Memo to Syosset: Retired or Not Retired? That is the Question

Do you want more proof that Syosset has become the Keystone Kops?

First read +Jonah’s resignation letter. Then read the Synod’s letter of July 16th or Bp. Mathias’ version that attempted to justify +Jonah’s removal (both letters have been discredited). No mention was made of “retirement.”

Finally, go to the OCA website to view the three retired metropolitans. The first two are called their “Beatitudes,” and “Most Blessed.” When you scroll down to Jonah’s picture the wording is changed to “His Eminence,” and he’s called “The Archbishop.”

Several of you have brought this to our attention and I placed a call to Fr Charles Nalls, His Beatitute’s lawyer. Attached you will find Fr Charles’ response to me and a letter which he wrote to the Chancellor.

Can’t see the document? Download it (pdf).


  1. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    This letter seems pretty clear.

    • So George are you going to contact +Met Jonah ‘s lawyer re: Page 9 in the delegates hand book for an official correction?

      • If they don’t officially make that correction beforehand, would the Nov. AAC be invalidated because it started off/conducted under false/incorrect information/pretense? (Just “thinking out loud” again.)

  2. Praise be to God, our Metropolitan is still an Archbishop. People in the Washington, D.C. area might be interested in the following information I got forwarded from the St. John’s Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Characters bold text are my bold text:

    Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,

    Matushka and I are back from our successful trip to Russia. Our return was delayed by one day. We brought back five large suitcases full of items for our sisterhood kiosk and the church. Members of the Sretensky Monastery Choir, who are coming to Washington, DC at the beginning of October, are bringing an additional 13 boxes of items we bought for the kiosk. BTW, if you haven’t yet purchased tickets for the Sretensky concert at Kennedy Center on Oct. 8th, I urge you to do so. Tickets are selling like hotcakes. The choir will be singing at our Liturgy on Oct. 7th (one Liturgy that day because of the bazaar) and will perform folk songs outside of the church for the bazaar. In addition, Fr. Tikhon, Abbot of the Sretensky Monastery, will present the English translation of his wildly popular book “Every Day Saints” (it has sold 1,300,000 copies in Russia) at the Library of Congress. I will send a reminder of all these events later in a separate email.

    This weekend we will have the honor of hosting our First Hierarch, Metropolitan Hilarion. We will come together for one vigil on Saturday at 6:30pm and one Liturgy on Sunday at 9:30am. We will be also be joined by Metropolitan Jonah. After Liturgy there will be a Procession of the Cross and moleben to St. John the Baptist in honor of our recent parish feast day, and trapeza. Please pass on this information to folks who may not be on this list.

    On Sunday we will start registration for our annual Jordanville Pilgrimage on October 27-28. This year’s trip will be extra special due to the fact that we are marking three extraordinary anniversaries: 30 years since the discovery of the Montreal Iveron Myrrh Streaming Icon of the Mother of God, 15 years since the martyric death of Brother Jose Munos-Cortes, and five years since the beginning of the miracle of the Hawaii Icon of the Mother of God. Metropolitan Hilarion will head the commemorations and the Hawaii Icon will be present. You can register for the pilgrimage at our candle stand. Prepayment is always appreciated.

    Here are homework materials for this Sunday: – Russian – English

    In XC,

    Fr. Victor

    • Fr. Victor’s memo states:

      We will be also be joined by Metropolitan Jonah.

      Does that mean that the MP, ROCOR, and Fr. Victor are just not up to date on Met. Jonah’s status, or does it imply something else? (Just asking.)

      • Lola J. Lee Beno says

        The fact that one sees Met. Jonah in pictures standing on Met. Hilarion (Alfeyev)’s side from the Fr. Hood celebration and is invited like such for tomorrow speaks for itself.

        • Lola, it wasn’t the “Fr. Ross” celebration where +JONAH was beside Met. HILARION, it was St. John Maximovich’s cathedral in SF – Joy of All Who Sorrow. It was a joy to see him there for sure.

      • Protodiakon from NJ (am I right or are his initials NJ or ? )asks

        Does that mean that the MP, ROCOR, and Fr. Victor are just not up to date on Met. Jonah’s status, or does it imply something else? (Just asking.)

        I’ve known Father Victor for more than thirty years. He just got back from Russia. He is very knowledgeable about what he is doing, far as I have ever seen.

        The Vigil was nice tonight, Deacon Patrick from this blog was helping serve along with a huge number of other clergy. Yuri and his choir were great as per usual, Eis Polla was done a few unique ways.

        Metropolitan was very happy, refreshed from his pilgrimage to Bari and looking forward to spending some time with Metropolitan Hilarion. Invisible me slipped on home and am about to enjoy some homemade soup (Japanese baby mushrooms, peas, shallots, celery, celery leaves, mustard seeds, water ). Already finished the orange, beet and slivered red onion salad. Might have a nice mini Chinese New Year’s cake filled with black bean paste for dessert..

        Life is good…Feel blessed. Words of the Canon and the Magnification both still sitting resident in my head…Happy happy joy joy

        • LOH says:
          September 15, 2012 at 9:15 pm

          Protodiakon from NJ (am I right or are his initials NJ or ? )asks

          I wouldn’t be concerned about it if I were you.

          • Then, in the future, if I still write on here, you will be PJ. I was going to honor your clerical rank, otherwise.

            • LOH, I sounded kinda cocky, didn’t I.
              That was because 9:51pm is past this old Pdns’ best cognitive hours.
              Please believe that I meant no disrespect.
              PS: Being a dn. does not “set one above” any one else, it just assigns the special responsibility of “waiting on tables” (which is of great spiritual benefit for me).
              And Pdn. is just an honorific bestowed for faithful “time in grade” except when such a one is attached to serve a bishop or at one of his cathedrals.

              • Dear Father Deacon,

                Although in my case age does not equate with wisdom and I can’t think of a time to designate my best cognitive hours, I think one problem we have as a society that transfers to the Church is the hubris to diss almost everybody except thee and me and thee is suspect. In fact, I remember a time in which we still used the endearment thee, and that itself made a difference. I remember writing letters in which the word You or Thee was written with an initial capital and I or its equivalent in whatever language, was lower case, called lower case for more than one reason. I remember a time in which no one was a high holiness, or a Beatitude, but rather our sweet leader, a Vladika, and a priest a Batushka, sweet father. Respecting age, suspecting wisdom, and without creating too stratified an atmosphere, expecting something special from a title or position is helpful to society, my opinion, if only because it suggests that folks would want to live up to their titles. Our Metropolitan, for example, lives up to his title.

                That said, the way I took the comment from you was,

                ok, I am posting anonymously, so shouldn’t I expect you to have your anonymity as well…only fair.

  3. Interested Bystander says

    Why it matters that +Jonah is not “retired” is that this would mean he is not an active Archbishop, and cannot be a member of the Synod.

    It would mean his career is over, and he would no longer have ANY active ministry. He would have no position within the church.

    It would also mean that, since he wouldn’t be vested in a retirement fund for another 10 years, all his work for a decent retirement would be forfeit, and he would be deprived of a livelihood on false pretenses…

    …because +Jonah did not retire, and it is at least discourteous for anyone to say he did. Retirement is voluntary only – he did not retire!!!

    • This point seems very clear. It is clear the Synod is having some trouble and it is very clear that they are being malicious. Why would you try to retire, silence or enable a perfectly good person unless you were afraid of him . . .???

      • It makes me think of King Henry II of England and Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket.

      • Mark from the DOS says

        By retiring him, he is no longer part of the EA assembly process, which is for all active canonical bishops. That could be part of the motivation.

  4. Another issue is that Metropolitan Jonah never resigned as the Archbishop of Washington, yet the Synod appointed a locum tenens for that diocese. The Statute of the OCA list the following possible reasons for a removal of a diocesan bishop: death, voluntary retirement, medically certified incapacity, transfer, or deposition by due canonical process. None of these happened. What right did they have to appoint a locum tenens?

    • And so, what right do they have of prohibiting him to serve anywhere without their permission?

    • Mitrich says:
      September 15, 2012 at 2:52 pm

      Another issue is that Metropolitan Jonah never resigned as the Archbishop of Washington, yet the Synod appointed a locum tenens for that diocese.

      Is Metropolitan of the OCA and Archbishop of D.C. two separate Bishopircs or a single one? Met. Jonah’s request for Bishopric reassignment indicates to me that it is a single one, requiring the appointment of a locum tenens.
      But then, who really knows???

      • It’s two. He retired as Metropolitan of the OCA but remained Archbishop of Washington. That is how he signed the letter-Archbishop of Washington. So no, they did not need a locum tenens. It seems they did not understand each other?? but regardless, +Jonah signed the paper, his title and intent are in writing.

        • colette says:
          September 15, 2012 at 6:20 pm

          +Jonah signed the paper, his title and intent are in writing.

          Maybe the problem is they can’t read beyond the 3td. grade level.
          That would explain a lot of their mess ups.

