The Savior of Syosset

The emerging meme coming out of OCATruth is that Stokoe has been completely compromised as a news source. In fact, he’s well on his way to becoming this year’s Drezhlo, just another unhinged drama queen with an inflated sense of self-importance.

So how did his reputation go down in such flaming spectacle?

Well, I believe that all this came about because of the leaked e-mails. All three of them — Stokoe’s, Faith Skordinski’s, and now Dimitri Solodow’s — paint a picture of a well thought-out conspiracy. Clearly, the plan was to remove +Jonah.

Of course, it is possible that the e-mails may have been manipulated, except that Stokoe’s own words tell us something about them, and of Stokoe himself. Let’s take a look.

Check out what Stokoe wrote about his leaked email:

Obviously, [the Synod] did not listen to me because nothing I suggested was done. So much for my being involved in “those bringing these actions about…” (

Here Stokoe admits to the contents of the email but absolves himself of any culpability.

But rest assured, he’s still willing to throw his weight around:

Editor’s note: Well, the issue was not really excommunication, for not even +Philip could give a canonical cause for that. His goal was to have me removed from the Metropolitan Council, and +Jonah promised to deliver the threat. He did. As did others from Syosset. My answer to them was “Say, didn’t Mt. Herman triy to remove Gregg Nescott? How’d that working out for you? I also pointed out that Mark Stokoe on the MC bound by the rules of Executive Session was more advantageous for their desire for less transparency, than Mark Stokoe not on the MC, free to publish absolutely anything he could get someone to talk about.” That ended those discussions immediately. So while no •crickets•, I do hear •yawning•. (

Here Stokoke implies two things: 1) He has used (and presumably is still using) the same extortionist tactics that Kondratick was alledged to have used all the years that he was Chancellor; and 2) His reporting would be different if he were not on the Metropolitan Council.

Further, OCATruth has released round of comments that catches him in a contradiction about his knowledge of the highly confidential Sexual Misconduct Policy Advisory Committee (SMPAC) report. Again, let’s quote him directly:

First is the claim that Stokoe does not know what is in the SMPAC report:

Editor’s note: To paraphrase Charlie Sheen: Confused! No one suggested any amendments. And as I read it no one is seeking to “recalibrate” the balance of powers; merely to use the existing ones so as to bring one of those power back to his conciliar senses. I agree that many of the complaints against the Metropolitan seem “vague” to those who have not worked with him. That is for several reasons, I suspect. One, the Synod was unwilling to list them – and so referred to “mental/spritual” issues in their redacted Minutes. They have the SMPAC report, we don’t.

Second is the assertion Stokoe knows what is in it:

Editor’s note: While all those issues are dealt with in the SMPAC report, that is not the main issue of the Report. To reduce it to just those is to misrepresent it. …

Which is it Stokoe? Did you see it or not? If not, how did you know what is in it? If so, who showed you?

For weeks now, I’ve described Stokoe as a fallen hero brought down by his own hubris. He can’t see the contradictions in his words but that’s what makes his situation so tragic in its own pissant sort of way.

Is there a way for him to salvage what’s left of his reputation? He could come clean but that would force him to do two things: 1) he would have to release the original e-mail and explain what he meant by it in detail; and 2) he would have to resign from the Metropolitan Council to resolve his glaring conflicts of interest. I doubt that he’s capable of doing any of these.

Why do I say that? Because Stokoe and his conspirators are too deep into this. Also, he believes that the Metropolitan Council is equal in all respects to the Holy Synod. Stokoe can’t stop listening to his inner Grand Inquisitor that tells him that +Jonah is some “defiant and rebellious” autocrat. It is all he hears and all he sees.

It’s tough being the Savior of Syosset but somebody’s got to do it.


  1. I’m no Stokoe fan, and, with what has been said about his previous youth director background, can see how he could have compromising info on higher ups.

    That said, I’m not sure the quote you are emphasizing indicates he is threatening to expose in such as way. Says Stokoe:

    “I also pointed out that Mark Stokoe on the MC bound by the rules of Executive Session was more advantageous for their desire for less transparency, than Mark Stokoe not on the MC, free to publish absolutely anything he could get someone to talk about.”

    Isn’t he simply saying that ethically he can’t quote discussions related to the MC while sitting on the council? If he were not on the council, he could constantly print leaks from other members of the MC.

    • Dean, you could also say that Mein Kampf was a book by a political philosopher who had interesting ideas about demographic pressures. All of what I just said was true –as far as it goes.

      • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says
      • Again, I’m not saying MS isn’t capable of exposing certain higher ups. I’m simply saying that the quote you are using doesn’t appear to be too much of a smoking gun. And I don’t think Stokoe would admit publicly he was capable of blackmail.

        This blog is too good to jump to conclusions on quotes that just don’t quite say what they purport to say. That’s my view of it.

        • Dean, I agree that this is not quite Stokoe saying, “I have dirt on all the Synod members and they will do my bidding, nanny nanny boo boo!”

