This is Far From Over: One Week Ago Today

Today marks the one week anniversary of the Jonah ambush. A week ago today, His Beatitude was blind-sided by his loving brothers who dispensed their brotherly concern by telling him to quit or face suspension and deposition and that his pay will be stopped that same day.

Suspended for what? Deposed for what? Cut off from pay for what? Well we don’t know because we are not suppose to know, its too secret. Under the cover of synod conference calls, executive session MC meetings we are told to just accept their word that all is well. Those in the OCA administration have it all under control. Move along now, nothing to see here. That the events of one week ago today were nothing more than a spontaneous combustion at the lesser synod which just happened to consume only one member, His Beatitude.

What Do We Know?

Since then we do know a few things for sure. The OCA Chancellor went to DC on last Friday and Sunday. On Friday he stood over His Beatitude, a broken and dazed human being, making sure that the pen in his wavering hand hit the resignation paper to seal his fate.

Since then we know that the synod fanned out to inform the clergy of their respective dioceses with a boiler-plate letter explaining neither why they did what they did nor the nature of the accusations against Jonah. All we know is that they did it to “protect the Church.” We can only conclude that we needed to be protected from Jonah.

Since then we know that the OCA Crisis Management Team was activated to control the message and damage resulting from the “voluntary” resignation of His Beatitude. We also know that he is no longer to be called, His Beatitude, but only His Eminence. We also know that he is barred from stepping foot inside his own (former) Cathedral. One can conclude that if he did, he would be embraced by his flock in a sign of support and love. No, no, we can’t have any of that going on in the OCA, can we?

Since then we know that His Beatitude will only be paid through or until October. No provisions are made for where he will live, nor how he will care for his family. It’s pathetic; the exact opposite of a Christian witness. Who in their right mind would want to join a “Christian” Church that treated one of its own this way? His subscription expires in October and that’s that. The OCA owes him nothing else. All he gets from the OCA is the title Former Archbishop of Washington and Former Metropolitan of All America and Canada. Basically under house arrest on Edmunds Avenue in the District.

Since then we also know that the Metropolitan Council met on Tuesday eveving to finally the plans. That is about all we know. Can’t really know for sure because the doings of the Metropolitan Council are too important for the little people. Did the party line, the prearranged story the MC was expected to rubber stamp not go down so easily? No one really knows, only they know, and they are sworn to secrecy in the new open, transparent and accountable OCA. Probably because of “legal concerns.” Yeah, that’s the ticket. But we will trust them that they do so for the good of the Church, at least the financial good of the Church and for their collective legal assets.

Starting the Spin

Since then we know from those who have gone on the record: Mark Stokoe to the Chicago Tribune, Jonah was removed because he did not follow proper procedures. From Leonid Kishkovsky: Jonah, ruined our relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople, the proof being that Jonah was never invited to Constantinople, even though Kishkovsky worked “tirelessly” to arrange a meeting. Ever since Dallas, we are told by Kishkovsky, it was impossible and although most of us have long forgotten that event, Kishkovsky never did and I am sure he reminded people from here to Moscow and all points around the world about that speech.

But we also know that as late as two weeks ago Jonah travelled to England, with the blessing of Constantinople, visited the EP monastery in Essex and then Met. Kallistos Ware came to the USA and concelebrated with Jonah in his Primatial Cathedral in DC. That sure sounds like bad blood between Bartholomew and Jonah if you ask me [cough, cough]. Maybe our relations were not as bad as reported by Kishkovsky. Maybe Constantinople was sending a signal of an olive branch to the OCA with their gracious and generous gesture. Maybe that gesture was too much for those desiring to keep frozen the relations of the OCA and Constantinople since the Dallas speech.

We can conclude that since Jonah went to England and Met. Kallilstos came to DC, events unfolded quickly. The cancellation of the nominations for a new bishop in the South was our first real indication that something big was about to happen followed in short order by the scheduled Lesser Synod meeting, one week ago today.

What We Still Don’t Know

Our Metropolitan was unceremoniously shown the door a week ago today and we still don’t know why. We still don’t know the nature of the accusations surrounding his departure. We do know that a one-sided story from the OCA has been given to us, but not the real story. Not the Executive Session Story. One week out there may be other stories, other facts, opposing facts to the official story. We also know that the “official” story has not gone down well with the faithful. It certainly doesn’t add up, pass the “smell test” as the modern colloquialism would have it. We know that Jonah can say nothing nor should he. But, others will, they always do.

And, as much as the bishops and the MC in secrecy try to clamp down, the truth always comes out. It’s inevitable. The harder one tries to cover up the real story, the more people will push for the truth. The more a story is spun to justify an action, the more that spin is challenged. The more they go after the messengers, the more you can be assured that people are getting closer to the truth.

Fr. John Jillions reassures us that there was no conspiracy. Sometimes it is very difficult to see things clearly, especially when you are inside the Syosset echo-chamber. To this point, all the information we have received from inside the Apparat has been for those inside it and not outside it. It has been designed to inform without informing and placate not educate. On July 11 Fr. Jillions message to us was titled, “The Hidden Kingdom”, on July 6 “Dealing with Difficult People.”


And today, we are greeted with a glancing mention to the events one week ago today,“In the midst of changes at the top in the OCA, and all the administrative and communication ripples (waves?) that is causing, “normal” life continues as conferences are being planned and announced.” Yes, we must discern what is the wheat and what are the weeds as Fr. Jillions suggests using Christ as the barometer, that is nothing new, but what is new to us is that we are to be reassured that events go in the wake of the resignation of His Beatitude and as that event slowly descends off the front page of the OCA website, as if hardly anything happened, one week ago, today.


  1. Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have Mercy on us sinners.

  2. INTERNET PETITION regarding the forced resignation that was just posted today. Feel free to pass it on to other Orthodox you know–I encourage you also to sign it.

    • Ken Miller says

      I think the petition is incomplete. I would add:

      3. I call for the immediate resignation of ALL Holy Synod Bishops who unanimously demanded Jonah’s resignation, and for the purging of the “Lavender Mafia” from OCA leadership that so despises traditional Orthodoxy and that has mounted such a hateful campaign to oust Jonah over the past few years.

      It is also obvious that Jonah at least deserves to be appointed to the open position over the Diocese of the South. After all, that is the position he gave up in order to become Metropolitan, and it would be a perfect fit.

      The workers of evil hate the light, and prefer to operate under the cover of darkness, meaning the secrecy that has hidden all the unholy activity centered in Syosset over the past number of decades and culminating the the ousting of Jonah. Anyone who knows anything needs to come clean and let the sunlight of truth clean up the administration of our church.

  3. Absolutely disgraceful–no salary after October? I got a better severance package from the non-profit I was reorganized out of. And I was treated exponentially better and more respectfully. A secular non-profit, I should add.


    Lord have mercy on thy servant, the bishop Jonah and his family.

    • What kind of “severence package” did +Theodosius and +Herman get? Does anyone know? Are they still drawing an OCA pension? And what specific reasons did the Synod have for their “voluntary resignation”? It would be good to refresh our standard of comparison.

      • Sasha, I think they both get pensions. Apparently, being elected (and failing miserably) as experienced bishops makes you worthy of Syosset’s gracious providence. Being thrown into the job with zero preparation, being constantly undermined by your own staff, and being threatened and browbeaten into resigning under duress, is worth about four months’ pay.

        • Both Theodosius and Herman were vested in the oca pension plan. Jonah is not vested in the oca pension plan and now awaits what crumbs may fall from his earthly masters table.

  4. Genesis 37:19 “And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.”

  5. Arnoldus Magnus says

    Come now, Mr. Michalopulos and Monomakhos readers, Archpriest John Jillions brings you good news in Thursday’s Chancellor’s Diary:

    And next week, “The Unchurched: How to Reach the Lost, the Lapsed and the Letdown” will be the theme of a webinar conducted by Archpriest Jonathan Ivanoff, Director of Mission and Evangelism of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey, at 8:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, July 18, 2012.

    If you are among the “letdown,” then Syosset loves you and has a wonderful webinar for your life!

  6. Here it is, folks, “the straw that broke the camels back:”

    we also know that as late as two weeks ago Jonah travelled to England, with the blessing of Constantinople, visited the EP monastery in Essex and then Met. Kallistos Ware came to the USA and concelebrated with Jonah in his Primatial Cathedral in DC.

    If he did that without the Lesser Synod’s prior permission, which he was required to get before he could travel or speak anywhere, and if he did it on his own initiative, alone, than it was the final act of “disobedience” by him that they needed to finally get him out of their hair.

    • Elizabeth says

      That is wishful thinking. There was likely something cooked up for +Jonah that was far more poisonous.

      ATTENTION +BENJAMIN! The summer novice program at this monastery needs to be cancelled until more is known about its recent spiritual problems. Protect our older youth!

      In fact, close the monastery until their spiritual problems can be identified and corrected (if possible).

      • I hope the Pokrov ladies get right on this.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Very unlikely. I’ve never been able to figure out what their agenda is, but it is certainly far more complex than just protecting children.

        • Mark from the DOS says

          Pokrov is not an independent unbiased watchdog. They have a story arc and if Manton doesn’t fit it, there won’t be anything made of it. If their favored heirarchs are implicated, there won’t be mention. Somewhere, somehow, Pokrov went off track and a worthy objective turned into a coffee klatch gossip rag, more befitting the supermarket checkout aisles than the serious and weighty space it claims to occupy.

          • Disgusted With It says

            I would still pray that they do the right thing in regard to this Manton mess. Children do visit the monastery. It would be a sin if something happens there in the future and we could have prevented it now.

          • Michael Bauman says

            It was off track from the begining. The ladies don’t want truth, they just want to make everyone feel bad because they do. That’s IMO of course.

          • Rostislav says

            Pokrov NEVER ONCE reported the misdeeds of Stokoe or Theodosius in its “moral” crusades, but even refused to have them put on their site. Pokrov is an agendized left of center site whose intent to sometimes report abuse in the Orthodox Church while using that as a vehicle to attempt to link traditional Orthodoxy to it.

            • Stokoe is openly and unrepentantly gay. Theodosius is believed by very many Orthodox (including me) to be gay and sexually active. I don’t think either one of them has any business being in leadership in the OCA. But neither of them have abused anyone, or been accused of sex crimes. That’s why they haven’t been on Pokrov.

              Be better, Rotislav!

              • Rostislav says

                Haven’t abused anyone? They engaged in a criminal enterprise and robbed the OCA of tens of millions of dollars, chased the majority of believers out of the parishes with their crazy actions and put the OCA into such dire financial straights that today the body is terminal unless immediate and vigorous action is taken to right the ship. Their actions ended up endangering parishes families went hungry and toiled long hours to build.

                You don’t care. You didn’t have a hand in building these parishes. You walked in the door and they were provided for you. Your gay allies enjoy the same luxury.


                You say that didn’t victimize anyone?! Really, save your left of center nonsense for someone who will believe it!

                Let us go further: Stokoe and Theodosius are both still allowed to Commune in the Orthodox Church, despite the FACT they are willful and unrepentant sodomites IN CONTRADICTION OF THE HOLY CANONS.

                Stokoe makes it a point to say that his “lifestyle choice” is “something blessed by GOD and compatible with being an Orthodox Christian, that HOMOSEXUALITY IS NO BARRIER TO LIFE AND EVEN CLERICAL OFFICE IN THE ORTHODOX CHURCH. No Holy Father or Canon is cited here of course, and the Holy Scriptures are dismissed as antiquity “no longer germane”?!

                That seems to be YOUR attitude as well.

                Metropoltians Theodosius and Herman and OTHERS still remain as CLERICS IN CONTRADICTION OF THE HOLY CANONS!


