal fashion? And somehow, the photo galleries on the OCA website started moving from pictures of parishioners and their priests to only clergy and hierarchs.

          • Marilyn, I’m afraid your “Correction” needs more correcting than your additional effort.
            1. You never baptized any child at all at St. Nicholas, but either a Priest or a Bishop did, or, rather, God did.It was a Priest or Bishop that immersed the child (baptized) three times in the water, not you.
            2. When Bishop Basil was first consecrated a Bishop, he was appointed to be the Vicar Bishop in Washington, of the First Hierarch of the OCA. I believe he MAY have had the title “Bishop of Baltimore.”
            3. The “default” title (NOTE: there is no self–titling in the Orthodox Church; no, not by the Ecumenical Patriarch or any other instance) of the First Hierarch of any Local Orthodox Church is “His Beatitude, Most Blessed N.” Only the First Hierarchs of the Russian Church, of the Church of Constantinople, and of Serbia are entitled “His Holiness, Most Holy N.” The Patriarchs of Bulgaria, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Antioch are all entitled “His Beatitude, Most Blessed N.” His Beatitude, Most Blessed Metropolitan Ireney was the first to hold that title, immediately after the reception of the Tomos of Autocephaly, however, his diocese was that of New York and New Jersey.
            4. “Vladyka” is NOT a title indicating extent of jurisdiction, but the ordinary form used to address ANY hierarch, so it’s odd, indeed, to write as you did, ‘Theodosius was Vladika (sic)….’ !
            5. His Beatitude, Most Blessed Herman, Marilyn, NEVER “moved to this Most blessed Master business” at all.
            6.. No one EVER “aped” any Ecumenical Patriarchate’s “self-retitling of hierarchs in papal fashion.” Only once did the First Hierarch of the Church of Constantinople “retitle” himself: when he assumed (to great protests from the Papal Church) the title”Ecumenical.”
            7. Neither the OCA website nor the preceding annual yearbooks and church directories of the OCA or Metropolia, EVER routinely or more than occasionally showed any photos of ‘parishioners and their priests. As far as I know, only the Romanian Episcopate does that in their annual yearbook. It is, rather, you who ‘somehow” imagined such a “movement!”

            • George Michalopulos says

              Your Grace, I was told by some of my Russian sources that all patriarchs are addressed as “Your Holiness” in Russian. “Your Beatitude” is used only for metropolitans of autocephalous and autonomous churches. “Your Eminence” of metropolitans who are simply archbishops and archbishops, and “Your Grace” of bishops. If anybody knows any different, please inform us.

              Regarding Bishop Basil Rodzianko, If indeed it is true that Frs Schmemann and Meyendorff had issues with him, that’s most unfortunate but it’s not a deal breaker as far as his sainthood is concerned. Nasty, intramural battles within churches are as old as the Church itself. Chrysostom would have never won any popularity contests. We could say this is a symptom of the immaturity of the OCA, just like the ham-fisted maltreatment of Jonah but that is neither here nor there in that it’s just part of the human condition.

              Although one does wonder. Not only was Rodzianko mistreated but so was Bp Innocent of Alaska, and interesting are being heard about His Grace ever since his repose.

              Anyway, Merry Christmas to all!

              • Your Russian friends were not well-informed. If you look at the announcement of the election of the newPATRIARCH of Antioch, you will see that his title is “HIS BEATITUDE”. If you look at the the title of the Patriarch of Alexandria, you will see that it is “HIS BEATITUDE.’ Of course, your Russian friends are free to call them Your Holiness if they want to makepoints. I believe that we should address the Patriarchs according to the custom and usages of their own, and not apply Russian customs universally to all.
                I have no idea what you mean by a “deal breaker” relative to anybody’s sainthood.
                I, and the faithful of the Diocese of the West and, especially, Russian parishioners in the San Francisco Bay area, however, can only attest or witness to his life HERE: not his life in Serbia, not his life in England, not his life on the airwaves, not his life in DC and Russia. No one posting here save one reader in the Northwest had experience of Bishop Basil’s episcopacy and record HERE. It’s a foul lie to say he was mistreated by his diocese and if anyone who says that, they need to apologize, including you. Everybody has his admirers including you and me, we would hardly be human if we did not. And those in the diocese who had issue with him were those that understood him best: the Russians of his own generation, especially those of the aristocratic and intellectual class. It’s true, Mark Stokoe strove mightily to build the kind of case that some SVS types might have sought, but no one paid attention to whatever he obviously dug up. The Dean and Vice President of the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Very Reverend George Benigsen a veteran of the famous “Pskov Mission” during WWII, ALL the Rusian Rectors in the Diocese and their parish councils were up in arms about what could only be described as incomprehensible, flamboyant, and thoughtless behavior on his part.
                Bishop Basil (Rodzianko), George, was not mistreated in the United States of America or by the OCA, although he was probably ignored more than he expected to be by the OCA during his retirement years.

                • One more with the title “Holiness”: the Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia.
                  The official titles of both the Patriarch of Jerusalem and of Antioch begin with “His Beatitude.’
                  Your Russian friends do not realize that only the autocephalous Churches formerly under Moscow (Poland, Czechoslovakia, America…) are headed by “Metropolitans”. The autocephalous Church of Greece is headed by an Archbishop, for example, while every little town that has its own hierarch calls him “Metropoliltan” They are as plentiful as cracker-jacks outside the Russian orbit. That is to say, that in the Greek system, every ruling bishop is a Metropolitan. And I forgot to point out that a certain childishness is to be observed even outside the OCA! For example, the Greek (but not Egyptian-Coptic) Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria is entitled ‘His Holiness AND Beatitude, N., Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa.” The Egyptian Patriarch, however, is “His Holiness the Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark.” The Patriarchs of Jerusalem recently dropped “and all Palestine”, tactfully, from their title, while their Beatitudes, the Patriarchs of Antioch retain “Antioch and All the East.” it’s not at all clear to me if North America is part of that “All the East”. But the Syrian Patriarch of Antioch and All the East is called “His Holiness, N., Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antiochia and all the East, the Supreme Head of the Universal Syrian Church.” I’m not sure what the Melkite and Maronite Patriarchs of Antioch call themselves or which of them is lineal heir to the original see of Antioch. There may be other claimants. I believe a requirement is NOT to have any notable presence in Antioch(Antakya) itself, “Antioch” is, rather, an idea than a physical reality. It’s like one of those historic ideas to which so many members of the Sacred Synod of Constantinople hold title.

                  • Eastern Winds Blow Long and Hard says

                    Dear Vladika,

                    You are too kind.

                    The Patriarch of Constantinople is styled

                    His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Constantinople New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch

                    I don’t know when this particular title got created, but it was recently. It would be keen to see what Archbishop Athenagoras styled himself after Air Force 1 dropped him in place.

                    or HMDAHAandEC for short for Constantinople.

                    In the Republic of Georgia, we have a Patriarchate recognized by the self-named and so-called Ecumenical Patriarchate all the way since 1990!. It’s Patriarch is styled

                    Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, the Archbishop of Mtskheta-Tbilisi and Metropolitan bishop of Abkhazia and Bichvinta, His Holiness and Beatitude

                    or C-PAM-TandMMBAandB for short, for the Republic of Georgia, and the nest to the last, the A of A and B, is disputed.

                    Today, the Patriarch of Alexandria is styled

                    His Most Divine Beatitude the Pope and Patriarch of the Great City of Alexandria, Libya, Pentapolis, Ethiopia, all the land of Egypt, and all Africa, Father of Fathers, Shepherd of Shepherds, Prelate of Prelates, thirteenth of the Apostles, and Judge of the Œcumene

                    or HMDBPandPFofFSofSPofPTofAJofŒ, for short, for Alexandria

                    Jerusalem is styled

                    His Beatitude, Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Palestine, Syria, beyond the Jordan River, Cana of Galilee, and Holy Zion

                    or simply HBP for short for Jerusalem

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I can’t help but ask where Christ is in all this.

                    • Thanks, O “Eastern Winds, etc!” One suggestion: is not the last part of the Alexandrian ecclesiastical potentate’s title, rather, Judge of the “COSMOS” rather than OEcumene? “Kritis tou kosmou?” I understand the title was awarded because Alexandria with its world famous observatory was the one deemed most qualified to announce the annual date of Pascha? (Back when the used God’s heavenly bodies to determine the Vernal Equinox and the Full Moon, rather than corrupted “Paschalia?” Who could have guessed, back in the days of Nicea, that Julius Caesar’s calendar would be one day called, piously and enthusiastically, “The Church Calendar,”: as opposed to a more astronomically correct “New’ Calendar?
                      And, oh yes! How did translators decide or choose between, “His Divine All-Holiness” and “His Holy All-Divinity?” And why did he stop there: shouldn’t he be styled “His ALL-Divine All-Holiness? ” The Moscower gets ” Ego Sv’atejshestvo, Sv’atejshij” (His Most Holiness, Most Holy)!
                      Oh, sometimes the days are WAY too short!

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      For what it’s worth, I’ve heard the Patriarch of Jerusalem styled “His Beatitude, ‘X’ Patriarch of Jerusalem and the New Zion.”

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      In the 6th century, the official title became that of “Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch.”[ I guess 6th Century is recent.

                      Also, In 381, the First Council of Constantinople declared that “The Bishop of Constantinople shall have the primacy of honour after the Bishop of Rome, because it is New Rome” (canon iii).

                      The Council of Chalcedon in 451 established Constantinople as a patriarchate with ecclesiastical jurisdiction over Asia Minor (the dioceses of Asiane and Pontus) and Thrace as well as over the barbaric territories, non-converted lands outside the defined area of the Western Patriarchate (Old Rome) and the other three patriarchates, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, gave it appellate jurisdiction extraterritorially over canon law decisions by the other patriarchs and granted it honours equal to those belonging to the first Christian see, Rome, in terms of primacy, Rome retaining however its seniority (canon xxviii).

                      Now I know George and others have argued passionately about Canon 28, and I do not personally support the EP’s interpretation, BUT who defines this Canon? George? Metropolitan Philip? The Patriarch of Moscow? So putting my personal feelings aside and acting as a Lawyer all I or anyone else can say is that this Canon and the overall role of the Ecumenical Patriarch NEEDS clear definition by a NEW Ecumenical Council where the ENTIRE Church gets to voice its concerns and gets to define the reach, role and jurisidction of not only the EP, but of ALL the Ruling Bishops of our Church. This, of course, if in a truly and properly called council will be the voice of the Holy Spirit. Time will tell.


                  • Archpriest John Morris says

                    From an Orthodox point of view there is only one heir to the Patriarchate of Antioch, His Beatitude John X. The other claimants are schismatic or heretical.

                    • ProPravoslavie says

                      “The other claimants are schismatic or heretical”

                      Yes, but given the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch’s laxity when it comes to communing Melkite Greek Catholics it isn’t obvious.

                    • Father Morris points out (as do, presumably, all Patriarchs of Antioch ) that Patriarch John X claims to be the only claimant of them all who is the legitimate heir to his Patriarchate of Antioch.
                      Can’t argue with that!

                    • Yes, and from a truly verily really Orthodox point of view, the Russian Orthodox Old Ritualist Church is the only true Orthodox Church in Russia.

                      Seriously, you people are a piece of work…

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

                      December 27, 2012 at 3:22 pm

                      Father Morris points out (as do, presumably, all Patriarchs of Antioch ) that Patriarch John X claims to be the only claimant of them all who is the legitimate heir to his Patriarchate of Antioch.
                      Can’t argue with that!

                      Well, that depends on just who’s making the claim.

                      The syriac Antiochians, the syrian Antiochians, the greek orthodox Antiochians and the melkite greek catholic Antiochians all make the same claim — and each and all of them are legitimate in their claims at various points in history. Starting in the 15th century through to the mid-1700s, though, it all starts to become clear.

                      The notion that our contemporary greek orthodox antiochian patriarchate has a continuous and unbroken lineage since the time of St Peter is absurd.

                      Not that Rome’s claim is much better. I mean: After all, St Linus was the first bishop of Rome, and all the roman popes succeed HIM, not St Peter, who — with St Paul — established the episcopate at Rome but never served as bishops themselves there or anywhere else.

                      It’s a major point in regarding Rome as first in honor among the churches (until breaking away from The Church) that Rome ALONE among all the first-century episcopates was established by TWO apostles. The same cannot be credibly said of Antioch or even Jerusalem, which was established by St James, the Lord’s brother, the only apostle we know of who stayed in place as bishop of the church he founded. But this is a special situation, and is not replicated anywhere, ever.

                      Apostles are apostles, missionaries who are ‘sent out’, as their title says. They establish churches and appoint bishops and then move on if they’re not co-opted by murderous persecutors. Bishops, on the other hand, stay where they’re planted, an aspect of the most ancient understanding of ecclesiology confirmed by the ecumenical synods. At least until recently….

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      We do not give Communion to Melkites or any other non Orthodox in the Antiochian Archdiocese. Bishop Basil of Wichita has told me that when he was at Balamand, they refused Communion to Melkites and other non-Orthodox. I have heard Metropolitan Philip tell his clergy many times that they are forbidden to give the Eucharist to non-Orthodox. Once a lady knocked on my door of the rectory next to the Church and asked to see the Church. I opened up the Church for her. She told me that she was a Melkite and wanted to come to the Liturgy and take Holy Communion. I politely told her that only Orthodox may receive Holy Communion. She argued with me and finally said, “I had the same argument with Metropolitan Philip, when he refused me Communion in Boston last week.”

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      To Monk James:

                      Excuse me but Antioch was founded by two Apostles, Sts. Peter and Paul. The Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, His Beatitude John X is the successor to Sts. Peter and Paul. We are Orthodox and therefore recognize the claim of the Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch as the legitimate heir to the throne of Sts. Peter and Paul. The claims of schismatics and heretics do not matter to us.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      ProPravoslavie says:

                      Yes, but given the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch’s laxity when it comes to communing Melkite Greek Catholics it isn’t obvious.

                      Really? Where is the proof that the Patriarch of Antioch has ever sanctioned or issued an edict that this shall occur? What direct proof do you have of laxity? By this simple statement you are casting a cloud of heresy over a recently deceased Patriarch that was nothing but completely Orthodox. So, where is your evidence?


                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      To ProPravoslavie

                      Several years ago, the Melkites unilaterally declared themselves in Communion with the Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch claiming to be Orthodox also in Communion with Rome. The Antiochian Holy Synod met immediately and issued a statement that the Melkites are not in Communion with our Patriarchate. The Holy Synod stated that one cannot be in Communion with Rome and Orthodoxy and that any reconciliation with the Melkites would have to be part of a reconciliation of the papacy with the whole Orthodox Church. Metropolitan Philip sent a letter to each priest with the command that it be read from the Altar reaffirming that Melkites cannot take Communion in Antiochian Orthodox Churches.
                      The Melkites offer Orthodox Holy Communion. Several years ago, I attended a Melkite Liturgy just to see what it was like. On that particular Sunday, I was away from home and was unable to attend an Orthodox Liturgy but was staying in a place next door to a Roman Catholic Church that had a Melkite Liturgy in the afternoon. The Melkite priest was terribly offended that I would not concelebrate with him or take Communion. The Liturgy showed strong Vatican II influences, they greatly abbreviated the antiphons and eliminated the Little Litanies.

                  • Archpriest John Morris says

                    There is an Antiochian Orthodox Church in Antioch, which is now a small remnant of the ancient city. The city of Antioch was given to Turkey by the victors of the First World War. The Patriarchs of Antioch transferred their throne to Damascus after an earthquake destroyed the city during the Middle Ages, probably under pressure from the Muslim rulers of Syria, but has always kept a presence in Antioch itself.

            • The Priest said, "I Baptize Thee in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" says

              Beloved in the Lord Vladika Tikhon,

              Once, we could chant “Vladika, Bless” to our Metropolitan. Now it is “Most Blessed Master, Bless” for bishops, archbishops and metropolitans.

              Isn’t “Spiritual Leader of Three Hundred Million Orthodox Christians Worldwide” new self titling? Remember the Grand Tour of 1997? Great speech from tour –

              Not Marilyn

              • No ORTHODOX Priest EVER says, “I baptize thee…..” anything.
                Every ORTHODOX priest says, ‘The servant of God, N., IS BAPTIZED in the name of..’
                Likewise, No ORTHODOX Priest EVER says “I now pronounce you man and wife…”, but, rather, “O Lord our God, Crown them with glory and honor…”
                In other words, GOD, not the Priest, and not a man and woman, is the Minister /Agent of ALL the sacraments.
                Go back to your books, “Not Marilyn.” Who catechized you? Or were you one of those “cradle “Orthodox that thinks he or she learned the Truth by osmosis?
                No Orthodox Patriarch ever CALLS HIMSELF: “His Holiness, Your Holiness’ or “My Holiness.” If he did so, which he does not do, THAT would be self-titling.
                Every ORTHODOX hierarch signs only his name, inscribing a cross before it, then just Archbishop, or Bishop or Metropolitana or Patriarch and the name of his See.
                No Orthodox hierarch calls himself Vladyka, either, saving only such creatures as “Archbishop” Ronald/ Leo/Lazarus Buehler/Haler/Puhalo, who, bizarrely (and even “kickily”) signs his correspondence, “Vladyka Lazar!”

                • Monk James says

                  Artakhshassa the Great says:

                  January 2, 2013 at 10:30 am

                  No ORTHODOX Priest EVER says, “I baptize thee…..” anything.
                  Every ORTHODOX priest says, ‘The servant of God, N., IS BAPTIZED in the name of..’
                  Likewise, No ORTHODOX Priest EVER says “I now pronounce you man and wife…”, but, rather, “O Lord our God, Crown them with glory and honor…”
                  In other words, GOD, not the Priest, and not a man and woman, is the Minister /Agent of ALL the sacraments.
                  Go back to your books, “Not Marilyn.” Who catechized you? Or were you one of those “cradle “Orthodox that thinks he or she learned the Truth by osmosis?
                  No Orthodox Patriarch ever CALLS HIMSELF: “His Holiness, Your Holiness’ or “My Holiness.” If he did so, which he does not do, THAT would be self-titling.
                  Every ORTHODOX hierarch signs only his name, inscribing a cross before it, then just Archbishop, or Bishop or Metropolitana or Patriarch and the name of his See.
                  No Orthodox hierarch calls himself Vladyka, either, saving only such creatures as “Archbishop” Ronald/ Leo/Lazarus Buehler/Haler/Puhalo, who, bizarrely (and even “kickily”) signs his correspondence, “Vladyka Lazar!”

                  Our pseudonymous/anonymous correspondent is seriously out of his depth here, since he seems to insist that ONLY the byzantine-rite formulas of administering the christian Mysteries are effective.

                  He is greatly mistaken in this.

                  While I — personally — don’t think that any sort of revival of ‘western’ rites is of much help now, I’m thoroughly convinced that the rituals of nonbyzantine Christians, prior to their various departures from The Church, are just as effective as are those used by us, their byzantine relatives in the same faith. We have to start from there and try to be as accepting as we can be of different practices while at the same time not admitting heretical beliefs.

                  We need to be a great deal more flexible in these matters. God is infinite and merciful, and He loves us all!

                  • Depth Charge Effective says

                    Should not have put quotes as the part I baptize thee was not correct as taken from the service and I should not have used quote marks – . Always out of depth, I ask forgiveness or everyone and ask deletion of post from Mr. Monomakhos.

                    Point of posts was that the Archbishop of Washington is not intrinsically nor historically tied to the office of Metropolitan and that even under Metropolitan Theodosius who supposedly conceived of this collective titling, there was a separate Bishop of Washington for a period of time during considerable periods of time after the Tomos of Autocephally in 1970, not only during Metropolitan Irenei who made Theodosius his Bishop of Washington. Nor is the cathedral even appropriate for a primatial cathedral. It is not large enough and does not have administrative offices of sufficient size to govern the OCA attached to it.

                    When Metropolitan Jonah resigned the office of Metropolitan, he did not resign being Archbishop of Washington, but he did allow, in his unfortunate resignation letter, reassignment to another bishopric. Until and unless he resigned from his archbishopric to another archbishopric, he is left in place as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, which itself has enjoyed various names over time, having at one time and Baltimore appended to it, while now Baltimore comes under it.

                    The enthronement of Metropolitan Tikhon has not yet taken place. There is time to make amends for what has been done to Metropolitan Jonah and to a number of other marginalized individuals in the Orthodox Church in America. How about a worldwide statement that the Holy Synod was incorrect in suggesting the Metropolitan enabled a rapist or that he wasn’t collegial despite worldwide acclaimed success in collegiality or administratively incapable of doing a job without an administration despite being given huge responsibilities in addition to being Metropolitan as multiple Locum Tenans of several archdioceses capably or that the office of Metropolitan does not allow moral individual statements in connection with morality such as the Manhattan Statement without getting the universal ok of a collective of sometimes morally compromised fellow bishops? Is not our Metropolitan expect to be a leader?

                    That is, we the beyond depth clueless laity want to hear that our bishops, archbishops and metropolitans are doing the right thing, not playing ingenious politics. To which, I congratulate particularly the two of you, Bishop Tikhon and monk James, for attempting to do the right Orthodox pravo thing by speaking out on abuses against holy order.

                    To all those who have kept silence, I can only weep, for it is the New Year and I am still waiting for your voices and actions.

                    Again, I bow down and ask your prayers, forgiveness and forbearance as I am likely to continue to disappoint in the coming year.

                  • Monk James comment is off. If by “our pseudonymus/anonymous correspondent” he means me, I’ve NEVER EVER insisted or even hinted “that ONLY the byzantine-rite forumulas of administering the christian Mysteries are effective.” I made no allusions to the effectiveness of anything at all. I hope he’ll re-read my posting and then withdraw his blame, and the consequent, superfluous moralizing.
                    Another related thought: When our Lord said, “What God hath put together let not man put asunder” He taught us that God is the Minister of Marriage, and that is why divorce, except because of adultery, is a Sin, a Fault, no matter what “no-fault” divorces some of today’s Local Churches tolerate in blissfully unawares imitation of Roman Catholic popes dissolving “contracts.”
                    Why not answer this question, while we are at it: What was wrong in the particularist West that led to the easy acceptance of such a serious deviation in Catholic theology as the addition of ‘filioque” to the Orthodox Creed?

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      At first even the papacy resisted the filioque clause which was favored by Charlemagne in an effort to have an excuse to accuse the Eastern Roman Empire of heresy. In 810 Pope Leo III had two silver shields posted in St. Peter’s with the Creed in Greek and Latin, both without the filioque. The German rulers of the Holy Roman Empire eventually imposed the filioque on the papacy. It was added to the Creed at Rome in 1014 at the coronation of Henry II who following the example of his predecessors as Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire favored its addition to the Creed. Pope Benedict VIII owed his papacy to Henry who had supported Benedict in a conflict with a man who claimed the papal throne as Gregory VI. Then Rome, which claimed authority over the entire Church continued to use the filioque to show that papal authority is superior to an Ecumenical Council.

                    • Artakhshassa the Great says

                      Let’s remember that Carl the Great (Karl der Grosse; Charlemagne) in his capital cathedral in Aachen, was, indeed, used to the filioque, and also remember that the flioque did not start at that Imperial Court whence it was propagated throughout the West.
                      Karl simply used the by then customary (see Photios) for the West filioque. It’s true that in Island Rome, Popes tried to resist the consensus of the national churches subject to them, and even held out for quite some time and (as Orthodox partisans have gleefully pointed out) one of the Popes was such a contrarian that he demonstratively had the Creed published in silver bas-relief without the Filioque. Not the Pope, not any Spanish bishop, not Charlemagne idiosyncratically professed the filioque. it was, rather, POPULAR throughout the West, long, long, long before “the Split.”