    • Interestingly enough, I emailed Fr. Safchuck, Fr. Tosi, Fr. Jillions and +Alexander on September 3rd, regarding how there can be a locum tenens in DC when +Jonah never resigned from being Archbishop. I recieved an email response from Fr. Tosi and Fr. Safchuck. Should i post them?

      • Please do.

        • By these emails, they say he “resigned” not “retired”–i never got a response back from Jillions or +Alexander

          Dear Greg

          Glory to Jesus Christ!

          Thank you for your question. As I understand, the resignation of Metropolitan Jonah includes being hierarch of the Archdiocese of Washington by the fact that it is the Metropolitan’s See (Archbishop of Washington). Each ruling bishop must have a See which is a city and the office of the Metropolitan is connected with Washington. I hope that helps.


          Fr Eric G. Tosi
          Orthodox Church in America

          On Tue, Sep 4, 2012 at 1:01 AM, Greg Evans wrote:

          Dear Fathers,

          I had a question and I hope you dont mind me asking.

          I noticed in Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation letter that he resigned from being Primate of the OCA and signed it Archbishop of Washington. Did he also later resign from being Archbishop of Washington? Was there a written letter regarding this and has it also been published? I just didn’t think a Locum Tenens could be appointed until there was a death/resignation. Thank you for your time.

          In Christ,
          Greg Evans

          Archpriest Eric George Tosi
          Orthodox Church in America
          P.O. Box 675
          Syosset, NY 11791
          office: (516)922-0550 ext 129


          Dear Greg,

          Actually, he is still to be referred to by the title of “Metropolitan Jonah”, much like an ex-president could still be addressed as “President” so and so.

          Although the statute does not specify which diocese the primate would be the diocesan bishop of, by agreement and in practice, it’s been Washington DC in recent years. So, the understanding is that since the primate of the OCA is given Washington DC as a diocese, and since that seat is currently vacant (excepting that there is a Locum Tenens), the Archdiocese of Washington DC is no longer under Metropolitan Jonah. This determination was made by the Synod of Bishops and to my understanding, has been accepted by Metropolitan Jonah. I hope this clarification helps.

          Fr. Gregory


          Date: Tue, 4 Sep 2012 11:56:11 -0700
          Subject: Re: Locum Tenens (Form Submission)

          Thank you Father,

          I was reading the OCA Statute and I didnt get that they were the same –“The Metropolitan Among the bishops of the Church, the Metropolitan enjoys primacy, being the first among equals. He is the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and is the diocesan bishop of one of the dioceses of the Church and bears the title, “Metropolitan of All-America and Canada.”” His resignation letter never said he resigned from being Metropolitan, just from being the Primate, so it seemed that he shouldve still been bishop of DC.


          From: Gregory Safchuk
          Sent: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 12:33 PM
          Subject: RE: Locum Tenens (Form Submission)

          Dear Greg,

          I don’t mind at all.

          To my knowledge, there was no second letter resigning from being Archbishop of Washington, nor was there a need for one. The Primate of the OCA (Metropolitan) is de facto, the Archbishop of Washington DC. The resignation speaks to both areas of responsibility.

          Fr. Gregory

          > To:
          > Subject: Locum Tenens (Form Submission)
          > From:
          > Date: Tue, 4 Sep 2012 00:54:38 -0400
          > Dear Father,
          > I had a question and I hope you dont mind me asking.
          > I noticed in Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation letter that he resigned from being Primate of the OCA and signed it Archbishop of Washington. Did he also later resign from being Archbishop of Washington? Was there a written letter regarding this? I just didn’t think a Locum Tenens could be appointed until there was a death/resignation. Thank you for your time.
          > In Christ,
          > Greg Evans

          • Basically, they are saying that their unwritten internal rule about a link between the office of the Metropolitan and that of the Archbishop of Washington is more important than and has the power to override the Statute of the OCA (which makes no such connection and clearly specifies when a bishop can be removed from his diocesan office) and the Holy Canons.

            • Mitrich says:
              September 16, 2012 at 4:34 pm

              they are saying that their unwritten internal rule…has the power to override the Statute of the OCA (which…clearly specifies when a bishop can be removed from his diocesan office) and the Holy Canons.

              How does an “unwritten internal rule” have such aforesaid “power”?
              Who or what can give subject “unwritten internal rule” such “power”?
              Only the AAC?
              Sounds like more of the same “Keystone Kops” stuff to me.

              • Bruce W. Trakas says

                If His Eminence had been duly elected to a diocesan see of the OCA like the Diocese of Washington, and from that position he was elected and elevated to the primacy, as the Metropolitan of All America and Canada, a canonical argument could possibly be made that he didn’t resign from the archepiscopacy of the Diocese of Washington, but “Bishop Jonah [Titular Bishop] of Ft. Worth [was] elected to the Office of Archbishop of New York and Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada,” by Holy Synod, and had been the candidate with the highest number of votes from the 15th All American Council. He transferred his residence from New York to Washington and at his request, the Diocese (or is it an archdiocese?) of Washington was created distinctly from the Diocese of New York and New Jersey. So when he resigned from the Primatial Throne, he resigned from the Diocesan see of Washington likewise. Fr. Eric’s statutory interpretation of this aspect of his resignation is correct.

                However, there is no question that he simply resigned, expecting another assignment, within his episcopal rank, as he states in his resignation letter. The Synod obviously concurred, in that he was granted the title “His Eminence, former Metropolitan…” as if, when he is given an new assignment, there could not be more than one active hierarch with the honor of “Most Blessed.”

                When Metropolitans Theodosios and Herman were elected to the Primacy, they had been ruling bishops of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia respectively, but when they were elected to the OCA’s Primacy, they were elected concurrently to the Primatial See, of New York and Washington, respectively. (The see of the Primate was changed during +Theodosios’ Primatial tenure, again, during +Herman’s Primatial tenure, and of course, again during Metropolitan Jonah’s tenure.)

                Look at analogous situations, could there be a Metropolitan of Moscow who is not the Patriarch of All Russia, an “Archbishop of Constantinople” [who is not] and Ecumenical Patriarch?” The Ecumenical Patriarch’s title emanates from the end of the 6th century, “Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome; and Ecumenical Patriarch, by the Grace of God.” The prevailing issue in the matter of Metropolitan Jonah’s Primatial election by the Holy Synod during the 15th AAC, is the precise language of the election proclamation, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit….to elect Bishop Jonah of Fort Worth, to the Office of Archbishop of New York and Washington, Metropolitan of All America and Canada.”

    • Priest Justin Frederick says

      I was wondering about that myself. We are dangerously sloppy at best.

    • At the risk of playing hear-say, I was privileged to speak with His Beatitude on the phone today about a personal matter, and Vladyka told me that he has been out of the country. I have no idea what the nature of such business was, but it seems to me that His Beatitude is alive and well on planet earth. 😉

    • Mitrich says:
      September 15, 2012 at 2:52 pm

      The Statute of the OCA list the following possible reasons for a removal of a diocesan bishop: death, voluntary retirement, medically certified incapacity, transfer, or deposition by due canonical process.

      Of those conditions, the best “hook” that they thought they could “catch” Met. Jonah with was “medically certified incapacity.”
      He ”nibbled on it,” but didn’t “bite.”
      They certainly did not want to go the “deposition by due canonical process” route!
      So they tried to “sneak” “voluntary retirement” by us.
      But we here would not and did not let them get by with that, either.
      So now I wonder what may be next, or what is left for them, to try to justify the Nov.AAC?

      • P.S. I think that the only justification they have left for the coming AAC to elect a new Primate is +Jonah’s letter of resignation (i.e., “he resigned!”), even though a “deposition by due canonical process” would reveal in all probability that it was coerced under duress and therefore “illegal,” and more clamor would result for the appropriate punishment of those responsible for it.
        (But then, maybe I’m getting into this “way over my head.”)

  5. Apparently, This “canon” lawyer has no clue about church protocol. Only the Primate is reserved the title of “His Beatitude”, all other Metropolitans are know as “His Eminence”. So my dear lawyer, no correction is necessary.

    • George Michalopulos says

      “The Most Blessed, Metropolitan Theodosius, the Most Blessed, Metropolitan Herman, His Eminence Metropolitan Jonah…”

      ’nuff said.

      • George,

        “nuff said”. Thank you for putting some of your own people to rest. Your right, The fact is the other two metropolitans are “retired” and therefore keep the title, “His Beatitude”. MJ is not retired but has resigned from that title by resigning the Primacy, The others did not resign from the “see”, but only retired from it. “Beatitude” title is only resevred for acting or retired Primates, not resigned ones…… Ask any other Bishop in the world and they will tell you the exact same thing.

        • George Michalopulos says

          So why don’t you all get your story straight? A wise man once said, “always tell the truth, that way you won’t have to remember who you lied to and what you told them.”