                Pokrov refuses to report this corruption and immorality or detail it. You don’t even want it discussed, because in your poisoned mind Orthodoxy and Sodomy are compatible and the Holy Canons, the Holy Fathers, the Holy Scripture are irrelevent, AND YOU AND POKROV are “better than that.”

                Lucifer was “better” in that way too. I choose CHRIST and HIS Holy Church without adulteration and reject false and immoral defenders of evil and disgusting perversity like yourself. Thank you. Now don’t bother stalking me, but go to Pokrov and enjoy your echo chamber of depravity and cafeteria self worship. No one is going to be burning incense before an idol OF YOU any time soon.

                • Andjelia says

                  Lord have mercy! Rotislav, you have unleashed a torrent of anger on Anorak that seems entirely out of proportion with the five sentences that preceded your tirade, I suspect because you have entirely misconstrued what Anorak said. He said:
                  (1) Stokoe is “openly and unrepentantly gay.”
                  (2) He, Anorak, and very many other Orthodox believe Theodosius “to be gay and sexually active.”
                  (3) He does not think “either one of them has any business being in leadership in the OCA” (and, I might add, they are not).
                  (4) (This idea was somewhat inelegantly expressed and appears to be the basis of your misinterpretation) consensual homosexual relations, while they are sins, do not constitute sexual abuse because they are consensual, and neither are they sex crimes for the same reason. In other words, all sex crimes are sins, but not all sexual sins are sex crimes.
                  (5) Pokrov has fashioned itself as a resource for the survivors of sexual abuse by the Orthodox clergy. It exposes civil sex crimes and civil sexual criminals within the Orthodox Church. Publishing the consensual sexual sins committed by Orthodox clergy and laity is not part of its mission. Since neither Stokoe nor Theodosius have been accused of sex crimes, Stokoe and Theodosius are not hanging on Pokrov’s wall of shame, so to speak.

                  If only as much outrage as you expressed over sodomy were expressed over the sexual abuse of females! Is it less sinful to rape a young girl than a young boy? Is consensual sodomy a greater sin than heterosexual child sexual abuse or rape? I am at a loss as to why some Orthodox Christians want to create a hierarchy of sexual sins that places sodomy at the apex, (or should I say nadir?). I would think we all could agree that child rape and sexual abuse in all it’s forms should garner the greatest outrage, followed by the rape and sexual abuse of adults, female or male. Compared to those, consensual sodomy seems to me a matter of interest only between the sinner, his confessor, and God unless the sinner is a cleric. If he is a cleric, then his sin of sodomy is no different to me than if he committed adultery, which is the one sexual sin expressly forbidden in the Commandments (and which, like sodomy, was punishable by death under the Laws of Moses). Funny how I don’t hear a lot of Sturm und Drang about adultery, but then, we have so many more adulterers than sodomites among us.

                  • Rostislav says

                    The fact that I don’t mention the sexual abuse of young girls in no way means that I condone it, and if these perverts raped women, I would be the first to speak out in their defense.

                    But the fact of the matter is, SODOMY Is a SIN THAT CRIES TO HEAVEN CONDEMNED BY THE CHURCH AND THE CANONS. Certain forms of incest are “consentual”. By your logic then that is fine, right?! SODOMITES CANNOT BE CLERICS IN THE ORTHODOX CHURCH AND ARE BARRED FROM COMMUNION. What part of that do you all seem to keep missing?

                    The FACT REMAINS that the VICTIMS of this GAY MAFIA are the former and current members of the OCA who have been robbed and abused and left to deal with the wreckage their audacity and moral perfidy have created over a period of thirty years. POKROV HAS SAID NOTHING ABOUT THIS AND HAS REFUSED TO REPORT IT with the membership of the OCA being the VICTIMS of people WHO SHOULD NOT BE ORTHODOX CLERGY OR COMMUNING IN ORTHODOX CHURCHES AND INVOLVED IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH BECAUSE THEY ARE PRACTICING HOMOSEXUALS engaged in a spiritual counterfeit. Savvy?

                    • Dr. Strangelove says

                      Rostislav, do you have a girlfriend? I mean, one in real life? Because you sure do protest much. It’s creepy. You stay over there, and don’t stand so close to me.

                    • Wait a minute, Rotislav. You said:

                      “and if these perverts raped women, I would be the first to speak out in their defense (emphasis mine).”

                      Did you really mean to say that, because if you did I cannot begin to tell you how reprehensible I find it.

                      Sodomy is a sin. Period. Incest is a sin. Period. Adultery is a sin. Period. They are all sexual sins, and there is no hierarchy among them. They were all punishable by stoning to death under the Law of Moses. I am not “fine with” any of them as you accuse. I condemn them all equally as sins.

                      But consensual sexual sins are entirely different in nature from sexual violence or abuse, particularly when the violence and abuse is perpetrated against the innocent or the weak in mind or body. If there is to be a hierarchy of sexual sins the worst must be the rape and sexual abuse of children followed by the rape and sexual abuse of adults. All of society condemns these, which is why they are sexual crimes punishable under our criminal laws in addition to being sins.

                      Why is sodomy


                      more so than the rape of either children or adults? Point me to the scripture that says that.

                      Practicing sodomites are indeed barred being clerics in the Orthodox Church and are barred from communion. The same is true for active adulterers. Are the adulterers less sinners than the sodomites? Can we can turn a blind eye to the adulterers, forgive their sexual sins and allow them to continue as clerics because at least they are not homosexuals?

                      Please let me make myself clear: all sex outside of marriage is a sin. Period. And some forms of sexual activity such as masturbation, falatio and cunilingus, even when practiced within a marriage, are also sins. The adulterers should no more be active clergy than the practicing sodomites, nor should the adulterers, clerics nor laity, be given communion. That includes all divorced and remarried Orthodox laity, who by the Lord’s own words are adulterers.

                      As I said earlier, I have yet to hear the same great clamor against the adulterers – or the masturbators, or the other types of sexual sinners – as against the sodomites among our clergy and laity. I am confident this is because they greatly outnumber the sodomites among the “faithful”.


                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Oh good. Andjelia knows HTML.

                    • Hmmmm. Unsurprisingly, I see that adultery has defenders among the Orthodox “faithful”, at least vis-a-vis other sexual sins. Now, why is that? I didn’t know the Lord made distinctions between different forms of fornication.

                    • George, I ask you to go easy on Rostislav, or “ole Rusty”, as some used to call him out West. He’s been around for decades and he’s always completely tiresome when he goes off on one of his spiritual or nationalistic fetishes, such as organs and pews and then loses it with a barrage of All Caps. He did it seemingly forever on the Indiana List, yet the rather strict Father Mark, moderator, did not boot him.
                      I think it’s important to note, in mitigation, that he rarely, if ever, backbites, betrays or slanders ANY individuals, especially by name. He gets carried away on principles and moralizing, but he’s not misanthropic, as some of us are seen to be. He would never, for example, name any of us as Carl just did, as members of a cabal at all, let alone without evidence. He never launches an attack according to the identity, rather than the views, of anyone here, as does Chris, for example, whose knees often jerk most violently when i post something, just because it’s me. So Rostislav is foolish and his tongue is his enemy. Me, too, George! You’ve read his stuff. They really show the extent of his interest. He’ll never get political either way..
                      Some posters are downright misanthropic and get nasty personally. Neither trait is Rostislav’s. He just loses it sometimes. Give him another break or two!

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Andjelica, nobody here is defending adultery. Although since you condemned sodomy, I’m sure that won’t put you in good stead with the Tolerance Mafia. I wonder how Jillions and Kishkovsky are going to answer their overlords about their signing the petition right under Jonah’s name?

                      I imagine it’ll go something like this: “But we had to do it master, the natives were getting restless and besides, it allowed us the cover to stab Jonah in the back.”

    • Do we know he did it without their permission? It was featured on the OCA website, after all.

  7. If he did that without the Lesser Synod’s prior permission, which he was required to get before he could travel or speak anywhere, and if he did it on his own initiative, alone, than it was the final act of “disobedience” by him that they needed to finally get him out of their hair.

    That’s a good catch, PdnNJ. Why would Met. Jonah do this, knowing that they were just looking for anything they could get to get rid of him? Did he forget, or did he have a “death wish”? Maybe +Matthias and +Michael felt that they couldn’t defend him anymore, even if they wanted to.

    I will admit that I’m actually glad he did it for whatever reason. It was humiliating and weird to have the Metropolitan treated like a prisoner and a child. I’m tired of this drama. I want it to end. We all knew it was going to get to this point sooner or later, and I would rather have it sooner, because now we have to face reality, not this b.s. environment where they all tell each other that they’re brothers in Christ and all that, knowing that the truth is they hated him. At least now we can all operate in a more honest environment. It’s horrible, but we know where we stand better than we did two weeks ago. I’m sick and tired also of Jonah not standing up to these guys. If he’s going to allow himself to be pushed around by them, knowing he’s not guilty of anything, then he should have resigned a long time ago. We can’t have the church run like this. I supported Jonah’s election, and I think he should not have been removed as Metropolitan, but we couldn’t go on in a Cold War like this.

    I look for the OCA to break up. I used to think that would be a disaster, but now I don’t that’s such a bad thing either. We can’t govern ourselves. We have proved that.

    • Nicholas Sandoukas says

      Not all Schisms are Bad.

    • Dan Fall says

      The difference between this site and the gay guy’s site (to use words you’ll understand) is noone there wanted the OCA to break up or even considered it likely without getting slammed by the editor. He would never allow it to go unmentioned.

      The OCA will fall apart for resigning Jonah?

      duh….How silly..

      After your own evangelism George, how can you let it go without a word?

      Another neg rating for me and a reality check for you. Talk about an odd dialogue.

      • Mark from the DOS says

        The gay guy’s site wanted to preserve the OCA as their haven of perversion within Orthodoxy. Thus any suggestion that their agenda could undo the OCA was verboten! Dan, the OCA is a 30,000 member blip on the Orthodox radar screen. It is not THE church. This jurisdiction could die with the faithful safely ensconced in the true Church in other jurisdictions and Orthodoxy would hardly look different than it does today. While nobody wants to see a failed American church, that is not the same thing as the failure of the Church in America.

        • Dan Fall says

          Oh, bullkaka.

          The gay guy never promoted homosexuality on his site. The gay card got played hard by the bishops as a way to get him to stop reporting all the dirt. And his site was about accountability, but that can get nitpicky, too.

          The other site was about the financial scandal. Mark made a mistake of not quitting sooner because so many fools can’t remember that forest for the Jonah tree. Even you now try to suggest the OCA as a perversion haven for gays amongst world Orthodoxy and fashioned by Stokoe? That is some wild hookah, man-I wrongly called it koolaid earlier.

          Nobody ever picks on pokrov, but have you ever recognized the Metropolitan is named on that site with a reported alias (his name before Orthodoxy I presume), and, more importantly, he is falsely tied to a request for continuation of the priesthood for a sex offender? Are they promoting a perversion haven, too? How come noone here is talking about him landing on pokrov? The leader of the OCA on pokrov- pretty nice, huh?

          How many members in Turkey?

          What color is the sun in your world?

          • Dan, apparently you stopped reading Stokoe’s website at the end. It is still there if you wish to check it out. If it is ever edited, Helga has printed hard copies on file to document everything (right Helga? I believe that was what you said your practice was a year or more ago).

            His promotion was not militant on the site, but promotion none-the-less. His presence as one of the top leaders in the church was also promotion, and there are many on both sides of the issue who would view it that way.

            • Mark from the DOS says

              Dead on accurate. Promotion was not over the top, but it was there and obvious to any who cared to read.

          • Anonymously posting disgusting sexual imagery in defense of the Metropolitan? I find that humorous and sad both.

            I’m not sure you “know squat”, because if you need to be anonymous to defend someone; you ain’t defending anyone but yourself. And you certainly aren’t helping Jonah in this fashion.

