More of the Same? Part III: The Emasculation of the OCA

Czarina Glinda

Czarina Glinda

A Dearth of Vision

In previous essays regarding the new Sex Squad Regime, we stated that the new ORSMA regulations were clearly not thought through. This dearth of vision has plagued the OCA for quite some time. Its hold over the institutions of the OCA are ultimately what did in Metropolitan Jonah who was a man cut from a very different (read: more visionary) cloth.

What accounts for this rigid institutionalism? What visionary vacuum exists which hinders the OCA from being a true territorial church? Monomakhos has long perceived a supine acceptance of much post-modern secularist thought in the upper reaches of Syosset. That there is a perceptible disdain for traditional Orthodox praxis is just as apparent. For too long, its functionaries have succumbed to a modernist, centralized, and business-like model of church governance, one in which power-point presentations studded with pie charts and bar graphs, self-promoted “summits,” and radical encyclicals are produced for the express purpose of looking busy and being “relevant.” Because this is the animating spirit, hyper-centralization becomes inevitable and the hiring of extra bureaucrats necessary. Paper-shuffling replaces Orthopraxis.

And now we must come to grips with the latest wave of inanity. One of the hallmarks of post-modernist ethos is the “third-wave” feminist belief that men are by nature abusers and women victims. It is always thus and no situation can be envisioned in which there can be any deviation from it. Initially, we were going to entitle this part “The Feminization of the OCA” but what is really going on here is emasculation, not feminization; hence the title.

The Emasculation of the OCA

As mentioned in Part II, a cursory reading of the new ORSMA rules portray all accused priests as guilty until proven innocent. This of course is a direct violation of Anglo-American jurisprudence. Think of how preposterous these new regulations are. All the burden of proof from the moment an allegation is made against a cleric is that he is guilty of the accusations. End of story. If the accused does not respond within 21 days he will be presumed guilty of the allegation even if the allegation is wildly contrived. (An example would be the McMartin case involving a day-care center in Massachusetts in the 1980s: the guided testimony of five-year-olds was accepted as valid, even if they included incredible tales of witches flying on broomsticks and children being sacrificed on altars.)

Such a legal regime is one that is divorced from reality. Consider: Within 21 days, the accused must mount a defense even though he can’t be told what the charge against him is. This impractical, nonsense really. He enters the ORSMA process not only blindfolded but with both hands tied behind his back!

Real World Ramifications

Think of the real-world ramifications. Is the new Sex Squad and/or the Sex Czarina going to fly to (say) Colorado to investigate an allegation against a priest? The OCA has been bleeding money for quite some time. No reversal is on the horizon. Given that several officers (including Tikhon) had to take five percent pay cuts, it seems unlikely. Or is the accused priest supposed to drop everything and fly to Syosset for his inquest? Really? Many parishes in the OCA at present don’t send their priests to local diocesan conferences precisely because they can barely afford to pay their priest as it is. Does Syosset think that hard-pressed parishes are going to pay for an accused priest’s travel expenses.

How is this rational? It isn’t. But practicality and common sense were never part of the radical feminist paradigm, or any other culturally Marxist belief-system for that matter. In this neo-Calvinist view, the essential depravity of men necessarily follows from the basic tenets of radical feminism, therefore practical considerations are beside the point. According to the tenets of this hysterical doctrine, Patriarchy is not only the oldest and most universal form of oppression but the primary form and the model for all others.

This catechism teaches us that white supremacy, colonialism, class structures, hierarchy, critical thinking, and so on exist only because they flow from Patriarchy which is the Original Sin of radicalism. Unlike liberal “first wave” feminists who found oppression in legal systems, or “second wave” feminists who saw it in Marxian class-war doctrines, “third wave” radical feminists locate the root causes of sexual relationships in the male sex itself. And the male sex is by necessity evil.

Unfortunately, the Orthodox Church is a patriarchal system. The God we worship is triunity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Radical feminists therefore see that this doctrine must be overthrown since in their view, the male of the species justifies his oppression of females by recourse to theology. The very fact that the hierarchy is made up of men only makes the situation worse.

It is for this reason that post-modernists have no concern for defendants’ rights or universally-admired Anglo-American jurisprudence — a legal regime which enshrines the rule of law and has been a lynchpin of successful Western governance for centuries. Despite these preposterous attitudes, we can only worship at this altar and no other. If that means bankrupting a priest or bringing a parish to brink of insolvency, so be it. The fact that the priest may be innocent is immaterial since by the definitions of radical feminism, he can’t be innocent –he’s a male after all.

A Sign of Internal Decadence?

Another reason must be considered. We know that Syosset and the Synod slandered Metropolitan Jonah when they released a letter accusing him of covering up an alleged rapist priest. The charge was drawn out of thin air and disproved in a matter of days largely through the efforts of vigilant Monomakhos readers.

The Syosset-Synod Axis has never apologized for the letter. They have never even hinted that the public record needs correction. This was a sin against a man, but it was also a sin against the members of the Church who were expected to collude with the lie and thereby join in the public discrediting of their former Primate.

OCA leadership pulled the levers of the institution to promulgate slander and then fell silent when the slander was exposed. The consequences of their sin and subsequent silence has affected the Church deeply. Think of it this way: when a person with dysfunctional behavior refuses to recognize that his behavior is dysfunctional, he often attempts to draw the stable people around him into his dysfunction. That way his dysfunction meshes with the dysfunction of others and he feels stable. If the dysfunctional person is a leader, he will distort not only his personal relationships but also the institution he serves.

The troubles in the OCA started long before Jonah. Sexual sins were hidden by OCA leadership for years, including the homosexuality of some of the bishops and other well-placed clerics. Rumors of dalliances were whispered about for years; it was an open secret for the most part. Like families of alcoholics, most walked on eggshells when dealing with some of these men. Partly it was out for fear of offending the guilty, sometimes out of simple embarrassment. Nor can we forget that there is a high cost to pay for those who expose wrongdoing. Since we are talking about bishops who for the most part protected each other, any exposure by well-meaning whistleblowers likely would have worked to the detriment of those who brought the charges, rather than the bishops. Such through-the-looking-glass logic is endemic to decadent institutions.

The problem was that by refusing to deal with the sin on an institutional level, toleration for homosexuality became institutionalized. This is why there is much sound and fury characterizing all priests as potential sexual molesters, but no word is spoken or action taken about homosexuality. By holding up the standard of “sexual misconduct,” the same players are hoping to do two things: first, to act concerned about potential clerical misconduct and second, to steer the gaze of onlookers away from the ongoing homosexual hijinks of more established persons.

Metropolitan Jonah had no patience for the double standard and dared to speak against the loose moral standards he observed. One has only to recall the public criticism he received for reiterating the Orthodox teaching on sexual immorality in two pastoral epistles he issued a few years back for the Archdiocese of Washington. His discussion of homosexuality overturned the rule of institutional silence established during the era of his two predecessors, and he raised the ire of leaders who forged their careers while the rule was in place. Any uncovering of that lie threatened the moral credibility of the institution and its leadership, and in order to restore stasis Jonah became their scapegoat.

The scapegoating did not work even though the leadership succeeded in ousting Jonah and moral vindication has proven to be elusive. ORSMA is a step to recover it. ORSMA has the character of a moral crusade and like most crusades, it creates the appearance that the crusader is a moral exemplar. However, with the failure to scapegoat Jonah, the old leadership will need another scapegoat, or two or three to finish the job. Once the scapegoats have been selected and duly cast out, the leadership is freed from the onus of public repentance, and the institution that they have thrown into turmoil by their mismanagement of the Jonah ouster can stabilize.

ORSMA will not rectify the institutionalized corruption created during the Theodosios/Herman years. It is not designed to do that. It will instead provide the show trials necessary for the vindication of the old order so that the stain of sin caused by the treatment of Jonah can be swept under the rug.

Priests need to be very cautious, especially those who have raised the ire of Syosset and the Synod by pointing out that some of the emperors have no clothes.

Abuse in the Real World

Let us be clear on one point at least: if anyone, especially a clergyman abuses a child, the proper authorities should be immediately called and he should face the full force of the law. If a clergyman seduces (or tries to seduce) an adult woman, he should be sued by her husband and the divorce proceedings should be handed over to a spiritual court. If she is single, she should complain to his bishop. What if the bishop is at fault? She should complain to her priest and he should bring it to the local presbytery. (Other avenues exist: Monomakhos for example was the site where more than one bishop was exposed for some type of malfeasance.)

Unfortunately, the ORSMA rules have little to do with this type of abuse; instead they take this more extreme type of abuse and project it onto every clergyman in the OCA. In reading these regulations, it is clear that there is no differentiation at all between the various types of abuse. A child sitting on priest’s lap, a priest kissing a widow on the cheek at her husband’s funeral, or a priest commending the appearance of a woman who overcame a physical impairment is no different than a priest assaulting a woman. These are the bitter fruits of the anti-Patriarchy as understood by the radical feminists. Since all men are abusers there can be no other logical outcome.

Some people of course will respond “well, if the priest is innocent, he has nothing to be afraid of.” This view is naïve at best. There are countless examples of priests who have been falsely accused and who’s lives have been ruined. The greatest example is the beloved St Nektarios of Aegina. Other examples abound today.

ORSMA gives the priest only two options, both of which look bad to the casual observer: 1) defend himself, or 2) get a lawyer. Both put him in the inferior position vis-à-vis the Sex Squad.

The Sex Squad and SMPAC

And this now brings us to the Sex Squad itself. It receives its marching orders from the SMPAC committee, wherein we find some priests who whose own histories are checkered (to say the least). In addition, a victim of clergy abuse serves on it.

In a saner world, on in which the interest of fairness would be given at least some type of lip-service, one would expect that a clergy advocate serve as well, presumably a priest who was the victim of a false allegation at one time. This should be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, according to radical feminism men are oppressors and thus they have no rights. One can only wonder, to what extent has cultural Marxism infected the upper reaches of Syosset?

This latter point bears further scrutiny. Isn’t it curious that the Sex Squad is chaired by a woman? Why is that? Is it because radical feminism demands it? After all, how can we expect one man to judge another man, since (after all) men are the problem? The logic is inescapable.

There is a more prosaic point as well. How would a fortyish priest respond to a phone call from a younger female, telling him lurid details about his supposed actions? When men are confronted by women who have authority over them they are usually at a loss. When to this mix is added sexual details, the result for the accused is devastating.

How Did We Get Here?

Some have asked me why we chose Glinda the Good Witch as our graphic for this series of essays. That is because in The Wizard of Oz, Glinda invariably arrives and leaves borne inside a bubble. Syosset today lives in its own bubble, one of its own making. This bubble is made up equal parts secularism, post-modernism, and a curious disdain for traditional Orthodox ecclesiology.

So how did we come to this point? What beguiled the bishops of the OCA to abrogate their authority and effectively seal what is for all practical purposes an episcopal death warrant?

The only reasonable answer is that they have been emasculated. Because of a long series of scandals and inadequate character formation, the bishops themselves are not capable of proper Orthodox governance. In their weakness they have bought into the secularist governing model of the Strong Chancellor form of church administration.

Some of course give up the struggle because they have their hands full with their own dioceses. Let us not forget that most of our bishops are doing “double-duty” thanks to the large number of vacant dioceses.

Others of course have conceded defeat because they themselves are not above reproach. Some (as has long been known) have fallen short of the strictures St Paul enumerated regarding the proper episcopal qualifications. By a weird process of inverse natural selection, the weakest have risen to the top and are incapable of making things right.

So here we are. Every priest in the OCA now has a Sword of Damocles hanging over their head. Most I expect will hunker down and hope that they don’t make too many enemies. Others may hope that the monies will dry up and Syosset will have to close this office. Still others may pray that in time, we will get better, more resolute bishops who will take back their prerogatives from the protopresbyters who run the show. One thing we can be sure of: none of the other jurisdictions will buy into this nonsense.

About GShep


  1. M. Stankovich says

    Mr. Michalopulos,

    There is no other way to describe this essay other than to say this is the stupidest thing you have ever written. If it was intended to frighten or sound an alarm; or if it was intended to insult the hierarchs of the Church; or if it was intended to summons a “stirring of androgenic hormone” in the emasculated OCA (“Allons enphants!“), or even unconsciously put women “victims” in their place, unfortunately you drooled on the script. As the Fathers have said, like a dog, “you have returned to your own vomit.” A good two years worth of obsession. How we got here, Mr. Michalopulos? No, no, no. How you got here. Unable to move on, and dragging Jonah like an anchor – with his “dough-boy” looks – and every unsubstantiated “injustice” with him, you vomit it out at everyone you have determined is responsible. And now I wait to see who will help to re-consume this wretched meal. This is your OCA? Really?

    • Sam Haddad says

      I agree with Stanko. George, your essay is just nuts. You continue on this penchant of yours that + Jonah was a “visionary.” He was no visionary; he was brain-washed that the MP had all the answers for the OCA and wanted the OCA to give back it’s autocephaly. This wasn’t vision, this was stupid. Then you accuse Syosset (the Met and 4-5 employees) of secularism, past & present homosexual encounters, etc., etc., etc. George, if you are writing this stuff and I don’t think you are, whoever it is, needs a good psychiatrist. These posts are filled with disinformation, twists on reality and in general, alarmist skata. This stuff mirrors the GOP tactics of trying to destroy Obama & the Democrats, but only makes themselves look stupid. So, whoever is writing this stuff isn’t helping the Church; only causing division based on lies – JUST LIKE THE DEVIL. Good work!

      • Disgusted With It says

        While I will not “take to the airwaves” to air dirty laundry of specific individuals, I would simply encourage you and others to not be so naive when it comes to the OCA leadership. All I will say is I know there is much more than I believe you are aware of, and it would make any sincere Orthodox Christian sick. Don’t be so quick to think this website moderator or those who express similar reports are crazy. If you knew all the truth you would be joining them in their calls for “cleaning house”.

        • Fr. George Washburn says

          Hi friends:

          The 2:00 p.m. October 22, 2013 message of Disgusted embodies SO much of what is defective with both the methodology and attitude of a certain fraction of the anonymous posters on this site.

          First, by choice of name the poster indicates to us the possible bias with which he operates: disgust, albeit seemingly not at all with himself. We can infer that it is disgust with all sitting OCA leadership, and presumably those who stand or move around too.

          Second, and almost astonishing in its clear unclarity, is the sentence that reads “All I will say is I know there is much more than I believe you are aware of…” Let’s examine that sentence more carefully, but not too soon after eating.

          It is written by someone anonymous. For all we can tell it is someone who uses other aliases here and is one of the key partisans on the “out crowd” side of the political struggles past or present who wants to cast aspersions on his opponents. He could also be someone on the opposite side who is slyly trying to make the “out crowd” look dumb. If you were trying to lead a group of people in any endeavor and someone were operating secretly to undermine you, wouldn’t you feel that you …and those targeted …deserved to know the name of the perpetrator?

          It contains no facts. Nothing. Not even smoke or mirrors.

          It is based solely on an appeal to authority, the sonorous “I know there is much more…” Would you buy a stock or even order a dish in a new restaurant without knowing who was drawing the conclusions and what insight and experience he actually (as opposed to claims he) has?

          It is also phrased in terms of his general beliefs based on pessimistic readings of other people’s minds: “than I believe you are aware of.”

          Since the intended net effect clearly seems to be to cast more of a shadow on the leadership, I tentatively vote for the partisan theory of the author’s true identity rather than the disinformation theory, which is probably too subtle.

          And sadly it seems to be working: 5 votes to the good out of 13 as of this writing!


          Fr. George

          • Disgusted With It says

            Fr. George,

            Thank you for the amusing psychological dissection of my simple little comment. However, you are quite wrong and making a mountain out of a mole hill.

            I know, from first-hand knowledge and witness of personal contacts with first-hand knowledge, of many disturbing activities and opinions of people considered “leaders” of the OCA. Not everyone holding a position in the OCA is at fault for the mess, but certainly those who are “pulling the strings” in Syosset are. I am not one of the players in this soap opera, nor do I wish to ever be since it is a dirty, dirty sandbox to play in these days. Nor do I post with multiple aliases on this site as you suggest. (That sounds like a little conspiracy theory paranoia to me.)

            My response was to an individual who went on a rant against the moderator’s thought-provoking article using terms such as: “nuts”, “stupid”, “needs a good psychiatrist”, “skata”, “stupid” (again), and “just like the devil”. I was merely pointing out, without wanting to get into scandalous details which (I will reiterate again) I choose not to post on an internet forum, that there is more to the story than the gentleman’s comments indicate he is privy to and he should consider that possibility. Whether you want to believe my respectful words of caution or not is your choice, but to chastise me for expressing them appears to be a strange overreaction.

            As an attorney, Fr. George, I certainly would assume that you agree that both sides should be considered before jumping to conclusions. But instead of dealing with the substance of a comment, or asking for clarification, you again just attack and try to discredit the messenger. Don’t you think that’s one reason why many people are compelled to remain anonymous — the dirty attacks of those who wish to defend the status quo at all costs (whether through a dishonorable motive or just simple ignorance)? Just look what they did to Metropolitan Jonah. They weren’t men enough to simply disagree with him and work it out on conviction and principle, they had to slander and libel him. And he’s not the only one who gets that treatment. Now they have a whole new office and “policy” to use as a weapon. Execution in the OCA is “death by procedure”. (Just look at the All America Councils where the administration strategically uses procedure to try their best to prevent discussion wanted by the clergy and delegates until, oops, time has run out and we can’t discuss anymore. Time to go home.)

            As I believe I’ve commented to you before, you are lucky to be in a jurisdiction where this is not a problem. Please understand it is not the same everywhere else.

            • Fr. George Washburn says

              There you go again!!! In the belief that perhaps my last message was too wordy, let this one be brief. You have once again anonymously slandered EVERY single person in an entire class of leadership in the OCA without producing a SINGLE fact in derogation of ANY one of them. A mind that can keep on doing that from ambush, and then, when called out, refuse to discuss it, is not one with which I am capable of further discussion just now.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Fr, may I ask where were you when the Synod slandered His Beatitude?

                • Fr. George Washburn says

                  Hi George:

                  You may indeed ask, but I am liable not to answer because I think you are changing the subject.

                  I am talking just now about anonymous broadsides that slander a whole class of people in leadership without any substantiating facts. This nutty little virtual world of ours operates by rules and methods we have EVERY reason to believe – based on our knowledge of human history, the Soviet “justice system,” the medieval Star Chamber, the Inquisition, Salem witch trials, etc. etc. etc. to yield bad results.

                  How do “Disgusted’s” hopefully well-intentioned outbursts of categorical condemnation differ from socialist truth show trials that proceeded with little or nor actual evidence as in”the guy must be guilty because he’s a kulak, an Enemy of the People/ Who needs evidence?”

                  What happens here differs in the sense of the consequences, but when added to other voices here nameless attacks resemble more the faceless rumbling or shouts of a lynch mob than the work of God’s Spirit where truthmust always be spoken…in love. The works of the flesh, as St. Paul told us in all the epistles but especially Galatians, involve a whole lot of Christian-on-Christian friction and badmouthing, and I think anonymous attacks w/o evidence are just that.

                  We always have to confront and deal with evidence, or at least we ought to. I am not arguing for just making any pile under the rug bigger. I am saying we ought to try as best we can to stick to evidence, and to disregard or even shout down people who are just constantly repeating anonymous and fact-less pessimisms and wholesale condemnations.

                  In a sense though, George, you may not be changing the subject if Met. Jonah and the culture war issues with which he has become so identified are always the subject. They aren’t for me.


                  Fr. George

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Fr, I’ve read and re-read your response and it still seems to me to be a non-response.

                    I asked a simple question regarding the slanders leveled against Jonah and you’ve yet to reply. You do however seem to believe (I think) that “anonymous broadsides” are a bad thing. Well, I do to. So I take it we’re on the same side regarding the USSR’s mechanism of anonymous action against a priest?

                    I’m glad the “culture wars” are not an “issue” for you. That’s because you’re in the Antiochian jurisdiction isn’t it? (Correct me if I’m wrong on this point.) May it never be the case for your jurisdiction. In the meantime, we in the OCA (and to a growing extent the GOA) are fighting this onslaught. Perhaps we will have dealt it a severe enough blow so that when your jurisdiction receives a new Primate you will be spared such nonsense. For that matter I don’t know any jurisdiction outside the OCA which is stupid enough to implement the new USSR regime of guilty till proven innocent.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Also, Fr, I’m shocked by your seeming unconcern for the reversal of the presumption of innocence which is at the heart of the new USSR. To my layman’s ears that is as fundamental to your profession as “First do no harm” is to the art of medicine.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I am also shocked by your seeming unconcern for the reversal of the presumption of innocence that is at the heart of American jurisprudence. To my laymen’s ears, that is as fundamental as “first, do no harm” is to the practice of medicine.

                    • Fr George Washburn says

                      Several revealing replies, George.

                      I agree that I was essentially non-responsive to your attempt to direct my attention (and the discussion here) back to Met. Jonah. And away from the fact that you foster a climate of anonymous backbiting and unsupported slander here that you disliked when it was directed toward Met. Tikhon’s predecessor.

                      Sauce for goose and gander, George. Your recipe is not as poisonous as Mr. Stokoe’s was from where I sit, but there are some similarities that ought to give pause to all.

                      Your sentence “I;m glad the culture wars are not an issue for you” is just poor. First because it is sarcasm, which so seldom works in these internet exchanges. Second because it misstates my position and you are smart enough to know you are doing so. Go back and re-read. I did not say that.

                      I believe these issues are important. I hold to traditional Orthodox positions on them. It is just that in my best judgment the limited time and energy I have available to invest here doesn’t seem to be well spent on arguing those matters.

                      As to my failure to meet your standards of protest on the presumption of innocence issue as you characterize it, let me remind you what I have stated very directly already this week.

                      1. I am not even reading, let alone getting into, the text of the new policy draft at this time. It may be great, it may be terrible, or in between. I read only the title page and nothing more.

                      2. I have offered here to help accused clergy and/or the Church toward fair outcomes and do it for free. Maybe it will have some value someday, maybe not. But I am on a long vacation just now and it isn’t the time., and this isn’t the place, for me to do or say more.