          What he does say is basically, “If you want me to keep quiet about certain things, you’ll leave me on the council.” In other words, he argued in favor of keeping his seat not based on his personal merits, or the fact that it would be wrong to cave to Met. Philip’s demands, but by negotiating what he can publish about them and their business. That’s what reminds me of Kondratick and the methods he was alleged to use to keep people quiet. It’s as sleazy as a motel with hourly rates. Oh, they’re not facilitating prostitution, no…. just serving a unique clientele of couples with need for only one or two hours’ sleep at a time.

          • Helga, I like your analogy! On that light note, I’m going to bed! Keep up the good fight!

          • Fr. Yousuf Rassam says

            Dear Helga,

            I hear you saying that it would have been preferable for Mark to make the moral argument rather than the one he makes, if so, I agree with you.

            You write, “What he does say is basically, ‘If you want me to keep quiet about certain things, you’ll leave me on the council.” It is much more specific than that. It is “If you want me to keep quiet about executive sessions when you all know the Met Council leaks to me like a sieve, you’ll leave me on the council.” And it is coupled with Mark’s assumption that the Church administration is as allergic to transparency as always. I do not think that Mark’s explicit assumption there is warranted with out qualification. I think that most of the leadership of the OCA, including the hierarchs, is much more open to transparency than in the past, but I think defining the level of appropriate transparency is difficult, as one man’s transparency will be another’s intrusion into a pastorally sensitive area.

            I do not think that the evidence points to the sort of blackmail that is being alleged.

            I do think that your pointing to this quote is actually pointing at a problematic area, because once one has internalized the crusader for transparency role, it becomes difficult to accept when there are legitimate reasons for greater discretion. You see the “narrative” of demanding transparency can become so strong that facts and situations that don’t fit the narrative will be made to fit or ignored.

            Just like there is a common narrative for George and OCATruth – and they have difficulty even comprehending things from outside that narrative.

            • I do think that your pointing to this quote is actually pointing at a problematic area, because once one has internalized the crusader for transparency role, it becomes difficult to accept when there are legitimate reasons for greater discretion. You see the “narrative” of demanding transparency can become so strong that facts and situations that don’t fit the narrative will be made to fit or ignored.

              No, Fr. Yousuf, what I think is that “demanding transparency” is another one of Stokoe’s games. Apparently, what he’s really after is personally controlling the release of information and using it as leverage. As for his cagey wording, it’s not like he’s one of those movie villains who will tell you the whole diabolical plan while lowering you into the shark tank. I was completely shocked when I read what Stokoe wrote. I really did respect the guy up until relatively recently and was appalled by his apparent contempt for any kind of journalistic ideal or standard.

              I don’t blame Met. Jonah for not caving to Met. Philip’s threats, just on general principles. But you have to recognize that there is legitimate cause to remove Stokoe from the council, a reason completely separate from anything pertaining to OCANews or what he publishes on it, yet any attempt to remove him for that cause is going to appear to be an attempt to silence him. The blog essentially makes him untouchable. Add to that his willingness to release or withhold information whenever it suits his agenda (which he testified to in the email), and this is a very dangerous man to have in the OCA administration.

              • Helga, you said it best. For the life of me, I can’t figger out why sane men can’t see the glaring conflicts of interest that Stokoe’s dos sombreros represents. As I’ve said before, no respectable journalist in the secular media works for the government while he’s reporting on it. It has always been the case that when a professional journalist goes to work as press secretary for the President, he has to resign from his journalistic affiliations and can’t return to them until he resigns from the administration.

  2. Just wondering:
    Is the MC bound by any federal and/or state laws prohibiting discrimination against whistlebowers (and homosexuals?) which would mean that they are “stuck” with Slokoe as long as he wants?

    • Niko, wouldn’t that be an interesting turn of events for the MC? Having made their bed in the American pluralistic boudoir, they would then be beholden to whatever whim of the moment the popular culture says is the reigning orthodoxy.

  3. Mark from the DOS says

    Nobody reading the increasing number of “Editor’s Notes” making their way into the comments section of OCANews can seriously contend that Stokoe is a reporter. At best, he is an opinion blogger. At worst he is a muckraker. When this whole “issue” arose, I noted that I was amazed that Stokoe could not find a single positive thing to say about HB Jonah. Even the metropolitan’s defenders admit he has weaknesses. Yet Stokoe, whether in his posts or comments has yet to find even a hint of a positive to balance out all his attacks. For that reason alone, I discount everything that comes off of his site. Nobody that sees things in such black and white terms could possibly be relied upon to provide accurate reporting.

    • Ian James says

      Right you are Mark. Stokoe is just a blogger. So is George Michalopulos. The difference is George is transparent. You can challenge him and he answers back. It’s called free and open debate.

      Stokoe cultivates a high-minded pose of objectivity. It makes people think he is a journalist but he never, ever, engages in a dialogue. He never answers questions. He only offers “Editor’s Notes” in comments that he selects for publication. This is transparency?

