This Is Far from Over: Catholic Online Weighs In

From the article from Catholic Online reprinted below:

There is a radical cultural shift away from traditional Christianity, toward something unrecognizable

I followed with great interest and Christian hope the work of Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America. His passionate stance for the rights of our first neighbors in the womb and efforts to promote alliances between faithful Christians – Orthodox, Catholic, Evangelical and protestant – have set him apart. His compelling personal faith journey from an Anglican background into the Orthodox Church, by way of the fathers of the Church, is personally inspiring. I am a revert to the Catholic Church and walked a similar road through the apostolic Fathers home to Rome many years ago.  Why did he suddenly resign?

Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America Suddenly Resigns His Office: Why?

Source: Catholic Onine | By. Dn. Keith Fournier

There is a radical cultural shift away from traditional Christianity, toward something unrecognizable

I followed with great interest and Christian hope the work of Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America. His passionate stance for the rights of our first neighbors in the womb and efforts to promote alliances between faithful Christians – Orthodox, Catholic, Evangelical and protestant – have set him apart. His compelling personal faith journey from an Anglican background into the Orthodox Church, by way of the fathers of the Church, is personally inspiring. I am a revert to the Catholic Church and walked a similar road through the apostolic Fathers home to Rome many years ago.  Why did he suddenly resign?

WASHINGTON, DC  (Catholic Online) – I have followed with great interest and Christian hope the work of Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America. His passionate stance for the rights of our first neighbors in the womb and efforts to promote alliances between faithful Christians – Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant – have set him apart. His compelling personal faith journey from an Anglican background into the Orthodox Church, by way of the fathers of the Church, is personally inspiring. I am a revert to the Catholic Church and walked a similar road through the apostolic Fathers home to Rome many years ago. 

Last month the Primate gave an address to the leaders of the Anglican Church in North America, who gathered in Ridgecrest, North Carolina. He showed his prophetic insights into the common struggle which faithful Christians must engage. Here are a few excerpts: 

“There is another element in this which is of immediate importance, and directly follows on the above. As was written about by Robert Terwilliger, a great Anglican divine of the 20th century, there is a coming realignment within Christianity, one which we can already see the strains of. Whenever schisms happen within the Church, they are generally because certain individuals lead a group out of the Church, being disobedient to the Faith and Doctrine, and refusing to submit to the authority of the hierarchy, which is trying to discipline them and call them to repentance.”

“What is happening now is somewhat different: a split between those who hold to traditional, biblical faith as interpreted by the Fathers of the Church and the ecumenical councils; and those who espouse a secularized belief, subject to the rationalizations of the scholars according to contemporary philosophy, who dismiss the Fathers and the Councils as no longer relevant, who dismiss the moral teachings of the Scriptures and Fathers as culturally relative. This could be called, by one side, a break between traditional Christianity and post-modern worldly philosophy. Or it might be labeled as the freeing of people from fundamentalist oppression to the light of their own reason.”

“This is not the protestant/catholic divide; it is not the evangelical-charismatic vs. mainline divide. It cuts across all communities in the West, even affecting the Orthodox and Roman Churches in some degree. As Anglicans, you are no strangers to this: it is the reason you are here, and not in TEC. It is creating a massive realignment within Christianity; those who hold to the traditional Scriptural and patristic Faith and discipline of Orthodox Catholicism; and those who reject it, criticize it, and I will add, as you well know, persecute it. You and the ACNA are part of that realignment.”

“There is a radical cultural shift away from traditional Christianity, toward something unrecognizable. The “Secularists” (for lack of a better, non-pejorative term) reject the virgin birth of Christ, the resurrection, even His Divinity; that His words are recorded in the Scriptures and that the Scriptures are even relevant to our days; rather they are oppressive and keep humans in darkness. Another Episcopalian bishop, a certain Mr. Spong, wrote that “Christianity must change or die,” referring to traditional orthodoxy, espousing the radical secularization of the Episcopal Church and all Christianity. It is my prediction that it is not the Orthodox Churches that will die.”

“Solzhenitsyn said that “what the Soviet death camps could not do, Western secularism is doing more effectively. In Russia, 20 million died in the last century as martyrs for the Orthodox Faith, and countless millions of others were thrown in the gulag, for standing up against militant secularism. Many perished because they resisted the Renovationists whose schism distorted the Orthodox Faith. Whether you call it Soviet atheism, or Western secularism, it is the same enemy.”

“Our battle is against secularism. His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, has called for us to stand together against this enemy. This is the realignment: to stand together for the faith once delivered by Christ to the Apostles, and thence to the Bishops, without alteration, without change, without revisions; against those who would submit their faith to the current of the age, the wisdom of this world. We must stand together, and we cannot stand alone. Even the immense Roman Church is buffeted by the militant secularists, who defy authority and criticize that which they know not, and we can see in this country how increasingly fragile their unity is.

“Brothers and sisters, we must embrace the Cross of Jesus Christ, the foolishness of the Gospel, the wisdom that is not of this world. We must rejoice in the salvation that God has given us in His Son Jesus Christ, who was crucified for us and rose from the dead. We glory in His Resurrection, and await His Coming Again. We must overcome the divisions that separate us, so that we can stand united in one mind and one heart, confessing that God has come in the flesh to raise us to heaven. We must live according to the moral and ethical commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ enshrined in the Gospel, and reject sin and recognize its corruption.

“This is the orthodox faith of the Fathers, the Ecumenical Councils and the undivided Church. We will have to accept the scorn and derision of those who are of this world, even those who call themselves brethren, being cast out of their synagogues and ridiculed, sued in civil courts, and count all things as worthless that we have lost for the sake of Christ. This, my friends, is our cross. We have to support one another in bearing it. The closer we come, the greater our mutual support will be, and we will not lose heart, or forget that Christ has already won the victory: He has overcome the world. By accepting to go by way of His Cross, we too will share in His Victory.”

Readers of my articles will quickly see why I took such hope in the work of this young Orthodox Metropolitan. You will also see why I am saddened to report that he has resigned his office. Here is the official statement 

Metropolitan Jonah tenders resignation

SYOSSET, NY [OCA]

In a letter addressed to the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops dated Friday, July 6, 2012, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah tendered his resignation as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America. His Beatitude composed and signed the letter at his residence in Washington, DC, in the presence of Archpriest John Jillions, OCA Chancellor. On Saturday, July 7, the letter was presented to the Holy Synod in the course of a conference call in which all of the hierarchs participated, except His Eminence, Archbishop Alejo of Mexico City. The text of His Beatitude’s letter reads as follows.