            I understood the ear canal was the place that was trendy anyhow…no, no, that was Family Guy, but talk about digress. My original comment was to beatback the utter nonsense that Mark’s site was about sexuality; it wasn’t. When the Metropolitan played the gay card (and he did), a careful viewer would see Mark shut the site down. Frankly, the gay card got played due to Stokoe’s continued foray into publicly reporting OCA dirt; nothing else happened folks.

            Mark would have never allowed such a vulgar post either. Plenty of heterosexuals engage in similar behavior, but again, the ship is spinning way off.

            The OCA is right to set a new course.

            • You are right, Daniel Fall, the OCA is setting a new course, no doubt about that and it may be you and Stokoe, Brown and Bobosh will be are left in the new OCA as it follows the way of the ECUSA to oblivion.

              The fact that folks in the Midwest, including your hero Stokoe are now upset with +Matthias because he is bringing order from disorder in the Midwest speaks volumes. The clergy and laity were able to run amok for years under +Job, while +Job was led by the nose by Stokoe. The “Free Men” spirit ran very deep there and now a bishop is simply trying to do his job and in response is a whining Stokoe and a few priests who want to back to the good old days when they could do whatever they wanted.

              Who gives a flying farling what the discredited Mark Stokoe has to say? It would not surprise me if he revives his OCAN so he can defend his honor as the egotistical sort he is.

              BTW, if you find gay sex humorous that might explain your reluctance to think that there is anything wrong and unnatural about it. Ah, yes, the Free Men of the Midwest.

            • Daniel,
              The “gay card” was played long ago. It was played when then Archbishop Herman was tasked by Metropolitan Theodosius to approach Mark Stokoe, the then Youth Director of the OCA and suggest to him that he resign from that position, rather than be asked to be removed, causing a discussion of why he was removed. Mark Stokoe then DID voluntary submit his resignation.

              WHY was Mark encouraged thus to resign? Complaints from some occasional visitors to the Chancery, some of them bishops, that the Youth Director’s appearance and manners were such as to make many people question his appropriateness for working with YOUTHS. This was at the height of the AIDS panic years. Mark was “bouncing around” the Chancery in tight white t-shirts and equally tight levis with, “strategically placed” bleach spots” and “strategically placed” rips and tears…you know, “the West Hollywood” picture. Whether or not there was a panic by closeted people or not is irrelevant: the result was that Mark had to leave his fun job and go back to Ohio, to make a home with Steve. Mark did not like being asked to leave.
              Mark got his own back. Q.E.D. So, Dan, your remark “the gay card got played due to Stokoe’s continued foray into publicly reporting OCA dirt” needs some qualification. The “gay card” started it all; it was ab ovo.

            • Jane Rachel says

              Daneil Fall wrote, “Mark would have never allowed such a vulgar post either.”

              Heat has your head even more muddled than usual. You didn’t mind the vulgar and mean-spirited, twisted and destructive comments made on his site (NOT blessed by his bishop, oh no, never!), all those awful, untrue things directed at named people? Want to take a memory trip through the archives to refresh your memory? I didn’t think so.

            • Dan Fall says

              So, let me get this straight, pun intended.

              A p.o.’ed gay guy is responsible for taking down two Metropolitans so he can set a new gay agenda for the OCA. This agenda avenges the guy and sets a new course for the OCA; one that blesses sodomy.

              Freakin wow.

              No wonder Jonah is done.

              With fans like you guys, he didn’t have a prayer.

              George had the only decent response to such vulgarity and silliness.

              As for me understanding gay sex and the implications; they forwarded the message years ago with the pride notions. It was an unneeded post, pure and simple.

              As for Mark’s character; I have found it to be pretty decent, although I didn’t appreciate a few edits he made to my posts. George might call me a Stokovite, but it is an unfair characterization. I actually asked Mark when he was going to shut the site off shortly after Jonah’s elevation (in a pvt email). I was glad he did.

              So many of you in George’s echo chamber fall into one logic stream…

              Go ahead Jane, let’s take that walk. Find me a post as vulgar as [sic] ‘don’t know squat”s in the archives and I’ll eat the paper its written on. If not, you can eat your post, no pun intended.

              The anonymous posters on Mark’s site were not always kind and always willing to misbehave.

              • Monk James says

                As far as I can tell from this post, Daniel Fall has seriously misunderstood almost all of the issues at work in Met. Jonah’s forced retirement.

              • Jane Rachel says

                I don’t want to, Daniel, the one I have in mind is too offensive. I don’t care if you eat the paper or not. I’m sick enough about this without having to eat paper.

                • But, Dan, why do you give a pass to Mark and Steve? He is now stirring up trouble again in the Midwest against +Matthias who is trying to restore some sense of order in the diocese. A firm and fatherly hand is being styled as “oppressive” and heavy-handed.

              • Dan Fall says

                You, sir, are an idiot and now a liar as well.

              • Dan Fall says

                And one more thing…

                I have never been for gay marriage. I don’t believe the government ought to allow marriage to result in unequitable treatment of persons.

                I worked my tail off for a company for years; finally I asked why no promotion, and was told (honestly), well, you aren’t married. They actually might have thought I was gay, but I don’t know. I just know I was clearly discriminated against.

                From my perspective, marriage ought not result in any extra benefits. No politician has the cajones to say this and upset the applecart of married persons.

                Instead, we have the push for gay marriage. In my view, it is a two wrongs still ain’t right proposition. It is why I also won’t vote for ban legislation.

                But, if two gay people want to get married at the Church of Lenova’s Coven; I couldn’t give a damn. Drunkards are a sad lot, too.

                It’d be freedom of religion without government involvement-last time I heard, that was sort of US like.

                So, don’t credit me for condoning sodomy. I don’t. Find it pitiful.

                That said, there have been contributions to society by gays, so they aren’t as horrid as you describe.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Daniel, companies prefer married men because civilization does. Marriage harnesses masculine aggressiveness into positive outcomes. Any idiot with half a brain knows that. In societal terms, young, single men are “rogues,” regardless of their sexual practices.

      • Sub-Deacon David says

        The “gay guy’s site” doesn’t want the OCA to break up, and jumps on anyone suggesting it, is because they know that what will be left when the traditionalist leave will not be enough to play their ego building games with. It is the reason the leaders of the ECUSA don’t want churches to leave, or the PCUSA, or a host of others that have invented a new religion but kept using Christian terminology in order to keep money flowing.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Dan, nobody wants the OCA to fall. Least of all the Synod. Unfortunately, it will fall, or just whimper along as the joke of American Orthodoxy.

        Having said that, of course Stokoe didn’t want the OCA to fall, or for it to change what it believed about abortion, homosexuality, etc. Those were his own words btw. He didn’t want to homosexualize the OCA a la ECUSA because then it would rile the masses to fight it.

    • Catherine says


      I respectfully have to disagree with you. The role of metropolitan is not to fly around and do whatever he feels is correct. His role is to help speak for the church as a whole. Perhaps you are not aware of Metropolitan Jonah’s unapproved trips over the past several years. He cost the OCA many thousands of dollars in unapproved travel expenses. But more importantly he was a constant strain on all of the other bishops because he wouldn’t sit still and continued to speak off the cuff. He was neither a child nor a prisoner as you have suggested; he was, however, the head of an autocephalous church and that means working with your brother bishops — which he refused to do. If he really felt that he was a prisoner and was being treated as a child, it was of his own making. Again, perhaps you are not aware of the history over the past several years but there have been numerous “interventions” to try and get Metropolitan Jonah to stay with the program.

      You mentioned an honest environment in your post. Okay, let’s talk brutal honesty: who exactly do you see as being dishonest in this? Which bishop or member of the metropolitan council do you see as being dishonest? From my vantage point I see a church trying to prop up a loose canon who arrogantly refused to listen to the people around him. No, it wasn’t malicious. In fact, it was downright kind to let him continue to parade around and wast resources like moving to Washington just so that he could play the role big cheese in Washington. By the way, how did he do in Washington? How about that big expansion plan at the cathedral? Did it happen? No. What happened to a permanent dean? Sorry, that didn’t happen either? How are his plans to build a monastery in Washington? I’m sorry, that died on the vine as well. How much did the OCA faithful pay for people like Frs. Jillions and Tosi to run to Washington? Zero? I don’t think so.

      On one point I will agree with you, the OCA chose him and there is no going back. He rightfully deserves some financial compensation. He uprooted his life and tried to dedicate himself to the role of metropolitan and he deserves some fair compensation. He is not eligible for a full pension in the OCA as far as I know and even if he was, it would be a paltry sum.

      It does, however, still amaze me that Metropolitan Jonah did what he did. He had one of the greatest positions one could ask for in the church. He could have done an Archbishop Peter and simply hunkered down and done nothing for a few more years and yet he threw it all away. Even if he hated everyone on the Holy Synod and the Metropolitan Council, he could have sat politely and nodded through every meeting and then gone off and served Liturgy at his cathedral. And yet he threw it all away. Hmmm ….

      • Michael Livosky says

        Catherine, you have got to be kidding me with some of your comments. You MUST be an insider or have some affiliation with those on the Synod and MC that you only see it THEIR way.

        “The role of metropolitan is not to fly around and do whatever he feels is correct. His role is to help speak for the church as a whole.” Is he supposed to do the latter from behind his desk or in his Cathedral only???? Unapproved travel expenses???? Really???? Is there no one in Syosset who could just say, NO???? I find it hard to believe that he comes in to work one day and says “oh yeah, i’m going here, then there, then everywhere this week.”

        “Again, perhaps you are not aware of the history over the past several years but there have been numerous “interventions” to try and get Metropolitan Jonah to stay with the program. ” Please explain to me what the “program” is???? THERE IS NO PROGRAM, that should be very apparent to EVERYONE. Numerous interventions….ooooooh, you mean the one’s they FORCED upon him because he was willing to look beyond the secrecy of the Synod/MC???? Gotcha!!!

        “Okay, let’s talk brutal honesty: who exactly do you see as being dishonest in this? Which bishop or member of the metropolitan council do you see as being dishonest? ” Ok, where do I start. How bout the entire Synod AND MC. Did you not read the emails here and on other websites that CLEARLY showed the plot against him???? Remember??? Stokoe, Sokolov and that group…..Stokoe even provided the emails on HIS website. There is your proof of dishonesty and you can’t question a single bit of it.

        “It does, however, still amaze me that Metropolitan Jonah did what he did.” WHAT DID HE DO???? Everything I’ve read, with one exception…..his lack of administrative skill, has been positive. That’s why he has an MC and a staff at the chancery. He’s done things (serving and praying with other ethnicities) that NO Metropolitan has done. Why is THAT such a bad thing????

        “He could have done an Archbishop Peter and simply hunkered down and done nothing for a few more years and yet he threw it all away. Even if he hated everyone on the Holy Synod and the Metropolitan Council, he could have sat politely and nodded through every meeting and then gone off and served Liturgy at his cathedral.” Now there’s a novel idea; just sit there Your Beatitude, shut up and color. Yeah, that’s what I want/expect the leader of my church to do. And better yet, near the end….that’s EXACTLY what the Synod MADE him do.

      • Interesting Catherine. You ask how he did in DC? He had more interference in his own diocese from other bishops than he could keep up with. He had people connected to the other Bishops, the MC, & S from within his own Cathedral tattle-telling on him, screaming at him, pressing him at every move-And what did he do-try to appease them, love them, forgive their horrible actions towards him. . . I wish he wouldn’t have, but then he’d have to be someone else to do that and he is much-loved because is like that. Did he do things I wish he wouldn’t have-yes! But things to step down for-NO! He started out right in the Cathedral, but he was so attacked and the parish suffered so much, people were/are confused, they didn’t and still don’t know who to believe. You are wholly unreasonable in your assessment of him and the situation. This is unbearable!

        • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

          I would add that he had nothing to do with the cathedral’s expansion project, which was already dead at his arrival. His decision to move Fr. Joseph Fester to DC would have done a lot of good — if it hadn’t coincided with Santa Fe and the first attempt to overthrow the Metropolitan, and if a certain bishop hadn’t violated federal law by stealing and distributing Fr. Joseph’s private emails.

          I do think he traveled too much, but I don’t know that he traveled more than +Herman or +Theodosius, and when he was new, some extra travel made sense so people could get to know him.

          And how much sense does it make for a bishop to work from an office outside his diocese?

      • Rostislav says


        How is it a Metropolitan doesn’t ***RULE*** his eparchy in your RENOVATIONIST model but is subject to the whims of -ahem- SUBORDINATES. THEY DEFINITELY HAVE NO BUSINESS CENSORING WHAT HE SAYS!!!

        If he travelled or whatever, to the victor the spoils… You don’t have the authority to remove a consecrated Metropolitan on those grounds!

        Moreover, what about the gay shananigans of SO MANY members of your prized not so “holy” Synod. There there ARE DEFINITELY CANONICAL GROUNDS FOR THEIR DEPOSITION. FORMENTING REBELLION AGAINST A LAWFUL HIERARCH BEING ONE OF THEM WHICH also would call for YOUR excommmunicaton.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          Our diocesan bishops, members of the Holy Synod, are not ruled by our Metropolitan. That may be the case in other local churches, but in the OCA we do have a conciliar form of governance that is solidly based on Canon 34 and the Russian Church’s 1917-1918 Tikhonian Reforms.

          Canon 34 ““The bishops of every nation must acknowledge him who is first among them and account him as their head, and do nothing of consequence without his consent but neither let him (who is the first) do anything without the consent of all; for so there will be unanimity …“ This is usually interpreted to mean the diocesan bishops have a lot of latitude in governing their dioceses except when they want to do something that may change praxis too much or affect the entire “national” or local church. Conversely, because the diocesan bishop who is the first among them (or the Metropolitan/Patriarch/Archbishop as the usage may be), speaks for the whole local church and because, as the Metropolitan, he has more influence with the secular authorities and other local churches, he must not to anything that affects the Church without the consent of all–that is when he is acting in his capacity as Metropolitan and not just another diocesan bishop.

          Here is a link to the OCA Statute. Enjoy, it is good reading.

          • Rostislav says

            I think that fanciful interpretation says it all about your Renovationism which does not even rise above facile deception.

            A hierarch is “enthroned” as “Metropolitan” to “guide” or “rule” a see and if he be a Primate, he is the “chief overseer” or “Master” of his flock and of, now pay attention, B-I-S-H-O-Ps. That is what the Canon you quote says. That is why we call him “Vladyko,” ie “MASTER.”

            He certainly IS NOT some sort of whipping boy of his Synod, but acts as its CEO, to whom this Synod answers.

            Such was the case, indeed, with St. Tikhon, who many times in the cases of Renovationists like you placed Bishops under interdict and removed them for schism, rebellion and apostasy.

            Let us go one further: the All Russian Sobor of 1917 – 1918 called for white, black and LAY participation in matters of church governance, which INCLUDED the installation and deposition of hierarchs, principally chief hierarchs. By your own example you condemn yourself and your Renovationist unlawful assembly by shouting they IGNORED this Synod in the UNCANONICAL REMOVAL of Metropolitan Jonah BY NOT CONSULTING THE LAITY.

            Are you really this disingenuous or are you simply being obtuse in your heretical Renovationism?!

            • Carl Kraeff says

              It appears that you and I will never agree; we look at the same facts and you interpret it much differently than I. Yelling “renovationist” to me does nothing to enhance your reputation, except perhaps in your own eye. But, if that makes you feel the defender of the faith, responding as it were to “Встань за Веру, Русская Земля!,” go for it.

              • Rostislav says

                I use the word “Renovationist” to accurately characterize the fact the your mindset and approach is uncanonical, unpatristic, unscriptural, at odds with the ecclesiology and piety of the Orthodox Church, being iconoclastic, making you a heretic. So, no, there is not a moral equivalence between us.

                Pious and observant is not the same as impious and sacriledgious. Sorry.

                Right now we are talking about Orthodox America, not Russia, but it is clear by your attitude you betray either on a whim and that indicts you as the odious Renovationist you seem to want to deny you are. I am rising for Orthodox America to put Renovationism down here.

                • Carl Kraeff says

                  Lookie here pardner, we are finally of the same mind: “Встань за Веру, Aмериканский православный люди!” (I hope that I got this right using Google translate)

                  It is hard to be serious with you but I will try. You remind me of the CPSU fellow with whom I had an argument over the Vietnam War back in 1965. No matter what I said, he repeated a party line that always ended by calling me a fascist. Again, if you get a kick out of calling me renovationist, be my guest. As for me, to slightly paraphrase Cole Porter, I get no kick out of you, and bid you adieu.

            • Rostislav,

              Permit me to support your position by stating clearly that the Russian term “Vladyka” translates directly as “The One Who Rules,” and not as “The Flunky Figurehead Who We Kick Around For Our Own Ammusement.”

              I have met +JONAH on several occasions. I have spoken with him. I have heard him preach. I have seen him serve. I never had any problem whatsoever with him as a Bishop or as a Metropolitan.

              • Carl Kraeff says

                That is so interesting! (sarcasm off). Dear Sasha–You are aware, aren’t you that any bishop is called vladyka, despota or master?

                • Rostislav says

                  Who is also under his own “Vladyka” or is he a self ruled vagante?!

                  And he is called “Vladyko” properly because the Vocative “form” (in Russian) or case (in Slavonic) is used for titles of address. Vladyka is commonly translated as “Master,” but whose root means “rule”.

                  • Carl, there is no such thing as “the Russian Church’s 1917-1918 Tikhonian Reforms.”
                    Archbishop Tikhon of Moscow was head of the pre-conciliar Liturgical Commission, which considered a whole load of suggestions for liturgical reform such as those endlessly and obsessively cited by those who apparently need them as having been submitted by diocesan bishops. Archbishop Tikhon and committee chairman disapproved EVERY ONE of them except the calendar reform.
                    No parishes except, I believe, the Dormition Cathedral in the Kremlin, were represented at all, not by their rectors and not by any “equal number of laity.” Archbishop Tikhon of Moscow had experience of ruling ONE diocese in America, and he brought back to Russia a way to organize the DIOCESES like the American diocese was organized. He did NOT bring back any suggestions nor did he implement any reforms in the administration of The Church of Russia or in its Councils. The DIOCESES’ organization underwent changes, some of them based on the North American experience. The organization of the Church of Russia was changed mainly by the re-introduction of the Patriarchy, and ,even more importantly, by the elimination of the Emperor. Parishes had no voice whatsoever in the election of the Patriarch, no voice whatsoever. The diocesan bishops and the representatives of other national institutions and monasteries were represented and they did not elect anyone. They nominated three candidates and the Patriarchal Throne was filled by the same method as Judas’s seat amongst the Twelve was filled; by prayerful gambling, i.e., by lot.

                    Only a vicar, Bishop is “under” another Bishop. NO Diocesan Bishop is “under” the First Hierarch. All Bishops call each other “Vladyka” in Russian, or the Church Slavonic vocative (which Russian does not have) “Vladyko.” Metropolitan Anastassy or Metropolitan Leonty, for example,fairly often addressed this or that other Archbishop or Bishop as “Vladyka” or “Vladyko”.

                    ROCOR was always organized in a way as much reflective of “the reforms of 1917” as were the Metropolias of New York and Paris; in some respects more. NOTHING whatsoever in the history of the Russian Church was EVER decided by popular vote or by any convention of parishes or their representatives. How could some parishes interfere in the affairs of other parishes not even under their own bishop, if their bishop could not?

      • Sub-Deacon David says

        Ah, yes, just be a figurehead and play the “professional clergy” game. This truly is a despicable attitude. That it would be presented so forthrightly as a positive thing is telling.

  8. This whole episode (or series of episodes) is so shameful and discouraging. It shows, in my opinion, how immature the Orthodox presence is here in America. And yet so many folks see “independence” as the prize for our eyes. We’re fools and knaves.

  9. G. Georgevich says

    Since the whole affair doesn’t pass the smell test, might I propose this:

    Faithful (and clergy) mail the Chancellor (and the priest Kishkovsky) CLOTHESPINS – something they can use to pin their nostrils in the stink of this mess.

    Sounds like an ideal, effective silent protest to me…

    Imagine if they each got one a day for a month, or two, or twelve…?!

  10. Rostislav says

    Hate to say it, folks, as it will hurt, but I think we need to close the check books and see how they get on without our money. I simply can’t see +Benjamin working for a living or paying the bills, nor +Nikon, not even the sacrosanct and aloof new overlords at the Vatra.

    Cut off their money and they have to play ball.

    I think it is time for cleaning house.

    • Indeed. My own check is (really) in the mail to His Beatitude. Forgive me for the sin of pride as I wish to draw no attention to myself but I cannot be a hypocrite and if my admission encourages others, then all the better.

      • Rostislav says

        And I hate to say this but Metropolitan Jonah either has to 1). “take this to the people” and have a spiritual court called and unload. OR 2). Go into exile and find a see with maybe ROCOR or the MP like ROCOR – Australia or NY or MP Sourozh. My loyalties remain with the OCA, but I understand why people need to “straighten out their affairs.”

        • +MJ, i would think, would never take it to the people–he forgives, a lot! Ive seen people/clergy treat him badly, but the next week, he would get up in front of the congregation and tell everyone how wonderful these people/clergy are.

          • Rostislav says

            You know, when he was told once upon a time that he “wasn’t cut out to be a monk,” he struggled with it over a decade. He kept on growing in Orthodoxy and he finally decided to get a second opinion and he became a monk. When he was told “he should not go to ROCOR but to stick it out in the OCA and make his formation a bulwark for Orthodox observance in the OCA,” he was hurt at first, but he ended up taking the advice. When he had his disagreements with Fr. Meyendorff, he rose to the challenge and saw the value of learning everything he could from Fr. John in the paradigm as it was set and he became the better for it. He has a history of “rising to challenges.” That history, however, has only seen him “move forward” when he did indeed assert himself and act. He needs to do that now in the best way that he can.

  11. Fr. Philip says

    When Metroploitan Jonah was elected Primate, he had had absolutely no experience as a parish priest (dealing with sometimes-fractious people, as opposed to monastics who freely, deliberately, and willingly embrace a life of obedience) and no experience as a ruling bishop. Yet he was elected on a wave of emotion as some sort of “saviour” of the OCA. In other words, the Holy Synod, which performs the canonical election, set him up to fail; and every time he seemed to be drowning in his new responsibilities, they threw him an anchor. Did he make mistakes? More than one cares to count. Should this come as a surprise? Hardly. But ultrimate responsibility falls on the Synod which elected him. That same Synod has a moral obligation to inform us, the lower clergy and faithful, (if they ever hope to regain our trust in their competence) of precisely what “…unorthodox belief, breaches of canonical or moral discipline…” (Statute, Article XI,3) the Metropolitan was guilty, that they should unanimous demand his resignation as Primate.

    This is now the third Metropolitan in 10 years who’s been forced to resign. Starting to look like a job lot.

    • Fr. Philip, actually, Metropolitan Jonah did have experience as a parish priest. He started and served missions in Northern California, and he was chaplain for a few women’s monasteries, so he did have a good amount of pastoral experience outside his own monastery. Other than that, I think your point stands.

    • Fr Philip,

      From whom did the “wave of emotion” come? Was it from the laity, and the bishops acquiesced? Was it from the bishops? Was it everybody at once? This is a genuine question, as I was not there. But I remember hearing people say after he was elected that it was such a great moving of the Holy Spirit.