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      The filioque actually added to the Creed at the 3rd Council of Toledo in 589. Charlemagne and his court adopted the filioque in an effort to distinguish themselves from Constantinople, especially since his coronation as Emperor in 800. As a result, the West began to emphasize Augustine as the greatest of the Fathers and began to neglect the Greek Fathers of the Church. It was first used in Rome at the papal coronation of Henry II in 1014.
                      What is interesting is that today some of the most dedicated defenders of the filioue are Protestants who see it as part of their Western heritage.
                      If the doctrine is taken to mean that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and is sent by the Son, or through the Son, it can be interpreted in an Orthodox way. However, if it is interpreted that the Spirit proceeds from the Son as from the Father, double procession, it cannot be accepted by the east.
                      However, under no circumstances can its addition to the Creed be justified, because the Pope has no authority to change the Creed adopted by the Ecumenical Councils.

                    • Artakhshassa the Great says

                      Yes, Charlemagne was born, what, a century and a half AFTER the official adoption of the filioque at the Council of Toledo of 589? So, Charlemagne really can’t be said to have “adopted the flioque in an effort to distinguish themselves from Contantinople,” as Father Morris writes. That’s rather a calumny. By the time Charlemagne was born the Creed as approved in Toledo in 589, was probably used very widely in the West and in North Germany (Aachen), where Charlemagne’s imperial court was. Charlemagne just used the Creed he’d been brought up on.
                      And to say that his use of the filioque RESULTED in the West beginning to “emphasize” (SIC) Augustine as the greatest of the Fathers” is just nonsenses. How many, even of the practically VANISHED Augustinians would ever call St. Augustine “the greatest of the Fathers?” I’m not sure Augustine was even given the title of “Doctor of the Church” by the Roman Catholics. Was he? Sts. Basil, Gregory and John and St. John of Damascus are still honored in the Roman Church as such, though. The “Greek Fathers’ were NEVER neglected in the Roman Church.
                      The Western version of the Creed contains this phrase which is not in our version “God of Gods.”
                      The Creed as approved by the Council begins “We believe, ” not “I believe.”

    • It will be interesting to see IF, (and I do really mean IF) Russia sends anyone to attend the enthronement of the pretender to the Metropolitanship of the OCA in January. What CAN be assured is that the likes of TP and Stank. will find nothing out of the ordinary in this scenario…(‘everything is fine’)…which will indeed be nothing out of the ordinary, as the last crumbs of the vesture that was OCA collapse unheeded.

      P.S.: Isn’t it time to stifle your tactlessly overbearing and inconsiderate ego? Your cries of ‘baloney’ are smelling like rotting, and worm infested flesh left exposed too long.

      • NotTrue,

        Moscow and ROCOR will be present at the rum installation of +Tikhon. Not that they will be happy to be there, but they will make a presence. +Justinian will be present and maybe a ROCOR bishop. Kishkovsky is calling in whatever markers he has left to make sure the installation is not an embarrassment. But to measure how successful this installation is, compare it to Met. Herman’s installation. Besides members of the OCA synod, active and retired at that time, (one wonders if retired OCA bishops will be invited to +Tikhon’s installation???)….. the following bishops and other clergy representing every Orthodox Church in the world were in attendance:

        Among the concelebrating hierarchs representing the sister Orthodox Churches were His Grace, Bishop Savas, Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Patriarchate of Constantinople; His Grace, Bishop Georgios, Patriarchate of Alexandria; His Grace, Bishop Demetri of Jableh, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, Patriarchate of Antioch; His Eminence, Archbishop Damaskinos of Jaffa, Patriarchate of Jerusalem; His Eminence, Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk and His Grace, Bishop Mercurius of Zaraisk, Patriarchate of Moscow; His Eminence, Archbishop Nicolae, Romanian Orthodox Church in America and Canada,Patriarchate of Romania; His Beatitude, Metropolitan Sawa of Warsaw and All Poland and His Eminence, Archbishop Abel of Lublin, Orthodox Church of Poland; His Grace, Bishop Simeon, Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia; His Eminence, Metropolitan Daniel of Tokyo, Autonomous Orthodox Church of Japan; and His Eminence, Archbishop Avgustin of Lviv and Galicia, Autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarchate. Other Churches were represented by clergy.” (Taken from the OCA website)

        Considering the OCA still doesn’t have a hotel and Tosi is in DC now trying to pull this thing off, with Kishkovsky pleading for bishop’s to come to DC in January, I look forward to seeing how the world responds to the OCA 10 years later.

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          Plus, this area is known for unexpected winter storm systems that time of the year.

          • And when DC gets storms.... says

            It is usually more than yer average winter storm. DC can have power outages of several days, impassible roads, umplowed streets, bridge closures making it impossible for VA and MD folks to get into the district, up to three feet of snow, ice storms, hail, black ice and shutdowns working in tandem with the closing of the federal government. Add parking woes with winter storm routes blocking off one side of the cathedral, and there could be a bit of a mess.

        • The OCA posted two new “congratulatory” letters sent to Metropolitan Tikhon, one from Metropolitan Sawa of the Polish Orthodox Church and the other from Bishop Ilia of the Albanian Orthodox Church.

          In his letter to +Tikhon, Metropolitan prays for the new Metropolitan with the caveat,

          (may) Your service contribute to the internal stability of the American Church, which has been affected in recent years. May God help you!

          Again the reality of the OCA comes through in the words of Metropolitan Sawa. He knows as well as others that the life of the OCA is not stable in recent years.

          Again one must ask the question, Why won’t the OCA synod release +Jonah? Why won’t they do the right thing so that stability in the OCA can have a chance?

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Blaming the Holy Synod for the recent instability is just plain wrong. Besides, now that the person most responsible for the instability has resigned, perhaps the OCA will have a chance to recover.

            • George Michalopulos says

              I trust there wasn’t too much whiskey in your eggnog Carl. Let’s see, since Jonah was removed:

              1. an actionable letter which was defamatory was put out (unsigned) by the Synod.

              2. a bishop was removed for engaging in texting a young woman.

              3 Syosset has put out a call for an “Administrative Assistant” to aid the Metropolitan (thereby acknowlidging that Jonah had no such administrative support).

              4. The OCA’s Dept of External Relations had their hat handed to them in Kiev.

              5. A liturgy at the OCA cathedral in SF was scratched off of Metropolitan Hilarion’s “to do” list during the Ft Ross celebrations.

              6. The announcement of a Sex Czar and Clergy Cop was met with widespread derision and was tabled.

              7. Funds to certain dioceses are drying up, which is impacting Syosset.

              8. During the consecration of the newest bishop of ACROD, everybody was there except the OCA’s bishop of Pittsburgh even though he lives a hundred miles away. GOA bishops were there, Ukrainian bishops were there, Uniate bishops were there, as well as Lutheran. Hmmm.

              9. The Patriarch of Russia wrote a terse “congratulatory” letter specifying how the OCA is to treat Jonah.

              10. As of now, it is unclear whether a representative from the MP will be at Tikhon’s enthronement.

              I guess since the removal of Jonah, Syosset has experienced one administrative success after another. To paraphrase King Pyrrhus, a couple of more successes like these and the OCA won’t even rise to the level of laughingstock.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                Christ is born!

                Dear George–Just give the patient time to recover. The greater the turbulence, the longer it will take. You must admit that +Jonah, Father Fester, and many others posting here, in addition to you, are smart, intelligent, eloquent, and very persuasive. Your only problem is that you backed a “deeply troubled” hierarch, who nonetheless, was very charismatic–a Pied Piper of DC, so to speak. Now, if you would only use your evident talents for healing and building up the Body of Christ!

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Carl, you really don’t know what you’re talking about. If you did, you would have a ready-made litany of administrative disasters, logistical debacles, and assorted blunders made by His Beatitude and trot them out for the world to see what a disaster he was. I realize that for some of his critics, the fact that he doesn’t cut a dashing figure is enough to consign him to the loony bin but reasonable people need more than this. As to who you think comments on my blog is of no consequence to me. I continue to wait for any reasons you have at all to justify the evisceration of the OCA by the Best and the Brightest.

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    George–One does not have to go far to have a list of shortcomings; it is enough to read the speeches and writings of Metropolitan Jonah himself. Let me list them where they appear::

                    1. The Minutes of the Santa Fe Retreat (where he agreed to go for evaluation and treatment, etc… for “health” reasons and where he promised to abide by his consecration vows that stem from the Holy Canons.

                    2. His various post Santa Fe speeches that, in effect, repudiated his agreements.

                    3. His speech in Seattle.

                    4. His resignation letter.

                    I have not even mentioned the various official and reports of the Church, which unfortunately for you pits one person against all others. This fact, by the way, was confirmed by +Jonah himself at Seattle.

                    Now, as father George has intimated, you should treat +Jonah as a man and cease and desist your campaign. Or, you can keep on portraying him as a weakling or a narcissist, which is greatly injurious to his reputation and legacy.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Well Carl, since you’re so smart, would you please tell us what his “shortcomings” were? And if they merited his removal via illegal and uncanonical means. (You may leave aside the fact that in doing so the OCA will plunge headlong into extinction.

                      Who’s the broken record now?

                    • Tumorous Baktos says


                      If for no other reason, + Jonah acting against the wishes or without the consent of the other bishops on the OCA Synod. Unilateral acts on his part were enough to remove him as Primate. End of story. + Tikhon (the New) will be a fine Primate. He is a far better choice for establishing a stable OCA. Even though he is also a convert, he has become well-rooted in Orthodoxy.

                  • George–This whole affair boils down to one thing: Are you willing to accept +Jonah’s words or not. I do not have to keep on repeating his words; you know them just as well as I. The difference is that I take them at their face value and you keep on saying that he did not meant them, he was forced to say them, he was tricked into write them, etc. Just step away for a minute or so and may be you will see that your positions are extremely hurtful to him.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I suppose I must thank you for finally proffering up one of Jonah’s “sin,” his “unilateralism.” What exactly was he “unilateral” about?

                    • No Carl,

                      It’s not just about Met. Jonah’s words…it is also about the Holy Synod and Syossett’s deeds that led up to the words and which have followed the words.

                      The lies promulgated by OCA organs and not corrected by the Holy Synod, the cruelty that continues without explanation to this day, the defamation, the collusion and conspiracy against their primate from day one, the persistent undermining, etc. It also about the wall of silence they have erected against the faithful of the OCA. It is about the disrespect they have shown to the MP and their disregard of the many signals from the MP that they have gone off the reservation with what they have done, and with what they do with respect to Met. Jonah.

                      Met. Jonah situation is the tip of the iceberg…it is the most visible wound at present in need of dressing…but it is not the disease that needs curing.

                    • The fact, and it is a fact, that Jonah was forced to take “responsibility” in that section of the Seattle Council address, written for him by the synod, somehow is something that you will not accept. In not accepting this fact, you are forced to create a reality about +Jonah that is not based on the whole truth. I feel sorry for you, and for many like you who took what was fed to you by the synod, Stokoe, Hopko, Kishkovsky, et. al.. It must be a burden to try and live with inconsistencies.

                      This is the faulty foundation that the new OCA is built upon. It is an administrative house, built on sand by opportunists who are not ready to lead. You should hope and pray that +Tikhon can convince the rest of the synod to let +Jonah go to the MP/ROCOR before the big “enthronement” festivities in DC, because if they don’t, the OCA will be publicly humiliated, again, by her Mother Church and others who will send no representatives to DC.

                      All the paperwork is set. The request by the MP/ROCOR to accept +Jonah is in the hands of the synod. It is up to them now with chilling consequences if they don’t let +Jonah go. Is it possible that the synod will finally do the right thing after a series of missteps? Is it possible that they will swallow their collective pride? I am sure it is too much for them to admit that they handled the entire +Jonah affaire like bulls in a china shop, but they can take a small step to recoup their tarnished image by letting +Jonah serve the Church of Christ in the MP/ROCOR.

                      Will they do it? Are they Christian enough? We will all know soon.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Seraphim–You are right in the broader sense; as in a divorce, the fault rarely rarely belongs just to one party. Indeed, in that broader sense, most of us here also are partially responsible for the instability in the Church.

                      Nikos–It does not matter who wrote the Seattle speech. It does matter that +Jonah read it and made it his own. The problem with your argument is that it is based on secular law, where duress plays an important part. In the case of a bishop of the Church, however, there are the following possibilities.

                      1. +Jonah wrote or agreed with the speech, thus no duress: He must live with it.

                      2. +Jonah did not agree with the speech but he gave it freely (not under duress): He must live with it. However, the reason that he gave the speech even though he disagreed with it is important. Here are some possibilities: inattention, nonchalance, incomprehension., desire to please, or a belief that he can do and say anything at any time.

                      3. +Jonah did not agree with the speech and was coerced to give it: He still must live with it or suffer the consequence of having broken his solemn consecration vow not to give into coercion, and perhaps a Canon or two that covers the same thing as his vow.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Carl, I believe now we can have an honest dialogue. The fact that you can concede the possibility of coercion (essentially points #2 and #3) opens up a whole other can of worms doesn’t it? Whereas point #1 lays all or most of the blame squarely on Jonah’s shoulders, points #2 and #3 mean at the very least that the OCA is governed (or the Synod itself is governed) by men who don’t act in good faith. Indeed, men who will use coercion and unsavory means to get what they want.

                      Regardless, even point #1 indicates that Jonah’s authority was undermined. Which btw, is an established fact (see the leaked emails from Stokoe to Reeves, Skordinski, Solodow, et al.)

                      These paint an appalling picture. One which calls into question the legitimacy of the OCA as a Christian entity.

                • Carl writes,

                  3. +Jonah did not agree with the speech and was coerced to give it: He still must live with it or suffer the consequence of having broken his solemn consecration vow not to give into coercion, and perhaps a Canon or two that covers the same thing as his vow.

                  No Carl, it is not just +Jonah who must live with it, the entire OCA now has to live with it, and trying to make sense out of nonsense is a futile exercise.

                  +Jonah should not have resigned. However the final attack on him was quick, down, and dirty. If he would had not been so beaten down by his brothers and others forcing him into St. Luke’s, making unreasonable demands on him to admit himself for 6 months of observation, treating him like a leper when he was on his leave, ambushing him in Santa Fe, yes maybe a stronger man, or shall we say a more ruthless player may have lashed back, threatened back at his brothers, call to mind for others to see the serious shortcomings of those who were accusing him of the same demons they were suffering from, maybe he would not have resigned. But in doing so, he has shed a light on the internal machinations of the OCA.

                  Based on such a foundation, one can hardly see how much good fruit can be harvested by such a sick tree.

                  Of course time will tell but I can’t imagine that any healing will take place unless the OCA heeds the good advice of Her Mother Church to treat her former Primate with respect.

                  Maybe, Carl, you can try and answer this question, “What is stopping the OCA synod from doing what has been asked by their historic and most important supporter and Her Mother Church?”

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    Nikos–You are correct in one sense; it was the AAC that gave him the plurality of nomination votes (37%) and the Holy Synod that elected him. Thus, the mistake was initially not Jonah’s, unless of course he knew then that he was not suitable (see his resignation letter).

                    You may be correct in another sense: we would have peace today if the national officers and the Holy Synod abdicated their responsibilities and did not subject +Jonah to correction and criticism but simply treated him like a demigod.

                  • So, Carl, I guess you can’t answer my question? It is a simple question, really, however made much more difficult to answer by the actions of the OCA synod.

                    LOL on the “demigod” line. With correction and criticism like that, the synod and syosset might as well work for Glenn Beck.

                  • Carl, what exactly are you “suitable” for? Covering up abuse? Distracting from abuse by any means necessary hoping people won’t notice the abuse or will forget?

                    You are an insufferable person committed to evil in a hypocritical institution that gives all Christian churches and all people of religious faith a bad name. Stop supporting abuse in the name of God! You will have no reward in heaven or in he’ll for rejecting truth and love hear on earth.

                    Do you not know that Moses did not consider himself suitable to his calling? He had a speech impediment. Saints like Peter and Paul, also deemed themselves inadequate to their calling. Even a child can see through your best attempts to claim the mantel of OCA Bullshitter-in-Chief.

                  • Carl, what exactly are you “suitable” for? Covering up abuse? Distracting from abuse by any means necessary hoping people won’t notice the abuse or will forget?

                    Surely you can find a higher calling in spite of your inadequacies.

                    Even a child can see through your best attempts to justify abuse. Is it in the name of “God” that you labor? Or the high ideal of “keeping it all within the family”? A grown adult like you must be aware that saints like Moses, Peter, and Paul also did not consider themselves “suitable” to their callings. So you condemn Jonah for being in their company. My aren’t you a tough guy, beating up on saints for having that repulsive quality Christians like to call humility. Can you steal a kindergartener’s lunch money for me while your at it? And if you don’t mind, kick them one more time in the ‘nads when you got them down. Nothing makes me feel my big boy status quite like kicking someone in the ‘nads after they quit defending themselves. Mmmhmm, thank God my momma didn’t raise no sissies.

                  • The scripts on this site are causing havoc on my phone these days. It used to work better. I never posted the first of the two comments above. I did post the second one. I never lost my text box while editing, so it is strange. I don’t know what’s going on, maybe a bug in the preview function? But I previewed more than once. Feel free to delete the first message and this one. I’ll probably stick to posting from the desktop in the future.

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    Nikos–I did not answer your specific question because (a) I have no idea what is happening vis-a-vis a transfer and (b) I simply ran out opportunity as my better half called me to do something. In any case, I always operated from the principle that one does not export problems; I either kept/reformed employees or simply fired them if I could not bring them up to speed. In the latter case, which only happened to three individuals in my work history of over 40 years, i would naturally not give them recommendations. So, if I were a bishop and truly believed that +Jonah was not reformable, I would not vote to release him. I certainly would not hold his release because of any fear of losing congregants.

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    Um–If I may answer your question as a forum moderator (on another place), I guess I am doing something right if I am subjected to ad hominem attacks. Peace.

                  • Carl Kraeff says

                    Knows the Score says “What about the STINKBOMB letter? Do you believe that too?”

                    I don’t know what to say without offending you, but I will give it a try.

                    On the one hand, the Holy Synod. On the other hand, participants in a blog, most of whom are (a) anonymous, (b) not in any official position, and (c) may or not be part of the OCA, the Orthodox Church, or even a Christian. It is not really hard for me to make a choice.

                    As for the letter itself, regardless of its contents, the Metropolitan has resigned, making the explanation/letter moot–at least for me.

                    Now, if +Jonah had publicly disputed the letter and the allegations therein, it would be a different story. In this instance, silence is assent and I will accept +Jonah’s silence as his disagreement with any and all theories and criticisms of the Holy Synod and official communiques.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      You leave out a vital ingredient “on the first hand,” e.g. the “Holy Synod.” Their reasons for unjustly removing Jonah were based on lies. On the other hand, most of “the anonymous posters” on this blog have not resorted to lying.

                  • Carl,

                    In searching through the STINKBOMB, one does not find the legal names, nicknames, nor even the titles of the authors. it appears the letter was authored collectively by a secret society of some kind.

                    How do you explain this?

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Knows the Score,

                    Perhaps you are unable to grasp the concept moot, so let me help: having no practical significance beyond the hypothetical or academic. In other words, the bus left Parma with a new driver, and on the radio was playing, “Can You Feel a Brand New Day” from the Broadway revival of the The Wiz.

                    As for the letter that seems to be driving you to the brink of sanity, I have not been shown evidence that it is a lie beyond conjecture, speculation, and assumption. The only person who will change my mind is Jonah himself. When he confirms it to be founded on misinformation or fabrication, I will change my opinion. Until that time, silence is consent. In every case, it is moot, a footnote to Jonah the footnote.

                    You might consider decaf.

                  • M. Stankovich says:

                    In other words, the bus left Parma with a new driver, and on the radio was playing, “Can You Feel a Brand New Day” from the Broadway revival of the The Wiz.

                    Having observed the new driver, I can confirm that it does not feel like a Brand New Day. It feels like the olden times, with + Herman. Perfunctory sermons. No interaction with parishioners (after all, they might say something about the scandalous treatment of +Jonah, and some of them actually do). Grand speeches from the clergy about how they are so happy that he blesses the parish with his visit. The bus feels like a clunker and the driver has a fake driver’s license.

              • George should have also mentioned the embarrassing situation in Manton that caused a high profile monk to leave the OCA, the oopsies at St Tikhon’s that threatens numerous aspects of an already tenuous situation, the unrest at the representation Church in Russia, and the complete disregard shown the Diocese of the South regarding their assembly and continued failure the vet the man they said was vetted as their candidate for bishop, then said they never met, then sent across the country to be under the guidance of a bishop but can’t seem to get to know.

                Just another day in Protopresbyter paradise!

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Jesse, I know! To all: how about compiling a list of the administrative blunders and other assorted scandals that have plagued the OCA ever since Jonah was removed? It’d make a great essay!

                  • Fr. George Washburn says

                    George, you *don’t* know! And you are becoming a caricature of yourself!

                    All the “….scandals that have plagued the OCA ever since {Met.} Jonah was removed?” As if there were none before, the putative removal was the cause for the alleged scandals or mistakes in the first place, or the bruiting about thereof here and elsewhere were Divine Retribution for the removal. Please!

                    First of all he resigned, didn’t he? Against a backdrop of undermining and pressure, to be sure, but in light of his own reflection and self-examination too. In the end it was both a principled AND pressured decision on his part, I believe (how obtuse of God to sometimes use grey instead of just black and white in His paintings!), and I therefore also believe you detract from Met. Jonah’s altruism and integrity by simplistically demonizing others or mischaracterizing him as the 100% perfect victim. This is real life, not a 3rd grade Sunday School lesson on Moses (yay) and Pharaoh (boo, hiss).

                    Second, the mistakes/scandals to which you refer started in some cases before his administration began and then continued during it, didn’t they? Or even had Met. Jonah’s signature on them, such as his hand-picking of the Manton successor you’ve so eagerly, and I believe unfairly, demonized.

                    Your effort to overly lionize Met. Jonah while overly disparaging ALL his detractors is getting pretty threadbare. Perhaps it will bear good fruit by exposing this whole blog-process for the exceedingly flawed exercise I believe it truly is. True churchmanship requires a whole lot of qualities – like reflection instead of reaction, investigation instead of innuendo, discernment instead of disparagement, silence instead of shouting, to name a few – and so, so easily goes awry when reaction, innuendo, disparagement, or shouting hold sway.

                    As with virtually all fingerpointing in the Church, I believe this bloggery business almost inevitably becomes – as I believe we saw with ocanews – an exercise in self-affirmation (if not outright self-promotion and self-exaltation, of course in pious disguise) and the avoidance of self-examination and the bitterly hard work of sussing out what REALLY goes wrong and why. The whistle has its good purposes and moments, but not when the blower thinks it is an instrument and the one tune it plays a virtuoso performance of music.


                    Fr. George

                    • Fr. George,

                      Had I just recently arrived on the scene I would think your comment was a good representation of a “middle way”, and therefore would have trusted it. However, this middle way seems to ignore and oversimplify the situation.

                      There has been ample opportunity — most notably the post-Santa Fe Lent — where the Synod would have been able to squash this divisive situation by merely issuing a statement of support for +Jonah, saying they would not be retiring him or extending the Leave of Absence. This was suggested to many bishops on multiple occasions, as well as publicly asked for. One bishop told me they would not do so because it was too much work to put together such a statement, and there was no real need for it. However, the following week the WaPo published their article on +Jonah; almost immediately garnering a whiny, almost-jealous sounding response from the Synod.

                      What explains this behavior? What explains their inactivity with the DOS? with Fr. Gerasim? with the parishes and clergy requesting release? with +Jonah’s release?