To the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America,

“Brothers,

“As per your unanimous request, as conveyed to me by Chancellor Fr. John Jillions, I hereby tender my resignation as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and humbly request another Episcopal assignment. I had come to the realization long ago that that I have neither the personality nor the temperament for the position of Primate, a position I never sought nor desired.

“It is my hope that due consideration will be made for my financial situation, both in any interim and in consideration for any future position. I am the main financial support for both my parents and my sister, beyond my own needs.

“I will appreciate your consideration in this, and beg forgiveness for however I have offended you, and for whatever difficulties have arisen from my own inadequacies and mistakes in judgment. Asking your prayers, I remain faithfully yours, 

Metropolitan Jonah, Archbishop of Washington

I invite our readers around the globe to pray for Metropolitan Jonah and for the Orthodox Church in America. His letter seems to depict a sadness of spirit. It also raises a number of questions and concerns. I would welcome any further information and insight into this story and what prompted his resignation. I haver reached out to friends in the orthodox Church whom I deeply respect. Sadly, the reports emerging in the blogosphere indicate there may be more behind the former Metropolitan’s decision. For example, former Catholic become Orthodox Christian Rod Dreher opined

“They finally got him. What they don’t understand is that they probably signed the OCA’s death warrant in so doing – not because Jonah was necessarily an exceptional metropolitan (he had his problems as an administrator, and though a very good man, was temperamentally ill-suited for the job), but because the sleazy, corrupt way the Synod has handled this from the beginning shows them to be a pack of ravening wolves.”

Those are very harsh words. Pray for authentic peace for the Orthodox Church in America and pray for Metropolitan Jonah. Finally, pray that his successor continues to stand propehtically and courageously in this age which cries out for authentic collaboration between those who bear the name Christian.

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Comments

  1. lexcaritas says

    I share Dcn. Keith sentiments and sadness. ++JONAH’s remarks to the Anglicans in Ridgecrest last month were spot on and gave great encouragment. He was likewise inspiring at the March for Life, inviting +Timothy Cardinal Dolan, to stand and pray with him on the podium.

    With +DIMITRI and ++JONAH gone, who among the remainng bishops will take up this mission and speak in this voice? Maybe +Michael? or +Mathias?

    lxc

    • Before even thinking about +Michael or +Mathias, please go talk to a senior Carpatho Russian Priest.
      The Carpatho Russians have been without a bishop for over a year and did not ask either of these two former Carpatho priests to be the new bishop.

  2. More Orthodox need to start speaking out and explain (calmly, objectively, and maturely) what is going on. Silence or politically correct statements are pathetically inadequate in times like these. The Church is being destabilized and the faithful scandalized by too many (including priests and bishops) acting without clear and specific explanations of what is happening and why they chose to undertake certain courses of action.

    Where are the leaders of the Church doing the work to teach and preach, reassure, and lead the flock? Part of their sacramental duty is to speak the truth and act wisely to protect the faithful from the evil and corruption in the world.

    As Fr. John Peck wrote today:

    “If the Synod of the OCA had good reason for their actions, then they should say so. If not, then they deserve whatever calumny they will have to endure because of it. They would be wise to reveal why they did what they did – as St. Paul orders leaders to do. Many want to know why this happened, even non-Orthodox are asking – Why?”
    http://frjohnpeck.com/may-you-live-forever/

  3. Fr. Hans Jacobse says

    Here’s what I wrote on my blog prefacing this article from Catholic Online:

    Unbeknownst to most Orthodox, Met. Jonah was the voice of Orthodoxy in the other Christian communions. His words reached into Baptist meetings, Episcopal assemblies, even the Vatican.

    He traveled these halls effortlessly because he held to the simple teaching of the Gospel but in the fullness of the Orthodox moral tradition.

    That is what enabled him to be heard by our non-Orthodox brethren and strengthen them at the same time for he was able to impart a depth and wisdom that many were looking for but had yet to discover.

    I think most people don’t realize the reach and respect Met. Jonah had in other Christian circles. From that angle alone, this is a public relations disaster for the OCA. They’ve just shut the doors on, well, Orthodoxy in America and there is no one of his caliber to replace him.

    (Full disclosure: I am an occasional columnist for Catholic Online.)

    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

      This is very sad, Fr. Hans. He could have brought so many people to the Church. But they would have been the wrong kind of people for the OCA establishment.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Bingo. Diogenes/La Drezhlo’s hated “converts.”

      • lexcaritas says

        Fr. Dcn, I fear you may be right, but if the kind of people +JONAH would have brought in would be the wrong kind of people for the establishment, then, this church is destined to remain small and inconsequential and will not fulfill its part in the Great Commission of preaching the Gospel in this country let alone all of North America and Mexico–and that is a cause for a cool kind of anger and deliberation.

        lxc

      • He could have brought so many people to the Church. But they would have been the wrong kind of people for the OCA establishment.

        Metropolitan Jonah is a good man. But didn’t you, like “the OCA establishment,” find obeying the Metropolitan to be impossible?

    • I second Fr. Hans’ observations. A few weeks ago I highlighted the importance of having such a faithful shepherd preach the Truth to others, stand firmly behind the Moral Tradition of the Orthodox Church, warn the people of the evil growing in our culture, and prepare Christians for the coming persecution.

      It is very reassuring to the flock when a faithful shepherd preaches Christ and teaches the Truth at every opportunity. It is also inspiring and uplifting for the laity to see an Orthodox Bishop who continually, publicly, and boldly proclaims and defends the unchanging moral teaching of the Christian faith and the Holy Orthodox Church.
      http://orthodoxnet.com/blog/2012/06/metropolitan-jonah-our-battle-is-against-secularism/

      • Mister Banescu, where was your favorite Protopresbyter, a former teacher of Metropolitan Jonah, in this? He was quite ready to act with alacrity to attack the trustworthiness of Archpriest Joseph Fester, where is this alacrity in defense of MDiv and MTh SVS alumnus, Metropolitan Jonah? Does he agree with you, Mr. Banescu, in your latest messages?

        And what are those 70+ Archpriests who rushed to judgment against a fellow priest NOW?

        Shouldn’t there be a new or renewed S.I.C. appointed to investigate, but one whose membership would all meet the qualifications for an AAC delegate?