      All of this makes it easy for me to be cynical about these sorts of things. Perhaps it was just several human bishops, who, feeling trapped and not-too-popular with the laity (apparently they were booed when they first came out?), picked someone who would distract the people for a while. After the decision had been made, it appears they came to the conclusion, “Man, we really don’t like this guy.”

      It also seems unbelievable that, if Jonah was “gravely troubled,” that no one knew about it on the day of his election. Instead of raising questions, the person(s) who knew this might be a rough ride shut their mouths, hoping it would work out.

      When the next Metropolitan is picked, it will not be the work of the Holy Spirit. It will be a human calculation, with some amount of risk and some amount of hope, that this person won’t be a nightmare for the church. Anything more trumped up will look, to me, like just another case of spiritual abuse and manipulation.

      • I also think I’m curious about who started the “wave of emotion” because I’m partly angry at myself for believing the hype. I think I’m more gullible, as a convert, to some of the amazing things that happen in church (weeping icons, etc), and there was no one trustworthy that said, “Hey, wait a minute, this might not be our best option” at the actual scene of the crime/election.

        • I share your self-criticism on this matter, to a point. I found Jonah’s speech to be electric. Finally, after so many lies and evasions from the Synod and Syosset, a bishop stood there and simply spoke the truth about what the Church had gone through. At that moment, we were desperate for a bishop who was clean. A leader we could believe in. Jonah was it. The greatest qualification was that we have a good and strong man in there. I say “strong,” because while I believe that Archbishop Dmitri of the DOS was a good man, he was too weak and compromising. When I heard Jonah speak those words, I knew he was good, and I thought he was strong. You would have to be strong to have the courage to talk like that at an AAC, wouldn’t you? Or so I thought.

          I was wrong about that, but I’m not going to beat myself up too bad over it. He might have succeeded if the Synod had gotten behind him and helped him through the inevitable errors he was bound to make, given his inexperience. Jonah had something you can’t buy, and none of them had: credibility and charisma. In a perfect world, they would have worked with him like real brothers, correcting him as he got out of line, but also realizing that some things in the church had to change, as painful as it must have been for members of the old guard. Jonah made some serious mistakes, but as far as I can tell him mistakes were forgivable and fixable. He was not tainted by the moral corruption of the previous regime. The Synod forgave him none of these.

          So now we are back at square one. Jonah is history, but the Synod doesn’t seem to understand how we got here. I find it very hard to imagine any of those men as Metropolitan. Outside of the South and the West, the OCA has been dying for a long time. Jonah represented new life and new hope. That’s gone. Now we will get some dull greybeard who will rock no boats for the established powers, and win no hearts. He will say uncontroversial things, and nobody will notice. The best we can hope for is that he’s not a sexually active gay man, and not a crook. And if our children remain Orthodox into adulthood, maybe there will be another jurisdiction for them to join, because ours is going the way of the dodo.

          • sC, SteveL, et al: you know, I’ve been re-thinking this whole meme of Jonah’s supposed administrative incomepetence. In reality, he never had the tools or resources needed to be an effective administrator. The tired old cliche of “he should have lived in Syosset where the central administration was” isn’t really working for me because there’s no guarantee that they would have wanted him there if by being there he was going to force them to support his mission, which was to engage the culture and preach the Gospel.

            What reinforces this for me is that they made no effort to relocate at least part of their apparatus to Washington to assist him there. They had no desire to understand that he took his job as Archbishop of Washington seriously. This shows that they were still wedded to the defunct Metropolia model. This works for the Greeks and the Antiochians but not for an autocephalous church.

            • To me, what’s important now is “How do we keep it from happening again?” People are hurting and want to talk about it, with very little information to learn from. Until then, I’m going to focus on the “what”, and try to accept how things are today. “God grant me the serenity..” and all that.

              • It isn’t going to happen again immediately, because the new Metropolitan is going to be ancien-regime-compliant — the Synod will be sure of that. So the issue will persist, but be tabled for a while due to having a CA and MC “obedient” Metropolitan. In the meantime, many people will migrate to other Orthodox jurisdictions, shrinking the OCA gradually, continuing the trend we have seen in the past few decades.

                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  There was a saying, I believe by Tallyrand, which described the Bourbon restoration after the Terror and Napoleon’s First Empire: “They forgot nothing, they learned nothing.”

                  Say goodnight, Syosset.

            • Mark from the DOS says

              I will say this yet again, Since when is administrative efficiency the hallmark of a spiritual leader? If we are to be led only by businessmen, let’s rewrite the statute and require an MBA and secular management experience for the metropolitan’s position. I would hope (pray) that spiritual depth, personal integrity and the ability to rightly divide the word of Truth are far more important qualities in an metropolitan than their current Powerpoint skills or committee management abilities.

              This is what a central administration is for (one would think). We need(ed) a spiritual leader who was free to put in place an administrative staff that would help him communicate his spiritual vision and lead. Does anyone believe Met. Jonah ever had that?

              • Gems like this one from the latest Chancellor’s Diary might be worth what he’s getting paid:

                We’ve all had a tough, busy week here at the Chancery but the OCA “canoe” hasn’t capsized. I used the image of a canoe earlier in the week and one of my friends said that was entirely too peaceful an analogy. It was more like an ambulance going the wrong way on a busy one-way street in New York City!

                Emphasis added.

                Every once in a while, a little truth slips out.

            • Monk James says

              Geo Michalopulos says (July 13, 2012 at 8:00 am):

              ‘sC, SteveL, et al: you know, I’ve been re-thinking this whole meme of Jonah’s supposed administrative incomepetence. In reality, he never had the tools or resources needed to be an effective administrator. The tired old cliche of “he should have lived in Syosset where the central administration was” isn’t really working for me because there’s no guarantee that they would have wanted him there if by being there he was going to force them to support his mission, which was to engage the culture and preach the Gospel.

              ‘What reinforces this for me is that they made no effort to relocate at least part of their apparatus to Washington to assist him there. They had no desire to understand that he took his job as Archbishop of Washington seriously. This shows that they were still wedded to the defunct Metropolia model. This works for the Greeks and the Antiochians but not for an autocephalous church.’


              As bishop of Washington DC, Met. Jonah was required by the canons to reside within the boundaries of his own eparchy. He didn’t have to live in DC itself, but he certainly could not have his primary residence on Long Island NY.

              But there were also personal feelings and preferences and other concerns to consider all around.

              Moving the chancery or at least some of its functions and functionaries to DC would have been efficient in several ways, provided that there was a physical place for them there. Until such arrangements are made, it’s probably better for all concerned that the primate occasionally ommute to Syosset when his physical presence is needed there, no more and no less than the other bishops and MC members, etc., who could — if it were a good idea — meet just about anywhere they agreed on.

          • Ronda Wintheiser says

            I wasn’t there at +JONAH’s election.

            However, I remember this:

            “Great Lent was rich in spiritual blessings this year. Great Lent began with a Lenten retreat, hosted by St Herman’s and Christ the Savior Orthodox Mission Parish in Anoka on Saturday, March 15. The guest speaker was Fr Jonah Paffhausen, abbot of St John Monastery (OCA) in Manton, California. Fr Jonah addressed the participants on Orthodox evangelism or missions. An Orthodox community is established in the Spirit of Christ as the faithful support each other on the inner journey of repentance, each one of the faithful working to root out of oneself all those angers and fears that rob one of love for God and neighbor. Orthodox Evangelism is rooted in the experience of divine forgiveness and the ability through the grace of God to forgive others. By confronting one’s own sins and overcoming them in the grace of Christ, one begins to radiate the love of God, which is what draws people who are seeking genuineness and love. This is the heart of Orthodox evangelism.

            The day after the Lenten retreat led by Fr Jonah was the first Sunday of Great Lent. This is called the Sunday of Orthodoxy. On this Sunday, the faithful commemorate the restoration of holy icons in the worship of the Church by the holy fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council in 787, and again in 841. The icon is a form of religious art that follows strict canons so that it is historically and theologically faithful to its holy subjects: Christ, the Theotokos (Mother of God or the Blessed Virgin Mary) and the saints, in whom God rests. The holy fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council called holy icons “mirrors,” suggesting that they reflect the spiritual realities of the “Kingdom of Heaven within you.” The icon is critical to Orthodox worship and theology because it affirms the reality of the Incarnation. Those who deny the veneration of icons in effect deny the Incarnation of God the Word.

            “Traditionally, the Orthodox parishes throughout the Twin Cities area come to St Mary’s Cathedral in NE Minneapolis to celebrate Orthodoxy Sunday together at the service of Lenten Vespers. Fr Jonah Paffhausen was the guest homilist.”

   (Scroll way down to see photos, etc.)

            I wouldn’t say his talks were electrifying. But they were beautiful in their humility and grace and joy. His exhortations were full of hope and a clarity and simplicity of a vision of what it really means to be and live as an Orthodox Christian. He made you want to repent and pray.

            Later when I learned of his back to back elections, it didn’t surprise me one bit. It made sense.

            I don’t see why we have to say, in retrospect, that His Beatitude’s election was NOT the moving of the Holy Spirit and attribute it to an emotional high of some kind.

            I don’t believe that for a minute. That is, for me, what makes the secrecy surrounding the action of the Synod so inappropriate.

            • If he truly wasn’t the right person for the job, and not all the facts were available, I can only conclude that yes, it was an emotional high of some kind.

          • Disgusted With It says

            The fact is that most, if not all, of the members of the synod DID NOT like +Jonah’s speech at the AAC before his election. But they thought they could win over the people (ie, silence their critics) by electing him and figured he was young and inexperienced enough that they could “help mold” him into what they think he should be. But when they found he wasn’t such a pushover they started to get worried and decided he had to go — “for the good of the OCA”, of course.

            • Ronda Wintheiser says

              How do you know the members of the Synod did not like his speech?

              Not arguing with you. Just asking. 🙂

    • “This is now the third Metropolitan in 10 years who’s been forced to resign. Starting to look like a job lot.”

      Or the Governorship of Illinois..

  12. Fr Philip,

    Now, the OCA is scrambling to put this whole thing behind them as fast as possible. They are going to call a special AAC within 6 months because they know that whatever credibility it has left is quickly slipping away. They look more each day like the Gorbachaev “coupsters.”

    The synod acted as if they are the Church, that it was all about them with but a glancing thought for us poor folks out here. The syosset henchmen acted as if only their work place was important and the rest of us could go pound salt.

    No, all they want from us is our money and trust. Giving or not giving money to syosset is easy to solve, however regaining trust is a totally different matter.

    • Nicholas Sandoukas says

      Maybe This time the Faithful can vote for the Wonderful Bishop from Russia, I think his name is Hillarion, his last name escapes me right now, but right now I do not trust any one on the Synod, and an other Outsider is needed.

  13. The problem is that Met. Jonah was too young and didnt want to listen to anyone who knew what was going on. Fr. Leonid has been our gateway to the world of Orthodoxy and continues to fight for the OCA on the Global Level despite being attacked for his work. I know that the bishops were looking for a way out of Pittsbuirgh and got it. Now we can get back to the drawing board and nominate someone that will have the churchs best interest at heart and not thier own. There are a few bishops that would do well. Bishop Michael would do well as he has a huge heart and is also stern which is needed as Primate. MJ told people what they wanted to hear with knowing what his actions would do. We should all trust the Synod and let them do thier jobs. They are working together to get us back on course. Pray for them. Remeber this is a Hierarchal Church…….if you dont like it Im sure the Protestant church would like you better than the OCA.

    • Disgusted With It says

      Michael seems good from a distance. But I wish he would do more to clean up the morally compromised clergy in his own diocese.

      • No bishop ever does that anywhere, not unless there’s a threat of police involvement. Actually, I take that back: Bp. Matthias did correct a major part of his MC problem in recalling Mark S, and for that he should be thanked.

