Preparation of Holy Chrism Affirms OCA Autocephaly

Please take the time to listen to this homily by His Beatitude Jonah given last week. It was in preparation to his visit to St Tikhon’s monastery, where on Holy Thursday he was going to prepare the Holy Chrism. This is a privilege granted only to autocephalous Churches. Note especially that the Chrism will be situated permanently in special cisterns on the Altar at the Cathedral of St Nicholas for the first time.

Hat tip: Byzantine, TX

Holy Chrism begins at St. Tikhon’s Monastery

Source: OCA


Chrism Preparation
Priests preparing ingredients for Holy Chrism.

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah celebrated the preparatory rites for the Consecration of Holy Chrism on the morning of Great and Holy Monday, April 9, 2012, at Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastery here.  The Rite will conclude with the actual consecration of the sacred oil during the Vesperal Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great on Great and Holy Thursday, April 12.

The blessing of the ingredients took place before the celebration of the Hours and the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.

The consecration of Holy Chrism is reserved to autocephalous churches. Parishes receive Holy Chrism for local use from the Primate of their respective autocephalous Church. As such, the distribution of Holy Chrism to parish communities offers a visible sign of unity within the Church.

“By God’s all-accomplishing grace and strength, and with the consensus of my brother Hierarchs, I intend to consecrate Holy Chrism at the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great on Great and Holy Thursday at the Holy Monastery of Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk,” Metropolitan Jonah wrote in an Archpastoral Letter issued Great and Holy Monday.  “This will be the first occasion that I have celebrated this fearful Mystery since I was installed as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America. Yet the office of Primate, and the Episcopate as a whole, exist not for their own sake, but as the visible revelation and instrument of the unity of the entire People of God. The honor of consecrating this Chrism, through which in coming years multitudes of people will be marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit and united to the Body of Christ, is one of which I know myself to be profoundly unworthy.

“I therefore beg all of you for the support of your prayers for me, your Primate, and for all the present and future members of the Orthodox Church in America,” Metropolitan Jonah continued.  “I ask your prayers also for the many priests and deacons who will be assisting with vigilance and prayer in the careful preparation of the Chrism beginning today, Great and Holy Monday, and continuing around the clock through Great and Holy Wednesday, when the Church commemorates the woman who anointed our Savior’s beautiful feet with costly and fragrant oil.”

The complete text of Metropolitan Jonah’s letter may be found in PDF format.

A photo gallery may be viewed here.


  1. Lola J. Lee Beno says

    Link to the photo gallery is broken.

    • They must have used URL shortcuts that fill in whatever server you’re on, rather than the full URL. Replace with and the links should work.

  2. Joseph Clarke says

    “Only the Primatial bishops — only the Patriarchs and the other Metropolitans in the same position as I am — prepare the Chrism.”

    Good for Metropolitan Jonah for taking this time both to explain a less-known sacramental rite and to reaffirm our Church’s autocephaly!

    • Who exactly is +Jonah preaching to in making this “self-evident statement?” Such a remark falls on deaf ears to over half of the Orthodox Churches, the others don’t need to be reminded. Sounds like he was trying to convince his brothers on the Synod that he is still the Primate. When the OCA made Chrism in the past there was never this posturing about autocephaly. I found the OCA Chrism story sad and transparent in its attempt to convince others (maybe more within her ranks) of its legitimacy? To me it was pure PR and not done very well.

      • Priest Justin Frederick says

        “When the OCA made Chrism in the past there was never this posturing about autocephaly.”

        Why judge it negatively as mere posturing? First of all, it is educational to the faithful. Second, part of our problem in the past has been our cringing, pleading for respect from those who looked askance at us instead of just being and acting as what we are: the autocephalous Orthodox Church of North America. Act worth of respect, rather than begging for it, and you’ll eventually get it. This is a step in that direction.

      • He doesn’t have to convince anyone he’s still the primate, he *is* the primate.

        Since a bit of the old chrism is always saved to be mixed into the new, this chrism consecrated through his hands will be a part of the OCA forever. Every time someone consecrates a new church or unites a soul to Christ in the OCA, this chrism will be in their hands, even the hands of those who hate their metropolitan and have conspired against him.

        No matter what they do to Metropolitan Jonah now, this is something they can’t throw away or bury. They can do any manner of horrible things to get rid of him, but they cannot erase his life or legacy. As St. Justin Martyr said, “You can kill us, but you can never hurt us.”

        • Helga,

          My point exactly. He doesn’t have to convince anyone, however the reporting of it was strained as if the Syosset staff were saying “See, we can make our own Chrism, so respect us, recognize us, etc.” +Jonah’s words were appropriate as the Primate. It is his responsibility to make Chrism.

          You make a good point about the heritage of the OCA Chrism. It too has the mark of Ireney, Theodosius and Herman running through it and now Jonah.

          • Yes, Nikos, but what you said before, “Sounds like he was trying to convince his brothers on the Synod that he is still the Primate,” made it sound like the consecration was a political move aimed at reestablishing Metropolitan Jonah’s place within the Holy Synod.

            The process itself did affirm a number of facts about Metropolitan Jonah: Metropolitan Jonah is our primate, he has unique prerogatives as primate (consecrating chrism being one of them), and most tellingly, the chrism will not be distributed from Syosset, it will come from *his* cathedral in Washington, D.C.

            Also, while Diogenes and others will use this as an autocephalist swipe at the EP (who was consecrating his own chrism this year), a more important element is one that Metropolitan Jonah himself brought up in his explanation of the process: the fact that even churches that don’t recognize our autocephaly still recognize the efficacy of our chrismations and consecrations through this chrism made in the OCA.

            But the first and most crucial concern was always the need for more chrism, which requires a lot of preparation to make, and must be made before there is need for more.

            • An interesting point of the efficacy of the OCA Chrism and how, for example, the EP views it. I would hazard a guess that its efficacy as the EP views it stems from the original Chrism the OCA received from the ROC which still runs through it today. This would be a consistent view since the EP still considers the OCA to be part of the “Russian” Church.

              I agree, the fact that the Chrism reserve will be in DC is an important symbolic point. It should never have resided in Syosset. That sent the wrong message, however a danger could be in the wings with people thinking that the “spiritual” center of the OCA is DC and the “business” center is Syosset. Another reason to close Syosset and unite the work of the OCA in the place of the primatial see of the First Hierarch.