                      Fr. George

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Unfortunately Fr, that “non-response” is key to my understanding of what you are defending, towit the USSR. By not acknowledging the gross miscarriage of justice done to His Beatitude, you are asking us to accept as fair anything that comes after it and using the same procedures. The fruit of a bitter tree can never be made sweet.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I’m sorry, but I just can’t get around the fact that you seem unconcerned about the complete abeyance of the presumption of innocence and due process that is enshrined in the USSR.

                      To my mind that would be like pharmacists being unconcerned about the quality of medicines that we dispensed. For us, the purity of medications is the starting point.

                    • Fr. George Washburn says

                      Good morning friends:

                      Replying here to George’s message of Oct 25

                      George isn’t reading carefully, or maybe it is his memory. I do not lack concern for this nest of issues, including the presumption question.

                      I have spent the last couple of weeks in foreign countries on vacation with family …and did not have the time or inclination to jump into this discussion any further. George wanted to beat everyone else into print on this issue, raise a hue and cry and throw dust in the air as quickly as possible in service of the usual story line: the leadership is bad, its actions misguided. OK. My lack of availability, not to say inclination, to serve the preferred speed or outcome of this agenda did not suit him, and the best he seems able to do with it is to act (or pretend to be) shocked to think I callously do not care.

                      The truth may be George that I care *more* (or more wisely) than you, see the importance of a long slow and loving look at what these folks are trying to do as well as the goal – the building up of the Body of Christ, and that is a major reason why I am not serving the rush rush hue and cry.

                      The whole set of issues – the authentically Orthodox role of bishops, the difficulties we have reconciling the Orthodox tradition in which final authority seems to have been vested in whoever occupies the office, the man rather than the written rules (as opposed to our American assumption that the man, even the President, mist always be subordinate to the written rules) the way in which secular assumptions and procedures tend to call the tune for those who try to do anything new – WHEW. This deserves careful consideration resolution, not internet hullabaloo, to do the real work of God.


                      Fr. George

                    • Fr. George, maybe a more even-handed way to approach the issue would be to say, the new guidelines have raised a number of very serious concerns to George and others. A careful review of these regulations may give you the same concerns. I think we are hoping that you will make time, when you have it available, to review these regulations.

                    • Fr. George Washburn says

                      Good morning friends:

                      Yesterday “Helga” suggested that maybe a more balanced way to approach the current issue of OCA church judicatory process would be to acknowledge that the recently-adopted terms have raised legitimate concerns in the minds of some. I agree with him that would be more balanced than what I have so far read of George’ writings and what I can recall of Helga’s.

                      It would not be more balanced than what I have already posted here. Last week I put my real name and money – or more precisely, time – where my mouth is by volunteering to help **both** the Church and those accused toward fair results, and at no charge.


                      Fr. George

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Thumbs up from me, Father.

      • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

        “This stuff mirrors the GOP tactics of trying to destroy Obama & the Democrats, but only makes themselves look stupid.”

        Well, Sam, (do you happen to have a “buddy for life” named Zach?), considering how classy Democrats are, I can see how they think Republicans make themselves look stupid opposing such uber awesome stuff: “Don’t tap into your beer money to cover those medical bills. We got it covered. Now you can too. Thanks Obamacare!”

    • Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

      To the extent that the Chancellor’s friend argues in his comment here that the Church is the Body of Christ and an hierarchical organism, and not a bureaucratic organization, then I unworthily agree. If he stands for respect for hierarchs, while recognizing that none of us is infallible, and that the laity as an order of the Church have a responsibility to stand for truth as well, then I also unworthily support his message. But if such is his meaning, why does he destroy it by personal insult against a hierarch? Why does he apparently stand apart from the OCA while wrapping a poison pill in a corrective, as if trying to put down a neighbor’s dog, “bravely” kicking a person who is down? He defends the policies of his good friend the OCA Chancellor, who as an administrator and priest surely does not endorse such insults against one of his hierarchs, and hopefully has told him to cease and desist from such insults long before this. But the Chancellor’s friend apparently has left the OCA. If so, why, and why will he not return?

      Please pray for me the sinner,


      • Rodney Buchshotte says

        Mr. Stankovich,

        Is Mr. Kentigern correct? Do you not attend an OCA Church?

      • M. Stankovich says

        Professor Siewers,

        One reason His Beatitude Jonah is still so loved and respected by so many is because despite his dough-boy appearance and occasional missteps, he very much was a force to be contended with. Women especially picked this up and remain some of his most devoted and passionate supporters.

        This is a quote from Mr. Michalopulos, not from me. Being a man of principle, you are welcome to re-direct your outrage as you see fit.

        • George didn’t make that remark to insult Met. Jonah. George was saying that Met. Jonah has nothing in himself that draws people to his side – not handsome looks, not power, not money – other than the spirit of God that speaks through him.

          You, on the other hand, remarked on Met. Jonah’s appearance in order to insult his supporters, as if he does not deserve the love and concern we have for him.

          Michael, if you could understand why Met. Jonah still receives so much love, despite his lack of earthly power or worldly appeal, perhaps you would not behave the way you do.

          • Jim of Olym says

            Gee whiz! Here I am trying to be friends to everyone here. Metr. Jonah when he was a priest, gave me confession once, and I was and still am amazed at the counsel he gave me then. And i spent a week at his monastery at Pt. Reyes and was edified by that visit. Perhaps he was not meant to be a Met, but he was a good abbot and let many young men see what the monastic life could offer. It would have been nice if he had been permitted to return to Manton, but of course ‘circumstances’ have prevented that.
            and I’ve known the current bishop of Lost angels since he was a choir director. At least I thought I knew him. We have a lot of sad stories in the OCA, a lot of ‘what might have been’ stories.

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      Mr. Stankovich. I was unable to plough through all of George’s too long peroration, but I think it is rather surprising that you were unable to address ANYTHING AT ALL in it! You just launched a tirade, a totally personal attack on George Michalopoulos, informing us of your frustrations. Why not refer to something actually IN his essay? Some might feel you envy the amount of space, therefore, ATTENTION George would get from his essay, and this is the reason for you totally irrelevant rant. Surely you are able to discuss the content of George’s essay rationally?

      • George Michalopulos says

        Memory eternal!

        • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

          I presume your “Memory eternal” was for the newly-reposed Greg Sulich mentioned further down on this thread.
          I find it rather bizarre that anyone should give thumbs down to a “memory eternal” just because they may have personal issues with the person proclaiming it. I am no great fan of the Papacy and consider the Latin church to be in heresy. But when a Slovak Monsignor, visiting from the old country, recognized me as a priest, and came up to give me the triple-kiss with the words, “Christ is Risen!”, I didn’t push him away nor refuse to respond. The fact that I couldn’t concelebrate with that priest certainly didn’t stop me from affirming his proclamation of Our Lord’s Resurrection.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Thank you Your Grace. All I want is an open an honest discussion. Dissembling and vituperation are uncalled for.

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      What in the $&&())_%$#349))!! are “dough-boy” looks? I’m acquainted with the nickname: “dough-boys” as referring to American servicemen serving in Europe in WWI, but I’ve never associated it with anybody’s looks!
      I think that the clergyman in question’s looks are totally incompatible with those of an American serviceman…he’d never make it past the recruiter.

      • Your Grace, perhaps this visual aid will help.

        • For the record, I was always told that the term was a reference to the well-fed appearance of American GIs compared to Europeans who had suffered from wartime shortages. I figured this was what George meant by the saying.

          Anyway, I think George’s point is the same as mine: I really don’t understand why people have to give Met. Jonah a hard time about his weight or appearance, when those things are completely immaterial to the ministry of a bishop. There’s nothing in St. Paul about a bishop being able to get on the cover of GQ.

  2. Anonymous by Neccessity says

    M. Stankovich, not a week after +Jonah was ousted you charged out of the corral braying “We are the Legacy! We are the legacy!” on a website you designed and started. Jillions, Wheeler, and Arida signed on to it with you. The website was your portal for a magnum opus that was going to change the Orthodox world. It focused on — you guessed it — homosexuality.

    A month or two later Inga Leonova waddled out of the corral behind you with her coterie of aging homosexual males clacking “Open the discussion! Open the discussion!”

    And you dare castigate others for pointing out that the new leadership is fixated on homosexuality or that you and your friends want to normalize it? And you think its wrong to ask where did this pro-homosexual culture come from and why is it even tolerated?

    Websites don’t spontaneously generate. “We are the Legacy” was planned long before +Jonah was removed. You have never condemned the STINKBOMB letter and you were Syosset’s loudest apologist when they tried to St. Luke-ify him.

    Your site became a liability and the jennies removed their names. You were left to wander the wilderness of the uninformed and ignorant alone. You valiantly fought on reiterating your credentials again, and again, and again, the star of your own universe in that oh-so-dramatic-life you lead, and berating, even abusing, anyone who dared to challenge you. But your site failed and so did your magnum opus.

    What happened to you is what happened to Stokoe. Stokoe was shut down when people recognized the scent of Kishkovsky and Garklov behind it. You were let loose when you became a liability to Jillions, Wheeler, and Arida. We don’t know if you still discuss strategy with them. We do know you have never explained your initial associations with the coup masters and your part in it.

    You just don’t get it. The way Syosset and the Synod handled +Jonah has been catastrophic. You just don’t treat people that way. You don’t lie about people. You don’t destroy their reputations.

    And now the same men have crafted a sexual abuse policy that puts even more people in their sights. It’s for the good of the Church they tell us. Yeah, right.

    Wake up Michael Stankovich. Stokoe failed. Leonova failed. Your site failed. Your magnum opus failed. The whole catastrophic mess is a failure and will remain so until repentance comes.

    If repentance does not come the OCA will fail, but you and your friends will have won.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      I wonder why you are anonymous “by necessity.” Is it because you are a priest, because you are not in the OCA or both? In either case, you are a coward, to say nothing of being wrong and malicious to boot.

    • Gay activists do not really care if the churches they take over fail. They will ride the train till the pay checks stop, then move on. The church itself is never their highest commitment. They have a much higher commitment to gay sex. If the church cannot flourish as a gay sex church, then it was an obstacle that needed to be removed from society anyway. Removing such an obstacle is either a necessary evil or an outright victory in the eyes of every gay activist, Stankovich included. All protest to the contrary is political distraction.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Um, you make an interesting point. One of the criticisms leveled against the economic theories of John Maynard Keynes was that because he was a homosexual, he didn’t care for posterity. Keynesianism is an economic system that encourages binge spending after all.

        • Daniel E Fall says

          I did not know Keynes was a homosexual-sort of don’t care much. I never read anything where Keynes suggests binge spending. I recall Keynes generally advocated for the merger, if you will, of government and business. But I haven’t studied Keynes in years, just a few vague memories. Keynes would advocate for the government where business might not venture.

    • Fr. George Washburn says

      I don’t know about you, friends, but I had to read down to just about the last word of this post before I could figure out who it was that Anonymous thought he was addressing. Not sure why I stuck with it so long.

  3. M. Stankovich says

    Anonymous by Necessity,

    Let me show you to your table.

    What you deserve is to be put in your place; soundly, authoritatively, once-and-for-all. Ah, but such is the “necessity” of your anonymity. More importantly, you are not worth my time. But before I serve you today’s wretched meal, consider this: if you visit the sites I frequent, you will find that many now clearly distinguish between same-sex attraction and same-sex activity; that it is possible to be homosexual and live one’s life in repentance, abstinence, purity, chastity (σωφροσύνη, meaning “singlemindedness”), piety, and obedience in the fullness of the Church. This nothing more & nothing less than that to which we are all called. This was my goal, and I am satisfied.

    Now, let us begin today’s meal with something I call Vomir de Nous Sommes Leur Héritage. It is known as a “re-hash of hash” to the French. Bitter herbs and melon, this one. The chef’s choice especially for you…

    • Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

      The Chancellor’s Friend appears again to continue to think that insult is the best way to defend policies of his good friend the Chancellor, rather than either graceful silence or reasoned discussion. Can someone leave a comment on the latest Chancellor’s Diary post on the OCA Facebook group (which comment undoubtedly would only survive for a moment or two, given the Potemkin nature of our online commitment to sobornost) and let him know that his claimed-to-be-good-friend here again is doing more harm than good?

      Trying to drag late-20th-century American identity politics into Orthodox psychology and anthropology doesn’t make for a reasoned or Orthodox argument, either. That’s as dead as 1990s -style culture wars.

      Although perhaps agreeing that in Christ there is neither male nor female, Jew nor Gentile, does he not agree that there is also neither homosexual identity?

      The absolute essentialism of sexual identities (of all kinds) is perhaps the biggest example of self-objectification in our libertarian consumer culture. And so he walks into the cold embrace of Ayn Rand.

      Such warmed-over identity politics dating to his days in graduate school have already been replaced by a much more fluid sense of both sexual identity and sexual attraction, as well as of the human mind; not the deterministic “vapors from gastric juices” theory of consciousness to which he apparently ascribes identity. Can someone please gift him the new two-volume set on Empirical Dogmatics edited by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachas, as an helpful exposition of Orthodox psychology?

      Please pray for me the sinner,


      • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

        Dr. Kentigern Siewers provides a short but insightful critique of Stankovich’s assumptions about homosexuality.

        Dr. Siewers wrote:

        The absolute essentialism of sexual identities (of all kinds) is perhaps the biggest example of self-objectification in our libertarian consumer culture. And so he walks into the cold embrace of Ayn Rand.

        What Dr. Siewers means here is that Stankovich makes the modern mistake of defining people in terms of their sexual desires. What a person feels is what he is. Take this far enough and man self-identifies solely in terms of his appetites and the neighbor exists solely to satisfy them. The culture that emerges will have no more soul than a parking garage.

        Note Stankovich’s reply to Anonymous by Necessity above:

        …it is possible to be homosexual and live one’s life in repentance, abstinence, purity, chastity (σωφροσύνη, meaning “singlemindedness”), piety, and obedience in the fullness of the Church

        The question to ask is: if a person struggling with same-sex desire is living a life of chastity, is he a homosexual? Stankovich would say yes. I say no.

        The way I see it, Stankovich arbitrarily elevates “sexual-orientation” to a special status and class, a point I have argued with him before. My response then and now was that every passion, if left unchecked, effects an “orientation” — a way of seeing and feeling that shapes behavior around the passion.

        Take the alcoholic. As long as he remains captive to his passion for alcohol, his behavior will always be oriented around it. Only when he confronts the passion will his behavior change. Did God create him to be an alcoholic? Of course not. Should he elevate that passion and claim it as a fundamental characteristic of personhood and thus self-identity? No. Yet that is exactly where Stankovich’s ideas lead if we applied them to other passions beyond same-sex attraction.

        Why same-sex attraction deserves special consideration over any other passion Stankovich won’t say but Dr. Siewers gives us a clue: Stankovich’s ideas are captive to identity politics.

        If the assumption is true that same-sex attraction is a fundamental characteristic of human personhood and thus self-identity; then the satisfaction of that passion represents a noble calling, even a moral achievement. Gay activism takes the shape of a civil rights struggle in this framework.

        However, a contradiction emerges when Stankovich asserts that the “homosexual” should live a life of celibacy. Why would a “homosexual” live a life of celibacy when same-sex attraction defines human personhood and self-identity? That makes no sense. This idea would get laughed off the stage at the nearest gay-rights convention, as well it should.

        Man is not defined by his passions, sexual or otherwise. Man is not defined by his sins, sexual or otherwise. A man struggling with same-sex desire is not a “homosexual.” We might use the term to describe a man engaging in same-sex genital activity, but here we are describing behavior, not anthropology. Stankovich denies this distinction.

        • M. Stankovich says

          Fr. Hans & Professor Siewers,

          Unless you have papers indicating you have officially purchased me as your “house niggah,” you will refer to me as Mr., Dr. or Michael Stankovich. I have earned that respect.

          As I noted to you in our last last lengthy exchange, neither of you singularly, nor both of you in combination are qualified to argue with me regarding these matters. Period. Anyone stupid enough to search my posts on this site or on the AOI site knows the truth: despite my continuous call for correction if I have presented anything that contradicts the Holy Scripture, the Patristic Fathers, the Canonical Fathers, or the Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church, or medical science as best we are able to determine it at this time, you have not corrected me as to substance ONCE. This fact speaks for itself.

          This thread is not about me, and I will not again serve as a distraction for Mr. Michalopulos’ foolish choices. So, find another someone to engage and bonne chance.

          • William Harrington says

            Now this is truly ridiculous. Unless we have ceased to live in a free society without a true aristocracy or royalty, people can and will address you as they see fit with all the respect that you have earned in that relationship. If you don’t like people not using your titles well, guess what, you do not have the right to not be offended. So go ahead, be offended over trivialities. It does wonders for the respect you receive and for your credibility. It does no good for your spirit.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            I contribute little or nothing here, and thus minimize the risk of presenting anything that contradicts Holy Scriptures, and those other Authorities!

            I am watching this exchange with a bit of interest, though. Without disagreeing with some of the things you say here, Mr. Stankovich (your views are always of substance and interest, even when I don’t myself agree with them), I do have one serious question: why do you always insist upon your credentials, and that nobody without your credentials is qualified to argue with you?

            This is the old argument from authority, which is, of course, a fallacy (here I ignore Authority, because I don’t think you claim that).

            By the way, I agree with you absolutely about the issue of proper address, here or anywhere else.

            • M. Stankovich says

              Mr. Mortiss,

              To understand why I insist that Fr. Hans lacks the fundamental qualification to even begin a discussion with me regarding these matters, you would first have to make a fairly serious commitment to studying the style and manipulation that is Fr. Hans. It all began with our first interaction on his site on August 9, 2011 where I commented on a ridiculous interview by a Greek psychiatrist who’s opinion I challenged. Read it again, Mr. Mortiss: 2011. When we began – and don’t trust me, read the years of argument yourself – Fr. Hans knew nothing about embryology, human development, human genetics, epigenetics, the influence of hormones on sexual differentiation, the formulation of sexual orientation, nothing. The little he knows now, he learned from me. Likewise, what ever he knows about psychiatry, psychopatholgy – beyond the customary “trash in, trash out” stereotypes and gross disinformation of the Christian Right and Fox News – as well as epidemiology, and statistical analysis in medical science he also learned from me. How did he learn it? By me backing him into a corner with direct evidence. We were not “debating,” Mr. Mortiss, or arguing; I was defending “x-chromosome inactivation” from comments of “yes, maybe. sort of,” until I said to myself, “He doesn’t even understand you! You are the idiot for defending yourself!” No more!

              Secondly, If you have read my essays on same-sex attraction, you will see I have searched the Patristic Fathers, I have searched the Scriptures, I was taught by and have read the fathers of our generation. I have said many, many times that I am not an original thinker or theologian, but I listened to the greatest scholars and theologians of our time. I support everything with the Scripture and the Fathers, not my own thoughts – or worse – my own conjecture. Fr. Hans does not know the Fathers as I know the Fathers.

              Thus, Mr. Mortiss, while I make no claim to be Fr. Alexander Schmemann, or Fr. John Menyendorff, or Prof. SS Verhovskoy, or Blessed Basil (Rodzhianko), I am their legacy and I am eminently more qualified to pursue these matters than Fr. Hans or Prof Siewers. What is so ridiculous is the fact that I have no need to be right! If they would correct me – and Lord knows they both would love to take me down a notch or two – then correct me, and I have openly requested correction pursant to substance But they cannot. As Bob Dylan sang, “I ain’t sayin’ they treated me unkind; they coulda’ done better, but I don’t mind. They just kinda’ wasted my precious time. But don’t think twice, it’s alright.”

              • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

                M. Stankovich says:

                “while I make no claim to be Fr. Alexander Schmemann, or Fr. John Menyendorff, or Prof. SS Verhovskoy, or Blessed Basil (Rodzhianko), I am their legacy and I am eminently more qualified to pursue these matters than Fr. Hans or Prof Siewers”



                You are welcome to resume chasing your sister around the trailer park.”

                Open disgust for lower economic classes and projection of incest…


                We really need to start putting together a collection of your greatest hits. Your opening contribution to this thread surely deserves an honorable mention at the very least:

                “How we got here, Mr. Michalopulos? No, no, no. How you got here. Unable to move on, and dragging Jonah like an anchor – with his “dough-boy” looks – and every unsubstantiated “injustice” with him, you vomit it out at everyone you have determined is responsible. And now I wait to see who will help to re-consume this wretched meal.”

          • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim says

            Fr. Hans said: “Man is not defined by his passions, sexual or otherwise. Man is not defined by his sins, sexual or otherwise. A man struggling with same-sex desire is not a “homosexual.” We might use the term to describe a man engaging in same-sex genital activity, but here we are describing behavior, not anthropology. Stankovich denies this distinction.”

            So, I ask you, M. Stankovich, do you accept or reject this distinction?

            • M. Stankovich says


              This is my essay on sexual orientation. Read it and you tell me what I accept:

              I have con­ten­ded that sexu­al ori­ent­a­tion is on­to­lo­gic­al, as a sim­ple en­tity, as a sim­ple af­firm­a­tion of truth: ho­mo­sexu­al­ity is. The lazy schol­ar claims that ori­ent­a­tion is noth­ing more than a so­cio-cul­tur­al fals­ity, a con­triv­ance and con­struct of “Gay, Inc.” to bathe ab­er­rance in psedo-sci­en­ce; to soften mor­al con­dem­na­tions, and ul­ti­mately res­ult in “nor­mal­iz­a­tion.” Ori­ent­a­tion be­comes, then, ana­log­ous with “de­sire,” “pas­sion,” “urge,” “lust,” and “drive,” ex­amples of which are glut­tony, drunk­en­ness, smok­ing, and so on. And while it would be fool­ish to deny the ele­ment of appé­tence in any form of sexu­al ex­pres­sion, their goal, ul­ti­mately, is to place the re­spons­ib­il­ity for same sex at­trac­tion firmly in your hands. And so, for ex­ample, would be­gin the march of the char­lat­ans I have dis­cussed pre­vi­ously, un­less we would in­ter­vene, and so we shall.