      • Hmm, funny how my comments werent approved……As I stated, the acting Primate and retired Primates have the honor of using the title “Beatitude”. Since MJ is neither, he loses that honor of using this title, since he “RESIGNED” AND NOT RETIRED, as your cronies remind us, and returns to being “Eminence”. Ask any other Bishop in the world, other Metropoltians that are not Primates use the title “Eminence”.

        • George Michalopulos says

          OK, so it’s official: Jonah hasn’t been “retired.” Thanks for clearing that up. Can you recall all those packets sent out for the Penitential Council of Parma? (I believe the offending passage is on page 9.)

  6. Mark from the DOS says

    Metropolitan Jonah’s initial letter clearly states ” I hereby tender my resignation . . . and humbly request another Episcopal assignment.” Nothing in this “offer” to the extent it was a voluntary act, constitutes a retirement. The Synod can only accept what Met. Jonah offers to do. How many people retire by asking for a new position with the same organization? Not a very credible way to characterize what happened. I will also not that the OCA’s description of the EA session mentions the Chair noting the retirement of Metropolitan Jonah.

  7. DoYouWantToKnowASecret says

    Has anyone noticed that the OCA official website not longer includes, lists, or even mentions Archbishop SERAPHIM of Canada?

  8. perplexedstepan says

    I am technically under Antioch’s jurisdiction, but I always had a very positive opinion when it came to the Orthodox Church since it was introduced to me by +Abp Lazar of Canada. As a result, my heart was in the OCA, but I was received by Antioch only because there was no OCA parish in the state where I live.

    Now as I continue to see this conspiracy come more and more to light, it makes it really really hard to call myself “American Orthodox.” First they forced +Met. Jonah from his position. Then the entire Synod attempted to cast a smoke screen by notifying the media that he allegedly covered up an alleged rape by a ROCOR priest when, in reality, he was refusing to meddle in ROCOR’s affairs for which the priest belonged. Then the “Holy” Synod lacks the responsibility to correct what was said thereby silently consenting to have the statement speak for everyone demonstrating a staggering level of untruth. And never mind the lack of a responsible investigation of what transpired at Manton regarding Archimandrite Meletios. To my knowledge, no action has been taken and no public confirmation of an investigation has been made, but almost at a drop of a hat, they send +Bishop Matthias on leave because one of his priest’s committed some crime of a sexual nature?

    Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, I never heard of child molestation or adverse sexual/moral problems in the Orthodox Church before I was baptized. I won’t say that I thought it was untouched by scandal, but I understood most scandals were concerning doctrine and calling out heretics such as Nestorius, Arius, etc. Now I’ve come to realize, when it comes to abuse (whether it be sexual, verbal, or whatever), Roman Catholicism picks a small minority, but in the Orthodox Church, it seems everyone is a target. Nobody’s safe. How in the world am I supposed to tolerate this for the rest of my life when I’m having trouble coming to terms with it having only been baptized a year and a half ago? Since the time that I was 15, monasticism was a real desire of mine, but now at 24 I realize that it’s just a trash idea. No hierarch is trustworthy to put myself under obedience to; especially in the OCA. They’re all mad. Maybe this is a warped idea of what the Orthodox Church is, or what Orthodox monasticism is but it seems to be what I am seeing over and over and over again.

    And while this is more specific to the OCA, they could just have easily succumbed to this tragedy as any other church here in America. This example only goes to show how fragile the Orthodox Church is in general unless it is state-sponsored. Has Orthodoxy always had this problem of disrespect for the righteous and humble hierarchs by dismissing them and then turning right around and honoring the ones full of themselves who are assisting in the perpetuation of abusive behaviors or is this just new and only an American problem? Is the only reason these churches survived because they were state-sponsored and dissenters were persecuted/stamped out?

    Looking at the Roman Catholic Church as an outsider, I see a perpetual sickness of pride with a symptom of pedophilia. I’ve wondered if Orthodoxy would have such similar symptoms when they claimed to be the inheritors and holders of Jesus’ priesthood like the Roman Catholic Church or even the Mormons. Now I’m starting to wonder if the Roman Catholic Church has HALF as many of the symptoms as Orthodoxy. Because it has now become my firm belief that when you start claiming that, as an individual, you have the authority of God and others believe you, you’ve crossed the line of sanity. I wonder now how many popes have actually confirmed this claim.

    In any case, I really don’t know where else to go from here…

    • ChristineFevronia says

      Dear PerplexedStepan:

      I have a suggestion as to where you can go from here, as you wonder above. Go straight to your altar, look deeply into the eyes of the Savior, and let Him hold you in His loving embrace.

      As we sing St. John of Damascus’ words at funerals: “I called to mind the prophet as he cried, I am earth and ashes, and I looked again into the graves and beheld the bones they bear. And I said, Who then is king? Or the beggar? Who the righteous? Who the sinner?” We are all human and I like to hope that we are trying to do our best, even if we may take issue with each others actions. The OCA is full of the most beautiful souls I have ever met. But in the end, we are all earth, ashes, bones… and no one is holy but God.

      Does anything matter except the greatest commandments? Love the Lord your God with all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. Everything else will vanish soon enough–especially church politics and scandals. Sometimes the dog-and-pony show is just that… eventually the three-ring circus tents get packed up and the clowns go to another town. And hopefully when all the dust settles, you will still be left standing at your altar, whispering “Gospodi”, as you look deeply into your Savior’s eyes. Nothing else matters. Nothing.

      • M. Stankovich says

        There is something oddly ironic that the Lord Himself chose the example of the “eye” to teach us what is important: “How is it that you see the speck in the eye of another, but miss the log in your own eye?” (Matt. 7:3).

        Similarly, the Righteous Job, the long-suffering, the man of patience and endurance – the reason for which the book is read during Holy Week – when confronted by the Lord must admit, “Surely I have spoken of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. (Job 42:3) My ears had heard of you, but now I see you.” (42:5) Nathan the Prophet, sent by God to confront David the King, after raising the king’s anger and wrath, boldly looks him in the eyes to say, “You are that man!” (2 Sam 12:7) And as the Fathers tell us, David’s eyes were opened: “I have sinned against the Lord.” But through the prophet, the Lord tells him, “You committed this in secret, but I will reward this thing in broad daylight before all of Israel.” (12:12) And how many times have we heard, “Hide Your face” – turn away Your eyes – “from my sins?” (Ps. 50:9)

        It seems to me that in each and every case, ultimately, “that man” is not left gazing deeply into the eyes of the Savior, but into the mirror. What does it say when I am afraid of my own name? That I am afraid to be seen? “Where can I run,” asks the Psalmist, “even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” (Ps. 139:12) And it is by Him who is the Light of the World (Jn. 8:12) that we no longer whisper, but cry out κράζομεν ἀββα ὁ πατήρ!, “Abba, Father!” (Rom. 8:15)

    • Perplexedstepan, see Anons’ post of September 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm quoting St. Basil the Great, under the thread “And Now for a Word from One of the “DC Nuns.” It’s the counsel for all of us in this present “time of troubles.”

    • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim says

      Keep your head up, my young friend!

      It is of vital importance for you to be aware of the fact that this type of nonsense has been going on in the Church since the very beginning. It is the principal means by which the evil one distracts us from accomplishing our purpose of achieving union with God, both personally as we struggle in our spiritual lives, and collectively as the Church.

      Prove this to yourself by simply opening the Bible and reading the Acts of the Apostles, or pretty much any one of St. Paul’s epistles. Do a little reading in books like the Synaxarion or even via Google on many of the bishops who we now venerate as saints: Gregory of Nazianzus, John Chrysostom, Jonah of Moscow, Nectarios of Aegina, just to name a few. They were lied to and about as well as conspired against, not just by their enemies, but by friends, priests and fellow bishops. They were deposed by other bishops, exiled by emperors, sometimes they resigned in sheer frustration, etc. St Gregory even went so far as to described how much he abhorred attending meetings of bishops because the other bishops were constantly fighting and accusing each other of all kinds of horrible things creating a miserable, frenetic and chaotic atmosphere. Sorry to burst your bubble, but c’est la vie!

      At one point I used to wonder why the prayer books had so many petitions for the Church and the bishops given that Christ had promised us that the gates of hades would never prevail against the Church. Well, the above explains why, and while Christ’s promise is certainly true, we can, however, compromise the witness and mission of the Church through our personal and collective sins.

      So, what then is the proper response to all this? I would submit that the answer is to struggle to guard yourself against the temptation of looking at the past through rose-colored glasses thinking that everything was ideal. Things have always been a rather messy blend of good and evil; We simply magnify and focus on the good, and that is, in fact, the purpose of hagiography.

      Don’t allow yourself to be scandalized by the current events. Trust God. Fast, pray, give alms, worship and partake of the holy mysteries. Talk to your spiritual father. Write letters to the bishop(s) and/or synod of bishops that directly but respectfully and constructively express your heart and mind. Do everything in and for love.