              As Fr Justin commented correctly on this topic, respect is earned and my basic point was that, as in the past, Chrism was made without a bunch of fanfare. The OCA made Chrism because it needed to make it, like you said Helga. Done. My objection was the angle that “BECAUSE” we are “THE” autocephalous church, blah, blah, blah (cut and paste here Diogenes OCA party line view of Orthodox history in the USA.) I agree with Fr. Justin that the making of Chrism is a teaching opportunity about the Holy Chrism. I again see little point in using the occasion to fly the autocephalist flag which continues to be a major bone of contention and could be the real stumbling block to Orthodox unity in the USA. Left to the Diogenes of the OCA such an event becomes a weapon against the EP. Not a smart move.

              Actions, even holy ones, like making Chrism, have consequences when it comes to the OCA. Being more sensitive to this reality is important. I guess that is all I was trying to say. If that came off as being critical of +Jonah, this was not my intent and if taken that way, I apologize to him and all of you.

            • I really like the idea of the Chrism coming from St.Nicholas Cathedral rather than Syosset. I am glad that Met.Jonah used this as a teaching moment.Those who see it as something nefarious really are rather sad.

  3. Daniel E. Fall says

    Good news. Metropolitan Jonah gets respect from me for a change. I don’t care about the chest beating so much; but knowing he is carrying out religious duties and doing so despite what the EP might like/want shows some wisdom. And I have berated him for a lack of it.

    This has zero to do with the OCA Synod and everything to do with ‘maximal autonomy’.

    • ‘Maximal autonomy’? Are you using that term in the generic sense because it is not autocephaly. One can argue that the future of the OCA is exactly one of maximal autonomy under the Russians if the Assembly of Bishop structure falls apart.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Daniel, I for one, saw no “chest beating.” I personally think that His Beatitude is incabable of such unseemly behavior.

      • All this talk of primates and chest-beating is making me picture the OCA as a zoo exhibit!

    • George Michalopulos says

      Daniel, Joseph: the mark of an autocephalous church is not whether it can make its own chrism, but if it is willing to preach the Gospel. Read Acts, St Peter preached the Gospel first thing. Chrism-formation came later, probably centuries later.

      Had we succumbed to the soviet way of doing things that was represented by the revered Protopresbyterians (read: Kishkovsky, Hopko, Garklavs, Nescott, “We Are Their Legacy,” Leonova, et al) and their media lackeys (read: Stokoe) who wished to make us an Eastern-rite ECUSA, then we could make bushels of Chrism and it wouldn’t matter for naught.

      • Joseph Clarke says

        George, if you’re addressing me, I have no desire to reopen old disagreements over church politics, particularly as the bishops seem to have mended their differences for the time being.

        I was simply happy to see our Metropolitan making a “teachable moment” out of the Chrism preparation.

  4. Nicholas Sandoukas says
    • Anna Rowe says

      I am grateful to Metropolitan Jonah for providing this explanation of the Holy Chrism to the faithful, Nicholas,thanks for posting those links, as well.

    • Nicholas,

      The “big deal” as you state of the EP making Holy Myrrh is understated by the EP itself. Read their historical overview of the making of Holy Myrrh or Myron. Although some Churches still get Holy Myrrh from the EP and they make a point that this honor settled into the responsibility of the EP, they are also quick to add that others (Moscow, Belgrade) make their own Chrism and that is acceptable too. Thus they don’t present this responsibility to justify their status like the OCA did in their press.

      • Really?

        “The Ecumenical Patriarchate distributes the Holy Myrrh to the Orthodox Churches throughout the world to be used for Confirmation, one of the Seven Sacraments. In the Orthodox Church this Sacrament of Confirmation is administered at Baptism…The Ecumenical Patriarch then informs the Holy Synod which resolves and requests for the replenishment of the Holy Myrrh during Holy Week of the forthcoming year. His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch informs the Primates of Orthodox Churches throughout the world and extends to them, and other Hierarchs, an invitation to attend and participate. A request is also made to many of them asking for a specific offering of a precious oil or element mandated for inclusion in the preparation of the Holy Myrrh.”

        Constantinople long protested Russia making its own, and waged a fit against Romania when it started consecrating its own.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Isa, the supremacist pretensions of C’pole have stopped ceasing to amaze me. Now i’m just saddened by them.

  5. Carl Kraeff says

    Nikos said “One can argue that the future of the OCA is exactly one of maximal autonomy under the Russians if the Assembly of Bishop structure falls apart.”

    What can OCA gain from such a turn of events? If the Assembly of Bishops scheme falls apart, what can the OCA gain from going under Moscow? I have heard of speculation that such a move might strengthen OCA’s hand at the next pan-Orthodox Council; but if you look at likely scenarios, that is a vain hope. If Constantinople wins and voting is done by autocephalous churches, the OCA gets no vote. If Moscow wins and each diocesan bishop gets a vote, we would be like a drop in the bucket anyway, whether we are allowed to participate as an autocephalous Church or do so as an autonomous part of the ROC.

    • Forgive my ignorance, but how was voting done at previous ecumenical councils? If I remember correctly, it was one diocesan bishop, one vote. Was voting ever done by church as Constantinople wishes?

      • It was indeed one bishop one vote, but this was before you had patriarchs consecrating 23 new bishops a year …

    • Carl says:

      What can OCA gain from such a turn of events? If the Assembly of Bishops scheme falls apart, what can the OCA gain from going under Moscow…..?

      Good question. Survival I think is the answer. At its present rate of decline, the OCA may not be around in another generation or two or only exist on paper. The 1970 experiment did not succeed. If it does come down to the Orthodox world divided into Greeks vs. Slavs, is it better for the OCA to close ranks with her mother church, go under Constantinople, or continue in its present form further isolated as a sect? Russia will continue to favor the ROCOR over the OCA. Those are the choices. It would be best for the AOB to succeed and a unified OC in the USA to finally be a reality. But, if not, the OCA still have more leverage under Moscow than as a dying sect.

      @ Helga, one bishop one vote was the rule. It should continue to be the rule however with the rapid growth in the number of bishops by the ROC, the balance of power (votes) is tipping in the Russian’s favor. That is why the reopening Hailki is so important to the EP.

      • On the voting. The western church generally did not send its bishops. The Pope of Rome sent a delegation (the Pope never attended). No decisions were affirmed without the consent of the Pope’s delegation. So there is some precedence for a church to have a veto.