              I take one step back­ward to make an es­sen­tial cla­ri­fic­a­tion in this dis­cus­sion, such that we must es­tab­lish an es­sen­tial di­cho­tomy: our hu­man­ity as God cre­ated and in­ten­ded it, and our hu­man­ity as it has be­come. In the first, our ref­er­en­ce is to “as it was in the be­gin­ning”: “Let us cre­ate man in our own im­age (κατ’ εἰκόνα) and after our own like­ness (καθ’ ὁμοίωσιν). (Gen. 1:26) As de­scribed by Met. An­thony (Bloom) of Sourozh:

              Adam was cre­ated out of the dust of the earth. He was not the res­ult of a fi­nal leap of an­im­al­ity in­to hu­man­ity. He is not the last term of an evol­u­tion­ary pro­gres­sion. God has not made him by turn­ing the most per­fect and at­tract­ive ape in­to a man. God has taken the dust of the earth so that man has every­thing in com­mon with every­thing that God has cre­ated. We are of the same sub­stance as every atom and every galaxy. In us every atom and every galaxy, and all that ex­ists between them, can re­cog­nize it­self in our bodies.

              In fact, the di­cho­tomy is so broad, that we can no longer re­cog­nize ourselves:

              They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Je­sus stand­ing there, but she did not real­ize that it was Je­sus. “Wo­man,” he said, “why are you cry­ing? Who is it you are look­ing for?” Think­ing he was the garden­er, she said, “Sir, if you have car­ried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him. (Jn. 20:14–15)

              Met. An­thony con­cludes, the ele­ments of cre­ation that should re­cog­nize and identi­fy them­selves in us can­not, “be­cause we have fallen away from God, be­cause our bod­ies are no longer the vec­tor of the di­vine pres­en­ce and our growth in God.”

              The sub­se­quent and sus­tain­ing ar­gu­ment has been filled with vague, schol­ast­ic pos­tur­ing as to the minu­tia and form of what is the hu­man­ity brought to us by our first par­ents, im­per­fect and bro­ken ir­re­triev­ably by us, in­to a bro­ken and fallen world. A world in which even her­it­able char­ac­ter­ist­ics, as we shall see, are be­lieved to be a dir­ect res­ult of our in­ter­ac­tion with this im­per­fec­tion. In the face of cla­ri­fic­a­tion after cla­ri­fic­a­tion (“How do you trans­late ἀρσενοκοῖται in 1 Cor 6:9?”), I be­gin to think, with ex­actly how much pre­ci­sion need I de­scribe a cracked wa­ter pot? In con­trast to the sim­pli­city of the Gen­es­is cre­ation nar­rat­ive or Psalm 103, it even strikes as some­how un­healthy. Nev­er­the­less, once these para­met­ers have been set, how­ever, I be­lieve the un­der­stand­ing of sexu­al ori­ent­a­tion war­rants fur­ther clarification.

              Proprio­cep­tion is an in­nate, un­con­scious sense of your body in geo­met­ric space: you “know” where your arm and hand are placed in a grid of three di­men­sions with­out think­ing, con­sid­er­ing, or even look­ing. In a com­pletely dark­ened room, if asked to raise your arm, with­out see­ing it, you “know” where it is. A po­lice of­ficer might ask you to close your eyes and touch your nose, and with­out in­tox­ic­a­tion or impair­ment, you should be able to do so with­in a cen­ti­meter or two of er­ror. There are lit­er­ally thou­sands of cita­tions in the Na­tion­al Lib­rary of Medi­cine re­gard­ing the re­la­tion­ship between proprio­cep­tion and gait, bal­ance, co­ordin­a­tion, and phys­ic­al re­hab­il­it­a­tion. But there is an­oth­er body of lit­er­at­ure es­sen­tial to this discussion.

              Proprio­cep­tion car­ries an es­sen­tial pre­sump­tion at its core: in or­der to ex­per­i­ence this sense of “oc­cupy­ing” space, you first must have an unique sense of own­er­ship that the body you sense in space is, in fact your own. While this may ini­tially seem ab­surd, as you raise your hand to your eyes, ob­serve and con­sider: this is me; it is es­sen­tial to my iden­ti­fic­a­tion; it is es­sen­tial to my iden­ti­fic­a­tion as a per­son. If you close your eyes and ex­per­i­ence this same move­ment, the sense of “pos­ses­sion” is potentiated:

              The brain builds an as­so­ci­ation between ac­tion and sens­ory feed­back to pre­dict the sens­ory con­sequence of self-gen­er­ated mo­tor com­mands. This in­tern­al mod­el of ac­tion is cent­ral to our abil­ity to ad­apt move­ments and may also play a role in our abil­ity to learn from ob­serving oth­ers.

              The reas­on­able ques­tion arises, how do we know any­thing I have de­scribed is true? The short an­swer is, by study­ing peo­ple who have, by trauma or dis­ease, lost this sense. The loss of proprio­cep­tion is well-de­scribed but poorly un­der­stood phe­nomen­on whereby, as the res­ult of in­jury or ner­vous sys­tem le­sion, one can tem­por­ar­ily, and even per­man­ently, lose this sense of body own­er­ship.

              As you may have sus­pec­ted, I use the un­der­stand­ing of the sense of proprio­cep­tion as dir­ectly ana­log­ous to the sense of sexu­al ori­ent­a­tion. Ac­cord­ing to the real­ity of our fallen and bro­ken hu­man­ity, sexu­al ori­ent­a­tion is in­nate, un­con­scious, es­sen­tial to my iden­ti­fic­a­tion, and es­sen­tial to my iden­ti­fic­a­tion as a per­son. And as I am fre­quently chal­lenged that by stat­ing “es­sen­tial to my iden­ti­fic­a­tion” I im­ply “iden­tity by ori­ent­a­tion,” I must em­phas­ize: while sexu­al ori­ent­a­tion is an es­sen­tial as­pect of our iden­tity, as is proprio­cep­tion, it is ri­dicu­lous to sug­gest it is my iden­tity. It is not de­fin­ing of the self, but it is in­sep­ar­able. The reas­on­able ques­tion arises, how do we know any­thing I have de­scribed is true? The short an­swer is, by study­ing peo­ple who ex­per­i­ence “vari­ation” or de­vi­ation from the norm.

              One re­cent study ex­amined re­search ob­ser­va­tions of phys­ic­al char­ac­ter­ist­ics that dif­fer between men, ho­mo­sexu­al men, and wo­men (e.g. handed­ness, “derma­to­glyph­ic asym­metry” re­fer­ring to skin mark­ings or pat­terns, fin­ger-length-ra­tio, etc.) and known to be as­so­ci­ated with genes in the 7q36 re­gion. Wang and as­so­ciates “com­pared gen­o­types car­ry­ing at least one muta­tion (A/G or G/G) [re­fer­ring to the de­vi­ations in the line of ge­net­ic code]” and con­cluded that “this poly­morph­ism [vari­ation of the ex­pec­ted gene ex­pres­sion] may be pos­it­ively re­lated to male sexu­al ori­ent­a­tion” be­cause “both gen­o­type and al­lele fre­quency dis­tri­bu­tion dif­fer­ences between ho­mo­sexu­al and het­ero­sexu­al men reached sig­ni­fic­ance.” Trans­la­tion: there is ad­equate ge­net­ic data to sug­gest bio­lo­gic­al char­ac­ter­ist­ics to sexu­al orientation.

              Fur­ther, an­oth­er re­cent study ex­amined sim­il­ar­it­ies in the aud­it­ory sys­tems of males and non-het­ero­sexu­al wo­men from a very dif­fer­ent per­spect­ive and for a dif­fer­ent reas­on: the ini­tial “hor­mon­al cas­cade” of testoster­one that dif­fer­en­ti­ate males from fe­males is known to co­in­cide with the de­vel­op­ment, coil­ing, and “dif­fer­en­ti­ation” of the sens­ory sur­face of the aud­it­ory sys­tem. What is the like­li­hood that it would also be op­er­at­ive in the bio­lo­gic­al dis­tinc­tion of sexu­al ori­ent­a­tion. One ex­ample is that unique sounds gen­er­ated in the in­ner-ear (“otoacous­tic emis­sions”) are gen­er­ally know to be weak­er in males than in fe­males, from birth for­ward, but there are find­ings that non-het­ero­sexu­al fe­male sub­jects more sim­il­ar to male sub­jects than to fe­male sub­jects. They concluded

              “it is likely that the otoacous­tic emis­sion dif­fer­ences seen in non­het­ero­sexu­al fe­males are cor­rel­ated ef­fects of atyp­ic­al an­dro­gen ex­pos­ures; these atyp­ic­al ex­pos­ures could be either dir­ect ef­fects of some still-un­known genes or (more likely) some con­gen­it­al mech­an­ism op­er­at­ing to pro­duce either a glob­al or loc­al over-ex­pos­ure to an­dro­gens dur­ing some, per­haps crit­ic­al, peri­od in pren­at­al development.

              I would em­phas­ize here that my in­ten­tion is not to of­fer “proof texts” – and the num­ber of avail­able re­search stud­ies of same and sim­il­ar fo­cus sim­ply in the last eight­een months is im­press­ive – nor to in­sinu­ate bey­ond the lim­ited, pre­lim­in­ary find­ings of the au­thors re­spons­ible. What is in­ter­est­ing in the find­ings, how­ever, is their as­so­ci­ations with already es­tab­lished and “ca­non­ic­al” find­ings. In oth­er words, these are not the dis­cov­er­ies of en­tirely new pro­cesses, but dis­cov­er­ies of the inter-re­la­tion­ships and con­nectiv­it­ies of known pro­cess to oth­ers. And this seems to be the dir­ec­tion of mod­ern med­ic­al research.

              The point has been a sim­ple one: the role of fac­tors oth­er than will, choice, and per­son­al “elec­tion” of the in­nate sense of sexu­al ori­ent­a­tion can­not be ig­nored, and the claim that “ori­ent­a­tion” is a false and de­cept­ive so­cio-cul­tral “con­triv­ance” or “con­struct” is indefensible.

              Some­times the most suc­cinct method of address­ing a topic is by directly address­ing a critic, who in this case asserts that I have “said many times here and else­where that there [is] absolutely no “evi­dence” that ther­apy can help peo­ple change their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion.” After assert­ing that sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion is an innate sense, mod­er­ately influ­enced by bio­log­i­cal processes such as genetic muta­tion and andro­g­e­niz­ing hor­mones (though the exact mech­a­nisms are unknown), and while not iden­ti­fy­ing of the self, is insep­a­ra­ble from the self and essen­tial to one’s self-identity, can some­one change their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion? The short answer is, I do not know. There is an indus­try, how­ever, that main­tains that not only is re-orientation pos­si­ble, but they are will­ing to assure that, at a min­i­mum, 30% of indi­vid­u­als who engage with them are suc­cess­ful at “repair­ing” behav­iours, fan­tasies, and desires (i.e. become het­ero­sex­ual), and pro­voke “sig­nif­i­cant and sat­is­fy­ing lifestyle changes” in the major­ity of the remainder.

              I believe it is essen­tial to dis­tin­guish between infer­ence drawn from the analy­sis of appro­pri­ately gath­ered data (i.e. pur­suant to design, pro­to­col, and eth­i­cal prac­tice), and anec­dote, and let us begin with the lat­ter. In sci­en­tific research, any find­ing that devi­ates from a nor­ma­tive, expected value is noth­ing more than a “devi­a­tion.” The obser­va­tion of a devi­a­tion is an “anec­dote.” Until there is some deter­mi­na­tion that my obser­va­tion of this devi­a­tion has sig­nif­i­cance, it is con­sid­ered a “ran­dom” event. It may be inter­est­ing, per­haps even fas­ci­nat­ing, and it may well rep­re­sent an exam­ple of exactly the con­di­tion of my inter­est. But until I have inves­ti­gated its sig­nif­i­cance, it is a ran­dom event which I may or may not ever be able to explain. Anec­dote leads to research. Fur­ther, the accu­mu­la­tion of sim­i­lar or iden­ti­cal obser­va­tions leads to research. The accu­mu­la­tion of sim­i­lar or iden­ti­cal obser­va­tions in shop­ping carts that would chal­lenge the strength of the defen­sive front line of the NY Giants to move leads to only one thing, research. It can­not be empha­sized enough that anec­dote never con­sti­tutes sci­ence, and the best of sci­en­tists have “missed the for­est for the trees.” While I will most cer­tainly return to this point, let me state from the out­set that those that would pre­sume to infer sig­nif­i­cance from anec­dote are char­la­tans, because not only are they deceivers, they are dan­ger­ous. And I have raised the issue of char­la­tans in the essay pre­vi­ous to this.

              What is an exam­ple of rely­ing on “anec­dote” instead of research? Let’s say I have devel­oped a new med­ica­tion for headaches. The first ten peo­ple that come to me with headaches are given my new med­ica­tion for a month: four have no headaches for the entire month, three have only half as many headaches than usual, two are not helped, and one became nau­seous at the first dose and had to stop. Would you rec­om­mend it? What if nine had no head aches for the month, and one still could not tol­er­ate the med? What if we increased the num­ber to seventy-seven had no headaches, and the rest had half as many headaches? How about if all one hun­dred had no headaches for a month? Would you rec­om­mend it now? Hope­fully, you have con­cluded that you do not have enough infor­ma­tion to rec­om­mend my med­ica­tion. Why? Because you know noth­ing beyond the report that it was help­ful to these spe­cific peo­ple. Is it a safe med? We don’t know. Is it likely to help oth­ers? We don’t know?

              I want to quickly men­tion some­thing referred to as a surrogate endpoint that is some­times estab­lished because it is too expen­sive or too time con­sum­ing to con­duct a full study, with the inten­tion being to “sub­sti­tute” for the real mea­sure­ment of patient sur­vival or func­tion­ing. An exam­ple: sev­eral new med­ica­tions – among them, Vioxx – were widely mar­keted and pre­scribed for reduc­ing the inflam­ma­tion and pain of arthri­tis. Sec­on­dar­ily, they were thought to reduce polyps that can cause colon can­cer, which was a major ben­e­fit in pre­ven­tion. With the inten­tion of quickly win­ning approval as a pre­ven­tion for colon can­cer, the “sur­ro­gate out­come” was estab­lished as “decrease the rate of polyps and pre­dict a decrease the rate of colon can­cer.” While the “sur­ro­gate” was cor­rect, the truth was that the risk for a heart attack or stroke was greater than the ben­e­fit pro­tec­tion from can­cer; you could be dead from a heart attack long before ever ben­e­fit­ing from the can­cer risk reduc­tion. The drug was with­drawn from the mar­ket. It seems the con­sen­sus that a “sur­ro­gate” is as accu­rate when it is iden­ti­cal to the clin­i­cal end­point; its prac­ti­cal pur­pose of approx­i­ma­tion is appro­pri­ate for such cases as “proofs of con­cept,” but too impre­cise and poten­tially mis­lead­ing and dan­ger­ous beyond. We will see the impor­tance of this con­cept later.

              The final point to con­sider here is that if we are to under­take any inves­ti­ga­tion with human sub­jects, we are morally and eth­i­cally oblig­ated to pro­tect them. There is sim­ply no excep­tion that can be made for their safety and well being. You can read the HHS Pol­icy, the FDA Pol­icy, the HHS Pol­icy regard­ing preg­nant women, human fetuses, and neonates, the HHS Pol­icy regard­ing pris­on­ers, the NIH’s Pol­icy regard­ing chil­dren, and the NIH’s Pol­icy on human spec­i­mens, cell lines, or data. It is sig­nif­i­cant that the NIH has a spe­cific require­ment for the edu­ca­tion of researchers:

              Who needs to receive required edu­ca­tion on the pro­tec­tion of human subjects?

              Indi­vid­u­als who will be involved in the design or con­duct of NIH-funded human sub­jects research must ful­fill the edu­ca­tion require­ment. These indi­vid­u­als are con­sid­ered to be “key per­son­nel” and include Prin­ci­pal Investigator(s) on NIH awards that include research involv­ing human sub­jects, all indi­vid­u­als respon­si­ble for the design or con­duct of the study, and those indi­vid­u­als iden­ti­fied as key per­son­nel of con­sor­tium par­tic­i­pants or alter­nate per­for­mance sites if they are par­tic­i­pat­ing in research that involves human subjects.

              And in con­sid­er­a­tion of the fact that the hall­mark of med­ical research is informed con­sent, the NIH has a spe­cific pol­icy to pro­tect those with a “ques­tion­able capac­ity” for con­sent. And finally, from the human research pol­icy of the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia San Diego, “Two gen­eral rules have been for­mu­lated as com­ple­men­tary expres­sions of benef­i­cent actions in this sense: (1) do not harm and (2) max­i­mize pos­si­ble ben­e­fits and min­i­mize pos­si­ble harms.”

              I will state with­out hes­i­ta­tion, with­out qual­i­fi­ca­tion, and with­out reser­va­tion that we should be grate­ful to God for any­one who has been deliv­ered from same sex attrac­tion by any means that this was accom­plished. Sec­ondly, I deplore any­one who would dis­par­age this deliv­er­ance as “delu­sion,” “victimization/mind con­trol,” or “fab­ri­ca­tion”; and those who would under­take “covert inves­ti­ga­tions” hop­ing to “out” the fraud are repug­nant and piti­fully mis­guided. Nev­er­the­less, to acknowl­edge that some have been “deliv­ered” is entirely dif­fer­ent than say­ing they have been “suc­cess­fully re-oriented” by sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion change efforts (SOCE)/reparative ther­a­pies. And in my mind, this acknowl­edg­ment is an impos­si­ble effort, as the “the­ory” of repar­a­tive ther­a­pies is built on unsub­stan­ti­ated premise.

              Key to SOCE is the pro­mo­tion of homo­sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion as unsta­ble and “fluid”; in other words, adolescents/young adults “grow out” of this “phase” or “period,” per­haps by sim­ple matu­rity, or per­haps by remov­ing the influ­ence of homo­sex­ual sib­lings and peers; and the sug­ges­tion that homo­sex­u­al­ity in gen­eral is much less sta­ble than het­ero­sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion. To sug­gest that homo­sex­u­al­ity is “pha­sic,” “tran­sient,” and “unsta­ble” is to deny it is ori­en­ta­tion, and pow­er­fully demon­strate its amenabil­ity to change – if you are will­ing. Unfor­tu­nately, the research sup­ports none of these con­tentions. Two recent stud­ies exam­ined data gath­ered in national health stud­ies of ado­les­cents (>12,000 sub­jects) and reached vir­tu­ally iden­ti­cal con­clu­sions: het­ero­sex­u­als con­sti­tuted the vast major­ity and homo­sex­u­als the vast minor­ity; those who described them­selves as “unsure” even­tu­ally describe them­selves as com­pletely het­ero­sex­ual; and after a period of six years, homo­sex­u­als reported nearly the same level of sta­bil­ity as het­ero­sex­u­als. This would sup­port the asser­tion that some indi­vid­u­als iden­tify their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion at a for­ma­tive age, and it will remain sta­ble and intran­sient through­out the remain­der of their devel­op­men­tal stages and maturation.

              Fur­ther, I raise the asser­tions of an unequiv­o­cal high-priest of char­la­tans, NE White­head, author of My Genes Made Me Do It (Google it your­self), who claims that “sex­u­al­ity in the non-heterosexual pop­u­la­tion is much less sta­ble than in the het­ero­sex­ual pop­u­la­tion.” He goes on to quote a legit­i­mate study, “Sta­bil­ity and change in sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion iden­tity over a 10-year period in adult­hood.” pub­lished this month in the rep­utable Archives of Sex­ual Behav­ior, but fails to men­tion that the study specif­i­cally exam­ined “het­ero­sex­ual sta­bil­ity, female sex­ual flu­id­ity, and bisex­ual flu­id­ity,” not the sta­bil­ity of homo­sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion. While the authors do con­clude that, among men, “het­ero­sex­u­al­ity and homo­sex­u­al­ity were both rel­a­tively sta­ble com­pared to bisex­u­al­ity” and for women, “bisex­u­al­ity and homo­sex­u­al­ity were equally unsta­ble and sig­nif­i­cantly less sta­ble than het­ero­sex­u­al­ity,” most impor­tantly, “this pat­tern of results was con­sis­tent with pre­vi­ous find­ings and helps to address method­olog­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions of ear­lier research by show­ing the char­ac­ter­is­tics of a population-based sam­ple of het­ero­sex­ual, homo­sex­ual, and bisex­ual iden­ti­fied men and women over time.” (empha­sis mine) 3 Some­how, White­head inter­prets this to mean that the “con­cept of change [has] had huge sup­port in the lit­er­a­ture from Kin­sey onwards. The present paper only pro­vides fur­ther evi­dence of what has been true all along… even in mid­dle age lots of change is occur­ring.” This is a gross mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the authors’ inten­tion and conclusions.

              It seems impor­tant to empha­size what seems evi­dent: some indi­vid­u­als appear to iden­tify their same sex attrac­tion early in their devel­op­ment – and it is not an unusual report – and while it may be a source of anx­i­ety, it is not a source of con­fu­sion. Fur­ther, their ori­en­ta­tion is not “pha­sic,” nor “tran­sient,” but remains sta­ble and con­sis­tent through ado­les­cence, young adult­hood, and into adult­hood. It strikes me that SOCE sug­gests first, the neces­sity for repair, and sec­ond, the promise of improved “life sat­is­fac­tion” with repair but denies that it is pos­si­ble to live a life of chastity and “sin­gle­mind­ed­ness” – “He who is capa­ble (ὁ δυνάμενος) to embrace it, embrace it (Matt 19:12) – to which we are all called, fully and com­pletely within the con­text of the Church. This is nei­ther incon­sis­tent with Ortho­dox anthro­pol­ogy, nor with our The­ol­ogy. And if you read the pre­vi­ous series, you would know that the prac­ti­tion­ers of SOCE have gen­er­ated no research demon­strat­ing attempts at re-orientation are suc­cess­ful at all. There­fore, I find it rea­son­able to con­clude that the group I have described – ele­vated bio-gentic risk and sta­ble sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion – are the least likely to respond or to ben­e­fit from SOCE, and raises the ques­tion, could they be harmed?