    • John wrote: “I know that the bishops were looking for a way out of Pittsbuirgh and got it.”
      What happened at Pittsburgh was that THEY and no one else, elected Bishop Jonah to be their First Hierarch, the “Primate” of the OCA. THEY DID that. Whatever happened to the Church and to Metropolitan Jonah was created/caused by THEM.
      If the accession of Metropolitan Jonah is the cause of evils in the Church, then THOSE WHO ELECTED HIM should tender their resignations, because those evils would never have come to pass without their votes.
      It is always unwise and usually contrary to decency and good order in the Church when any one hierarch or any combination of hierarchs acts out of fear of the people. No one could dream of accusing the Synod which elected Archbishop Ireney instead of Bishop Vladimir, or the Synod which elected Archbishop Theodosius instead of Bishop Dmitri, or THE SYNOD WHICH ELECTED ARCHBISHOP HERMAN INSTEAD OF BISHOP SERAPHIM of acting out of “fear of the people.” But the Synod which elected Bishop Jonah feared the reaction of the people if they did not do so. They thought their Sacred Cow, conciliarity, would be challenged if they acted contrary to the votes of the delegates.
      I repeat, they are the ones who might have better resigned, if it was “Pittsburgh” that needed to be overcome.

  14. George, what do you mean “this is not over”? The Synod is not going to restore HB. He is done in the OCA. The only question now is what do the rest of us do about it? The story is not over for us, but it is over for HB. Maybe you mean that Jonah’s firing does not settle things. I agree with that. I think it’s misguided for us to put any hope in the idea that Jonah is coming back. We have to think about the post-Jonah era, and where to go from here.

    I came into the OCA when the church was just beginning to deal with the scandals under Herman. I always believed the bishops were weak and/or crooked. I had a good parish. I still do. If I didn’t read blogs I would never have to think of the Syosset gang. If my bishop were to come to my parish now, I would stay away. Anaxios! But why should I leave my church community because of these Synod clowns? I chose to become Orthodox knowing that the bishops were no good. What has changed?

    • Rostislav says

      Ksenia, there are something called the Holy Canons which support the position of Metropolitan Jonah and censure the ecclesiastical rebellion of the not so “holy” Synod. They come into effect for Metropolitan Jonah if he wishes to move, forge his alliances and seek his restoration. I suspect he won’t. I do suspect the MC will suffer for this move and it won’t turn out the way for them that they planned. I suspect this will complicate the continued presence of the lavender mob and the Renovationists and the Phanariot wannabes as this keeps the light on them. They don’t like that because it isn’t good for business.

      What do you think will happen, Ksenia, when some blogger puts up pictures of certain Bishops with their boyfriends or leaks what Kondratick was blackmailing them with or simply points out that the OCA is back in the red after these shananigans?! By acting against Metropolitan Jonah to take a gay left turn, they have only signed their commitment papers. Their house of cards is about to fall because of their actions. We won’t let up.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Indeed, Rosistlav, they have opened a Pandora’s Box. But hey, I’m all in favor of accountability and transparency.

      • “Their house of cards is about to fall because of their actions. We won’t let up.”

        And may that house of cards fall quickly. Once the lavender culture takes hold among the bishops and their confidants, as it apparently has in the OCA (and plenty of other jurisdictions) for decades, it’s nearly impossible to clean it out. It would take a junk yard dog of a metropolitan willing to live the rest of his episcopate in hell fighting these wicked men every day to slowly bring about change over a course of decades. Personally, I think collapse is the better option, but God will judge. Sometimes an emperor is a good thing.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Ksenia, I am not recommending you to leave your parish at all. I’m not leaving mine but instead redoubling my commitment to it.

      What do I mean by “this is not over.” Simply that. The demons that have been unleashed because of this action –indeed, the Apparat’s three-year-long villification and insubordination of HB, as well as four-decade-long self-idolatry–will cause unintended consequences. One of them being the complete collapse of any moral authority that the Apparat has.

  15. AnonymousinOCA says

    But what if the Synod was legally bound not to reveal what is going on? Let’s say Met. JONAH was diagnosed with a serious mental illness. Wouldn’t Bhp. BENJAMIN be at risk of a lawsuit if he were to divulge that information in his letter to Alaska? Perhaps something like this is a play and then we’re left with hints and innuendos.

    It’s all very discouraging for those of us in the pews of OCA parishes. I think many of us are left wondering who the heck to believe… the hots-shots with a blog or Bishops whose reputations have been mixed. And then there’s the priests who are barely saying anything for safety’s sake (can’t blame them really). I honestly feel like I’ve been left out in the dinghy alone. Where is that arc of Salvation everyone talked about???

    I think I”d comforted if the Synod would announce a day of prayer for the OCA and call all parishes to either be open all day or pray an Akathist for our jurisdiction.

    • Disgusted With It says

      Perhaps the issue is “at-will employment”. For example: you can not like someone because of their race and fire them. If you say that’s why you fired them, or give another weak reason, then you open yourself up to litigation. If you just remain silent without any reason, that is your right to do so under at-will employment.

      Looks like here the synod and administration are pleading the 5th so not to incriminate themselves.

      But even more important that ANY of that — this is the Church! I fear they just don’t get it.

    • lexcaritas says

      And how would such a medical diagnosis o fmentall illness have legitimately occurred, AnonOCA????

      No, either there was NO legitmate cause–the Administration’s and Synod’s inability to work with JONAH is utterly childish and insufficient for removal at this time and in this manner–or there was probably cause to suspect moral and/or illegal on JONAH’s part, in which case for the good of the Church and all involved charges should have been filed and due process observed. Openness and due process encourage catharsis and repentance; obfuscation and cover-ups do not.


      • AnonymousinOCA says

        Disgusted with it… thanks for that perspective. And yes, I agree this shouldn’t be so within the Church. We’re supposed to be better than all this.

        lexcaritas – I do not think you read my post. I did not say it occurred- I used a mental illness dx as an example for possible litigation. And why all the question marks? Are you really that angry with me for wondering if the Bishops might be legally bound to silence for reasons we are unaware of? Get a grip… I’m only throwing out another possibility besides a cover-up.

      • I still can’t believe that so many Orthodox foolishly embrace and accept modern psychiatry’s “ability” to define and discern mental illness anyway. It’s atheistic in it’s base assumptions. And it’s defined by a group of Dr’s who change definitions of illness every few years with no true scientific basis behind it. Period. Anyone remember that homosexuality was a DSM defined mental illness? Look into how that was removed. It’s very much politically motivated. It’s not science. God help us that our spiritual leaders trust man and modern psychiatry over God.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Sarcasm on: But Irene psychology is so much more modern and empirically sound and has so many peer reviewed research studies to support is beliefs. Its a fact. scarasm off

          Just ask Mr. Stankovich.

          Seriously, homosexuality is not a mental disorder, it is a spiritual disorder. Unfortunately, there are those who no longer understand that and some of them are bishops of the OCA.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Very well said, Irene. Modern psychoanalysis as pioneered by Freud was horribly unscientific. Like the Talmud and Zen koans, it embraced conundra or impasses, never resolving anything, the better to keep the patient coming back and paying fees. Whatever the analyst decided was true.

        • Rdr. Benjamin says

          Yet when Met. Jonah asked Fr. Gregory Jensen, not only a solid Orthodox Priest, but also a distinguished psychologist and scholar to look into some unsavory elements in the underbelly of the OCA he was booed off the stage by Stokoe and his OCA”News” stooges, made to look like an idiot and unqualified quack by those who are themselves unqualified to make such a diagnosis.

          Why? Because Fr. Gregory Jensen is uncompromising in his Orthodoxy and refuses to agree with the DSM-let’s-give-em-drugs-and-whatever-they-want-to-do-homosexuality’s-just-fine-with-us crowd, advocating an Orthodox holistic approach to the human person instead (He was trained under the great Catholic psychologist Fr. Adrian Van Kaam.)

          Just a few days before he was publicly slandered and libeled on the website he just happened to post a series of blog posts that got quite a lot of attention about not only the sin of homosexuality but numerous others. His post Barbarians Among Us was of particular note and garnered the ire and attention of the Stokoe crowd who used him as a stick with which to beat Metropolitan Jonah into submission.

          Yet another good priest destroyed by the Roberts Rules and Institution of the OCA CA.

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            It’s also a case of who Fr Jensen was going to investigate. You see, there are investigations, and then there are investigations (if you catch my drift).

          • M. Stankovich says

            Rdr. Benjamin,

            I was just re-reading yesterday several studies and mainstream investigations (NY Times, The New Yorker, etc.) as to the notion of determining our “best doctors.” Summary: no one can even agree on the criteria that might render a helpful rendering, and it is next to impossible to eliminates the variables necessary to determine why some doctors fare better, all things being equal.

            Secondly, you establish a false dichotomy with “uncompromisingly Orthodox” and the “DSM/ medication-slinging /”do and act as you wish” lizards, as if to say what? A clinician who practices in an “evidence-base” (which would include diagnostic criteria contained in the DSM), in a framework of ethical practice, sometimes relying on medications pursuant to the evidence base, could not possibly be competent? And conversely, an “uncompromisingly Orthodox” priest could not be such a nitwit as to beat, bite, and sexually assault his “therapy client” because this is “spiritual warfare?” and rightfully find himself incarcerated as we speak?

            Thirdly, anyone who publishes to the internet should predict they have, in effect, drawn a bullseye in the center of their forehead. In the real “public square,” there are necessary and essential social and inter-relational rules and “filters” that prevent every moronic, hateful, and hurtful thought from passing through little minds directly out the lips. And key to this disintegration is anonymity. And saying that is to say that everything can be controversial for someone. I read the essay by Fr. John Peck on the AOI site regarding the Future Orthodox Church – it was noted by Fr. Hans that Fr. John was “hammered” – and I read Fr. Gregory’s Barbarians essay (both opinions I unhesitatingly support), but am I surprised at the reaction? Or better, should they have been surprised?

            I would suggest, Rdr. Benjamin, that these matters are extraordinarily complex, and perhaps some of us will not live to see their complete resolution. But I fail to see how reducing them to caricatures can be helpful.

      • Geo Michalopulos says


    • AnoninOCA, it may interest you to know that there is already procedure for removing a Metropolitan with “serious mental illness”. The provision in the Statute specifically allows for a vacancy in the Metropolitan See to be declared in the event of certified medical incapacity.

      The Holy Synod did not choose this or any other sanctioned method for removing the Primate.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Here I fixed it: “The Holy Synod did not choose this or any other sanctioned specified method for removing the Primate.”

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Unfortunately, Scripture is very clear on this issue. When dealing with anybody in the Church (and this includes bishops and primates), Jesus forcefully lays the case thusly: first go to the offending party privately, then if he continues in his sin, go with witnesses, then if he still offends, take it to the Church as a whole. I.E. make it public. This trumps psychiatry.

      Instead, they are using Orthospeak to cover up an uncanonical and possibly illegal conspiracy.

  16. “Since then we know that His Beatitude will only be paid through or until October. No provisions are made for where he will live, nor how he will care for his family.”

    Ironically, Bishop Mark Maymon is still drawing a salary over a year later after being removed as Administrator of the DOS..

    • Mark from the DOS says

      Which speaks volumes of the motives and petty nature of the Synod. Lord have mercy!

    • That’s it. Not one penny of my tithe goes to the DOS, or the OCA, as long as Mark Maymon draws a salary. The idea that we would cut the Metropolitan loose without a penny, but still pay the criminal Mark Maymon after what he did to our Diocese, is disgusting. The checkbook is closed.

  17. Antinomian says

    OK I am not sure which is better – a (not so) benevolent dictator (AOA) or a seemingly corrupt political Oligarchy (OCA)? I guess it really doesn’t matter.