      • John Christopher says

        “Vote” is a misleading term. In the majority of cases, the bishops expressed agreement by acclamation after hearing a formal proposal (relatio) and several mini speeches in favor (sententiae). All in all, a very scripted affair, aimed at affirming a pre-determined consensus. Just read the copious records from Roman North Africa, or even the Acta of Chalcedon. In the latter case, where there was some disagreement, bishops sat and “voted” en bloc according to region — what some might consider a “local church” nowadays. Of course, one can always find plenty of exceptions to every rule, and the rules themselves changed over time.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Nikos said: “Survival I think is the answer.”

        That’s what I cannot understand at all. To me a church composed of one bishop (surrounded by his priests, deacons and laity) is ontologically complete, as affirmed by St. Ignatius. I cannot imagine an OCA that does not continue to have at least three or four dioceses, a couple of monasteries, at least one seminary, etc…. So, with respect I would ask what exactly is meant by “survival.”

        • George,

          If you believe the self-serving and undocumented growth of the AOCA, I am shocked that you would take their word for it. There is little chance the AOCA has grown if you factor in those who speak Arabic as their first langage.

          What makes you think that Orthodoxy can grow in the US given its present socio-economic-political condition? How many are ready to sacrifice for this country let alone all for the Gospel? If there were to be a true persecution of Christ here in the US, I have little doubt that most Orthodox would tuck tail and run rather than blood witness for Him.

          Every Orthodox people who suffered blood witness for Christ in since Orthodoxy has been planted here in North America can speak more powerfully about Christ then we can who have suffered nothing for the sake of the Gospel.

          Making Chrism is not the self-evident reality of a local Church and certainly not the OCA.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Niko, while I agree with you that a lot of what comes out of the chanceries is “self-serving,” the fact remains that when Metropolitans Philip and Michael healed the Syrian schism back in the mid-60s, there were only 65 AOCNA parishes. Now there are about 250. That is explosive growth by any measure.

            • George Michalopulos says

              And yes, I do agree with you, we have not suffered in this country. We will though. Whether we have the fortitude to withstand the persecution is another matter entirely.

        • Carl,

          Survival as a question is best asked of the OCA powers that be and not me.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            Nikos said “Survival as a question is best asked of the OCA powers that be and not me.”

            That may be so, but it was you who asserted it without any attribution to any OCA power that be. Therefore, please indulge me and tell me why you believe it is a matter of survival for the OCA to give up its autocephaly. Now, if you think that becoming “maximally autonomous” under Moscow is a good thing, that would be one thing. However, I just do not see how the OCA would quit to exist if her status is not changed from autocephalous to “maximally autonomous”, whatever the latter means.

            • The OCA may “survive” but I don’t see it thriving as in being a real force for spreading the Gospel here in the USA. It continues to dwindle in size, besides the South and West. Its economic house is not in good order (again with the South the major exception) and in general has lost much of its credibility where at one time it was one of the players in Orthodoxy here in the USA but now is really an afterthought. No one looks to the OCA any longer as a model (except maybe how not to treat your bishops and clergy.) True, it still has SVS, STS and certain parishes and monasteries that stand out. So it can “survive” in its present form but within the wider context of Orthodoxy in the USA, its influence as a jurisdiction has diminished and if it stands in the way of Orthodox unity by doggedly clinging to the “dream” of the OCA, it will be further marginalized.

              Would it do better as an autonomous Church under Moscow, like ROCOR or united with ROCOR with the ability for each to breath new life into each other? Maybe, but I would prefer that we all unite under the banner of one local Orthodox Church composed of all the Orthodox living here and thus finally establish a unique expression of local Orthodox life in which we all bring to each other that which we have received from our Mother Churches.

              Are you satisfactorily indulged?

              • Carl Kraeff says

                I appreciate your considered reply. You know,since you brought up marginalization, I think that we need to look at various indicators of strengths and weaknesses. I believe you would agree that some of the most marginalized local churches are found in majority-Muslim countries. That is so because of drastically reduced numbers (even worse than the OCA), loss of seminaries and monasteries, etc… However, I think everyone would agree that the Ancient Patriarchates of whom I speak have not been marginalized in that one important indicator–that of esteem. I would also posit that membership numbers do not tell the whole story; one critical indicator of strength is regular church attendance rate. I believe that this rate is much higher in the OCA than it is in most of the other local churches. I also do not think that there has been much of a lessening of esteem enjoyed by St Vladimir’s Theological Seminary. Thus, I find your analysis to be overly gloomy and ultimately unfair.

        • Monk James says

          Carl Kraeff says:
          April 23, 2012 at 12:58 pm

          ‘To me a church composed of one bishop (surrounded by his priests, deacons and laity) is ontologically complete, as affirmed by St. Ignatius.’

          Christ is risen! Truly risen!

          Please forgive any typos and remember me in your prayers — I’m still not recovered from eye surgery a month ago.

          Here, Carl Kraeff gives us the practical meaning of the word catholic as it is used in the Symbol of the Faith.

          The RCC and an embarrassing number of orthodox Christians keep saying that the fathers of the first ecumenical synod at Nikaia meant to say that we believe in ‘one, holy, UNIVERSAL, and apostolic church’. They are seriously mistaken.

          The burden of meaning in the Symbol’s carefully chosen word is not to describe an outward and upward concept, but rather an inward and downward sense of what it means to be The Church locally in full agreement with all the other local orthodox churches, wherever and however many they may be.

          This proper understanding of catholic in the Symbol has less than nothing to do with RC pretensions that their bishop of Rome has universal jurisdiction and supreme doctrinal authority.

          Or why did we convene ‘ecumenical’ synods during the millenium of christian history and practice we shared with Rome? Were Rome’s theory correct, we wouldn’t have needed to take all that care.

          Let’s hope and pray that Constantinople gets off its aspirations to pretend the same as Rome.

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            Very well put, Monk James. The scabrous use and misunderstanding of the word “ecumenical” has done more to scandalize the Church in the last 100 years than any other heresy. Unless and until it is stripped from the patriarch of Constantinople and ignominiously thrown on the ashheap of history, it will continue to vex the Body of Christ. And to our detriment.

            • Monk James says

              The problem isn’t with the word ecumenical (although St Gregory the Great pointed that out) but with the almost universal misunderstanding of the word catholic.