              Let me quickly men­tion the issue of “h-index” or the “index h” as a char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of a sci­en­tific scholar’s “out­put” – their “rel­e­vance” – and the impact of of a scholar’s work mea­sured by fur­ther cita­tion in the works of oth­ers. I empha­size, this is not a mat­ter of pop­u­lar­ity, but sci­en­tific sig­nif­i­cance, as mea­sured by one’s col­leagues and the field. Judg­ing by the h-index of the schol­ars of SOCE (and you are wel­come to check using this con­ve­nient cita­tion gad­get), it appears it was thought bet­ter to develop a jour­nal of their own, Jour­nal of Human Sex­u­al­ity, “peer-reviewed” and “ref­er­eed” to the extent that they are their own peers and ref­er­ees. This is the tac­tic of charlatans.

              There is a con­sid­er­able amount of scold­ing in the Jour­nal of Human Sex­u­al­ity as to the Amer­i­can Psy­chi­atric Association’s lack of research sup­port­ing their claim that SOCE is harm­ful and uneth­i­cal 4, which is, at best ironic, and at worst disin­gen­u­ous, because they have no evi­dence to sup­port their claim that it is not harm­ful. There­fore, I con­clude this part by 1) refer­ring you back to Part 3 to review the dif­fer­ence between sci­ence and anec­dote; 2) not­ing that the prac­ti­tion­ers of SOCE do so in defi­ance of every major asso­ci­a­tion and body rep­re­sent­ing men­tal health providers that have declared the prac­tice uneth­i­cal until a benefit-to-harm ratio has been estab­lished; and 3) refer you to the finale.

              So the finale is a riff on Mar­shall McLuhan, which I am call­ing “polémique is the mes­sage,” because the argu­ment was, in my esti­ma­tion, insin­cere from its incep­tion. I have argued from the begin­ning that it is a “con­ser­v­a­tive” tac­tic to reframe issues as “never-ending sto­ries” that I do not have the power to ter­mi­nate else­where, but here the call is mine.

              I would offer a short state­ment made by Fr. Stephen Free­man on his won­der­ful blog for its insight­ful­ness and simplicity:

              The nature of things is an impor­tant ques­tion to ask – or should I say an a pri­ori ques­tion. For once we are able to state what is the nature of things then the answers to many ques­tions framed by the nature of things will also begin to be appar­ent. All of this is another way of say­ing that ques­tions have a way of deter­min­ing answers. So what is the nature of things? More specif­i­cally, what is the nature of things such that Chris­tians believe human­ity needs salvation?

              The nature of our prob­lem is not moral but exis­ten­tial or onto­log­i­cal. We have a prob­lem that is rooted in the very nature of our exis­tence, not in our behav­ior. We behave badly because of a prior prob­lem. Good behav­ior will not cor­rect the problem.

              It is quite star­tling to me that I find myself in a posi­tion of “defend­ing” homo­sex­u­al­ity as a sim­ple onto­log­i­cal affir­ma­tion of truth, being, and exis­tence: it is. But as Fr. Stephen indi­cates, “it is the nature of things such that Chris­tians believe human­ity needs sal­va­tion.” And I have insisted it is, not accord­ing to cre­ation nor our “nature,” but it is what we have become. This should never have been an argu­ment – par­tic­u­larly one of such con­tention – among peo­ple who claim to pos­sess “com­mon sense.”

              • Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever

                Well, the argument from authority has been made, complete with use of a racial epithet. But the published evidence from the self-published website of he-who-must-be-named seems underwhelming

                Is this supposedly definitive statement that we must all accept peer-reviewed? Who published it? What is the source of authority? In Orthodox terms it would be the kind of empirical experience of holy asceticism suggested so well by Metropolitan Hierotheos’ Empirical Dogmatics, and ecclesiastically an authoritative statement would at least come from a Synod of hierarchs as was the case with, for example, the Russian Church’s Jubilee Statement on the Social Concept, which is at odds with this. But the authority called upon here appears to be academic and professional, as part of a self-asserted “legacy” entitlement to authority.

                In terms of content, the ontological aspect is the rub here. It essentializes sexual identity of any kind, heterosexual, homosexual, transexual, transgendered, queer, polyamorous, polygamous, pedophilic, etc.

                “I am a heterosexual and therefore it is part of my identity to be attracted to members of the opposite sex and therefore ontologically my expression of that identity must be recognized by all and protected, it is my right to express and practice that essential identity, in marriage, in adultery, in various kinds of practices once considered not morally acceptable in Judaeo-Christian terms, and in institutions and organizations of all kinds, including the Church, for any restriction including that of such organizations would be violating my ontology as a human being.”

                Substitute any of the other terms in the paragraph just preceding the above, and there is the problem, and the difference. If in Orthodox anthropology and psychology we situate identity differently from this, and we do, then ontologically we are not asserting its essentialism. If we accept such modern identities (which Foucault argued in his History of Sexuality emerged only with the Enlightenment, in the West) as ontological, then we accept their absoluteness, and deny the transfigurative power of Christ.

                The spectrum between biological sex, sexual identity, gender, and sexual orientation, is very blurred today because of the philosophical assumptions that color any efforts to sort this out materialistically. What is genetic, what is epigenetic? Do we take away human agency from LGBTQ-identifying people because we say their identity is genetically determined? Some argue yes and don’t accept that. Do we consider biological sex and/or gender and/or sexual identity and/or sexual orientation to be social and cultural constructions? Then we cannot support a “natural” sense of marriage as being between a man and a woman or the idea of two biological sexes, despite the physical evidence to the contrary.

                There is an essential contradiction between arguments for ontological sexual identity and arguments for the fluidity of sexual identity that the social sciences with their own philosophical and political assumptions cannot answer today. It was one thing to Christianize Hellenistic culture in the early Church, but another thing to be Hellenized as was the case arguably with Arianism and Origenism. Hopefully that’s not happening today again in our post-Christian world with a kind of Western consumer sexualism as the new Hellenism.

                Please pray for me the sinner,


              • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim says

                Forgive me, but I don’t have time to read your rather lengthy response right now because I’m putting in long hours at my office & at home while suffering from sleep deprivation caused by our newborn who is keeping me up much of the night. I do hope to read your reply in the near future.

                Until then would you be courteous enough to give me a yes or no?

                • M. Stankovich says


                  First & foremost, my heartfelt congratulations to you & your wife! “Yes, you shall see your children’s children, and peace on Israel.” (Ps. 127:6)

                  I have never believed one is identified by their sexual orientation, but sexual orientation is inseparable from our fallen human nature.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Dr Stankovich, thank you for being direct as it allows me to clear up an essential confusion that you or others may have about me. (I pray it is confusion otherwise I am being confused with a straw man.)

            Let me be perfectly clear:

            1. I have no animus to those who struggle with their passions (whatever they are). I do not for one minute believe that these people should be kicked out of the Church. Never have, never will.

            2. My concern is that there is a cabal within our Church which is seeking to normalize homosexual relations, not homosexual orientation.

            3. This same cabal is intent on dominating the Church in similar manner to what has happened to ECUSA.

            4. Finally, I have a problem with those who do not see their particular passion as a sin. I know what my sins are and I don’t want my Church to acknowledge them as anything but sin.

            5. I have no problem with men who have a homosexual orientation from being ordained but I do agree with St Paul that effeminate men should not be placed in positions of authority. (Let’s face it, in no secular sphere outside of hairdressing and the theater are effeminate men given any prominence. They certainly do not rise to positions of leadership.)

            • Thomas Barker says

              Mr. Michalopulos, have you considered that society at large (including many Orthodox) has become so inured to what is evil that your audience may shrug and say “What’s the problem?”. In my opinion you fight bravely for what is good and just and true, against an astonishing tide of depravity. If I knew how to help “the one who fights alone”, I would. But increasingly the audience is more like the crowd that surrounded the house of righteous Lot, demanding “bring them out unto us, that we may know them.”

            • Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever

              Well, the argument from authority has been made, complete with use of a racial epithet. But the published evidence from the self-published website of he-who-must-be-named seems underwhelming

              Is this supposedly definitive statement that we must all accept peer-reviewed? Who published it? What is the source of authority? In Orthodox terms it would be the kind of empirical experience of holy asceticism suggested so well by Metropolitan Hierotheos’ Empirical Dogmatics, and ecclesiastically an authoritative statement would at least come from a Synod of hierarchs as was the case with, for example, the Russian Church’s Jubilee Statement on the Social Concept, which is at odds with this. But the authority called upon here appears to be academic and professional, as part of a self-asserted “legacy” entitlement to authority.

              In terms of content, the ontological aspect is the rub here. It essentializes sexual identity of any kind, heterosexual, homosexual, transexual, transgendered, queer, polyamorous, polygamous, pedophilic, etc.

              “I am a heterosexual and therefore it is part of my identity to be attracted to members of the opposite sex and therefore ontologically my expression of that identity must be recognized by all and protected, it is my right to express and practice that essential identity, in marriage, in adultery, in various kinds of practices once considered not morally acceptable in Judaeo-Christian terms, and in institutions and organizations of all kinds, including the Church, for any restriction including that of such organizations would be violating my ontology as a human being.”

              Substitute any of the other terms in the paragraph just preceding the above, and there is the problem, and the difference. If in Orthodox anthropology and psychology we situate identity differently from this, and we do, then ontologically we are not asserting its essentialism. If we accept such modern identities (which Foucault argued in his History of Sexuality emerged only with the Enlightenment, in the West) as ontological, then we accept their absoluteness, and deny the transfigurative power of Christ.

              The spectrum between biological sex, sexual identity, gender, and sexual orientation, is very blurred today because of the philosophical assumptions that color any efforts to sort this out materialistically. What is genetic, what is epigenetic? Do we take away human agency from LGBTQ-identifying people because we say their identity is genetically determined? Some argue yes and don’t accept that. Do we consider biological sex and/or gender and/or sexual identity and/or sexual orientation to be social and cultural constructions? Then we cannot support a “natural” sense of marriage as being between a man and a woman or the idea of two biological sexes, despite the physical evidence to the contrary.

              There is an essential contradiction between arguments for ontological sexual identity and arguments for the fluidity of sexual identity that the social sciences with their own philosophical and political assumptions cannot answer today. It was one thing to Christianize Hellenistic culture in the early Church, but another thing to be Hellenized as was the case arguably with Arianism and Origenism. Hopefully that’s not happening today again in our post-Christian world with a kind of Western consumer sexualism as the new Hellenism.

              Please pray for me the sinner,


              • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD says

                Alf, my friend, as a respected long-time professor of English, you are developing an impressive competency in Orthodox theology.

                On the issue at hand, Fr. Hans Jacobse and you are, in my estimation, correct. Any argument on behalf of non-heterosexual “orientation” as “ontological”–that is, having to do with our anthropic (or human) essence or nature (whether ousia or physis in Greek)–is contrary to Orthodox tradition and absurd on its face. The relentless advocacy of some for homosexual “orientation” as “ontological” is a Trojan Horse to lull Orthodox in America into conformity to the radical metamorphosis–and moral deformation–of our political and popular cultures.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Very well put Fr. I for one try to interact with human beings as persons.

                • Aw, Father Alexander,

                  Does what you write mean I have to give up my best defense against getting hit on by a person of my same sex. I usually say “Did you confuse me for a member of your own species?” Usually gets a laugh, btw

            • Michael Kinsey says

              Positioning a potential recidivist homosexual priest over a parish flock, is exceedingly unwise practice. This is all the authority and position needful to harm innocents within the parish. Account all the incidences in the past 30 years and that is where they occur .Refusing to ordain and tonsure homosexuals does effectively remove the opportunity. Being just a member of the laity is not a punishment, nor is it a rejection of someone struggling against it. It does remove the cookie jar to a position a bit more out of reach, quite helpful to a child snitching cookies.Save the innocent ,first.

        • This has to be one of the most helpful things I’ve ever read to help me understand this whole topic. Thanks be to God! And thank you Fr. Jacobse.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Dear Father–You wrote “The question to ask is: if a person struggling with same-sex desire is living a life of chastity, is he a homosexual? Stankovich would say yes. I say no. The way I see it, Stankovich arbitrarily elevates “sexual-orientation” to a special status and class, a point I have argued with him before. My response then and now was that every passion, if left unchecked, effects an “orientation” — a way of seeing and feeling that shapes behavior around the passion.”

          As you know, the Holy Bible condemns various sexual acts. I am thinking of 1 Corinthians 6:9, for example: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[a] nor sodomites…” (Note a: That is, catamites.) It is clear that in this passage various acts are condemned and not the passions or causes for them.

          To carry your logic further to other sexual sins, it seems to me that you are making a distinction without meaning. If every unchecked passion effects an orientation, then there is no difference between pedophiles, partialists, and sufferers of the various kinds of paraphilia. I am open to instruction here but Ii would think that the nature and cause of the attraction or passion is just as important as whether it is unchecked or not. I do not think that we should dismiss sexual orientation, nor do I think we should elevate sexual sins above all others. What is problematic right now is the effort to normalize homosexuality; it would be just as unsettling if there were apparently successful drives to normalize any other manifestations of lust, along with the other deadly sins–gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride.

          • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

            Carl, you are essentially making my point. If every unchecked passion effects an orientation, then why single out homosexual orientation as a fixed anthropological category? If it were, then there is no reason to treat other sexual “orientations” — pedophilia, pederasty, bestiality, and others that may exist — any differently.* That’s why I argue that elevating homosexual orientation to a special class or status is arbitrary.

            (The next step in our moral devolution will be an attempt to either lower or remove the age of legal consensual sex by pederasts. It will be justified using the language of “orientation.”)

            Also, as you correctly concluded above, once homosexuality is perceived as a fixed anthropological category, then the distinction between sin and sinner collapses in on itself. When this happens any criticism of homosexual behavior is perceived as a personal attack on the homosexual. Obviously this is exactly how the broader culture perceives it today, although I think this may change in four or five years.

            Thus, it is not that my distinction has no meaning; it’s that the distinction applied only to homosexual orientation is arbitrary. Either it applies across the board, or it does not apply at all.

            Yes, this logic could apply to all passions, but sexual energy is more powerful than the rest and thus the focus of the activism.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              I am flattered by your remarks but I am at the same time disappointed that I did not make myself clear. I do believe that sexual orientation is important and I do agree with Dr. Stankovich that despite a sexual orientation of homosexual attraction, it is possible and desirable not to act on that attraction. In my opinion, y’all are blinded by the current success of the homosexual lobby and consequently are trying to erase the distinction between orientation and action so that you can fight this scourge better.

              My point was rather simple, if humans are capable (and they are) of a multitude of sins, sexual or otherwise, then the essential cause of these sins is a corresponding pre-existing orientation or predilection for them–not a wholesale rottenness that a lack of orientation points to. As an Orthodox, I find that sort of thinking to be strange.

              • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                Carl, you are missing some critical points.

                You use the term “orientation” without understanding what Mr. Stankovich means by it.

                Stankovich argues that “orientation” is a ontological category although he is a bit cagey on how he uses the term (I’ve pressed him on it before). In Orthodox anthropology the term “ontological” means essential to our being. Stankovich means something more along the lines of ‘existential” — something we feel and experience as part of our human existence. The difference is that he believes that homosexual “orientation” — people really feel and experience same-sex attraction — is fixed and unchangeable simply because they feel and experience it.

                The reason he loses his cool with me is that I question his fundamental assumptions, the ideas he holds before the research even starts. I believe his assumptions direct his research. He believes his assertions are derived from the research. That’s why his only responses to my challenges are that I am ignorant, right-wing, reactionary — the usual stuff.

                The problem is that if we take Stankovich’s assumptions about homosexual orientation as true, then they have to be be applied to all “orientations” across the board. That presents a problem. Do we really want to affirm that, say, bestiality, is a legitimate sexual “expression” (God-created and approved) because some people feel and experience an attraction to animals? If we extend Stankovich’s reasoning to its logical end, the answer is yes.

                That’s why I argue that passions effect an orientation. How we deal with our passions affects thought and thus behavior. “Orientation” in other words, is not limited to same-sex desire alone. It applies to all passions, even though our focus is almost exclusively on sexual passions because they are more powerful for reasons we can talk about another time.

                Stankovich’s ideas, if followed, will have two outcomes: they will 1) diminish our understanding of the power of Jesus Christ to transform and heal the inner man; and 2) justify a cultural shift where social arrangements that violate the Christian moral tradition will become normalized, including in the Church.

                Your confusion occurs I think because you mix up “passion” with “orientation.” “Orientation” is not even a legitimate theological/psychological category in Orthodox anthropology unless we mean by it the distortion of thinking and behavior caused by passions not controlled. In that case proper therapy begins with learning how to manage the passions. In our current culture we have to take the even more elementary step of teaching what the passions even are.

                Stankovich’s approach muddies the water but then he is not a priest. I have never detected in any of his writings a sense of the harm that our sexually licentious culture inflicts on the souls of people, especially our teens and young adults. Healing requires (to put it in theological language) a basic understanding of ontology because ontology determines morality, and the management of the passions — which includes the concrete experience of Christ who enables interior healing — and moral sobriety go hand in hand.

                This is why whenever I teach morality to young people, I start with Genesis. People first have to understand who God created them to be in order to know how to grow into the person that He created them to be. For the same reason whenever I talk to a man coming to terms with his same-sex attraction, one of the first things I tell him is that he is not homosexual. I can talk about this dimension some other time.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Dear Father–I truly appreciate your response; it is nice to be taken seriously.

                  However, I am a bit disconcerted by your absolute certainty that there is no such thing as sexual orientation. I am also uncomfortable with your assertion that “In Orthodox anthropology the term “ontological” means essential to our being. Stankovich means something more along the lines of ‘existential” — something we feel and experience as part of our human existence. The difference is that he believes that homosexual “orientation” — people really feel and experience same-sex attraction — is fixed and unchangeable simply because they feel and experience it.”

                  I wish that certainties in this matter are held in abeyance just a little bit because I think that there is a middle ground that may need to be expressed via better words and concepts. I think it is evident that heterosexuality is normative, both because God made us so and because at least 90% of us are so. However, there are undoubtedly some folks who have homosexual sexual and others who do act on their attraction sexually. As Christians, we must acknowledge that our basic source document, the Holy Bible, only classifies the act as a sin and not the attraction (I do understand that lusting in one’s heart applies to all, not just to heterosexuals. I am merely making an academic distinction between attraction and sexual desire). Since we are all flawed and prone to sin (while not completely rotten as some Protestant believe), it seems to me that we should be less categorical and certain when we approach any shortcoming. I say this not because of humility or a soft heart for sinners, but because we are confronted with surprising scientific findings almost every day. There are studies, for example, that point to predisposition to chemical addiction if one’s parents have/had substance use disorder. Granted that the beginning of almost all addictions start with use, which is volitional, predisposition seem to matter nonetheless in how easily one becomes addicted. Predisposition, predilection, or orientation are real and they do not have to be opposed to your ontological approach–why can’t they be exceptions to the norm, to the ontology?

                  In short, acknowledging that bestiality, for example, may contain orientation or predisposition, does not mean that it must be accepted as normal, moral, ethical or legal. Thus, the Church cannot agree to the normalization of homosexual acts. But, we can approach our brothers and sisters who suffer from this affliction without making a big deal of the difference between ontological and experiential understanding of their attraction. To use another example, you would not advise a addict to pornography that ontologically he is not an addict of pornography, would you? If I were that addict, I would run away from you as fast as I can because I would think that you are more interested in explaining your views than helping me. I am told by substance abuse counselors that the most effective way is to meet the clients where they are at first. They come with attitudes and behaviors that need to be changed; I do not think that, except for a very small number, they would understand or care about their ontological status. In this instance, I think that Mr. Stankovich’s approach is much more practical; the spiritual farther should accept that they have the attraction and change the behavior first by helping them resist the temptation to act on their attraction. Who knows, we may learn that genetics have a role to play in this area, just as they do in heart issues for example (I think the field has settled on 80%),

                  • Fr. Hans Jacobse says


                    Biological predispositions towards certain behaviors may exist most likely by the effects of genetic inheritance in the shaping of personality. But biology is not destiny and it certainly is not the foundation of anthropology. We have to be very careful here not to assimilate the common misconception that materiality is the ground of existence; that chemical processes define existence. That leads, in the end, to a kind of determinism, even fatalism.

                    (As an aside, some of the sharper gay activists agree with me on this point. They understand that if indeed a “gay gene” is ever discovered — which I don’t think is likely – or even if the argument prevails that homosexual attraction is genetically determined, then the belief that biology is destiny can come back to bite them hard if social attitudes shift against homosexuals.

                    Be careful here. If materialist determinism justifies compassion, then it can just as easily justify brutality. Look no farther then recent history, particularly the eugenics movement early in the last century, ostensibly justified by “science.” )

                    Moving on, introducing sin into question of ontology and orientation muddles the issue. The question is not about sin, it is about the grounding of desire. If same-sex desire is a fixed “orientation” grounded in biology and granted ontological status, then on what basis do we exclude other “orientations” such as bestiality? There is none.

                    The pastoral dimension is of course important, but to be effective it requires the correct understanding of some basic anthropological concepts lest harm be done. This discussion is about the concepts, not about pastoral practice. Look at the Fathers and the tone and language they used concerning abortion. Do you think that they counseled the woman who had an abortion in the same way? Of course not. Why did they use such harsh language then? My hunch is that is was necessary to break through the din of confusion that prevailed during their time.

                    Sin is volitional, but sin is sin when a person acts on desire (understanding of course that some of the acting involves the interior life). But we have to remember too that the Fathers taught the ground of all desire — even inordinate desire — is the desire for God. (Sin, the Fathers teach, arises when the natural desire of the soul for God is directed through the energy of the body.) Sin, in other words, is looking for Life in places where Life is not. Thus it leads only to death.

                    Further, a spiritual father (or counselor, guide, or priest) does not “change behavior.” Each person is responsible for his own behavior and only he can change it.

                    Rather, the spiritual father first engages the struggle alongside the person stuggling. This means the first and highest calling is to pray with and for the person. If the counselor is faithful, then the Lord in his mercy provides knowledge, much of it given through the discernment of the counselor.

                    That knowledge is by its nature transformative (it heals). It fills the space that opens in the struggle against sin. The Lord is the healer of the soul, no one else, although that healing is often (not exclusively) mediated through the prayer and word of the counselor. And often, when the soul experiences healing, behavior changes because the passion that a person struggles against lessens in its severity and grip.

                    So the counselor is concerned with morality in this sense: morals, properly understood, define what a person was created to be. They serve not only as judge, but also as guide. Reducing the Christian life solely to good behavior however, misses the point entirely because it dims the deeper vision of our divine calling and destiny. It reduces morality to moralisms and thereby denies the power and thus possibility of real, existential, healing.