      At any rate, just some thoughts from someone who’s been where you’re at right now, and learned (the hard way) how to move past it.


        I don’t take much issue with what the writer above has written except that we must hold ourselves to high standards, not justify what is happening now with what has happened in the past to the saints, and just “c’est la vie”–this is just what happens and don’t expect anything else. This is the sort of pansy piety that gets the Church into these situations. FIGHT for truth! FIGHT for purity! FIGHT for justice! And please yes, DO be scandalized by the lies of the Evil One. The reputation of a very good man is at stake, and you cannot just “move past it” as the writer above advises. Please do not just move on. Until the lies have been recanted, none of us should just “move past it”. Yes, this is just another chapter in the history of a very long saga of Orthodoxy. But the difference is that WE–you and me–are in this particular chapter.

        • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim says

          Nate, you’ve misunderstood me.

          I didn’t say that we should take this lying down. I simply exhorted my brother not be scandalized, and I meant that in the literal sense of the word skandalon from the ancient Greek meaning “a trap or snare laid for an enemy”. Obviously, we are all outraged, but we should avoid stumbling or being tempted to succumb to the passions of anger, judgment, despair, etc. This would only cause spiritual harm. Wasn’t it Christ who said that His power is made manifest in our weakness? This is what it means to die to ourselves and take up our cross’. Yes, be proactive in defending truth and justice, but don’t be scandalized.

        • HOORAY for Nate B!!! I want to make a picket sign based on this comment!

    • Dear Perplexed Stepan,

      Weren’t christinefevronia’s words beautiful? Don’t be discouraged. I personally know about many perfectly beautiful wonderful monasteries powerful in prayer. Making a monastic commitment is scary.

      Obedience is scary for sure, understand how you feel. You don’t escape all of worldly life when you are living among others, especially in obedience. People have passions, get tempted. But prayer works. The rhythm of life in a monastery is different. Living the cycle of services is a blessing. And prayer itself within that cycle gives answers. One of the reasons that people visit monasteries for a time each year is to have an unique opportunity for clarity in quiet prayer.

      Doesn’t hurt to visit a few monasteries. Meanwhile, you can learn from the Church year and services just by listening. I know I am always understanding something new or realizing that I can’t lose something I thought I forgot. If you can chant or sing, being in a choir or at a chanter’s stand will help you focus as you participate so that the world is somewhere else.

      Btw, the Antiochians are no worse or better than the OCA is no better or worse than the GOARCH is no better or worse than the ROCOR is no better or worse than any other jurisdiction, although we all have our natural prejudices and preferences. I personally dream, as an American, of Orthodoxy as a non diaspora event. However, Orthodoxy itself trumps any kind of nationalism and nationalism is inimical to Orthodoxy. And, despite a couple potholes on the road, we are becoming, surely, ONE CHURCH. In God’s time.

  9. I think the assumption is that the Metropolitan See includes and is attached to the Diocese of DC. In other words, the OCA Primate is always Metropolitan of North America AND Archbishop of Washington. In the OCA both titles go together, and are inseparable. It is a foregone conclusion. It is true that the Primare of a nation is also “bishop” of the Capitol. It is unclear why in the OCA they make one man a “metropolitan” AND an “archbishop” except to make this distinction. Why not call him Metropolitan of All America and Canada and Washingtin DC. For example, Patriarch Kyril is not “Archbishop of Moscow, Patriach of All Russia.” No, he’s ” of Moscow and All Rus,” plain and simply. It comes across of the OCA faking it till we make it.

    Regardless, this is the reason that Met. Jonah wanted to move the OCA offices to DC, to have “consistency” in terms of his title and what is “supposed” to be his staff. Apart from owning the manse in Syosset, I don’t think they wanted to exist as “his” staff, but as governing body separate from the office of the Met., and refusal to work with His Beatitude on that issue certainly could come across that way. However, just because he was resigned as the Primate and (Archbishop of DC ifwe follow through with the assumption that the two sees go together,) it does not follow that he “retired” as an “archbishop” in general, since it doesn’t say so anywhere. If it wasn’t canonically clear, naturally there are those who would assume that he would receive another see. Of course, there are those who could assume ANYTHING when things are this foggy. In the words of another Metropolitan, “I am the canons.” My point in quoting this unnamed Metropolitan, is that it seems that the canons should be factored into this mess. When there is a common understanding that Synods, even lone bishops, are above even the canons how can the people have any effect when there is disagreement with the actions of a Synod? Now bear in mind that there are certain canons that are open to “application” by the bishops. Unfortunately, navigating all this, especially in ‘modernity” is a major subject of debate. Too bad this is such muddy water. Lord help us see clearly! Regardless, we want Met. Jonah reinstated. It doesn’t matter whether DC factors in, many want him back as Primate. I say call the vote for reinstatement in Parma!

  10. The Assembly of Bishops met without the benefit of his presence. He was quite committed to this group. Was he asked by the OCA to stay away/

    • Actually not ALL the bishops met. 2 were missing.

      I’m not sure what you mean here-“was he asked by the OCA to stay away”-do you the Synod?

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      The Assembly of Bishops met without the benefit of his presence.

      I inquired of one of the bishops if Metropolitan Jonah attended. He simply commented that Metropolitan Jonah was out of the country at the time.

    • YES. Ab. Nathaniel made sure +Jonah was NOT invited to the ACOB.

      Why would +Nathaniel do that? We should ask him in Parma.

      Also, we should ask to see the letter of +Jonah requesting retirement! You can’t force a bishop to retire, thus it’s time for the Synod to put up or shut up about +Jonah being retired.

      Let the OCA spin masters try and wiggle out of this one. We are watching, CLOSELY!

    • Does a bishop have to have a diocese in order to participate in the ACOB?

      • Mark from the DOS says

        No, they simply must be active bishops. I believe the record shows that Bishop Mark participated for the OCA at the latest meeting. Apparently his active status consists of coordinating the bustling staff in the OCA Bat Cave at stately Wayne Manor. Maybe he can do something about all the errors that keep popping up in OCA releases, be they the delegate packet, the Chancellor’s Diary or a smear statement about whoever the most recent resigned/retired Metropolitan is six months from now.

        • Unfortunately for him, his reputation from now on, no matter what position he holds as a bishop, will be as one who stole/leaked emails, especially to defame another. Who now would ever trust him with anything in private or in confidence. It will go with him like a visible blemish on his forehead. And it’s no one’s fault but his own.

    • Cal Owen: The bishops of the OCA are so afraid of +Jonah and his presence! +Jonah was not invited by the group, and Archbishop Nathaniel even phoned the sec. Bishop Basil of Kansas to be sure +Jonah wouldn’t be there! Anyway, +Jonah went on a wonderful pilgrimage to Bari and that was best for him.

      • Anon says (September 16, 2012 at 4:39 pm):

        ‘Cal Owen: The bishops of the OCA are so afraid of +Jonah and his presence! +Jonah was not invited by the group, and Archbishop Nathaniel even phoned the sec. Bishop Basil of Kansas to be sure +Jonah wouldn’t be there! Anyway, +Jonah went on a wonderful pilgrimage to Bari and that was best for him.’


        Maybe so. but it wasn’t best for the rest of us. We needed Met. Jonah to be at that meeting.

        Abp Dimitrios regretfully noted his absence.

        • Monk James says:
          September 16, 2012 at 6:34 pm

          Abp Dimitrios regretfully noted his absence.

          Did he note that before the assembled EA?
          It so, do you think it made the OCA bishops in attendance “squirm in their seats”?
          It doesn’t matter because they are obviously stubbornly/cold heartedly committed 100% to their present fraudulent course of action against Met.+Jonah anyway, no matter what other bishops of jurisdictions say or think. They also obviously think they are going to “swim” rather than “sink” with it not realizing that everything they’ve done or even said so far has ended up with “unintended consequences.”

          • Dear Father Deacon,

            What is significant is that Father Alexander, Bishop of the Bulgarian Archdiocese, and uncanonically locum tenens of Washington, D.C. archdiocese, was sent in Jonah’s stead. Somebody emailed me the following, complete with a glamor pic of the assembled bishops. If this has been published previously, please delete this post as redundant:

            I thought that the very iterations of how the message got to me were interesting:

            Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

            Attached is the message from the Assembly of Bishops most recent meeting earlier this month FYI.

            In Christ,
            Fr. [name deleted for privacy]

            A message from the Assembly of Bishops of North America and Central America

            To: All Orthodox Clergy Brotherhoods
            From: The Secretariat of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of
            North and Central America

            Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers,

            Attached (and below) you will find a Press Release for the third meeting of the Assembly of Bishops of North and Central America in Chicago this week. With it is the official Message published by the Assembly, as well as a photograph of all forty-three hierarchs who were able to attend the deliberations.

            It is our hope that you will share it with your respective clergy brotherhood and they with all the faithful of their parishes.