      What is really going on is this: Stokoe “reports” on events that he had a huge hand in creating behind the scenes. If OCANews was a legitimate new outfit, he would have been fired day one.

      I wrote in another comment that Stokoe’s explanation for the leaked email is a sham. It only holds together if you believe that all his negative comments about +Jonah are true. But what if they aren’t true? Then the email reveals what I believe is true: Stokoe’s reporting was a deception, a way to drive events.

      There are way too many unanswered questions here. One example: why was Stokoe’s name on the email that laid out how they were going to trap +Jonah and force a vote of no confidence? What does Stokoe say about that? And, if he says he has nothing to do with it, then let’s ask the others named if that is true. His name is on every single email, and his reporting on +Jonah fits perfectly with the design they plotted out.

      How about this: Stokoe appears here on George’s blog to answer questions. We ask him any question we want. George can moderate. He’ll keep the tone respectful. Stokoe will have every opportunity to answer in any way he wants. He can consider it an opportunity to restore his damaged credibility. Think he’ll take it? I don’t. Too much to hide.

      No, the pieces are falling into place. Stokoe used OCANews and betrayed the trust people had in him to drive events from the inside. It’s just another part of the old culture of corruption.

      • Harry Coin says

        Ian, Stokoes critics are challenged as none have yet found a specific fact beyond typos and spelling errors where he’s written something as news that turned out later when checked not to be the case.

        His critics don’t like the assessments he makes, they don’t like that he appears to be leveraging his reporting to a position of decision making on a church council while (it is alleged by his critics and not proven) he lives in a romantic situation with another man. I think many of his critics, perhaps George among them, became his critics when it appeared he was using his fact-based website to normalize same-sex cohabitation as appropriate thing for those in a position of decision making over a church that specifically does not endorse that way of living.

        • Harry, you’re wrong here. Please let me reiterate for probably the hundredth time: I never had reason to question the overall reporting that Stokoe did. That changed when I read and re-read the original report that started it all. I found three errors of fact and/or questionable analyses that I printed right off. Then a week later, I found three more. That was all before the leaked e-mail. I smelled a rat. So did a lot of other people.

          Since that time, more incriminating stuff has come out, from Stokoe’s own keyboard. First there were the leaked e-mails, then his own comments on his own blog. We’re talking admissions of corruption (though he doesn’t see them that way) as well as glaring contradictions.

          Of course the most telling thing of all is his obvious hatred for +Jonah, the fact that he can’t find one redeeming thing to say about him. I’m sorry but that’s not the sign of an ordered mind.

          • Harry Coin says

            George, these disagreements you write of as errors and so forth never turn out when examined to be about whether facts and events reported there are wrong. Rather the objections turn out to be legitimate disagreements about agenda.

            Seems to me if Jonah was a stealth person advocating the end of the OCA’s autocephaly, what do you think of that?

            • Harry, some of the six errors I wrote about were actually errors of fact or events that may not have happened. For example, how do we know that Syosset told +Jonah to not say what he was going to say about the EP? If you look at the YouTube of +Jonah’s now-famous speech in Dallas, you will notice that it was on the fly. It’s certainly within the realm of possibility that Stokoe just made that up. In fact, it’s quite likely because everybody was blindsided by the speech in question.

              As to the others not being errors per se, you will notice that I said that some of Stokoe’s claims about them were based on his own agenda. As such, they cannot logically be held as evidence against +Jonah. Any more I dare say, than my criticism of Bobosh is air-tight. What Bobosh wrote was thought-provoking and arguable; I still think he was wrong, or being too clever by half, but at least I put out my reasons for saying so. Stokoe simply asserted that HB “destroyed” the OCA’s relationship with Istanbul. I merely pointed out the fact that there never was a relationship between Istanbul and the OCA. In fact, the Phanar’s golden boy had just delivered a scathing attack on the OCA just 3 weeks prior to the speech in Dallas. You may remember, he called the OCA “barely canonical.” Stokoe made it sound like things were all peachy-keen between the two churches, when the reality was FAR different.

              As to your last point, that +Jonah is a :stealth candidate” set out to “demolish” the OCA’s autocephaly, we have to ask his detractors: which is it? Did an alien spaceship kidnap the real +Jonah in April 2009 and replace him with a facsimile who boldly told the Old World patriarchates “hands off America!” only to send back the real +Jonah who’s mission was to demolish the OCA? Unless one believes such nonsense, no reasonable man can hold both those opinions about +Jonah. That’s doublethink.

              As for the future of the OCA, I can honestly say that +Jonah is its last chance for survival. It is those bishops who are against him who are making schism inevitable.

              • Harry Coin says

                So, in the end, in your view, is it fair to say what this comes to is some manner of long-standing agreement being threatened? Vulnerable synod bishops agree in exchange for survival to either maintain ethnic enclaves and/or stay out of speaking about contemporary social issues in ways contrary to their liberal supporters views. Jonah gets put forward as willing to get involved in the social scene, threatens to move the oca cathedral to Washington before the foreign powers manage it, and so forth.