                    Sometimes, when I read Stankovich’s ideas closely, I wonder if his behaviorist trajectory is nothing more than the cultural effluence of a collapsed Protestant anthropology — Calvinist rationalism without the pietism. There is a correspondence between the divorce of morality from the divine and the effort to locate the ground of desire in the created order — a kind of materialistic morality.

                    But when religion has collapsed, what else is there? Man, after all, cannot live by bread alone and this is as true of the non-believer as it is the believer.

                    • Mike Myers says

                      Sometimes, when I read Stankovich’s ideas closely, I wonder if his behaviorist trajectory is nothing more than the cultural effluence of a collapsed Protestant anthropology — Calvinist rationalism without the pietism. There is a correspondence between the divorce of morality from the divine and the effort to locate the ground of desire in the created order — a kind of materialistic morality.

                      Gotta ask: do you consciously intend such vacuous, comically abstract anthro/theo/psychobabble to be read as parody? You possess a notable talent for it. Taken together with the other borderline libelous misreadings and envious projections you’ve wildly fired at Dr. Stankovich (always missing, badly), I’d be more cautious if I were you. Not that I’d recommend he take legal action, of course. That would be unbrotherly and uncanonical . . .
                      Do you even know what pleonexia is? Hard for me to credit that at your age you could be honestly unaware what a clericalist poster boy you are for invidious character assassination. You and George both excel in that dark art. (You’re significantly less crude, admittedly, but that’s hardly saying much and is in any case probably not especially creditable under the circumstances of your orders.)

                      I’m interested in your personal definition of “religion.” The Gospel of Jesus Christ crucified and risen isn’t nearly as complex and mysterious to me as it appears to be to you and those like you on the ersatz “conservative” Christianist Right.

                      I’ve been reading your hollow blather for years, and you increasingly amaze me. Get an honest job.

                    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                      Good evening to you too Mike.

                      Not parody at all. In a desacralized world, not much reference to the divine or transcendent remains. It just fades from view. When that happens, all that is left is matter — materialism if we want to speak philosophically.

                      I had a great discussion today, with a professional historian it turns out, a retired university professor. She mentioned that when the Soviet Union fell and the moral and spiritual bankruptcy of Communism was laid bare, she believed the West was finally rid of that heinous and barbaric pseudo-religion. I did too. Alas, it was not to be. It merely morphed from a political ideology to a cultural ideology.

                      My explanation was that even in de-Christianized Christendom, the only possible cultural forms are those shaped by Christianity. At one time those forms promised to unlock all the secrets of creation, at least the prophets and their followers thought so — Darwin, Freud, Marx — but Freud and Marx have fallen and Darwin will too in due course. The forms however, remain, but are no longer contained by any stable moral framework. As a result they present dangers.

                      The descramentalization of creation is the thing — secularism. It propels the drive towards seeking a materialist basis for everything (chemical and physical processes are the ground of epistemology). I see much of this rooted in Calvinist anthropology, at least how his ideas played out in cultural history, thus the reference to Calvin.

                      The notion that we can find a relationship between a gene and behavior as complex as sexuality is a long way off in my opinion. In fact, I don’t think we will find it all and, being somewhat of a historian myself, I look at Stankovich’s approach (and yours too apparently) with a great deal of caution and skepticism. I’ve seen the same assertions used before. They called it Social Darwinism back then.

                      Yes, I realize you don’t agree. You’ve made that abundantly clear time and again. Yet you keep turning the volume progressively higher and tend to shout, while Stankovich tempers it with stories about encounters with prison psychopaths and the like cast in the prose of high drama. I think the stories would be good source material for Law and Order: SVU (voyeurism for Grandma) but I would not craft Church policy by them.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Fr. Hans,

                      The notion that we can find a relationship between a gene and behavior as complex as sexuality is a long way off in my opinion. In fact, I don’t think we will find it all and, being somewhat of a historian myself, I look at Stankovich’s approach (and yours too apparently) with a great deal of caution and skepticism. I’ve seen the same assertions used before. They called it Social Darwinism back then.

                      It seems to me, Fr. Historian, that your memory of back then is woefully limited. If you would look to your own site, you will find this:

                      M. Stankovich says:
                      October 25, 2011 at 4:41 PM

                      I would beg to differ that what you have presented is a “different point of view,” and if I may quote myself from Part I of my argument: “It fur­ther seems impor­tant to acknowl­edge that some her­i­ta­ble char­ac­ter­is­tics, as we shall see, are believed to be a direct result of our inter­ac­tion with this bro­ken world” [Note: referring to epigenetics] And I have clearly stated that: “Not only do I accept this con­tention [that there is no genetic marker for homosexuality], but I ven­ture to guess that we will never dis­cover a genetic marker for SSA.”

                      Good Lord, man! If you intend to parade your arrogant and ordained “insight into Stankovich” before the readership of this site from your pressed woolen cassock and polished gold Cross, at least have the common decency to acknowledge me as your instructor and teacher. You owe me that debt of respect.

                      I laughed to myself this afternoon, looking over all my posts to your sight – not about homosexuality – but about what it is to appeal to the Fathers, and what it is to appeal to the fathers of our own generation who taught us. But you are “constitutionally” different: you have nothing to learn, and you arrived prepared to teach, rather than listen; to instruct, rather than be instructed; fully prepared to “craft Church policy,” and not to be obedient. And despite the fact that you would feign “insight” pulled from my mouth, you are viciously & mockingly ungrateful. And because of your ingratitude and unwillingness to be both obedient and willing to learn – as all us willingly submitted ourselves – you have marginalized yourself into insignificance, “debating” atheists on YouTube for “pleasure,” not to edify.

                      Personally, I have nothing here to win, nothing to gain, no honor to achieve, no position to sell, or no “self-esteem” to be gained from these silly, tedious, meaningless exchanges. Honestly, I do not care what you think or how you arrived at your opinion. Bonne chance.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Carl, I think it is important to take the entirety of Romans I into consideration here. Particularly St. Paul’s observation that when we fell, all of creation fell. Not only were our minds and hearts darkened, the material world changed as well and suffers under the distortion and darkening that the fall caused.

                    Hence even biological distortions, while not our individual sinfulness are the result of the falling away from God.

                    My father who was not a Christian but a very fine doctor understood the interrelationship between a person’s mental-emotional-spiritual condition and one’s physical condition and desires.

                    Having been taught that all of my life and seeing the truth of it, it was a really welcome surprise to come into the Church and find that here too except on an even deeper level.

                    It is a difficult thing to maintain, this sense of the interpenetration of the created by the Creator. Because we have fallen away from God, we tend to think He has fallen away from us.

                    The joy of Pascha is the unfathomable realization that He is intimately with us but that He is Risen so that we can be too and all of the detritus of sin that leads to death has been overthrown. Goodness, virtue and wholeness is not just a hope but a reality we can participate in.

                    The tragedy of the normalizers is that they reject that possibility for those who have same sex attraction.

                    Submitting sufficiently to the love of Christ so that we might actually participate in His healing is not easy because of all of the temptations of the flesh and the darkness in our hearts. The teaching dimension of the Church has to show us how dark and sick we really are so that we are willing to do the work and endure the pain of healing. That healing can be a bit like the suffering a burn victim endures when their burns have to be debrided.

                    While I am sure that there are pastors in the Church who are not skilled and compassionate in dealing with such profound distortions of our being, it is silly to call for a change in the pastoral approach of the Church as Dr./Mr./Michael does. The pastoral model does not need to change, just the understanding and application with skill and compassion. The understanding of how distorted human sexual attitudes and behavior is needs to deepen in all of us–not just with regards to homosexual behavior and desire but with our own desires too.

                    The block to that happening, IMO, is the intransigence of the normalization crowd. They refuse to admit anything needs healing and want to force others into that same refusal. Many who are opposed have their own intransigence because by being opposed to homosexuality, they can feel more normal themselves even though they have a similar darkness in their own souls with regards to sexual desire or support normalization because they then have less reason to examine their own hearts.

                    While the polemics of what St. John Chrysostom said about homosexual behavior may be counterproductive and distasteful, the core of what he was saying needs to be considered: homosexual activity is worse than murder because it not only destroys the body, but it destroys the soul of all the parties involved even if it is “consensual”

                    The thing about the passions is that when we are deeply under their sway, it becomes really difficult to really consent. I don’t know if homosexual activity is any worse than fornication or adultery. At a certain point if your sins and passions keep you from the Kingdom, it doesn’t really matter.

                    • Thomas Barker says

                      Entirely superb, Mr. Bauman. I hope that you are teaching at an Orthodox seminary somewhere.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Mr. Bauman,

                      When you finally descend from your pulpit, I again invite you to join me in what motivates me. I am happy to take you on to segregated prison units where human beings have so distorted themselves, not at the hands of surgeons, but criminals, who have learned to inject “substances” under the muscles of the chest – with no concern for infection control or sepsis – to give the appearance of breasts and “enhanced” buttocks, lips, and eyelids; who have “turned tricks” in the gas stations of San Ysidro and Otay Mesa in order to procure feminizing “hormone therapy” from Tijuana that they inject with shared needles; and on top of it all, have contracted chronic Hepatis B, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis F & G (which I only vaguely knew existed), medication-resistant tuberculosis, staph infections, and of course, HIV. Then, Mr. Bauman, we take a psychosocial history that, more often than not, will bring tears to the very angels in heaven: childhood poverty, neglect, and abuse that is nearly always a combination of emotion, violence, and sex. And when we reach the psychiatric assessment, Mr. Bauman, you will learn how an inept, powerless human being has attempted to manage a horror show. And at that point, Mr. Bauman, I fully intend to line up my charges before you, I will weep bitterly. And I will ask you before them, “Michael Bauman, What does Dr./Mr./Michael do now?” Because that is what transpires in my heart.

                      You offer pages of righteous platitudes, and righteous postings. You somehow imagine you are the only one to realize that society answers to the prince of this world, that you have a special insight – perhaps more congratulations are due! Stop on the street with me and take the filthy, reeking, drunken man’s pulse; check if he’s breathing, check his pupils for life as I do. Despicable, abhorrent, sinful and disgusting as he is, “κατ’ εἰκόνα θεοῦ ἐποίησεν αὐτόν” in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:27) he was created exactly as we were, Mr. Bauman. And as long as he is capable of pushing air, he is capable of repentance. This is the mirror by which you will lecture and mock me of “silliness.” I issued a “call for a change in the pastoral approach” of the Church, Mr. Bauman? Superb, Mr. Bauman! Now, annoint your head with oil because it you who are silly and puffed up with your own rhetoric. If anything, I called for pastors to be pastoral. Where do you find our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Shepherd, the Physician, the Healer, the Savior, the Peace, the Light, the Door, and the Rest for the weary? Among sinners.

                    • Carl Kraeff says

                      Dear Michael–I understand what you are saying. My problem is that folks are attacking people like Mr. Stankovich, Fr. Jillions, etc…for being normalizers simply because they have the temerity to talk about a pastoral approach that works and are not experiencing the vain imaginations of the modern day Savanarolas like Father Alexander of ROCOR. The rest of the detractors are simply +Jonah supporters who have pursued this issue as smoke to cover up the misdeeds and mistakes of their idol.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      What “mistakes and misdeeds” of our “idol” precisely Carl? Stan the Tran at least has the cojones necessary to issue his defamations openly. Why don’t you?

            • Michael Bauman says

              Saunca, “it depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is.”

              I believe what Fr. Hans is trying to say is that there is a big difference between temptation to sin and the actual sin itself.

              Since heterosexual activity within marriage is not usually sinful, it really can’t be included in this.

              I believe sober people who formerly drank to excess describe themselves a recovering alcoholics.

              Given the fact that fewer and fewer anymore see any sort of sexual activity as something that needs to be ‘recovered’ from (except monogamous heterosexual marriage of course) language becomes difficult.

              All sexual temptation can lead to sin and needs to be repented of. Some temptation may be more deeply rooted in some people than in others, but the Church does not identify a person with their sin. Carrying out sinful acts as a result of that temptation tends to make the sin a part of the sinner’s flesh in a way that the temptation alone does not. It is a bit like a garden. Temptations are weed seeds. The act is a weed that as sprouted and put down roots. The more it is left to grow or even tended, the deeper the roots and the more seed it produces to defile the garden.

              Sin defiles all of us in much the same way even if it is relatively private.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Ah, now I see your dilemma I think.

                In a pastoral context I doubt that any such discussion as you imagine would occur at least not for quite awhile. Only at a time when the person struggling could see the difference between “being a homosexual” and someone who is broken in a particular way that needs healing.

                My Godfather spent a good part of his life as an alcoholic. When we first met, he had not been sober very long. Now, howver, he is the founder and chief opperating officer of the St. Dimtri Project in Romania. He has allowed God to use his weakness to heal others and himself in the process. He may have been a alcoholic at one time, he may still need to abstain from most alcoholic drinks, but I certainly don’t look at him as a alcoholic.

                The change in him is remarkable.

                I think a similar thing can happen with those who struggle with same sex attraction, acted on or not. One thing the homosexual culture really tries to get people on the fringe to believe is that they “are homosexual’in a specific and immutable way.

                I’ve seen that dynamic at work with people I knew. It is not pretty and it is a lie. Unless you’ve seen it however, I don’t quite know how to explain it. Nothing else but “being homosexual” matters any more. Everything becomes filtered through that false sense of self and they can become consumed by that passion.

                No different really than any strong passion really as we seek to justify anger, lust for power, greed, etc, etc as ‘just the way we are’.

                For any of us to be healed we have to, at some point, be separated from our sins and see that they are not reallly us. With besetting sins, that can take a long time.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Mr. Bauman,

                  I am working this weekend in a crisis house, a short-term alternative to psychiatric hospitalization, and I continually see patients I have known in one capacity or another for years, struggle with a major mental disorder and a chemical dependency. But the irony is that volunteers come in to hold self-help meetings (e.g. AA, NA), which they describe as a “God-given program of recovery” that has restored their lives. And the irony? I know some of them as patients over the years as well.

                  The danger in what you propose, Mr. Bauman, “having seen it” and “at work in people you know,” is that you are projecting your anecdotal experience as a generalization of alcoholism and alcoholics. First, I strongly suggest you read St. John of Damascus on free will, providence, and choice from An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith. I am not proposing an “excuse” for sinful behaviour, but it is interesting that he details “that which is involuntary is in two parts, one depending on force, the other on ignorance,” and specifically uses this example:

                  For, if one commits murder while drunk, it is an act of ignorance, but yet not involuntary : for one was one’s self responsible for the cause of the ignorance, that is to say, the drunkenness. But if while shooting at the customary range one slew one’s father who happened to be passing by, this would be termed an ignorant and involuntary act.

                  I would suggest to you, Mr. Bauman, that millions of men and women worldwide would challenge you as naive. The experience of alcohol and/or mood-altering drugs was different for them than for the approximately 88% of humans who use alcohol without consequence (obviously we now have scientific suggestions for this phenomenon…). they stopped drinking, or drugging, or gambling, or whatever the addiction might be (and often it would be multiple) many times, and in many cases they were more disturbed and more suicidal. And finally, they found – they would say God led them to – a program of recovery. And I strongly recommend that you examine what has commonly been termed the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Chapter Five is entitled, “How It Works,” and they are bold enough, Mr. Bauman, to begin by stating, “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.” Holy Cow! And be sure to scan through some of the forty-two stories of individuals who believe they owe their lives to recovery.

                  Obviously, Mr. Bauman, we have argued for years over the matter of homosexuality. I will insist again that you have provided nothing but your own opinion as a “corrective,” and I do not intend that as a pejorative. Apparently, however, I have not been able to impress on you that what I have demonstrated genetically & epigentically refers to a specific sub-set of individuals. I find it most fascinating that, even among these individuals who, by the Grace of God, have been healed to the point of living their lives in the blessing of heterosexual Christian Marriage, still they nearly universally report that their “heterosexual” experience is not the same as experienced by heterosexual men. Is this “fraud,” or “bisexuality?” Absolutely not. It is the mercy of God, the intervention of the Holy Spirit, and the experience of the fullness of the Church. Should we set this as an expectation of homosexual men in the church. Absolutely not. For this sub-set of homosexual men with a demonstrated genetic/epigenetic control, the research suggests they are poor candidates for such expectations, and to deny they are homosexual will lead to disaster. They need a pastor to guide them to the path of chastity (σωφροσύνη) and repentance.

                  I emphasize, Mr. Bauman, that I do not defend sinfulness, but we find the Lord, the pastor, among sinners. “Who touched me? I perceive power (δύναμιν) has gone out of me” (Lk. 8:45) Imagine! While the Lord took complexities and made them “simple,” he accounted for the details. The Lord looked at sinners, and He loved them, despite their foolish choices. (Mk. 10:21) And the Lord will pursue the lost sheep until He finds it. (Lk. 15:4)

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              I’m not an expert theologian, but I know the theology required by my office. I’m not an expert philosopher, though I’ve studied and read a lot of philosophy..some of it incomprehensible to me. I’m not a behavioral scientist, though I have the usual American fascination with self-analysis and introspection and have minors in social and in behavioral sciences. I’m certainly NOT an expert in sexuality, but I recognize that whereas all American citizens individually considered it part of their birthright to be THE experts on “the racial problem,” that same alleged and professed expertise is now claimed for sexuality. Sexuality discussions are an essential part of American behavior today. I am not invested in any of the theories of sexuality popular today, nor in the contexts discussions of them arise.
              I have, though, a childish (NOTE: NOT childlike) question for the political/social scientists, philosophers and behaviorists participating in Monomakhos. Is not masturbation (or “Onanism”) always a totally homosexual act?
              I also have a comment relative to Father Jacobse’s to me bizarre remark: “The next step in our moral devolution will be an attempt to either lower or remove the age of legal consensual sex by pederasts.” Father, I know what devolving on something is, but i have no idea what (in either Orthodox Christian or other morality) ‘moral devolution” is. Is it something like moral degradation or deterioration? Thanks in advance for your answer.
              I also have a question for him relative to the same sentence: “How old in terms of human history is the existence of an “age of legal consensual sex” of any kind? As far as I know none of the popular ages of consent in the U.S.A. are more than a couple centuries old, if that. As well, why would pederasts specially be concerned with lowering or abolishing this, relatively speaking, innovation?
              Finally ‘Saunca”, The last word in your third question should not be ‘a heterosexual” but “an adulterer.” The questions are very simple, indeed. Human beings are born with the potential to be sexually excited by any thing and any body. And all strugglers are virtuous, are they not? Thus virtuous pederast, virtuous alcoholic, virtuous heterosexual, and virtuous homosexual are all real ideas. is that what you were driving at?

              • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                Not bizarre at all Your Grace, although I can see where I could have been more clear with the term “moral devolution.” I should have said the “moral devolution of culture” but your suggestions work just as well. My point is that efforts to normalize pederasty is just round the bend.

                Yes, the laws on the age of legal consent are a couple of centuries old, but then the USA isn’t much older than that. The point is that the attempts to lower or even eliminate that age is a marker in the effort to change the cultural consensus against pederasty. Why do pederasts want the law eliminated? They don’t want to get arrested.

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  I think you should have said, “Why do we think that pederasts want the law eliminated>’ Otherwise it looks like you’re stating the it is pederasts that are the only driving force behind any law to lower the age of consent. That may seem likely, but it can’t be demonstrated.

                  • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                    Don’t forget the initial context of the statement Your Grace. Pederasts will want the law eliminated using the language of orientation and rights. You can see it on the NAMBLA page.

                    Judith Reisman (Reisman exposed Alfred Kinsey as a fraud) has a good bibliography on this topic.

                    Whether others want the law eliminated might be true but none are as vocal as the pederast lobby.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              The problem is the characterization of “heterosexual”. I am not a “heterosexual” as a category; I am a married man and father, and grandfather. Yes, if we use the sexuality jargon, I am heterosexual. But this obscures the point, making “sexuality” an ontological category, which I believe to be misguided.

              • M. Stankovich says

                Mr. Mortis,

                I was taught philosophy by the Jesuits. I believe your fundamental error is accepting the claim that “sexuality,” in any form, constitutes an ontological “category” in and of itself. I personally have never suggested such a thing. However, among the ontological categories is one called simple truths, matters which simply “are.” In Fr. Hans’ sandbox, if you simply imagine something does not exist, it ceases to exist. In the real world this is referred to as Fox News, and you are marginalized. As you probably are aware, the Jesuits are sticklers for details and the truth, Fox News, not so much…

                • Tim R. Mortiss says

                  Well, I’m no philosopher at all, and my dubious venture into “ontology” can only expose my ignorance!

                  I am familiar with the expression “straight white male” though, which seems to carry some real meaning to some I have occasionally debated with. It often is their substitute for substance in argument.

                  I quarrel with this, and I inveigh against such categories!

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Mr. Mortiss,

                    I was working in the garage today, so I looked through a box that holds some of my notebooks from the Bioethics Program (Philosophical Resources) at Fordham University. I read this note and I had a good laugh thinking of the categorization of “straight white male.” The attribution is to Dr. Lynne Rudder Baker from Amherst:

                    Serious metaphysics should help make sense of what we all know and need to know in order to get along in the world. The territory that interests me here contains things of familiar kinds – cats, keys, and credit cards, etc. I believe that they are irreducibly real. These things exist and cannot be reduced to things of other kinds, like sums of atoms. They belong in the ontology, the inventory of what exists. Any complete account of what there is must mention them as such – as cats, keys and credit cards. Ordinary objects are a diverse lot. They include any objects that can get lost or stolen, any objects that you can encounter or interact with. Almost everybody has to contend with dirty dishes and driver’s licenses. Hence, I’ve developed a view that allows these ordinary things, as such, a place at the ontological table. I use the term ‘ontological’ to signal that I am talking about reality, genuine reality with metaphysical heft; I’m not just talking about concepts or sentences that we accept as true. When I say that ordinary objects have ontological significance, I imply that if an inventory of what exists mentions electrons but not elephants and elevators, it is incomplete. Let me come clean about my own convictions. I believe that the things that we encounter and interact with – the parts of reality that include persons and their inventions – are no less ontologically significant than the microphysical parts of reality. Although philosophy can be technical and abstract, there should always be a thread that can be followed back to something that somebody might care about outside the “philosophy room.” My approach stems from a Platonic conviction that the things that are valuable are real and not reducible to unfamiliar, microphysical entities.

                • Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

                  Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

                  Ah, but weren’t the Jesuits the equivalent of the Fox News of the 18th-century Counter-Reformation?

                  Meanwhile we have what sounds a lot like cultural ethno-phyletism propounded by a self-proclaimed OCA “legacy student” (who somehow apparently neglected to maintain his OCA membership), bemoaning the konvertsy rabble stinking up the Church.

                  (Yet he now also seems to criticize by implication online not only Metropolitan Jonah but Metropolitan Hilarion, even while not apparently taking the phone calls from his friend the OCA Chancellor asking him to cease and desist.)

                  It’s as hard trying to fix people in categories of cultural identity, though, as it is to fit them into categories of sexuality. My family name, for example, is actually Baltic German, based especially in Estonia, a bit very unworthily like Fr. John Meyendorff of blessed memory only in that respect., and sharing a family name but also nothing spiritual with Elder Samson Сиверс.

                  Still, to go on public record, I side with welcoming konvertsy and for an open immigration policy in the Church, vs. what apparently now can be called the Jesuit palaeo-Fox News view of the Online Church of America.

                  Not surprisingly, the latter also seems to match up with an essentially consumerist-libertarian view of sexuality.

                  But why has our self-published expert and self-proclaimed heir to the OCA legacy apparently left the OCA? Why, if this is true, won’t he return to help us? Is this some new Obi-wan Kenobi Jedi-Jesuit school of disembodied ecclesiology? 🙂

                  Please pray for me the sinner,


            • lexcaritas says

              No, Saunca,

              A person is not murderer unless he murders, he is not a thief unless he steals, not an adulterer unless he commits adultery, not a liar unless he lies.

              Using your examples: he is not a pedophile until he acts upon his urge and abuses a child, not an alcoholic until he abuses alcohol and finds himself drawn to over-indulge in it and so is unable to remain sober, not an adulterer or fornicator until he acts on the attractions and impulses you describe and fails to remain chaste, not a homosexual until, branding himself as such, he elects to act on the attractions and impulses you describe and fails to remain chaste and to seek the grace and spiritual therapy to redirect his disordered attractions.


              • M. Stankovich says


                I suspect that if I present data to you indicating an individual who has a known defect in the APC gene, meaning that by age 45, their absolute risk risk for Familial Adenomatous Polyposis will be greater than 90%, you would accept that a substantial aspect of this disorder is under genetic control.

                Secondly, I would reasonably suspect that if I presented data indicating the lifetime prevalence of alcoholism is approximately 12.5% of all those who consume alcohol; that recent (2006) twin studies indicated that alcoholism was a heritable disorder in the range from 51% to 64%; that besides the US (2013), numerous studies are replicated from, for example, China (2011), Europe (2010-2012), and Mexico (2010) that are focused on the 5-HT receptor subtype 2A gene (HTR2A) and the 2B gene (HTR1B) located on chromosome 13 (13q14–q21); 5-HT, 5-hydroxytryptophan, is the naturally occurring amino-acid & neurotransmitter that is essential for the maintenance of mood, sense of well-being, and for sleep; and a weakness of an inherited “expression” or “morphing” (a “polymorphyism” is a variation of the genetic lettering A T C G code) appears to convey a vulnerability to alcoholism, you would again endorse that a substantial aspect of this disorder is under genetic control.

                And finally, if I were to present data to you that indicated that chil­dren of a homo­sex­ual par­ent (male or female chil­dren, male or female par­ent) were more likely to iden­tify as non-heterosexual than con­trols, and in spe­cific, daugh­ters of les­bian moth­ers were sig­nif­i­cantly more likely to iden­tify as non-heterosexual con­trols ; SSA males were sig­nif­i­cantly more likely than con­trols to have an SSA brother; SSA females were more likely than con­trols to have an SSA sis­ter; SSA males were more likely to have SSA first-degree male rel­a­tives than con­trols ; and lon­gi­tu­di­nally, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion sta­bil­ity in adults was rel­a­tively equal for SSA and het­ero­sex­u­al­ity , there­fore, it is cor­rect to state that cur­rent fam­ily stud­ies of SSA have deter­mined it to be famil­ial, mean­ing more com­mon in rel­a­tives of some­one with SSA than among the gen­eral population, you would again endorse that a substantial aspect of this disorder is under genetic control.

                I would very emphatically stress that there is a significant difference between genetic control – which we now know includes epigenetic factors, which are the complex interactions between our biology and the environment – and genetic determinants. Hair color, height, weight, eye color, and so on are genetically determined. We have no idea why 10% with the defective APC gene do not develop colon cancer; why the vast majority do not have weak polymorphic expression at the 5-HT receptor subtypes; or why so few develop same-sex attraction. Nevertheless, given the data, without even understanding the mechanisms by which they occur, to deny they exist, is breathtakingly ignorant.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Carl, one could argue that of the list you give they all have been normalized, politicize and aggradized. Each has its own protected class. Homosexuals are the last.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Well, heterosexuality has been, and still is the norm, but some of its permutations (name most paraphilia) are still not normalized. As far as I know, pedophilia, zoophilia, necrophilia, among others, are not only not normalized but they are illegal. Homosexuals are not the last but the first of previously proscribed deviations from the norm to have been normalized. I do not think that this will necessarily start a domino effect, but it is entirely possible that under a post-modern, no holds barred subjective morality, all paraphilias, with the possible exception of zoophilia and pedophilia, may also be normalized. So, it is not the homosexual lobby but the deceptively “tolerant” liberals with their wobbly morality who are responsible for he current mess.

      • Jim of Olym says

        Gee Kent, you sure have a way with words! Can you tell us what you mean in three easy declaritive sentences?

        • Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

          Dear Jim of Olym,

          Sure thing:

          1. Don’t objectify other people with categories, whether heterosexual, homosexual, transgender, etc.
          2. Don’t force others to objectify people with such categories.
          3. Include everyone in the transfigurative power of Jesus Christ and God’s grace.

          Please pray for me the sinner,


  4. Sean Richardson says

    A couple notes/corrections: The McMartin pre-school case was in California, not Massachusetts. Also in terms of real world ramifications, in some school districts today there is also a policy towards teachers where a teacher is guilty and immediately removed from the classroom until proven innocent. If the allegations are proven to be a fabrication, then the teacher is assigned to a different school (Los Angeles Unified, the nation’s 2nd largest district, is an example of this). There are no consequences, at all, for the student who fabricated the story. Students have already begun to figure this out, and there was even an on-line video on “How to get your teacher fired”.

    I am 100% in favor of all due-diligence, however we must remember that we live in a world where evil often seeks to reach a nefarious arm into every place where holiness dwells.

  5. George:

    Did you read the draft guidelines you posted? The only suggestion that you did is the 21 day period in which to answer the complaint. But you neglect to say that there is a 30 day extension available. Furthermore, the Anglo-American legal tradition that you purport to cherish sets time limits for answering complaints. Failing to answer by the deadline can mean an admission of guilt.

    Had you read the guidelines you posted, you might have noted that there is no guidance as to what constitutes an adequate answer. That seems like a sound criticism to me.

    According to the posted guidelines, the ORSMA acts as an investigative and advisory unit. It is up to the ruling bishop, ultimately, to make his own judgment and pass sentence so to speak. See 10. Final Decisions. Only in the case of child sexual abuse is there a prescribed punishment. I trust we won’t argue on that count.

    I don’t think that the posted guidelines are all that bad. It shows that our central administration is thinking. It shows our bishops are thinking. That is all to the good. I hope they continue to think. Hopefully, these policies and procedures work. We might finally get something of value for the money we send to Main OCA.




    • Gail Sheppard says

      RE: “It is up to the ruling bishop, ultimately, to make his own judgment and pass sentence so to speak.”

      How successful has a ruling bishop been in questioning the findings of a sexual misconduct investigative and advisory unit within the OCA? Strike that. How successful has a METROPOLITAN been in questioning the findings a sexual misconduct investigative and advisory unit within the OCA? Because I think it’s a death sentence. If you have evidence to the contrary, please share; no one ruling bishop has ever been able to stop this train.

      • Gail:

        Haven’t the foggiest. But under the new guidelines, the ruling bishop is the lynchpin of any decision. I would thought that someone with your concerns would be pleased.


        • Gail Sheppard says

          My concerns? You mean that bishops be a bishops? That’s the entire problem, SAM. Our bishops aren’t “lynchpins” because they’re too afraid of the apparatus. The apparatus has become like Hal in “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

          • George Michalopulos says

            Excellent analogy Gail!

          • Gail:

            Could you please point me to an example where similarly situated Orthodox Christian bishops are behaving like “true” bishops? Please don’t say Metropolitan Jonah. Use another example.


            • What do you mean by “similarly situated Orthodox Christian bishops”?

              The continually and repeatedly compromised Romanians and Bulgarians?

              The Serbian cover-up artists hiding openly raging pedarast bishops, silmultaneously fretting about the next UN resolution on Kosovo? Their affiliated Montenegrin prevaricating propagandists seeking to glorify deceased poets/politicians as saints?

              The REIT that is the Jerusalem partiarchate?

              The megalomaniac Phanar thrones?

              The 200 plus Russian bishops and Patriarch of interesting finances?

              The Antiochians mired in civil war and long-standing relationships with dubious, tyrannical and nefarious political regimes?

              The Greco-Alexandrians and their relationships with their own dubious political regimes?

              The philandering Czech metropolitans with their secret families?

              The Athenians with the litany of moral and integrity issues they have going?

              The practicing homosexual OCA bishops, current and retired?

              The bottom line is that there are so very few who behave like “true bishops.” I’m sure that there are some, but not many at all. When one of them stands up and say, “enough is enough, I’m a sinner alright, but I’m calling you out for this outrageous behaviour” we may have our first candidate for one who behaves like a “true bishop.”

              In short, it is a “Pan-Orthodox” disease.

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              “SAM”, True bishops oversee and govern their dioceses. No one at all knows or has commented on how Metropolitan Jonah oversaw and governed his diocese except in the matter of the Hieromonk and the female monastics, both of which were treated as mostly impinging on the whole OCA rather than Metropolitan Jonah’s diocese. in the OCA, though, the Metropolitan Council and the All-American Councils routinely impinge on every aspect of diocesan life and on the life of parishes, as if the parishes belonged primarily to the national corporation, and only “formally’ or “technically” to their Diocese. The All-American Council and the Metropolitan Council, as Archbishop
              Dmitri used to complain, try to treat the dioceses as subordinate, lower management structures of the national denomination. Orthodox Americans whether converted or born into the Church, can’t imagine that the dioceses are sovereign and the Holy Synod a federation of equals. The whole idea of a hierarchical Church as was left to the world by the Apostles was NOT “everybody must have his say,” but “you must do as we have been told.”

              • Thank you, “Vladyka,” for your response. I understand your critique of the All-American Council and of the Metropolitan Council. Fair enough. But, presumably, the bishops in the OCA blessed the formation of these institutions. Is it your contention that those bishops, or indeed any local church synod, does not have the competency to create such institutions? Or, rather do you disagree with the wisdom of creating such institutions? In sum, why can’t a bishop agree to have his authority impinged in the aforementioned manner?

                By your prayers,


                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  SAM” I feel that OCA/Metroplia bishops did NOT as you aver, create the All_American Councils or the Metropolitan Council. They, rather, did not stand in the way of their creation by certain elements, mostly, but not entirely, in the protopapacracy. The Protopapakratia only enables the hierarchy from time to time to reaffirm convention and popular wisdom and to censure objectionable hierarchic from time to time.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              SAM, I’m not sure what you mean by “similarly situated,” but there are many. I think my own bishop, Archbishop JOSEPH, acts like a “bishop.” He can be persnickety and I don’t necessarily agree with him on every call, but then I don’t have to! I think the point is that I respect him. More importantly, OTHER people respect him. He doesn’t have any distracting proclivities (that I know of) and has a monastic mindset. HE acts like a bishop. – I respect Bishop TIKHON, too, an entirely different sort of bishop, with a quick wit and a sharp tongue. We don’t always agree, but do we need to? HE acts like a bishop. Then there is His Grace Bishop BASIL. . . I could list others. This is not rocket science. I respect bishops who are strong and do (can do) what they are supposed to do, which does NOT include abdicating their authority to “professionals.” – Hope that helps.

              • Gail:

                Thank you for the examples. I suppose similarly situated means being a bishop–in particular, a ruling bishop–in modern America. Am I correct in saying that the bishops you mention are not ruling bishops of diocese? That is to say, the Antiochian Archdiocese is analogous to our Diocese of the West in terms of having one ruling bishop.

                My only point is to suggest that the bishops you mention may not have the same responsibilities that the members of the OCA Synod have. The Antiochian bishops are not required to deal with such administrative/legal issues. The authority for these matters are vested in the Metropolitan Archbishop and the Board of Trustees.

                Now, I might have this totally wrong. But it is interesting to think through. Thanks for you comments!


                • Gail Sheppard says

                  To SAM: A ruling bishop is one who is responsible for and heads all the parishes located in his particular geographical territory. Archbishop JOSEPH was enthroned as the first bishop of the new Antiochian Orthodox Christian Diocese of the West on Sunday, September 12, at 10:30am at St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, 2300 West Third Street, Los Angeles. Archbishop JOSEPH IS our ruling bishop. Just because Metropolitan Philip is confused doesn’t mean that I am.

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        Gail, I can’t help interfering in this so elevated discussion by asking why anybody imagines that the insertion of the word “Ultimately’ and the words “so to speak,.’ do anything but render the whole sentence ridiculously noncommittal? Is there NO ONE in the OCA chancery who can write his way out of a paper bag?

        • Again, “Vladyka,” thank you for your comments. As always, your keen eye for the weakness in the writing of others elevates our discussions. I think if you read “so to speak” as referring only to “pass sentence,” you will arrive at my desired meaning.


  6. “Do not receive an accusation against an elder (presbyter) except on the basis of two or three witnesses.” (I Timothy 5:19)

    “One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.” Deuteronomy 19:15

    “The Orthodox Church in America is an autocephalous Church with territorial Jurisdiction in the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Canada. Its doctrine, discipline, and worship are those of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church as taught by the Holy Scriptures, Holy Tradition, the Ecumenical and Provincial Councils, and the Holy Fathers.” Statute of the OCA, Article 1

  7. Diocese of the Midwest says

    Here is an astounding document about the trasfer of an OCA monastery to the ROCOR

    This is the kind of document to be copied before it disappears

    • I’m so glad you shared this link, DOM. This report is quite fascinating and gives just a tiny taste of the standard type of response from Met. Tikhon with regard to ecclesiastical matters.

      On page 3, it was reported that “[Fr. Zdinak] promised to talk with His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon in February when they were together for a meeting in Chicago. We anticipated some response from Syosset within a few weeks, but were sadden that there was only silence.” [Emphasis mine.] Also on page 3 it was reported, “Although [Met. Hilarion and Met. Tikhon] were present at the [St. Tikhon’s] pilgrimage, we were saddened that the topic was not brought up for discussion.” In July when Met. Tikhon was visiting the Monastery he told the abbot the transfer was “complicated” and “might involve input from the Holy Synod”. We’re up to 7 months past the request for some sort of information or timeline for a decision but the best Met. Tikhon could do was offer platitudes.

      “His visit was very pleasant and cordial but nothing was decided. He promised he would pray for us and for the final resolution of this proposal.” Quite standard for Met. Tikhon.

      Nine months later “Our departure date of September 8th was fast approaching and still we had heard nothing from New York” (page 4). Really? I know they’re busy in Syosset but really? Does it take that long to give some kind of word or direction to these men who labored for the Lord and wanted to see things settled at their beloved Monastery before they left? And what about the monks from Holy Cross…left dangling like forgotten fruit?

      Thanks be to God it all worked out. But it is disappointing to see how long this took when it could have been a short and sweet process rather than a long drawn out, stress filled process.

      And even more so, the OCA lost a monastery because of their short-sightedness.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        From a cursory and careless reading of the account, one would be inclined to agree with you. However, that is not the entire story, is it? Here are the parts that is just as relevant as those you cited:

        “The monks at Holy Cross Monastery were contacted in January of 2013 to see if they could take on the responsibility of the monastery in Hiram.” This happened after both +Job and +Matthias had blessed their overture to recruit from OCA’s monastery of St. John in Manton, California. Unfortunately, this did not happen for reasons stated in the report. Please note that the very first thing that Abbot Alexander did after deciding to retire to a women’s monastery in the Ukraine was to contact Holy Cross directly. Under the circumstances, this fairly unusual initial step was justified IMHO given the realities on the ground.

        “Our next task was to approach the OCA with this proposal. Since our bishop was on a leave of absence, we talked this over with our good friend, Fr. John Zdinak, the chancellor of the diocese.” This refers to Bishop Matthias who eventually retired. The point is that it was in a time of transition. All contacts with the Cleveland Deanery and Metropolitan Tikhon are reported as being positive but not conclusive. Indeed, Metropolitan Tikhon cautions the Abbot that (a) he himself cannot approve the proposal as his monastery is under the Bishop of Midwest and (b) given the reality of a transfer to another local church(ROC/ROCOR), it “might involve input from the Holy Synod.” This is in July, roughly six months after the idea hatched in Abbot Alexander’s head. Please note that the very next month “on August 20th, with the blessing of our Locum Tenens, His Grace, Bishop Alexander, the board of the not-for-profit Corporation of the Orthodox Catholic Christian Brotherhood of Saint John Divine (also known as St. John’s Monastery), elected new board members and officers to replace the soon to retire officers: Fr. Alexander, Fr. Daniel and Fr. Peter Pawlack. The officers newly elected are: His Grace, Bishop George of Mayfield, Fr. Seraphim, Fr. Alexander and Fr. Nektarios of Holy Cross Monastery. Since the monastery’s deed said nothing about the old Russian Metropolia, the OCA, Diocese of the Midwest, Ohio Deanery or Cleveland Deanery, etc., the transfer was made easier and thus completed.”

        Couple of thoughts: The transfer process, from the inception of the idea to full realization was about nine months. I would think that this is fairly fast for inter-church transfers and speaks most favorably of both the OCA and ROCOR. Second, I noticed the respect that Metropolitan Tikhon showed for the prerogatives of both the Holy Synod and the Diocesan Bishop–clear evidence of adult leadership and stewardship at the top. Of course, the haters will continue to hate…

    • If Tikhon is the OCA’s idea of administrative competence, this latest fiasco should serve to discredit their criticisms of Metropolitan Jonah.

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        It was wrong to contact Metropolitan Tikhon about a monastery outside his diocese without the diocesan authority concerned having considered and made a decision, unless Metropolitan Tikhon was the diocesan locum tenens or administrator. So many people, even Father Cutler, I guess, subscribe to the popular bu incorrect idea that the Metropolitan is over or at the top of the hierarchy.
        I remember a woman somewhere in California who told me, in an argument, when I was still an Archpriest: ‘I INSIST! If you don’t do this, i’m going to call Bishop Basil,; and if he won’t listen, I’m going to call Metropolitan Theodosius, and if he won’t listen, I’m going to call Father KISHKOVSKY! Metropolitan Tikhon was correct in that he could do NOTHNG to release the Midwest Diocesan monastery of St. John or forbid it. I wonder what action by Metropolitan JONAH Helga might opine he might have taken, in contrast to Metropolitan Tikhon?

        • According to the OCA Statute, the Metropolitan has the prerogative to intervene in the dioceses of other bishops. Also, the transfer to another jurisdiction would have been easier to facilitate with the Metropolitan’s involvement.

          Metropolitan Jonah could have done any number of things to help this monastery. He could have recruited monks either from other monasteries or the outside. Or once the solution was determined to be a transfer to ROCOR, he could have made sure their transfer of the monastery foundation to ROCOR went easier instead of languishing with these delays. Or, you know, he may have been able to receive those Holy Cross monks into the OCA instead of sending the property to ROCOR: given what happened to Met. Jonah, it’s not like anyone is really clamoring to join the OCA at this point.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            No, HELGA. You misquote the OCA Statute, and you apparently do not understand it. Article IV, The Metropolitan; Section 2. Duties. The Metropolitan i., has the right of PASTORAL INITIATIVE AND GUIDANCE,and when necessary the right of PASTORAL intervention, in all matters concerning the life of the Church WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE HOLY CANONS.
            That provision was inserted into the Statute, further, as part of a combined chancery/seminary initiative to “enhance the role of the Metropolitan,” presumably because one man is easier to “handle” than a Holy Synod. It was originally formulated at a pastoral conference attended by clergy and the Holy Synod. When the bishops at their table discussed this proposed amendment, it did NOT have the concluding seven words; however, when a Priest suggested to the bishops that that phrase be added, then, our outstanding canonist at the time, Archbishop Peter, exclaimed, “Well, yes! If THAT is inserted then we can approve it; otherwise, it’s impossible.” The Metropolitan, Helga, has NO authority over any monastery, church or other institution outside his diocese unless it is ‘stavropigial,”which St. John’s Monastery never ever was. Any action which is clearly uncanonical may not be approved on the basis that it would make any such action ‘easier to facilitate.” Don’t go down that road, Helga. No doubt the framers of the STINKBOMB thought it would “easier to facilitate” getting rid of Metropollitan Jonah by publishing that statement. That’s not canonicity, that’s a bad combination of bad pragmatism and lawlessness.
            Going to Metropolitan Tikhon without getting the consent and blessing of the diocesan authority to do so was an action entirely OUTSIDE the framework of the Holy Canons and thus, of the STATUTE.
            “Easier to facilitate” has no particular value in Christ’s Church.
            Your horrible suggestion that the wonderfully flourishing, prosperous and MODEL American monastery of St. John be taken into the OCA is worse than a joke. Everything that Father Alexander Cutler wanted to accomplish at Hiram, but did not, was accomplished magnificently and in an exemplary, strict, canonical and fully American manner (although they follow the best Russian monastic and liturgical custom which is noted for NOT being ethnic) by the brethren of Holy Cross Monastery, WVa, of ROCOR. Their abbot GEORGE has become, worthily indeed, the Bishop of Mayfield, an outstanding Orthodox hierarch by anybody’s standards. Many, many years to him and the Holy Cross monastery! Look it up: there’re DVDs and YouTube videos aplenty. Go visit it.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        See my reply to Phillippa above. My conclusion is diametrically opposed to yours. Incidentally, you really should know better as you are obviously both intelligent and knowledgeable.