            With gratitude in Christ,

            Hierodeacon Benedict
            Assistant to the Secretary

            [Inline image 1]

            The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America held its third annual meeting for all member hierarchs, that is, all active canonical bishops in its region. The meeting was held from September 10-12, 2012, at the Chicago O’Hare Hilton in Chicago, Illinois. Forty-three bishops were in attendance.

            The first plenary session opened on Monday morning, and began with prayer, followed by an address to the assembled hierarchs by the Chairman of the Assembly, Demetrios, Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (his address will soon be posted on the Assembly website).

            The Archbishop expressed the sorrow of all present for the loss of Metropolitan Constantine of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the U.S., who fell asleep in the Lord since the last meeting of the Assembly. He also noted the absence of two brother bishops: Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh, who retired in August 2011, and Metropolitan Jonah of Washington, D.C. Moreover, he welcomed the new bishops joining the Assembly since May 2011, the time of its last meeting: Bishop Sevastianos of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, Bishops Anthony, John, and Nicholas of the Antiochian Archdiocese, Bishop Daniil of the Bulgarian Diocese, Bishop Alexander of the Orthodox Church in America, and the newly-consecrated Bishop Pankratij of the Metropolis of Mexico.
            Archbishop Justinian, the administrator of the parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in the US and second vice-chairman of the Assembly, also addressed the hierarchs, reminding his brethren of the 200th anniversary of the founding of the southernmost Russian settlement in North America, Fort Ross in California, with its Orthodox Christian chapel dedicated to the Holy Trinity.
            With the legal incorporation of the Assembly, one of the chief items on the agenda was the adoption of By-Laws for its governance. A draft was provided by a provisional By-Laws Committee, working in concert with the Committee for Legal Affairs. After some deliberation by the Assembly to insure that the By-Laws conformed both to civil and canon law, they were unanimously approved by the bishops.

            A proposal was presented to the hierarchs by Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, the chair of the Committee for Canonical Affairs, for a comprehensive directory of all Orthodox clergy in our region, in accordance with Article 6 of the Rules of Operation. This would augment the Assembly’s already existing directories of bishops, parishes, monastic communities, and theological schools.
            The second item, which occupied the Assembly during the whole of its business session on Tuesday, was the canonical organization of the Church in the United States. Archbishop Nicolae of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas, the chair of the Committee for Canonical Regional Planning, presented the findings of his committee on the chief issues involved. The assembled hierarchs were asked to discuss with one another important questions about the future structure of the Church in North America, models of administration, its organization geographically, as well as its relationship with the Mother Churches. This it did together as a body as well as in small groups. In this continuing process, designed to prepare a plan for presentation to a future Great and Holy Council of the entire Orthodox Church worldwide, there was consensus on the part of all bishops that the canonical norms of the Church must be observed and that all canonical anomalies in North America must be resolved, so that the witness and mission of the Church of Christ might be strengthened and increased.

            The Chairman, Archbishop Demetrios, stressed that this work is not about fixing past mistakes. The current canonical situation in North America, inappropriate though it is, came about on account of immigration from the Old World and various historical circumstances. This work should be seen as a positive, and necessary, progression down the path of Orthodoxy in this country. The Assembly directed the Committee for Canonical Regional Planning to continue its work and resolved to continue earnest discussion of this issue. While the Assembly realized that it is impossible to provide a definite time-frame, it nevertheless recognized that it is incumbent upon them to have a plan prepared to present to the Most Holy Autocephalous Churches.
            All of the deliberations of the Assembly were characterized by sincere and open discussion and brotherly affection and amity among the bishops.

            The Assembly also approved a budget for the coming year that lays primary emphasis upon the work of the various committees and the Secretariat. It adopted a policy to govern its relationship with the former SCOBA agencies and endorsed-organizations as well as important guidelines governing the delegation of legal and financial authority within the Assembly. It was announced that an external audit would be conducted by the Assembly after the end of this calendar year.

            On the second day of meetings, the eleventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, the hierarchs gathered at Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, where they prayed the liturgy together, commemorating the Beheading of the holy Baptist and Forerunner John (according to the Old Calendar), and partook in the unity of the Eucharist through shared fellowship in the holy Body and precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the Church and only Source of unity. The Liturgy was served by Fr. Radovan Jakovljevic and Deacon Nikolaj Kostur and was presided over by Bishop Longin of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Following the Liturgy, Archbishop Demetrios led all present in a memorial service for those who died in the aforementioned terrorist attacks as well as prayers for mercy for the survivors and the families of all those who perished that day.
            The Assembly of Bishops has published a Message to the faithful.

            To unsubscribe from the abclergybrotherhoods list, click the following link:

            —————————————————————— Post messages to This list is MODERATED. There are significant delays before posted messages are approved. Do not use for emergencies..

          • Mark from the DOS says

            According to the OCA website he noted the absence of two bishops who had recently RETIRED. One of those was Met. Jonah. Again, the “he retired” story.

            • Mark, to be fair, they noted the absence of two bishops: one who retired (Met. Maximos), and one who was simply not there (Met. Jonah). apparently just copied the words of the Assembly for their own release on the Assembly’s meeting. That doesn’t excuse or explain the “retired” language in other official documents, however.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Thanks for pointing that out Helga!

              • Mark from the DOS says

                Helga and George –

                My response to you may sound like I am wearing a tin foil hat, but thanks to you pointing this out Helga, I believe it is safe to say that this site has caught Syosset red handed in their attempt to “retire” Metropolitan Jonah out of existence and remove him from the EA. How so, you ask? Helga, I didn’t think I would mis-read something so major as the Synod and the EA referring to Jonah as retired. So when I read your comment, I thought, am I going crazy? I looked at the OCA site and the EA site, and sure enough, you are right. But, why did I think I read it?

                Because I did. The original release, posted by the OCA and EA said “He also noted the absence of two brother bishops who had recently retired, Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh and Metropolitan Jonah of Washington, D.C.” I found the ORIGINAL version on the Serbian Orthodox Website (Link). Once George and this site called out the OCA on trying to deem +Jonah’s ouster a retirement, they clearly had the language revised and replaced. And of course, they don’t mention their white washing of what they tried to do. They just replaced the press release so it would appear that they never tried to say Jonah retired, but they did.

                Mind you, we all know +Jonah didn’t retire. The current press release is accurate. The problem is that the old one proves yet more conspiracy by the bishops to harm Met. Jonah by declaring him retired. This is why the cover up is important. They know they did wrong and they are trying to cover their tracks.

                Here is some more proof of what Syosset is trying to do. The charter of the EA says that “It is made up of all the active, canonical Orthodox bishops of North and Central America, of every jurisdiction.” But if you go to the Directory of Bishops (link ) JONAH IS MISSING – the OCA has deemed him not an active bishop (aka retired) to the EA. They tried to float it through news releases and their other official documents, but nobody is buying this!!!

                Gentle readers, their hands have been caught in the cookie jar AGAIN! They spread a false story of retirement. The represented Met. Jonah as not an active bishop to the entirety of the North American episcopate with no due process or canonical charges. When caught, they had the previous news releases “revised” but still +Jonah is declared inactive! But the originals are still there, and their objective is clear – they can keep Met. Jonah out of the EA if they call him retired. Otherwise he is in and a full participant. But when caught. they try to revise history. They recall the papers and print new editions.
                Enough is enough! Who are these men? Who are these lying, making stories up, rewriting events people? They all must go. Every last stinking one of them. Lying to your brother bishops in other jurisdictions? Misleading your AAC delegates a la Fr. Jillion’s diary and the delegate handbook? Depriving an active bishop of your jurisdiction of his membership in the EA through lies and misrepresentations. Depose every one of them for that alone. Did not a single member of the Holy Synod have the cojones to stand up and say – “Wait a minute, Met. Jonah didn’t retire, he is still an active bishop and a member of this assembly.” Not one of them??

                PS – Did someone download an original of that delegate handbook when it first came out? I wonder if the white wash is going on there too!

                • Mark from the DOS, as was posted previously here, add to what you say above:
                  “and what right and on what basis did Abp Nathaniel have to call Bp Basil, Secretary of the EA, and tell him not to invite Abp Jonah to attend the EA meeting?”
                  Bp Basil was obviously “misinformed” of Abp Jonah’s correct status in the OCA.
                  Abp Nathaniel and the EA should issue an official apology to Abp Jonah for those mistakes/”oversight.”

                • Mark, I checked the delegates’ handbook this afternoon and it was, as of then, still wrong. Great catch – what kind of stupid game is the OCA administration trying to play?

                  Protodeacon, Met. Jonah is still a Metropolitan, I don’t think he should be called Archbishop Jonah.

                  • Helga says:
                    September 18, 2012 at 10:16 pm

                    Protodeacon, Met. Jonah is still a Metropolitan, I don’t think he should be called Archbishop Jonah.