                You know, I think in the end this is more about masterful puppetiers who don’t care much about the people in the parishes jerking on such tensions as they find in order to generally tip things over.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Harry, we’re talking about deep institutional mediocrity and the New Kid on the Block upsetting the applecart.

        • Ian James says

          This is a touchy area. We know that homosexuality has a pathology, and we know that the pathology is generally destructive to Church life (RC and Episcopalian show this). I’m not sure how Stokoe’s homosexuality affects his thinking (maybe not much at all), but you can be sure that if homosexuals rise to decision making positions, that the institution (Church, military, business, etc.) gets more homosexualized. It’s inevitable. Fr. Bobosh’s rationale for homosexuality is actually a move in the direction of the normalization of the practice although just a couple of baby steps so far. His direction is towards a moral equivalency between homosexual practice and heterosexual practice. (If I am wrong, he can correct it. He needs to clarifies what he means anyway.)

          I don’t think Stokoe’s homosexuality is really a big issue here though. I don’t see any homosexual activism on his part except that he openly lives with his boyfriend. I think what people object to more is his unveiled attack on +Jonah.

          The Church that is going to face a big problem with this down the road is the GOA, although it was clearly an issue in the OCA in the past. Whether it still is I don’t know.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Ian, even the secular media recognizes the problem. A few years ago, The Weekly Standard published an essay entitled “The Elephant in the Room” (I believe that’s what it was called). This was during the height of the pedophile scandal in the RCC.

            Anyway, the crux of the article was that the real issue was not pedophilia (which can be man on girl as well as man on boy) but pederasty (which is man on boy sex). It brought out a lot of facts about the quantity of RC priests who were homosexually active as well as homosexually inclined. The numbers were 25% and 50% respectively.

            As to why the RC priesthood got to be so predominantly homosexual, the author pointed to some interesting studies. One of the landmark books in this genre is Michael S Rose’s Goodbye, Good Men. It talks about how seminaries loosened their standards beginning after Vatican II and how canon law was relaxed. Eventually, some seminaries became hotbeds of active homosexuality and straight men were made to feel uncomfortable.

            The RC priesthood under these conditions became a “respectable” outlet for young gay men who could live a double life and still be respected by their families and communities.

            Why should we care? Besides the obvious reason, I’ll give you a practical one: no Orthodox jurisdiction in America can absorb the damage that was done to the RC Church. There’s barely a million of us. The RC’s number about 70 million. We have 6 or 7 seminaries, they have 200+ colleges, universities, and seminaries. We have no hospitals, they have hundreds. And so on. In short, they can sell some dying institutions to pay the legal bills.

            • Harry Coin says

              Let’s just put to the side for a moment the entire issue of whether they are or aren’t true to celibacy. If we go that route we won’t keep people because it will turn into a clericalist cult that has lost the essential balance the church had so many centuries. If it goes that way, even with zero culture of sexual misconduct tolerance, they will have nothing in common with the families they need to sustain it. Folk will leave, because it isn’t how the church was to be ordered.

              In the end, history of improving women’s health has caught up with the rules to the point that the rules that gave a desired result when women died before men and average life expectancy was 23 give totally distorted results now.

              Is the church for the non-dogmatic rules that serve the security needs of a few or are the non-dogmatic rules meant to serve the church?

              • I’m not following you Harry. No one expects perfection, most of all me. All I’m asking for is what is expected of professionals in the secular sphere. This cult of secrecy exists because there is at the core of clericalism a rotting corpse of corruption. My question is why is Stokoe selective about who he goes after? If he’s really all for conciliarity and transparency, he’d be working 24/7 investigating the other bishops as well, instead of giving a pass to those who feed him information.

                • Harry Coin says

                  George, the right answer would have been for the ‘ocatruth-niks’ to stand behind what they right with names, as Stokoe has done. The anonymity gives a free hand to manipulators. Anyhow what reporter is it you know about that doesn’t protect their sources? That’s why the anonymity of ‘ocatruth’ is so damaging. It actually adds credibility to Mark Stokoe’s website that the only opposition out there appears to not have enough certainty about what they right to put their name on it.

                  • Harry Coin says

                    Really ticks me off there is no way to edit posts here, at least for a while.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Harry, if all that those have against OCAT is their “anonymity,” then that’s thin reed to base a counter-argument which upholds the obviously biased OCAN. So far the OCATs have been spot on the money about most everything they’re written. And both they and I have unmasked (independently I might add) the egregious hatred that Stokoe has for +Jonah. Don’t get mad at the little boy who points to the Emperor and says that he’s naked.