              As used in the Symbol in accordance with the understanding of the first two ecumenical synods, the word catholic (from Greek kata holon) means ‘in accordance with the whole’, ‘in agreement with the hole’, ‘representative of the whole’, or — in practical terms — ‘recognizable as the whole’ even if only a little of the whole can be seen functioning locally; it is still ‘whole’, or ‘catholic’.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Niko, I agree with you in the particular but let’s not get all triumphalist about the other jurisdictions. The only one that has grown in the last 30 years is the Antiochian. Even Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver (GOA) stated recently that we (presumably all jurisdictions) have experienced “incremental” growth, and then only in the major “urban areas.”

      • Nikos:
        Your assertions just aren’t true. 1970 wasn’t some “experiment” for the Church in North America, but the logical, canonical development of the Church. You fail to realize that the OCA isn’t just another jurisdiction, but it is the continuation of the original indigenous Orthodox Church in North America which began in Alaska and spread throughout the lower 48. The OCA will not disappear nor will it go away. The Greeks & Antiochians can practice all of their Byzantine intrigue, but the truth is, foreign bishops have NO authority outside their own local territory. The Greeks, Antiochians and others under foreign bishops have no real authority in N. America – canon law. The Antiochians call themselves “self-ruled” yet, send bishop candidates to Damascus for consecration and receive their chrism from overseas. In fact Nikos, according to percentages, the Greeks & Antiochians have lost more people than the OCA. Funny thing playing with numbers. Population shifts are going on in the U.S. and Orthodox centers are changing. Moscow is completely corrupt and Istanbul is just about completely dead. Jerusalem has become a remnant; Damascus will become a remnant and Alexandria is not what it was. N. America is the real hope for Orthodoxy and not under foreign bishops!

        • Diogenes,

          I understand perfectly well the history of the OCA as written by the OCA. I also understand that there of different Orthodox histories here in the USA. What may be difficult for you to accept is that the OCA history is not the accepted history of the entire Orthodox Church and thus that is why the question of Orthodoxy in the these “barbarian” lands is an open and serious one which the Orthodox Church wants to deal with as a major agenda item of a Great and Holy Council.

          That is why I used the term “experiment” and used it within the OCA context of recent history which clearly states from Theodosius to Jonah, that if giving up her current status would lead to a unified Orthodox Church here in the USA, the OCA would do so. The OCA has always accepted this possibility since the orignal granting of autocephaly was for the purpose of bringing into unity all the different Orthodox flags planted here. But this aspect of the “experiment” of the OCA did not bring everyone together.

          You can argue that others must join the OCA because it is the Local Orthodox Church, but we both know that isn’t going to happen, so what is the point in still hanging on to that “dream?” The real value of the OCA’s current status is that it can help lead to one Orthodox Church here in the USA. However the path to that unity does not reside in the OCA in and of itself. Thus the “experiment” failed which you possibly interpret as a negative, but I see rather as an historic step in a process still before us.

          You can still hold on to your unproductive “Istanbul pound sand” and everyone else is “corrupt” view of the Orthodox world, but I would encourage you to take off your OCA blinders and gain a wider understanding of history. You and I both agree that there needs to be one local Orthodox Church in the USA and if we both truly want that then we must not limit ourselves as to how we get there.

          • Nikos:
            History is objective; especially recent history. The only reason all the Orthodox haven’t united in the OCA is because of the BISHOPS. The Pat. of Istanbul has been the biggest obstacle to Orthodox unity in N. America and because the Antiochians think they will fare better siding with him, real administrative unity has halted. The entire Episcopal Assembly is crap! All this is, is the Pat. of Istanbul trying to unite everyone under himself. This is an Eastern Pope. The Orthodox are not organized in that manner. All of the bishops in the Episcopal Assembly need to pronounce themselves autocephalous. Then organize a new church i.e., The Orthodox Church of North America (OCNA). Choose their Metropolitan and move on. Simple, easy, but most of the bishops have no cahones!

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Diogenes, although I agree with you in the main, do you honestly think that anybody in the other jurisdictions would want to unite with the OCA given the criminal way the Syosset/MC/Stokovite axis acted this past year? Until we all own up to our mistakes (AND NO: this doesn’t mean only Met Jonah but EVERYBODY in the HS/Syosset/MC), nobody in their right mind would want to join with us.

          • Nikos is correct;
            Diogenes is stupid. (What else can be surmised about someone who pontificates that “History is objective, especially recent history”?)

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Diogenes, while I agree with your historiography (and dispute Nikos’) I take umbrage at your assertion about Moscow being “completely corrupt.” We Orthodox here in the US (and I mean all jurisdictions) would do well to refrain from calling certain kettles black. Surely reasonable men would agree that the soviet tactics employed against Met Jonah this past year are anything but edifying. Indeed, they are nothing short of scandalous.

          • George,

            What do you dispute in my historiography?

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Good question. First of all, the idea that we live in “barbarous” lands is too shocking for words. If the Phanar really believes in such, and has created an entire ecclesiology around it, then they should be upfront and state that Americans are “barbarians” and that the GOA is “The Greek Eparchy for the Barbarian Lands.”

              I’ll get to the others later as time permits.

              • I used barbarian lands in the technical sense but not as a justification for any Eparchy. But in truth, how we are now organized across jurisdictional lines is barbarian.

                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  Correct; scandalous, atrocious, and preposterous also spring instantly to mind. Unfortunately, the brainiacs over at the Phanar still use the strained interpretation of Canon 28 to justify their continued aggrandizement over their entire universe.

                  • Rdr. Benjamin says

                    Actually, technically that job would fall to the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria, whose official title is Judge of the Universe (pretty sweet if you ask me, even though it’s referring to his role in determining the date of Easter as literally the one who is to judge the cosmos to determine the date of the spring equinox.)

                • “I used barbarian lands in the technical sense but not as a justification for any Eparchy. But in truth, how we are now organized across jurisdictional lines is barbarian.”
                  I think you mean “barbaric.”

                  As for “the technical sense,” the Empire of the Romans has fallen, Third Rome has risen (and fallen) in “the barbarian lands,” and Constantinole, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem-or rather Istanbul, Iskandariyyah, Antakya and al-Quds-are barbarian cities, rendering “the question of Orthodoxy in the these “barbarian” lands”” an idiocy buried long and deep in the ash heap of history.