                    Now I’m totally confused, really!!!
                    Do you mean to say that his letter of resignation was rejected?
                    Why then was a locum tenens assigned to the Metropolitan See,
                    and one for the Diocese of DC?
                    I’ve “heard” it said here that he would retain the title of Metropolitan only if he retired, which obviously he did not do.

  11. George M

    I think you/we should take Fr. Jillions advice and we investigate the nominees for Metropolitan.

    What I think you should do is starting October 1, every 3 days you pick a bishop of the synod and go over the Plusses and Minuses of that Bishop on this forum. By AAC time we will have an accurate picture of what we are dealing with.

    • Robert says

      I think you/we should take Fr. Jillions advice and we investigate the nominees for Metropolitan.

      What I think you should do is starting October 1, every 3 days you pick a bishop of the synod and go over the Plusses and Minuses of that Bishop on this forum. By AAC time we will have an accurate picture of what we are dealing with.

      I see nothing wrong with highlighting the excellent qualities of each of our bishops. After all, many of us live in different parts of the country and don’t know them

      up close and personal

      I also think that we should familiarize ourselves with every bishop and archbishop in our church and not be complacent about our leaders. It is they that ordain our priests, after all, and it is at the parish level we confess and commune.

      But, the whole idea of vetting who to vote for in Parma is a null set. Most of us on this forum actually wish no one was to be voted for at all. And yet, sometimes the most complacent in our parishes who do not make waves are already chosen to go to Parma and join all our clergy who owe their positions, in part, to the Holy Synod and so also are likely not to act radically. People are forgetting the great love people have for the OCA, per se, that many of us have spent a lifetime in the OCA, and dearly wish our greatgteatgreatgrandchildren to have and be in the OCA. We want American Orthodoxy to thrive, and we might, some of us, be looking forward to not having our baptisms, weddings, ordinations, or funerals in the OCA.

      How strong are we to body surf the waves of complacency? These waves are high and come with a high cost undertow, especially for the hoi polloi who barely make it on time for liturgy, never attend Vigils, and mostly look forward to coffee hours over sermons.. The costs work two ways with complacency. They require incredible strength against one’s fellows and all the opprobrium that that suggests, and the waves to be endured sometimes devastate the beach itself even if you make it to shore. We Orthodox are conservative people and don’t like to do anything too radical even though we are large on social consciousness, doing unto others, charities and bake sales.

      Metropolitan Jonah was elected almost by acclamation after a series of town meetings associated with fruitful ideas for and solutions to continuing scandals within the OCA, most of which had much to do with governance and transparency. Much of the results of those meetings were no direct or recorded transcripts, but an edited version. I wish transcripts did exist because we still have many of the same issues. One new issue we acquired is disrespect of our bishops. This lingers even when we have a good one.

      This upcoming meeting in Parma is preceded by no town meetings or discussion about issues affecting the OCA,, The upcoming meeting is couched in secrecy. Its only purpose is to rid us of our Metropolitan, who will, as Father Gregory Safchuk says in his letter to Greg Evans, above, always retain his title of Metropolitan, even if he is no longer our Primate. What we should be doing is cleaning house, for which some through bios might help, telling the Metropolitan that his focus is straight and true and that, despite his not asking for it, we need his leadership as an acting Metropolitan, please to reconsider resigning as primate, and meeting to discuss how we are going to provide the kind of administrative support, wherever the Primatial cathedral is designated to be, to facilitate that leadership.

      I have heard of no parishes openly even discussing what has happened to our Metropolitan. The prevailing climate is one of only a special few being privy to the “real truth” and that, sadly, the Metropolitan just didn’t work out because of unnamed character flaws. There’s this look, a kind of condescending one, that says without words “Sorry, you haven’t been vetted to know. Only a few of us are going to be making that decision and one of those is not you. Please make a guess at what we want you to do.” I think the very idea of cooperating with the meeting in Parma and pretending the Holy Spirit has anything to do with it is horrifying. Any of y’all going?

      As far as I know, the Metropolitan is only being commemorated in one D.C. parish.. This is his Archbishopric, and despite the suppositions of many on this forum, the Archdiocese of Washington need not be the see of the OCA’s Primate, it could be anywhere, as it has been before recent years. Irenei was not as I remember, Archbishop of Washington but rather New York

      It is Metropolitan Irenei who was our first Metropolitan of All America and Canada

      Sorry for the long URL above but somehow, that’s what happens when it is in Russian.

      See also the 115th anniversary of the OCA article here:

      Cool pics on the above site.

      Why am I putting this stuff? Simply because in my young adulthood, he was my Metropolitan, and I have known no other of his stature until Metropolitan Jonah.

  12. Great “Keystone Kops” cover picture, George.
    PS: I think that maybe Met. Jonah’s lawyer’s letter above should have mentioned also his request for reassignment of a bishopric to emphasize his “non-retired” status.

  13. sub-deacon gregory varney says

    Go to the there is some interesting info up about bishop marks new duties.

    • Until he is appointed Bishop of the DOS???

    • With all of bishop mark’s duties from budget , to strategic planning, and so on and so on, why have a metropolitan or all. What would he do????

      • NMMom says (September 16, 2012 at 4:49 pm):

        ‘With all of bishop mark’s duties from budget , to strategic planning, and so on and so on, why have a metropolitan or all. What would he do????’


        That’s not so much the question as is ‘What happened to the OCA’s structure of having an episcopal moderator for each department and commission?’

        There’s been no official statement abandoning this fairly healthy structure.

        How and why was it abandoned in favor of an Oberprokurator, who would soon — perforce — direct the Holy Synod?

    • Disgusted With It says

      After reading all of Mark’s duties, it looks like he’s basically doing the chancellor’s work. So now it makes sense why Jillions has so much extra time to write in his diary every day.

  14. Spoofing the “Subtraction” image I posted earlier today, I’ve completed “Addition” which may be viewed here.



    • George Michalopulos says

      Keep up the good work!

    • Gailina Sheppard says

      Too funny!

    • Ah. A picture is worth (more than) a thousand words.

    • New image posted – “Met. Wolf” – apparently now circulating in Alaska in anticipation of the upcoming Parma farce.

      P.S. The preceeding is written tongue-in-cheek – NOT an actual rumor.

      • Heracleides says (September 16, 2012 at 5:23 pm):

        ‘New image posted – “Met. Wolf” – apparently now circulating in Alaska in anticipation of the upcoming Parma farce.

        P.S. The preceeding is written tongue-in-cheek – NOT an actual rumor.’


        Cheeks or not, the election of Abp Benjamin as our primate would only confirm our ignorant approval of immorality and unkindness among our bishops. AbpB should be demoted and maybe even laicized for his not-so-secret betrayals of his high and holy office.

        We need to do better as we elect our next primate. And for that, we need better men as our bishops.

      • While the caricatures created by ‘Heracleides’ are OK in their own context, I think that it demeans this blog and its correspondents to flash them at the top of the column of comments.

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          While the caricatures created by ‘Heracleides’ are OK in their own context, I think that it demeans this blog and its correspondents to flash them at the top of the column of comments.

          Thank you, Father James.

          I have been distressed by the appearance of these cartoons on what is supposed to be a forum of serious discussion.

          If you want serious people to take this blog seriously, George, I suggest that this sustained effort in irreverent frivolity is not a help to the cause.

          It’s your blog, to run the way you want to run it, but you are getting the counsel of a friend.

          • I think this art, is as serious as any other I have seen anywhere. Just because you speak in words and some others speak visually, doesn’t mean it should be removed. I have paused over a couple but understood that if I can handle some of the REAL garbage coming out of some contributors mouths, I can handle pictures too. If George likes them enough to put them on the front page…… I can handle it.
            Get over it.

            • Lola J. Lee Beno says

              May I suggest a reasonable solution – George M. can create a page to display these cartoons, and put a link to that right in the header above, and anyone who likes to look at these cartoons can go directly to the page. Others who don’t don’t have to click on that link.

              There . . . everybody happy?

            • Patrick Henry Reardon says

              I can handle it. Get over it.

              If George wants to run those offensive cartoons, that’s his business.

              To tell me, however, to “get over it” prompts a very simple question: “Who in the hell are you to be giving orders?”

              • To quote Fr. Patrick: “George, I don’t think [face-it], or anyone else on this blog site, should be subjected to this level of gratuitous obloquy.”

                • Patrick Henry Reardon says

                  A confusion between “obloquy” and “vituperation” is apparent here.

                  For a good example of the latter, check the opening words in Galatians 3:1.

          • I agree with Father James!! 🙂 !!!!

        • I agree, monk James, it seems somehow a little Drezhlo-like, as are some, but not all, of the cartoons. She/he too grinds personality axes.

          • Denis Rukobludov says

            I do not understand this Drezhlo person… man/woman? What’s the background on this person and why all the hostility? The language is a bit rough and tabloid-like. And, the russianisms are bad.