                      What explains their obsessive and no-holds barred pursuit of Frs. Wood and Fester, while rehabilitating Stokoe, Bps. Mark and Matthias?

                      As for +Jonah’s administrative problems; feel free to cite your references in this respect. I will be interested to see if it rivals those directly attributed to some of the other bishops who so quickly cast their stones in his direction.

                      I have said it many times before, and I will say it again: I will be thrilled if the Synod shows me cause to trust their motives, and there are discernible ways they can show the faithful they are not malicious.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Fr, thank you for your critique. Unfortunately, it falls apart with some scrutiny. If you would allow me to respond seriatim:

                      1. I keep asking other correspondents what “…mistakes [happened] before Jonah” that we can realistically lay at his feet and I keep getting snake eyes. Do you have any? Please list them. I keep searching in vain for just one scandal that would justify the tumult of the last six months (let alone a host of them).

                      2. I am glad that you see that Jonah’s removal/resignation was “the result of underming and pressure.” That means it was coerced. That’s illegal and actionable in the civil sphere.

                      3. No, the scandals that erupted after his removal which Jesse and I listed happened after his removal. They can be laid at the feet of the Synod, Syosset, or whoever runs the OCA on any given day. I didn’t mention Manton but you win on points on that one. Jonah did “hand-pick” his successor. There was no way however that he (or anybody for that matter) could have predicted that things would head south under Abbott Meletios’ watch. If anything, Meletios was a rock star in traditionalist circles (he was our first choice to be Bishop of Dallas). Believe me, the credible, named, and attributable allegations against him sent shock waves throughout Orthodoxy. In any event, it was Arb Benjamin who went to bat for Meletios and tried to save his career. (We’ll leave that aside for the time being.)

                      4. I have “lionized” Jonah more than criticized him but I have criticized him at times. I have also credited certain other bishops when it was merited. For example, I applauded Arb Nikon for the way in which he removed Bp Mark Maymon from the South, he used a lot of tact in doing so. However I couldn’t help but criticize him for surreptitiously cancelling the South’s special electoral assembly unilaterally at the last minute. Likewise, I commended Bp Matthias Moriak for his attempt at liturgical reforms in Chicago. Obviously, no sane individual could commend him for the illicit texts sent to a young lady. Likewise I’ve lauded Bp Michael Dahulich for staunchly upholding traditional marriage in his diocese but am concerned about his handling of the events that led to the EEOC suit that is presently pending against St Tikhon’s. For that matter, I think that the Venerable Dmitri of Thrice-blessed memory was as faultless a bishop as the day is long but even he made a mistake in rescinding his suspension of a certain archdeacon.

                      And of course all of the living bishops participated or at least tacitly approved of the libelous letter put out describing the alleged crimes of Jonah (none of which were actually true).

                      I am decidedly askance at your litany of deficits that Jonah supposedly possesses: “innuendo” instead of “investigation,” “reaction” instead of “reflection,” etc. Please cite instances of such. However, the one that clearly shred your entire thesis is “silence instead of shouting.” Really. I would ascribe other defects to His Beatitude –timidity, guilelessness (never good in a leader), unwarranted optimism–but shouting? Surely you jest.

                    • Fr. George Washburn says

                      Sorry, folks: for some reason there is no reply button for the George M. post below to which I am replying.

                      – George, your obsession with your own story line is showing. Look back more carefully at my second to last paragraph, and you will see that I am saying that bloggery, NOT Met. Jonah, is bereft of those virtues and full of those vices. I am sure he possesses those good qualities, and in much greater measure than you or I do, and avoids those vices.

                      – Your obsession with your story line also prompts you to make unfounded statements that are just nonsense, such as claiming the pressure that was exerted on Met. Jonah is actionable in civil courts. I have repeatedly briefed the same basic legal issues under both US Supreme Court precedent and CA law and can categorically state based on 33 years experience there is **less than a 1% chance** of such a suit ever going to trial, let alone reaching a result you’d like. I have said as much before here and nobody has refuted it. Why therefore do you use your druggist’s license, or whatever you are operating under, to make statements so far outside your ken? **Because it fits your story line.** And don’t reply with “my aunt’s neighbor is a lawyer and he said if…” We are way past the time, if ever there was one, for such trite and unfounded hearsay. Bring out an actual legal opinion with facts and citations to legal authority and I’ll gladly discuss it. Otherwise you should be as silent on legal matters as I have to be on pharmaceuticals.

                      – Your desire to advance the story line prompts you to again repeat what I have refuted at least once before here, the claim that an EEOC right to sue letter re: St. Tikhon’s is the equivalent of a lawsuit. Same problem as above; if you have a case filing number from a court of record, fine, tell us and you can claim there is a lawsuit. But until you do, please stop repeating this untruth.

                      – You misconstrue my comments about your post encouraging the listing of post-Met. Jonah troubles. I saw it as just more fishing …. for your story line. i cannot and will not accept Jesse’s invitation to list Met. Jonah’s alleged wrongs in office because I do not have personal knowledge of any, have never accused him of any, and therefore have nothing and nobody to attack or defend. My sole direct knowledge was exposure to his administrative style at the monastery, both during his tenure and after. My direct observation was that he had a haphazard administrative style and that there were important practical, NOT ETHICAL, problems as a result.

                      I am personally growing more convinced by the week, if not the day, that your haphazard approach to the facts and the law, and the weak or missing foundation for some of your assertions about key people, is surely making it all the harder for something suitable to be arranged for Met. Jonah. Just a guess, mind you, but not a bad one I’m afraid.


                      Fr. George
                      Jonah’s future service to the Church.

                    • Father George W. and I have an interlocutory history that is older than Monomakhos, and we’ve often disagreed, always (on Father George’s side) very civilly. And his letter makes some good points; however, in the second paragraph of it, he lays a very problematic foundation for discussion:
                      “All the “….scandals that have plagued the OCA ever since {Met.} Jonah was removed?” As if there were none before, the putative removal was the cause for the alleged scandals or mistakes in the first place, or the bruiting about thereof here and elsewhere were Divine Retribution for the removal. Please!”
                      Father George, I believe that George M. was being rather careful in referring to those scandals “that have plagued the OCA ever since” Metropolitan Jonah was removed. He clearly ruled out (but did NOT imply the absence of) previous scandals in his given discussion. He did not even hint that there were none before that, correct? He did NOT write “as if there were none before.” Mark STokoe’s behavior BEFORE even his permitted resignation from his most problematic occupation of the post of Youth Director for the OCA and then DURING the scandal-sheet assaults(blessed, to be sure, by some of today’s surviving members of the OCA’s Holy Synod and one fallen asleep) on those that effected his resignation, like the scandalous assaults on the virtue and character and Priesthood of Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick effected by the Deacon who lost his job as well, and the scandalous kangaroo court ‘”trial” of the same Protopresbyter. You may ask why I wasn’t able to do more…For example, when the same Protopresbyter was asked to appear before the Holy Synod and answer questions relative to all allegations WITHOUT THE PRESENCE OF COUNSEL, he agreed to that, and this alarmed the Deacon, and Archbishop Job and Archbishop Nathaniel and Bishop Nikon, as well as the Secretary of the Holy Synod, Bishop Seraphim, MET “in the night before he was betrayed,” or, rather, in the night before he was scheduled to appear, having agreed to do so, they conspired together to push Bishop Seraphim to call Metropolitan Herman and pressure him to tell the Protopresbyter NOT to appear as requested. And when I and Bishop Nikolai (Archbishop Dmitri remained with chin bowed on his chest and eyes closed) protested, it was to no avail. To my objection, Nathaniel “advised” me: “Oh, he would have probably wanted his lawyer to be present and we wouldn’t learn anything,” I replied, “But he specifically agreed to appear ALONE,” Nathaniel said “Oh, he wouldn’t have told us anything anyhow!” THEY all nodded! Does anybody wonder why I retired soon after that? I had other equally disgusting justification, mostly involving Bishop Benjamin’s machinations in the Diocese of the West, it is true, but if Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick had been allowed to be interrogated as he had agreed to be, there might have been a basis for some degree of hope. I mean: first the “planned absence” of Archbishop Job from an episcopal consecration he had signed his indication of consensus with and his subsequent advent into the Altar Liturgy after the
                      Anaphora of the consecration Liturgy, to stand smirking and giggling with Bishop Mark Forsberg (then still happily living together with his deacon); prior to that, the awful reception of a former ROCOR deacon, deposed by ROCOR’s own Holy Synod, who had gone on to be ordained in ONE schismatic Church to the Priesthood, raised to Bishop in another Schismatic pseudo-Church, and then served in the astonishing “Patriarchate” of Filaret Denisenko, that is to say, “Ron/Leo/Lazarus Haler/Buehler/Puhalo into the episcopal ranks of the OCA with the title “Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo) (known also as the defender of transsexuality and the gender-specific brain of his own quasi-scientific neurobrain philosophy. I have to admit that by the time the ‘STINKBOMB” of a statement by the Holy Synod appeared, in which they did not invoke God, in which they did not even begin to understand that WHATEVER sins or foolish deeds for which they wanted to hold Metropolitan Jonah accountable were FIRST OF ALL THEIR RESPONSIBILITY AND DONE ON THEIR WATCH AS A RESULT OF THEIR ELECTION OF HIM, while they eschewed all personal and spiritual responsibility, denying Jonah in a manner iconically like that of Peter denying Christ and have STILL not indicated any sense of responsibility, any accountability…well this is, it must be admitted, Father George, just the latest and most reprehensible example of scandalous episcopal misconduct for which the Synod is responsible. My personal summation goes as follows: “It all began with the reception of Puhalo (i.e., Mr. Ronald/Leo/Lazarus Haler/Buehler/Puhalo. As for all the scandalizement about “Pink” or “lavendar Mafia” and so on….That all transpired AFTER and as a result of Metropolitan Theodosius’s and Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick’s correct stewardship in seeing both Mark Stokoeand Deacon E. Wheeler OUT of the Central Administration, quietly. correctly, and without scandal.

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Fr, I take your criticism to heart and will reread your original critiques in case I missed anything. Please forgive me for misunderstanding you. I certainly hope that we aren’t talking past each other.

                      However I must take issue with your criticisms as found in the second to the last paragraph most recently posted. You say that you won’t “accept Jesse’s invitation to list Met. Jonah’s alleged in office because I do not have personal knowledge of any…”

                      So are we to assume that the OCA was thrown into an uproar, a Primate and his aged parents are in danger of being thrown penniless out onto the street, and his sister dies because of the stresses placed upon her delicate constitution, all because there weren’t any character flaws that Jonah was guilty of?

                      And you’re OK with Jonah being removed, the OCA being made a mockery of, and his family destroyed, becauset Jonah was removed on a whim? I’m afraid it’s that simple. You are obviously an intelligent man (JD I assume?) and well-informed. If you don’t know of any transgressios that would merit such action it seems likely to me that there aren’t any.

                      As for my knowledge about the law I stand accused: I’m not a lawyer. However I have consulted with lawyers and they tell me that coercion is actionable. That’s why in my own profession the pot is usually sweetened when it comes time to “part ways.” If you’re a good boy, you get a severance package and a letter of recommendation, if not so good, then it’s announced that you “resigned” and if anybody comes asking what is said is that “Bob Smith worked here from Jan 1999 to Oct 2012.” The words are terse but they’re not inflammatory.

                      Just last week a dental hygienest was fired by her employer because she was “too pretty” and the dentist’s wife got jealous. Wifey really hit the roof when she found out that Hubby was texting said hygienist. Lawyers are lining up right now to take her case. I’m sure that forcing a CEO to resign by threatening his paycheck while he is the sole support for two aging parents and a sick sister would make the board of directors get sweaty palms.

                      Yes, you’re right about the particulars about the protocols involved in the filing of an EEOC suit. That being said, there is a lawsuit and the plaintiff is the Federal Government. They can print money, St Tikhon’s can’t. Either way, it’s still a failure on the part of Syosset to not see the apparent conflicts of interest that were involved.

                      Whether a case brought forth on this basis will prevail is an open question. We call it the American “legal” system, not “justice” system. (OJ got custody of his children, Britney Spears lost hers.)

                      I honestly don’t know if you’re in the OCA but I can assure you that morale is at an all-time low. We’re talking about our Church here Father and the loss of an authentic American version of Orthodoxy, one suited to the American landscape as it continues the death-spiral it was on before Jonah assumed office (during which it received a brief respite).

                      As for the “haphazard style” of administration that he allegedly displayed at Manton (which you observed –I have not), are we to suppose that he displayed a similar style as Metropolitan? Certainly it was possible, but in asserting so, you would undermine your previously stated position in which you admitted that Jonah had been “undermined” himself while in that position.

                      Forgive the disjointed nature of my responses but the bottom line for many of us is simply this: does the hamfisted, defamatory removal of Jonah justify the massive amount of damage done to the OCA? Yes or no?

            • Really, “the person most responsible for the instability has resigned”? Which of them resigned? Fr. L. Kishkovsky? Fr. J. Jillions? +Benjamin? +Nikon? +Tikhon? Fr. E. Tosi? Please, enlighten us.

    • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

      Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

      Somehow on this thread the term “moot” keeps popping up. It’s a funny term because it can get used to mean that something is arguable, but also that something is not arguable, in the sense that it’s not worth arguing because there’s no practical reason to do so. But, as one of an already small and dwindling breed of folks trained as an Anglo-Saxonist I can observe that it derives from a term used to describe judicial assemblies in Anglo-Saxon England. They could be viewed in spirit as a kind of precursor to the jury in English legal tradition, with even a bit of an aspect of conciliarity to them, to translate into OCA-speak.

      From that whole tradition emerged the notion of jury nullification, which like the ambiguity of the term moot today has a kind of apophatic aspect to it :-). This legacy came up once when I as a reporter covered a case involving the activist Catholic priest Father Michael Pfleger in Chicago, who was (and I assume still is!) very dedicated to helping his neighborhood, one problem in which at that time was the proliferation of alcohol billboards in low-income African-American neighborhoods, a virtual forest of signs in some places, not conducive to a positive image for those already struggling areas and their children.

      City Hall predictably was not responding to how these billboards were targeting certain poor areas but not upscale ones. A man known only as Mandrake began painting over numbers of the signs at night.

      One night detectives for a billboard company caught Fr. Pfleger whitewashing a big alcohol billboard as an assist to Mandrake, who had gotten in touch with me and unlike the priest had eluded detection. Pfleger was put on trial in the downtown vice court for vandalism. In talking with his attorney while reporting on it, I said “well you always could appeal to Anglo-Saxon common law and have the jury decide he may have been guilty but there was an over-riding moral reason.”

      That was the general direction in which the defense did go, and Fr. Pfleger was let off by the jury amid great rejoicing in the courtroom by his parishioners and neighbors, prompting the judge to have a fit of gavel-banging in a scene worthy of a Frank Capra movie.

      Anyway, the take-home point is not to underestimate that ambiguity of the moot, which types how, in the Church, conciliarity or sobornost can work in unexpected ways beyond human expectations or power.

      Please pray for me a sinner,


      • George Michalopulos says

        Also, in TLOTR, the Ents met in an “Ent-moot.” Tolkien, who knew Saxon knew what he was hearkening back to.

        • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

          As a postcript, it didn’t seem likely that the Ent-moot in Lord of the Rings would turn out to be anything helpful either :).

  2. Michael James Kinsey says

    The Arian bishops, and the Sergian bishops controled most of Christendom at one time They did not destroy the authentic Faithful christians, although they tried. Rocor gave the West such spiritual luminaries, as St John Maximovitch, Archbishop Averky, and Fr. Seraphim Rose and others. I have read all they wrote.These always showed an unrelenting and fervent desire to know the TRuth, and nothing else. Is this the stand of the Moscow Church and the OCA? Logically, there are only 3 possibilities, both Moscow and the OCA are not standing on the TRuth, Moscow or the OCA is standing on the Truth, but both cannot be standng on the TRuth What is most important to the Faithful is that the Holy Sacraments ministered by the priest be authenticly of the Holy Spirit and not an empty ritual. This is the job of the cleric’s, and they don’t have a claim on God’s tithe if they are faking it. Each individual’s experience will prove it to himself. If it is empty,Seek, Ask, and Knock. Where the eagles are gatered together , there also will the body be. This is what the Faiithful did with the Arian and Sergain bishops.

    • Michael James Kinsey has a poor grasp of church history. Never have either Arian or “Sergian” Bishops ever “controlled most of Christendom at one time.” The East was mostly Arian, it’s true, from Emperor Constantine on, until Emperor Julian the Apostate finally put a Nicene-sympathetic Patriarch in the Constantinopolitan see, but the HUGE Church of Rome at that time was also part of Christendom. “Sergian’ bishops had no control over anything at all; in fact, one of the worst things to happen under Soviet rule was the revision of the Moscow Patriarchate’s statute in 1961 which severed ALL connection between Bishops and the parishes in their dioceses which were controlled SOLELY by their “Twenties”, or Parish Councils, in a triumph of what so many in the OCA (and perhaps even here) seek: total “Conciliarity.
      “Where the eagles are gathered together, there also will the body be,” has to be the very awfullest of a series of nonsensicial, non-parsable phrases uttered by Kinsey! Eagles, after all, are cousins of vultures and given to scavenging…Nuff said.

      • Michael James Kinsey says

        The awfullest of Christian scriptures is the correct discription of the phrase ,where the eagles are gathered together, there also will the body be..The context where it is stated concerns the church in the last days.But,since you don’t like this peculiar scripture, I expect you won’t beanywhere near where it happens.

        • Michael James Kinsey says

          The Sergian bishops signed the Sergian declaration which was ordered by the Communists to be sent to all the clerics of Russia, Those who dd not sign it were sent to the Gulag to die. They did have the power to refuse to sign the declaration. They were unfaithful, but the Faithful refused to sign. Solzenitzen’s writings valididate my claim. They, gathered together in the Gulag and the Christ, and His Holy Spirit was with them.

          • Michael James Kinsey says

            Christians will again be faced with this most costliest of obediences when the mark of the beast is being exponentially accepted. This will be occuring quite soon. It must happen within the next 30 years, possibly much soon, before the oil runs out. The evil will and the sofware, and fiber optic infrastruture already exist. The Holy scripture clearly states, it is treasonious to God to recieve the mark of the beast as it was to sign the Sergian Declaration. I don’t know if the treatment of +Jonah qualifies as this dire of a sin against the Holy Spirit, what ever the degree, it will not be forgiven. Sins against the Holy Spirit are not forgiven, those who do it are in danger of eternal damnation. Hopefully, the Bishop will not find these scripture peculiar too. God wants the Good P;easure of giving the Kingdom of Heaven to the bishop as he does me. and visa versa.

            • Isaac Crabtree says

              I think you’re some kind of shill, Kinsey. Forgive me, but part of me thinks that you’re putting a “straw man” of some kind up in order to bring ridicule upon true traditionalists. That, or you’ve fallen into the lies of the schismatics– something blessed Fr. Seraphim and St. John never did.

              • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                I think he is a troll. I just ignore his posts.

              • Michael James Kinsey says

                As an example, the 911 attack done by a cabal within the American government, not Osama Ben Laden, calls all who disagree with the government fabrications ” with the terrorists” The government is just employing lying false accusation, which is not a work of the HolySpirit, but an action of the demonic. Who is being, schismatic, and treasionous, the govrnemnt liars or the people who, once seeing the facts and imploying, logic, commonsense, intelectual honesty and courage, refuse to go along with the false flag deception: or in Met Jonah’s, case the gnat straining ,camel swallolwing of the OCA bishop?In Met Jonah’s case, who created the schism, the authors of contrived pretexts of evil doing, by the Met, or for that, matter, the signers of the Sergian Declariation, which demanded agreement from the whole Church that the goals and aims of the Communists murderers and the goals and aims of the Orthodox Church in Russia are the same?According to your logic, you old crabtree, those who died in te Gulag were the schismatics. My concern is doing JUSTICE, tempered with mercy. I am not a shill. I am honest in this,

                • Michael James Kinsey says

                  The point is true traditionalists do not employ lying false accusation,therefore, I do not attack them in any manner. True traditionalist, obvioulsy, do not make ,beleive, or love a lie.

      • Your Grace,

        Master, bless!

        While it is true that at Rome Arianism never took particular root, the same cannot be said for Spain and anywhere the various types of Goths held sway. Indeed, it was in direct response to the powerful attraction of Arianism (which, after all, is much simpler than trying to break one’s head over the mystery of the Most-holy Trinity) that one of the councils of Toledo (the 3rd, if memory serves) invented that heretical, abominable change to the Symbol of Faith, the filioque. The intention was, of course, to defend the full deity of the Son; but we know proverbially what is paved with good intentions. The fact of the matter is that, in a contemporary comment, “the world groaned to find itself Arian;” and in more than just the East it was indeed Athanasius contra mundum.

        Fr. Philip

        • “The world groaned,” right? Yeah, right! “A decree went out from Caessr Augustus that the whole WORLD be taxed.”
          Father Philip! Neither the world nor Christendom groaned to find itself Arian. Typically, we today still act as if the Roman Empire is the world or was the world, and that the Roman Empire was the whole of Christendom. It’s certainly true that we might be Arian today if Julian the Apostate had not come along, for it was not Saint Athanasius the Great who restored Orthodoxy to the imperial see, but Julian. It was not any Nicene Fathers or any SAINT Constantine Equal to an Apostel that recalled Saint Athanasius, or, rather, allowed him to return. Were Georgia, Armenia, and PERSIA chopped liver? But the world then as now was a much bigger place than Rome’s empire, and Christendom encompassed much more than the same.
          No, Arian Bishops NEVER EVER controlled “Christendom.” And neither did “Sergian” Bishops. Anyhow, “Sergian” has nothing to do with any religious concept, it’s a political and, finally, “Cold War” concept.

          • Isaac Crabtree says

            Bishop Tikhon, the East was Arian from “Constantine on”? I hope you don’t believe the lie that Eusebius of Nicomedia was “Arian” who had baptized the Equal to the Apostles? He held to the Nicene Creed, but had refused to believe that Arius actually taught what he was teaching. St. Constantine was definitely not Arian. I almost spat out my drink when I heard someone whom I call “Fr. Chuckles the Demagogue” or “Son of Schmem” say that St. Constantine had an Arian baptism! I can’t believe they take that moron seriously in the OCA.

            • Let’s agree that no one has been able to establish indisputably that the baptizer of Emperor Constantine was either Arian OR Nicene. We may observe, HOWEVER, aside from anything uttered by your mysterious unnamed bogeyman, “Son of Schmem” or whatever, that the Archbishops of Constantinople were Arians from the time of the Nicene Council until the reign of Julian the Apostate, the first Emperor ever to appoint a Nicene Patriarch. We may also observe that Emperor Constantine refused to allow St. Athanasius the Great to return from exile. None of the foregoing depends on anything uttered by someone whom you neglected to name. I find Emperor Constantine’s behavior to be, in fact, NON-Apostolic. I do not doubt his salvation or that he will rest in Abraham’s bosom, or that he deserves to be numbered with the saved, i.e., be numbered a Saint. But I am unable to see anything apostolic in him or his rule. He did, though, show that he could be just as tolerant of many religions as any Persian Emperor of his and later times: “Shirin” as in Shirin Abadi,the Iranian nobel prize winning judge and writer, is a favorite name among Persians/Iranians, who are all named after a Persian Empress Shirin of around Constantine’s time who was famously a practicing and devout Christian.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Master bless. Christ is born!

        Your Grace–In my neck of the woods, most folks would agree with Father Schmemann’s position in his letter “The Church is Hierarchical.” I admit that I have no appreciation for the rest of the OCA, but I have yet to meet anyone who would agree with your statement: “the revision of the Moscow Patriarchate’s statute in 1961 which severed ALL connection between Bishops and the parishes in their dioceses which were controlled SOLELY by their “Twenties”, or Parish Councils, in a triumph of what so many in the OCA (and perhaps even here) seek: total “Conciliarity.” I do not think that one can be Orthodox and believe in such “conciliarity.”