                  No one buys the Phanar mythology on this. God bless Abp. Demetrios who had the spine to call it like it is, and seat Met. Jonah seperate from the Russian representatives among the canonical bishops of North America. The Phanar is now stuck with stubborn facts of its own making.

              • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                George, just to clarify, although the English term ‘barbarian’ comes from the Greek vavaros, English readers should know that the technical meaning of the Greek term means “those who speak another language.”

          • Russian Orthodox Church is in spiritual crisis, critics say
            BY SERGEI L. LOIKO
            Los Angeles Times

            KARABANOVO, RUSSIA — His unruly mane of white hair giving him the look of Moses, Father Georgy Edelstein struggled over the grayish snow that is the late-spring landscape of this barren village, heading to his church for Good Friday services.

            When he got to its small, darkened main hall, the 79-year-old put a simple silver cross over his robes and began saying prayers on one of the holiest days in the Russian Orthodox Church. His audience: his assistant and one villager.

            Two days later, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, exchanged hearty Easter kisses with President-elect Vladimir Putin amid the lavish interiors of Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral, his jewel-encrusted cross and gold brocade robe shining in the television limelight.

            Separated by 220 miles on a map but by a much wider gulf in circumstances, the two scenes provide a vivid portrait of a church that some critics say is undergoing a spiritual crisis.

            Kirill’s public support of Putin in the country’s recent presidential election, as well as a scandal over a $30,000 wristwatch that appeared in a photo of the patriarch – and then mysteriously disappeared – have raised alarms that the church is out of touch with ordinary Russians, and too cozy with the nation’s leaders.

            “We hoped so much that in the new Russia the church leaders would be telling a real and loud word of God’s truth to the society, but our hopes were dashed,” said Alexander Nezhny, a Russian writer and expert on the church.

            On Sunday, tens of thousands of people came to the square in front of Christ the Savior in a show of support for the church.

            Still, criticism remains.

            For centuries the church was an obedient servant of Russia’s rulers, and that deference became more pronounced after Stalin’s ferocious repressions. Critics such as Nezhny say that hasn’t changed in the two decades of a democratic Russia. A recent appeal for a public show of support for the church even had some of the trappings of Putin government rhetoric, warning of dark forces intent on bringing down the country’s oldest institution.

            During massive anti-Putin protests this year, some Russians gave Kirill credit for his attempts to reconcile the two sides. He cautioned the Kremlin not to ignore the growing discontent, but also warned the protesters that the country had “exhausted the limit of confrontations and … any possibility to carry out a revolutionary transformation of our society.”

            Other observers expressed concern that the church was trying to play a political role after centuries of staying on the sidelines.

            In the middle of the presidential campaign, Kirill publicly backed Putin, saying, “I must say quite openly, as the patriarch who must tell the truth regardless of political considerations and propaganda accents, that you, Vladimir Vladimirovich, have played a huge role in correcting this crookedness of our history.”

            In a document released this month, the patriarch spoke of “the confrontation between the church and the anti-Christian forces,” which becomes “more obvious and acute.”

            “The anti-church forces are afraid of the strengthening of the Orthodoxy in the country,” the document says. “These people are not numerous, but some of them have influence and are ready to use their financial, information and administrative resources to discredit the (church leadership) and clerics to create schisms and tear people away from temples.”

            The document compares the current “attack” on the church to the tragic events of Soviet times, in which tens of thousands of priests died and thousands of churches were closed or destroyed.

            Then, in an unprecedented move, the patriarch called on believers to express their loyalty to the church in a common prayer outside Christ the Savior Cathedral and other cathedrals across Russia.

            “The patriarch is a prominent public leader, and there is nothing extraordinary in his call for a mass demonstration in favor of the church,” said Maxim Shevchenko, a popular TV anchor and member of the presidential Public Chamber, a Kremlin advisory board. “A resolute response must certainly be given to this outrageous and beastly ongoing campaign against the church and its patriarch.”

            Most experts are skeptical about the existence of an orchestrated campaign against the church, but agree that the controversy started in February.

            That’s when a group of young women broke into Christ the Savior Cathedral wearing extravagant outfits and sacks with eyeholes over their heads and performed a song and dance largely interpreted as their way of praying against Putin’s imminent presidential victory and the church hierarchy for helping him attain it.

            Three of the group were soon arrested and are awaiting trial in prison on charges of hooliganism, which can mean a sentence of up to seven years if convicted. The Moscow Patriarchate accused them of gross blasphemy and publicly demanded an irrevocable punishment.

            And then came the case of the disappearing wristwatch. In early April, bloggers and journalists noticed the watch on Kirill’s wrist in one of the protocol photos on the patriarchate’s website. The next day, the watch in the photo had been edited out, but its reflection on the table surface remained, causing an even bigger scandal.

            “It was a stupidity that shouldn’t have happened,” church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin said of the edited photo.

            He added that the watch was a gift from a believer. “People have always brought to priests and bishops the most precious things they had, and I see nothing bad in the fact that the leader of the largest confessional in Russia receives expensive gifts from the people.”

            Soon after the watch episode, the patriarch, who is a monk by status and is not supposed to own real estate, was recently found to have a lavish apartment worth millions overlooking the Kremlin and Christ the Savior Cathedral.

            The patriarchate defended Kirill’s having an apartment. “Many monks even living in monasteries keep their housing just in case their situation may change and they may need it again,” Chaplin said. “The patriarch lived for 15 years in Moscow without having his own apartment and then he got it. His relatives live there and there is nothing bad in it.”

            Chaplin said these brouhahas, and several recent acts in which churches and icons were defiled and at least one priest was beaten, were part of an ugly campaign against the Russian Orthodox Church and the state itself, and may also be sponsored and influenced from abroad.

            “I am convinced that this is an orchestrated campaign which is in its turn part of a bigger campaign aimed to destabilize the situation in the country which is also aimed against the people, against the army, the police, against the government and so on,” Chaplin said. “At the core of this campaign is a small group of pro-Western Muscovites, and residents of other big cities, the pro-Western part of Russian financial circles, political establishment and media elite.”

            Edelstein, who lost four fingers and an eye when thugs tried to rob him and pushed him under a passing train in 1948, said he doesn’t believe there is any campaign against the church.