        After all, according to a resolution of the Diocese of the West a couple years ago, Archbishop Benjamin with his S.I.C. report “restored transparency to Christ’s Holy Church!!”

        By the way, has the Synod or the Lesser Synod published anything relative to the still open case of Bishop Mark Forsberg’s Archdeacon Gregory Burke? An S.I.C. could handle that one. Or perhaps Father Jillions could travel to Florida and have a Guantanamo-like face-to-face with Bishop Mark, like the one he just had with Metropolitan Jonah…Then the smart-phone network could be activated to punish someone and “get us past all this?”

    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

      Maybe there will be some way he can continue on with his important evangelical work.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      It’s not that they didn’t realize this Fr Hans, it’s that they didn’t care. Or worse, they were hostile to this type of Christian witness.

    • lexcaritas says

      Fr. Hans, this is exactly right and another reason I grieve over this.

      Lord, have mercy and deliver us.

      lxc

    • Fr. Hans says: “I think most people don’t realize the reach and respect Met. Jonah had in other Christian circles. From that angle alone, this is a public relations disaster for the OCA. They’ve just shut the doors on, well, Orthodoxy in America and there is no one of his caliber to replace him.”

      This is salient, above most other comments – so far, Metr. Jonah has been the sole leader capable of significant outreach and his work needs to continue no matter what else goes on. I would hazard that outreach to non-Orthodox is the pastoral bridge to the future of American Orthodox witness and a strong autocephaly.

      The alternative is retreat to the business-as-usual of the last century or so, i.e., pastoring emigre communities first as the extant and most obvious need and then being sure to welcome newcomers who are bold and persistent enough to attend church which is decidedly not very American culturally and demographically. But following that model we will soon reach the point of collapse since the decline is already far advanced.

      I think everyone who reads agrees that most major churches in America are shrinking but that a new generation of Christians and seekers are poised to enter ‘traditional’ and Apostolic (as well as Calvinist) churches to find what mainstream, including Fundamentalist and ‘Non-denominational’ churches have failed to provide them: an experience of holiness, real prayer and ultimately sacramental participation in Christ. The noisy, gilded circus tent assemblies of the 80s-90s cut no ice among younger seekers, who are disaffected by the gross politicization of the sphere of church life and its crass consumerism. They are vacating churches which offer pablum thwarting the search for deeper conscious participation in authentic spirituality available only in Apostolic Churches.

      The moment is poised distinctly in the favor of serious liturgical churches and we can all sense that. Our squabbles seem to be over how we capitalize on that moment. I do not believe, contrary to most opinion I read here, that the Holy Synod of my Church is rotten and corrupt, nor do I think they are particularly misguided. No one has a monopoly on truth here and drawing a hero/villain dichotomy is naive and very American in the worst paranoid way.

      Metr. Jonah appreciates the tension of the historical moment acutely and that makes him a galvanic force in leadership – one that necessarily sets up opposition. He will continue to be a force for positive change as long as he lives and after he departs as an active soul in Christ. We must not fall now into opposed camps in Church. We are all saddened by His Beatitude’s resignation, but we must not give up our hope that Christ is saving His people in the Church, here in America.

      We are all acutely aware of the manifold threats to continued Church life here. We can see that some parties would prefer a ‘tame’ church posing no challenge to the world’s low standards. I do not think my hierarchs are of this party. We can complain that they shun engagement in society but we need to make that engagement positive. So much in contemporary American Orthodox blogging (seemingly the only sphere well-populated by Orthodox here) amounts to little more than hackneyed diatribe biased far to the political right, which frankly does not speak in the language of the best of the Tradition. An Orthodox polemic which comes across as reactionary will do nothing to wins souls.

      It is precisely this ‘engagement’ which must be avoided – divisive entrenchment into opposing camps. As they say, “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”.

      Praying for increased unity,
      Fr John
      Los Angeles

  4. BREAKING NEWS

    People close to Syosset report that the OCA Administration is now admitting they have a crisis. They have activated their Crisis Management Team.

    The first step in recovery is to admit you need help. 😉

    (And yes, they have activated the Team, that is not a joke.)

    • Yes they do. Here in the Diocese of the South, we are facing the cancellation of our bishop election, and a few days later the overthrow of Metropolitan Jonah, who was loved here. I can only imagine what coffee hour is going to be like on Sunday. A lot of us were angry and hurt over the Bishop Mark trouble, and the way the Synod treated the South. They just threw a bucket of gasoline on the fire.

      • Abercius says

        Will the bishops and their employees in Syossett keep making a scapegoat of one man, or will they ever own up to their own mistakes, their own sins, their own failures, and take responsibility like men? We’re waiting. “He who covers his sin will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes it will find mercy.” They are right: they have a crisis on their hands. And much of the fuel for that crisis is within them.

      • Jim of Olym says

        Coffee hour in our parish will be calm but noisy due to the acoustics in the room. The rector is in the Ukraine for a month, the assistant clergy are clueless, the people don’t know what is going on (some may well ask why the former Metr. Jonah is not commemorated at the great entrance, but most won’t even hear that he isn’t.
        Life goes on, the youth group goes on a pilgrimage to Manton soon, the addition to the church is being finished, what do we know or care about stuff happening on the other coast!

        Rdr. James

      • Anon Canadian says

        Coffee hour at my parish this week will be awkward as Met. Jonah was to be visiting us for the first time. Eep…

    • If Syosset and the synod want to abate the crisis, then they will have to right their wrongs and tell the truth. Any further deflection like we saw on oca.org today will only deepen the crisis. Any guesses which they will choose to do?

    • Harry Coin says

      Crisis management? Hmmm… Makes me wonder if the reason the resignation was asked for by the synod is soon to be known. Would explain folks from elsewhere taking a wander around the files, just to be sure they knew how bad bad was.

      The SNAP/ Pokrov folks issued a blazing news item about it detailing promises not kept relative to shenanigans. Well, we’ll see I’m sure.

      • Just Guessing says

        Of course the Pokrov gals weighed in on this. They never miss a feeding frenzy on a bloody carcass.

        And yes, you can be sure “we’ll see.” The Ministry of Truth at Syosset is preparing their revision of history to bolster their cause even as we speak. “Jonah put the OCA at risk.” We know the drill. So banal.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      To bad they don’t have the Sex Czar and his trusty sidekick Clergy Cop in place yet.