                  • Harry Coin says

                    I understand you have no problem backing an anonymous website since we can see that’s what you’ve chosen to do. Having authored a website in the context of a similar controversy myself I know that anonymous websites have contributors who feel completely free to weave in petty and destructive agendas amid kernels of truth here and there. The only place for an anonymous website in Christian understanding is to bring facts to light that are capable of being checked by anyone. Anything less I think future ethicisists will understand as a moral error.

                  • Ian James says

                    I have trouble with an anonymous website. The quality of the information however, has been very good. For that reason I am taking the author’s word that he cannot be public right now. That conjures up all sorts of speculation (is he a +Jonah mole?) that I cannot answer. Unless I see the egregious actions I see Stokoe take (I haven’t), I’ll keep reading it but with a very cautious eye.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Harry, talked to my tech guy to put in the comment editing. Is it working?

                  • Harry Coin says

                    Those who discredit Mark Stokoe’s website based on inferences from two news clippings casting doubt on his personal choices need to ask themselves: What if the presently anonymous editor of OCATruth turns out to be a pedophile, or a clergy bisexual, or otherwise of dubious personal morality? It amazes me the double standard I see going on here.

                    P.S. Comment editing appears to be working now, thanks.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Harry, good question. I for one would be mortified if the editors at OCAT were what you say they were (and I would look like a fool).

                      Regardless, I wouldn’t have to apologize because we work independently. We have both come to similar conclusions about the issues at hand. That’s highly probative.

                      Having said that, I’m glad you bring this up. Because some might consider me a gay-basher, I would like to state for the record that I am not. Nor do I mind if men who have homoerotic tendancies make their home in the Orthodox Church. After all, I am the chief of sinners and I would thank God for eternity if he allowed me to live in the least desirable part of heaven, for I know that I deserve the lowest circle of hell.

                      As long as we are all sinners and cognizant of that fact, then anybody who is struggling with this pathology should be made welcome in the Church provided he knows he’s a sinner and he’s not going to act on it. I have no problems with such men in priesthood. After all, having married men in the priesthood is no guarantee of fidelity either.

                      In both cases, as long as the man in question is being true to his vows, then they should be accepted. And this goes for the editors of OCAT as well. All I care about is what they write. Is it truthful? Are they open about their agenda? In both cases, the answer so far is “yes.”

                  • Harry, I think you’re missing the point. The article proves that these two hold themselves out as a married couple. They could be living in perfect sexual continence, for all anybody knows, but presenting themselves as married, when their relationship had to have been contracted outside the Church, is wrong. The fact that they have each attempted to marry someone of the same sex exacerbates the issue, but is not the only issue.

                    If someone behind OCATruth turned out to be of dubious personal morality, it would be bad, certainly, but unless defending Met. Jonah would somehow give them a pass for whatever immorality they were secretly engaged in, I don’t see how it’s relevant.

                    Stokoe, on the other hand, continues to serve on the Metropolitan Council even though he has a moral impediment to being considered in good standing with the Church. That’s the only context where his marriage and sexuality are relevant in public discourse. Apart from that, the matter needs to be referred to Archimandrite Matthias.

                  • Harry Coin says

                    “Helga”, the article proves whoever put the obit in the paper wrote what we saw. It certainly raises questions but at least I wouldn’t want to be tried and convicted and thrown out of church office based on inferences about whether one obit editor got all the pronouns and cases correct. There needs to be an explaination in due course, but let’s not do the ‘fire, ready, aim’ thing.

                    If you would indeed do that, why do you credit OCATruth when its anonymous authors might be guilty of terrible things for all we know about who they are?

                    There’s a fearsome double standard going on here. I refuse to give anonymous authors credit for anything they write on the basis of attacking the personal life of someone who has not written any specific thing later proven wrong as yet— no matter his agenda.

                    OCATruth needs to man up and be accountable as right now they are lower than an accountable named editor is on his worst day. Indeed they are worse than ‘Stan the Tran’ who at least takes responsibility for what he writes.

                    • Harry, I give OCAT the benefit of the doubt. As far as I can tell, they are just laypeople who were uncomfortable with Stokoe’s take on the current situation in the OCA, had limited contacts in the administration (although I bet that is no longer the case), and have gotten a little carried away at times. If the people who run OCAT happen not to be in good standing with the church themselves, or have self-serving motives for keeping Met. Jonah in power, we’ll cross that bridge if we come to it.

                      If Stokoe was going after bishops with a history of tolerating homosexual relationships, I doubt anyone would have made Stokoe’s sexuality an issue. The only reason they even brought it up is because he happens to be attacking a bishop who’s pretty much the apostle of traditional Orthodox teaching on sexuality to modern America, and the issue presents itself as a pretty obvious ulterior motive for him to undermine the Metropolitan’s leadership. I know I wasn’t the only person who was suspicious of Stokoe’s credibility before knowing about his sexuality. I actually think he’s an okay guy generally, and genuinely wish him the best: a peaceful, healthy life, and reconciliation with the Church on honest terms.