  3. >> They [ROCOR] have asked for him [Jonah] to be released

    How do we know this?

    • “How do we know this?”

      I have heard it from more than one source, so I’m not surprised to see it here. If you don’t want to take my word for it I would encourage you to call either your bishop or Syosset and ask them. Please document what they say.

      • Thomas Paine says

        + Jonah wants to go to ROCOR, but he won’t be released. He can return to a monastery and live out his life.

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          Umm, no. Why would anyone want to live out one’s life in a monastery that is directly under bishop(s) that treated one badly? One would have to be a sadist to to accept such honor.

          • Pere LaChaise says

            Oh ! this is too good to pass up!
            Poor +Jonah ALREADY had that experience under a certain now-retired Bishop who posts heavily to this very forum, yea this very topic. It should be much easier to live thus at this later point in his career.

            • Didn’t I ordain him, ‘Pere LaChaise” and give a blessing to move into the already established monastery grounds at the St. Eugene Retreat Center at Point Reyes Station, after the latest previous occupants, the Sisterhood of the Holy Cross had vacated it and merged with the Sisterhood of Our Lady of Kazan Skete in Santa Rosa? All he had to do was move in. Oh, yes, I consecrated, with a bunch of local clergy, a beautiful little white Church of St. Sergius of Radonezh, which was built on the grounds totally by the funds and labor of parishioners from the Bay Area, especially the St. Eugene’s Committee, so that Father Jonah and the brethren gathered around him didn’t have to engage in much hard work except grounds-keeping, leaving more time for driving around bringing the Good News of monasticism to the donating public and looking after their laptops and cell phones in pious monastic withdrawal from ‘”the world” and all its temptations. “Poverty, chastity, and stability.” Unfortunately, after years of, oh, Great isolation and Hard work, both the monastery buildings and the buildings of the Our Lady of Kazan Skete were found to be infected with the dread Black Mold, extremely difficult to eradicate, but not impossible. The sisterhood at the Skete of Our Lady of Kazan, however, decided to work on eradicating the black mold by themselves and I believe they’ve been successful. I “persecuted” poor Father Jonah by not blessing him to abandon the monastery and exercise his realty expertise in locating a new property more accessible to planes and trains and “those city lights”. After I retired though, it didn’t take long to get a blessing to abandon and sell off the diocesan property, St. Eugene’s Retreat Center, left to the diocese as a memorial to a fallen US Army soldier named Eugene, while tearing down the consecrated Church of St. Sergius of Radonezh and taking out a hefty loan from diocesan charitable funds, like that of the Russian Women’s Home of Mercy, and having new buildings constructed.. I believe the monastics since then are MUCH more comfortable! I’ve often wondered: how many other Orthodox monasteries in the world have been abandoned by their denizens and razed in order to live at a nicer location? Pere LaChaise is SO “right on” in his assigning importance to “It should be much easier…” Easiness…Poverty,, chastity, obedience, stability and Easiness!!!!

            • why?

        • Perhaps, rather, it is the Moscow PATRIARCHATE which will be asking for the release of Metropolitan Jonah. This would avoid the childish manoeuvering that the OCA’s Synod and their controllers around Syosset, the MC, and in the Stokoe Group of Archpriests,would relish if the request should come from an America-based hierarchy. They know better than to try bureaucratic shenanigans with Patriarch Kirill or Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeev)! That would really be way above their paygrade, as one of their number likes to say of himself. There is no canonical impediment whatsoever to Metropolitan Jonah’s being released upon the request of another Hierarchy. Of course, they could have refused if Metropolitan Jonah were needed in an OCA position he was now occupying…But, nope! They made their choices and they can take their lumps.

        • Dear Mr. Paine,

          Why do you believe the OCA not willing to release Metropolitan Jonah. If those in power in the OCA don’t like him, and another jurisdiction has indicated an interest in receiving him why would the OCA refuse?

          What does the OCA gain in such a refusal except giving the appearance of being petty and vindictive? Why try to force him back to a monastery, especially given the needs of his parents and why try to put him under Archbishop Benjamin who seems to not like him at all?

          I don’t understand the reasoning behind your position.

          • Probably, OCA does not want him released because they want to get him out of Washington DC at all costs. If he stays there, he will be very popular, will attract a lot of people, and will serve as a perpetual reminder of the OCA ineptitude and their outrageous non-canonical behavior.

            • You got it Mitrich, where Metropolitan Jonah goes, many members of the OCA will follow. The most obvious solution is to give him the DOS, but that scares TPTB.

            • BM Psevdomudacheva says

              Yes, make him vicar of East Coast ROCOR at first family Potapov’s cathedral. St. Nicholas Cathedral will go broke!

          • Seraphim98 says:
            December 12, 2012 at 10:08 pm
            Dear Mr. Paine,

            I don’t understand the reasoning behind your position.

            There is no “reasoning” behind his position, it’s obviously just pure venom.

        • Guy Westover says

          Yeah, just like Theodosius and Herman have been sent to monasteries.


          Let the man go.

          Time for the OCA Synod to grow up.


        • Why so graceless, TP?

      • In fact, unless something has changed at the ROCOR Synod meeting today, ROCOR has not asked for Jonah to be released. ROCOR’s position on the matter is that it is an internal issue for the OCA.

        Moreover, it is unclear where ROCOR would put Jonah. There are already two auxilliary bishops in the EAD, which cannot afford one more. The only vacancy ROCOR has at the moment is in Australia. I doubt Jonah wants to go there.

        • Ilya Zhitomirskiy says

          ROCOR can make a new diocese: The Mid-Atlantic and District of Columbia (Washington was historically only a part of DC, there were also Georgetown,DC Tenleytown, DC and other cities). This diocese would also have jurisdiction over the South. HB Jonah would be a diocesan bishop for this division, and would then administer both the South and play a prominent role for ROCOR in DC. If ROCOR is independent in administrative matters, as the Act of Canonical Communion promises, ROCOR is within its rights to do this.

        • I hope the ROCOR Synod will do the right thing, and trust that God will provide.

          If it helps, I know many of us faithful tithers from the OCA will be happy to make our tithes to ROCOR, along with whatever administrative division of ROCOR that would be taking care of Met. Jonah.

  4. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    Someone needs to force this issue to a resolution. Either Moscow can do this OR Metropolitan Jonah can do this. Remember in the GOAA Archbishop Spyridon was played with in regards to his monetary compensation and future ecclesiastical office. When the GOAA was finally forced to properly compensate him they pretty much banished him to obscurity. When this occurred Archbishop Spyridon said “No Thank You” to the GOAA and the EP.

    As much as I hate to say this but if Metropolitan Jonah’s fincial compensation is not settled he needs to get lawyered up and fight back and fight back hard against the OCA and if they banish him, which it seems they already have done, then he nneds to say “Enough” and walk away.

    The OCA will never release him because they know that wherever he goes many OCA people will follow him and a schism and/or loss of Church property will occur. Metropolitan Jonah is young and full of enegy and vigor, but if this is how the OCA is going to treat him, the laity and clergy en mass will not support him then he needs to walk away himself and find God’s calling somewhere else, even if it means traveling the road to Lisbon and saying good bye to the world.

    Remember not all roads lead to dead ends, but to new beginnings and even personal spiritual renewal. God has a plan for Metropolitan Jonah, but its not to be mistreated at the hands of a hierarchy, like the one in the GOAA, that does not support you and cares more about politics and money than about Christian Charity and Intergrity. Archbishop Spyridon walked this road, and so did His Grace Nikolai Soraich, and Protopresbyter Robert S. Kondratick. Metropolitan Jonah needs to make this decision for himself and in serious consultation with the Holy Spirit seeks God’s will.

    I hope he does take The Road to Lisbon so to speak and tells the OCA Synod good-bye. This will force people’s hands to either canonically release him or not and if he gets the MP and ROCOR on his side and makes this a truly ugly pr campaign for the OCA they will release him. Metropolitan Jonah needs to now force this issue IF that is what he wants. Only time will tell.

    I saw this coming two years ago and I hate that I was right. This is Human Weakness, Human Sin and the whole world saw it played out in the forced resignation of a truly promising hierarch. Sadness does not even begin to describe what continues to happen in our Church from the Local to the National level. Good men being removed from priestly duty because of an Agenda. NOT the Gospel, but an Agenda. So what if the man had administrative failings, help him, understand him, teach him, but don’t remove him. However, please now that this was truly an excuse and not the real reason for his removal. George was right as to the real reasons for his removal which does not bode well for Orthodoxy here in America.

    Also, Monk James and Retired Bishop Tikon Fitzgerals are right unless the OCA rights its past wrongs, and this goes for the GOA as well, the Orthodox Church will never truly recover and Orthodoxy’s witness in this country will truly fail. Deep and sincere repentence is called for by all in American Orthodoxy along with a healthy dose of Humility. Unfortunately we do not have this inclination at this time. I pray that we do at some point in the near future, truly do, but for now we do not and I do not see how we can flourish as THE Church.

    May Christ have mercy upon us all and may His grace extend upon all of us, OCA and Non-OCA Orthodox Christians, as we all go through these times of troubles.

    Peter A. Papoutsis

    • Peter,

      You are spot on. The issue with the brain trusts in the OCA regarding +Jonah is money. He is not asking for a “Kings ransom” only an amount over a limited period of time so that he can care for his elderly parents, not himself.

      Yet, the OCA seems to think a human being, the former Primate of their Church, is a dead issue. Bishop Benjamin stated boldly to the parish council in Los Angeles that “Jonah WILL NEVER be released.” Well, I think we can conclude that his demons are now the demons of the OCA synod. When will they stand up and tell this broken person that he does not speak for the OCA?

      A friend of mine in another Orthodox jurisdiction in California told me that the clergy of the DOW are petrified by +Benjamin. They know how bitter a man he is and how broken a person. How many of them have the courage to stand up to him? If he were to leave tomorrow, there would be nary a tear shed upon his departure.

      Until the OCA deals with +Jonah in a respectful fashion, and respectful is not to order a unilateral assignment under +Benjamin, their woes will only continue to grow. And isn’t it ironic, if not the height of hypocrisy that it was the synod that accused +Jonah of making unilateral decisions, yet they project upon him a unilateral decision to go to the DOW?

      These men are bereft of spiritual care and are so caught up in the web of their own lies that they seem to have only a choice to continue to try and justify their own sinful behavior. Unless they come clean and admit their mistakes, the dream that once was the OCA will continue to wither and die on the precious Vine that they were called to plant here in America.

      On the eve of the Feast of the first American Saint, Herman of Alaska, let us pray that they look to his image, one who cared for the poor and downtrodden, the abused and the neglected, and repent of their sins.

      There will be no peace or future for the OCA until they do right by +Jonah.

      • Thomas Paine says

        You guys have it wrong. If + Jonah is a monk as he says he is, he doesn’t need money. Let him go to a monastery and live as a monk should!

        • Thomas Paine, thanks for showing what kind of “church” the OCA really is: devoid of compassion, kindness, or anything remotely Christ-like.

          News flash, Metropolitan Jonah is responsible for looking after his parents. That means he needs income, and he can’t leave them behind. Not to mention, the Paffhausens’ only daughter is buried in Washington: I would think her parents would want to be close to her!

          Since the OCA cannot possibly come up with a position worthy of Metropolitan Jonah – apart from restoring him to the position STOLEN from him – why doesn’t the Synod release Met. Jonah? Answer me that, Thomas!

        • Thomas Paine says (December 12, 2012 at 4:37 pm):

          You guys have it wrong. If + Jonah is a monk as he says he is, he doesn’t need money. Let him go to a monastery and live as a monk should!


          It never ceases to amaze me that naive laity continue to express themselves as to how we monks ought to live.

          Monks have to pay utility bills and medical bills, pay off mortgages or rents. And — gorblimey — we even have to buy groceries!

          Among his other inanities expressed here over time, ‘Thomas Paine’ now suggests that we monks must live on air. Following his logic, we’d have to stop breathing even that air!

          It’s an amazement that such a rationally defective human being as ‘Thomas Paine’ even bothers to continue to draw breath himself.

          An irish prayer: ‘Lord, bless our friends and turn the hearts of our enemies. But — if their hearts will not be turned — at least turn their ankles so that we may know them by their limp.’

        • Howsabout sending the good monk Benjamin to the woods of Manton for prayerful and healing silence and distance from civilization and all its porn, and providing the Diocese of the West with someone who already maintains long term relationships with the ROCOR, the MP and other jurisdictions out west? Met. Jonah for Diocese of the West! Meanwhile, some old news:


          In accordance with his petition Priest Matthew Harrington has been released from his duties at St. Silouan Church in Walla Walla, Washington, and given a canonical release to the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America (ROCOR).

          • Ilya Zhitomirskiy says

            He’d be on good terms with Archbishop Kyrill, and the two dioceses of the West will cooperate very well, because he is on good terms with ROCOR already.

        • Ivan Vasiliev says

          Ah yes, “Get thee to a nunnery”! The analogies to the Ophelia’s spurned love are marvelous, though I certainly pray that His Beatitude will not be found floating in the OCA (cess)pool much longer!

      • It would certainly be interesting if the MP simply took Metropolitan Jonah without a release. Game over for OCA synod. At least there would be clarity.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          I very much doubt that Moscow will so blatantly violate the canons, especially now that she is accusing Constantinople of playing fast and loose with a canon.

          • Since +Jonah was removed in blatant violations of the Holy Canons, the secular law (OCA Statutes), and common decency (the slanderous letter), I think nobody will have the right to complaint if MP interferes to partially offset the damage.

    • Peter’s mostly right, and so is Nikos mostly right in his comment on Peter’s message.
      By the way, Patriarch Kirill’s admonition definitely referred to Metropolitan Jonah’s comfort IN the District of Washington DC, so even the lame, fake project of assigning Metropolitan Jonah to Los Angeles with the title of Berkeley wouldn’t have satisfied the admonition of the Patriarch. But that’s moot. Metropolitan Jonah, I believe, refuses to leave Washington or move his parents to a lower rent district ANYWHERE. in the case of Metropolitan Jonah (and any others), though, it should not be ROCOR as such that would request his release from the OCA, but the Moscow Patriarchate Itself.
      For information, ROCOR’s Archbishop Nikon (Rklitzky) of blessed memory, once held the title of Bishop of Washington and Florida, so there’d be nothing particularly uncanonical in ROCOR’s granting Metropolltan Jonah that title: ROCOR had a Bishop of Washington before the OCA ever thought of it! And the OCA could go back to its original tradition of having their First Hierarch be Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All America and Canada, while Bishop Michael could go back home to the Eastern Pennsylvania Archdiocese.

    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

      Peter, very well said.

  5. Pavel Kissel says

    With the selection of Carl Mollard to be the next head of your church the final nail has been placed in the coffin of the fake OCA. The converts had more then enough time to distort the doctrine of the HOLY ORTHODOX CHURCH.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      Such a horrible thing to say. Tell me Mr. Pavel K., are you an Orthodox Christian and, if so, which jurisdiction do you belong to?

  6. AHardDaysNight says

    Thomas Paine writes, “While Wood was leading this community, he destroyed what it was or what it was created to be.”

    This is demonstrably false slander. Fr Zacchaeus’ hard work broadened St Catherine’s positive reputation throughout Moscow. His constructive working relationship with the Patriarch made the scandal-ridden OCA look good. The people of St Catherine’s appreciated Fr Zacchaeus’ pastoral work, and loved him. Just one example is the letter they sent to Met. TIKHON not long ago, which reads:

    “We, the faithful parishioners of St Catherine the Great Martyr Church…write to share with you that we strongly support our former Dean, Archimandrite Zacchaeus, and remember him with love as someone who cared for our spiritual needs as a true Father in Christ and Pastor of Souls… His departure was and is very painful for us who hoped he would serve us for many years to come.

    “We have tried to remain faithful to the parish over the course of the last 1.5 years without a Dean to care fo rus. All of our letters to Metropolitan Jonah and other leaders of the OCA have gone unanswered. We are following what Father Zacchaeus has always taught us — to be faithful to the Church in love and humility…

    “There are serious questions about the management of the parish finances and what happens with our donations. This has led many to stop making donations and others to even leave the parish, unfortunately.

    “We want to return to the live and active parish community that we had under the spiritual leadership of Archimandrite Zacchaeus. We would love to have him return as our Dean, but understand if that is no longer possible. This brings us deep sadness, but we accept your blessing in humility.

    “We sincerely ask Your Beatitude to grant mercy to Father Zacchaeus and to take into consideration that he has led many of the faithful to Christ, thanks to his selfless service to the Church. He has done so much good and there are hundreds who can testify to this. We pray any decision about his future service is made with these facts in mind…”

    This is the testimony of the faithful at St Catherine’s under Fr Zacchaeus. In fact, the letter quoted above is signed by fifty-two parishioners. I myself know members of St Catherine’s, and they also testify of the positive ministry of Fr Zacchaeus. The Russian Orthodox Church strongly supported the work of Father Zacchaeus and even the Patriarch himself came to serve at the parish by invitation of Fr Zacchaeus when NOBODY from the OCA was there! He is being slandered.

    Bp Tikhon writes, “‘Syosset’ supported Woods for as long as they possibly could.”

    This is the opposite of reality. Syosset, both under the embezzler Kondratick and after his deposition, actively opposed Fr Zacchaeus, until they trumped up false charges, slandered him internationally, and found a way to fire him (sound like a familiar pattern?). The false charges they used to command Fr Zacchaeus to come to Syosset weren’t even given trial, because Fr Zacchaeus’ delay in coming (because of medical necessity, as well as on the advice of his spiritual father, as well as his lawyer) created the more convenient charge of “disobedience.” What a laugh! (The sham trial was led by Bp Matthias.) On the very day Fr Zacchaeus was to report to Syosset to face charges (which he did), no one from Syosset came! And Bp Tikhon says Syosset supported Fr Zacchaeus? Not true.

    • Thomas Paine says

      Wood is gone; + Jonah is gone; RSK is gone. Next case!

      • “Next case!”?: T. Paine is gone!!!

      • If only Thomas Paine were next. Another prideful convert bites the dust!

      • Hey Thomas Paine, do you think your victims just disappear into the ether after you hurt them?

        If you don’t start giving Metropolitan Jonah the respect and consideration he deserves, it will cost you your soul on Judgment Day. This doesn’t just go for you, it goes for everyone in the OCA leadership, especially the bishops, who have taken part in this travesty.

        Metropolitan Jonah is going to be just fine, because he never sank to your level, and he never will. The people who run the OCA will never be able to say that for themselves. I feel sorry for all of you.

        • TP is an idiot!

        • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

          Be careful in what you say,”because he(Metropolitan Jonah) never sank to your level and never will.”You or I cannot predict the future.Let us pray that Metropolitan Jonah will never sink to their level.I pray every day for all the people I offended or led into sin,parishoners,and former parishoners,co-workers,and former co-workers.
          I have prayed at the Great Entrance for all those who are persecuted for the Orthodox Faith,the suffering Serbian people of Kosovo AND the Servant of God,Metropolitan Jonah.

          • Thank you, Fr. Andrei. I thought about that, but thought it better to have confidence that Met. Jonah will continue to do well, rather than fear he would start to stumble. Much has been said about Met. Jonah’s alleged failings and mistakes, and I’d like to take a different path.

      • TP
        The idea of the Gospel is not to get rid of people . . . . . News flash-
        You have so much turned upside down and backwards.
        Where’s the love TP where’s the love??

    • Artakhshassa the Great says

      Dear “AHardDaysNight,” Bishop Tikhon testified ONLY to what he was a direct witness to before he retired. For example, he reported that when he turned to Metropolitan Herman and asked why Father Zacchaeus was being retained in Moscow despite his known acute alcoholism, Metropolitan Herman said, turning to Archbishop Job for a supporting nod of the head, ‘But his doctor assured us that is all under control, right? ” Indeed, it’s true that Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick addressed financial “hanky-panky” by the same, but he was warned by Mister Berezansky in an email that if he dared “touch” Father Zacchaeus he’d be finished off. When I said that Syosset supported Zacchaeus, I am OBVIOUSLY not referrring to an admiinistration influenced at all by Father Rodion, but by his successors. My concern in addressing Father Zacchaeus’s notoriiety vis-a-vis alcoholism was FATHER ZACCHAEUS. The only place worse than Moscow/Russia for an American alcoholic would be Anchorage, Alaska. Gregory Solak had been lured to Alaska by his old fan, Fr. Benjamin Peterson, where he perished after too many boozy joint drinking bouts in the basement of the rectory there. To leave Zacchaeus in Moscow risked the same thing; moreover, it was not in the basement of a church rectory where he was found under the influence, but in the streets of a dangerous city. Fortunately, the militia knew what to do if they found ‘the American batiushka’ passed out on the streets. And when an OCA archpriest confided that he had been subjected to a ‘groping attack” by the same, the Chancery was able to prevent the object of the groping from repeating his testimony to Father Karlgut, and he was rewarded with a plum assignment in the West. Why in the world Metropolitan Jonah allegedly chose him as a confessor (on the other side of the world?) remains a mystery. And it’s NOT Father Zacchaeus’s fault if another, previous
      Metropolitan and an ever-memorable Archbishop fell in love with him It happens.
      Those who opine that moving against Zacchaeus was what finally finished :Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick with a certain shade of mafia from coast to coast and in the Midwest are not far off base.

  7. See how they love one another. It is compelling. So attractive. So unlike the “dog eat dog” world I live in. This is what it looks like when people who say “we have seen the true light; we have received the heavenly Spirit; we have found the true faith, worshiping the undivided Trinity” looks like when push comes to shove? I have to tell you that for me it is a real deal breaker. The OCA is not, it appears to me, for my family and I, that is for sure. I paraphrase a portion of your sacred text to you and it makes me wonder if it really is the text you say is so sacred to you:

    Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Act no longer like children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles. Rather, speaking the truth in love grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. You must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; they are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart; they have become callous and have given themselves up to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of uncleanness. You did not so learn Christ! — assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus.

    Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Put away falsehood, let every one speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

    Sir(s) we, on the outside looking in, would see Jesus…

    • Jim of Olym says

      Lazarus, two analogies here:
      Icons get rather dirty over time, obscured by beeswax, incense residue, and all that kissing (sometimes with lipstick!) They need to be renewed periodically by cleaning, sometimes miraculously. The stained glass windowspicturing Christ and the saints have to be washed now and then, or else their light will not shine on the faithful inside the building, but someone has to pay the bill for that cleaning, and someone has to do the scrubbing.
      I hope that is true for the Church as well.

      • With all due respect. I think you are sincere in attempting to make a point to an frustrated outsider. And, I want to offer you my thanks for the attempt.

        Nonetheless, it might fly for the insiders. But, I have to say that the analogy in the dog eat dog world i live in, flies like a lead balloon.

        I am feeling a little patronized. Please don’t… You seem to be saying that the right-spirited observance of the Holy Tradtion obscures the light of Christ from shining through it to both those inside and outside the Church over time. I do not agree that your Holy Tradition makes that assertion. The Holy Tradition would, as far as I have come to understand it, say that the dirt is the accumulation of unconfessed sin and a submission to the passions of pride and vainglory. I think, in my reading of your Tradition uses those terms… So, if the icon is dirty and the stained glass is opaque please don’t try and lead me to believe it is the result of the faithful worship iof the covenant community and leadership of the flock of Christ.