  5. Gregg Gerasimon says

    Why, in the year 2012, in secular America, do some high in the leadership of American Orthodoxy think that our church should still be only (barely) seen and not heard?

    What is wrong with Met. Jonah’s evangelism and outreach? I don’t get it.

    The *last* thing the OCA needs is more ethnarchs who want to encourage more ethnic food festivals and who are not enthusiastic about evangelism. And also, the last thing the OCA needs is yet another former Metropolitan — 3 former metropolitans in 10 years!

    Will someone who agrees with Met. Jonah’s forced resignation please explain why he was bad for the OCA?

    • Jesse Cone says

      Nothing Syosset will say will sufficiently answer why the cost/ benefit of forcing his resignation makes sense for the OCA.

      They underestimated Met. Jonah’s popularity and influence because so many of them hold him in utter disdain.

      They didn’t like his ministry because they disdained him.

      Go back and read the leaked letters from last year’s cabal. The plan was to use fear, especially fear of sexual misconduct lawsuits, as a “hook”. I’m not saying the fear wasn’t entirely real, but certainly some of it was manufactured , and most of the real fear was misguided. Archbishop Nathaniel punished a priest and his family for reporting sexual impropriety, and this threat of a lawsuit is much scarier than the idea that HB is responsible for a non-OCA priest who misbehaved and was subsequently banned. A year ago. Yet +Nathaniel straight-faced accused HB of jeopardizing the OCA? Of inviting lawsuits? Of not following the OCA’s policies and procedures?

      The rest of the Lesser of all Synods can also be exposed as pointing out specks in HB’s eye while having logs in their own.

      It beggars belief.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Harry? Diogenes? Beck? Anybody? Mr Gerassimon asks a simple enough question.

      • Harry Coin says

        George the thing is I’m actually with you on this one, I think Met. Jonah’s activity in the public square brought dynamism and a chance to attract new people not being reached out to any other way. I heard a few of his speeches recorded online, heard the dynamic free-form Q&A he took on, I heard his talk when he got picked and he does quite well indeed in those situations. People liked him and thought well of the church and his remarks were thought through and well received by the assembled folks, it would have led to growth no doubt.. Lord I’ve certainly heard much worse from those in bigger, more monied churches. The Manhattan declaration did indeed seem in keeping with the content of the preaching, the objections from others as I understand it had more to do with style not substance. A regrettable habit of ‘dancing alone’ and just sort of going off, speaking of himself, for the church (to coin a phrase), leaving the synod to read about it later. Is that fair, did he really do that I don’t know.

        I think in like fashion the ethnic dimension appeals to some who need the church to remind them of things of the old country (the bits they liked, the bits that didn’t force them to leave), and I certainly don’t see those (we) ethnic types hurling the hummus, pitching the perogi or burping the Retsina because other folks find other paths to the church door and bring jello and barbeque. (Now, I know this view is only one perspective, and we suffer from a great many ethnic fearful folk who express that fear in the form of bigotry, while there are others who see the churches here as a piece of foreign national political agendas and have money and spend it wining and dining and lobbying and offering to ah, er, well, um… help).

        I’m just not ready to buy the narrative here that Met. Jonah felt he had accept a sacking on the basis he couldn’t find enough cash from folk here like y’all and elsewhere to keep him and a couple others. Really,. no cash from anyone here? C’mon now. I’m sure all you folk are big donors to him, every month, right?

        I’m not ready to believe the narrative that he was forced to resign because he rallied folk in venues not accessible to those ‘of the left’ in the church. And if there was a subculture who want to maintain the teachings whole and entire while living the catamite light fantastic by night, as it were, you folk on this website would have exposed that sort of gross misdoing with a few shots from a cell phone camera long ago.

        So, you know, maybe he left because of the reasons he actually wrote down. You do believe him don’t you, you supporters? I mean call the man and ask him if things aren’t as they seem. Or, maybe for reasons as yet unclear to be revealed by the ’emergency response team’.

  6. Here’s an early GetReligion look at the mainstream news coverage of this affair:

    http://www.getreligion.org/2012/07/covering-warfare-in-a-byzantine-maze-literally/

  7. Gregg Gerasimon says

    I read about an hour or two ago on http://www.oca.org the new announcement from the Chancery, essentially indicating that anything that the central administration feels that the faithful should know will be posted on http://www.oca.org.

    I’m sorry, but they just don’t get it. It’s like it’s 2006 all over again. Nothing has changed.

    When the Synod and central administration essentially asks that the faithful “trust us to do the right thing,” that deposit of trust is on empty, and the car is well out of gasoline. The starter is grinding but there’s no spark. It not only won’t run anymore, it cannot run anymore — certainly not until things are fixed. More than blind trust is needed if the OCA is to move forward and heal from this.

    Per his publicly posted resignation letter, Met. Jonah wrote, “As per your unanimous request, as conveyed to me by Chancellor Fr. John Jillions, I hereby tender my resignation as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, and humbly request another Episcopal assignment.”

    Why did the Synod unanimously request that Met. Jonah (a much beloved bishop, if they didn’t know) resign? Why?

    • Harry Coin says

      Gregg– 0% chance in 2006 people would have offered to explain details about anything on the official website. Things have indeed changed, oh yes. And you know what, this change will lead to growth because there remains 0% chance any other foreign run church would or even could conceive of it. Trusting people with the facts? The only way to grow when the people by and large have the same education or better than the clergy.

    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

      Gregg, did we meet in the IZ in Iraq a few years ago? If so, please look me up and send an e-mail.

      Chaplain (Colonel) Alexander F. C. Webster, USAR (Ret.)

  8. M. Stankovich says

    I have yet to see anyone inquire as to the nature and the outcome of the direct assistance offered and accepted by the Metropolitan following the last All-American Council. He announced:

    As a first step I have agreed to begin a process of discernment that will include a complete evaluation in a program that specializes in assisting clergy, starting the week of November 14th. I have chosen to do this out of love for you, the people of the Church, and for my brother bishops.”

    As I recall, there were full reports of where he agreed to participate in this evaluation; who among his brother bishops would transport him to the facility; and when this evaluation was finished. And that, apparently, concluded the “process of discernment.” To my knowledge, despite the fact that the Metropolitan indicated his choice was motivated “out of love for the people of the Church,” it was never mentioned again. I emphasize that no one is entitled to information protected by the privacy laws and regulations, but he himself indicated that “How to get to the root of this breakdown in trust and repair it, if possible, is the real challenge for me and I am willing to do whatever is necessary.” What did these professionals recommend?