          • Harry Coin says

            You know, do we really know about ‘Stokoe’s homosexuality’? It’s been bruted about as if it’s just obvious to all. Is it, really? You know? How?

            • Well, his mother’s obituary listed, among her survivors, two daughters, one son (Mark), and three sons-in-law. Unless one of his sisters is a polyandrist, who would that third son-in-law be?

              Also, as I understand it, Mark’s relationship has been an open secret for a while.

              • Harry Coin says

                Was it the only obit? How long ago was it? If indeed it was an ongoing ‘relationship’ that was ‘an open secret’ — how did it come to pass he was made a member of the OCA’s Metropolitan council? It’s awfully hard to credit.

                • Stokoe’s election in October 2008:

                  Elizabeth Stokoe’s obituary in May 2010, with identification of her children and in-laws:

                  The third son-in-law, the one not married to one of Mark’s sisters, is Steve Brown.

                  I am afraid that’s where I run out of definite information, as I do not live in the Diocese of the Midwest. Perhaps someone else can fill in the blanks.

                • Harry, the obituary is proof.

                  • Harry Coin says

                    The obituary is proof only if newspapers always get it right. It certainly is enough basis for the Metropolitan council to investigate and put to rest any falsehood or cause constructive change to happen.

                    Remember we are Christians here, and we are discussing not an ordained person but a layman with an official church volunteer job. What is the best possible outcome? If we are going to uphold a church with ‘Orthodox’ in the title then according to the church understanding it would be either for a hurtful misprint to be corrected, or if there is no misprint for those involved to make some changes, and if that isn’t going to happen then for a resignation from the official church council job, and, last, if that isn’t going to happen then an appointment of a replacement.

                    As ‘gay marriage’ is widely spoken of, and the church has strong, strong sensitivity for those in responsible positions to avoid even the appearance of misdoing (because we are to model how to live, not just talk about it), those who have decision making authority in the church must accept needed changes, or understand why they ought to leave decision making positions.

                • Ian James says

                  Your questions indicate that the matter of Stokoe’s homosexuality needs to be settled. If he wasn’t going after +Jonah, or if he didn’t serve on the Metropolitan Council, his homosexuality would have properly remained a private issue between him and his priest.

                  But his homosexuality doesn’t contribute much to the criticism of his site. That’s mostly about the leaked emails, not being able to cite a canonical or moral reason why he wants +Jonah gone, etc.

                  • Harry Coin says

                    Ian, the credibility of his site has to be understood along two entirely different dimensions: the credibility of the facts he reports, and the credibility of his agenda. They are completely different, one anyone who cares enough about whether facts are so or not so can check. And, no matter whether they like the fact and what it means or what it leads to or they don’t like the fact and what might happen because of it checking settles whether the reporting is true, lies by omission or just lies.

                    Nobody has produced an example of a fact he reported as having happened that later on turned out to be refuted. If that changes then that’s important but so far, nada.

                    Now as to his agenda, well whether an agenda is or isn’t credible is in the eye of the beholder, and the right thing to do if you think he’s left out that key fact that changes everything is publish that key missing thing with as much credibility as the rest– meaning in a way anyone can check if they had the time.

                    Anonymous websites have less credibility than the worst website whose authors take responsibility for what they say. The only thing acceptable on an anonymous website is of a ‘whistleblower’ nature where new facts are revealed about events that third parties can check. (And not ‘pseudo-events’ such as the anonymous author’s opinions about other folks opinions…)

              • George Michalopulos says

                Harry, let’s put the shoe on the other foot. Let’s say a parishioner from the Diocese of the West joined the Minutemen, was married, had children, and was Orthodox in every sense of the word. Would he be allowed to join the MC? Or someone in the Chicago diocese was active in the Tea Party movement. Would he be allowed to join?

                Instead, look to what we’ve been reduced. We’re debating what the meaning of the word “is” is. What did the obituary mean? What did Stokoe’s open advocacy of a gay symposium in the Church of Finland two years ago mean? Etc.

                We strain at the gnat while swallowing the camel.

                • Harry Coin says

                  George, the church’s standards have clear requirements regarding personal conduct, while affording greater leeway in policy debates and advocacy groups. Since you are in the OCA and I’m only in the cheering section: What are the requirements for serving on the MC and who takes responsibility for managing the process?

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Beats me. From all appearances, it seems like the requirements as stated don’t have to comport with reality. “Walking the walk” and all that. I imagine Helga’s on to something: all eyes will be on Bishop-elect +Matthias.

    • OCANews = “Yellow journalism” ?
      yellow journalism
      journalism that is based upon sensationalism and crude exaggeration.

      • And/or: OCANews = “Supermarket tabloid journalism” ?
        “Supermarket tabloids are notorious for the over-the-top sensationalizing of stories, the facts of which can be called into question. Tabloids – … – often use aggressive and usually mean-spirited tactics to sell their issues.” (From

  4. I note that on OCA News only those comments approved by Mark get published. How are comments handled here?

    • Mark from the DOS says

      Yes, Stokoe has never “approved” one of my comments, even for the purpose of launching a lengthy diatribe against Metropolitan Jonah in the guise of an “Editors Note”. I should try posting an obsequious comment praising him but with no other substance. I bet that would get posted right away.