            “The church throughout its entire history has never been afraid of any enemies outside it, as the latter have never succeeded in moving even a small stone in the basement of our church,” the priest said in his small wooden hut in the middle of the village, which doesn’t even have a road sign with its name on it. “Our main enemies are inside the church.”

            The priest knows something of dissent. Of Jewish heritage, he had to fight to become an Orthodox priest in the 1970s and was suspended for almost two years in the ’80s for “politically motivated dissent” – until a visiting President Ronald Reagan met with him in Moscow and the Kremlin decided it was too scandalous for the priest to stay out of service. “Thus Reagan blessed me for my work,” the old man said with a laugh.

            Today, his elder son Yuly is a minister of information and diaspora in the Israeli government, but Edelstein still preaches here in the wild forests of central Russia. He said he has learned to distinguish between “the mother church and its Soviet-type leadership.”

            As the Friday afternoon was coming to a close and the rain was drumming on the gilded iron cupolas of his church, the priest was still saying his prayers, his face rigid but his only eye burning with the fire of his soul: “We are praying for our father, Patriarch Kirill.”

            Read more here:

            • ProPravoslavie says

              Meanwhile, as usual, none of the defenses and explanations of the Patriarch’s behavior that have been published in the Russian press ever gets reported in the Western press. Many details get lost too.

              As for the comments of the Patriarch regarding Putin’s time as a “miracle”: can it be denied that the past decade under Putin has also seen a major revival of the Church, after the persecution of the Soviet years and the misery of the Yeltsin years? One need not agree with everything that Putin has said and done to acknowledge something as basic as this. The problem is that Americans seem to think that the only way the Russian Church can ever be worthy of their respect is if it agrees to be the willing stooge of American foreign policy, and if it becomes the perpetual political opposition against whoever rules Russia.

              What scandalizes me as an observer from the outside is the willingness of American Orthodox to believe the utter worst about foreign Patriarchs, and in particular the desire of members of the OCA to spit on the Russian Church, the ONLY Church that has protected OCA’s autocephaly in the last four decades. Do you really think that God will overlook this base ingratitude?

              • Monk James says

                Christ is risen! Truly risen!

                It’s a real stretch to think that the OCA ever ‘spit on’ the ROC.

                At most, what the OCA (and orthodox Americans in general) are doing just now is marveling at the ROC’s apparent subservience to the russian state.

                Not everyone was happy with the large-scale service on St Thomas Sunday, which was intended as a specifically russian event focused on a particularly russian experience, especially recent public impieties. In fact, Pat Kirill went so far as to say that priests who opposed the gathering were ‘unpatriotic’ and ‘traitors’.

                But, as is well known, the ROC transcends several national borders and continents. Clearly, people have to be able to be communicants in the ROC while not being russian nationals.

                The MP’s nationalistic attitude here is a weakness of polity which will eventually backfire on the church when popular sentiment turns against the government with which it has made common cause.

                Apparently, the lessons of the bolshevik revolution haven’t yet been learned. A century ago, the almost seamless state/church symphonia of the tsarist era made it impossible for people to separate religion from politics, so when they took down the monarchy they perforce took down religion.

                This is likely to happen again if orthodoxy in Russia cannot stand independently of the state. It does no good to say ‘Well, that’s Russia and things are different there.’ No, they’re not. Human nature is the same everywhere and always. Forget Darwinism, social and otherwise!

                • ProPravoslavie says

                  “Support” for and “partnership” with the state is not necessarily “subservience” to the State. The fact is that Russian Orthodox priests were openly condemning the allegations of fraud in the last Presidential elections (for example, on websites such as Pravmir.Ru), and even the Orthodox hierarchy called upon the administration to listen to the people. The relationship between Church and State in post-Soviet Russia has also never been completely smooth; the transfer of property, for instance, has involved long and sometimes acrimonious debates between the Church and some representatives of the State. There are also the continuing differences between Church and State over religious education in schools, the certification of Russian Orthodox higher education by the state, abortion, surrogate parenthood, etc.

                  All of these, however, cannot hide the basic realities: The Putin government has been relatively benign to the Church and has helped it to recover lost ground. The Western-backed opposition can scarcely be expected to do the same, and if its rhetoric and track-record is any indication it can be expected to restart hostilities against the Church if ever it gets into power (which is highly unlikely anyway). By the way, it seems you’ve bought into the myth that the Western-backed opposition has public support. The fact of the matter is that Putin and Zyuganov have far more support than the likes of Navalny.

                  “Not everyone was happy with the large-scale service on St Thomas Sunday, which was intended as a specifically russian event focused on a particularly russian experience, especially recent public impieties. In fact, Pat Kirill went so far as to say that priests who opposed the gathering were ‘unpatriotic’ and ‘traitors’.

                  But, as is well known, the ROC transcends several national borders and continents. Clearly, people have to be able to be communicants in the ROC while not being russian nationals.

                  But the vast majority of the ROC’s communicants are in Russia, and surely you do not deny the right of the ROC to get involved in Russian affairs? OCA has communicants in Canada and Mexico; should it therefore not get involved in, for instance, fighting the Obama HHS contraception mandate?

                  “The MP’s nationalistic attitude…”

                  Yes, I guess only Americans and the OCA have the right to be nationalistic.

                  “here is a weakness of polity which will eventually backfire on the church when popular sentiment turns against the government with which it has made common cause.”

                  That risk exists with any Church (whether Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant) that sets up an alliance of any sort with any government. The risks of NOT setting up such alliances and of setting the stage for perpetual war between Church and State are infinitely greater, though. Why should the Moscow Patriarchate do that?

                  “Apparently, the lessons of the bolshevik revolution haven’t yet been learned. A century ago, the almost seamless state/church symphonia of the tsarist era made it impossible for people to separate religion from politics, so when they took down the monarchy they perforce took down religion.”

                  In 1917, the Russian Church was a department of the Russian State, incapable of electing its own Patriarch, governed by an Oberprokurator, with a priesthood that was basically a hereditary caste (no thanks to the policies of previous governments). The situation of today is very different from 1917. Please stop the relentless mouthing of cliches and stereotypes.

                  “This is likely to happen again if orthodoxy in Russia cannot stand independently of the state. ”

                  Please show me any Christian-majority country where the Church has not historically benefited from some form of support from the State.