        • I have to agree…the first couple of times they struck a responsive chord…now it’s more of a drumbeat and given the context of the situation facing the OCA and given the task this site has undertaken, they set the wrong tone I think, and so much of it at some point does begin to seem disparaging of the office of bishop…it “teaches” us to scoff a little too casually…and to me that seems a bad habit to get into. To see them continually made to look ridiculous or villainous is becoming a bit much…even where personal actions may well invite such comparisons. Even St. Michael in his war against the Devil chose his words carefully, and whatever their faults, the worst of them are not the Devil, and they do bear the grace of being one of Christ’s bishops, even when they don’t act the part. Perhaps, that’s just me…but it may be time to back away from such methods of protest.

        • I confess to liking some of them, but if they cause scandal apart from what we’re dealing with already, and distraction from the real issues, it would be better not to feature them like this. Or at least stick to the positive ones like “We deserve the best (Jonah)”, and taking out the ones that demean other people.

          • I don’t agree with “Helga”!!!!! Leave ’em! Just don’t put them at the top of the page now that you have already done that. And RELAX!!!! :))))

      • Heracleides:

        I don’t know who you are, but your “artwork” is demonic. Demeaning a bishop, regardless of what you think of them, is completely un-Christian, and un-Orthodox. You should be ashamed of yourself.

        Imagery is so very important to our theology, but you have taken the image of the human form to create an anti-icon. You are attacking the souls of men, and are committing a grave sin.

        You have stooped to the level of the liberal left, who can only disagree with others through mockery. “Blessed is the man who sits not in the seat of the scoffer.” You are that acursed scoffer, who can only tear down and not build up.

        I pray that you repent from this evil.

        • OccidentalGuido (Guy Westover) says

          As a card carrying member of the Liberal Left, I can certify that this artwork it not even close to our level.
          Our liberal attempts at humor usually bomb horribly. (see Sen. Al Franken)
          I’m not a fan of the pistol packing image of a bishop (see I really am a liberal– I’m even trying to control IMAGES of guns) bit I think the images are an attempt to portray serious problems with a bit of humor.
          I don’t get how the artist can be accused to attacking the souls of men.

        • Yes, yes, Toby – I’ve heard it all before. Next you’ll be preaching that St. Nicholas should have offered Fr. Arius hugs & kisses while whispering sweet nothings into his ears instead of giving him a stellar ass-whooping in the presence of the majority of the empire’s bishops. While even I would hesitate to ‘stoop’ to physical violence (however justified in this instance), I applaud the bishop of Myra in Lycia for his actions and note that the council eventually did so as well.

          I’ve never bought into the touchie-feelie “liberal left” nonsense you spout that one ‘must respect the office’ while ignoring the wretch whose besotted arse occupies the episcopal throne. I also generally ignore reproof over such; especially when such claptrap is uttered by a hypocrite such as yourself: “Jonah’s actions were not only inept, but criminal.”
          (Source: ).

          I will in turn pray that you one day wake up long enough to stop peddling the OCA Unholy Synod’s “demonic” brand of cool-aid.

          • Patrick Henry Reardon says

            This is helpful.

            I begin to understand Heracleides.

            He thinks he’s St. Nicholas.

            At last we arrive at some humor.

          • Heracleides:

            So you compare yourself to St Nicholas now? He was a saint of the Church, reacting against a dogmatic heresy that attacked the very being of the Lord. His action was defended by the Theotokos herself. Who defends your actions except the malcontents who spend more time on the internet than in Church? Your self comparison to St Nicholas is the very height of arrogance and hypocrisy.

            Why don’t you take Met. Jonah’s advice to heart instead: Do not react, do not resent, preserve inner stillness. If you spent even a fraction as much time praying in humility with a broken heart as you do making these demonic images, maybe you too could someday be like St Nicholas.

            Instead of this nonsensical prayer that I “stop drinking the cool-aid,” you should be praying for our bishops instead, and for the salvation of all American Orthodox. All you do is bring anger and self-righteousness to the world. Is this this the legacy you want attached to JONAH?

            I won’t engage you anymore, because obviously you are so steeped in your own righteousness, you do not need the advice of any other member of the Body of Christ (unless, of course, they already agree with your rantings). Perhaps, you should be posting an icon of yourself on this website? Because, obviously, it seems you have reached theosis and are judged by no man.

            • My brother, Toby, I share your discomfort over the impression conveyed by some of these cartoons–though they could be seen as a call and opportunity for repentance which, if it happened, would produced pictures of a different character and general rejoicing.

              Some of your comments provoke not a defense of the cartoon but a few thoughts and questions nonetheless. How is a dogmatic heresy more dangerous than the denial of Christ’s divinity and lordship by a disavowal of His new commandment that we (and our bishops) should love each other as He has loved us–to the laying down of His life for us–and that the greatest among us must be as the least and the servant of all not the high and mighty despota?

              Also a number of us on this blog are not malcontents who spend more time on the internet than in church. Some I know serve at every available service and also doevote considerable time each day to personal prayer–as well as our jobs and family duties. In fact, those who are disturbed but what has been going on are those who are most active in the Church–not the least.

              Yes, we have heard or read ++JONAH’s piece “Don’t react, don’t resent, keep inners stillness.” Is this, however, propertly understood a encouragement to inaction? Our Lord commands us to turn the other cheek, but he also says to go the extra mile and to overcome evil with good. So having not reacted, and without resenting or losing inner stillness, we still must take action to speak the truth in love and vested in the armor of God, having done all, to stand in righteousness, in integrity, truth, faith and peace but also immoveable.

              We do pray for our bishops and the folks in Syosset, but such a prayer can only be for their complete repentance and for their response to the call to holiness and to walk in love as Christ has loved us and gave Himself an offering for us to God as a sweet smelling savour. It is impossible to pray for a mere escape from the just consquences of our sins and misbehavior unless we are, first, willing publicly to disavow them and amend our ways–and this goes for bishops and leaders of nations–as well us for us the laity and simple citizens. The consequences of our sins are after all God’s way of calling us to return and seek Him and receive the salvation He offers. Too often our prayers are to continue as we are and yet escape His judgment. How could such a request be granted by a loving Father Who seeks our entire salvatoin and that we do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with Him?


    • OccidentalGuido says

      I know the picture is all in good humor. Quite funny too!

      However much I disagree with his theology, the Archbishop of Canterbury is a very intelligent man with a fairly good reputation for personal integrity.

      While I agree wholeheartedly with the theology of Archbishop Benjamin, I would not describe him as either intelligent …. Let’s just say he’s no Rowan Williams.

      Now, Rowan Atkinson, maybe.

  15. M. Stankovich says

    Mr. Michalopulos,

    As happened the last time you posted such a document, the plugin is not available for the Apple Mac OSX. I don’t recall how you resolved the issue the last time (is it just a pdf to download?), but I would appreciate you doing it again.

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      Yes, it is. I should know as I upgraded my MBP to Mountain Lion a while ago and I have Adobe Reader installed. I was able to read the docs George M. posted just fine.

  16. Veronica says:
    September 15, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Metropolitan Jonah had no intention to resign as Archbishop of Washington.
    This is why he signed his letter of resignation as Archbishop of Washington.
    Since he had not received another Episcopal assignment, he is still an Archbishop of Washington.

    So, by assigning a locum tenen there, it means that they threw him out of there, also. Another lie to go along with the “retired” thing
    Veronica also said:

    The majority of priests don’t raise their voices

    Maybe some do, singularly, “under the radar.”

    • Since the level of support by the laity is high enough (some people say that it’s about 75 percent), it might be safe for our priests to speak more openly in defence of Metropolitan Jonah.

      The parish priest is the one who preach, teach, baptize, wed, hear confessions, and give communion. Your opinion is valued the most by your parishioners. If you keep your silence on such an important matter, some of them can lose their faith. Please, don’t forget that the day will come when we need to vote or not to vote for the Antichrist. If our priests learned to always follow their bishops on whatever decision they have made, they could make a wrong choice at the last battle as well.

      • One of the big dangers of a parish priest “entering the fray” is that of dividing his personal flock into pro-Jonah and anti-Jonah factions on top of all the little factions he has to deal with now during a “normal day at the office.”

        • Thanks to Christine-Fevronia we have enough documents to discuss and discern the whole story. Even a week ago such an idea would be premature. Now it’s perfectly reasonable to take both pro-Jonah and anti-Jonah factions and make an open discussion in spirit of brotherly love and patience. Moleben with Akathist to St. John would help tremendously before such an event. Actually, all hot topics could be discussed in the same manner. “If we must, we must”. Sometimes priests need to work more than usual to save their beloved Church. Look, how much Christine-Fevronia worked to produce such an outstanding document!

          • Priest Justin Frederick says

            As of today, Metropolitan Jonah is still listed in the category of “retired and former” bishops. Which raises a question: what is a “former bishop?” It seems it would mean a bishop who had been laicized, but such a person would not be listed on the website. So what is a ‘former’ bishop and how is such a person distinguished from a ‘retired’ bishop?