    • Often he edits out portions of a submitted e-mail, leaving a misleading text. I fell victim to that several times.

      The man keeps so busy on his web-slop, I truly wonder whether he is unemployed.

      • I think he is employed; he said something a few weeks ago about attending a professional conference in “the Third World”. I don’t know what industry he works in, but I’m going to take a wild guess and say it isn’t web design. 🙂

        He does spend an awful lot of time banging out missives and editor’s notes, but it could be that he just spends a lot of his free time on the website when there is an active thing to deal with.

        • Helga, Antonia, Mark, et al: thank you for giving me the opportunity to clear up a possible misconception that I never thought about. I don’t edit ANY comments and I publish ALL comments. Even the ones critical of me. I want this website to be an open forum where people can freely discuss matters of importance.

          I fervently believe in the free and open exchange of ideas. Those that are idiotic will fall of their own volition. Besides, I haven’t had this much fun in a long time! It’s exhilarating and I’m learning something new every day.

          Keep up the good work!

          • George, thank you for providing a forum where people are free to discuss this. I love Metropolitan Jonah. Being able to talk about it has been very helpful for me.

  5. That shows a big difference. My note went “straight to print”. Bravo Monmakhos!

  6. I want to say:

    1) I believe the allegations brought forth by Eric Wheeler are false. I believe that Father Robert Kondratick is not guilty of the charges brought against him. I believe the truth was twisted into half truths and lies by those who had immoral underpinnings at the core of their being. I believe the documents presented to the public are not the whole picture, and if the whole picture were made known, Father Kondratick would be exonerated. I know that he was not allowed to defend himself. I believe that he has kept silent about what he knows because he is a good man. I believe his wife Bette Kondratick is a good woman.

    I believe some of the people who are still in power don’t want the truth to be known because they compromised themselves, their own sense of morality, perhaps under pressure. I hope they find some peace. I don’t believe personal confession before a priest is enough when their actions have hurt the whole world. History bears this out. The Holy Scriptures certainly do. As do the Prophets and Saints. Look at the life of St. John Maximovitch and what he had to go through.

    2) I believe that a bishop at the center of the “Scandal,” highly honored by most, was a homosexual. I believe, and I know, that he acted against the Holy Synod. I know he did not act in accordance with the rules of the Holy Synod. I believe that if Metropolitan Jonah can be accused of being “rogue” with the accusers getting away with it, then this bishop could justifiably have been called “rogue.” I am not going to try to “prove it,” all the documents and forum posts that led me to this belief are public and available. All I did was read the documents and realize as I was reading, that I could not in good conscience support this man. I had already felt the hair standing up on the back of my neck from the moment ocanews went online that things were not right, i.e., “orthodox,” in that quarter .

    3) I believe that another bishop, vilified and thrown out, is also innocent of the charges brought against him. I believe that what we read on ocanews about him was also turned and twisted and presented with a slant. I believe a lot of people, even those with “Fr.” in front of their names, are capable of lying or twisting or altering or leaving things out or hearing only what they want to hear, in order to further their own agendas.

    4) I believe that the comments section of did as much damage as the “facts” presented by the site’s administrator.

    5) If these things I believe are true, let those who know how to speak in wisdom, speak out. None of us need to know things that won’t help us to heal. If I had a voice I would say to our leaders: The whole Church has been damaged by what has been done. How much more damage can be done if the truth is told and the darkness is brought to light? It is a very deep darkness – like a black hole swirling in space, devouring light – and nothing can stand against that darkness except a light like the true, clean, clear, angelic Pascha.

  7. Rachel,

    Regarding your belief that:

    1) I believe the allegations brought forth by Eric Wheeler are false. I believe that Father Robert Kondratick is not guilty of the charges brought against him.

    You may want to check with Metropolitan Jonah on that. He himself publicly recognized and confirmed the findings of the non-partisan Special Investigative Committee (SIC) report and their comprehensive investigation based on independent audits done by professional firms which categorically confirmed that Eric Wheeler’s allegations were ABSOLUTELY true.

    Metropolitan Jonah on SIC report and OCA Financial Crisis – (Metropolitan Jonah’s Talk to the All-American Council Tuesday Evening, November 11, 2008)

    The SIC [Special Investigations Committee] report, if you look at it in a certain way, basically said that the last two Metropolitans were corrupt, that they had abrogated their responsibility of leadership on all levels. So, is it a wonder why the Synod, being leaderless, would not function as well as it should?

    Is it a wonder? Because of the culture — that only a few knew about – of fear and intimidation which operated within the walls of the Chancery in Syosset, a culture which was fundamentally sick, and that has been removed. Thank God! Thank God!