    • Anna Gribowsky says

      Thank you very much for posting this, Diocese of the Midwest!
      God’s Hand is obviously directing this, just as the report says. The Hermitage of the Holy Cross in WV is wonderful.
      Those of you who might be interested, please check
      Glory be to God, they are growing “too fast.” So, the transfer helps both the St. John Monastery and Holy Cross!

  8. While I’m at it, I’d like to share another fascinating report found on the Diocese of Western PA. The August 19th Diocesan Council Minutes (page 2 – Parish Development) sound like some members are questioning the return-on-investment (ROI) of Mr. Kormos and the program. I’ve heard this type of comment regarding Mr. Kormos and his compensation before.

    Some Diocesan Assembly and Council minutes make for some fascinating reading. 🙂

  9. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    Thank you, “Diocese of the Midwest.” No doubt this monastery will experience substantial growth now, for the first time in its history. Father Alexander (Cutler) is to be remembered always for his staying at the plough, through thick and thin and ll kinds of circumstance and if anyone is found worthy of a “Well done, faithful servant, i believe it will be he.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Sometimes you have to wonder though Your Grace, what exactly was it that he was plowing?

  10. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    Well, George, to make it plainer, I’ll compare him to “The Boy on the Burning Deck,’ in other words, he did not desert his post until age and infirmity demanded it. I notice that “James” in his sniping from the cover of a pseudonym no less cowardly than ‘Helga”, refers to the Abbot’s sexual misdeeds. What were they? Cutler was the Protodeacon at Holy Trinity Cathedral for several years and then was tonsured a monk and ordained to the Priesthood, founding a monastery in Ohio. I hope that George was not facetiously referring to perversion when he asked about plowing. That would resemble the kind of knowing “nudge-nudge”s frequently coming from that group that is pathologically obsessed with finding clergy sin and then crowing about it.

    • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

      Your Grace,
      Master,Bless! Your Grace confirms what I thought,Fr. Alexander was the Protodeacon in Chicago,back in the days of Archbishop John.I had occasion to meet him once,already an Abbot, during my six year tenure in Cleveland.
      I was in Cleveland for the Feast of St.Sergius of Radonezh,Oct 7-8.This is the Cathedral of His Grace Bishop Peter,Vicar to His eminence Archbishop Alypy of Chicago.
      His Grace served the next day at St.John’s monastery,but my son and I had to return to the Detroit area for work the next morning.During the Trapeza following the Festal Liturgy,His Grace remarked the St.John the Theologian Monastery had transferred to ROCOR.The bishop didn’t go into details,but I understood that there was some clause when the land was donated stating that the property must remain an Orthodox Monastery or be forfeit.I claim no expertise in such matters.
      If Your Grace vists his hometown in the near future,the inviatation to Holy Ascension Serbian Orthodox Church in Ecorse still stands.

  11. OXI Day - Wanna Discuss? says

    8-10 East 79th St. New York, NY 10075-0106
    Tel: (212) 570-3530 Fax: (212) 774-0237
    Web: – Email:

    Protocol Number 154/13
    October 28, 2013

    OXI Day

    What does the Lord seek from you but to do justly, and to love mercy, and
    to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

    To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America

    Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

    On this day of October 28, we give thanks to God, and we remember our valiant forbearers for their stand against the forces of tyranny in 1940. For the people of Greece, their love of freedom after centuries of occupation helped them to recognize the heinous nature of the expansion of the Axis powers and to support heroically the “NO” given in reply by the prime minister when asked to surrender. In the midst of overwhelming threats of violence and destruction, they also relied on their faith in God and on their affirmation of all that is just and true.

    Certainly, the people of Greece knew that the attempt to occupy their beloved land was unjust. The forces of the totalitarian regimes of the Axis had already taken life, liberty, and property in other countries, and the onslaught of fascism continued. In response our ancestors sought to defend our homeland, to meet injustice with honor, and to support the response of “NO” with a willingness to sacrifice all for the cause of freedom. They knew their character, identity, and faith would not allow them to step aside quietly and acquiesce to the demands of tyranny.

    The response of the Greeks to the Fascist and Nazi Axis forces and the resistance to occupation was just, for it was a firm and bold recognition of evil. They knew that ultimately this was a confrontation with powers that sought to strip people of their freedom, their dignity, and even their lives. This just cause was also motivated by a love of family, of sacred and ancestral lands, and of the blessings of freedom. Further, the stand of the people of Greece was not characterized by arrogance, disdain, and conceit. These attributes of the Axis leaders and forces were met by a strong and humble people whose love of God and each other led them to act justly, seeking to uphold what was good and noble and placing their hope and future in the promises of God.

    On this day the “NO” of October 28, 1940, and the heroic stand of the people of Greece inspires us and offers a witness to the world of the priority and character of justice in the face of great threats and adversity. Throughout the world there are many struggles for power as well as movements against tyranny and injustice. Through our faith in God and in our recognition of our cherished inheritance, we must discern what is just and what is not. As Orthodox Christians, we are called to live and do justly, to confront the machinations of evil, and to do so in the grace of God with a love for life and for others who are created in His image and likeness. Our just and holy ways should also be characterized by dignity and humility. True, decent humility is not a sign of weakness, but of great strength and faith, revealing a deep and abiding trust in the sacredness of the human person and in the power and promises of God. It is in this way that we will not only honor the legacy of our Greek forbearers, but we will also bring honor and glory to God as we allow His grace to prevail and as we bear witness to the truth of life and salvation in Him.

    May His abundant blessings be upon all of our commemorations of this day, and may we continue to offer a bright witness of the sacrificial and just stand made by the people of Greece!

    With paternal love in Christ,

    Archbishop of America

    • Don’t know really what to do with this or where to put it, other than to say it is remarkable and stunning at a first read:

      Metropolitan Hilarion stated that the last 25 years in the life of the Russian Orthodox Church can be described as a full-scale revival of church life. In this period, through the efforts of parishioners and with the support of benefactors and the state, the Church has opened 25 thousand churches and 800 monasteries. This fact is all the more significant when compared with the growing secularization of the European society. “Our Church’s special conditions compel it to step up its work abroad”, he continued.

      It seems to stand in stark contradistinction to so many things discussed and rehashed here.

      I know that Hilarion is not a runaway winner in popularity contests and there are always details to any set of numbers that cast some doubt about the asserted thesis. But let’s take him at his word: In rough, broad strokes, if there are 200 bishops in the ROC, that suggests that on average each bishop — or putative diocese — has been responsible for 125 new parishes and 4 monasteries. And the math would suggest that the ROC has opened 2.75 parishes each day over the last 25 years.

      There’s a whole lot more in the article linked — headlined with the idea that newly elected bishops are to take post graduate level courses. Sounds something like the Russian version of “continuing education.”

      Truly remarkable considering where the ROC was just a few short decades ago.

    • Carl Kraeff says

      You asked for a discussion. What is in your mind? Obviously, standing up the Italians was not such a big deal in retrospect, but I submit to you that was indeed very brave at the time. I certainly salute their pride in having said “No” to Mussolini’s demands. I just wish they would quit pretending they were paragons of virtue and civilization.

  12. Michael Kinsey says

    Firstly, I would like to thank Mr. Michalapolus for picking up the gauntlet Mr. Myers tossed down. I did not have a clue of what that foreign writing was, and what he was carping about. His spin on what St John has written and opinion of St John Chrysostom was a clear example of gay agenda disrespect of that which is Holy. I really enjoyed reading the Christian view of what he was warning the Holy Church against,. Your scholarship exceeds mine by a great margin, but the spirit that instructs is the same.
    I start with the Command of God, Life Eternal .This Command is why the Christ incarnated to offer to fallen man this precious Gift.. Eternal Life is an infinite Gift. with infinitely more than is needed for all mankind who ever lived.. The purpose of life is ,for life to give life unto life, with the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, unto Eternal Life.. Perhaps the bishop might wish to contemplate this as a reason to blog on this site.
    It is likely the gay agenda has been entrenched in the OCA from it’s beginning, and the even numbered responses for and against gay clerics is a reflection of this, This is a house divided, which is not good enough for me. I will go elsewhere.

  13. Francis Frost says

    George, to quote the late President Reagan: “Well there you go again” !

    While you complain about the risk of unsubstantiated accusations against the clergy, you publish anonymous, unsubstantiated and scurrilous slander against monks! Talk about cognitive dissonance!

    What is it to be? Are you the protector of innocent priests or the purveyor of slanderous gossip? Once again, you prove to be simply and absolutely appalling.

    I suppose it is simply too much to hope that you would have the good sense to be ashamed of your ignorant self.

    For your information, the Hiram monks served for 40 years quietly and prayerfully, without even a hint of scandal – until your pseudonymous poster chose to trash their good name. The only criticism ever made against them was that they were too observant of the monastic tradition given their limited circumstances. Some called Hiram “Little Athos” which might be a slur to some, but ought to be a badge of honor to the monks.

    For James ( whoever he or she may be) Today is the feast of St. James who called the tongue “a world of sin, burning with slander and set on fire by hell” ; an apt description of your trash talk.

    If you, James, have evidence against the Fathers; provide it to the bishops. If not, then crawl back under your rock and shut up. And once again for the record: a pseudonymous poster is a liar no matter what he says.

    And you George, have a care. The Lord Himself told us in the scriptures (three times !) : “Vengeance is Mine.
    I will repay, says the LORD your God. Your owe the Hiram Fathers and the entire church an abject apology.

    Not ashamed to use my own name;

    Francis Frost

    • George Michalopulos says

      Good on you Mr Frost! I’m glad you have a livelihood in which you don’t have to fear from the new USSR rules & regs.

      Unfortunately all too many priests in the OCA do. As for the laymen who choose to post pseudonymouly, I have been told that they do so because they don’t want their priests to be called on the carpet.

      Your roseate view about “going to the bishop” when there’s a potential scandal is charming in its naivete. Actions such as these are precisely what got priests in the OCA thrown under the bus. (Does the name Fr Vasile Susan ring any bells to you?)

      If you’re so confident that we are wrong for bringing these things up, why don’t you put your money where your mouth is? Why don’t you go to seminary, become a priest in the OCA? Too old? Encourage one of your sons or nephews or cousins to do so. Why don’t you open an OCA mission where you live? Happy where you’re at? OK, give money to the OCA so they can plant a mission. There’s any number of ways you can show your confidence in the OCA and the new USSR.

      If that’s too onerous, go to your Antiochian priest and tell him that at the next Parish Life Conference he should take a draft of the USSR and ask the Antiochians to adopt it hook, line, and sinker. After doing so, kindly inform us as to what his reaction was.

      In other words, please stop your mock outrage and self-righteousness. It’s unseemly. You’re not in the OCA and don’t have to worry about the culture wars.

      • Daniel E Fall says

        I’m not sure whether someone got thrown under the bus or someone tried to find someone else to throw under the bus before them for a different reason.

        One thing is for sure, if there are gay clerics, there sure are a lot of people willing to take advantage of the dirty secret.

  14. Michael Kinsey says

    It is needful to add, that people who insist on dominating others, are not the meek who will inherit the earth. The Christ has spoken, these dominators will not be given Eternal Life. These may rejoice over that which is Holy. until the day they die. They will never know life again.

  15. Jim of Olym says

    George, a small and probably not substantive correction to your essay: The infamous McMartin case was in Manhattan Beach, California, not Massachusetts. I was somewhat acquainted with people involved and they were all jumping on the bandwagon, from Roland Summit, MD, the psychiatrist, to the ‘therapists’ who ‘treated’ the kiddies. the whole thing was horrible and a number of innocent lives were harmed. they even hired an archeologist to dig around the foundations of the building looking for ‘secret tunnels’, of which there were none.

  16. M. Stankovich says

    Now, having heard heard from the third – the military wing – of the self-aggrandizing, back-slapping, and self-congratulating “mystikoi” who attempt to divert and distract from the issue(s) at hand and AGAIN turn it it into a debate about me, find another target in the schoolyard, boys. You have exhausted your repertoire of Christian Right, Fox News theatrics and you are boring the hell out of me. You answer no questions I put to you either because you cannot or it prove too embarrassing to do so. These are not debates, these are not arguments. These are me being your research assistants for later skirmishes. You are poseurs who achieve by grandiosity & intimidation. Never again, not with me. You are not qualified and I certainly have pointed you in the right direction to learn.

    I have nothing but gratitude for those fathers of our generation who taught me, and in kind, I learned this gratitude from their gratitude to those who taught them. This is the living, dynamic Patristic tradition of our Church. You are a breed who have come to the Orthodox Church believing you have more to say than to hear; more to teach us than to learn from us. A colleague of mine read some of Fr. Schmemann’s diary , and he said to me, “He was at times clinically depressed, you know.” And I said to him, “No, it was not depression, it was nausées. Somehow, he knew what was coming.” Alexander Schmemann was no prophet. He was simply wise.

  17. Fr. Peter Dubinin says

    Just learned my friend and fellow seminary classmate, Greg Sulich, fell asleep in the Lord. Memory Eternal. Pray as well for his mother, Matushka Dorothy; may God bless you with His peace and great consolation.

    • May Gregory’s memory be eternal. May his soul dwell with the blessed where sickness, sorrow, and sighing have fled away, and may the Risen Lord be the consolation of those who are bereft at his repose.

  18. Pravoslavnie says

    Doubtlessly Metropolitan Jonah has been slandered, but the “Stinkbomb” letter was libel. Slander is delivered orally, but libel is defamation that occurs in print.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I stand corrected. You’re right. But we can all agree that he has been defamed.

  19. Daniel E Fall says

    I just have one thing to say after reading the entire comment section.

    I call a spade a spade. If someone says they are gay, I don’t care whether they act on it or not; I consider them gay.

    Generally, however, I really couldn’t give a hoot. I have been hit on a couple times by gay men and I find it rather bothersome-like a fly. It has never been more than a nuisance.

    At the end of the day, the difference between me and many other posters here is I don’t give a damn if someone is gay.

    Everytime a gay clergyman is outted; we have huge problems because someone else seems willing to take advantage of the other person’s secrets.

  20. Metropolitan Jonah - final lecture in series says

    Just a reminder this will be the final class –this Friday– for Orthodox 101/ Orthodoxy as a Spiritual Discipline taught by Metropolitan Jonah at St Mark’s. A new study will start after the new you will be posted. Hope you can make these very informative studies! There is nothing like it in the DC area. . . .

    This Friday night, 7:30 at St. Mark’s Orthodox Church in Bethesda.

    7124 River Rd Bethesda, MD 20817
    (301) 229-6300

    • DC Indexman says

      With all this difficult news coming out of the OCA, what about some positive news?

      This Sunday evening at the OCA Holy Trinity Church in Parma, Ohio, the Cleveland area Orthodox Churches will host the First Ever in the United States, Orthodox Unity Forum with three distinguished guests: Metropolitan Sava(GOAA) Bishop Peter(ROCOR) and Bishop Gregory(ACROC).

      The Forum will be preceded by a Vespers service. This event is a major endeavor and achievement for Orthodoxy here in the U.S. Special thanks and recognition must be given to Father Alexander Garklavs and the Priests in Cleveland for their bold leadership by creating this event and their work for Orthodox Unity.

  21. to James,

    Do you think for one moment that the real reason for the abbot and his one monk leaving for the Ukraine is going to be published? I know what I know and the people involved. What you don’t know is apparent. The fact that the new ORSMA rules are not being applied or investigated reveals the selective nature and motives behind these new rules. I pray that the two monastics will find peace and that, like all of us, He will be merciful to us sinners.

  22. Michael Bauman says

    Michael, I submit to you that while what I say is colloquial and yes somewhat anecdotal it is 1. no more anecdotal than yours and 2. not just my opinion.

    I cannot academically document my sources but they are as follows: the training by my father in the principles and practice of community health (MD in 3 years in top 10% of his class, MPH from Harvard top 10%, etc.) the pastoral teaching of my priest and bishop over a 20 year period (both widely recognized in the Othodox community for their pastoral accumen and skill); my own studies of the matter combined with some 15 years of friendly interaction with quite a number of homosexual men and women during my years in semi-professional theater and dance.

    Every single one of the homosexuals I have known (a small but not miniscule sample) worked at creating a “homosexual identity”. I do not trust much of what you cite as scientific evidence because I don’t trust the anthropological ideology on which it is based. I don’t trust your interpretation of the Fathers for the same reason.
    Especially when it conflicts with what my teachers in Orthodoxy have taught me.

    Combined with your unfortunate penchant for declaring that anybody and the everybody who disagrees with you is a congenital idiot, intellectually and spiritually your inferior, its tough to agree with you.

    My Godfather has, by the grace of God, achieved great things through St. Dimitri project. I know him quite well. I have seen the change in him. I am not the only one. His work and his healing are a witness to the synergy of the human will and God’s grace. Frankly you have no standing to say anything about his work.

    I bring him up only as a clear example of God’s healing work no matter what the agency.

  23. Michael Bauman says

    M. Stankovich, as I have attempted to point out before you and I share a very different approach to what we think of as evidence and a very different approach. You find my way lacking in specificity and empirical rigor. I find yours materialistic and somewhat inhuman. I seek neither perfection in fact, as that is impossible, nor the equally impossible objectivity.

    Since we are all sinners I try to find commonality of humanity in how to rise above that sin through communion of Christ. OrthodoxChristianity is experiential at its foundation – one’s personal, intimate and unique encounter with the risen Christ. At the same time it is the perfect science revealed in the lives of the saints and the communion they demonstrate.

    I find more wonder in that than in all empirical discoveries in the world based on the illusion of humans without souls or a non-created materialism that is a counterfeit of science.

    I have seen miracles in continuous small ways in the lives of those around me and enough evil to scar me — not in the intense unrelenting horror you seem to relish but in the way that wrings the life out of people like Chinese water torture drives folks mad.

    I walk among the confusion and lies and pain of this world and do what I can to share that pain and lift both mine and theirs up in prayer. I fail most of the time.

    But that is my path… may God bless you in yours.

    • M. Stankovich says

      And so, Mr. Bauman, in effect, you have mocked me for my silliness in questioning the lack of pastoral “hospitality,” again point out my qualifications for the title “arrogant, insufferable jackass” (a title, I might add, for which you will receive little argument from me), toss in a few oblique references to “empiricism” , several righteous platitudes, and you close the door like one would politely dismiss a Jehovah’s Witness. Except, of course, that I am standing on your front porch accompanied by a group representative of the “intense unrelenting horror [I] seem to relish.” And this, Mr. Bauman, is, par excellence, of exactly how I feel about the pastoral approach that does not need re-examination. I will note, however, that at least you replied. I made a similar point to Prof. Siewers ten days ago, which he has chosen to ignore.

      If I may use one simple example, Mr. Bauman, you will recall during one relentless discussion of homosexuality – same BS, different anonymous quacking proponents & detractors – and a transgendered person/couple (I can’t recall) posted here. Oh my! The usual “You’re a mutilated freak” commentary begins… Oh my! Then, a mention of meeting with Archbishop Benjamin to discuss their return to the church. THE OUTRAGE! A bishop is condoning TS marriage at his cathedral by communion!!!! Well, it turns out, not exactly… So, I ask Archbishop Benjamin who says to me, “If these individuals cannot turn to a Bishop of the Church to discuss their life, then who can they turn to?” Hmm. I say, the technology – or as I reported from prison, the psychopathic criminality – has made access to these mutilations easier. It will will only increase. But what about those who repent post-surgery? “They must again start living according to their God-given gender.” Uh, their genitalia have been altered/removed, they have been surgically “contoured,” and so on – the technology is quite amazing. “Stop the hormone-replacement therapy.” Are you aware of the medical consequences, blah, blah, blah.

      If you cannot answer me Mr. Bauman or Prof. Siewers, I don’t blame you. I have no answers, and so here I stand. Walk along whatever path saves you, Mr. Bauman, and as I assured you, I pray for your salvation. And I believe in miracles and pray for my patients, for those who lead us, and for the salvation of the whole world. But to accuse me me of “silliness” and being “influenced by American Protestantism, rather than an Orthodox view of society as a household,” is a disingenuous and hypocritical act when you have nothing to offer beyond platitude and polemic. Or you could kindly leave me out of your musings.

      • Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

        I was at a meeting recently at which a recent college graduate (a Hispanic woman, not a member of the “white Christian right”) spoke extemporaneously about the situation of practicing Christians among young people at secular colleges today, based on her experience both as one and as someone who now counsels such students.

        These were her words, “Pigeonholed, socially unaccepted, ridiculed by their peers and faculty.” She spoke more than this, eloquently and feelingly and from the heart, of the isolation and pain.

        That’s the situation geometrically multiplied that our children and grandchildren (whether in our own households or in our spiritual families) will face for being practicing Orthodox Christians, not to mention the pain of confusion and division caused by a failure to stand strongly for the teachings of the Church, amid the current dismantling of Christian anthropology and psychology in our culture.

        What of compassion for those young people, too, both philanthropically and soteriologically, and the need to offer them strong support?

        i asked Fr. Alexis Vinogradov about that at another meeting, after he had spoken of the need for compassion regarding the types of pastoral situations cited on this thread, and called for a “new Orthodox anthropology.”

        What about compassion for people trying to raise children in a traditional Orthodox way, knowing those children will be social martyrs at least in today’s American society, in one way or another, or are at ever-stronger risk in our society of not remaining in the tradition?

        He nodded, but before the conversation could continue, a mother at the table began weeping, recounting her family’s experience at a parish that had been riven by a priest allowing a member of an ongoing same-sex couple to take communion.

        What kind of pastoral example did that set, and what kind of real compassion for an inter-generational community, as opposed to sentimental selfishness?

        A neighbor asked me “what about a non-traditional child growing up in a traditional home?” My response was to think also of compassion for “the traditional child growing up in a non-tradiitonal home.” What opportunity does such a child, touched by intuition of grace, find for support for learning of the transfigurative power of Christ, if American Orthodox Christians withdraw into separatist quetism and pietism?