        If my understanding of the Gospel you proclaim is right, then Jesus is paying the bill of which you speak and the Holy Spirit is doing the necessary scrubbing. The persons involved, according to your Tradition are responsible to repent and seek reconciliation, amendment of life for their part in the matter. From my vantage point, good luck with that it seems — short of a miracle. Perhaps I need to start hoping for this miracle of which you speak.

        Scrub a dub dub…

        I reiterate… Sir(s) we, who are on the outside, would see Jesus…

        • Lazarus, I agree with you.

          “The persons involved, according to your Tradition are responsible to repent and seek reconciliation, amendment of life for their part in the matter. “

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        I personally thank that it should be declared heretical for a woman to kiss an icon or any sacred object while wearing lipstick. I have seen icons ruined by lipstick. There is nothing wrong with cleaning an icon, provided it is done by someone who knows what they are doing and they do not ruin the icon by using something that will take off the paint.

    • Ilya Zhitomirskiy says

      “Behold how good and how pleasant it is, when brethren dwell in unity.” This is what Metropolitan Jonah stands for. This is why he went to Mayfield and pursued reconciliation with his brother bishops in ROCOR. He treats them as he wants to be treated, as brothers, and they understand him. Jonah believes that the jurisdictional squabbles that we are engaged in are irrelevant. ROCOR may have bosses in Moscow, but they try to spread the Orthodox faith just like anyone else, and try to show how brotherhood is a good thing. St. John the Baptist Cathedral is an example of this, because they gave Jonah an opportunity to live and serve with them, and have protected Veronica, who lost her employment, by paying he rfor establishing a children’s choir. It is high time for us to follow the example of ROCOR.
      “Blessed is the man, who doth not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor who sitteth in the congregation of the sinners”.

      • small corrections says

        Several corrections –

        1. Jonah does not live at the ROCOR. He lives in a residence for which he pays rent.

        2. ROCOR does not have bosses in Moscow. It is autonomous in its administration and decisionmaking and maintains close congenial relations with the mother church.

        3. Although Metropolitan Jonah has served in ROCOR churches, he also serves in OCA churches and has served with other jurisdictions in the past.

        The Metropolitan will be serving vigil and liturgy this weekend at St. Mark Orthodox Church in Bethesda, MD.

        4. Veronica started the children’s choir a few years ago at St. Mark’s during the vacation bible school there. Shortly thereafter, she started a subscription Pan-Orthodox children’s choir and also taught children’s voice both in the OCA and privately. The current children’s choir is payed for by parents and currently meets at St. John’s cathedral during the spiritual studies. The fee of $60 a month is paid for by parents and includes weekly lessons for however many children a family might have. It, like the spiritual studies, is inter-jurisdictional. The space for these two events (and a children’s dance class also meets at the same time) was generously donated by St. John’s. I have not seen the children’s choir in action but hope to some time in the future.

        As for the spiritual studies, Someone from the ROCOR was filming part of it last night so probably you can see what Metropolitan Jonah explaining and interacting over the fourth chapter of First Corinthians is like on Mr. YouTube shortly.

        Again, I am asking you whether your netname is surprisingly the same as a bright computer programmer who committed suicide, a sin against the Holy Spirit. While I applaud Mr.Zhitomirskiy’s attempt to create a kinder, gentler social networking site than Facebook, I am sad at both our loss of him and his evidently great brain, and the poor example that suicide sets as an option for despair or as a solution for anything. If it is actually your name as well, then I apologize, but it gives me pause every time I read it in connection with Orthodox activities.

        • Please quit bothering Ilya. It is his real name.

        • Rebecca Matovic says

          I don’t agree with much that Ilya writes here but do know him to be a real person, and that’s his real name.

          • Big Apology! was small corrections says

            Dear All, and especially Ilya Zhitomirskiy

            Please forgive me for doubting the real name of someone on this forum. I, who am not brave wnough to post under my name, doubted the for real name of another. It is a very sad statement on the ability to trust people on the internet.

            I DO agree with quite a number of things he posts, especially this one where he said this about Met. Jonah as Bishop of the West::

            ” Ilya Zhitomirskiy says:
            December 14, 2012 at 10:00 am

            He’d be on good terms with Archbishop Kyrill, and the two dioceses of the West will cooperate very well, because he is on good terms with ROCOR already”

            They have a pretty good built in staff out there to help the Metropolitan in that task, and Bishop Benjamin could be sent to another location that needs a bishop

        • Ilya Zhitomirskiy says

          I agree. I am using “bosses” in a sarcastic way to emphasize the conditions of the union: independence for ROCOR in pastoral, liturgical, administrative, and social matters. The only thing Moscow does is insist on commemoration and OK the new ROCOR metropolitan.

  8. Vladyka Tikhon,

    Master bless!

    What are your thoughts on potentially having Metropolitan Jonah as the rector of Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral?

    • Nicholas. The Lord bless you.
      I would hope that Metropolitan Jonah would never become the Rector of Holy Virgin Mary
      Cathedral. Even the cockamamie “plan” to give him the title of Berkelely while assigning him to ASSIST the Rector, Fr. Nicolas Boldireff, while getting $40,000 from the parish yearly and $40,000 annually from
      Syosset was too horrible to contemplate. For the approximately 25 years I was the Rector here, I made sure that the parish always maintained enough cash in the bank to pay for tts entire operation for at least six months in the event of a financial collapse of other calamity in societyf. This is a good plan for any householder or head of family. Unfortunately, other parishes often live hand-to-mouth and month to month with no bank account at all. After I retired, I believe our ruling bishop began to look at the parish as HIS resource—first assigning a total disaster of a stiff-necked convert, but one with five children and another on the way was assigned because no other parish could afford him who did so much harm that even the bishop had to get him out of here, and now this idea. Some people asked why the excellent Father Gerasim was assigned here. (actually, I’m not sure he was, he’s still listed on the OCA website as being one of that whole herd of clergy assigned to St.Sergius Chapel, like Mr. Wheeler, a Deacon. Again, we could AFFORD him. Now there’s the “problem” of looking after the man THEY elected and then ousted. Oh! yeah! Los Angeles still has money in the bank….!” When i retired the parish was in solid good shape, money and membership-wise. The Dean was Fr Michael Senyo and the 2nd Priest was Father Yuri Maev. It was a great and auspicious combination; however, when Bishop Benjamin tried unsuccessfully to force the Seattle parish to take the parish-less Fr. Dresko, the Bishop had to settle with putting him in Las Vegas and quieted down the Seattle parish by grabbing Fr. Yuri Maev from Los Angeles for them. From that action, the parish has been in steady decline. Several families with children moved to other local parishes, such as the Serbian Cathedral in Alhambra, and the ROCOR parish of the Holy Virgin Protection on Argyle Street, etc., etc. And so it goes The rector, Fr. Nicolas Boldireff is just putting in his time to get in his last years at a higher salary (on which his OCA pension would be calculated) in quickly and then retire to play cards in Rawdon,Qyebec with his brothers. I can’t imagine how Metropolitan Jonah could help him. Anyhow, I think it was an insincere offer which the man who offered the project to Metropolitan Jonah, counted on him not taking.
      By the way, I wonder if that genius, Archbishop Nikon, the close friend of Bishop Mark Forsberg and his familiar, feels he knows Abbot Gerasim well enough to allow any of the vacant sees to elect him as their bishop? There is nothing in the OCA Statute to authorize “vetting” by any Holy Synod of ANY candidate before ‘Allowing” (!!!) a widowed diocese to elect a ruling bishop, nothing at all. Background investigations, psychological profiles and so on…These are the requirements of atheists and do not support the Apostles’ standards for their successors.
      They are making everything up as they go along. In relation to the other Churches, they are acting as they accused Jonah of acting, “unilaterally” and “bewilderingly” and as a “law unto themselves, ” demonstrating they don’t even know what autocephaly IS! They think it means something like this: “I’m autocephalous and I’m going to do this: if you don’t like it, screw YOU!”

      • Fr. George Washburn says

        Church politics make strange blogfellows.

      • Dear Vladyka,

        Thank you very much for your comments. I, myself, thought that Fr. Michael Senyo did a great job when he was the rector and it seems that the parish has suffered greatly since his departure. I also agree with you about Metropolitan Jonah. I think it would be a disaster for him to go there. He has never been a parish priest and his desire to play “Russian bishop” will be quickly exposed as a fraud in Los Angeles with two other large Russian Orthodox churches in the vicinity. “Spasibuh” and “Horoshow” is not Russian. For his sake and for the sake of the parish, I hope that he declines the offer.

        By the way, “Mnogaya Leta!” to you for your 80 years. May God grant you many more.


        • You are wrong, Nicholas, then Father Jonah was my parish priest in Merced, CA before going to Point Reyes and establishing the brotherhood under the auspices of Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald). And, he was a good one, loving and kind.

        • Nicholas, you don’t seem to realize St. Nicholas in DC-his former parish- is a Russian parish-second service. Metropolitan Jonah speaks Russian and has been a parish priest. You don’t know what you are talking about.

        • Metropolitan Jonah speaks Russian. He was and still is loved by virtually all the Russian parishioners of St. Nicholas Cathedral in DC. I have heard that since his ouster they had fewer Russian/Slavonic services, which gives food to rumors about an attempt to ethnically cleanse that parish because of the support he had from the Russians there.

      • BM Psevdomudacheva says

        Which ROCOR parish is bigger, Argyle or fr. Lebedev’s?

        • I’m not sure, but I feel that the Church of the Holy Virgin Protection, on Argyle, may have more members than the Cathedral of the Holy Transfiguration, on Fountain. Certainly, the church on Argyle has had a regular early Liturgy for much longer. One must remember that although Fr. Alexander Lebedeff and his family have been part of the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral for a VERY long time, that congregation has still not entirely recovered from the peculiar episcopacy of EVER-memorable Archbishop Antony (Sinkiewicz), who simply WAS the entire administration of that parish ever since he was kicked out of San Francisco and given that parish as a “consolation” prize. He was incredibly jealous and resentful of St. John of San Francisco, and for a long time after the latter was canonized claimed that a parish didn’t HAVE to commemorate St. John and didn’t HAVE to have any icons of him, etc. There was frequent turmoil there during his incumbency. Once or twice the LAPD had to be called to still a near riot! He sent one of his acolytes-among-the-laity up to Canada, near the end, surreptitiously, to have him ordained a Priest by Metropolitan Vitaly The Priest was assigned to a small parish in Glendora and he eventually became Bishop of South America in a Pompous Orthodox (“True”, “Genuine” or the like) outfit. and now, I believe he has the title of Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia–the former Nikita Orloff. Antony was one of the few persons whose persona matches pretty exactly the caricature of ROCOR that Wheeler, Paine, etc., etc., etc. adore as a kind of reverse icon. But , you know, they never had any of our Bishop Mark Forsbergs, etc.. Antony did conceive of a beautiful temple, and it was finally completed and consecrated only after his rather timely falling asleep. The services and parish style of the Church on Argyle (like its long-time Rector, Father, and then Bishop, Alexander (Mileant) is very much like that of many OCA Churches, especially, liturgically. We always used to have s much fuller liturgical calendar than that parish. On the other hand, the parish on Fountain is remarkable punctilious in that regard. I think they may be the only parish in the U.S. that does FULL canons at Matins; not only irmosi and katavasii, but all troparia (“on 14” for Eve of Sunday Vigils) on each Irmos AND the entire Scriptural Odes as well at the beginning of each Ode! It’s too much for any OCA monastery, that’s for sure!

  9. As I read through the various comments several Bible verses came to mind.
    1. Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before a fall.

    comment: I gather that pride in the Orthodox Church apparently is more important than pride in God, at least to some. Also I have news : God is working all around His world, in places where people have never heard of the OC. Imagine? To put down His works that are accomplished outside the OC is to put down God. See # 3 below. for the kind of person God is looking for.

    2. Isaiah 1:10-17 New King James Version (NKJV)
    10 Hear the word of the LORD, You rulers of Sodom;
    Give ear to the law of our God, You people of Gomorrah:
    11 “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?”
    Says the LORD. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle.
    I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats.
    12 “When you come to appear before Me, who has required this from your hand,
    To trample My courts? 13 Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me.
    The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies—
    I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.
    14 Your New Moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates;
    They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them.
    15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you;
    Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear.
    Your hands are full of blood.
    16 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, 17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor;[a]
    Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.

    comment: iniquity . God does not like the combination of iniquity and sacred meetings. Iniquity comes from the Hebrew word aven. whose root word means to ‘pant’ hence to exert oneself, usually in vain. also – trouble, wickedness, vanity. Aven characterizes the way of life of those who are without God. Is. 32:6 For the vile person will speak villainy, and his heart will work iniquity, to practice hypocrisy, and to utter error against the Lord, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail. from The New Strong’s Expanded Dictionary of Bible Words.

    3. John 4:23
    But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.
    God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

    I guess we now need to figure out how we must worship God in spite of all the iniquity around us and in us. As Paul says, Work out your salvation in fear and trembling. Phil 2:12.

  10. Dear George,

    Just a bit of correction to your lead article. Firstly, His Grace, Bp. Irenee, is not the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Canada; he is the VICAR bishop. “Auxiliary” is a term borrowed rather mindlessly from the Latins (just like that other abomination, “canon law“).

    Secondly, His Grace is also the administrator of the Archdiocese; so in everything but name he is the ruling hierarch, and it is he whose name is elevated after that of the Metropolitan.

    Qui nimis probat, nihil probat. “Who proves too much, proves nothing.”

    Fr. Philip

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      How is the term canon law a Latin abomination? The Councils passed canons. What else would you call the study and application of the canons but canon law? What is the difference between a vicar Bishop and an auxiliary Bishop?

      • George Michalopulos says

        Good questions, all, Fr.

      • Vicar bishops and Chor bishops exist in the East from the earliest times. “Auxiliary” Bishops are a Roman Catholic and Anglican creation, but some Orthodox who don’t know any better DO in modern times ape the Romans and Anglicans. Some of them go so far as to assert, ludicrously, that “vicar” is not an Orthodox but as Latin concept and “Auxiliary” MUST be OK because it’s not Latin, even if brought into Orthodox usage in the 20th century. In the Western way of thinking ‘Auxilaries share both authority and responsibility: if an Auxiliary makes a mistake, HE is held responsible. if a Vicar makes a mistake, though, the ruling Bishop must be held responsible.
        Keep in mind the axiom that authority may be delegated: responsibility may NEVER be delegated. By pointing out that Bishop Irenee is a Vicar Bishop, Father Philip rightly shows that it is Archbishop Seraphim (Storheim) who is responsible to God for Irenee’s actions. A vicar bishop is not a partner, not even a voting partner. Everything a Vicar Bishop does is in the name of and in the stead of the Ruling Bishop.
        [I’m sure that a salesman for some other jurisdiction may fill us in on “how WE do it.” I remember the late and, to me, wonderful Father George Benigsen. At one time he was the District Dean of the San Francisco diocese’s Colorado Deanery, which extended then to Texas. When he would visit a parish in that Deanery, he would say to the Parish Rector, jocularly, ‘And remind me: what violations of the Typikon do you observe HERE? ” I’m reminded of Father George almost every day in this blog.]

        • Actualy, Vladyka, the term for an assistant bishop in Anglican usage is usually ‘Suffragan’ rather than Auxiliary (or ‘Co-adjutor’ if he is to succeed the ruling bishop on his retirement). But I know that is ‘nit-picking’.

          Rdr. James Morgan (Ecopalian until i was in my 50s)

          • I don’t consider that to be nit-picking. There was a time when I was more accurate in those matters. I’d forgotten about the exotically British “suffragan.” It’s totally opaque, unlike “vicar” and “auxiliary”. There are, of course, some legitimate objections to “vicar,” too. In Lutheran Churches, “vicar’ is often a trainee assigned under the sheltering wings of a pastor. And in Rome, it is the title of the highest ranking person alive, the Vicar of God! Oh, well, at least they don’t call him the Vice-Regent of God, although it’s the same thing in their minds. Muslims can’t stand that talk from the largest (they call themselves the “Main”) single group of Christians. They don’t believe God has any Vicars (or Auxiliaries, either).. A lot ot them constantly worry about Christianity “taking over.” Why is that?

      • IShouldHaveKnownBetter says

        Father John,
        Perhaps Fr Philip refers to the way Catholics treat their canons.

        “Canon law” is a contradiction of terms, both literally and spiritually. “Canon” itself means guide, or “rule” (in the general sense, not the legalistic sense). It originally meant “straight line” or “standard” (to measure by). It specifically does not mean “law” or “rule” in a legalistic sense, though the canons have been abused that way.

        On the one hand, I have heard Metropolitans announce that the “canons are outdated” and “we must bring our church into the 20th century,” meaning, certain canons (the ones they are violating) are to be ignored. On the other hand, I have heard other leaders say that if the canons are not followed to the letter, the sacraments (such as holy baptism) are not valid. Both are dead wrong, literally.

        Canons are the historical application of pastoral wisdom. We are blessed with the guidance of the canons, but we are not imprisoned by them as if they were all equally universal and mandatory in their specific historical prescriptions. We are obliged to follow the canons, but this means we must primarily understand the spiritual/theological/pastoral reason(s) which the particular canon is founded on. As Father John Meyendorff wrote, the authority of the canons lies in the Truth they seek to express and protect. The point is, our canons are not “laws.”

        To take the canons legalistically or as if they were timeless “laws” is to misunderstand their place within the Tradition of the Church. Unfortunately, men love imposing rules (on themselves and others) rather than seeking a relationship with Christ, so, over the centuries, legalistic codification of the canons came to regard them much as the Jews regarded the Mosaic law. (Codification even merged civil laws with ecclesial canons, without regard for content or even intent, as with “nomocanons”). This is precisely the kind of bondage to the law (itself a good thing) which the holy Apostle Paul writes against in our holy Scriptures.

        We cannot simply take everything written in the canons as if it were written for our present world context. (This is the mistake of those who would simply quote Apostolic Canons to consider the entire Western Hemisphere as “barbarian lands.”) The fact that we cannot simply transplant canons from their original context to ours is actually a good thing, because Christianity must be relationship based, and not rule based. For example, as anyone familiar with the thousands of canons knows, many canons are blatantly contradictory. This doesn’t mean one is right and the other is wrong, but that all canons have a pastoral context. Again, it is the eternal truth that the canon seeks to witness to which we must apply to our place and time today.

        Nikolay Afanasiev explained, “Dogmas are absolute truths; Canons are applications of these truths for the historical existence of the Church.” We “measure ourselves” and guide our corporate life by the “standard” of the canons. But we do not worship them, like some Protestants mistreat the Bible. Jesus said (John 5:39-40), “You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; but it is they that bear witness to Me; yet you refuse to come to Me that you may have life.” Likewise, some Orthodox treat the canons as if they are in themselves lifegiving, when there is only one Lifegiver. Those who treat the canons in this way miss the whole point of the canons which they claim to devote themselves to. As Fr John Erickson puts it, “The legalist is subtly but surely reducing the Church to a mere institution” with rules for “validity” and “annual obligations.”

        This is not to say that the Holy Canons are not true, for they are, and we must follow each one, seeking to understand and apply the Christianity they witness to. But too often, canons are cited legalistically, without regard to their historical context or even the truth they seek to propagate. In other words, they are ignorantly used as if they were timeless “laws” for all mankind. Hence, the contradiction of terms, “canon law.”

        Hope this helps, and does not cause greater confusion or unnecessary argument.


        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          Actually Constantinople uses canon 28 of Chalcedon to claim authority over “Barbarian lands.” It is a real stretch to apply a canon written at a time when the Holy Fathers had no idea that America existed to the modern American situation. However, you are right. Just because Orthodox use the term “canon law” does not mean that they mean the me thing as Roman Catholics. We do have canons and have to interpret and apply them to our present situation. It is just as wrong to ignore them as it is to apply them literally to situations that the Holy Fathers never dreamed of when they wrote the canons. Remember the last canon was written in 787. Ultimately, each Bishop has the authority to instruct his clergy on the application of the canons subject, of course to his primate and the Holy Synod under which he serves.

      • Dear Father,

        Christ is in our midst.

        The Latinism “canon law” is an abomination because it presents a totally false picture of what the Sacred Canons are. “Laws” are in essence convenient regulations set by competent societal authority to meet a current need or situation, and can be changed when the need or situation changes. Tax laws, speed limits, legal drinking age, zoning regulations,etc. are all laws, and are subject to change by majroity vote (or court decision, such as legalizing the murderof the unborn). And the Latin “Code of Canon Law” is composed of just such regulations, which can change rather easily; indeed, the Latins are now into their third Code of Canon Law in my lifetime, each significantly different from the others.

        A “canon” is a different matter. The word itself means “ruler, measuring stick.” Hence, a “canon” is the measure of what it means to be/behave as an Orthodox Christian in a given situation; a “canon” is not an arbitrary rule but an application of the Gospel to a practical situation and is therefore essentially dogmatic, rather than purely disciplinary.

        The danger in thinking of the Sacred Canons as “laws” lies, firstly, in thinking that by majority vote we can change these “laws” if they don’t suit our taste or mood, just as we (or Congress or Parliament or city council), thereby feeding the fundamentally heretical understanding of “conciliarity” as the same thing as democracy or majority rule, and of the Church as a democracy. (But the Church is the Body of Christ; Christ alone is the Head and decision-maker. Our task is not to make decisions but in conciliar manner to discern the decisions Christ has already made for us.)

        The greater danger lies in legalism and applying the Sacred Canons (applications of doctrine, all) in a manner fundamentally inconsistent with the Gospel of Christ, either by looking for “loopholes” or by always using only akrivia (strictness) in applying the Canons, contrary to Canon 102 of the 6th.

        I remember Fr. John Erickson telling me how, in his course at SVS, he always has to spend the first day of class explaining how the Canons are not laws. So I think I’m in reasonably good and learned company on this one.

        Fr. Philip

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          I just looked at the web sites of St. Tikhon’s, Holy Cross, Holy Trinity and St. Vladimir’s. They all list courses in canon law. I think that the seminaries know what they are doing. If they use the term “canon law” it is an acceptable term for use in the Orthodox Church. Naturally, the principles of Orthodox canon law are different from the Roman Catholic principles of canon law. We must not allow Western legalism to influence the application of Orthodox canon law, but must apply our own understanding of canon law. That is why we do not have a Latin style code of canon law. Orthodox canon law has changed. If you study the canons, you will see that later councils have changed the canons of earlier councils. The dogmatic decisions of the Ecumenical Councils are not subject to change, but the Church has changed its canon law as it applies the unchanging dogma to changing conditions. For example, there is a canon that forbids Orthodox Christians from going to Jewish doctors. That may have made sense at the time it was enacted, but has no relevance today. When I was taken to the emergency room of a hospital in New Orleans due to an acute attack of hypoglycemia, I did not ask about the religion of the doctors treating me. I doubt that even the most devout Orthodox Christian taken to the emergency room of an hospital with an heart attack would ask about the religion of the doctors and nurses.

          • Catholic Observer says

            We must not allow Western legalism to influence the application of Orthodox canon law, but must apply our own understanding of canon law.

            Sigh. That tired old Us-vs.-Them / East-vs.-West stuff. And, just for good measure, the old “Western legalism” canard. I am surprised and saddened to see you espousing this shopworn argument, Archpriest John, because I like and admire you and I usually love your posts.

            Oh well. As Um has pointed out, the Orthodox do seem to feel this compulsion to define themselves against us Catholics, rather than simply on their own terms. I wonder why that is?

            • George Michalopulos says

              I agree with you hear. Legalism is unfortunate but it is a step above what we practice at times, which is a type of pick-and-choose canonism, arbitrarily chosen based on what a bishop desires at a specific moment. Other times –like the ouster of Jonah–we don’t even have recourse to canons but just caprice.

            • Michael Bauman says

              CO, perhaps because we are used to thinking in more or less apophatic terms. The Church is not that…come experience what she is in her fullness.