    I absolutely agree with Mr. Cone above, “The failure of the Synod to function well speaks of the failure of the Synod as a whole and not merely their president,” and I guarantee that a program such as the one utilized understood this as well. At least two other bishops were there at the beginning and the conclusion, and I believe that whatever recommendation was made, it was not limited to an expectation of change on the part of the Metropolitan alone. The tragedy is that an opportunity to break this inevitable process of the past week may have been lost. And the only person who can explain it is the Metropolitan himself. What did they recommend? If he rejected their recommendation, why? And if it was the Synod that did not fulfill their responsibilities as the ones who directed him to assistance, than tell us.

    The Metropolitan is justly or unjustly accused of “empty promises,” so let him state the truth.

    • Jesse Cone says

      MStank,

      I am surprised to see you go from your agreement with me here:

      “The failure of the Synod to function well speaks of the failure of the Synod as a whole and not merely their president,” and I guarantee that a program such as the one utilized understood this as well. At least two other bishops were there at the beginning and the conclusion, and I believe that whatever recommendation was made, it was not limited to an expectation of change on the part of the Metropolitan alone.

      to,

      And the only person who can explain it is the Metropolitan himself. What did they recommend? If he rejected their recommendation, why?

      You have to assume SO MUCH to get from that A to that B.

      Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to wonder why we haven’t ever heard the Synod take any responsibility for their role in dysfunction? Or even admit that they have a part to play in dysfunction? Instead all we have seen is the supporting cast throw him under the bus (ex. Fr. Leonid’s indefensible and disingenuous presentation at the AAC).

      You “guarantee” us that you know what sort of thing the eval at St. Luke’s consisted in, but you have a long way to go to convince me that the St. Luke’s experience would have fixed the problem if only the Metropolitan had followed instructions.

      I’m not the expert you are, but I see dysfunction in the Synod and Syosset, and the Metropolitan seems to be the most humble, malleable piece, and the only one that is willing to take any responsibility. In other words, it looks like he’s the one wanting things to change, while the rest seem happy to chew up and spit out white hat after white hat as our trust deteriorates and the Gospel goes neglected.

      The OCA is now known more for patricide and pettiness than for proclaiming the faith. What a shameful use of our autocephaly.

      • M. Stankovich says

        Mr. Cone,

        I believe there are issues of confidentiality as matter of law that take me from point A to point B. I believe anyone who speaks of these matters – regardless of their role – violates the Metropolitan’s right to confidentiality. While I personally believe that making this a public commitment would move him to explain, I do not mean to imply he should be obligated to relinquish his rights.

        My “guarantee” was that St. Luke’s was keenly aware that this was/is a “systemic” failure, as you correctly noted, and not merely a matter of “fixing their president.” Further, I guarantee you that St. Luke’s made this clear to the Synod in no uncertain terms. Who could argue with the Metropolitan’s own observation that he was elected, “the youngest and least experienced of bishops,” and entering a system he did not create? Nevertheless, St. Luke’s characterizes itself as a “leadership” program that utilizes multiple forms of assistance, among which are psychological services. It was inappropriate to characterize them as simply a psychological facility.

        I emphasize to you, Mr. Cone, that I am not attempting to convince you or anyone that anything would have been solved by following a “list of instructions.” However, I believe that the original motivation and form of intervention was honourable, courageous, and unprecedented. While I have no idea what was recommended, I am sure it was rational and sound, with markers, goals, and contingency. I believe there was some major failure and breakdown in the process. And I reasonably conclude that a significant opportunity may have been missed, and more information is necessary to finish this story.

        • Jesse Cone says

          Stanko,

          Let’s not muddle this: you assume the problem is Met. Jonah’s mental state and his belligerence with instruction and help. I assume neither of these because the evidence doesn’t suggest it.

          Again I ask, why do you think he’s the problem and not those around him who refuse to take any responsibility?

          Don’t you remember Seattle? No one should have to undergo that level of humiliation, especially in public, and especially a primate. Non OCA friends of mine found it embarrassing and shameful for the OCA and convinced them that the real problem was endemic; not +Jonah. Their animus backfires and they convince people he’s a humble martyr, not a narcissistic maniac.

          You’re making the same, counter-productive play.

          • M. Stankovich says

            Mr. Cone,

            Indeed, let’s not muddle. I am assuming this to be a systemic problem, meaning attempts to “fix” the head without the body – and, of course, vice versa – would necessarily be futile and bound to fail. If you examine the archive, I defended the intervention form and effort then as I have now: honourable, courageous, and unprecedented. The disparaging of St. Luke’s was shortsighted, unfounded, ignorant, and a sad, self-fulfilling prophecy. The Metropolitan himself made this a public matter by stating his motivation as “out of love for you, the people of the Church, and for my brother bishops.” I viewed this as a reason for hope, and I advocated accepting him at his word. But there has not been a word since.

            I guarantee you that St. Luke’s utilized their assessment of the systemic failure to develop specific recommendations for effective leadership and systemic change. And so, Mr. Cone, we come full circle: What did they recommend? If the Metropolitan rejected the recommendations, why? If it was the Metropolitan who failed to fulfill his responsibilities, then tell us. If the Synod rejected the recommendation, why? If it was the Synod that did not fulfill their responsibilities as the ones who directed him to assistance, than tell us. These are vital questions because, as Fr. Hans said, the OCA cannot return to its “old way.”

            I don’t exactly know what you mean by saying I am “making the same, counter-productive play,” but if you are suggesting I have chosen one “side” over another, you would be wrong. Who could possibly claim victory here, Mr. Cone?

            • Jesse Cone says

              Stanko,

              I’m glad you see this systemically,

              I however, see being forced to talk about “disaster” and to go to St. Luke’s to be an unhelpful act of bullying, one that was not likely to change things for the better. Before you call HB a liar, I do think he was acting out of love by going to St. Luke’s, and it was selfless love. Yet it was still an act of bullying; a symptom of the systemic failure and not its solution.

              • M. Stankovich says

                Mr. Cone,

                When I say this effort was honourable, courageous, and unprecedented, I am presuming that it was advocated by a party outside this contentious atmosphere. I can only view it as a clinician, which is to say I can fully appreciate the difficulty of understanding “compelled participation” as anything but punitive. But the research bears out repeatedly and consistently that, for those with no reasonable alternative, the outcome of compelled participation is as favorable as anything else. It is simply indisputable, Mr. Cone. Further, you will never convince me that he was “forced” to say anything, because it is contrary to the tenets of this form of intervention. Who would accept a “reasonable alternative” that first required a profound act of humiliation? It never happened.