        It’s one thing to venerate martyrs, but another to set up our own children to be such as a result of our own failings today.

        The spreading legalization of same-sex marriage, the mandates (under legal challenge) placed on religious employers by the Affordable Health Care Act, and accompanying legal measures such as the proposed Non-Discrimination Employment Act, all help symbolize the accelerating cultural framework for marginalizing and restricting freedom of future generations of Orthodox Christians in America, not to mention evangelism.

        Axios to Metropolitan Methodios of Boston for his recent words, placing the discussion in a global context of persecution of Christians:

        Unworthily in Christ,


        • M. Stankovich says

          Prof. Siewers,

          There is one anthropology, there is one humanity, there is one image and likeness, there is one Resurrection, there is one Door, and there is one Lord. When there are individuals who hold – even practice – opinions in contradiction to the Truth we hold, they stand alone. The Fathers and our Holy Tradition could not be clearer.

          At the same time, “In my Father’s house are many rooms: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (Jn. 14:2) I object to establishing the argument of the older brother of the Prodigal Son:

          See, these many years do I serve you, neither transgressed I at any time your commandment: and yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this your son was come, which has devoured your living with harlots, you have killed for him the fatted calf. (Lk. 15:29-30)

          Certainly we must support with compassion those “trying to raise children in a traditional Orthodox way.” Certainly we support and provide for children “touched by intuition of grace.” But if the only bit of Scripture we know is limited to Holy Week alone, we know we are facing persecution:

          Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. (Matt. 10:34-36)

          but “the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers.” (1Pet. 3:12)

          But someone, Prof. Siewers, must rescue the man beaten by robbers and left at the side of the road; someone must speak to the Samaritan woman, though it is forbidden by law and custom; someone must heal on the Sabbath, touch the unclean, and be touched by the unclean; someone must defend the orphans & widows, protect the children, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, care for the sick, visit those in prison, and bury the dead; and especially, someone must search for the lost sheep faithfully, never to be discouraged until he finds it:

          And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say to you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. (Luke 15:5-7)

          Indeed, there are many rooms in the Father’s house, certainly for those who have earned by diligence, fidelity, and being “touched by intuition of grace,” but likewise for those “who were dead, and are now alive, who were lost and are now found.”

          I would like to believe that your statement that Metropolitan Methodios of Boston has placed this “discussion in a global context of persecution of Christians” is as significant as you propose it to be. Were it not for you posting his statement here – which is an excellent statement – I doubt I would have ever heard of it. And so, we return to the question, what to do?

          • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

            There you go again Michael Stankovich, collapsing the categories of anthropology and existential experience to assert Orthodoxy needs a “new anthropology.” Then the assertion is framed in an arbitrary reading of scripture (it’s called proof-texting) to imply that those who don’t agree with it are no different than the people that bypassed the robber beaten on the road, and that those who do are Good Samaritans.

            The new anthropology folks like yourself, Fr. Alexis Vinogradov, and others are implicitly advocating for a different anthropology, one grounded in (and thus limited to) the boundaries of human experience. This formulation is not able to reach the divine dimension in which the living human archetype (Jesus Christ – the Second Adam) is revealed to show man that he is more than animal (the sum of his desires) or machine (a functionary within a system).

            All I see here are moralisms; a flurry of scolding words that declare that if one does not agree with the call for a new anthropology, then the compassion that is necessary to bring healing to broken humanity is absent.

            In reality however, these ideas ossify man’s broken state and freeze all the hope of redemption out of it. They implicity argue that what is also has to be. That’s what happens when anthropology and experience are collapsed; it leaves us with the false precept that the only thing real is what we feel.

            Feelings are real. So are passions. But feelings and passions are transitory (they can change). Moreover, when anthropology is collapsed into experience, anthropology rises no higher than than the placement of a person within a social category because our understanding of sin degrades into notions of political and social correctness.

            Care for the person struggling with same-sex attraction or any other passion does not require a “redefining” of Orthodox anthropology. The assertion that the received tradition does not afford the knowledge on how to ameliorate the struggle with the passions is presumptuous and untrue. The experience of you and your cohorts, or more likely, the inexperience should not deter anyone from criticizing these novel ideas no matter how vociferous the defending moralisms might be.

            Dr. Siewers’ story above is profound, particularly this:

            I asked Fr. Alexis Vinogradov about that at another meeting, after he had spoken of the need for compassion regarding the types of pastoral situations cited on this thread, and called for a “new Orthodox anthropology.”

            What about compassion for people trying to raise children in a traditional Orthodox way, knowing those children will be social martyrs at least in today’s American society, in one way or another, or are at ever-stronger risk in our society of not remaining in the tradition?

            He nodded, but before the conversation could continue, a mother at the table began weeping, recounting her family’s experience at a parish that had been riven by a priest allowing a member of an ongoing same-sex couple to take communion.

            What kind of pastoral example did that set, and what kind of real compassion for an inter-generational community, as opposed to sentimental selfishness?

            “Sentimental selfishness” — that’s a good way to put it. What about the person in whom the ideas about a new anthropology foster doubt and mistrust about the received moral tradition? What about the undermining of the parent who wants to teach his child the precepts of the moral tradition?

            Don’t you and your friends have a responsibility here? Apparently not. Every ideological movement has collateral damage, right?

            • M. Stankovich says

              There is ONE anthropology, there is ONE humanity, there is ONE image and likeness, there is ONE Resurrection, there is ONE Door, and there is ONE Lord. When there are individuals who hold – even practice – opinions in contradiction to the Truth we hold, they stand alone. The Fathers and our Holy Tradition could not be clearer.

              I have no responsibility for what another man says or does. I support no one who contradicts the Faith we hold. Period. No one. If you possessed a modicum of courage, you would address your self-righteous indignation to Fr. Alexis, and Prof. Siewers would address the Chancellor. But action, as we know, speaks louder than words, and you somehow imagine me a easier, more accessible target – friend of the Chancellor, friend of Fr. Alexis. No. No more. You are toothless, clawless, marginalized Rovians of no concern to me. You are not even amusing.

            • Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

              We should be careful not to fall into equating the situation of children in our culture, for whom we are told to take especial care by our Lord, with the self-righteous older brother. For that would put us in danger of being in the position of the older brother.

              Our Lord’s teaching about the Good Samaritan explains the Great Commandments of loving the Lord our God with all our heart and will and mind, and our neighbor as ourself.

              ‘Who then was neighbor?’ our Lord asks, presumably to explain whom and how we should love.

              We are told the person who was the neighbor was the Good Samaritan. And who is the Good Samaritan in Orthodox teaching? A symbol of Christ. So it would seem that in loving our neighbor as ourself, we are to love our neighbor as a personal image in Him, a living icon of Christ. And if we love the Lord with all our heart and will and mind, that forms and transfigures our self in that relationship. So loving our neighbor as our self iikewise comes from that transfiguring relationship with Christ.

              This does not mean essentializing our neighbor as rich, poor, Greek, Jew, male, female, slave, or free, or in modern categories of heterosexual, homosexual, transexual, transgendered, queer, polyamorous, etc. in an ad infinitum of customized objectified and ultimately impersonal identities. Such essentialized identies extend both modern consumerism and technocracy, what could be called our global neocolonial Mammon today, not personal love and care in the therapeutic and salvific hospital of the Church so well expressed recently in Metropolitan Hierotheos’ writings, following on the Church fathers.

              Our compassion needs to embrace children, “the least of these,” suffering them to come to the Lord. In the process we modern Americans may consider the typology of the Iroquois notion of the “seventh generation,” also expressing the need for compassion for children as the weakest among us, and pointing us as Orthodox Christians to the Church as a place of intergenerational and transfigurative compassion in Christ.

              Please pray for me the sinner,


              • Monk James says

                Without commenting on the rest of professor Siewers’s message, I have something to say.

                It’s continually disappointing to hear orthodox Christians use the uniat greeting ‘Glory to Jesus Christ!’ when all they really mean is ‘Hello’ or ‘Good morning’.

                Please, let’s understand that there’s nothing wrong with the intention of giving glory to Jesus Christ. It’s just hat the expression, used as a greeting, isn’t ours. It’s uniat and even RC at its base, core, and origin.

                Were we to say ‘Glory to Jesus Christ!’ to, for instance, a Serb or a Russian or a Greek — even in their own languages — we would almost certainly get some sort of agreement or corroboration, maybe an ‘Amen’, but we definitely wouldn’t get ‘Glory forever!’.

                So please let’s just say ‘Hello’ when that’s what we really mean.

                St Seraphim of Sarov was wont to greet everyone with ‘Christ is risen!’ I do this on Sundays throughout the year, each of them a ‘little Paskha’, occasionally to some people’s consternation.

                They’ll just have to get over it, because ‘Christ is risen!’ is an orthodox greeting and ‘Glory to Jesus Christ!’ is not.

                I continue to ask for everyone’s prayers for my health, especially to entreat St Paraskeve to intercede with the Lord to heal my eyes.

              • M. Stankovich says

                Prof. Siewers,

                How many times have you stopped on the street, knelt down to take a homeless man’s pulse, check his pupillary reflex to light, called 911 and waited for them to arrive and get him medical care (for which the cops are never very pleased)? Too much “drama?” Too much “categorization?” Not for me. I really never stopped to think, “Who is my neighbor?” or “Won’t this sound good on Monomakhos.” He was there, it seemed the right thing to do. So I did it.

                I recall sharing the story here of Fr. Schmemann having dinner with Pope/Patriarch Shenouda in his monastery in the desert: he was initially uncomfortable at the long pauses between responses by the Pope, but found it pleasant as they proceeded. Fr. Alexander asked, “What do you see as the purpose of theology?” After several minutes of silently eating eating his soup, Pope Shounda smiled as he responded, “I dare say, Fr. Alexander, we need theology to eat our soup!” He explained this too mean that theology is not more talk, Prof. Siewers; compassion is not more talk, Prof. Siewers; “personal love and care in the therapeutic and salvific hospital of the Church” is not more talk, Prof. Siewers, it is eating the soup!

                But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. (Eph. 4:7)

                Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teaches, on teaching; Or he that exhorts, on exhortation: he that gives, let him do it with simplicity; he that rules, with diligence; he that shows mercy, with cheerfulness. (1 Cor 12:6-8)

                Now, as near as I can tell, I am but a “mop up man” for the already broken of our society – well trained & experienced in diagnostics and the “theories” of rehabilitation and recovery, but in reality, my batting average sucks. Nevertheless, I am cheerful, I am persistent, my approach is simplistic, I struggle to be both faithful and satisfied over the “little things,” and I attempt to learn something from someone everyday. And until the day you are finally prepared to present me with something more concrete then the continuous talk you offer me from the latest “transformational” book you have purchased, I will continue to offer my dumbass version of hope to my neighbors, in my scatter-brained, obnoxious, arrogant, and objectionable manner.

                • Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

                  Here’s the “concrete” thing: The everyday unsung struggle to raise up children in the American Orthodox Church by parents (biological and spiritual) in secret places every day in a hostile culture.

                  Only that’s not really “concrete,” it’s about the heart.

                  It’s not talking online about our deeds of charity.

                  It’s not citing famous Orthodox we knew or promoting our own writings.

                  It’s daily unsung struggle of sacrifice and tears, to try to follow the charges given to us about children by our Lord Jesus Christ.

                  Likewise the charge to pass along the tradition of the fathers cannot be dismissed as some “transformational book”, but a living tradition across generations, an everyday way of life in secret places.

                  Only a dead traditionalism would seek like the Pharisee to pass by on the other side of the road, and withhold from our children the transfigurative power of Christ, for the sake of the identity politics of American consumerism. This would trade their birthright for a mess of pottage, and offend the least of these, our brethren.

                  Please pray for me the sinner,


                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Prof. Siewers,

                    “[Not] withhold from our children the transfigurative power of Christ, for the sake of the identity politics of American consumerism.” That is “concrete?” “Only that’s not really “concrete,” it’s about the heart.” Oh, pardon me, perhaps I spoke too soon… “[It is] the unsung struggle to raise up children in the American Orthodox Church by parents (biological and spiritual) in secret places every day in a hostile culture.” Hmm.

                    So, Prof. Siewers, you have been grand-standing here, referring to me as blah, blah, blah, ignoring me even when I am the only respondent, thoughtfully, respectfully, and inviting dialog. And now all you have to offer is “be an Orthodox parent in a hostile culture.” My grandmother never heard of Metropolitan Hierotheos, never read the Fathers, but she managed to direct two young boys in a secularist, hostile world in the path of the Orthodox Church. I personally believe it was by the power of the discipline of daily prayer, the love of the liturgical life of the Church, and helping the needy. But that’s my opinion.

                    Apparently you sat directly in front of Fr. Alexis Vinogradov; before your very eyes: “What kind of pastoral example did that set, and what kind of real compassion for an inter-generational community, as opposed to sentimental selfishness?” And why am I not surprised to find you did and said nothing? You shamelessly track my ever post, commenting, mocking the Chacellor of the OCA, mocking me, criticizing, twisting my words. But given the opportunity to actually confront in person, only Hamlet’s last words: “The rest is silence.”

                    • Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

                      I’m glad there’s finally unity in the community here.

                      Actually being a parent provides a different, more embodied perspective on personhood, we can agree, than the abstractions of identity-politics-as-theology.

                      That’s the experience of raising children, not the abstractions of self-published scholarship or self-reported public philanthropy.

                      I’m with Baba.

                      She didn’t teach the ontological essentialism of category of sexual identities.

                      But I’ve not surprisingly been misquoted along the way to this new harmony of agreement here.

                      My comment regarding “sentimental selfishness” referred to the situation in the parish described by the mother at our meeting. And I did challenge Fr. Alexis in person. That was all in my earlier post

                      But speaking of being personal rather than abstract, I don’t recall any reports of personally seeking forgiveness from Metropolitan Jonah for the public derision thrown his way. And being first hierarch is actually an ancient canonical office, unlike that of being Chancellor (and I haven’t mocked ours, just wondered why he lets his friend deride hierarchs in public without putting a stop to it).

                      Indeed, there also aren’t any reports here of personally seeking forgiveness for derision of efforts by other Orthodox hierarchs–of the March for Life in which the new OCA Metropolitan and hierarchs participate, of views on sexuality found in the Russian Synod in the Jubilee statement on the Social Concept, and now Metropolitan Hierotheos’ writings.

                      The abstract model of “ontological” categories of sexual identities may parallel a new disembodied model for participating in the OCA–apparently leaving it and refusing to return, while still offering constant commentary on discussions here related to it.

                      I’m still very unworthily an embodied member, the old-fashioned and non-abstract way :).

                      Please pray for me the sinner,


                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Prof. Siewers,

                      You are purposely provocative, purposefully insulting, and, as always, out of your league. Let me remind you again: you are not qualified to argue these matters beyond the same few sources you quote endlessly. You cannot seem to grasp that a theological education is not derived from a reading list. You insult everyone who submitted themselves in obedience to the discipline of the systematic study of theology. And more importantly, to the obedience of the chapel, where the day began and ended. You are a professor of fairy tales and fables who has read books of theology.

                      Secondly, I have been informed that you resigned from strategic planning for the OCA, and apparently it is not recently. Is this correct? And if this is correct, how is it possible for you to accuse me, time & time again, of “leaving and not helping the OCA?” What, if I nay ask, is it that you are doing, Prof. Siewers, beside allowing me for months to encourage you as a strategic planner by your silence? Granted, you speak of me as if I am a fool, but I certainly did not expect you to take me as one. I will be very sad to discover this is true.

                      And finally, Prof. Siewers, I was told by someone whom I showed your writings directed at me, and they could not believe you had written them. “He is a very gentle, timid man. He would never speak to you in this manner.” Hmm. What to think… I don’t believe you confronted Fr. Alexis Vinogradov, or anyone else. You speak to me in the “third person, passive-aggressive” with emoji over the internet. Go figure… It’s all very disheartening.

                    • Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

                      I am sorry that so brief a consensus has been broken.

                      I used to cover the plane crash beat, crimes, and assorted other tragedies as a reporter in Chicago. The operations of the implementation team of the strategic plan was a much smaller horror. Even smaller are these always ultimately ad hominem posts.

                      They boringly support self-published, unreviewed scholarship, and self-promoted claims to experiential wisdom, at the expense of others who disagree. The reports of some who know the author attest how fables are a good way to assess them indeed.

                      My time on inner-city streets as a reporter taught me a bit about keeping things in perspective, but also, to paraphrase Eric Sevareid, encouraged an aversion to “snobbery, callousness, and men who kicked other men around,” especially when down.

                      Meanwhile I remain unworthily helping to build a mission in the OCA. Like raising children, that’s part of the “concrete” work of the Church. Theorizing about ontological categories of sexual identities leaves that abstractly behind. And why would one would leave the OCA and not return to help, offering just a thread of unasked-for abstract advice and attack?

                      Please pray for me the sinner,


  24. Michael Bauman says

    I don’t mock you at all. I reject the context of your ideas and especially the vituperative way in which you tend to state them. You frequently substitute ad hominum assaults for actual discussion and hyperbolic descriptions of your heroic efforts in the prison system for actual ideas.

    You link, as far as I can see through the rest of the miasma, your ‘pastoral approach’ with a anthropological view which I find to be at odds with the faith as I have received it (which you mock as ‘anecdotal’ and only ‘my opinion’) . Principally, your seeming assertion that certain elements of the human condition are not subject to the transforming power of Jesus Christ.

    The pastoral approach of the Church seems to be founded on the admonition of Jesus Christ: “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand”.

    The trick, as we both know, is the skill and wisdom with which that approach is applied by specific pastors. Some will always be better than others. That does not negate the command to repent. Nor does it negate the necessity that such pastoral care be rendered with mercy and grace. However, deficits in the way such care is rendered does not mean that the approach is wrong or in need of change.

    You seem to make the argument that for certain classes of people that repentance is not necessary. I reject that.

    For every time you make a reasoned comment that could promote legitimate discussion there are multiple times when you simply start throwing rotten tomatoes at anyone who disagrees excusing it as ‘robust debate’ while at the same time objecting should anyone question your use of such a manner.

    No, sir, I don’t mock you at all. I even try to find areas of agreement.

    We have fundamentally different ways of thinking but I do not question the validity of your own encounter with Jesus Christ within the Church. Because I don’t mock you, I will contend with you when I see things which appear to me to be counter to the truth of the Church. If you don’t want people to contend with you, why do you post where such contention is sure to happen?

    I simply ask that, if excess occurs, that you forgive me as I forgive you.

    That fair?

    In the words of Christopher Frye, the English playwright:

    Shall we laugh?


    For the sake of laughter. I mean, would you have thought of it? If you had been making man, stuffing him full of such hopping greeds and passions that he has to blow himself to pieces as often as he can conveniently manage it, would you have thought of it? The phenomenon of cachinnation is an irrelevancy that almost amounts to a revelation.

    • M. Stankovich says

      So, Mr. Bauman, we have again returned to the “miasma” of my divergence from the theology of the Church as you have received it. Wonderful. And while you are keen and adept at the English playwrights, we have also returned to your typical inability to quote me in your accusation of my “seeming assertion that certain elements of the human condition are not subject to the transforming power of Jesus Christ.” Aye! Certainly this new “link” in my flawed anthropological view is in opposition to the Scripture or the Fathers in specific. For over two years Mr. Bauman, I have asked you, should reached a conclusion, should you “see things which appear to [you] to be counter to the truth of the Church,” quote me specifically, and if you would correct me, then correct me! Nothing. Vapor. Nothing but vague, breathy platitudes.

      Secondly, Mr. Bauman, you are attempting to dismiss my comments to you by continually making distractions to “empiricism” and science, and “freakshow testimonies” as “vituperative stunts.” I am attempting to point out that it is easy to sit at your computer, in the comfort of your home or office, and lecture to me about the state of the world, the overbearing lack of repentance, the lack of love for the other, blah, blah, blah. Platitudes. I look into the faces of individuals who would ask, “Repent for what? Abuse from the first day I can remember? Did I deserve it?” I offer you one day, Mr. Bauman, a single day that plays itself out similarly day after day after day. It is not a “stunt” or “unrelenting horror.” It is typical of every city in this country, albeit far, far from our parishes and probably our neighborhoods. When I attempt to put a face on your ethereal application of “pastoral skill & wisdom,” I am throwing eggs & tomatoes, argumentative, perhaps “brawling.” If you knew the number of times I resigned from programs and committees like the OCA Lay Ministries, or planning for employee assistance-like programs where real pastoral intervention and help could be offered because “the bishops or priests would be offended.” Offended? Oh, you mean stand by while they drink, drug, gamble, sex, or whatever themselves to destruction, dragging their family with them, while you do nothing but “have a talk with them?” Platitudes, Mr. Bauman.

      To “contend” with someone, Mr. Bauman, is the way of the Fathers. You are truly misguided if you believe that is what you are doing. It seems you choose your words much more carefully than previously, speaking in terms of what “appear to me to be counter to the truth of the Church.” Well and good, but as we both know, appearances are deceiving. You find yourself highly praised here, Mr. Bauman; you should be teaching at a seminary, they say. Well and good. If you are so confident to suggest I appear to be “counter” to the Truth of the Church, quote me and correct me. Otherwise, I respectfully ask you to honor my request to exclude me from your musings.

      • Michael Bauman says

        No, the miasma is the vituperation.

      • Michael Bauman says

        As to the statement that I ought to be teaching in a seminary, the person is either being sarcastic or momentarily deluded. You seem to have put more stock in it than I.

        • Thomas Barker says

          Mr. Bauman, it was not my intention to be sarcastic. I agreed strongly with the content, tone and Orthodoxy of your assertions in that post. I stand by my statement.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Thank you. You are very gracious. I knew you were not being scarastic. But I am not qualified to teach in a seminary. I try to speak only what I have been taught by my Bishop and my priest. If anything I say is worthwhile it is because of them: Bishop Basil (Essey) and Fr. Paul O’Callaghan.

            Fr. Paul in particular has been a wonderful teacher in his homilies in his classes as a confessor and in the manner in which he conducts his pastorate.

            He is a loving father, husband and grandfather who has been a priest for 35 years, 20 at my parish. His wife, Kh. Jeannie is quite something too as she carries out her unsung task with impecable grace, strength and timing.

            I am quite blessed.