            Abp. Seraphim of Canada, who has not been laicized or deposed or convicted, is not listed at all, as some have noted. Why not? Probably a lawyer’s advice for reasons of liability.

  17. Ronda Wintheiser says

    George, I apologise for intruding with a completely off topic comment, but I haven’t been able to get you to respond to a private message I sent you on Facebook, nor an email I sent you using the email address associated with this blog.

    Have you received or seen either of my notes?

  18. Colette, you nailed it, as usual, however,

    “It’s two. He retired as Metropolitan of the OCA but remained Archbishop of Washington. That is how he signed the letter-Archbishop of Washington. So no, they did not need a locum tenens. It seems they did not understand each other?? but regardless, +Jonah signed the paper, his title and intent are in writing.”

    He resigned as Primate, not Metropolitan, nor Archbishop of Washington. Write letters/email!

    • Dear Madam,

      Metropolitan Jonah remains a Metropolitan of the OCA forever no matter whether he is restored to primatial office or not. See the wording in the AAC letter above, where he is not listed as retired, btw, only missing.Here its, again:

      The Archbishop expressed the sorrow of all present for the loss of Metropolitan Constantine of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the U.S., who fell asleep in the Lord since the last meeting of the Assembly. He also noted the absence of two brother bishops: Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh, who retired in August 2011, and Metropolitan Jonah of Washington, D.C.

      Note that the phrase

      who retired in August 2011

      pertains only to Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh, not to Metropolitan Jonah.

      Note also that a very clear distinction is made for Bishop Michael is not listed as locum tenens of anything, rather that of bishop of the Bulgarian Archdiocese of the OCA. I hear he’s a fine, scholarly fellow and I look forward to meeting him someday, but he is not our Metropolitan, nor the Archbishop of Washington, even temporarily.


      I’ve been reiterating this for a while, but our first Metropoolitan of the OCA was Metropolitan Irenei (born Ivan) Bekish, who was Metropolitan of New York. The Primatial church building can be anywhere and should, canonically, be near where the Metropolitan resides since he is expected to serve there on a regular basis.. This is one of the many reasons why Metropolitan Jonah moving administrative operations of the Metropolitanate of the OCA to D.C. made sense. Unfortunately, some stubborn people kept the administrative staff on Long Island and necessitated a long commute to a remote location or excessive telecommuting. This telecommuting caused its own problems, among them being the vulnerability of computing equipment to expert hackers.

  19. Y’all listen to Veronica; she’s right.

    When it comes to the priests not raising their voices; those priests who refuse to stand up (just like Syosset) and not take a stand for the good of the Church and laity are simply puppets who don’t have the wherewithal to do so. Let’s see who comes to mind???

  20. Fr. David Sterry Mahaffey was nominated by the diocesan assembly for Alaska to be their bishop. He might begin his duties as the diocesan administrator before his consecration.

    • M. Stankovich says

      I read in Fr. David’s CV that he was, at one time, employed as an “explosives assistant” for a Pennsylvania coal mine. I vote “YES.”

      • Dear M,

        Haven’t read his CV at St. Vlad’s where he is adjunct but note that he has the avoirdupois to help himself adjust to the Alaskan climate. You will be assisting him with health advice, I pray. We want the health of all our clergy

        Explosives assistant experience is key, I agree.

        Am in rainstorm, bye for now. Btw, whatever happened to the black priest over on 99th St. E. cathedral. He had been in a few jurisdictions I think. Was he still there when you were there? I cannot remember his name but want to. Part of my youth.

  21. STL INTERCEPT 2.01

    “My Dear Holy Synod of the OCA,

    Did you see what I did in the Middle East last week? Woo hoo! That’s the way to get these puny humans riled up. It warms the cockles of my cavity-where-my-heart-should-be. This is one of those times when I actually envy you humans and your hearts. But then, envy warms my cavity just as well.

    Now use this to distract the Orthodox faithful from what we are doing to the OCA. Focus their minds on the Arab world instead of our beautiful Machiavellian machinations. Make them believe that anger and hate are justifiable in this case.

    Admittedly this will be easiest to do with those who are conservative, since they are already hawkish in general. Make them think of themselves as patriots. Do not let them think that most of the people in those countries only want to live their lives in peace, (like I’m ever going to let that happen!) Whatever you do, don’t let them feel compassion toward those people.

    On the other hand, sentimentality is exactly how you must approach the so-called progressives. Get them all weepy-eyed over why we all can’t just get along. Make them talk ad nauseum about realpolitik, but for Beelzebub’s sake, never let them think that sometimes you do have to fight.

    If it seems like I am micromanaging your affairs, you have only yourselves to blame. I warned you about getting cocky. Now look what you’ve done. HB Jonah is not retired? He’s still an Archbishop?? WHAT IN HELL ARE YOU THINKING?

    In case you did not get it, my reference in my last letter to my shiny red pointy tail was only metaphorical. I walk among you in the most mundane of disguises, sometimes even a cassock. So shape up and get on with the job. No more screw-ups. If you’re stumped for ideas, you have my cell number. Don’t make me come up there.

    Your Father Below,

    Ten weeks and counting. SSDD (Same stuff, different day.)

  22. A point of information. When Metropolitans Herman and Theodosius retired in office, they retained, as is customary, their title of Metropolitan and of Most Blessed and His Beatitude.
    When Metropolitan Vladimir, Primate of the newly autonomous Church of Japan, resigned and returned to the United States, he continued active Church service as, first, vicar bishop to Archbishop John (Shahovskoy) of San Francisco. His title became, His Emnence, Most Reverend Metropolitan Vladimir, Archbishop of Berkeley. When Archbishop John retired, he became the ruling bishop,and his title became His Eminence, Most Reverend Metropolitan Vladimir, Archbishop of San Francisco and the West.
    In other words, he retained his rank of Metropolitan, never having been demoted from it, but lost his First Hierarch honorifics of “His Beatitude,” and “Most Blessed”, since he had RESIGNED them.
    Metropolitans Theodosius and Herman never resigned, but retired in rank position and are now retired Primates of The Orthodox Church in America
    Metropolitan Jonah has resigned (like Metropolitan Vladimir),not retired.
    Correctly, then, he is His Eminence, the Most Reverend Metropolitan Jonah, formerly, but not retired, Primate of The Orthodox Church in America

    • Your Grace, Japan has never been autocephalous, so Metropolitan Vladimir would never have been styled “Beatitude” to begin with. Metropolitan Jonah’s situation is not comparable.

      • You mean the current Primate of the (autonomous) Japanese Church, Metropolitan Daniel, is not a Beatitude? Didn’t realize that.. Thank you, Helga, for the correction.

      • Disgusted With It says


        Good point. In fact, it’s questionable that the OCA is autocephalous too, so maybe nobody should be using the title “His Beatitude”. Maybe in Parma they just need to elect a “His Eminence”.

        • Whatever happened to the term: ‘Servant of the Servants of God’? I guess that was never used in the East..

  23. George, Madam, and Colette: I sent each of you emails over the weekend, did you all get them, or should I re-send? Thanks.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Please resend. Also, some of you have tried to contact me on Facebook. Please forgive me but I haven’t been on Facebook in months. It’s all I can do to keep up with this blog.

    • got it! Just busy.

  24. Ivan Vasiliev says

    BMD says there is “a nasty food fight” coming over the Metropolitan’s “retirement” at the Parma Sobor. Its hard to imagine that the question will even arise there (or if it does, that it won’t be suppressed instantly). So the question is: Who gets to wear the white hat? And, does it even matter anymore? The White Hat we need is already available and he lives in Moscow.

    Yes, I know, “what about the $30,000 watch and those poor innocent “girls” who “protested” inside Christ the Savior Cathedral (such a touching name they had for themselves and such pleasant memories of the Militant League of Godless agitators they evoked)? Fancy watches and agitators aside, it really is time to have a big boy lead us out of the sorry mess that is the OCA.

  25. First, this lawyer calls himself a “canon lawyer;” maybe in the Western church which has a totally different perspective of canon law. Second, for all practical purposes, + Jonah is “retired” from the OCA Synod. Has he gone into retirement mode, possibly not. Remember, the Orthodox Church does not have deacons, priests or bishops who are “at-large.” Clerics within the Orthodox Church are responsible for a particular parish or diocese. Their authority does not go beyond that. + Jonah is resigned and according to Orthodox Canon Law is retired – he has no authority anywhere. This is why foreign bishops have NO authority in North America. They have no canonical authority here. Local churches have local bishops who ordain priests and deacons to serve at their pleasure in a particular church, not at-large. To say that any foreign bishop can have a diocese in another country is totally against Orthodox Canon Law. Even any Patriarch ONLY has authority within their own territory. The MP has no authority outside of Russia. The Bishop of Istanbul has no authority outside Istanbul and the surrounding area. Etc. + Jonah has no diocese!