                If you have followed me so far, Mr. Cone, you would now realize that participation at St. Luke’s was not, by any stretch of the imagination, an act of love. It was a forced, compelled participation with someone who was rightfully angry, embarrassed, and ashamed to be there, and professionals who understood and worked hard at laying a reasonable foundation for leadership and systemic change. In the end, they presented recommendations.

                As to what happened one day after the Metropolitan left St. Luke’s is as unknown to you, Mr. Cone, as it is to me. It is entirely possible that what happened last weekend was a predictable outcome pursuant to what happened at St. Luke’s, and we witnessed the final step in a long, measured process.

                “Who the hell am I to thunder pronouncements?” Nobody. Absolutely nobody. But there has been enough melodrama and accusations issued here to last a lifetime. So, if there is a story, let’s hear the whole story.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Stanko–I agree with you.

        • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

          Dear M. Stankovich,

          Any progress yet on recalling whether you actually are in an OCA parish or not as you lecture us in the OCA here–or, in the cause of pan-Orthodox unity, in any canonical Orthodox parish at all? It’s for your own good, really. in talking as much as you are about the mental state of another whom you only know well through presumably via reports from your friend the Chancellor, involving yourself in ecclesiastical political controversy as you are, and lecturing on Orthodoxy here to a public internet audience, in order to be within the community in the tradition rather than outside it, you’ll want to be grounded in a canonical community rather than just in your own mind! And if you are in a parish, you don’t need to be embarrassed about it!

          Meanwhile, I like your growing openness a more systemic and holistic approach to psychological problems with the management culture in the OCA. Given the insights that our faith and tradition and praxis provide into healthy spiritual psychology, and how the latter relates to the key quality of sobornost essential to its liturgical and ascetic ecclesiology, you have taken an important step to being a helper rather than an enabler in systemic intervention for the entire OCA administration. Your friendship with the Chancellor could help reassure him and the protopresbyterianocracy as a whole that it is ok to seek help, before they do more harm to each other and the Church.

          The first important step in ecclesiological dysfunction is to seek help! This could be done with an elder on Mount Athos, away from any enabling environment in Syosset, especially since St. Luke’s is of course not a program that operates within our tradition and practices! Perhaps while the administration is gone to Athos, day-to-day operations could be contracted out to the Greek Archdiocese temporarily.

          It would help all involved to realize that by identifying themselves as leaders of a protopresbyterianocracy, following secular management models, all within the non-canonical situation of overlapping synods in America, they run the risk of endangering an Orthodox phronema or mindset in the institution, which puts them in danger of working harm on others. No need for further denial of the nature of the treatment of Metropolitan Jonah, the canonical first hierarch, by this strange new protopresbterian-managerial culture–rather, it needs to be owned!

          In Orthodoxy, this problem of the adminstrative culture can be diagnosed and treated, both systemically and personally, through application of the canons under an experienced spiritual guide, as a spiritual problem manifested by the managerial culture. I’m glad that you’re coming to realize a political or secular approach is not enough, that again it needs to be approached more personally, culturally and holistically– this is an important first step to help stop enabling those in need and lead them to help! Bravo for your willingness to consider this first step!

          • M. Stankovich says

            Ah, Pavel Kentigern, I am dismayed to find I am no longer the sum focus of your attention, but you have opened up a “second front” on the Orthodox Forum with a new protagonist. Should I be personally offended that I am no longer afforded the customary opening greeting in the Lord, nor the “pray for you a sinner,” closing, nor exclusive material? Dude, what is up with that? You expect me to share sarcastic insults with people on another forum? Seriously, Pavel?

            Anyway, Alf… Wait, it was Siewers, was it not? Pardon me, you came here as Kentigern and I said Siewers, then you said, Kentigern Siewers. But Pavel (that’s Paul?)… Oh, the Orthodox Forum. OK. Anyway, Ron Dreher said, “Christian notions of human dignity are more central to being authentically human…” No wait, he was quoting you mid-Atlantic Professor Siewers, a champion of Mr. Dreher’s “let’s go fishing for Christian Right, “conservative,” white people, Papacy-without-the-Pope, sanitized, we’re getting rid of anybody offensive” Orthodox Church. Got it.

            • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

              Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

              Dear M. Stankovich,

              Ah, but in terms of exclusive and sanitized attitude regarding the Church, and not wanting to deal with allegedly “offensive” people, it was your friends who threw out Metropolitan Jonah, not vice versa. And while you continue to hurl epithets, and engage in pseudo-psychoanalysis of the Metropolitan publicly, you seem strangely attached, as seen in your “We are their legacy” club, to an elite ideal of the protopresbyterianocracy, targeting converts with backgrounds from the wrong side of the information-culture tracks, who can’t translate your essays on the ontology of same-sex attraction, or are banal enough to believe in what they are told a jurisdiction believes when it asks for money. “How did these people get in? You’re a [fill in the stereotype].” Is this then what your friend the Chancellor stands for as well? Hopefully not, so please set us straight. Or recommend that the OCA be direct in putting up a formal sign “converts not welcome, just send funds.”

              I’m glad you’ve done your online homework, from which you’ll know without much trouble that I’ve stated clearly that I’m an active member of an OCA community. But why won’t you answer, or indicate that you are actively a member of a canonical Orthodox parish? And, you can confide in me, what is so wrong about doing so, or so wrong about your own situation then in relation to the Church, that you can not share this as context for your remarks about others and all manner of Church business? (But if you are not in the OCA and indeed do receive your information from the Chancellor, please remind him to be in touch with us dues-paying communing laity too, which, as Fr. John Peck has pointed out, would be required by our tradition. Hopefully the next installment of Chancellor’s Diary will explain all!)

              Meanwhile, while you make fun of my names, we still don’t know here what your M. stands for–Monsieur? A first name? I was given two names when entering the Orthodox Church, in addition to my birth name, and I’ll leave you to figure out which is which. And in stereotyping me politically (the bottom line of your concern with ecclesiastical politics here it seeems, along with your personal connections perhaps) you did leave out the other part of my quotation: “I think Orthodoxy encourages an awareness of the importance of living tradition and community and the need for caution in embracing either free market or socialist economic models as social models.”