              Besides what else is one to say about heretics and schimatics (as we each officially believe the other to be BTW). To do otherwise is to engage in a kind of egalitarianism that is not real or acceptable.

              Is it really any different when the RCC calls on us to submit? What are we to say but no.

              What are we to say to those who look on us as Catholics but, no we are not. Here is the difference.

              The self-understanding of the Pope and the residue of Scholastic legalism and our understanding of Mary are three very big differences. They are ultimately Christological differences.

    • Father Philip, do you know on what *****canonical**** grounds Archbishop Seraphim has been removed from the rule of his diocese; in fact, suspended? Did the Holy Synod accuse Archbishop Seraphim of any sin or crime or malfeasance or betrayal of his Priestly oath or Episcopal Confessions of Faith? If not, then how is it that he is not recognized as the ruling Bishop of the Diocese of Canada and regularly carrying out his episcopal stewardship of his flock?
      I agree with your discussion of vicar bishops, which are mentioned in the OCA Statute. ROCOR has a very Orthodox statute and a regulation clearly defining the “Vicar” bishop: his duties and responsibilities and the limits of them both. The OCA does not…Therefore Bishop Irenee is willy-nilly functioning as an auxiliary or perhaps better, Co-adjutor to a Bishop in limbo.
      It seems to me that even if the crimes of which the civil authorities accuse him are proved true in the future (April 2013 is it now?), the removal of Archbishop Seraphim now is another example of the ad hoc lawlessness that passes for governance in today’s OCA. They seem to be “making it up as they go along.” Seems awfully unOrthodox, no? Some wag is probably going to refer to the “Unorthodox Church in America,’ one of these days! One gets the impression of a gaggle of clergy and laity scrambling through their seminary notes to try and find an Orthodox way to act every time a “crisis” arises. Once Local Churches followed what had been passed on or over to them by their predecessors…Now, one of those Local Churches seems to be scrambling around daily to find out “what Father Alexander (or John, or…Cephas or Apollos) said about this”, or “what the 1917 All-Russian Council’s preconciliar documents say about this,” while in the liturgical area (“Liturgical Theology” anyone?) one must consult the utterances of those Oracles: Taft, Mateos, and Wybrew.
      If it weren’t so NOT conducive to anyone’s salvation, one might find it amusing.
      How long before someone recognizes that St. John of Damascus was right in classifying Islam as a heresy? After all, cannot a case be made that Arianism NEVER lost its vigor, but survived, with the addition of a book, in Islam? But the history books will show that the Orthodox Church in America was, in the 21st century, preoccupied with such issues as the salary and residence of a former First Hierarch and how to compete with other American denominations; Antiochian, Greek, Episcopalian, Mormon, Old Calendarites, etc.

      • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

        Your Grace,

        It seems to me that you tend to confound Arianism and semi-Arianism, and give both more credit than they deserve, neither version had real roots in the popular devotion, and many of the people (such as Eusebius) accused or suspected of either version were just conservatives who only came around to the idea of man-made creeds, and any additions to the existing creeds, as an absolute last resort .

        As far as Islam being a heresy, that would be giving it more credit than it deserves. Arianism died out relatively quickly and only made a return in the 19th century with the Jehovah Witnesses as a post-Protestant sect. Islam on other hand has a Christ that was just a man, didn’t die on the cross, didn’t shed blood for salvation, etc., things that put it way beyond Arianism, into the catergory of an entirely different religion (after all Buddhists, Hindus, New Agers, etc. often have no problem venerating an Islamic level version of Jesus Christ). That Muhammad had no real Christian influences can be seen in the Koran’s confusion of Maryam (Mary) Theotokos and Miriam (Mary) sister of Moses.

        • “Ladder”, I disagree with you. I’ve always thought that the category ‘semi-Arianism” was an intellectual and scholarly cop-out. Remember ‘ A rose is a rose?” or are you too young?
          What I said about Arianism and its survival in Islam was, it’s true, not referring to Fundamentalist Arianism as defined by the Schoolmen. Nor was I referring to “Semi-Moslems” or “Semi-Orthodox” or, even “Semi-Nicene Christians, all of whom, given the problematic existence of ‘semi-Arianism” are likewise problematic.
          It seems to me that Arians placed their doctrine that Jesus Christ was not God in the central-most place in their teachings, and that Arians individually, like all Christians, placed differing values and imputed varying importance to all Christian doctrines.
          Muslims, as you surely know and recognize, venerate the Virgin Mary and believe in the Virgin Birth, but do not believe that God fathered Jesus Christ on a woman. They believe that Jesus Christ (or mesiyah) is a great and holy prophet, like John the Baptist, who is likewise venerated (his holy head is maintained to this day in the Umayyad Mosque of Damascus). Some do believe he was crucified, and most believe that he wiill return on the clouds on the last day.
          If, as you write, “islam being a heresy that would be giving it more credit that it deserves.” I’m not sure what our Orthodox or scholarly guidelines are for “deserving,” but I do think it is slightly overweening to simply dismiss Saint John of Damascus’s CLEAR classification of Islam as a heresy, Or?
          I’m glad to see that you use the Qor’an as a basis for determining whether or not Mohammad had any “real” Christian influences, but it proves nothing of the sort.. Do you differ with Hans Kueng in his huge book, “Islam,” in that?
          Why and how do you, using the name of a semi-scholarly journal as your pseudonym, dare to write that “islam has (sic) a Christ that is just a man?” Don’t you KNOW they consider him to be a great and holy prophet, a predecessor of Mohammad? Since both Islam and Arianism venerate him as the Jew’s promised messiah, doesn’t that encourage you to consider the similarity between those two faith communities? Arians had our Gospels. Muslims teach that our Gospels are true but that they do NOT teach that Jesus is God and that the Christian’s teachers msinterpreted their own Scriptures! Arians agree with Muslims that Jesus Christ is not God, while Arabs and Iranians call him messiah, they also consider him to be a Forerunner of Mohammad,as St. John was a Forerunner of Jesus. Islam, true, has many non-Christian elements and teachings, but their teachings about Jesus Christ are little different from the Arians’ teaching; therefore, I stated that Arianism, far from dying out or away, survives not only in miscellaneous Protestant denominations and in Freemasonry and other thought in the Christian world, but in Islam, where it got a new lease on life, which transformed it almost as much as the Church was transformed in the 4th century, while maintaining its core beliefs.

      • Your Grace,

        Master, bless.

        Given my advancing age and problems with high blood pressure, I beg Your Grace to excuse me from an extended and therefore health-threatening discussion of how the Central Church Administration applies, does not apply, and/or misapplies the Sacred Canons, The Statute of the Orthodox Church in America,and so on ad nauseam (which is Latin for “till you barf”). I cannot explain to Your Grace behaviour which I myself do not understand. All I can say is that in one particular spiritual court with which we are both familiar, the canonical violations by the court and later by the Holy Synod were so egregious as to leave one dumbfounded.

        As for Archbishop Seraphim, thanks for asking. His trial is now postponed till September, 2013. Currently in Winnipeg there is an on-going inquest into the death of a child. That inquest (involving, at lasy count, 27 lawyers!) is gobbling up court time and court space; and His Eminence’s lawyer was asked if his client would be willing to delay the trial so as to get this inquest finished, especially as some new evidence in it has surfaced. As hard as it was for him to suffer yet another delay, for the sake of justice for the dead child the Archbishop agreed. It is, of course, hard on all of us, including Bishop Irenee (who’s labouring mightily and well in a very difficult situation). As for the Archbishop’s suspension, it seems to me to violate Article XI of The Statute, which gives the accused cleric the right to trial in a spiritual court within 30 days of a suspension being imposed.

        Fr. Philip

        • ChristineFevronia says

          Archbishop Seraphim is innocent of the charges against him. He was not even physically in the location of where these events were supposed to have occured when they occured. Met. Jonah knew this. But he paid the price for standing by Archbishop Seraphim. The OCA has abandoned Archbishop Seraphim in his time of need.

    • Archpriest John Morris says

      Almost all of our terms are borrowed from the Latins. Our titles like Rev., Very Rev, Rt. Rev, etc are borrowed from the Anglicans or the Roman Catholics. To get all hyped up over whether someone is called an auxiliary bishop, chor bishop or vicar bishop is nit picking and a waste of time. These things make no difference. Besides there are differences among the various Orthodox traditions on some of these matters. The Russians call their Patriarch, “His Holiness,” while we Antiochians call our Patriarch, “His Beatitude.” In America the Greeks call an Archimadrite “Very Rev.,” while Antiochians call an Archpriest “Very Rev.” and an Archimandrite, “Rt. Rev.” All of these things are externals that have nothing to do with the doctrine of the Church.

  11. Fr. George Washburn says

    Good Friday, friends:

    It is interesting and sad, not to say ridiculous or delusional, to see the discussions here devolve into this pattern of personal sniping between mostly pseudonymous churchmen who, both in their own minds and in this venue, *claim* to occupy the high ground in the Church of the Living God and to know just what the OCA corner thereof needs just now in order to prosper.

    Noms-de-guerre notwithstanding, they each know who they are, and out here in the provinces we can make some educated or gossip-fueled guesses too. Many of you partisans – of whatever stripe – just seem to be using Met. Jonah and his family (or whoever else has the misfortune to be the current target of opportunity or martyr of convenience) look like a soccer ball that each one anonymously boots as the moment suits in the direction of where that particular player IMAGINES the goal to be. And imagines himself to have scored and/or prevented those they imagine to be on the “other team” from doing so.

    And we keep on buying tickets to the spectacle.

    Fr. George

    • George Michalopulos says

      Fr George, nobody hear is a Jonah acolyte. We are all offended at his treatment. If it came to my attention that your Parish Council treated you as abominably and as maliciously as the Syosset Apparat has treated Jonah over the years, we would spring to your defense.

      Nothing you say obviates the lies, slanders, and overall sinfulness that was used to remove His Beatitude.

      • Fr. George Washburn says

        Nothing I have ever written here was meant to obviate any sins against Met. Jonah. Now I HAVE said, and will here repeat, that doing the same things back …or different ones …to his critics doesn’t help, and surely hinders, the work of God.

  12. Michael Bauman says

    Fr. Stephen Freeman has an excellent post on his blog today: From St. Nikolai Velimirovich’s Prayers by the Lake

    A brief excerpt

    O my heavenly Mother, open Your eye in my soul, so that I may see what is what–so that I may see who is dwelling in my soul and what sort of fruits are growing in her.

    Without Your eye I wander hopelessly through my soul like a wayfarer in the night, in the night’s indistinguishable gloom. And the wayfarer in the night falls and picks himself up, and what he encounters along the way he calls “events.”

  13. Metropolitan Jonah now regularly serves at the St. John the Baptist in DC (ROCOR) and also does lectures at the parish. His episcopal staff (crozier) is always present outside the royal doors.

    He is also commemorated as “Metropolitan Jonah…” at all the services I believe whether he attends or not.

  14. Pan Orthodox Events says

    Fr. John Johnson

    4:38 PM (4 minutes ago)

    Dear all,

    A friendly reminder that Metropolitan Jonah will present the next of his ongoing series of Orthodox Studies talks, this evening at 7:30 p.m. in the Parish Library. Hope you can join us.

    In Christ,
    Fr. John

    Priest John Johnson
    Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist
    Church: 202.726.3000

  15. Heracleides says

    In commemoration of the recent and now infamous posting from an equally infamous Bozodeacon, I’ve uploaded a new image titled “Breath Mint” which may be viewed here.

    For those of delicate disposition, ‘look away, look away!’ (you’ve been warned).

    • M. Stankovich says

      Yeah, and in commemoration of your continuous cowardice, indiscriminate disrespect for anyone and everyone, and for mirroring the filth, crudeness, and cynicism of this fallen world, I would heartily suggest to even those with a “delicate dispositions,” otherwise reeling from the scandal of the reference to a “fool,” the current NY Times bestseller:

      A**holes: A Theory. Aaron James. Doubleday Press, New York, NY, 2012.

      “A**hole management begins with a**hole understanding. Much as Machiavelli illuminated political strategy for princes, this book finally gives us the concepts to think or say why a**holes disturb us so, and explains why such people seem part of the human social condition, especially in an age of raging narcissism and unbridled capitalism. These concepts are also practically useful, as understanding the a**hole we are stuck with helps us think constructively about how to handle problems he (and they are mostly all men) presents. We get a better sense of when the a**hole is best resisted, and when he is best ignored—a better sense of what is, and what is not, worth fighting for.”

      Not one objection from the barrel-o-traditionalists over the sheer crudeness of this “satire?” Knuckleheads demand written apologies, reviews by the hierarchs, beat their breasts like the Pharisees over the word “fool,” but not one single comment for a cartoon fit for a “men’s magazine?” Your hypocrisy smells worse than Secaucus.

      • George Michalopulos says

        M S, with all due respect, I have seen nothing but pharisaism regarding His Beatitude from his critics on this website.

      • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD says

        There you go again, Mr. Stankovich!

        My family moved to Secaucus, NJ, from Jersey City in the summer of 1969, after I graduated from secondary school. By then the Secaucus “stench” that Johnny Carson mocked quite regularly on his late-night variety show was more probably from the Kearny, NJ, dumps; the notorious pig farms in Secaucus had long since vanished by the 1960s.

        It is better to hurl insults, if one must hurl insults, at real rather than imagined targets.

        • M. Stankovich says

          Fr. Alexander,

          Hmm… Pig farms you say… Well, I confess to a significant sensitivity to odors – and all the while acknowledging the subjective nature of the concept. I was a bit of an historical form of entertainment for my colleagues as I frequently gagged at vomiting patients and the stinkier of the “frequent fliers.” Nevertheless, I am quite confident in my recollection of the drive between Exit 16W (Seacaucus/Rutherford) and Exit 14 (I-78, Newark Airport) as the stinkiest drive I have ever consistently gagged through. Likewise, as exit 16W is the Meadowelands Sports Complex, last year I gagged on the walk from the Jet’s game to the car.

          While it apparently may not be related to a porcine predicament, by heavens it smells like hypocrisy to me.

          • Jim of Olym says

            You want stink, Michael, try the 605 Freeway just south of Valley Blvd, I think. There is a large duck farm there, supplying Donald’s friends and relations to the Chinese market. The stench wafts for at least a mile in all directions as I recall.
            In Lost Angels county….

      • Dear M Stankovich,
        You are so keen to hurl charges of hypocrisy and Pharisaism at those you disagree with here that you neglect to consider that some of us may “look away” and therefore not see what you assume we have seen. Do not be so eager to assume the worst of people, both for the sake of your own spiritual state and the protection of others’ reputations.

    • I would suggest to those who read these proceedings, and find Heracleides’ “satire” generally distasteful (and this particular work especially offensive) to review Photobucket’s Terms of Use, use member tools such as “Flag as inappropriate” and to contact with a URL to Heracleides’ portfolio. Photobucket will then review the material and decide whether or not to continue hosting Heracleides’ work.

      • NK,

        That is your right to object, but if others don’t think the satirical cartoon is offensive, you are infringing on my rights by being a “thought policeman.”

        No one forced you to look at the cartoon. You made the choice to enter the “satire zone.”
        Please recall, the satirical cartoon comes from the deacon himself who proudly told the world who he was going to have dinner with last Friday. Being a public figure means that you may be the subject of satire. It has a long history in our country.

        You may descend your moral high horse now and keep developing your sense of humor.

      • Heracleides says

        And I can then appeal and have the image restored (“Breath Mint“) within less than 30 minutes.

        Since the above was your one and only posting on Monomakhos under the NK moniker, I think I can safely say; better luck next time Bozodeacon.

        • “The Devil, that proud spirit, cannot endure to be mocked!” Thomas More, 16th century.

          Keep up the EXCELLENT work, Heracleides!

  16. cynthia curran says

    Well, in the west the Church was not Arian, the Arians were the Germanic Tribes, the Vandals, and Visgoths, and the Ostergoths rhat ruled over the what was the western Roman Empire. The Vandals and Ostergoths numbers were greatly diminished by Justinian’s reconquest of Carthage and other parts of North Africa and Italy. The Visgoths eventually became Catholic and the Franks mainly outside of Italy and North Africa at his time were mainly Catholics. Also, early in the 4th Century in the east Valens was the last Arian emperor while his brother Valentinian was Orthodox this was after Julian and Jovian I believed ruled. Valentianian the son in the west mother was Arian called Justiina and influence the boy but Theodosius the first intervine.

  17. On the YouTube says

    December 7:

    The one from last Friday seems not to have been processed yet.

  18. Today’s totally irrelevant bit of news from Fr. John Jillion’s Chancellor’s Diary

    On a personal note, and along the lines of “rejoice with those who rejoice,” while yesterday’s meeting with the Legal Committee was in full swing, I had word from my oldest son, Andrew (30), that he had successfully passed his PhD defense at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), with a dissertation on international law, From Faith in Rules to the Rule of Law: Constitutional Responsibilities in International Society. My late father graduated from LSE in 1949, which adds another layer of family happiness.

    Anyone who has completed a doctorate knows what a hard slog that can be, how underappreciated it often is and how many people they need around them to pull it off. So I raise a metaphorical glass to Andrew, to all who finish their doctorates and to their teachers and supporters along the way, with thanks to God who stands behind every good gift, success and satisfaction.

    Yes, a proud dad, nothing wrong with that, but why is it necessary for Jillions to force feed the OCA website readers with personal news? Does he need to validate himself in his role as Chancellor? That is personal business with little or nothing to do with his job (handsomely paid) as Chancellor.

    Come on Jillions, get a grip and get back to your job. What are you doing to rectify the continued mistreatment of Metropolitan Jonah? How are you dealing with the continued blow back from other Orthodox Churches who have put the OCA on notice that unless +Jonah is treated with respect and released, there will be consequences?

    Hopefully the OCA Legal guys will tell you to stop trying to reopen legally settled and binding misconduct cases which if reopened could lead to the OCA going to court and spending needless money on your sex quest. Why do you continue to ignore the most obvious cases like Archdeacon Gregory Burke? Why are you trying to pursue a case of misconduct which a diocesan spiritual court threw out exonerating the cleric?

    I am happy for you and your son, bravo, but reporting it does little to boost my confidence in your abilities nor give you any more credibility as Chancellor. Get back to work. And, btw, I would much rather hear from the Metropolitan on a regular basis and not you.

    • Personally I sort of doubt there is much enthusiasm among the powers that be for doing right by Met. Jonah. I recently had the opportunity to listen to one of the deans of one of the dioceses currently without a bishop. A question was raised about the possibility of Met. Jonah being given one of the currently vacant dioceses…and the disdain expressed toward the Metropolitan was palpable. If other deans feel the same way I can only imagine how Syosset feels.

      I suspect they only intend to do the minimum they can get away with and drag their feet doing it as long as possible and attach as many onerous conditions to their “deal” as they dare. I would love to be proven wrong on this point..but we shall see.

  19. Crown of Constantine IX Monomachos says

    The above website has Byzantine cloisonné enamel plaques, parts of a crown. They represent the emperor Constantine IX Monomachos (1042-1056), his empress Zoe (d. 1050), her sister Theodora, 2 dancing girls and personifications of the virtues Truth and Humility. Two medallions show the apostles Sts. Peter and Andrew

    and especially

    Why all the emperor stuff, you might ask? Because Constantine IX is obviously your favorite emperor, and you are the emperor of this blog.

    Much having to do with the diminishing and deposition and maltreatment of Metropolitan Jonah has been rumor, innuendo, insider information and self-fulfilling prophecy and there is a lot of that here. Has Metropolitan Jonah actually asked for release to the ROCOR and has the ROCOR asked to have him released to them? He is silent so far. Has all the talk on the blog about walking to other jurisdictions by folks here led to a foregone conclusion? Why not talk about our need for bishops?

    Are you ready to leave the OCA.? If you are ready for an ethnic archdiocese, why not the Serbs, Bulgarians, Macedonians or Greeks? Is all the unity that Metropolitan Jonah created gone? We’re not even waiting for him to speak.

  20. cynthia curran says

    Thanks its been along time since I read about Constantine the 9th Monommachos. I do remember that Zoe also had a colorful past she was married several times. The one inscription is interesting since it refers to Augustus of the Romans, which links the Romans of Constantinople in terms to the Romans of Italy. Augustus being that great figure of the Roman Empire that everyone even christians wanted to be associated with.

  21. Law
    before 1000; Middle English law ( e ), lagh ( e ), Old English lagu < Old Norse *lagu, early plural of lag layer, stratum, a laying in order, fixed tune, (in collective sense) law; akin to lay1 , lie2

    1175–1225; (noun) Middle English riule, reule < Old French riule < Latin rēgula straight stick, pattern (see regula); (v.) Middle English riwlen, reulen, rewellen < Old French riuler, rieuler, ruler < Late Latin rēgulāre, derivative of rēgula

  22. Well, today was the day it was all supposed to end and here I am sitting at the keyboard typ

  23. Ben in SoCal says

    This kind of snarky backbiting in the Orthodox communion almost makes one believe that the Pope and Vatican are right. And I am converting to Orthodoxy from Roman Catholicism. What is wrong with the faith?? Secular humanism and soulless materialism are gaining steam! Get it together brother Orthodox churches!

    • Michael Bauman says

      The battle is always thus and it begins in each of us.

    • Catherine 9 says

      Good for you, Ben !

      Just go to the really really Traditional section or you will be vastly disappointed.

      You could read a couple of opposing or let’s say, differing approaches
      the sedevacantist Most Holy Family Monastery

      The first are completely non-canonical [an Orthodox obsession!] but
      really the 2 Dimonds make more sense than almost anyone I have seen
      in MANY respects. Not in ALL –

      [I saw a license plate the other day – way across the country – : DIMONDS I felt it was maybe a reminder or a confirmation about them –
      though I am sure the plate itself referred to the jewel, diamond. ]

      They aren’t REAL Benedictines at all, and can be extremist on the question
      of salvation outside the Catholic Church.

      But about recognizing demons and the actions of demons in people
      and situations large and small, they are refreshingly outspoken.

      See their videos about the False Sister Lucia of Fatima
      and the quite serious one about Hell, if nothing else from their site,

      There is a lot of material to go through of use on their site,
      wherever you go eventually in the Catholic fold.

      Then there is Fr Gruner with the crusade to get Pope Benedict or any Pope
      to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart, as requested by Our Lady
      very specifically.

      Reading the Fatima Center materials are another help in remembering
      some of the really Traditional ways of the Catholic Church,
      obliterated by the Mason, John XXIII and subsequent poor excuses for
      Popes independent of political control by various nefarious lobby groups, etc.

      Let us know where you end up ! Best Wishes and Merry Western Christmas !

      • Johann Sebastian says

        @ Catherine 9: Unia was something gleefully shed when my forebears came to America. Whereas it had been conceived as an underhanded means of eradicating Orthodoxy in the westernmost parts of Rus’, it now seems to have some efficacy as a “first step” in introducing Westerners to the Orthodox Faith.

        Perhaps the real message at Fatima was that the Pope should do some searching for the Truth.

      • Michael Bauman says

        I’m sorry, but you post makes absolutely no sense at all to me.

    • Ben, good luck finding that church with only perfect people allowed. If you find such a thing, you will probably notice that it isn’t really much of a church.

      • Helga, I think you dismiss “Ben in SoCal’s” complaint too easily. The impression of the Orthodox Church that this blog offers, largely through its comments, has become too much a drone of nastiness and ill-will, with many commentators reading the remarks of others in the most uncharitable way possible in order to make themselves look smart or clever or pious. I have reached a point at which I have found it spiritually demoralizing to read the comments regularly, and I have not posted in several months. Then I got the newsletter from Manton via email, and since conditions there had been a matter of some concern to readers of this blog, I decided to post it here, along with an exhortation that those who care about +Jonah should not only continue praying for him, but also pray the monastery that he worked to build up. The post, which is below, has as of this moment a negative response of -3, i.e. out of 11 responders, seven “disliked” it.