    PSALM 146:3 “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.”


    • Michael Bauman says

      Antinomian: Clearly the dictator in this case since we in the AOA also have functioning bishops (none of whom would think of doing anything remotely as ghastly as the OCA Synod seems to do before breakfast.

      Whether you like Met. Philip’s personality or style or agree with him on every issue it rather beside the point. He is a bishop and has been for over 50 years. During that time the AOA has grown remarkably and is continuing to grow. The other AOA bishops: +Joseph, +Basil, +Thomas, +Antoun, +Alexander, +John, +Anthony, +Nicholas will have the task of continuining what Met. Philip started when he does repose as he is encouraging and allowing them to do now. I suspect they will do a far better job than the current OCA Synod.

      A hierachy pre-supposes the non-democratic use of authority. The OCA, with its real innovation the Metropolitan Council seems to have never quite apprecitated that fact.

      • I have to agree, Michael. What the OCA Synod did is a whole new level of episcopal shenanigans over Metropolitan Philip. Met. Philip asserted some excess power over Antiochian bishops, while the OCA’s Synod just deposed the Primate without a trial. It’s the difference between being shot with a water pistol and being shot with a tommy gun.

  18. Has anyone asked Archbishop Nikon about the case of Archdeacon Gregory Burke? Archbishop Nikon is responsible to God for the decency and good order of the Diocese of the South: he, therefore, should have the answer to that one. Are we waiting for a scandal to hit the Miami papers such as have hit other city newspapers relative to sexual crimes of clergy? Isn’t that a time bomb? is the Holy Synod ready with some spin for the papers in such an event? Does that parish have a school for kids?
    But, I agree, Sandusky was NOT an Archdeacon!!!!

    • Fr. Justin Frederick says

      I asked His Eminence some months ago. He said that the Holy Synod had dealt with it and had no plans to revisit it.

      • Jane Rachel says

        Fr. Justin, so Bishop Nikon told you that the Holy Synod had “dealt with” Archdeacon Gregory Burke? In what way did they “deal with” it? It’s all good in the eyes of God? If they are watching over our souls as Bishop Benjamin insists in the midst of a lot of words about God and holiness, then we are to trust them that Archdeacon Gregory Burke should continue serving at the altar, giving us the Body and Blood of GOD, while Archdeacon Gregory Burke lives as a homosexual with a bishop? And that settles it? It’s all good? In the eyes of God, which is what I care about. And we are being “hysterical” as the One Who Can’t Be Wrong, Fr. Yousef, says, if we question this? These bishops are anointed and appointed by God. So, it’s all good, relax, God doesn’t mind that Archbishop Gregory Burke lives as a homosexual with a bishop, and serves Communion at the altar, God’s altar, to the parishioners who tremble as they approach, and who sing St. John Chrysostom’s Divine Liturgy, it’s all good, trust your bishops, we “dealt with it”?

        RUN!! RUN AWAY!!

        • Fr. Justin Frederick says

          Yes. He was not forthcoming with any details about how they had dealt with it, other than indicating that it was a closed case for them. I asked. I received an answer. If the allegations are true that they are living together sinfully, the answer I received is of course unacceptable. They have not dealt with it. The canons are clear. Perhaps they have repented and are living chastely? Even then, if as a Deacon he committed homosexual acts, he should have been deposed, as should his episcopal friend. But I’m not privy to any details of the case, so what can I say? That is the problem with so many of these cases. We hear rumors, but who has substantiated facts? We have to trust the people tasked with dealing with these cases to uphold the canons for the good of the Church. If they don’t, they do harm to the Church. If the people we trust to deal with these issues do not in fact deal with them according to the canons, how do we hold them accountable? I suppose we have to wait for God to expose them? Always assume the best? Close our eyes and look the other way?

          • Fr. Justin, does getting a gay “marriage” count as a homosexual act?

          • M. Stankovich says

            Fr. Justin,

            Yours are questions that I have considered for years. And while I know there is no manner by which to compare frustration, I will subjectively claim it is equally frustrating when a layman experiences the “you couldn’t possibly understand” brush off – though no bishop can threaten my livelihood (sorry about that!). Nevertheless, I find no distinction in the obedience to which we are all called, and as someone who operates in “controlled chaos,” I am acutely sensitive to St Paul: “Let all things be done decently and in order,” (1Cor 14:40) because “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.”(14:33)

            I actually fear these situations because for me they are a breeding-ground for an arrogance and pride that cuts twice: if I am correct, like Zola I would commandeer the front page, “Aha! J’Accuse!” and imagine God Himself is vindicated; and if I am proved wrong, “They are responsible for giving the appearance of impropriety!” And there is no way to avoid the Lord’s own reflection, “the time comes, that whosoever kills you will think that he does God service.” (Jn 16:2). I conclude that the fear I feel – and I believe rightfully so – is my own vulnerability as a sinner.

            Fr. Hans has said the bishops lack moral authority, and this is a perfect example. To say “It has been dealt with” is not moral authority, nor does it foster confidence, nor is it in the interest of order or peace. It is as good as the old line from the street, “You gonna’ believe me or your lyin’ eyes?” The point is, a Scriptural standard exists; it is not outrageous, nor improper, nor inappropriate to inquire pursuant to that standard; and an appropriate, reasonable, and thoughtful response is not an offensive expectation.

            Trust I am not attempting to be “instructive. I am inquiring.

          • Jim of Olym says

            Is it the job of everyone in the church to somehow peer through the bedroom windows and count how many people are sleeping in the same bed? Parenthetically, if two men or women live in the same household do we judge them to be living unchastely before we know the facts (as if the facts are the business of everyone on the internet?)

            Just asking.

            • M. Stankovich says

              Jim of Olym,

              You have the precedent on another thread of a deacon who saw fit to post a link to the actual name and photograph of “sinners.”

              He says, “they flaunt their abomination – it is their wedding announcement.”

              You might rightfully ask, “Have you peered in the window and observed their sexual practice?”

              I might ask, “They are in Met. Jonah’s own cathedral. Did he exclude them from the Eucharist? Their confessor, the most arrogant priest you ever met, did he exclude from the Eucharist?”

              Fr. Justin might ask, “Perhaps they have repented and are living chastely?”

              I’m thinking if you asked Met. Jonah, he will say, “I handled it.”

              Go figure.

              • What does it mean as stated from all the bishops that we don’t accept ssm or ssu? We ignore them? So the persons continue to commune, as if nothing happened here? Or we don’t accept them as if they-by this act- are outside the church– meaning communion– if you are in one? What ever happened to avoid the very appearances of evil”? What ever happend to “don’t scandalise your brother”? What ever happend to “pluck out your eye if it causes you to sin”? Now that doesn’t apply? What else is now ok? What else shall we change about our faith? Funny, I thought we were supposed to be passing on our faith, but you seem to imply we should be changing it. . . Sin affects the whole parish, especially undealt with sin. Noone needs to know what happens in the bedroom if 2 people are married. Haven’t they made a public statement by getting married? Marriage involves the community. I could go on, but Dn. and SM I am so surprised you don’t understand things so basic. But what do I know -right Stank- things fly right over my little head . . .

                • M. Stankovich says


                  It would appear that your post would be better sent to the bishop in who’s cathedral this is so blatantly and scandalously occurring. The last time we had this discussion – and it has been nearly a year – you posed the same “facts,” with the same measured amount of “outrage,” and reached the same conclusion that I am an idiot. I again note, you are certainly not the first to reach this conclusion.

                  I have argued here for the “rule of order” spoken of by St. Paul. Our God is the God of decency, peace, and order, and not unilateral decisions which lead to chaos. I offered you the example of Fr. Martin who acted according to the rule of order and obedience, and the same can be said of Fr. Justin. Likewise, you have the example of Mr. Dreher’s wife who took her grievance directly to the Metropolitan himself; and while her decision may not “strictly” conform with the Scriptural directive, there is certainly Patristic support for her choice. There is no question in my mind that you could “go on” – same time next year? – but I don’t understand your anger at me.

                  Finally, without you providing an actual hat size, Lette, I’ll reserve any comment as to the size of your head.

        • Jesse Cone says

          Fr. Justin et. all,

          I believe the question to ask is whether or not a spiritual court was ever called regarding the Archdeacon.

          • The man was suspended by +Dmitri and then he was bushwacked by Bp. Mark Forsberg and Archpriest Philip Reese (Miami Cathedral) and pressured to lift the suspension but not to serve.

            Subsequent to that the Archdeacon was blessed to serve (not by +Dmitri who was retired by then) but to only serve at the Miami Cathedral. I believe this is what +Nikon means by the synod “dealing with it.”

            There was never a spiritual court and it looks like the Archdeacon, a monk, homosexual, then married to a man, then divorced from him is free to serve. Is there any wonder why the long-time friendship of +Nathaniel and +Mark Forsberg continues to have benefits?

            And we wonder why the OCA is in so much trouble?

      • Mark from the DOS says

        Asking your prayers, Fr. Justin

    • james sode says

      The matter was dealt with by Archbishop Dmitri. No one is intending on revisiting the matter you should know that

  19. Your Grace,

    Up to this point, Arb. Nikon along with Arb. Nathaniel and Bp. Benjamin, have blocked every effort to pursue the deposing actions of the Archdeacon Gregory. Metropolitan Jonah tried to early on and he was slapped down by them. This is a time bomb, but both Bp. Mark (Forsberg) and his Archdeacon, have been protected by the clergy and some members of the Miami Cathedral, the same group that was advocating for +Mark Maymon to be the next bishop of the DOS. It is scandalous, but rather par for the course in the OCA these days as they ignore the plank in their own eye but find the speck in others.

  20. Carl Kraeff says

    George–You are correct. This is indeed far from over. Here is a long letter from Bishop Matthias that explain a lot.

    July 16, 2012
    Hieromartyr Athenogenes
    Archpastoral Letter
    No. 149

    Beloved Clergy, Monastics, and Faithful of the Diocese of the Midwest:

    Christ is in our midst!

    We, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, have hesitated to release further details surrounding the resignation of Metropolitan Jonah as Primate of our Church, this in a desire to preserve his dignity and to prevent further harm to an innocent party. We did this knowing there would be appeals for additional information regarding our decision. We also harbored some hope that Metropolitan Jonah would show a willingness to accept responsibility for his actions and failures to act. However, things said and written by Metropolitan Jonah since his resignation have demonstrated that he is not accepting that responsibility.

    Why did we ask Metropolitan Jonah to resign?

    In slightly less than four years as our leader, Metropolitan Jonah has repeatedly refused to act with prudence, in concert with his fellow bishops, in accordance with the Holy Synod’s Policies, Standards and Procedures on Sexual Misconduct (PSPs), and in compliance with advice of the Church’s lawyers and professionals in expertise in dealing with cases of sexual misconduct.

    The most disturbing and serious matter, indeed the final matter that caused us to ask the Metropolitan to resign or take a leave of absence and enter a treatment program, involves the Metropolitan’s poor judgment in critical matters of Church governance, lack of adherence to the PSPs, and the risk of serious harm to at least one other person. While the names, dates and other details must be held in confidence to minimize the risk of further harm, we can say the following.

    At some point after his enthronement as our Primate, Metropolitan Jonah unilaterally accepted into the OCA a priest known to him and to others to be actively and severely abusing alcohol, which more than once was coupled with episodes of violence and threats toward women. One of these episodes involved the brandishing of a knife, and the other the discharge of a firearm, the former resulting in the man’s arrest. The man was also incarcerated for three days in yet another incident, shortly after he was accepted into the OCA by Metropolitan Jonah. While under Metropolitan Jonah’s omophorion, this priest is alleged to have committed a rape against a woman in 2010.