              Growing up and working for a long time in inner-city Chicago, in all kinds of neighborhoods, taught me not to be exclusive or buy into any notion of being “sanitized” (your term). But it also gave me a low tolerance for bullies. So please as usual now tell us more about your experiences and why the rest of us can’t understand human tragedy, while you continue to uphold your ecclesiastical standard of bullying regarding the Metropolitan.

              And, please, do pray for me a sinner!

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                Its called NOT giving the space. Its an old debate tactic where you are not sucked into the other person’s arguments. Thus, you, not them, frame the issues. That’s what he is doing. That’s what he has always been doing. Although, I agree with Mr. Stankovich’s thoughts on pastoral care for Homosexuals his resistance to actually calling Homsexuality a sin and an abomination tells me what I and everybody else needs to know about what he and the cental administration thinks about this issues within the Church as far as its acceptance.

                Fr. Ted Bobish did say he did not consider Homsexuality a sin because he did not consider Heterosexuality a virtue. Really, father do tell. This mind set, unfortunately is the same as that of the GOA. Statements issued against the acceptance of Homosexuality and same-sex marriage in the Church are one thing and fairly easy to dismiss, but to actually be passive about this issue within and outside of the Church, and to actually stop the church from taking a stand against it and silencing its prophetic voice is quite another and very dangerous. The upper halls of power in both the GOA and OCA have more in common than you might think and always had.

                The Orthodox Church in this Country will soon have a “Come to Jesus” moment on this and many other issues. Get ready.

                Peter

                • Fr. Ted Bobish did say he did not consider Homsexuality a sin because he did not consider Heterosexuality a virtue.

                  Fr. Bobish needs to take a refresher course in Holy Scripture.

              • M. Stankovich says

                Mr Siewers,

                You will recall Malvolio’s thought, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Mr. Dreher quotes you in his nationally read blog, not me. I am neither born, nor achieved, nor thrust upon great. And for reasons know only to yourself, you have set upon me as if I am of significance. Lengthy, breathy, wordy castigations of my supposed motivations, intentions, “realms of influence,” aspirations of ascendency, blah, blah, blah. Alf, buddy, nobody cares what I think! I have opinions like everyone posting here, but nobody cares what I think! I happen to work in an environment where a, shall we say “brusk,” bad-ass attitude is necessary for respect (and Brian McDonald has graciously pointed this out to me on several occasions), nobody cares what I think!.

                I respect Mr. Papoutsis, and while a significant amount of “framing the issue” is attributable to a sense of being correct, I admit to “baiting” and I apologize for that. If you intend to follow my every post with a comment, that is your business, but I have learned the hard way where it leads me. Better to be silent. Always.

    • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

      M. Stankovich, begging your pardon, but on the issue of psychological evaluation, and this is rather delicate, well, you do seem to have trouble remembering and/or articulating whether you are in an OCA parish or within any canonical Orthodox jurisdiction at all. The only reason this is relevant is that if you cannot remember that, how are you remembering all these details about the past year in OCA ecclesiastical politics correctly, or are you? If the reason is that you are in regular contact with your friend the Protopresbyter-Chancellor, perhaps he can help you sort out whether you belong to an OCA parish or not, or even at least (through cross-jurisdictional contacts) to a parish in another canonical jurisdiction? Meanwhile, at the same time, if you can remember to ask him about factual details left out of his Chancellor’s Diary (I think Fr. John Peck described its message as “nothing to see here, move along”), this would be a great help in carrying the discussion here forward. For by telling us in the OCA to direct our questions to the deposed Metropolitan, you are telling us to disobey the most recent instruction on oca.org by the Protopresbyter-Secretary to direct our questions there and await more word there. At any rate, don’t lose hope, because the Protopresbyter-Chancellor may well have had reasons for requiring the Metropolitan’s resignation. Otherwise perhaps the same evaluation-screening program could be helpful for him as well. At any rate, it sounds as if you, although perhaps not in the OCA, are privy to better information sources than the rest of us dues-paying laity within the jurisdiction have through the Chancellor’s Diary!

    • John Herter says

      “gay opus”….lol…I almost spit up my drink from laughing so hard.

  9. Heracleides says

    Doubtless this will ruffle more feathers, but I’ve posted another image – “Easy Money” – that captures my opinion of the Rev. Jillions. It may be viewed here: http://s1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff436/Heracleides/

    P.S. Click on the image to enlarge. Then press CTRL and scroll your mouse wheel to read the fine print.

  10. Daniel E. Fall says

    Gregg G. above begged the question about non-Jonah fans attitudes on this or that. I am a sort of on the fence person about him, didn’t think he needed to go, but I have been saddened by his rhetoric on stuff and found most of his public speaking unnecessary and less than beneficial. I’m okay with his resignation.

    I found his letter/speech to the Anglicans very divisive. What is music to one ear is din to another; keep that in mind before you bash into me with replies. I only write here for your edification; which is cutting into my sleep tonight.

    There are not two separate worlds for someone who prays to Jesus and is against abortion and against gays in the church and for employers deciding health care and another person who prays to Jesus who understands societies laws are not the same as the laws Christians follow and doesn’t care what other people do in bed at night or how they sinned last week. This is a grave mistake in his logic. You folks on the right side of the bell want to believe the differences between us are vast, so vast, but they are not. Fox News built an empire on that foolishness. And the former Metropolitan is grossly mistaken to suggest it. The ordination of women is not such an issue by the way; that is the church and he is right to follow patristic traditions on that subject (imo), so don’t go there please. He hasn’t been on a high horse about it. As far as the two women getting married outed here-kind of the same; the church ought not recognize it, but forget about it with the exception of recognizing name changes which can also have nothing to do with marriage, but I digress…

    My father is a simple man and I told him about the idea some have that an IUD is an abortifacient contraceptive and he said baloney-prevention, for example. And yet, the former Metropolitan and others want to suggest my wife is having abortions by using an IUD and I am something less of a human than a right wing Republican that is adamantly anti-abortion.. Talk about offending someone.

    This letter shows that he is not a man that would bring people together, but one that would tear us apart based on political idealogy more than Christian virtue/faith. He calls the Obama administration ‘militant secularist’ visavie the RC church, when in fact the church itself is trying to force doctrine on non-members (completely against the constitution-there is no argument)..

    For me to believe others don’t have to follow Christian belief is not anti-Christian, yet this is in his message very clearly. To suggest someone getting an IUD is not following the Fathers of the Church, for example, is more than a reach.