  6. We are very lucky that in the United States, the Orthodox Christians have not come under persecution, even unto death. All the more reason that Orthodoxy should flourish. The OCA is the ONLY autocephalous Orthodox Church in North America and like it or not, it has the canonical right to make it’s own chrism. Istanbul can go pound sand!

    • ProPravoslavie says

      “Istanbul can go and pound sand.”

      Why is it that the faithful of OCA think that insulting other Patriarchates and foreign Orthodox Churches is an essential part of affirming their autocephaly? I notice this on American Orthodox forums and blogs so often — the relentless belittling of non-American Orthodox Churches and faithful. One need not agree with the policies of Moscow and the Phanar in order to at least show them some respect.

      Speaking of respect: OCA keeps demanding respect for itself from other Orthodox Churches. Perhaps it would get more respect if it actually became more hospitable to authentic Orthodox monasticism, and to the zealous following of the Typikon for the divine services, and to the ascetical traditions of the Orthodox Church, instead of the soulless, bureaucratic and Protestantized drivel that goes on and on in the websites and blogs associated with it.

      • The OCA is basically a 12-year-old kid in a room full of adults, trying to appear grown up by being belligerent and dropping a lot of cuss words.

        • Monk James says


          Can it honestly be said that the OCA is behaving badly, or is it just some internet correspondents behaving badly as they try to resist critics of the OCA and express themseles in excessive terms?

          ‘Helga’s’ comment here is considerably less than helpful in this conversation. What ‘Diogenes’ wrote before that is true, yet (perhaps unnecessarily) seasoned with frustration generated by Constantinople’s unrealistically self-interested interpretation of Khalkedon 28.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        I do not know what is happening outside the OCA Diocese of the South. However, I can categorically state that in the DOS, we are hospitable to monasticism, the Typicon is followed zealously, and we do stress fasting and prayer–in most respects, our praxis is not that much different from that of ROCOR’s. I daresay that we are as hospitable, if not more, than any other local Orthodox parish, both toward each other and the unchurched. Forgive me for it was not my intention to boast and I beg your indulgence; I just could not let such a broad brush (and false) depiction of the OCA that I know.

        • ProPrav, I must agree with Carl on this one; at least in the DOS we tend to be very respectful to the other patriarchates, as well as trying to be as orthopractic as possible.

          Having said that, I don’t approve of childish behavior on the part of some in the OCA (read: the old Syossett Axis) but in fairness, the OCA has more than once found itself on the receiving end of scabrous commentary, particularly from the Phanar and its minions. Let us not forget the hateful speech that then-Fr Lambrianides exgurtitaded at Holy Cross three years ago. Or the continued dismissive attitude that certain dioceses in the GOA maintain towards concelebration with the OCA (eg. Boston).

  7. Ronda Wintheiser says

    Speaking of persecution…

    I believe we have not experienced it (yet?) in this country because our response to almost 4 decades of the slaughter of unborn children has been, overall, similar to the response of German Christians to the slaughter of Jews. We know it’s happening, and for the most part, we do nothing.

    • Daniel E. Fall says

      Comparing a woman’s willful abortion to the slaughter of the Jews is not similar at all. You coined that favorite phrase ‘in this country’. About 60% of countries in the world have fully legal abortion, and only a few countries outlaw abortion fully (Chile and El Salvador I believe). Typically, the countries that have legal abortions have more abortions than clandestine abortions in places where abortion is fully or partially unlawful, but the estimates are similar to the ratio of legal to partially legal countries or roughly 60% to 40%. I don’t know the impacts to women in countries where outlawed and only clandestine, but I would guess they are a net negative.

      So a not so far leap suggests making abortion illegal does not stop it; it only results in the procedures being done unlawfully and most likely poorly or in a way that endangers women.

      My source is the Guttmacher Institute, so if you don’t like the facts, blame them and any inherent bias you may believe they have..

      If you really want to stop something wicked and evil; start by denouncing and fighting against the Chinese policy of forced abortion; now there is something horrible and a great libertarian discussion.

      I don’t know how every conversation; even one about the actions of the Metropolitan and Holy Chrism result in the abortion discussion, but I couldn’t sit idly by and suggest we in the US are something less than other nations for our abortion policy which is like the Holocaust cuz it ain’t and we’re not.

      If you want to reduce abortion; forget about the law and fight it in the trenches where the battle is real by reducing poverty and increasing literacy for women.

      • Daniel, this is where you are wrong about your premise (but not your facts): in regards to the slaughter of innocents (whether Jews, Armenians, aboriginal peoples, etc.) and infants, neither of the victim groups want to be slaughtered or have any say in the matter.

        • Daniel E. Fall says

          My premise is not wrong George. When things like these are said; the result is not to decrease abortion.

          This was supposed to be about the good things Metropolitan Jonah is doing re: Holy Chrism. I was more cheezed that someone put abortion into this subject matter. Metropolitan Jonah certainly doesn’t deserve anything less than praise.

          • Daniel, I’m glad to see that you’re on our side regarding the abhorence of abortion and Met Jonah’s praiseworthy leadership in this regard.

            However it must be said that once we get on the slippery slope of “willful” abortion (i.e. “choice”) then the Chinese policy of forced abortion is but a step or two away. I am no more horrified by what they do in China (which is a police state in which the people exist as wards of the state) than I am of what is happening in our free Republic, where resources to feed and clothe the “poor” exist in abundance and yet our women kill their babies merely for their own convenience.

            BTW, I put quotation marks around the word poor. The average poor woman today in America lives in an abode which has electricity, running water, HV/AC, cable TV, washer/dryer, dishwasher, telephone service, stovetop/oven, and other amenities that were not standard in most parts of the US when I was born some fifty years ago.

            The house I grew up in had no Hv/AC, cable TV, just one phone for two storeys, and even though we had a dryer, it was only used during the winter. Otherwise we hung up our clothes on the clothesline to dry. As for my father’s domicile in the Greek village of Pyrgos Trifilias, there were none of the even most basic amenities described above (elec/running water) and heating was done through a Franklin stove. My grandmother would wake up at the crack of dawn (easy to do with a rooster milling about) and gather faggots in order to kindle the stove and stoke the oven, which was out of doors. And thus began the day.