        Forget the fact that I posted this. Anyone could have done it, and most people who cared would have said something similar about the need for prayer on their behalf, etc. Is this not an indication of a nasty, rancorous mood that has infected this blog? I marvel: what, exactly, do the thumbs-down people wish to condemn. What do they not “like.” The conveyance of information? The exhortation to pray for a former primate of the Church? Or to pray for a holy monastery of the Church. Or is this just a knee-jerk response to any mention of Metropolitan Jonah, no matter what. This is not an isolated case, for many other times I have been amazed at negative reactions to the most innocuous things posted.

        My answer to Ben is that most Orthodox Christians I know do not typically behave like people do on this blog. In fact, none of them do. Even at parish council meetings, at least in my experience, they maintain a civil tone, even in disagreement. Nor do I think the people on this blog who say ugly, negative, insulting things here are themselves behaving in the same ways they do in their daily lives. I think technology has both an amplifying character (which is why most of us have learned NOT TO USE ALL CAPS IN EMAILS AND POSTS) while at the same time it has a way of diminishing individual ownership of our own acts. It gives us the kind of faceless anonymity that we easily exercise on the phone when we are rude to people we don’t know, or in the car to the generic human drivers in other cars who annoy us. This has nothing to do with whether commentators should or shouldn’t use their own names (Seraphim is in fact my baptismal name) but rather with technological anonymity which serves as a mask for ugly impulses and serves as a temptation to indulge them.

        I conclude, then, that we need to exercise a kind of mildness here that actually exceeds that which we exercise in daily life, be even more courteous than we customarily are to those who know us and face us. Otherwise, I think we discredit the Orthodox faith that I believe everyone who posts on this blog sincerely wishes to uphold and defend. It has been about a year since I started following this blog, and during that time I have noted at least a half dozen catechumen, inquirers, and newly illumined converts who have been scandalized by what is said here and how it is said. During this time in which we celebrate the birth of our Savior, this fact should give us (myself above all) pause for prayer and self-examination.

        • Seraphim, regarding the voting, there are safeguards against multiple voting that are very easy to circumvent, so it is easy for one screwball to plug in several negative votes just to be spiteful. Try not to take it so seriously.

          Yes, maybe I was a little short with Ben, but I thought he was being extremely judgmental against the Orthodox Church – and Monomakhos itself – on an unfair basis. It is plainly illogical to conclude that the Pope and Vatican must be right because there’s some backbiting on one Orthodox blog. For one thing, I can point to a dozen hateful Catholic websites that make this place look like a Care Bear convention. Also, George is not responsible for the attitudes of certain posters, but he can’t rigorously scrutinize every comment. Every individual commenter bears the responsibility for what they write.

          For everyone who wants a better atmosphere here at Monomakhos, be a part of creating it. Don’t take your toys and go home, and don’t repay evil with evil. Write nice comments and act like your mom is reading them all. I think we would soon see a major improvement.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Thank you Helga. I have always tried to make this blog a place of civil debate. If some people want to take the dudgeon level up a notch or two that’s their business (provided they write nothing actionable).

            To all: I don’t mean to pat myself on the back but when I last saw the stats for Monomakhos (back in November), I was very impressed. We’re going on three years now and it keeps getting bigger and bigger. The point however is that this is largest website in the AngloOrthosphere where robust and raucous debate is allowed to take place. Simply put there is no website (to my knowledge) of our size that allows freewheeling, uncensored commentary. Certainly there are no other ones that are read in the chanceries here in America as well as Moscow and Istanbul. I want to keep it that way.

            Thank you all for making Monomakhos what it is.

            • Helga, I don’t think you were in any way unkind to Ben. I just think people who post on this blog might do well to consider whether or not their tone, and certainly their lexicon, is often less than truly Christian. And you make a good point that there are doubtless individuals who are spiking their votes. Still, it bothers me when I see (for example) a regular poster ask for forgiveness for his sins of the past year and receive a negative net vote. It really amazes me how someone could do this.

              George, not just the OCA but American Orthodoxy as a whole owes you an enormous “thank you” now at the end of the year. Generating the lively reflections you offer and moderating the site is itself a full-time job, and I know that you are also otherwise employed. It could only be a labor of love, and for this I am grateful to you. I hadn’t meant in my comments to criticize your moderating, but since you have brought it up, I will confess that there are certain remarks from certain people that I would cull if it were my own blog, not because of their content, but because they are rude and gratuitously nasty. The Enlightenment vision of truth as emerging through open discourse presupposes non-coercion, and after a certain point, ugly remarks become coercive and begin to suppress open discussion. But I suspect we may differ on this one, and besides, it is your blog and not mine. And for your work here, which has been invaluable to the cause of American Orthodoxy, I wish you “Many Years!”

    • Archpriest John Morris says

      If you read the history of the papacy especially the Borgia papacy, or anything about Pius IX you will see that we are amateurs when it comes to stabbing people in the back and dishonest and brutal church politics. There is even evidence that Pope John Paul I was murdered. At one time they had three men all claiming to be the legitimate Pope. In fact, I cannot think of any institution in European history that has been cursed with more intrigue and dishonesty as the papacy. As Lord Acton wrote, “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

      • Michael Bauman says

        Actually Father, the quote is; “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

        Do not forget that Lord Acton was a powerful man. His quote should not be used to bring all power into question but rather as a warning that all human power should be exercised with discretion and should have functional boundaries placed upon its exercise. Everyone needs to be accountable to other human beings.

        Otherwise one finds oneself in the Nihilist postion of declaring God as totally corrupt and then killing Him.

        Unfortunately, the Pope does not seem to have accountability unless I’m missing something. Even more unfortunately, our bishops often seem to lack that same thing.

        Isn’t that what all the fuss has been about lately?

        It takes tremendous humility to live in a hierarchical community, especially when one is given authority (quite different than power don’t you think?).

      • Catholic Observer says

        And yet the papacy has outlasted every other “human” institution. And it’s still going strong. Almost as if it were divinely instituted and divinely protected or sumpin’. 😉

        Meanwhile, while the folks here diss the papacy and take potshots at the Catholic Church, the popes themselves (especially JP II and Benedict) bend over backward to reconcile with the Orthodox. When has a recent pope said anything derogatory about an Orthodox hierarch? On the Catholic side, it’s all charity and irenicism and “play nicey-nice.”

        Oh well….

        • George Michalopulos says

          CO, you are right. The Papacy I believe is divinely protected in some way. Although I must hasten to add that I cannot believe in the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception and Papal Infallibility, the first of which was unilaterally placed upon the Church by the Pope and the latter which was done to justify the unilateralism.

          You are right as well about JPII and Benedict bending over backwards to reconcile with us. I am worried however by Benedict’s dropping of the title “Patriarch of the West” from his repetoire. I’ve talked to numerous Orthodox and it seems there was no problem whatsoever with him having this title. If anything, it restricted the size of the Bishop of Rome’s boundaries, more in keeping with Orthodox ecclesiology. And of course, the Filioque must be dispensed with. Other things can be consigned to the realm of theolegoumena.

          I would welcome a discussion on any of these things.

          • Johann Sebastian says

            George Michalopulos says, “Other things can be consigned to the realm of theolegoumena.”

            This opinion really diminishes the value of what Orthodoxy has managed to preserve through years of persecution and suppression. Certainly some things aren’t very clearly defined in our faith, and therefore there is some room for speculation, so long as it doesn’t conflict with dogma.

            Let us remember, however, that every aspect of praxis is an expression and affirmation of what we take to be incontrovertible Truth. It isn’t just a matter of having the papacy submit to a short-list of conditions. Everything has to be assessed–only those practices that are Orthodox or justifiable from an Orthodox perspective may be retained. Otherwise, a reunion will be nothing more than a new Unia.

            Every aspect of praxis is an expression and affirmation of what we take to be incontrovertible Truth. There are reasons, very compelling reasons, for everything we do. It’s an idea that, unfortunately, is lost to many of us, both Orthodox and Catholic.

        • Johann Sebastian says

          Catholic Observer says, “And yet the papacy has outlasted every other “human” institution.”

          I would argue this has been done at the expense of the integrity of the Church it presides over.

          On the other hand, despite our shortcomings in worldly affairs, the Orthodox Churches have managed to maintain integrity in matters of faith. While we may have warm and fuzzy feelings toward Rome on a “human” level, Rome just keeps going further down a road that makes the restoration of communion progressively less possible.

        • Michael Bauman says

          CO, the bend only goes so far. Not long after Benedict assumed the Papal throne he stated that his idea of reunion was for we Orthodox to submit to the Papal authority. Not likely to happen.

          Nor is it likely that the Pope will submit to being ‘merely’ first among equals in the hierarchical structure of the larger Church.

          Even if one or the other were to occur people would not universally accept the change and schism would be maintained.

          We can and should work together to the extent we are able. Anything beyond that–we’ll just have to wait and see.

          Why should he not be ‘nice’ he’s the Pope and has, in his mind, supreme authority.

          As for longevity the Patriarcates of Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria are older and have faced far more serious challenges to their existence that Rome has even thought of. Not to mention the Coptic Pope in Egypt.

          Rome has always enjoyed a great deal of politcal power and protection. Something the east has not enjoyed for at least 1000 years (for some longer than that).

        • Archpriest John Morris says

          The ancient Patriarchate of Antioch is actually older than the papacy, and was also founded by Sts. Peter and Paul. Unlike Rome, Antioch did not go into schism and introduce innovations contrary to the Faith of the Fathers and the Ecumenical Councils. It is not possible to reconcile the modern papacy with the canons of the Ecumenical Councils that know nothing of papal supremacy or infallibility. All 7 Ecumenical Councils assume authority over the entire Church, including the Bishop of Rome. They also established local self rule by autocephalous Churches as we have in Orthodoxy. The Holy Fathers knew noting of Purgatory or of the Augustinian doctrine of original sin.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Last time I checked The Patriarchate of Constantinople, although heavily persecuted, still exists and is at the helm of an Orthodox Jurisdiction of immense wealth and power. Small and persecuted does not mean non-existence and weakness. The First Among Equals still survives and his line is still intact.

            Peter A. Papoutsis

        • ProPravoslavie says

          “And yet the papacy has outlasted every other “human” institution. And it’s still going strong. Almost as if it were divinely instituted and divinely protected or sumpin’. ;)”

          The papacy is not the oldest existing human institution. The Buddhist sangha and the Theravada lineages of monastic ordination are far older than Christianity itself. The institution of the Emperor of China lasted 2,100+ years and no one would have thought that it would disappear as late as only 2-3 years before its actual collapse. Age does not always imply truth.

          I believe that it is divinely protected for because it is a fact that every Church that has possessed “valid apostolic succession” (to use Western theological language) and which confessed the divinity of Christ has survived intact to the present day. So far, the Lord has preserved every Church that still possesses the ability to turn bread and wine into His Body and Blood.

          “Meanwhile, while the folks here diss the papacy and take potshots at the Catholic Church, the popes themselves (especially JP II and Benedict) bend over backward to reconcile with the Orthodox.”

          Truth is higher than reciprocity, something that Catholic apologists don’t tire of pointing out when Lutherans and Anglicans turn petulant about how the Catholics deny their orders and the validity of their eucharists even though “they” recognize Catholic orders and sacraments and have largely abandoned the old anti-papal confessions. If I am going to use your logic, then the Church of Rome should hasten to recognize Anglican and Lutheran priesthoods because, after all, the Anglicans and Lutherans have also been bending backwards to reconcile with Rome.

          Besides, what does “bending backwards” mean? Being nice? Saying nice things? Are those sufficient reasons for Orthodoxy to suddenly jettison its theological convictions? Don’t you realize that your own comment shows just how far Orthodoxy and Catholicism are from each other? The Popes have played nice with the Orthodox these past 50 years, given it many gifts (relics, churches, financial help), but have not surrendered on a single iota of its doctrine — not on papal infallibility, not on the Filioque, not on the Immaculate Conception, not on a whole lot of issues. Many Catholic theologians have gotten creative about coming up with “joint statements”, but the problem with these “joint statements” is that they merely fudge or obscure both sides’ convictions in order to come up with enough ambiguity behind which radically different theological views can hide. These do not change the fact that on theological matters Rome has not changed anything. And yet you Romans expect the Orthodox to suddenly cave in on their dearest theological principles?

          “When has a recent pope said anything derogatory about an Orthodox hierarch?”

          When has a recent pope said anything derogatory about ANYONE?

          “On the Catholic side, it’s all charity and irenicism and “play nicey-nice.”

          Read the following:

          – Traditionalist and Conservative Catholic blogs and their comboxes, whenever Russia and Orthodoxy are under discussion
          – Catholic apologetics websites and their often laughable discussions of Orthodoxy
          – Websites dedicated to the message of Fatima and the “Consecration of Russia”
          – The Ukrainian Greek Catholic website RISU, which takes delight in reporting ‘scandals” in the Russian Orthodox Church in the worst slant possible.

          The fact is that Catholic snark about Orthodoxy exists in abundance. It is often more subtle, but just as real. The only difference is that when Orthodox criticize Catholics this is dismissed as ignorance, but when Catholics criticize and caricaturize all other forms of Christianity it is dignified as “apologetics”.

          • Archpriest John Morris says

            The Orthodox Church does not recognize the orders of the Anglican or Lutheran Churches. Although Anglicans claim Apostolic Succession and can produce charts showing their historic succession, they lack Apostolic Succession because they have rejected the Apostolic Faith. Without Apostolic Faith historic succession is meaningless. The Anglicans themselves do not agree on what they believe. The Anglican Church was deliberately designed with vague statements of doctrine that could be interpreted different ways to unit the English people within one religious body. Besides, the Anglicans are in schism from the Orthodox Church.
            The modern papacy and Orthodoxy are incompatible. There is no way that the Orthodox Church will accept universal papal jurisdiction, the superiority of the pope over Ecumenical Councils, or papal infallibility. The only basis for unification is mutual agreement on the Faith of ancient undivided Church of the Fathers and the Ecumenical Councils as it was before Rome went into schism and as preserved by the Orthodox Church.

        • Your historical sense here leaves something to be desired, Catholic Observer. The papacy, as it is understood today, has endured for little more than a century, i.e. from the time of Vatican I in 1870 when the concept of papal infallibility was invented. (Yes, yes, I know that it was argued to have been latent or virtual or hanging around all along, but if it was always an essential part of the basic understanding, why were so many Latin Christians upset/enraged/heartbroken at this latest innovation?) It is rather the episcopacy as such that has the honor of being the oldest “institution” in the Church, but papists like to forget that their primate is in fact essentially the Bishop of Rome. As to the alleged gentleness of the Latins toward Orthodoxy, I fear it is the “love” that hungry wolves show toward little lambs. They are always exceptionally “nice” when they invite them over for dinner!

  24. Friends of the Monastery of St John of San Francisco will be pleased and relieved to see that it is still alive and functioning. The newly posted newsletter can be found here:

    I would especially urge supporters of Metropolitan Jonah to not only continue praying for him, but to pray also for the survival and renewal of the monastery that he worked so hard to establish. Good and holy monks still remain there, and God willing, the monastery will once again flourish.

    Concerning the monastery’s recent “time of troubles,” after narrating the close encounter with the August fires, the newsletter continues as follows:

    “Another conflagration raged through our monastery over the last few months, this time within the brotherhood, and this time a metaphorical and more damaging blaze. In the last days of June, when our abbot Archimandrite Meletios and one of the senior monks, Fr Nektarios, had just returned from just over two weeks in Greece, a division took place within the brotherhood which resulted in the departure of half the brotherhood and the resignation of our abbot. Most of the monks who left went to another monastery in another jurisdiction.

    “We currently have eight members in the brotherhood. We do not currently have an abbot, but in obedience to our archbishop, His Eminence Benjamin, we meet often in council to make decisions. Hieromonk Photios is entrusted with managing the monstery’s finances and oversight of daily services in the church, while day-to-day matters are decided jointly by Hieromonk Alexis and Monk Innocent. Just as fire often purges dross from ore to create pure metal, so have we experienced the events of the last few months, which have spurred us to a deeper emphasis on repentance, forgiveness of one another, and a greater willingness to listen to one another and yield to one another.

    “The monastery has survived the two fires—literal and spiritual—and continues to operate. Some obediences have shifted around, and some of us have taken on tasks that are new to us. Just as before, we welcome visitors.”

  25. cynthia curran says

    Well, Constantius seems to be somewhat of an arian, Constantine’s son and he was involved with a bitter rival with his sibings, Constantine and Constans, and Constantius was the one remaining that became emperor.

    • Archbishops of Constantinople remained Arian until Julian the Apostate appointed a Nicene.
      Archbishops (Patriarchs) of Constantinople remained Uniate (filioque-chanting) after the Council of Florence until Sultan Mehmet selected a monk to be made Bishop and then appointed him Patriarch, restoring Orthodoxy to the Church of Constantinople just as the pagan Julian had done. There were no ‘Guardians of Orthodoxy,” i.e., Laity or “People of God” who did so in either case. How do Archbishop Nathaniel et al, and OCL explain this?
      Of course, this action of the Sultan restored the confidence of the Church of Russia in the Church of Constantinople and made the latter’s “Primacy of Honor” less problematic and subject to challenge. The see of Constantinople’s on-again, off-again Primacy “of Honor” had to endure Arianism, Nestorianism, iconoclasm, the Unia and so forth over the years, until the Sultan put a stop to all that. Since the abolition of the Sultanate, however, there are many who wonder who can safeguard the Orthodoxy of that See. Certainly, Meletios Metaxakis caused a kind of shaking of the foundations, no. But he doesn’t seem to have confessed a faulty creed, bareheaded and in Church, though.

      • Johann Sebastian says


        It was my understanding that the faithful of Constantinople generally detested the Florentine union, while the nobility –thinking it would be an expedient means of securing Western military support–forced it upon them.

        Was St. Mark of Ephesus, who effected Gennadius’ change of heart regarding the union, not a “Guardian of Orthodoxy” in this case?

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        I think that the KGB/communist controlled Archbishop of Moscow that has Putin’s hand firmly up his posterior can be the guarantor of Authentic Orthodoxy while walking around indulging his tastes in very expensive wrist watches that magically disappear in photographs.

        Got it!


        • George Michalopulos says

          Peter, you’re better than this. The watch thing was a mistake but Patriarch Kirill is nobody’s stooge. And I now that Neocons and Liberals hate Putin, but he’s a sincere Christian. The ROC didn’t go to him to ask for favors, he went to the ROC and asked what it was they wanted. Metropolitan Hilarian Alfeyev told him “save the Christians of the Middle East.” He didn’t ask for money, or an NGO-sponsored riverboat cruise.

          To all: have a happy new year!

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            George I agree that I am better than this but so is the Good Bishop. When he and Moscow accord the ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH his proper and canonical title and stop with their decades long poison and cheap shots I’ll stop with the cheap shots as well. It cuts both ways and given the complete meltdown in the OCA of late I really think the good bishop refrain from all such adolescent comments.

            As for the Kirill being Putin’s stooge we will agree to disagree as the Communists have and continue to control the ROC IMHO and if that we’re not so then even with reunification the ROCOR should stop keeping its distance and stop its suspicion, but they have not and rightly so.


            • George Michalopulos says

              I agree we should treat all patriarchs with the respect which they deserve. But as a card-carrying member of the Right-wing, I can safely state that the Communist Party and the Soviet Union are dead. We’ve fulfilled Reagan’s wish: “We win, they lose.” What more do we need? It’s time for us to pull up our tents (NATO) and go home and admit the obvious: Russia is becoming a far more Christian country than we presently are. There isn’t a Primate in the Orthodox world that wouldn’t love to trade places with Kirill. He’s leagues freer than the patriarchs of C’pole, Antioch, Jerusalem, etc. And if it’s true that Syosset is keeping Tikhon on a short leash, then he’s way freer than him.

              • Johann Sebastian says

                George Michalopulos says, “But as a card-carrying member of the Right-wing, I can safely state that the Communist Party and the Soviet Union are dead…Russia is becoming a far more Christian country than we presently are.”

                Amen, Amen, Amen.

                The Russophobes of this country, however, are wilfully ignorant of this. It also presents some problems for the prevailing popular–rather, vulgar–eschatology they like to peddle on late-night television.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  The Neocons are far worse and dangerous than the fundamentalists. After all, during the 90s, they “harvested” close to $1 trillion dollars in resources from Russia. Their hatred of Putin stems from the fact that he put a stop to this plunder. The Putin-hysteria that we read over at The Weekly Standard, The New Republic, and The Wall Street Journal are because their patrons’ hands were allowed nowhere near the cookie jar.

                  • Nate Trost says

                    Now I’m curious what on earth your conception of a neocon is and what your supporting material is for this interpretation of the tumultuous Yeltsin years.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Neocons tend to be ex-Trotskyites who believe in exporting revolution. When the failures of Marxist-Leninism became apparent they simply switched over to the free-market and a decided support for Israel and its expansionist policies.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                Communism stopped as a governmental force in Russia and the former Soviet Bloc because we out spent them and they collapsed. Yet, the philosophy and the tentacles of World Communism still exist and vigilance is always needed against it. The Communists are still in Russia and still in the Kremlin and Putin a good old KGB man never stopped being loyal to the KGB and the old soviet communist State. It’s control of the ROC is just more covert and their so-called interest more aligned.

                I still believe that the ROC needs a purge. The purge will happen but it will only happen when the old guard dies off and the current young ROC clerics get in power to put the few old timers/stragglers out to pasture, but that will take another generation or two to occur to the full benefit of the ROC and the ROCOR. Yet, it will happen, it will just take time.

                Until then Moscow cannot be fully trusted, and our eyes must still be focused on the ROCOR for an authentic expression of Russian Orthodoxy and what is really going on in Russia and the ROC in Russia.


                • George Michalopulos says

                  Perhaps the ROC does need a purge. But so does the See of Constantinople and its dependencies (Jerusalem, Alexandria, the GOA). Having said that, Moscow is at least preaching the Gospel and doing tangible things to advance and protect Christians. Sometimes you just have to pick your poison.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    I agree in regards to the universal purge of Orthodoxy of both modernism and fundamentalism, but Moscow’s problem is far deeper IMHO.


                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Purge? That’s more than a little dangerous especially when one considers the parable of the tares and the wheat. “Let’s get up a posse and go after the bad guys”

                    Calm down guys.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      No its not. Its a Bishop doing his job, and its calling for the election of a Bishop that will uphold Orthodoxy. So no firing squads or inquisitions, just simply holding our leaders countable and letting them know certain things will not fly.


                • ProPravoslavie says

                  “…our eyes must still be focused on the ROCOR for an authentic expression of Russian Orthodoxy ”

                  ROCOR reunited with the MP in 2007 precisely because they became convinced, after many years of close-up observation (including incognito visits by the late Met. Laurus to Russia and intense discussions with representatives of the MP) that the MP was no longer controlled by Communists. Fr. Andrew Phillips, no Communist-lover he, makes the same point over and over again in his Orthodox England websites. Perhaps ROCOR — which endured so much in the struggle against Soviet influence — knows something?

                  What really shocks me here is the willful blindness of so many Americans to the reality in Russia. Russia isn’t perfect but to postulate that it is what it is because it is still controlled by Communists is pure idiocy. If it is still Communist, please explain to me why Putin regularly excoriates the Communists and recently denounced the Bolsheviks for their treachery in ending Russia’s involvement in World War 1. Please explain to me why the Communists are regularly trounced in the polls by United Russia. Please explain to me the Russian state’s honoring of Pyotr Stolypin and its increased turning to imperial and Orthodox Russian traditions. Please explain to me why the Russian government is spending huge amounts to help rebuild churches and why the Russian Church is freely glorifying the marytrs under Communism without any backlash from its supposed Communist overlords.