    I know many of you are saddened by his leaving, but I have great faith he will continue to speak as he has, just not as the representative of the OCA.

    These are my personal opinions. I always wanted the church to be my sanctuary from the world; not a dividing line.

    gotta go-crying baby

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Daniel:

      The Church has had stances on these issues for over 2,000 years. The prophetic voice of the Church is not something you may want to hear, but its the truth as given to us. I am no direct supporter of anybody, and as even personally offended by the Metropolitans Speech in Dallas when he disparaged the Ecumenical Patriarch. SO WHAT!

      People make mistakes, and learning curves are needed. We are called to proclaim the Gospel of Christ. I don’t care what people do in their bedrooms, but when they parade down main street or pass laws that do not take may morals into consideration then its NOT in their bedroom and there is NO balance.

      The Fathers of the Church and the pronouncements of the Church are what they are. If you want to follow them and/or continue to struggle to follow them please do so and join me in doing so as I struggle as well, but never be dismissive of them. Its when you are dismissive and stop struggling and start “Re-Defining” is when trouble starts and sin enters in.

      Finally, the Church is our sanctuary, but it is also a divding line as Christ did not come to give the world peace, but a sword. He gives US peace NOT the world. Never has and never will.

      Living in a Republic or anyother type of political structure does not mean and has never meant that we lose our prophetic voice. The Church, in various States, has been instrumental in banning the Death Penalty, we were also successful in banning (although imperfectly IMO) Partial Birth Abortion in 2003. We have in over 30 states mobilized against the recognition of Same-Sex marriage. This IS what the Church is supposed to do, and how a Republic works. Anyting less and we stop being the salt of the earth and those that shine the “Light in the darkness.”

      As for your wife and her IUD I no of NO Official Position of the Orthodox Church on that like the Catholics have, but what if we did? So what? We do not change the Church, the Church via the Gospel changes us. These are the issues we struggle with and must cometo terms with, but never tearing each other down like this synod did to Met. Jonah or my church did with Spyridon or what happend with Sorich and Kondrike. That is NOT the Orthodox Church, but some caracature of a church I do not recognize or want to be a part of.

      You want to know how you can wrap your head around all of this? PRAY! I try to do it every night. pray for your family, your friends and the forgiveness of your own sins. That last part sound simple, but its the hardest thing I and anybody with a prayer life can ever do. Most people truly believe they have no sins to confess. That right there is the start of all our problems that we believe we have no sins let alone to confess them.

      Peter

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Daniel, is your father a theologian? I may think that the last 15 minutes of Blazing Saddles is the greatest cinematographic experience in history, that and 50c will buy you a cup of coffee.

  11. Dear Lesser Synod:
    Why have you asked for the resignation of our Metropolitan JONAH?
    The very fact that you have asked “unanimously” indicates that you previously agreed among yourselves to do this.
    The fact that you did it at a Lesser Synod meeting indicates that you wanted a fait accompli: you wanted a resignation in hand before gathering the entire Synod to “approve.”
    Why did you take such a momentous decision and task upon yourselves as a “lesser” synod, a smaller committee of bishops who have not been given the authority to make sweeping decisions in isolation, but who are simply given the task of implementing and expediting the decisions of the larger, Holy Synod?
    How is it proper for you, the Lesser Synod, to make requests of our Metropolitan which are not in consultation with our Holy Synod?
    How do you take it upon yourselves to demand our Metropolitan to resign, without the consultation of the entire Synod, let alone the entire Body of The Orthodox Church in America, and then, after the fact, call a telephone conference to affirm your already concluded business?
    This action is clearly coercive toward Metropolitan JONAH, and is manipulative toward the entire Synod and the faithful.
    +JONAH has complied with all your demands: when confronted with mistakes and bad decisions, he has openly, to his own repeated public himiliation, admitted mistakes and repented and humbly, asking forgiveness for things which are not even his fault. When told to undergo humiliating psychotherapy, he came back with a psychotherapist’s letter giving him a clean bill of health. When pressured to undergo rehabilitation, he has complied –even at a designated anti-traditional institution– and come back with another clean bill of health.
    So… why give your metropolitan the boot, as you have just done?
    I suspect it is at least in part out of fear, because His Beatitude has challenged your complacency, by speaking to our culture’s most pressing issues, and engaged non-Orthodox in serious dialogue. His Beatitude has exposed something all Orthodox have been hiding: the moral culture war is not just outside, but within the Orthodox Church.
    But the question remains: Why did you, the Lesser Synod, request His Beatitude’s resignation? To give facts and evidence would clear up this mess. Press releases and episcopal letters which call for “trust” without giving answers or facts do not help.
    It is in the interest of the peace of Christ’s holy Church that I ask this question: What charge do you have against our Metropolitan?

    • Until the First Hierarch is removed, voluntarily or involuntarily, all meetings of Holy Synod or Lesser Holy Synod held outside his presence are illicit and of no effect.
      But the Archpriests say “So What! They’re ALL of no effect unless we say otherwise!”

  12. Mark from the DOS says

    Just curious. What other autocephalous Orthodox churches have three living former first heirarchs?

    • The OCA has more retired bishops that most jurisdictions HAVE bishops. Think about that.

  13. Fr. Wade Fahnestock says

    I’m just grieved!
    No. It actually feels worse than “just grieved!”

    I’m not exactly sure how to describe it.
    Maybe “a distant candle light has been blown out,” or
    the bruised reed has been broken,” or
    the smoking wick has been extinguished,” or
    (from Star Wars) “I felt a great disturbance in the force…
    as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.
    I fear something terrible has happened
    .”

    Something stinks!
    Lord, have mercy! Lord, please help!

  14. Robert Badger says

    I’m a Roman Catholic with a long interest in the Eastern Churches. I am very saddened to know of Metropolitan Jonah’s removal. From the beginning of his metropolitanate, I’ve been very impressed by him. True, he may not have been a great administrator. He was thrown an impossible task, having been barely consecrated a bishop with not much experience in running a diocese, let alone being a primate. He never was given a fair chance, as he had to deal with impossible opposition on the part of his fellow hierarchs. How he was treated was profoundly unchristian and uncharitable. The Holy Synod should be ashamed. As Fr John Peck put it, “If the Synod of the OCA had a good reason for their actions, they should say so. If not, then they deserve whatever calumny they will have to endure because of it.”