    Metropolitan Jonah was later told of this allegation in February 2012, yet he neither investigated, nor told his brother bishops, nor notified the Church’s lawyers, nor reported the matter to the police, nor in any other way followed the mandatory, non-discretionary PSPs of the OCA. The alleged victim, however, did report the rape to the police. We know, too, that the alleged victim and a relative were encouraged by certain others not to mention the incident, and were told by them that their salvation depended on their silence. As recently as last week Metropolitan Jonah was regularly communicating with one of those who tried to discourage the reporting of this crime by the alleged victim and her relative. In addition, the Metropolitan counseled the priest to pursue a military chaplaincy, without informing the military recruiter of any of the priest’s problems. Finally, the Metropolitan attempted to transfer the priest to other Orthodox jurisdictions, and ultimately did permit him to transfer to another jurisdiction, in each case telling those jurisdictions there were no canonical impediments to a transfer.

    We have started an investigation into the rape allegation, and cannot assume whether the allegation is true or not. We only know that earlier allegations of misconduct by this priest were handled by Metropolitan Jonah in a manner at a complete variance with the required standards of our Church.

    Moral, canonical and inter-Orthodox relations issues aside, in light of the recent widely-publicized criminal cases involving sexual abuse at Penn State and in the Philadelphia Archdiocese and the Kansas City Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church, the extent of the risk of liability to which the Metropolitan has exposed the Church cannot be overstated. We knew already from past experience with Metropolitan Jonah that something had to change; we had hoped that change would come about as the result of Metropolitan Jonah fulfilling his promise to comply with the recommendation given him by the medical facility to which he was admitted for evaluation and treatment last November, as he assured us he would do at our last All-American Council in Seattle. That promise having gone unfulfilled, when this latest problem came to our attention at the end of June, we felt that we had no choice but to ask him to take a leave of absence or to submit his resignation. The moral, human, canonical and legal stakes were simply too high.

    Leading up to this most recent problem, there has existed for several years now a repeated pattern by Metropolitan Jonah of taking other unilateral actions that were contrary to the advice of the Holy Synod and/or the Church’s lawyers, which prolonged or caused litigation involving the OCA, which substantially increased legal fees, which created confusion in negotiations, and which exposed the OCA to otherwise avoidable additional financial and legal liability.

    He withheld information from his brother bishops and from the Church’s lawyers concerning litigation matters, and matters which might have resulted, and still might result, in litigation.

    He has spoken unilaterally with and provided sensitive information to opposing counsel and opposing parties concerning pending and threatened litigation, although he had specifically been warned many times of the perils in doing so.

    He gave to unauthorized persons a highly sensitive, painstakingly detailed internal Synodal report concerning numerous investigations into sexual misconduct, risking leaks of names of alleged victims and alleged perpetrators. While those who now possess the report are wrongfully in possession of OCA property, they have not yet returned their copies of these highly confidential and sensitive documents, further exposing our Church to potential legal liabilities.

    What we have said here is based on the Metropolitan’s own words, both during numerous Holy Synod and Metropolitan Council meetings, and established in documentary evidence. We cannot release that publicly, and the Metropolitan Council members have legal and moral obligations to maintain in confidence information pertaining to threats to individuals and alleged crimes. We have however been communicating with and will continue to communicate with law enforcement authorities.

    Our request for Metropolitan Jonah’s resignation, or that he take a leave of absence for treatment, came at the end of a rather long list of questionable, unilateral decisions and actions, demonstrating the inability of the Metropolitan to always be truthful and accountable to his peers. The Metropolitan’s freely-chosen resignation has been characterized by him and others as the result of politics and internal discord among the members of the Holy Synod. Quite to the contrary, the other members of the Holy Synod stand firmly together in our unanimous astonishment at the Metropolitan’s actions. We cannot stress enough that while the most recent events are likely the most dangerous for the Church, these represent only the latest in a long series of poor choices that have caused harm to our Church. We understand and agree that an ability to work or not work well with others, or a challenged administrative skill set, or Metropolitan Jonah’s refusal to comply with the recommendations of the treatment facility, while not the reasons for his requested resignation, were fundamentally related to the consequences of his actions.

    Each bishop of the Orthodox Church in America has a duty to Jesus Christ to shepherd his respective diocesan flock, and to be a good steward and trustee of the temporal properties of the Church entrusted to his care. After the developments of the past few weeks, we knew, individually and together acting in one accord as the Synod, that we could no longer exercise our duties as shepherds or as trustees and stewards without asking for the Metropolitan’s resignation.

    There are some who are seeking to promote a variety of rumors or other reasons for the Metropolitan’s resignation, in their conversations or on the Internet. Some argue that the resignation had to do with moral or political views publicly expressed by Metropolitan Jonah that conflicted with the views of others in the Church, the so-called “culture wars.” Such views have never been a point of contention in Holy Synod or Metropolitan Council meetings. These issues were discussed, and statements and actions of the Holy Synod have demonstrated their unchanging position on traditional Orthodox views of morality. This speculation as to other motives behind the resignation is simply not true; the reasons for the resignation are detailed in this message.

    We continue to pray for Metropolitan Jonah’s spiritual needs even as his brother bishops have provided for his immediate material needs. He has no Church assignment obligations, allowing him to focus on himself and his family. Meanwhile, he is drawing full salary and benefits until at least October, when the Holy Synod next meets.

    We ask your prayers for the Church, for Her clergy and faithful and for Her mission in the world.

    Your shepherd in Christ,

    Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest

    • This letter would probably be appropriate as an explanation for dismissing a head of a secular organization. However, the Church is not a secular organization. I still do not see any CANONICAL reasons given. Also, I wish the procedures chosen for the removal of Metropolitan Jonah were addressed. They are seen by many as outrageously uncanonical, with charges of explicitly canonically forbidden conspiracy (e.g., agreeing to unanimously request his resignation via communications or meetings that did not include him) and failure to do EVERYTHING with the consent of the Primate expressed by many on the Internet. I believe we still need to see these questions addressed is a serious way.

      • Well said, Mitrich! I hope your insights don’t get lost in the shuffle, so I hope you will re-post them on the next thread up.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        It is easy to fling terms like “uncanonical” and “conspiracy.” Your reasoning would be stronger if you had cited what canons were broken by the Holy Synod.

      • Nicholas says

        An where was the part where the Synod dismissed Jonah? They requested that he pursue one of two options. He voluntary chose the option of resigning. Where do canons come into play in this?

    • It is not Metropolitan Jonah that needs help here, in truth… Evil has certainly penetrated the Synod for only evil can be so bold as to present destruction and malice as “good:. It is not likely that the Synod has convinced many Orthodox Christians of the Authenticity of the accusations against Met. Jonah or ever will. Lord, have mercy on this outrageous act by the Synod.

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  22. The Holy Synod, having met via smartphone again, now announces they are launching an investigation of rape, and they are accusing a Priest not in their Church, but who was charged but not convicted by the civil authorities!!!!
    They should launch an investigation of themselves, for electing Metropolitan Jonah, if there allegations are true.
    They won’t.

    • Monk James says

      The Orthodox Church in America is incompetent to investigate a charge of rape or of any other crime in civil law. That’s the responsibility of the police, who are trained to do such things.

      All the OCA can do is work with the results of police investigations and the verdicts of civil courts.

      The rest of this stuff is just posturing and a waste of resources which our OCA could better use in other more productive efforts.

  23. Speaknow says

    I have a dumb question:

    Now that the Met is retired, why was he reduced in rank? Why is he only referred to as Your Eminence? Herman and Theodosius are still called Your Beatitude, why not MJ?

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      I’m scratching my head over that, as well. I guess you’d have to ask the Synod.

  24. MartyOlson says

    What did Herman or Theodosius do that was uncanonical? Weren’t they removed for the same reasons as Abp. Jonah? How can this ranting be taken seriously? Your horse in this race lost, because he ran in the opposite direction.

    Lavender mob–where is this Chicago? Let’s see–there are something like 30,000 members of OCA. On a good day there’s 1-2% of gays in the church, probably less because the church is mostly unwelcoming morally and canonically. My math’s not good–are we talking 100 possible Gay people, leaving 29,810 straight people. So, the bishops–one is Nikon, widower…all these are somehow beholden to a Lavender Mob because…they are all gay? They all in their hearts support gays no matter what documents they’ve signed saying the reverse? They don’t purge the priests from their parishes who do what? Adultery, murder, rape of women, men or children, armed robbery, prostitution?

    The idea that gay sex is on any list near the top of serious crimes or moral failings I think is prejudiced. You can look at all the faults that were to be punished by stoning…at least the murder of another human falls ahead of sexual issues. I like to point out to folks that in the 10 commandments…not one mention of gay sexual behavior. Indeed the focus is on straight people not committing adultery and coveting their neighbor’s wives.

    Leviticus is a mish-mash of odd condemnations and restrictions, which as you all tend not to abide by all of them, it’s ridiculous that you pick and choose “cafeteria style” which of these many outdated rules to say are important one over the other. Oh yeah–sleeping with a man as with a woman is an “abomination”. Yet, it doesn’t mention anything about not having sex with the non-woman. Lack of specificity translates into multiple and acceptable understandings of same.

    17 chapters in Lev. of stuff Christians pay no attention to–what animals to sacrifice, bathing when there’s a sexual emission, then being considered unclean after until sundown–can you figure anything so arbitrary. Yet there it is–Chapter 18–the infamous statement and even though the writer(s) were happy to state something sexually explicit about other sexual sins, not a word about sex in the phrase “Man to lie with another man as if he were a woman? Doesn’t mention anything about a sexual behavior.

    Lots of sinnin’ goin’ on…why focus on one vs another? I would imagine that in the end Jesus will judge all of us, and whoever is found wanting will have troubles a-plenty. That makes me think–look at my own sins done in the privacy of my own home and worry not about the sinnin’ of others. It’s a terrible distraction that can lead you off the Ladder of St. John ’cause you’re not focused on gettin’ it right for yourself and your kin.

    • Metropolitan Theodosius was not removed.
      Metropolitan Theodosius had a series of minor strokes and after a period of around six months after them he told us that he wanted us to bless him to resign.
      In fact, the slipper slope began with the reception of Puhalo which, together with the initiation of the Wheeler/Stokoe/Job attack, began quite a bit later, in Metroplitan Herman’s day. He licensed the gang that got Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick and then was hoisted on his own petard by the rascals with whom he had cooperated to get rid of him. Some people actually believe today that removing Protopresbyter Rodion S. Kondratick and all the subsequent shenanigans blessed by Stokoe and THE LIKE improved the condition of the OCA. What an idea! What a %^&*@#$^& LAUGH!

      • Speakout says

        Vladyka, but why was his title, “Your Beatitude” removed from him? In my ignorance, lowly as I am, I don’t understand that, or anything else for that matter. I just know all this makes me sad.

        • “His Beatitude” and “His Holiness” and “His All-Holiness” are the honorifics proper to the First Hierarchs of Local Orthodox Churches. It is normal that they remain in that position until they fall asleep in the Lord, and retain the honorific until then. There is no guidance in any canons for the use of such honorifics for the retired. Of course, any of them who would be deposed from the episcopacy could retain no honorifics whatsoever. It is a matter of local usage that can be adjusted from time to time, therefore, by the given hierarch or the Synod of the Local Church whether he retains all the honorifics.
          I know, I know, not content with what is canonical, some hierarchs in some Churches might give in to a spirit of meanness and declare an honorific to be forbidden to a retiree out of malice and a need to “do something when all else fails,” one can’t rule it out!

  25. Very Rev. Stevo Rocknage says

    After reading all of these heartfelt comments, I, as an unworthy servant in our Lord’s Vineyard, grieve over the suffering that is going on in your ArchDiocese…..please remember that many of your brethren in the Serbian Orthodox Church are praying for all of you that our Church may be healed in the Spirit of LOve and Mercy!
    May God help us all!