  8. cynthia curran says

    Well, the term was to define a barbarian who in the late Roman Empire as somone who was not an eastern or western Roman. In fact, Italians in the 6th century were even after the fall of Rome in the 5th still thought as Romans. They still had a senate and some theatre which was more dity little mime acts at the time and even Casssidorus, a writer in the 6th mentions Circus Factions. The long Byzantine-Goth war during Justinian’s reign and the Lombard invasion destroyed this Roman connection that remained somewhat in Italy until the late 6th century. Barbarians refers to the various Germanic and other people groups outside of Roman citizens. In fact an interesting political married was between Justinian’s cousin Germanus and the grand daughter of Theodoric- Matsunthia. She gave up being arian and became Orthodox and Germanus died and a son was born after his death and of course the son was thought Roman not Barbarian.

  9. Daniel E. Fall says

    I don’t know all the Canons and their interpretations. I only know that it would be ridiculous for the OCA to return to the Russian Church. It simply is beyond bizarre. All of the slav immigrants left the USSR to get away from poverty or bad living conditions, etc. Those memories are firmly planted in my brain and I was born here. My father made sure I know that Poland was not the place his family wanted to be… And to suggest our corruption of late makes the OCA more corrupt than Moscow is rather humorous.

    If you expect a shift of the church back to Russia to go over well by the laity; well, you just don’t want to listen to the simple facts. It ain’t gonna happen because the political windfall would be a disaster for the OCA just in terms of numbers of people exiting, or worse and more realistic – dollars dropping.

    A rule is a rule only when it is followed. To suggest the OCA is disobedient to Orthodoxy, by its very nature, is simply untrue. The canon is not being followed by anyone in the United States, and the canon is the real problem. Wisely, the Russian church realized this back in the 60’s.

    Any type of council, conference, or gathering should be to discuss changing the rule, not to validate the existence of the OCA or to fit the current picture, but to determine whether and to what degree problems exist in the US for all the churches and whether one bishop, one city rule has any practical purpose in a free society like the US.

    To return the OCA to some foreign rule doesn’t meet the canon either from what I understand of it because it wouldn’t resolve the one bishop one city issue anyway. To suggest putting the OCA back on an equivalent footing with the Greeks and Antiochians is a good enough reason is silly because if someone has a dream of making the US fit into the canon; it is nothing short of a pipe dream.

    Another problem with one Bishop one city rule is very serious. If tomorrow, there were one Bishop one city rule here in the US; how would it impact the population of Orthodox people? I hate to say it, but the same thing I said before would happen; political windfall with loss of people and money. If tomorrow, the OCA bishop was in charge and required all the previously foreign churches to speak English for example… could be a financial crisis there, too, not one of too much money getting misused… Many, many Orthodox churches just barely scratch by financially; there isn’t room for an error of great impact.

    For all intents and purposes, unless the EP wants a council to discuss the problems with the canon with full participation from the people affected; he is going to end up pounding sand which may seem impolite, but is actually the only practical answer.

    A priest friend of mine says we have no control over it and he may be correct, but I hope everyone recognizes shifting to a strict following of the rule is certain disaster.

    I think the best attitude is expressed by Carl Kraeff in his statements supported by Monk James and why can’t that aspect overrule a bad rule?

    As for my prior post….I did not mean to imply there was any chest beating; just that I didn’t care if there was…if you read my post carefully, I said I don’t care about any chest beating because I didn’t want my post to seem like it was an ‘in your face’ moment to any non-OCA person here (maybe I overthought it!). I did not say the Metropolitan seems like he is beating his chest. And furthermore, for Nikos, the Metropolitan, in the past, used the phrase maximal autonomy, I believe, which along with a lot of Russia trips and chatter upset a number of people. His preparation of Chrism to me represents something more than that and that gave me some comfort in knowing he wouldn’t go seeking it from Russia, for example. He made a few folks nervous with all the Russia business and this action erases some of that is all.

    just my two cents worth

    • Daniel, I find myself in full agreement with you here. I don’t think it’s possible for the OCA to revert to autonomous status under Moscow, canonically or otherwise. The only way I could see this happening is if the OCA continued along a path of ortho-liberalism and hierarchical proto-presbyterianism. In other words, if it somehow got rid of Jonah who is the main bulwark against all the liberal nonsense of the previous metropolitan administrations. If that were the case, then the OCA would shrink into nothingness and the entire question of its autocephaly would be a moot point.

      The bigger picture for me is instead: how serious is the Phanar in setting up the EA for North America? If it is (as I am –regrettably–increasingly inclined to think) nothing but an expanded but neutered SCOBA, put in place to give the appearance of motion but instead to frustrate it at every turn, then the OCA and all Orthodox Christians in North America have only one choice. And that is to continue to grow the Church and come to some modus vivendi regarding unification on a piecemeal basis.

      The scandal of continuing divisions will not be the fault of the people but of the hierarchy who continue to maintain the charade of “eventual” unity.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        George–I know that you are convinced of this but I honestly think that tying the future of the OCA to Metropolitan Jonah is wrong. We have a conciliar church and many more people and layers must fail before OCA collapses or implodes. Please remember the truism that no one man is indispensable. In our case, even if the OCA is reduced to the DOS, we will still have an OCA. I am saying this because I do not see the DOS, with which I am familiar, going backwards or into error. You and I, our priests, deacons, monastics and fellow parishioners all matter. Most of all, we have the Lord on our side (and, I am not talking about Metropolitan Jonah in the Russian style).

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Carl, I know I sound like a Jonah cheerleader but I am not uncritical and I never put my trust in one man. Having said that, the correllation of forces that were aligned against Jonah last year were the same ones that were completely responsible for the debacle that was the OCA from Theodosius to Herman.

          I have absolutely no problem with conciliarity. I firmly believe in it. I believe diocesan borders should be honored. I have huge problems with revered proto-presbyterianism, Syossetolatry, our Rube-Goldberg MC, the unconscionable Russophobia of many liberals, anti-monasticism, and the open questioning of the timeless verities of Christianity –for starters. These were all found in one form or another among those who tried to oust Jonah. (And that brings us to the conspiracy against him by deacons, priests, and even bishops against His Beatitude. MAJOR canonical no-no.)

          • Carl Kraeff says

            George–What happened last year was just that. It seems to me that we are in a different era right now. By bringing up the past, you run the risk of reopening old wounds. I assure you that there are good Orthodox Christians who hold different views than you and other good Orthodox folks of the same mind. There is no need to continue the us vs. them division.