    And so the bishops attended to their dioceses; and I think we all know how much in each diocese we love and care and respect our bishop. The problem is not in the dioceses, it is not in the parishes. The problem was in Syosset. The problem was in the Chancery, and because of that absolute vacuum of leadership in a sick, dysfunctional situation the church was looted. It was an expensive lesson, a very expensive lesson.

    If we can build that community of love and respect, seeing how our passions have distracted us from that living communion with God, have turned us against one another, and have created all sorts of hostility between — well, we just saw it, between the body of the All-American Council and the Synod of the Bishops. I heard boos, right? Between the Synod of the Bishops and the Metropolitan Council — talk about a sick dysfunctional situation! Why? Because, our passions have gone awry. Yes, we were betrayed. Yes, we were raped. It’s over. It’s over. Let it be in the past, so that we can heal.

    So for you to be correct, it would mean that Met. Jonah was lying. I chose to believe and trust Metropolitan Jonah and the countless professionals, clergy, and bishops who thoroughly and ethically reviewed and investigated the previous abuses.

    NOTE – The Special Committee presented its report to both the Holy Synod of Bishops and the Metropolitan Council. Having worked with the attorneys at Proskauer Rose LLP and the accountants at Lambrides Lamos & Moulthrop LLP, the Special Committee reported those professionals’ observations, provided below, which became the basis of the accusations against the former Chancellor, Robert S. Kondratick.

    It concluded (emphasis mine):

    • Between 2001 through 2005, over $1,000,000.00 was withdrawn in cash from the operating checking account of the OCA and given directly to Robert Kondratick. The OCA records lack any supporting documentation to indicate how the cash was spent and for what purposes.

    $575,300 of the approximately one million dollars withdrawn in cash was taken from the special appeals funds and given to Robert Kondratick, who has been unable to provide the name of one person or parish who received any of this cash.

    • Despite meeting face-to-face five or six times with the accountants from Lambrides, Robert Kondratick could not provide them with the name of one 9/11 victim or parish who received any of the $176,500 allegedly distributed.

    • An audit of the check and wire disbursement from the special appeals funds, from 2001 through 2005, shows American Express charges of some $5,600.00 for a member of the Kondratick family, designated by Robert Kondratick as a charitable distribution.

    • In December 2004, Robert Kondratick used for travel expenses in Russia $12,000 that was raised and intended for the Christmas Stocking Project.

    • From 1999 through 2005, the OCA paid not less than $1.2 million in Kondratick family members’ credit card charges, which covered no less than 22 credit cards. The majority of the credit card charges lack any documentation or original receipts to support the purchases by the OCA. To date, Robert Kondratick has failed to provide the OCA with receipts of any kind to support the expenditures of more than $1,100,000. [1]

    Credit card charges for which the OCA paid Robert Kondratick include personal travel to and lodging expenses for places including Aruba and Las Vegas, tanning and hair salon charges, jewelry store purchases, and his family members’ ordinary monthly living expenses such as groceries, wine, newspaper and magazine subscriptions, cable bills, clothes, and shoes.

    • Robert Kondratick still owes the OCA at least $137,000 in acknowledged personal credit card charges.

    • From at least February 1996 through August 2002, Metropolitan Theodosius and Robert Kondratick controlled three discretionary accounts under the name of the OCA, into which at least $1,077,000 was deposited; the Metropolitan’s account, a joint account whose signatories were Robert Kondratick and Metropolitan Theodosius, and an account for which Robert Kondratick was the signatory. Other than the Metropolitan’s account, the very existence of the discretionary accounts was undisclosed to internal and external auditors.

    $227,943 was deposited into Robert Kondratick’s discretionary account from the operating account of the OCA and was spent almost entirely between February 1996 and February 1997.

    • No less than $850,000 was deposited into the two other discretionary accounts and spent on such things as Metropolitan Theodosius’ and Robert Kondratick’s personal lawyers, accountants, and other consultants relating to their opposition of auditing the discretionary funds in 1999 ($125,000), Robert Kondratick’s personal credit cards ($50,000), and withdrawals in cash ($195,000).

  8. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    I have already posted at my assessment that that blog site has lost its last shred of integrity.

    Last year, just prior to the publication of the Manhattan Declaration, I sent Mark Stokoe what I thought would be a journalist’s heads-up for him.

    As one of the original (pre-publication) signers of that document, I truly wanted to help Mark’s reporting on the event. In fact, I was giving him what journalists call a scoop.

    Mark’s response shocked me. His whole attitude toward the Manhattan Declaration was negative and dismissive. OCANEWS went on, later, to give a report on the Manhattan Declaration, but the subject was old hat by that time.

    Since then, of course, I have learned a lot that explains Mark’s strange reaction to the Manhattan Declaration. Since then, I have not been able to take him seriously as a journalist. He is not a journalist. He is propaganda writer. Nothing more.

    Until the current controversy (about Metropolitan Jonah), however, I did not realize how bad OCANEWS really is.

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