                  Mr. Papoutsis deserves to be forced to give an apology for his extremely crude attacks on the Patriarch of Moscow, which are far worse than anything that has been said against the Patriarch of Constantinople. By the way, the Patriarch of Constantinople has publicly sent a letter to the Patriarch of Moscow supporting the latter in the face of the renewed wave of post “P—y Riot” anticlericalism in the Russian and international media, so perhaps Mr. Papoutsis needs to ask himself if he is even in line with the Patriarchate he pretends to defend.

                  • ProPravoslavie says

                    I have absolutely no doubt that Russian Orthodoxy would be united in defending the Patriarchate of Constantinople from continued Turkish pressure where it not for the fact that Constantinople’s behavior in the past 90 years towards Russian Orthodoxy has been anything but stellar, from its recognition of the Renovationist schism against Patriarch Tikhon, to encroaching on Estonia and Japan — where Russian Orthodoxy has been THE canonical Orthodox presence for hundreds of years — to its continued support for anti-Russian forces in Rue Daru (so different to the attitude of Patriarch Athenagoras, who wanted Rue Daru to go back to Moscow) , to its dangerous brinkmanship in Ukraine and the soul-destroying encouragement thus received by schismatics and Uniates, to the decades of discrimination against Russian monks who wanted to go to Athos.

                    Papoutsis seems to think that Russians ought to just grovel before anything that Constantinople says and does. Sorry but there is no more Byzantine Empire and Russia is no longer a motley collection of small principalities but a world power. Deal with it, Peter!

                    • Constantinople and Moscow need each other. I would suggest that both Patriarchs meet officially and unofficially more often. These two Patriarchates control the direction of the entire Orthodox Church. When they both agreed to the basic outline of Chambessy, the rest of the Orthodox Churches agreed.

                      Constantinople has been very patient and deferential to Moscow over the OCA mess. Constantinople has been consistent in their approach since 1970 that the OCA is part of the Russian Church and that it needs to return to the Russian Church so that its parishes can be properly recognized. This also is a step toward a possible uniting of all Orthodox Churches here in the USA. Moscow has held firm in its disappointment in the OCA over the +Jonah situation. The instability of the OCA has brought the EP and MP closer together since both see the OCA as an obstacle to unity.

                      Will unity ever take place? Only God knows, but these two Patriarchates need one another to solve this any many other Orthodox issues around the world. It is time to not pit one vs. the other but look for every possible common ground so that they can work together and learn from each other.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      I have absolutely no doubt that Russian Orthodoxy would be united in defending the Patriarchate of Constantinople from continued Turkish pressure where it not for the fact that Constantinople’s behavior in the past 90 years towards Russian Orthodoxy has been anything but stellar, from its recognition of the Renovationist schism against Patriarch Tikhon, to encroaching on Estonia and Japan — where Russian Orthodoxy has been THE canonical Orthodox presence for hundreds of years — to its continued support for anti-Russian forces in Rue Daru (so different to the attitude of Patriarch Athenagoras, who wanted Rue Daru to go back to Moscow) , to its dangerous brinkmanship in Ukraine and the soul-destroying encouragement thus received by schismatics and Uniates, to the decades of discrimination against Russian monks who wanted to go to Athos.

                      Papoutsis seems to think that Russians ought to just grovel before anything that Constantinople says and does. Sorry but there is no more Byzantine Empire and Russia is no longer a motley collection of small principalities but a world power. Deal with it, Peter!

                      These would never have happened if they were Orthodox, but they were not, the ROC was and in many ways still is infested with Communism. The Ecumenical Patriarch had to do what it had to do to protect Orthodoxy from Communists. So you deal with it.

                      Peter A. Papoutsis

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Peter, your history is a little hazy. While the ROC was still resolutely Orthodox (and under St Tikhon), EP Meletius IV connived to undermine him by dealing with the renovationist Living Church. This was unconscionable.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Ok I’ll agree with you on EP Meletius IV, but the ROC even at that time was under Communist control even if not all Churchmen were not.


                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    Mr. Papoutsis deserves to be forced to give an apology for his extremely crude attacks on the Patriarch of Moscow, which are far worse than anything that has been said against the Patriarch of Constantinople. By the way, the Patriarch of Constantinople has publicly sent a letter to the Patriarch of Moscow supporting the latter in the face of the renewed wave of post “P—y Riot” anticlericalism in the Russian and international media, so perhaps Mr. Papoutsis needs to ask himself if he is even in line with the Patriarchate he pretends to defend.

                    Once the Archbishop of Moscow starts calling the Ecumenical Patriarch by his official title I will be glad to do so.

                    Further, I have and continue to support the Archbishop of Moscow, especially his attempts to bring the Russian People and all others under his influance back to Orthodoxy. I have never stopped my support and will continue my support of Moscow.

                    Third, I am not a fool and I know the difference between the collapse of the Soviet Union and the defeat of Communisim. The former collapsed the other did not.

                    The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia reach reunification in 2007 with the ROC with GREAT TREPIDATION as many in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia STILL believe Moscow has not properly purged itself of Communists and schisms over this within the ROCOR have occurred.

                    Further, why “Reunification” and NOT full jurisdictional control by Moscow of ALL ROCOR Churches? Answer: the ROCOR is not foolish. Did they reunify in 1989 when the USSR fell? Did the ROCOR reunify in 1990 after the Bloodless Revolution in Eastern Europe? Why wait until 2007 and then ONLY a reunification and NOT a full Jurisdictional Control? Answer me this: Is the ROCOR Hierarch on the SAME footing as the Patriarch of Moscow? The way you answer THAT questions will tell you everything you need to know if the ROCOR still believes Communism is still alive and well in the ROC.

                    Please read:

                    Also, here is the official Press release from the ROCOR:

                    What is interesting about this report is this little tidbit: “A report was then heard on the suspension of Bishop Agafangel and the clergymen who left with him into schism. A letter from Bishop Agafangel addressed to His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus was read, in which he sought advice. It was decided to address a final letter of admonition to Bishop Agafangel, with a warning of the danger of the path upon he and his supporters are embarking upon.”

                    Now critics have labled Bishop Agafangel as a supporter of the CIA, America and very anti-Russian. Thus, goes the schismatic never to be heard from again. Really? How many in the ROCOR have the same suspicions and keep quiet? Hmm?

                    The picture is not as black and white, but probably more red, because if the ROCOR Really believed Moscow was not controlled by communists there would be NO reunification, but FULL jurisdictional communion with the Patriarch of Moscow controlling ALL ROCOR Churches. That did not happen.

                    I have always sides with Ronal Reagan in regards to the world-wide Communists conspiracy, I believed it then and still believe it now. The Communists attacked and destroyed the Russian Orthodox Church, a Reimenant survived in the ROCOR and Metropolia. The Metropolia was gravely harmed with the 1970 Tomos, and the ROCOR was marginalized, but kept the spark alive in Authentic Russian Orthodoxy.

                    It is to our and the ROCOR detriment to accept, without hesitation, the ROC. However, the ROCOR, to its credit, has reunited with Moscow, but is not foolish about it. The ROCOR has kept ITS Churches, it has Kept ITS Property, it has kept ITS Holy Synod and ITS Hierarch and good for them for doing so.

                    So no apologies ProPravoslavie. The Communists never apologized for what they did to Russian Orthodoxy and I will NOT apologize to them. EVER!

                    Peter A. Papoutsis

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Peter, like you, I wondered if Communism had in fact collapsed. As of today, I’m sure of it. The proof? Gerard Depardieu gave up his French citizenship and took out Russian citizenship? Why? Because Russia has a more sane tax regime.

                      To all: think of the irony here. Russia, a land of free markets; France, a land of extortionate socialism. The US? I believe I see France in our future. (Don’t tell La Drezhlo however, the Bohunk Bolshevist will be crapping bricks once s/he realizes Russia is embracing Milton Friedman.)

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  I am glad that you qualified your statement. While ROCOR is indeed “an authentic expression of Russian Orthodoxy,” there are surely bishops and dioceses in the ROC and subordinate Orthodox Churches that are also authentic.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says


                    Constantinople and Moscow need each other. I would suggest that both Patriarchs meet officially and unofficially more often. These two Patriarchates control the direction of the entire Orthodox Church. When they both agreed to the basic outline of Chambessy, the rest of the Orthodox Churches agreed.

                    Constantinople has been very patient and deferential to Moscow over the OCA mess. Constantinople has been consistent in their approach since 1970 that the OCA is part of the Russian Church and that it needs to return to the Russian Church so that its parishes can be properly recognized. This also is a step toward a possible uniting of all Orthodox Churches here in the USA. Moscow has held firm in its disappointment in the OCA over the +Jonah situation. The instability of the OCA has brought the EP and MP closer together since both see the OCA as an obstacle to unity.

                    Will unity ever take place? Only God knows, but these two Patriarchates need one another to solve this any many other Orthodox issues around the world. It is time to not pit one vs. the other but look for every possible common ground so that they can work together and learn from each other.

                    I agree. I’ll stand down if the Pro-Moscow people will for the good of the Church.


                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    Carl says:

                    I am glad that you qualified your statement. While ROCOR is indeed “an authentic expression of Russian Orthodoxy,” there are surely bishops and dioceses in the ROC and subordinate Orthodox Churches that are also authentic.

                    Absolutely. There were authentic Bishops and Priests even at the height of Soviet control over the ROC. Many Laity, Priests and Bishops sacrificed greatly for the faith, even to the point of Martyrdom. So yes, the Communisist may control the ROC, but there has always been many courageous Russian Orthodox souls in Russia that lived for and died for the One True Faith.


      • Isaac Crabtree says

        Kind of a cynical look at Orthodoxy, here. Sultans and Caesars have often been unwitting servants of God, but it is wrong to intimate that Orthodoxy hung on the string of political favor, or that the masses were overwhelmingly Arian or Uniate, were it not for the whims of unbelieving political forces.

        Actually, according to various Greek histories, the Unia was formally repudiated in Constantinople in 1451. This is also why the Church venerates the anti-Unia Emperor and Martyr of Constaninople, Constantine XI. Orthodox Greeks would not venerate a Uniate. Yes, this isn’t standard Western history– but the children of the Romaioi don’t consult Gibbon to get the stories of their forefathers, thankfully.

        St. Mark of Ephesus along with a majority of the Orthodox Bishops who had capitulated to political pressure repudiated the false union as soon as they’d gotten home to their flocks. “We have betrayed Orthodoxy, and Mark of Ephesus alone did not,” was their confession.

  26. Where does that Wacko Stan of Voices of Russia get such bad intel…………. and then he/she posts it.

    Here’s one whisper heard through the grapevine:

    ROCOR hasn’t invited JP at all. He’s been pleading with them to take him as a retired and silent bishop, essentially, a monk in fancy dress. ROCOR is taking advice from Moscow about it. As for finance, JP will be getting a 50,000 USD (1.52 million Roubles. 38,000 Euros. 31,000 UK Pounds) a year pension from the OCA. Therefore, it’s costless for ROCOR.

    Here’s another:

    The question that we should asked is whether he’ll still get that huge settlement from the OCA. He says that he needs it to help his support his family, even though when he became a monk, he was no longer part of the “world”… they really don’t know what to do with him. JP’s lawyer is an Episcopalian friend of his (he might be a cleric).

    Here’s an interesting titbit:

    Did you know that JP’s been serving in Mayfield a lot… this novelty will wear off.

    That’s what out there… and the official sites are still silent. Lyonyo, Jillions, Potapov, and Lebedeff truly do have that much contempt for you. This is what people are telling me… it’s just as important to know what people are talking about as much as knowing what’s actually going on. Sometimes… the two coincide… sometimes… they don’t. Time will tell us, no?

    Here is the truth, which Babs would know if he/she got out once-in-a-while…………..

    +Jonah hasn’t been in Mayfied since Memorial Day
    +Jonah has a letter of invitation from ROCOR via Moscow (but his loving brothers won’t release him)
    +Jonah isn’t getting a plug nickel from the OCA let alone $50k a year.
    +Jonah’s lawyer is Episcopalian, and he is a cleric (Babs got that one sorta right).

    Hey, Babs, did you ever consider that the “official sites” as you call them didn’t print any of your bad intel BECAUSE IT ISN’T TRUE???????????

    Poor Babs, she’s being played for a fool but do keep feeding him/her bad intel. It makes for comedy relief.

    • LMAO,

      Dear Babs,

      Nice try at trying to save face, but this attempt to undo what you posted is weak. As the “Rev” would say, “we gotcha!”

      And what about your constant rant about JP and Gleb Podmoshensky and your insinuations that somehow their was “more” to their relationship? LIE.

      And your constant insistence that Dreher and Freddie also knew and are followers of Gleb? LIE.

      Your same “correspondents” told you he saw Dreher with Gleb? Was this one of the same grapevine folks who told you about Mayfield or JP’s invitation” Maybe you should listen less to Sasha Cossack and Nick Corn because that crap you are peddling are more lies you have based your silly blog on.

      And if you are really interested in what is out there IN THE GRAPEVINE, turn on your comments. Then you can really hear what is out there, not just the hooey you post in the bubble of your make believe world.

  27. Adam Kaminletsky says

    Speaking of the Russian Church…. BRAVO to the Eastern American Diocese!

    Orthodox in Dixie!!!!

  28. Carl Kraeff says

    George wrote:

    “Carl, I believe now we can have an honest dialogue. The fact that you can concede the possibility of coercion (essentially points #2 and #3) opens up a whole other can of worms doesn’t it? Whereas point #1 lays all or most of the blame squarely on Jonah’s shoulders, points #2 and #3 mean at the very least that the OCA is governed (or the Synod itself is governed) by men who don’t act in good faith. Indeed, men who will use coercion and unsavory means to get what they want.

    Regardless, even point #1 indicates that Jonah’s authority was undermined. Which btw, is an established fact (see the leaked emails from Stokoe to Reeves, Skordinski, Solodow, et al.)

    These paint an appalling picture. One which calls into question the legitimacy of the OCA as a Christian entity.”

    George–I must confess that I have been dishonest in one sense: at times, I have held back in order to spare folks’ feelings. Other than that, I have not been dishonest. So, I do welcome the opportunity to be taken as a partner in a dialogue.

    I will start by pointing out one obvious fact: I listed possibilities of coercion specifically to refute a point. However, it is also important to define our terms. If you take coercion in a very general sense, such as “son, eat your peas,” or “daughter, you cannot go out wearing that,” then almost any criticism or correction is indeed coercion. But, if that is the case, we cannot have a real diologue. So, the ball is now in your court; how do you define coercion?

    • Carl Kraeff says

      I think that it is reasonable that I express some regret that George has not answered my question. What gives?

      Speaking of coercion, what made Patriarch Kirill sit on the front row with senior military officials at a recent speech by Mr. Putin? Somehow, I doubt that he was coerced.

      I will let readers judge the speech at the reference below, but it seems to me that when Russia makes the West (specifically the United States of America) her enemy and the Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus seemingly is behind this stance, the ROC is putting ROCOR between a rock and a hard place in the United States. Specifically, I wander how the Very Reverend Alexander Webster, Ph.D., (Colonel), U.S. Army Reserve, feels about his new anti-American church home.–business.html

      • George Michalopulos says

        Carl, I honestly don’t know what you’re talking about. Could you please restate the question?

        • Carl Kraeff says

          George–We were about the enter into an “honest dialogue” as suggested by you. I agreed and proceeded to offer a baseline–a definition of coercion and asked you if you agreed with it. I am copying the posts that preceded mine below. But, would you also please consider addressing the question of whether Russia’s policy of demonizing the USA can somehow affect the position of ROCOR, in light of Patriarch Kirill’s evident support of this demonization.
          Carl Kraeff says:
          January 3, 2013 at 11:10 am
          Seraphim–You are right in the broader sense; as in a divorce, the fault rarely rarely belongs just to one party. Indeed, in that broader sense, most of us here also are partially responsible for the instability in the Church.

          Nikos–It does not matter who wrote the Seattle speech. It does matter that +Jonah read it and made it his own. The problem with your argument is that it is based on secular law, where duress plays an important part. In the case of a bishop of the Church, however, there are the following possibilities.
          1. +Jonah wrote or agreed with the speech, thus no duress: He must live with it.
          2. +Jonah did not agree with the speech but he gave it freely (not under duress): He must live with it. However, the reason that he gave the speech even though he disagreed with it is important. Here are some possibilities: inattention, nonchalance, incomprehension., desire to please, or a belief that he can do and say anything at any time.
          3. +Jonah did not agree with the speech and was coerced to give it: He still must live with it or suffer the consequence of having broken his solemn consecration vow not to give into coercion, and perhaps a Canon or two that covers the same thing as his vow.
          George Michalopulos says:
          January 3, 2013 at 10:11 pm
          Carl, I believe now we can have an honest dialogue. The fact that you can concede the possibility of coercion (essentially points #2 and #3) opens up a whole other can of worms doesn’t it? Whereas point #1 lays all or most of the blame squarely on Jonah’s shoulders, points #2 and #3 mean at the very least that the OCA is governed (or the Synod itself is governed) by men who don’t act in good faith. Indeed, men who will use coercion and unsavory means to get what they want.

          Regardless, even point #1 indicates that Jonah’s authority was undermined. Which btw, is an established fact (see the leaked emails from Stokoe to Reeves, Skordinski, Solodow, et al.)

          These paint an appalling picture. One which calls into question the legitimacy of the OCA as a Christian entity.
          Carl Kraeff says:
          January 4, 2013 at 11:02 am
          George wrote: “Carl, I believe now we can have an honest dialogue. The fact that you can concede the possibility of coercion (essentially points #2 and #3) opens up a whole other can of worms doesn’t it? Whereas point #1 lays all or most of the blame squarely on Jonah’s shoulders, points #2 and #3 mean at the very least that the OCA is governed (or the Synod itself is governed) by men who don’t act in good faith. Indeed, men who will use coercion and unsavory means to get what they want.

          Regardless, even point #1 indicates that Jonah’s authority was undermined. Which btw, is an established fact (see the leaked emails from Stokoe to Reeves, Skordinski, Solodow, et al.)

          These paint an appalling picture. One which calls into question the legitimacy of the OCA as a Christian entity.”

          George–I must confess that I have been dishonest in one sense: at times, I have held back in order to spare folks’ feelings. Other than that, I have not been dishonest. So, I do welcome the opportunity to be taken as a partner in a dialogue.

          I will start by pointing out one obvious fact: I listed possibilities of coercion specifically to refute a point. However, it is also important to define our terms. If you take coercion in a very general sense, such as “son, eat your peas,” or “daughter, you cannot go out wearing that,” then almost any criticism or correction is indeed coercion. But, if that is the case, we cannot have a real dialogue. So, the ball is now in your court; how do you define coercion?

          • George Michalopulos says

            Jonah was most definitely coerced; strike 1. Plus, the “unanimity” of the opposition against him was presented to him as a falsehood; strike 2. More importantly, the existence of an illegal and uncanonical cabal that was in existence for at least 1 year further highlights the coercion brought to bear; strike 3.

            • Once again, if +Jonah succumbed to coercion, he has violated his consecration oaths, as well as sacred canons, and should be deposed. George, I am astounded that you continue to think that this akin to a business contract, where succumbing to coercion would not be regarded as a fault. +Jonah’s contract was with the Lord and His Church, wherein he solemnly promised that he would not succumb to coercion–even unto death. Why is this so hard to understand?

          • Even the secular media describes force where Carl refuses to acknowledge any. I remember our endless debates about whether Jonah’s resignation was forced or a free resignation. The Washington Post (link here) among others announced the end of Jonah’s primacy as follows:

            The Orthodox Church in America has announced that it forced its controversial leader, Metropolitan Jonah, to resign earlier this month chiefly because he had failed to remove a priest accused of rape.

            Carl, you need to start by having an honest dialogue inside your own head, then maybe you can have some meaningful conversations with others again. But the fact is, you do not want to personally acknowledge the truth, and you are terrified that others might know the truth. That’s why the vast majority of what you do on this blog is obfuscation and nothing more. You have even admitted as much at one point, that you are not interested in dialogue, but only in raising doubts or distracting passersby. Even with this post, I am 100% certain that I do not offend you, so long as no individual on this earth has greater clarity in their minds about the true state of the OCA and what really happened to Jonah (among others).

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Um–Why do y’all persist in such a sophomoric interpretation of what happened?Why do you take refuge in what secular press has to say, rather than the Holy Synod? I will persists until the majority of the people on this blog open their eyes to the truth because I honestly think that y’all are like King Theoden when he was under the spell of Wormtongue.

              • Carl, you know full well the Holy Synod forced Jonah out. It said so, and then the secular press repeated what the synod said in its public letter explaining its actions.

                There is no confusion here except for the confusion you keep working so hard to create in your own mind. Not even Jonah’s worst enemies share your confusion on this point, fine Sir.

                Also, when you say “y’all” … I have never met in person nor on the phone nor via email nor through any means except the comment section on this blog any person participating here. I have come to my own conclusions based on my own observations and the information available to the general public, including the words and actions of the current members of the OCA Holy Synod. In fact, I have only ever really known one person who grew up in the OCA. He is smart, hard working, strangely insecure about his intellectual abilities, confident in his social skills and fun to be with. He is also not ashamed to talk openly about the kinky sexual things he is exploring with his very attractive girlfriend — or rather wasn’t, I think they broke up. He is no better or worse a person than any of the liberal Episcopalians and Catholics I know. I do not know any OCA converts, since the liberal factions in your church are so fond of separating out this part of your community.

                As for your cries earlier condemning “us” as “Jonah followers” … I am no Jonah follower. If I was, I’d have joined the OCA and submitted my life and health to the sadomasochists in charge. Why would anyone wish to follow your disgraced former leader who you have so thoroughly and so publicly humiliated?

                At this point, to be perfectly honest with you, I’m not even much of a “Jonah supporter”. I only care about Jonah out of “the principle of the matter”. My principles tell me to support any person who is abused. Just as wearing a short skirt and walking down the wrong alley does not justify rape, nothing will ever justify the way you abused your own leader.

                There comes a time when a wife must stand up to an abusive husband and tell him no more, that she is created in the image of God and cannot allow him to demean and degrade that image any more. Jonah crossed this line long ago with the OCA establishment. Yet he continues to submit to the OCA leadership. I would have more respect for the man at this point if he would renounce any authority of the Holy Synood over him and go on with life the best he can. If this means leaving any kind of church role, so be it. He made a mistake in believing God wanted to use him in the OCA. Nothing good will ever come from perpetuating that mistake. That’s my perspective, but even within his own world view, he must be aware that he is submitting to evil, for the sole purpose of destroying himself as a person, and that no good will come from that. He’s just not the example I want for my children, sorry.

  29. cynthia curran says

    Germanus (Greek: Γερμανός; died 550) was an East Roman (Byzantine) general, one of the leading commanders of Emperor Justinian I (r. 527–565). Germanus was Emperor Justinian’s cousin, and a member of the ruling dynasty. He held commands in Thrace, North Africa, and the East against Persia, and was slated to command the final Byzantine expedition against the Ostrogoths. Having married into the Gothic Amal royal line through his second wife Matasuntha and a distinguished service record, at the time of his sudden death, he was considered the probable heir to Emperor Justinian. This makes the whole barbarian thing more understanding since as mention above Germanus second wife was Ostrogoth princess Matasuntha who converted from Arianism to Orthodoxy to marry Germanus. There was a son born after Germanus death he is mention being at the court of Maurice.